Monday, October 17, 2016

Suspect in Sipadan kidnapping killed trying to grab escort’s gun after Tawi-Tawi arrest

From InterAksyon (Oct 18): Suspect in Sipadan kidnapping killed trying to grab escort’s gun after Tawi-Tawi arrest

An alleged member of the Abu Sayyaf facing charges for the 2000 Sipadan kidnapping was killed as he supposedly attempted to grab the gun of one of his escorts following his arrest in Tawi-Tawi province Monday, the military said.

Ustab Anji, who had been charged with 21 counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, was captured by local police and troops of Marine Battalion Landing Team-9 1 p.m. Monday in Barangay Magsagaw, Panglima Sugala town, Major Felimon Tan Jr., spokesman of the Western Mindanao Command, said.

A .45 caliber pistol and fragmentation grenade were seized from Anji, who has also been linked to more recent kidnappings of Indonesians and Malaysians.

“While heading towards Panglima-Sugala Municipal Police Station, Anji grabbed the firearm of an escort. The scuffle prompted the latter to fire at Anji which resulted in his instantaneous death,” Tan said.

Meanwhile, Tawi Tawi naval commander Colonel Custodio Parcon said more patrol craft had been deployed to the southern province to intercept and capture Abu Sayyaf fighters trying to flee an ongoing military campaign against them in Sulu and Basilan.

"They will be monitored and they will be neutralized ... Huwag na nilang subukang pumasok dito, madidisgrasya lang sila (They shouldn’t try coming here, they will meet disaster)," Parcon said.

'Dagit' exercises between PHL Navy, Air Force opens

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 17): 'Dagit' exercises between PHL Navy, Air Force opens

The inter-operability exercise "Dagit 2016" was formally opened at the Naval Base Heracleo Alano in Sangley Point, Cavite City Monday.

The joint maneuvers, now on its 10th year, will last until October 28.

Lt. Sahirul Taib, Philippine Fleet public affairs office chief, said the exercise aims to enhance the inter-operability and operational capabilities of the Philippine Navy and Philippine Air Force units in air and naval operations in support to the Unified Command’s requirements in the conduct of internal security operations and in support of territorial defense operations.

The series of exercises will be conducted in the areas of Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Marine Barracks Gregorio Lim, Ternate Cavite and in the vicinity of Manila Bay and Caballo Island.

Taib said the exercise will be carried out in three phases: preparation phase on Oct. 17-23; exercise phase on Oct. 24-27; and the final phase on Oct. 28.

The exercise phase refers to the field training exercise, which includes subject matter expertise exchanges, classroom instructions, table top exercise, and joint training exercise.

Philippine Fleet commander, Rear Adm. Bayani Gaerlan, said the exercise will surely advance the PN and PAF units’ inter-operability in joint maritime security operations, as well as to foster camaraderie among the officers and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Aside from these, the joint maneuvers also seek to improve operational capability in joint maritime security operations, and improvement of areas of inter-operability and other joint training opportunities between PN and PAF.

"Dagit" started in 2003 during the term of then Navy Capt. Jose Luis Alano, with the Naval Air Group and 15th Strike Wing as the only participating units involved.

In 2007, it eventually evolved to what is now known as the PN-PAF IOX (inter-operability exercise) when both branches of service have realized the importance of the role being played by each service in actual operations in the area of responsibility of different Unified Commands.

Iloilo-based 82nd Infantry Battalion gets new commanding officer

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 18): Iloilo-based 82nd Infantry Battalion gets new commanding officer

A new commanding officer was appointed to the 82nd Infantry Battalion which is headquartered at Camp Monteclaro, Barangay Igtuba, Iloilo Monday.

Lt. Col. Vener Morga replaced Lt. Enriqueto Deocadez during short ceremonies which was witnessed by military and civilian officials in the locality.

Prior his appointment to the 82nd Infantry Battalion, the former served executive officer of the 301st Infantry Brigade which is based in Dingle, Iloilo.

