caraga region

Rotary Club AgSur joins the nation's approach to end insurgency

November 22, 2019

Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur – The Rotary Club chapter in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur under its president, Jonathan A. Ba┼łas, represented by Ms. Norma Salon, joined the nation’s quest towards ending insurgency by pledging the support for the upcoming gift-giving activities of the 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion (3SFBn) to the communist conflict-affected Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) communities in Agusan and Surigao Sur Thursday (November 21) at Barangay 5, San Francisco, ADS. “The Rotary’s purpose to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world fits our Whole-Of-Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict to attain sustainable peace. It is the reason why we chose to seek their support. We know they will never say “NO” if we talk about goodwill and peace, “Lieutenant Colonel Joey B Baybayan INF (GSC) PA, Commanding Officer of 3SFBn, said. “We express our sincerest gratitude to the Rotarians for their commitment to Peace. Your purpose and deeds are worth emulating,” LTC Baybayan ended. The Rotary Club donated 2 boxes of ballpens, 10 dozens of notebooks, 1 box of crayons, and 6 dozens of pencils to aid the IP beneficiaries in their educational needs as they put premium to education as a way to equip them to become resilient enough to protect themselves against the deceptive propaganda and recruitment strategies of the Communist NPA Terrorists. Last October, the 3SFBn cited that public-private partnership can greatly impact the whole-of-nation approach to end local conflicts by addressing the basic issues through convergence in corporate social responsibility during their partnership with Solaire Resorts to aid CARAGA hospitals.        

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Higaonon Tribe in Mindanao denounce CPP-NPA and its allied organizations

November 20, 2019

TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur- A total of 349 Indigenous People (IP) leaders and members of Higaonon Tribe from different provinces of Mindanao have expressed their support to Executive Order #70 and subsequently declared the CPP-NPA and its allied organizations as Persona non Grata during the conduct of Dumalungdong Festival held in Sitio Mahayonhayon, Barangay Guibonon, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur last November 15, 2019.  The declaration was empowered thru Resolution Nr. 1 initiated and unanimously approved by the tribal leaders during the conduct of the said activity. This was spearheaded by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan member and at the same time the Municipal Tribal Chieftain of Higaonon Tribe, Nilo Manpatilan a.k.a Datu Saulogan and witnessed by 1Lt Don Johnet Dominguez, the Company Commander of Charlie Company stationed in Poblacion Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.  Likewise, the said event was initiated by the barangay Tribal Chieftain Edu Casugudan a.k.a Datu Pukawan which was attended by the different Higaonon tribal groups coming from the provinces of Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur.  The resolution stated that the Higaonon Tribe has intensified its support and commitment to the current campaign of the government to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC) for just and lasting peace. It further stated that due to the presence of CPP-NPA, the Higaonon populace abandoned their homes because of fear which affected their normal daily lives and earnings. “Gikan karong adlawa, kitang mga tribung Higaonon nga gilangkuban sa upat (4) ka probinsya, maningkamot nga mapatuman ang kalinaw ug kahusay aron ang atong tribu hingpit na nga makabalik sa tagsa-tagsa ka mga yutang kabilin aron atong matikad ug mapalig-on ang atong pagpuyo nga walay manghasi kanato”, Datu Pukawan said.  Meanwhile, 1Lt Don Johnet Dominguez applauded the action of the leaders of the Higaonon tribe in denouncing the CPP-NPA, “Bilang kinatawan ng Philippine Army at ng 26th IB, kami ay taos-pusong nagpapasalamat sa inyong kooperasyon at aksyon bilang pagsuporta sa mandato ng ating mahal na Presidente, Rodrigo Roa Duterte sa pagtapos sa limang dekada na pang-aapi ng mga kumonistang NPA sa ating mga kababayang katutubo. Makakaasa kayo na kami sa Philippine Army ay patuloy na susuporta at poprotektahan kayo laban sa mga organisadong grupo ng CPPNPA na gumugulo sa inyong pang araw-araw na buhay”, 1Lt Dominguez said during his message. Relatively, in a statement, the Commanding Officer of 26th Infantry Battalion commended the said action of the Higaonon tribe and further stated, “This action only proves that our fellow IPs are already tired of all the atrocities of this leftist armed group. For this, I am calling the attention of the different tribal groups here in Mindanao that it is now the time for us to unite and end the insurgency”, Lt Col Jimenea stated. “As mandated to us by our duty, we will assure that we will truly stand and do whatever we can for the welfare and development of our fellow IPs.  With the support of the tribal leaders and all stakeholders, through the implementation of Executive Order No. 70, it is possible for all of us to attain just and lasting peace for sustainable development”, Lt Col Jimenea added.

