AFP agrees with Duterte’s decision to halt peace talks with NPA

admin   •   July 20, 2017   •   4226

MANILA, Philippines — “The armed forces have been supporting, are supporting and will continue to support the president,” Armed Forces of the Philippines-Public Affairs Office (AFP-PAO) Chief, Col. Edgard Arevalo said regarding the announcement of President Rodrigo Duterte to end the peace talks with the New People’s Army (NPA).

Col. Arevalo said the NPA often commits violations like its repeated attacks on government troops.

Arevalo explained that the NPA targets even the non-combatant troops like what some of their members did when they attacked two soldiers who were just buying at a market in Palawan.

“In the other instance they blew up improvised explosive device targeting a truck, with marines who were only transiting a route to a peace and development effort, injuring the troops onboard,” said Arevalo.

The military official said the communist group is not serious in discussing peace with the government as proven by their repeated commission of illegal activities like extortion.

“It is a futile effort to continue to talk peace with the group like the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) whose members continue to bleed money from the people and senselessly kill our soldiers that defend and protect our people,” he said.

Arevalo also noted their attack on a Presidential Security Group (PSG) convoy by setting up a fake checkpoint and wearing army uniforms in Arakan, North Cotabato.

“All these are indicators of the NPA’s propensity to take advantage of crucial situation like this in order for them to perpetrate their ends. They have never been sincere in talking peace with government,” said Arevalo. — Lea Ylagan | UNTV News & Rescue

DILG, provinces urge Senate to restore NTF-ELCAC’s P28B budget for barangay dev’t program

Robie de Guzman   •   November 16, 2021

 MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the League of Provinces of the Philippines have appealed to the Senate to restore the P28.1 billion Support to Barangay Development Program (SBDP) proposed by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for NPA-cleared barangays in the 2022 budget.

In a statement issued on Monday, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the program is “a game-changer in our battle to end Communist Terrorism in the country.”

“Unti-unti nang nararamdaman ng mga naninirahan sa mga barangay na sakop ng SBDP ngayong taon ang tunay na kahulugan ng pagbabago at pagkalinga ng gobyerno na hindi nila naramdaman sa nakaraan dahil sa mga Komunistang Terorista,” Año said.

The DILG chief noted that “there is now momentum in the fight against Communist terrorism and slashing the P28.1 Billion will send a wrong signal to the Local Government Units who have been expecting these development projects next year.”

“We must remember that the battle against the CTGs is not just a battle of arms, it’s also a battle for the hearts and minds of our people,” he said.

The League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) echoed Año’s appeal.

During its 8th General Assembly, the LPP said it passed Resolution No. 2021-009 supporting President Rodrigo Duterte’s anti-insurgency program and urging the Senate to approve in full the proposed Support to the Barangay Development Program in the 2022 General Appropriations Bill.

“The full and continued implementation of the BDP needs to be pursued in order to bring about and sustain progress and development in these identified conflict-affected barangays that urgently need government support and assistance,” said LPP President and Marinduque Governor Presbiterio Velasco, Jr.

“The proposed projects under the SBDP which were identified by the community residents themselves, represent their collective aspiration towards genuine peace and development,” Año said.

The DILG Secretary stressed that cutting the proposed NTF-ELCAC budget next year will deprive these remote barangays of development and will make them vulnerable once more to the CTGs at a time when we have already gained significant strides in our whole-of-nation approach to defeat communist terrorism.

“Mahigit 50 taon nang naghihirap at napag-iwanan ang ating mga kababayan na nakatira sa mga bulubundukin at malalayong lugar na dati ay pinamumugaran ng mga communist terrorist groups (CTGs),” he said.

“Nakikiusap po tayo sa ating mga Senador na huwag ipagkait ang pagkakataong maramdaman nila ang pagmamalasakit ng gobyerno at malasap ang tunay pagbabago,” he added.

Año said that the P16.44-billion development projects under the SBDP this year are in full swing in the 822 insurgency-cleared barangays with several projects already completed and others in different phases of implementation.

Of the 2,318 SBDP projects funded this year, 19 are already completed, 557 are undergoing implementation, 783 are under procurement, and 959 are under pre-procurement.

Among the completed SBDP projects are livelihood projects in Barangay Mount Diwata, Monkayo, Davao de Oro; lot purchase for housing in Barangays Don Mariano Marcos, Tagbua, and Calapagan, Lupon, Davao Oriental; distribution of seed capital to poor farmers in Barangay Caduha-an, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental; livelihood project in Sangab, Maco, Davao de Oro; installation of 50 units LED solar street lights with solar panel in Barangay Darapuay, Bansalan, Davao del Sur; and purchase of rice harvesters in Carataya, Mahunodhunod, Putian and San Antonio in Cuartero, Capiz.