Under Deocadez’s command, the 82nd Infantry Battalion neutralized 24 New People's Army (NPA) personalities resulting in the decline of the rebel threat, recovery of various high powered and low powered firearms, recovery of subversive documents of high intelligence value and the organizing and launching of Federation of Rebel Returnees for Peace and Development with 194 members from the 1st and 2nd District of Iloilo.

Morga on the other hand is not new in the area as most of his assignments were in the 3rd Infantry Division area-of-operations in Western Visayas.

He is credited to be one of the pioneers who helped organized the Church Military Advisory Group in Panay.

Zamboanga opposes plea deal; respects Duterte plan to meet Misuari

From the Philippine Star (Oct 17): Zamboanga opposes plea deal; respects Duterte plan to meet Misuari

Zamboanga City is opposed to a plea bargain for Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari, who faces charges over the 2013 siege of the city, but will respect the president's decision to meet with the fugitive rebel leader.
Mayor Ma. Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said the city will abide by the prerogative of the president meet with Misuari.
Salazar said she has already personally told the president that Misuari and his alleged involvement in the siege is a sensitive subject for Zamboanga City residents.
“At the end of the day, it is still the executive prerogative to lift that warrant of arrest, but, definitely, the sensitivity, we told the president (about it)... the president can weigh on this,” Salazar said 
Duterte in his visit to Lamitan City, Basilan last week he is set to meet Misuari either in Basilan or in this city this week.
City legal officer Jesus Carbon, a former judge, said that aside from the rebellion charges, Misuari is also facing charges at the Sandiganbayan anti-graft court over the alleged malversation of funds when he was still governor of the Autonomous Region in Mindanao.

'We have to follow rule of law'

“You have to respect the actions of the president in trying to find peace in Mindanao. But we have also to follow the rule of law,” Carbon told reporters at a press briefing at city hall on Monday.
“I don’t know if the president has taken this into account. While we have to respect the actions of the president, we have to follow the rule of law,” Carbon stressed.
The city legal officer also said the planned meeting between President Duterte and Misuari will not affect the city's decision to pursue the charges of rebellion and for violations of international humanitarian law filed in Pasig court against Misuari and more than 200 others involved in the 2013 Zamboanga siege.
Carbon said he told the court that the city government is determined to pursue the charges. He said the city also objected to any form of plea bargaining or any agreement that would lower the penalties against the accused.
“This might mean, if you are given the go signal by the mayor and by the city council... If the judge rules against our opposition to  plea bargaining agreement we might go to the higher court, with due respect to the judge who is trying to speed up the trial of these cases,” he said.
Carbon said that the last pre-trial hearng on the pre-trial agreement and plea bargaining agreement will be on Oct. 25. He said that under the proposed plea bargain, the accused face imprisonment of less than 2 years, with some in the three batches of accused facing just a year and two months in prison.
More than 200 of the accused have been detained for more than three years since being arrested inside the city during the fighting.
Carbon said they also objected to a proposal of the court to try the cases in batches. Some of the accused have said they were mere boat operators and others said they were only participating in a peaceful demonstration.
He said the cases that the city filed allege conspiracy. “Meaning, they were all together. The act of one is the act of all.”

LGU, military to work together vs extremism in Maguindanao

From the Philippine Star (Oct 17): LGU, military to work together vs extremism in Maguindanao

Soldiers of the 6th Infantry Division on patrol in Maguindanao. JOHN UNSON, file

MAGUINDANAO, Philippines -- The provincial government and the military will establish a “Maguindanao Task Force” to focus on security to boost the investment climate in the province.
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, chairman of the provincial peace and order council, and Major Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr. of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division agreed at the sidelines of an Islamic symposium in Buluan town last Sunday to organize the task force. 
The symposium, an activity of the 6th ID, was held at the Buluan municipal gymnasium and attended by about 5,000 Islamic missionaries and students.
The three-hour religious event was meant to publicly disseminate needed diplomatic and religious interventions to contain the rise of local militant groups in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Three resource persons, Abdul Lantong from the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College and clerics Teng Alem and Esmail Ebrahim, took turns explaining relevant Islamic teachings on governance, the importance of co-existence with non-Muslims and cultural solidarity among people of various religions and races. 
Mangudadatu said he is keen on expanding by at least three times 6,000 slots in his office's scholarship program, dubbed Maguindanao Program for Education and Community Empowerment, to prevent the spread of Islamic militancy in the province.
“No way can religious extremism spread in the province if we have more educated and productive people,” he said.

