caraga region

Taskforce to end local communist prepares for all-out implementation of the new order

December 3, 2019

Marihatag, Agusan del Sur – The Poverty Reduction Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the Surigao del Sur Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict led by the Provincial Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) conducted ,last November 28, a dialogue to prepare the residents and IP Community of Barangay Mahaba, Marihatag, Surigao del Sur for the all-out implementation of Executive Order No. 70 by next year in Andap Valley Complex. Following dialogues to other identified Peace and Development Zones (PDZs) will be scheduled within this month. With this activity, the residents of conflict-affected communities would become aware of the government’s peace and development efforts towards ending insurgency. Barangay Mahaba is one of the gateways of the Andap Valley Complex, a traditional route of the CNTs along with the sitios of Barangay Diatagon. The dialogue includes the presentation of the community’s poverty, livelihood and employment-related issues raised by the community through the Community Support Program (CSP) conducted by the 7th Special Forces” Spartans” Company of the 3SFBn. CSP is a mechanism of the EO 70 to identify basic and social services delivery issues used by the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) to agitate, organize and mobilize the tribes to advance their terroristic activities in the hinterlands. Present in the dialogue are support agencies from Department of Agriculture, Provincial Tourism Office, 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion (3SFBn), Surigao Provincial Police Office, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PHILFIDA), Philippine Coconut Authority, Department of Education, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Food Authority, Marihatag LGU led by Mayor Justine Marc L. Pelenio and the Chief of Staff of the Office of Congressman Prospero “Butch” A. Pichay, Jr., Surigao’s 1st District representative. Initial livelihood support will provide the community abaca seedlings to help in increase their farm output production. Falcata and coffee farming will also be provided by the concerned agencies. Aside from farming, TESDA and PHILFIDA will provide livelihood skills training to further increase their productivity to make them more resilient. On other concerns, the community requested the DepEd to speed-up the process to begin the construction IP Government schools so that they can transfer and abandon the alleged CNT-affiliated schools of Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur (TRIFPSS) and Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV). DepEd representative, Danilo Alcantara, said that the IP communities in Andap Valley Complex were included in their Last Mile School Program which will facilitate the construction of complete school facilities which will provide a better quality education for the IPs. According to a rebel surrenderee, MAPASU, a left-leaning organization and an alleged front organization of CNTs, with their underground contacts in some LGUs continuously hampers the implementation of EO 70 because the CNTs will lose their mass base making it difficult to sustain their food supplies and makes them more easily detected by the government forces. The Department of Interior and Local Government continuously reminds elected and appointed government officials on Republic Act 10168 known as “Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012 prohibiting any political, moral and financial support to the Communist rebels. If elected officials are found guilty, penalties and sanctions will be imposed as prescribed by law. Meanwhile, PRLEC is one of the most active clusters among the 12 clusters line of efforts of the Whole-of-Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.    

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First ever Christmas tree in Andap Valley Complex lighted

November 30, 2019

Lianga, Surigao del Sur – With the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) from the legitimate Indigenous Peoples (IP) leaders, the first ever Christmas tree was lighted at the tribal hall by the Conflict-Affected IP Community in Sitio Simuwao (Kilometer 9), Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur, on November 24. With the influence of the Christian religious sectors, particularly the Dominican sisters, Aglipayan and Catholic Churches and various religious missionaries, many of the IP communities were converted and have accepted the tradition of Christmas. The Community Support Team composed of the 9th Special Forces “Hounds” Company of the 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion, 41st CMO Company and the Philippine National Police Community Relations with the Barangay Local Government of Diatagon, the Sangguniang Kabataan and the Diatagon Indigenous Peoples’ Mandatory Representative (IPMR) worked together with the IP Community to make a Christmas Tree out of recycled materials and lighted it up with colorful Christmas lights. This Christmas tree symbolizes Peace, Hope, Love and Reconciliation which are the virtues obtained from the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. The IP Community is hopeful that through the Community Support Program and the Whole-of-Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, the Communist NPA Terrorists’ and their front organizations would choose the path to peace and stop their exploitation on the IP Community in Andap Valley Complex. Felix Tayon, Vice Chairman sitio Kilometer 9 and a member of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa mga Sumusunod (MAPASU), an anti-EO 70 organization, said that gradually, he can now see the positive developmental changes in their community. “Hindi lang talaga mabigla sa una dahil dati takot talaga kami sa mga sundalo, pero ngayon, unti-unti na kaming nasasanay na kasama sila at nakikita naming ang kaibahan ngayon,” Tayon, said. Meanwhile, The Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and the military continues to humbly reach out to the religious sectors and MAPASU to reconcile and work together to attain lasting peace in Andap Valley Complex citing that we have one common goal which is to end conflict. The government also encourage the religious sector to help them facilitate peaceful surrenders for the rebels to avoid any unnecessary loss of lives.      

