Body of high-ranking NPA rebel found in Agusan del Sur – AFP

Marje Pelayo   •   May 18, 2018   •   4925

The body of “Ka Marjun,” vice commanding officer of a rebel platoon based in North Central Mindanao

 

AGUSAN DEL SUR, Philippines – The Philippine Army (PA) has identified the body recovered by members of the 402nd Infantry Brigade following an encounter in Sinacungan, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur on Monday, May 14.

402nd IB Spokesperson Captain Al Anthony Pueblas announced Friday, May 18, that a rebel returnee assisted authorities to identify the body of “Ka Marjun,” the vice commanding officer of Platoon 2, RSDQ Compaq based in North Central Mindanao. He was a resident of Barangay Balit, San Luis, Agusan Del Sur.

The Philippine Army believes the killing of “Ka Marjun” is a positive indication that the leadership of the NPA rebels is now dwindling in Caraga Region. The military expressed gratitude for the active support from communities in the region for such accomplishment.

“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa sting mga mahal na kababayan sa tulong at suporta na ipinakita nila sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng mga reports hinggil sa presensya nitong mga teroristang NPA,” Pueblas said.

(We thank members of the community for the help and support they have shown by reporting the presence of NPA terrorists.) – Raymond Octobre / Marje Pelayo

PH, US hold first ever Airborne drill

Robie de Guzman   •   September 23, 2019

The Philippine and United States paratroopers held its first Combined Airborne Operations to further strengthen both forces’ capabilities and camaraderie on Sunday, September 22, at Cesar Basa Air Base, Floridablanca, Pampanga. (Courtesy: Philippine Army)

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Army and the United States Army held its first-ever combined airborne operations on Sept. 22, Sunday, at the Cesar Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, Pampanga.

The Philippine Army said the exercise aims to enhance the combined airborne and territorial defense capabilities and other competencies in urban combat operations of Filipino and American paratroopers.

The drill was participated in by some 500 soldiers of Philippine Army’s First Scout Ranger Regiment and Special Forces Regiment (Airborne); and US Army’s 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne).

It was witnessed by Philippine Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto, Deputy Commanding General US Army Alaska Brig. Gen. Gregory Day, other general and senior officers

During the exercise, participants jumped off from four US C-130 planes to simulate a massive and rapid deployment of troops.

“This training will enhance our troops’ technical expertise in airborne operations, enabling our combat units to better respond to future contingency operations and other security challenges. Likewise, the combat interoperability with our US counterparts will also be strengthened,” said Alberto.

Airborne operations are critical in responding to conventional threats especially when the land and water forces are unable to infiltrate war areas to resupply troops and equipment.

Bomb signature used in Patikul Bombing, same with what ASG uses – PNP BARMM

Maris Federez   •   August 14, 2019

Authorities secure the area outside a church following a bombing incident at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Jolo last January 27, 2019. (Photo: Armed Forces of the Philippines – Western Mindanao Command)

The Philippine National Police-Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PNP-BARMM) office is looking into the possibility that the group of Abu Sayyaf leader Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan could be the one behind the series of bombings in Sitio Tibongbong, Barangay Igasan in Patikul, Sulu on Tuesday (Aug. 13).

PRO-BARMM director PBGen. Marni Marcos said the bombs used in the bombing at the Jolo Cathedral, at a military camp in Sulu and in Patikul bear the same signature.

Based on the shredded pipe gathered at the bomb site, same type of pipes were used as bomb cylinder.

“Sino ba yung nagpe-perpetrate ng mga ganyang terrorist act in the area? Iisa lang naman yung grupong binabantayan natin [Who else would perpetrate such terrorist acts in the area? There’s only one group that we are monitoring],” said Marcos.

Nevertheless, the police are still conducting a thorough investigation to ascertain whether some groups are copying Sawadjaan’s style.

Gen. Marcos will also meet the local chief executives in Sulu to ask them to encourage their constituents to cooperate with the authorities in their investigation on the said series of bombings.

He added that they will also talk with the Ulama in the area.

“Yung concern natin sa terrorism yung landscape niyan ay nag iba na. Meron na tayong Filipino suicide bomber. And worst is, mga bata o young people yung nire-recruit (What we are concerned about is that the terrorism landscape has already changed.  We now have Filipino suicide bombers. And worst is, they are recruiting the young people),” Marcos said.

“We should involve everybody. Hindi lang military o law enforcement unit ngayon ang inaano natin because it involves yung education, ano yung teaching at ano ba talaga yung tamang ituturo natin sa mga bata [We are not just focusing on military or law enforcement because it also involves education. What are the things that we should really teach the children],” he added.

Meanwhile, PNP chief PGen. Oscar Albayalde has admitted that there is a problem with security in the area and that they need the help and cooperation of the community.

“We have to be alert always.  Very important po ang participation ng community dito. Napaka importante ng impormasyon na ibibigay ng community dito para maubos at matigil na ang insidente na ito sa ating bayan [The community’s participation is very important. The information that the community will provide us is very important in curbing or stopping these incidents in our country],” the PNP chief said.

A member of the 43rd K9 Platoon of the Philippine Army was among the injured in Tuesday’s Patikul bombing. (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

PH Army to support possible martial law in Negros Oriental

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 2, 2019

The Philippine Army will support President Rodrigo Duterte in case he declares martial law in Negros Oriental due to the spate of killings in the region.

Army’s 3rd Infantry Division Chief Maj. Gen. Dinoh Dolina said declaring martial law in the province is a political decision and they will support it in order for peace to return to the area.

“We should rely on the wisdom of our duly constituted authorities that everything will be done to promote the welfare of every Filipino citizen. As such we will be ready to support and abide by the President’s decision to whether declare martial law in the province,” he said.

Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Spokesperson Marine Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo said they have not yet come up with or have been asked for their recommendation to declare martial law in the said province.

According to Arevalo, they have to consult with the commanders in the area as well as the residents regarding the present situation. This will serve as basis for their assessment and recommendation.

“We have not came up with or have been asked of our recommendation yet,” he said in a statement. “Our focus right now is to be able to help the PNP in the immediate resolution of the case and the restoration of normalcy in the province.”

Dolina also said there is a threat to security in Negros Oriental due to the New People’s Army present in the area.

Authorities have recorded 21 killings in the province from July 18 to 28.—AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)

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