Livelihood needed

Mangudadatu said one strategy of addressing religious extremism squarely is to generate livelihood employment for jobless ethnic Maguindanaons.
“And so there is a need to secure our potential agricultural hubs for investors to come in without apprehensions on their safety. They must not be worried of the safety of the capitals they are to pour in too,” he said.
Galvez said the envisioned Maguindanao Task Force must also participate in humanitarian and peace-building activities complementing the Mindanao peace process.
Mangudadatu said he wants the task force to have direct coordination with the joint ceasefire committee of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The committee, helping enforce a government-MILF ceasefire in flashpoint areas in Mindanao for more than a decade now, is comprised of representatives from the rebel group, the police and the military.
“We should uphold the primacy of the peace process while we make the province safe for investors. We should also involve the ceasefire committee in addressing religious extremism,” Mangudadatu said.
Lt. Col. Markton Abo, civil-military relations chief of 6th ID, said Galvez and Mangudadatu will jointly embark on more dialogues with the Islamic and Christian religious sectors in support of MalacaƱang’s bid to nip Islamic militancy in southern Mindanao in the bud.
Abo, one of the organizers of Sunday’s Islamic symposium, said representatives from the Christian communities will also be tapped to speak in upcoming religious dialogues intended to foster cohesion among Maguindanao’s Muslim, Christian and Lumad sectors.
Abo said Mangudadatu is even ready to pay for radio airtime for moderate Muslim clerics to have an effective medium they can use in educating the public on the irreconcilable contrast of ISIS-style religious extremism with Islamic teachings on religious tolerance and respect for non-Muslims.

Help us investigate

From the Mindanao Times (Oct 17): Help us investigate

Army asks NDF: let’s solve killing of leftist leaders

THE MILITARY has challenged left-leaning groups to cooperate with the police in the investigation of the deaths of Joselito Pasaporte and Jimmy Saypan.
Instead of immediately accusing the crime to the military and doing hysterical sloganeering and disruptive street protests, the National Democratic Front (NDF) and their allies should provide information and evidence that could pinpoint and bring to justice the perpetrators of the crimes, the spokesperson of the army’s 10th Infantry Division, which covers the Davao region, said.
“For those who are really serious in seeking justice for Saypan and Pasaporte, now is the right time for them to cooperate and support the police investigation on their deaths,” said Capt. Rhyan Batchar, the division spokesperson. “This is not the time to use the unfortunate deaths of these two individuals for propaganda.”
Saypan, 58, the secretary general of the Compostela Valley Farmer Association (CFA), died at the Davao Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City on Tuesday, a day after he was shot by two unidentified men in Barangay New Visayas, Montevista, Compostela Valley.
Joselito Pasaporte, 28, a leader of Panalipdan Youth organization, was shot dead by unidentified men as he was on his way home after watching a cockfight in Barangay Lapinigan in Mabini, Compostela Valley last Thursday.
Progressive groups have accused the military for the murder of the two lumad leaders.
Montevista Municipal Police Station said the death of Saypan could be related to his work as an Indigenous People’s leader who opposed mining. However, they are looking into personal grudges as among the angles.
On the case of Pasaporte, Mabini Municipal Police Station is looking into drug angle as Pasaporte was in the town’s drug watch list.
The police report recommended the further profiling of the victims, invite and investigate all persons of interest and conduct in-depth investigation on the association the victims were affiliated.
“From the reports of the police and in the media, it appears that there are still a lot of questions on the background of the victims and the motives and the identities of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes, thus accusations against any individual, group or organization should be fully substantiated,” Batchar said.
He added: “Unfounded, unsubstantiated and purely speculative accusations are not only irresponsible but also unfair.”
Batchar said that the allegation against the army as behind the murders is “a well-orchestrated psy-war effort to tarnish, malign and smear the good image of the command to the people of Davao Region.”
He said it is “very unfortunate” that some organizations are using the deaths of Saypan and Pasaporte to put doubts on the on-going peace talks between the government and the NDF.
“The 10ID would like to reiterate our all-out support and compliance to the on-going peace talks and ceasefire as we are one with the Filipino in yearning for a just and lasting peace,” Batchar added.