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Young NPA bomb maker surrenders; reveals arms cache in AgSur

November 20, 2019

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – An NPA combatant who surrendered to the troops of 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion has revealed the location of three (3 high-powered firearms cache in the hinter area of Sibagat, Agusan del Sur on November 08, 2019 at around 11:30 in the morning. A certain alias Marco (not his true name), a former member of Sandatahang Yunit Propaganda (SYP) 21C, Guerilla Front (GF) 21, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), under the leadership of @ MACOY (True Name: Anthony Sagdon Dagium) revealed that they have high powered firearms buried in the hinter area of Brgy Padiay, Sibagat, Agusan del Sur. He also disclosed significant information which pointed to the exact location of the firearms to include several war materials and assorted personal belongings. Immediately, the troops of 23rd Infantry Battalion, under the operational control of 402nd Bde, led by LTC FRANCISCO L MOLINA JR, Commanding Officer, 23IB organized a team to validate the information where the firearms are purportedly hidden. Upon reaching the area, the troops recovered three (3) M14 rifles (serviceable), thirty-five (35) meters electrical wire, two (2) blasting caps with detonating cord, one (1) pair Handguard for M16, one (1) pair AR 18 Handguard and one (1) improvised anti-personal mine which was still planted inside CPP-NPA hideout. Alias Marco was used as a courier by the CPP-NPA as young as 14 years old. He became fulltime NPA combatant at the age of 16. He was also taught how to plant and disposed landmines.  Meanwhile, Lieutenant Colonel Francisco L Molina Jr, Commanding Officer, 23IB lauded the Former Rebels (FRs) for helping the unit in maintaining peace and order situation in the AO. “With the help of the FRs, we located the NPA arms cache and recovered war materiel which they can possibly be used in conducting atrocities anytime. Likewise, we save another young victim of the CPP-NPA whom they have indoctrinated with destructive ideology. We also encourage the parents and the elders to take care of their children so that they will not become prey to the hands of the CPPNPA terrorists.”-Molina ended.  

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Two Female NPA Minors Surrender to Army

November 20, 2019

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – Another two female members of the New People’s Army (NPA), who are minors, voluntarily surrendered to the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23IB) in the months of September to October 2019.  The two surrenderees were identified as alias "Gethel" (Political Guide), 17 years old and alias "Christine" (Medic), 17 years old. They were recruited by alias "Ron-ron", a member of Sub-Regional Command (SRC) 3, SAGAY, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) thru black propaganda regarding the present situation of the country. They were deceived and promised to be given a brighter future including their families once they join in their group. Prior the recruitment, these two surrenderees were studying, but they were not able to finish their studies because of the exploitation, deception and manipulation of the NPAs. They were not clearly informed that they will be joining the armed movement. Contradictory to their promises, they only suffered from loneliness, exhaustion and starvation until they find an opportunity to escape from the said group. Meanwhile, alias "Gethel" expressed her resentment against the CNTs. “I was a student by the time I was recruited by the CNTs. Due to the hardship and hunger I experienced inside the movement, I decided to go back to the folds of the law. I am also afraid to lose my dreams, future and precious life because of the continuous military operation. At first, I was afraid because our leader told us that there’s a big possibility that the military will torture and kill me upon knowing that I am an NPA member, but I stand firm with my decision. I am so glad that the soldiers of 23IB never fail to help me and they assisted me to start a new life," she bared. Moreover, alias "Christine" also revealed the struggle she encountered inside the armed movement. “I didn’t know that I am going to be a member of CPP-NPA. My parents also do not know that I became a member of the NPA. We were not allowed to visit our parents, and even to contact them is strictly prohibited. Later, I knew that my family received death threat telling them that once they will report to the authorities regarding my situation, they will be killed. They were also forced to leave our home and stay away from our Barangay," she recalled. Lieutenant Colonel Francisco Molina Jr, commanding officer of 23IB continuously reminds the youth to be vigilant to the alarming NPA recruitment. "Some of the Leaders of the NPAs have already surrendered to the folds of the law, but it was so alarming that even the female youths are also fighting against the government troops just like what happened to "Gethel" and "Christine".  They were recruiting the young ones to be victims of their false ideology and these innocent youths will be suffering their entire life being enslaved by the CNT leaders. The recruitment of the youth is a big violation to the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children against Abuse Exploitation and Discrimination Act)," he said. LTC Molina further reminded the youths to become active peace advocates towards a brighter future. "Be vigilant! Do not fall victim to their trap," he said.

