JTF Bicolandia condemns terrorist group for killing of vendors in Masbate

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 17, 2021   •   400

The Joint Task Force (JTF) Bicolandia condemned the Communist terrorist group (CTG) for perpetrating the killing of three vendors in Masbate.

According to the report,  the victims were on their motorcycles together with two others to sell mirrors, floormats, and speakers when they were flagged down by at least 20 heavily armed alleged members of the New People’s Army on August 14.

The report further said that the victims were forcibly body-searched before being dragged to a secluded area where they were executed.

Two of them, on the other hand, managed to escape.

The victims were identified as Jose Lalaguna,51 years old; Joey Lalaguna, 30 years old; and Jestoni Lalaguna, 22 years old.

Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, commander of 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB), said that they are now in close coordination with the PNP to hunt down the fleeing communist insurgents.

Hindi tayo titigil hangga’t hindi natin nahuhuli at napaparusahan ang mga walang kaluluwang gumawa ng karumal-dumal na krimeng ito (We will not stop until we put those responsible for the killing behind bars),” he said.

Meanwhile, commander of JTF Bicolandia MGen Henry Robinson Jr. rebuked the CTG for its terroristic attack against the civilians.

“These crimes are purely desperate acts to threaten the people using terrorism, but this will not intimidate the Filipino people. We will not allow them to continue their five-decade exploitation and atrocities,” he said. AAC

Over 800 travelers stranded in Bicol port due to inclement weather – PCG

Robie de Guzman   •   December 10, 2021

A total of 845 passengers, drivers, and helpers were stranded at Matnog Port in Bicol due to inclement weather, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.

In an advisory, the PCG said 88 rolling cargos were also stranded as of 8 a.m. after sea travels were delayed.

The PCG said that light to moderate sea conditions were reported in the region.

The state weather bureau PAGASA reported that the northeast monsoon will be affecting Luzon while the shear line will continue to prevail over northeastern portion of Mindanao

“In the next 24 hours, the Shear Line will bring moderate to heavy with at times intense rains over Eastern Visayas, Northern Mindanao, Agusan del Norte, and Agusan del Sur, while light to moderate with at times heavy rains over Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Lanao del Sur, northern portions of Maguindanao and Cotabato, and the rest of Caraga,” the agency said.

“Under these conditions, isolated to scattered flooding and rain-induced landslides are still likely, especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards as identified in hazard maps or those that received significant amounts of rainfall over the past several days,” it added.

Bicol Region, Caraga, Northern Mindanao, Eastern and Central Visayas will experience cloudy skies with scattered rainshowers and thunderstorms due to the shear line

“Possible flooding or landslides during moderate to heavy with at times intense rains,” PAGASA warned.

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.

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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