Police tighten security in North Cotabato after foiled bombing

From the Mindanao Examiner (Oct 17): Police tighten security in North Cotabato after foiled bombing

Police tightened security in Midsayap town in North Cotabato province after it foiled a bomb attack near a packed carnival there.

Police said civilians discovered the improvised explosive in Poblacion 8 on Saturday evening and quickly informed authorities about it.

The bomb was rigged to a blasting cap and cell phone and had been safely detonated by bomb experts.

It was unknown who was behind the foiled bombing and police said it is investigating the failed attack.

Police said security was tightened in the town and that more checkpoints have been set up, including patrol in public places.

MILF: ZC Community and Religious Leaders hold meeting to strengthen solidarity

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Oct 17): ZC Community and Religious Leaders hold meeting to strengthen solidarity

Community leaders and Moro Religious Leaders led by Julsalin Morsalin and Imam Akub Asta organized a meeting in a bid to strengthen their solidarity, remind and upgrade their respective members of their responsibilities in line with Islamic practices and principles where competency, commitment, steadfastness and accountability are among the primary elements of success in organization and leadership. The activity was held on October 16 at Tulungatung, Zamboanga City.

After concluding the agenda relative to their organizational concerns, the participants also tackled the issues confronting the GPH-MILF Peace process to ensure a continuous and wider support of Moro communities in promoting and sustaining the gains of the signed peace agreement vis a vis the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

The participants agreed that proper dissemination of information and continuous advocacy could help other people understand the status of the Southern Philippine’s Peace Process and the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Tirso Tahir of the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) and Brother “Phix” from the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) gave updates on the current status of GPH-MILF Peace process.

“Let us not be weary in our commitment in sustaining the gains of Peace Agreement. Our undying aspiration for genuine peace and inclusive development in Mindanao must be stood in solid ground and must not be derailed by any temporal frustration and restlessness brought by the delayed passage of the BBL”, Tahir said.

Brother Phix said that it requires sincerity and strong political will on the part of Government to implement the signed peace agreement and to cause the passage of the derailed BBL.

Both speakers appealed to Moro Community leaders to exert more efforts in peace-building endeavors through active engagement in promoting the atmosphere of peace and unity in their respective communities.

Mr. Rodolfo Cabrera, a Peace advocate and officer of Lanao Producers Cooperative facilitated the meeting.

DWDD: SOLCOM declares 13 Provinces of Southern Luzon Conflict Manageable

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 11): SOLCOM declares 13 Provinces of Southern Luzon Conflict Manageable


Camp Guillermo Nakar, Lucena City- The Southern Luzon Command (SolCom) AFP thru the 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division, Philippine Army, the Philippine National Police, Provincial Government of Occidental Mindoro and other stakeholders formally declared today, October 11, the Province of Occidental Mindoro as a “Conflict Manageable and Ready for Further Development” (CMRFD) province in a ceremony held at Provincial Capitol, Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by Occidental Mindoro Governor Mario Gene J Mendiola and Major General Romeo G. Gan, Commander of the 2nd Infantry Division and Police Senior Superintendent Reynaldo B Jagmis, Provincial Director, Occidental Mindoro representing Acting Regional Director PRO-4B in the presence of Lieutenant General Ferdinand F. Quidilla, Commander Southern Luzon Command AFP and Colonel Antonio G Parlade, Commander of 203rd Infantry Brigade.