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Army conducts Medical Mission and Feeding Program in Surigao Sur

November 29, 2019

BISLIG CITY, Surigao del Sur-Camp Jaime N Ferrer Sr, Brgy Maharlika, Bislig City (Stn) – The 75th Infantry “Marauder” Battalion conducted Medical Mission and Feeding Program at Barangay Burboanan, Bisig City, Surigao del Sur on November 23, 2019.               The said activity was in partnership with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Bislig City headed by Honorable Florencio C Garay, City Mayor of Bislig; Office of the President – Office of the Special Assistance to the President (OP-OSAP) represented by Ms. Reygela M Decalit; SweetEva Online Gaming and Amusement Corporation headed by Ms. Eva Tejada; Small Town Lottery of Bislig; Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PSCO) Bislig Branch; St. John Bosco De La Salle College Batch of 1991; Guardians International 11th Coalition and Madonna Sorority Incorporated; Alpha Phi Omega Bislig Alumni Association; Bislig City Police Station; Kiwanis International; Rotary Club of Bislig; Development Bank of the Philippines, Bislig Branch; BISMATA Massage Clinic; Land Bank of the Philippines, Bislig Branch; Tony’s Store Bislig; Manulife Philippines, Bislig Branch; City Health Office of Bislig; and the Brgy Council of Brgy Burboanan.               The activity was highlighted with a medical consultation and treatment, tooth extraction, circumcision, feeding program, haircut, whole body massage, and distribution of relief goods, seedlings, school supplies and used clothing. A total of 1,065 beneficiaries were recorded during the said event.               Honorable Amado Advincula, Brgy Captain of Burboanan welcomed the participants and he was grateful to the services delivered to the people of Brgy Burboanan.               The City Mayor Hon Florencio Garay also graced the activity and expressed his gratitude for the collaboration of every stakeholders and for the efforts they bestowed during the activity.               Moreover, Ms. Reygela M Decalit, Presidential Management Staff, with her ardent zeal to any activity that will benefit the people and community in her message stated. “Local leaders deserved no special treatment in the field of service; they are our public servant that must deliver essential services to the people in the community, as well as promote peace and development.”               Further, Lieutenant Colonel Warren C Munda, Commanding Officer of 75IB who closely supervised the activity and acknowledged all the stakeholders by giving them a certificate of appreciation and simple token for sharing their time and effort to serve the people of Brgy Burboanan.               Part of Executive Order No. 70 states that the LGU should actively participate in extending social services to the people and community and sustain the peace and development effort in order to end the local communist armed conflict.  

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Intense hardcourt battle erupts between Army, Surigao Tribes

November 29, 2019

Bayugan City, Agusan Del Sur--- A fierce battle on the basketball court commenced between the Indigenous Peoples (IP) Community and the Community Support Teams (CSTs) in Sitio Simuwao (Kilometer 9), Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.  This is the first inter-sitio basketball league in the conflict-affected area in Andap Valley Complex organized by the Sangguniang Kabataan of Diatagon, Diatagon Barangay Local Government Unit, the IP residents and the CSTs composed of the troops from the 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion (3SFBn), 41st Civil Military Operations (CMO) Company and the Philippine National Police. The basketball court was constructed through the efforts of both Kilometer 9 IP residents and the composite Army and PNP personnel being falsely accused by the militant group, Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang a Sumusunod (MAPASU), a local affiliate of Bayan Muna Partylist represented by Eufemia Campos Cullamat, the sister of Pablito Sinzo Campos, alias Batik, a Communist NPA Terrorist nabbed by the 3SFBn and currently detained in Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur. “May labanan na nagaganap ngayon sa pagitan ng Army at mga tribo ditto sa KM 9, pero sa basketbolan. Ok Kaayo, “laughingly said by a resident of the sitio. This is the effect of Martial Law in the IP Communities and this is the fear of anti-government groups and coddler of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs). They fear that their lies and allegations against the military and the President’s Whole-of-Nation Approach would be revealed naturally and that their ideology will become irrelevant enough to make it die a natural death. “The IP Community is happy with the latest development in their area. Before, they were a bit skeptical about the military’s presence but the sincerity of the government to attain sustainable and genuine peace made this possible”, Lieutenant Colonel Joey B Baybayan INF (GSC) PA said. “Our main advantage and weapon in our quest to end local communist armed conflict is the truth. No matter how many lies and propaganda the CNTs and their allied groups throw at us, truth will always prevail”, COL Allan D Hambala INF (MNSA) PA, 401st Infantry Brigade Commander added. Meanwhile, 10 teams from neighboring sitios in Andap Valley participated in the league to include residents from Kilometer 16, (Sitio Han-Ayan) in Diatagon where Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development (ALCADEV), an alleged hub of the CNTs exists.    

