Military, police uncover NPA arms cache in Masbate

Marje Pelayo   •   September 21, 2021   •   366

MANILA, Philippines — Government troops have seized a bulk of war materiel in Masbate province as they continue to hunt down New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists.

On Monday (September 20), government authorities received information from residents in Aroroy about the suspicious materials left behind by the communist rebels in their area.

Responding to the tip-off, elements of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) 2nd Infantry Battalion (2IB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) immediately verified the report.

The troops were able to capture the following:
– one M16 rifle;
– two magazines;
– assorted ammunition;
– one plastic bag containing ammonium nitrate which is the primary component in making anti-personnel mines;
– a dynamite;
– one roll of detonating cord.

There were also some personal belongings along with the said arms haul.

Lt. Col. Siegfried Felipe Awichen, Battalion Commander of 2IB, hailed the vigilance of the Masbateños for the discovery of the war materiel. The public cooperation just proves that the NPA can no longer hide even their firearms.

Meanwhile, Col. Aldwine Almase, Brigade Commander of 903rd Infantry Brigade, said the capture of these firearms is a manifestation of the continuously deteriorating capabilities of the terrorist group especially in the province of Masbate.

“Iniiwan na lang nila ang mga armas nila kasi wala ng magbibitbit dahil kulang na ang kanilang mga miyembro gawa ng sunod-sunod na mass surrender sa Masbate. Muli naming pinapaalalahanan ang naiiwan pang mga miyembro ng komunistang terorista upang sila ay sumuko at magbagong buhay,” Almase said.

Police BGen. Jonnel Estomo, Regional Director of Police Regional Office 5 (PRO-5), commended the public’s support which makes the campaign of the government to make Masbate armed conflict-free attainable.

“Hindi po namin makakamit ang sunod-sunod na tagumpay na ito kung wala ang suporta ninyong mga Bicolano,” PBGen. Estomo concluded.

Ombudsman junks CIDG petition vs Abayalde anew

Maris Federez   •   November 26, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has rejected anew the motion filed by the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) seeking the reversal of the decision to acquit former PNP chief Police General Oscar Abayalde of graft charges filed against him.

In its resolution, the Ombudsman said the CIDG’s motion still lack sufficient evidence that will pin down Abayalde to the case.

The resolution added that the CIDG did not submit new arguments that will prove the involvement of the retired general in the case.

The CIDG filed graft charges against Abayalde for his alleged involvement in the anomalous drug operation of police authorities in Pampanga in 2013. —/mbmf

Duterte names Army chief Centino as next AFP chief

Robie de Guzman   •   November 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte has designated Philippine Army chief Lieutenant General Andres Centino as the new chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Malacañang said Friday.

“We confirm that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte approved and signed the designation of LGEN Andres Centino as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) effective November 12, 2021,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.

Centino will replace General Jose Faustino Jr. who is retiring from service as he reaches the mandatory age of 56.

“We are confident that Gen. Centino will continue the initiatives of his predecessors to bring lasting peace and development in the country while securing the State and upgrading our defense capability,” Roque said.

“We wish the success of Gen. Centino in his new role as AFP Chief,” he added.

Centino is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Maringal Class of 1988.

Meanwhile, the AFP said Centino’s designation “will prompt an upward movement in the AFP leadership that will further inspire our soldiers to surpass challenges with excellence and continue our campaign towards genuine transformation.”

“He has immense knowledge and experience in leading our troops on the ground and in supporting peaceful efforts to protect our people against various threats,” AFP spokesperson Colonel Ramon Zagala said in a separate statement.

“His integrity, management acumen and genuine desire for peace and development make him a competent leader who shall guide the AFP in fulfilling its mission while supporting national efforts to battle the current pandemic,” he added.

Prior to his appointment, Centino served as AFP deputy chief of staff for operations and infantry division commander in Northern Mindanao.

Eleazar orders nighttime patrols for holiday carolers

Robie de Guzman   •   November 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Outgoing Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar on Thursday directed police personnel to begin nighttime patrols after the government approved the conduct of street caroling this holiday season.

In a statement, Eleazar said the patrols should be conducted to ensure the security and safety of carolers.

“Inatasan ko ang ating kapulisan na mag-umpisang magsagawa ng mga patrolya tuwing gabi para sa seguridad ng mga nangangaroling at para na rin siguraduhing sumusunod sila sa health protocols,” he said.

Eleazar also urged the public to continue observing health protocols and to not be complacent amid declining COVID-19 cases in the country.

“Kahit pa bumababa ang kaso ng COVID-19, hindi ito dahilan upang maging kampante at magpabaya sa pagsunod sa minimum public health standards,” he said.

The Department of Health earlier said that carolers must wear face mask and face shield as individuals expel more respiratory particles when singing, posing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

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