It was in April 1977 when insurgency from the mainland of southern Luzon expands in the Island of Mindoro. The purpose is to establish an area of influence where they can support the organizing stage of the NPA in the Island through propaganda against the government and recruit members to join the rebel group.

Since May 1981 to 2000, MindoreƱo suffered security threats due to the presence of the NPA rebels. Mass demonstration in the Towns and City, extortion activities, recruitment particularly members of the minority, skirmishes, and ambuscades to the responding government forces, arson, and coercion to those who refuse to support the movement.

Chief of Staff Armed Forces of the Philippines General Ricardo R Visaya said that the declaration of the province as CMRFD is a significant contribution to the local government, stakeholders and the people of Mindoro. The duty of the AFP will not end here. We will continue our commitment in a clearing not only your province of threats and prepare them as ready for development but be doing it on all other provinces until the entire country is set as a peaceful, progressive and prosperous nation.

“I congratulate the people of Mindoro for putting their best foot forward in making province peaceful and now ready for further development. Your Armed Forces of the Philippines together with the police and the Local Government of Occidental Mindoro will remain active in its quest for bringing peace and security to the people ”SOLCOM Commander, Lieutenant General Ferdinand F Quidilla said before reading the message of General Visaya.


The Provincial Director, Occidental Mindoro Police Senior Superintendent Reynaldo B Jagmis, said the declaration of the province remains a big challenge but we are confident because we have a strong AFP partners.

Governor Mario Gene J Mendiola said after 30 years of fear and unrest of insurgency threats the province will be declared as conflict manageable and ready for further development. The Provincial Government of Occidental Mindoro will take pride and accept the challenge of taking the lead role in the implementation of socio-economic programs supported by the AFP and the PNP. I thank you all particularly the AFP and PNP for supporting the provincial government in its quest for a peaceful and progressive province.

Occidental Mindoro is the 13th CMRFD province declared under SOLCOM’s area of responsibility.


From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 11): EXERCISE LUMBAS 2016 | PN-RAN Partnership

exercise-lumbas-2014-2  exercise-lumbas-2014

NAVAL BASE RAFAEL RAMOS, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu (DWDD) – The Philippine Navy and the Royal Australian Navy formally opened the Exercise Lumbas 2016 at Naval Forces Central (NFC), Naval Base Rafael Ramos, Brgy Lo-oc, Lapu-Lapu City, with MGen Raul L Del Rosario, Commander, Central Command as Keynote Speaker and Guest of Honor.

Guests and participants were welcomed to the event by the Exercise Director and Deputy Commander of NFC, Capt Antonio C Palces PN (GSC).

After being introduced by Capt Loumer P Bernabe PN (GSC), Commander, NFC, the keynote speaker, MGen Del Rosario enjoined all the participants to learn as much as they can from the exercise to enhance interoperability and strengthen partnership between the Philippines and Australia.

The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) were headed by Capt Brad White, the Australian Defense Attache to the Philippines. Lt Col Tim Lopsik, LCdr Mark Lindend and LCdr Rod Graham will facilitate the conduct of the Command Post Exercise (CPX) which aims to test, validate, enhance and evaluate combined/respective doctrines, techniques, tactics and procedures (TTPs) for threat from the sea, piracy and other scenarios.

Representatives from local and national government agencies such as the Regional Maritime Group, Philippine Coast Guard, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA), Bureau of Quarantine, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Provincial Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) and Cebu Port Authority were invited to participate in the CPX and Subject Matter Expert Exchanges (SMEEs).

Exercise Lumbas 2016 will be conducted from 10-21 October 2016, divided into different phases and series of activities.

At sea activities will be participated by Philippine Navy ships and RAN ships which will arrive in a few days time. NFC PAO / MCAG

DWDD: Phil Army Introduces Project Shoebox in UST

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 12): Phil Army Introduces Project Shoebox in UST


FORT ANDRES BONIFACIO, Metro Manila – Commander of the Civil-Military Operations Group, Philippine Army speaks about Project Shoebox before 900 students of UST NSTP at the Medicine Auditorium, UST Manila, 3 p.m. Sunday.