“Based on the current status of SBDP projects, we are expecting that majority of them will be completed by the first quarter of 2022 with some spill-over projects to be completed by the second quarter,” Año said.

He explained that some of the projects are still under procurement on the LGU level because it takes about 1-2 months for the preparation of pre-procurement documents like Detailed Engineering Design (DED) from the implementing local government units (LGUs), Certificate of Pre-condition (CP) or Certificate of Non-Coverage (CNC) from the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), and Notice of Authority to Debit Account Issued (NADAI) from the Bureau of Treasury (BTr).

The DILG Chief maintained that completing these documentary requirements were even more challenging with the stringent COVID-19 restrictions as another 4 to 5 months are needed to complete the procurement process in compliance with the Republic Act (RA) 9184.

He added that actual implementation of the SBDP projects on the ground takes about 1 to 4 months to complete depending on the nature of the project with non-infra projects usually completed faster than infra projects like roads and buildings.

Military Black Hawk choppers deployed to aid missions in Western Mindanao

Robie de Guzman   •   November 5, 2021

Two Black Hawk helicopters acquired by the Philippine military have been deployed to the Western Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Friday.

In a statement, the AFP Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) said its major Air Force Unit, Tactical Operations Wing-Western Mindanao (TOW-WM), has received the S70i Black Hawk Utility helicopters on November 4 at the Edwin Andrews Air Base.

These units will be used to aid in various missions, including support in combat operations and quick response for humanitarian aid, it added.

“We are very grateful that the top brass considered the deployment of these air assets which will greatly contribute to the accomplishment of our missions here in Western Mindanao,” said WestMinCom Commander, Maj. Gen. Alfredo Rosario, Jr.

Colonel Dennis Estrella, wing commander of the TOW-WM, said that the deployment of the Blackhawk helicopters will boost the capability of the armed forces in both lethal and non-lethal operations.

“Expect that with the deployment of the Black Hawk helicopters in our unit, our operations will greatly improve as these helicopters have larger capacity and more impressive horsepower allowing a faster and longer-range transport. In addition, the said helicopters have the ability to absorb high-impact velocities enabling it to withstand strong turbulent winds,” Estrella said.

PNP on heightened alert following slay of rebel leader ‘Ka Oris’

Robie de Guzman   •   November 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar has ordered all police units to be on heightened alert for possible retaliatory attacks from communist rebels following the death of one of their alleged high-ranking officials, George “Ka Oris” Madlos.

Eleazar lauded the military’s effective internal security operations that led to the neutralization of Madlos, who was the commander and spokesman of the National Operations Command of the NPA, in an encounter in Impasugong, Bukidnon on Saturday, October 30.

“The PNP is one with our brothers in the Armed Forces of the Philippines in curbing the lawless activities and atrocities of the communist rebels that bring fear and terror to our communities. The entire PNP hails this successful operation as a big blow to the CPP/NPA/NDF,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“Kasabay nito, ipinag-utos ko sa ating kapulisan na mas maging alerto sa posibleng retaliatory attacks ng mga rebelde upang ipaghiganti ang pagkamatay ng isa sa kanilang matataas na pinuno. Tinitiyak ko sa publiko na hindi namin ito hahayaan. Patuloy ang pakikipagugnayan namin sa AFP upang siguruhin ang kaligtasan ng ating mga kababayan,” he added.

Initial reports said elements from the 403rd Infantry Brigade launched the operation after receiving information on the presence of rebels in Sitio Gabunan in Barangay Dumalaguing.

Allegedly, there were anti-personnel mines in the area, prompting soldiers to call for air support. State forces then engaged more or less 30 communist rebels in a firefight, which resulted in the death of Madlos and another rebel.

Despite differences in their beliefs on social issues, Eleazar has extended his condolences to the family of Madlos.

“Magkaiba man ang aming paniniwala tungkol sa pagtugon sa mga suliraning panlipunan ay personal kong ipinapaabot ang aking pakikiramay sa pamilya ni George Madlos o Ka Oris,” he said.

Eleazar said that Madlos’ death should serve as a warning to remaining communist rebels that the government would not stop in their operations against the CPP/NPA/NDF.

He also urged the remaining CPP-NPA-NDF leaders and members to surrender and avail of government programs so they could return to the mainstream of society and lead normal lives.

“Matagal na at patuloy ang ating pagkukumbinsi sa ating mga rebeldeng kababayan na magbalik-loob na sa pamahalaan at sa katunayan ay makailang beses na ipinaabot ng Armed Forces of the Philippines ang kagustuhang maipagamot si Ginoong Madlos matapos malaman na meron siyang iniindang problema sa kalusugan,” he said.

“Marami na sa ating mga kababayang rebelde na nagbalik-loob ang namumuhay na ngayon ng tahimik at normal at ito ay isang patunay lamang ng sinseridad ng pamahalaan na tapusin na ang problema sa communist insurgency,” he added.

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