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Notorius NPA leader killed in military opps in Comval

November 28, 2019

ASUNCION, DDN – Receiving tips from local officials on the whereabouts of a notorious NPA leader in Laak town, Compostela Valley Province, the combined troops of the 60th Infantry Battalion and the 25th Infantry Battalion of the 1001st Infantry Brigade together with the Laak Municipal Police successfully neutralized Marjun Taba aka “Hiker” in a joint law enforcement operation launched early morning onA Wednesday.   Per the military, certain local government officials from Tagum City and Laak have been in coordination with them and the police to bring Taba to the folds of the law for the last couple of months. The military says that Taba, however, adamantly refused and neglected negotiations for his surrender.  “We really wanted him to surrender. [And] I believe we have exhausted all means and options to get to that end because we know that there is more to gain if he surrenders as opposed to his dying like this in the field,” Lt. Col. Gilbert Ombos, Commander of the 60th Infantry Battalion, said. Ombos further says that they have even asked for the help of ComVal Guv Jayvee Tyron Uy, Loreto (Agusan Sur) Mayor Lorife Otaza, and Taba’s family to facilitate the latter’s surrender, but to no avail. Notwithstanding, the local government and his family’s pleas, Taba and his NPA cohorts continued to terrorize communities in the boundaries of Compostela Valley, Agusan del Sur, and Davao del Norte. Following several leads and eventually pinpointing his location, the joint law enforcement operation to capture Taba was launched early Wednesday morning in Brgy. Kapatagan, Laak leading to a five-minute firefight with at least five armed men and the eventual killing of Taba. The police says the four (4) others were able to run away, although blood stains were discovered in their escape route. Recovered from the encounter site is Taba’s cadaver along side his cal .45 pistol and two (2) anti-personnel improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Taba, or more known by his alias “Hiker”, is first Deputy Secretary of the CPP-NPA’s Sub-regional Committee 4, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) while also sitting as plenary member of the SMRC. He has six (6) standing warrants of arrest for the crimes of murder, attempted murder, rebellion, serious illegal detention, double murder, and double frustrated murder. In a statement, Colonel John Oberio, 1001st Infantry Brigade commander, reiterated the government’s call for leaders and members of the CPP-NPA to surrender “sooner rather than later.” “Everyone knows of the President’s marching orders to end the local communist armed conflict as soon and as quickly as possible. This is why the government has stepped up on its campaign to bring the CPP-NPA to its knees. On our end, we would like to reassure everybody that we are doing all that we can to draw this insurgency’s end to a peaceful, bloodless closure. But we cannot promise such peace to those who insist to terrorize our people. Thus, again, we would like to appeal to those still taking part in the CPP-NPA’s terrorism to surrender now and avert suffering such an undignified end,” Colonel Oberio added. Meanwhile, the Department of the Interior and Local Government XI has just concluded its 3-day “Regional Campaign on Strengthening Reintegration Efforts for Former Rebels and their Immediate Family Members through Convergence and Unified Efforts” held at Grand Regal Hotel, Davao City on November 25 to 27, 2019. The activity was attended by various national government agencies, local government representatives, AFP and PNP counterparts, and selected civil-society partners. #

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402nd Brigade Supports Press Freedom Week; Donates Blood to Save Lives in Butuan City

November 27, 2019

Bancasi, Butuan City – The 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade in collaboration with the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the City of Butuan participated in the Blood Letting Activity in support to the Press Freedom Week 2019 with a theme “Press Freedom in a City Ascending” held yesterday, November 23, 2019 at Robinsons Place, Butuan City. Personnel from 402nd Brigade and its operationally controlled units, the 23IB and 29IB, donated blood to save lives in furtherance and in support to the Press Freedom Week. A total of fourteen (14) personnel donated during the said blood letting activity.  Ms Nelsa Auron, City Information Officer and at the same time the KBP President of Butuan City reflected on how the activity will be celebrating press freedom as agencies and media practitioners have different platforms, processes and approaches. She added that the gathering defects their the role in the society pursuing truth and justice. Meanwhile, Mr Alger Boter, the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Administrator of Butuan City expressed his gratefulness to the active partnership with the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters ng Pilipinas (KBP) in Butuan City and having a common goal of serving the public thru blood donation.  In his statement, Brigadier General Maurito L Licudine, “as our partner for peace and development, we always commit to support Press Freedom because we respect the freedom of speech and freedom of the press enshrined in the 1987 Constitution. Hence, this blood letting activity is our way of telling them that the Army has treated the media with utmost importance and a vital piece in our campaign to defeat the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) as the insurgency problem now is not only confined in armed confrontations but also in the battle of perception and narratives”. “We thank the KBP for always considering your Army as partner in seeking and promoting truth and justice for all the Caraganons. Rest assured that in line with the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law and the enshrined freedom under Article 3, Section 4 in the 1987 Constitution, press freedom shall not be abridged nor curtailed. We enjoin all the media in Caraga for restraint in accepting invitations and interviews from the CPP-NPA who was declared as a terrorist organization by the national government because it only gives them the impetus and venue to voice their propaganda narrative. Instead continue to unite and stand with us against them to make our country a peaceful and developed place to live in”, Brigadier General Licudine added.

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