Col. Thomas R. Sedano Jr being the father of Project Shoebox in the Philippine Army focused his talk on how 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion under his command in 2012, first conceptualized said project until it was adopted and institutionalized by the whole Army organization.

Said project that is now being implemented all-over the country have benefited nearly 300,000 indigent students or those affected by internal conflicts and natural disasters like Typhoon Pablo and Typhoon Yolanda. Just recently, 1,240 Shoeboxes containing school supplies and basic hygiene items were distributed to the Muslim students of Patikul, Sulu.

Col. Sedano likewise informed the students about the various partner-stakeholders of the Philippine Army in implementing the Project Shoebox. He also urges the audience to be part of it by donating school supplies and hygiene kits for the less-privileged students or those affected by conflicts and natural disasters. ‘This is to give them hope to pursue their studies and also be productive citizens of our country in the future’, he added which got a positive response.

The Civil-Military Operations Group, Philippine Army is urging various organizations to support Project Shoebox so that more and more less-privileged students will benefit from it. Currently, CMOG is having the theme ‘Students-helping-students’ which calls for the support of students from exclusive schools and universities and those who are generous enough and can afford to donate basic school supplies and personal hygiene items in a shoebox.


From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 13): STRENGTHEN PARTNERSHIP | Phiblex 33

 closing-ceremony-2  phiblex-photo-4

MANILA (DWDD) – Through mud and rain, after repairing schools, firing artillery, conducting flight operations and disaster preparedness training, Philippine and U.S. service members are now better prepared to respond to natural disasters and security threats in the region.

This is the result of Philippine Amphibious Landing Exercise 33 (PHIBLEX), completed as scheduled on Oct. 11.

During PHIBLEX, Philippine and U.S. service members built upon a long and productive history of joint military exercises that enhance interoperability, strengthen partnerships, and improve disaster response.

The interoperability of Philippine and U.S. troops guarantees a more rapid response to natural disasters such as Super Typhoon Haiyan and the Bohol earthquake, saving lives and reducing suffering.

Philippine and U.S. Marines also practiced an amphibious landing at Subic Bay, using assault amphibious vehicles to move troops ashore from the USS Germantown, a U.S. Navy amphibious ship.

When Philippine and U.S. forces practice an amphibious landing together, our nations are better prepared to bring water, medical supplies, and other relief to the people of the Philippines during a natural disaster.

In addition to the amphibious landing exercise, Philippine and U.S. service members conducted a live-fire combined-arms exercise and training on a wide range of skills, including marksmanship, parachute operations, map reading, and first aid response.

In the month preceding the exercise, Philippine and U.S. service members in Cagayan Valley spent more than 17,000 hours renovating four elementary school classrooms and two outdoor auditoriums. They repaired roofs and installed 500 feet of steel gutters and 2000 feet of drainage systems to make the schools more resilient to heavy rainfall. U.S. military medical teams also taught students and teachers basic lifesaving skills, disease prevention, and physical and dental hygiene – all critical during times of crisis.

To help prepare for a natural disaster hitting the region, U.S. troops coordinated with local municipal leadership to identify locations capable of supporting relief operations and helped develop crisis response plans.

PHIBLEX is an annual U.S.-Philippine military bilateral exercise that combines amphibious capabilities and live-fire training with humanitarian assistance efforts to strengthen interoperability and working relationships. PAO PHIBLEX33 / MCAG

DWDD: NEW LEADERSHIP | Col Bacarro, New 502IBde Head in N. Luzon (Limited bio data)

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 13): NEW LEADERSHIP | Col Bacarro, New 502IBde Head in N. Luzon


FORT BONIFACIO, Taguig City (DWDD) – One of the valor awardees of the Philippine Army and the former Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations will be installed as the new brigade commander in Isabela Province, the place where he got the highest military award in the Armed Forces of the Philippines in his early military career.

