PNP returns to normal operations as election period ends

Maris Federez   •   June 13, 2019   •   1264

The Philippine National Police has lowered its alert status as the election period comes to an end.

PNP spokesperson PCol. Bernard Banac said only a few areas that have reports of the presence of threat groups such as the Abu Sayyaf, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, and communist groups, are still on full alert.

These include Police Regional Office 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Banac, however, stressed that these areas are not under security threat.

“Wala namang security threat sa naturang mga lugar, nakafull alert pa din ang mga lugar na yun dahil martial law,” Banac said.

Banac added the past election period has been generally peaceful and validated election-related incidents had been low as compared with the 2016 Presidential Elections. (with reports from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

AFP, PNP suspends ops vs CPP-NPA as Pres. Duterte declares ceasefire

Maris Federez   •   December 23, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have suspended their offensive operations against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA).

This, after President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed the ceasefire agreement between the national government and the communist group for the holiday season.

Read: PH gov’t, Reds declare holiday truce; eye resumption of peace talks

Department of National Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana said the military will immediately implement the Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) in accordance with the order of the commander-in-chief despite the red alert status that the AFP has raised in line with the communist group’s celebration of its 51st anniversary on December 26.

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Sec. Eduardo M. Año, on the part of the police, said: “it is the prerogative of the President, as commander-in-chief, to declare a unilateral ceasefire for the Christmas season and we abide by his decision.”

Año has also directed the Philippine National Police (PNP) to comply and to issue appropriate orders to all units in the field.

“While we remain vigilant and take a strong defensive stance, this will also give an opportunity for our policemen and soldiers in the field to spend a meaningful celebration of Christmas with their families,” the DILG chief said.

On Sunday (Dec. 22) PNP officer-in-charge PLtGen. Archie Francisco Gamboa issued a memorandum on the agency’s implementation of Suspension of Police Operations (SOPO) amid their full alert status.

PNP Spokesman Police B/Gen. Bernard Banac said that with this directive, the PNP will not conduct offensive activities from December 23 to January 7.

Año hopes that the rebel group will make use of the ceasefire as an opportunity “for them to surrender, avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Community Integration Program (ECLIP), rejoin mainstream society, and start a new life together with their families”. — (with details from Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

NCRPO on full alert status starting Nov. 25 in preparation for SEA Games

Maris Federez   •   November 15, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – It is all systems go for the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) as far as their laid-out security measures for the Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) are concerned.

NCRPO acting director PBGen Debold Sinas said 8,000 police are to be deployed to guard the 27 billet areas and 20 venues for the 24 sports activities in Metro Manila.

The deployment of the police will start on November 22, and the full alert status of the police force will be from November 25 to December 14.
Sinas also said that they will assign plainclothes policemen in the venues and the hotels where delegates and heads of states will be billeted.

“Ni-limit talaga yung mga long firearms natin so mga short firearms lang, nilimit yung long firearms, fatigue uniform to periperal para di sila maalarma,” Sinas said.

He added that, to date, they have not received any security threats in Metro Manila in relation to the country’s hosting of the SEA Games.

“We just comply with the directive to secure the venues, the road, and the billet areas, no threat has been received as of now,” Sinas added.

The official reminds those who will watch the SEA Games that bringing in water, oversized bags, and sharp and pointed objects is prohibited, and that it is more prudent to just use transparent bags in going to the sports venues. (from the report of Lea Ylagan) /mbmf

Gov’t eyes special scholarship program for decommissioned MILF combatants

Robie de Guzman   •   November 7, 2019

Agents of an independent decommissioning body inspect surrendered firearms in the town of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, Philippines, 07 September 2019 (issued 08 September 2019). More than six months after the Bangsamoro Organic Law was ratified in a plebiscite, Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) turned over close to a thousand high-powered firearms to an independent decommissioning body, reports said.

MANILA, Philippines – The government is eyeing to provide a special scholarship or capacity development program for decommissioned members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and their families.

The program is among the key points provided in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

CHED chairman Prospero de Vera III said the MOU, which was signed last Oct. 30, aims to provide assistance and ensure access to quality tertiary education in the BARMM.

The MOU was inked by De Vera, OPAPP Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., and BARMM Technical Education Minister Mohagher Mohammad Iqbal.

“We are assisting the BARMM consistent with the policy of President (Rodrigo) Duterte that all young Filipinos must have access to quality education and that no qualified student is denied access to education on account of poverty,” De Vera said in a statement.

He added that the implementation of initiatives relating to higher education is consistent with Executive Order No. 79 or the Implementing Annex on Normalization Under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Aside from providing special scholarship program, the MOU also seeks to do the following:

  • Determine the areas to extend technical assistance to the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE) in relation to BARMM higher education institutions (HEI) and the CHED Registry;
  • Capacitate MBHTE in monitoring the compliance of BARMM HEIs with the standards of quality education;
  • Communicate to DSWD the importance of ensuring the inclusion of underprivileged BARMM students and the children of decommissioned MILF combatants and selected beneficiaries from the Six MILF camps in Listahanan 3.0;
  • Encourage the deputized Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program (ETEEAP) HEIs in Mindanao to help children of decommissioned MILF combatants and selected beneficiaries from the six MILF camps to complete their undergraduate study;
  • Offer study grants and capacity-building programs to target beneficiaries, subject to existing laws, rules and regulations and procedures
  • Propose professional development programs to faculty and staff of BARMM HEIs through the available CHED and other national government funds;
  • Mobilize leading HEIs to provide technical assistance to BARMM higher education needs identified by MBHTE;
  • Provide MBHTE with necessary assistance in the creation of a tribal university system;
  • Assist MBHTE with the necessary technical assistance in the crafting of the Education Code.

Galvez, for his part, said they are requesting Congress to allocate funds for the implementation of the scholarship program for the decommissioned combatants.

“I hope that through this agreement, we shall be able to reach out to those students residing in the ‘last mile’ areas, the underserved and most especially, the children of decommissioned MILF combatants. We are committed to supporting them until they achieve their full potentials,” he said.

Galvez believes the recipients of this program will eventually become the next leaders of the BARMM and strong advocates of peace and moral governance.

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