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Army, DepEd and GMA Foundation join forces for a benevolent cause

November 20, 2019

TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur- The 26th Infantry “Ever Onward” Battalion together with the GMA Kapuso Foundation Inc. conducted a two day gift-giving activity with the theme “Give a Gift, Alay sa Batang Pinoy”. It was spearheaded by Ms. Cristy Betonio, Agusan del Sur coordinator of GMA Kapuso Foundation Inc. in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd) Agusan del Sur on November 12-13, 2019. The gift-giving activity of the foundation targeted students from nursery to grade 6 of Del Monte Elementary School and Talacogon Central School, both from the municipality of Talacogon. Also included were the Lapaz Central School and Doña Adela Elementary School, both from the municipality of Lapaz. Each gift bag consisted of food items such as canned goods, pansit bihon, biscuits and jelly aces. Toys were also included such as jumping ropes and inflatable balls. An estimated of 2,320 students benefited from the said activity. GMA Kapuso Foundation Inc. is a socio-civic organization founded by GMA Network Inc. to facilitate social and outreach programs to the public. Since 1991, the foundation has been touching the lives of communities everywhere. Its projects help uplift and bring happiness to the countless beneficiaries. According to Ms. Betonio, the foundation’s gift giving activity is their way of creating an impact to the community in order for the people to support the government's programs in  enforcing and sustaining peace and development and at the same time to draw a smile in every faces especially the children. She also expressed her gratitude to the Philippine Army for the undying support on their charity programs. “Thank you very much to the Philippine Army especially 26th IB, for always giving their time in providing security assistance and support everytime we conduct initiated activities such as this. Rest assured that our foundation will continue to provide charity programs especially to far flung and conflict affected areas in order for the people to feel that they are not forgotten”, Ms. Betonio said. Likewise, the Commanding Officer of 26th IB, Lt Col Romeo C. Jimenea commended and expressed his heartfelt appreciation to the foundation in collaboration with the DepEd for the successful conduct of the gift giving activity. “I am very grateful that there is a foundation like this that is committed in uplifting and empowering the lives of every Filipinos especially the less fortunate. This will surely contribute to the sustainment of peace through the efforts of different stakeholders in the province of Agusan del Sur”, Lt Col Jimenea said.

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Surigao, Agusan Sur Youth, Red Cross, Army aid quake-hit Cotabato

November 18, 2019

Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur--- The Youth for Peace movement’s Propelling Our Inherited Nation through our Youth (POINTY) organization, Sangguniang Kabataan Federations in Agusan and Surigao del Sur, and the 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion (3SFBn) aid the Cotabato earthquake victims by donating relief goods delivered yesterday by the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) Agusan del Sur Chapter at Makilala and Kidapawapan City. “The greater role of the Youth in nation-building involves positive activism and peace-building and answering the call to help those in need through genuine and relevant social responsibility. This is a far better way than militancy, vandalism, street demonstrations and fault finding, “Roberto Laurente, Jr., Division-wide POINTY President, said. The youth volunteers were graduates of the Youth Leadership Summit (YLS), a youth training program sanctioned by the government aimed at enhancing their leadership skills, good citizenship and patriotism, cooperation and participation to peace-building activities. YLS also provides the youth a balanced perspective towards approaching social issues affecting the society and equips them to think critically to get rid of radicalized youth groups which could poison their minds.  Involved were POINTY and SK Federation organizations from Carrascal, Tandag, Tago, Bayabas, Marihatag San Agustin, in Surigao and Bayugan City in Agusan del Sur along with other volunteers from the Local Government Units and residents from the said provinces. Lieutenant Colonel Joey B. Baybayan, 3SFBn Commanding Officer expressed his great admiration to the youth volunteers, sponsors and to PNRC Agusan Chapter administrator, Darwina Ligan. “This is the kind of youth we need today, those who are in towards peace and nation-building and those who can be part to the country’s solution towards the many issues we face, rather than those who cause rebellion, divisiveness and destruction,” LTC Baybayan, said. “We also thank the LGUs, the Philippine Red Cross, benefactors and other volunteers for providing the goods and taking care of the delivery to our affected brothers and sisters in Cotabato. May the Good Lord bless you all, “LTC Baybayan, ended.

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