Col. Bartolome Vicente O. Bacarro, a member of PMA Class 1988, will be replacing BGen. James V. Jacob as the new brigade commander of 502nd Brigade of the Army’s 5th Infantry Division based in Echague, in a change of command ceremony on today, Oct. 17 at the 502nd Brigade headquarters.

Bacarro, who was then the commanding officer of the 6th CAFGU Active Auxiliary Company, 21st Infantry Battalion of the Army’s 5th Infantry Division, was awarded with medal for valor for his courage and gallantry in action during a 10-hour armed engagement with more or less 150 fully armed communist insurgents that attacked the town of Maconacon, Isabela on January 26-27, 1991.

The engagement resulted to the killing of 16 terrorists, wounding of several others, and recovery of one M14 rifle, one Garand rifle, one claymore mine and one home-made land mine. He also extricated one wounded civilian, along with his men, and gave immediate medical treatment.

Bacarro’s successor, Col. Maurito L. Licudine assumed his new post as the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, who was the former Assistant Chief of Staff for Education and Training, a member of PMA class 1989, who started his military career in the 29th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the 4th Infantry Division (4ID).

He also held various positions at the 4th Army Training Group, Training and Doctrine Command in Cagayan de Oro and later became commanding officer of the Army’s 8th IB, 4ID based in Bukidnon province.

A native of Baguio City, Licudine is a graduate of Masters in Public Administration from Ateneo de Cagayan and Strategic Human Management Course at Asian Institute of Management.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Army also installed its new resource manager with the designation of Col. Roy T. Galido of PMA Class 1990 as the new chief of the Army Resource Management Office (ARMO).

He replaced Col. Franco Nemesio M. Gacal who will soon command the Army’s 402nd Brigade based in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur. Galido was the deputy chief of ARMO during Gacal’s incumbency.

Prior to his positions in the ARMO, Galido also became the commanding officer of the Army’s 40th IB and later commanded the 38th IB, both in Mindanao under the 6th Infantry Division areas. Galido has undergone various trainings and seminars on resource management, including AFP Comptrollership Enhancement Program, Improvement of AFP Procurement and Finance System, Defense Resource Management Simulation Course, Supply Management Information System Development, and Fund Accountable Officer Course. OACPA / MCAG

DWDD: OPENING CEREMONY | PAF-PN Inter-Operability Exercise “DAGIT” 2016

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 14): OPENING CEREMONY | PAF-PN Inter-Operability Exercise “DAGIT” 2016


MANILA (DWDD) – The Philippine Air Force (PAF) and the Philippine Navy (PN) will be holding its 10th year PAF-PN Interoperability Exercise (IOX) “DAGIT” 2016 on Monday, October 17, 2016 at the 15th Strike Wing Gymnasium, Naval Base Heracleo Alano in Sangley Point, Cavite City.

In an interview by DWDD with Lt Sahirula A Taib, the IOX “DAGIT” is an annual joint exercise between the two major services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which started since 2007.

The exercise would test and enhance the interoperability capability of our Air Force and Navy. AES / PAO Dagit / MCAG

DWDD: AFP Concludes 4th ASEAN Peacekeeping Center Network Meeting

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 17): AFP Concludes 4th ASEAN Peacekeeping Center Network Meeting

CAMP GENERAL EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The 3-day 4th Association of Southeast Asian Nations Peacekeeping Center Network (APCN) meeting came to a close with a firmer resolve to advance a linkage of stronger, more cohesive ASEAN peacekeepers, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Public Affairs Office Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo announced Friday, 14 October 2016.

 Delfin Lorenzana, the Secretary of Defense of the host country, the Philippines, was the Guest of Honor and Speaker in the closing ceremony held 13 October 2016 at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Ortigas, Pasig City.

The AFP Peacekeeping Operations Center (AFPPKOC) led by its Commanding Officer Marine Colonel Eugenio V. Hernandez was Chair in this year’s APCN meeting with the theme “Moving forward to achieve the APCN Mid-Term and Long-Term Plans”.

Significant outcomes from last year’s 3rd APCN meeting in Pnom Penh were revisited and discussed in the meeting. In the open forum where best practices and experiences were shared, the delegates sounded the call for an ASEAN field training exercise centered on strengthening humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.

The conference attended by 50 delegates from all ASEAN Member States raised the need to establish UN-standard Civil-Military Operations skills and elevate the level of expertise in a peacekeeping environment.

The matter of synchronization of peacekeeping operations training on and the procurement of a deployable field hospital under UN standards for member nations, were also discussed. Thailand representative Major Chatesupa Pawongpon, for his part, recommended the opening of the UN Staff Officer Course training to other ASEAN member states.

“The meeting was largely a success,” said Colonel Hernandez. “Much have been discussed for the attainment of mid-term and long-term plans for the peacekeeping operations in the region,” he added as he turned over the Chairmanship of the 5th APCN to his counterpart Colonel Adityawarman, Commandant of the Indonesia National Defence Force Peacekeeping Center, which will host the meeting next year.

In his address to the delegates during the Closing Ceremony, Secretary Lorenzana expressed his gratitude to the participants for their work in the APCN meeting.

“This manifests the commencement of the APCN’s medium-term plans for establishing standard operating procedures (SOPs), exchanging of expertise and visits, and developing common peacekeeping training operations and best practices manual,” Secretary Lorenzana said.

The Secretary added that the outcomes of this 4th APCN are consistent with the action lines that were identified in the ADMM Three Year Work Programme (2014-2016), which includes the promotion of the ASEAN cooperation through each member’s peacekeeping centers and updating the region’s peacekeeping capability profile.

This peacekeeping capability profile was first attempted to be developed when the Philippines hosted an ADMM-Plus Regional Peacekeeping Operations Capability Assessment Workshop in 2012.

The APCN was conceived and established through a Concept Paper adopted in the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting in May 2011. Its purpose is to facilitate existing and future peacekeeping centers of ASEAN respective countries to conduct joint planning and training and experience exchange.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Public Affairs Office Colonel Arevalo meanwhile claims that on matters of providing forces to help keep the peace, “the Philippines is looked up to with much respect. Not only because it had been a primary source of peacekeepers not only in the region but also in the world. It is also because Filipino Peacekeepers have distinguished themselves in that field noting their gallant stand against Syrian rebels in Golan Heights in August 2014.”

“The AFP has been a significant force contributor in the different UN peacekeeping missions worldwide. This meeting has been an important avenue in sharing our years of experience as a peacekeeping force and in promoting an ASEAN region highly capable and effective in UN peacekeeping missions,” AFP Chief of Staff General Ricardo R Visaya said.

DWDD: JOINT AFP-PNP OPERATION | Authorities Uprooted P13.7M worth of Marijuana in ADS

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 17): JOINT AFP-PNP OPERATION | Authorities Uprooted P13.7M worth of Marijuana in ADS

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City (DWDD) – The joint anti-illegal drugs operation of 26th Infantry Battalion and Loreto Municipal Police Station has once again discovered two sites of Marijuana plantation at the outskirts of Purok Bagul, Sitio Mactan, Brgy Kasapa 1, Loreto, Agusan del Sur at 11:00 O’Clock in the morning yesterday, October 15, 2016.

In an interview by DWDD with Cpt Joe Patrick Martinez, 4ID Public Affairs Officer, the team successfully uprooted a total of 29,000 fully grown marijuana plants from site 1 and 26,100 plants from site 2. These were immediately turned-over to the Provincial Police Office for proper disposition. The 54,600 fully grown marijuana has an estimated value of Php13,775,000.00.
Recently, a joint operation has successfully seized the shabu den in Bunawan town of Agusan del Sur.

Ltc Rommel Pagayon, Commanding Officer of 26th Infantry Battalion said, “Because of our strong coordination with the PNP we are successful in our operations. Just recently, we have seized 4.6M worth of Shabu and arrested two drug personalities in Bunawan town and now 13.7 M worth of Marijuana in Loreto. I could barely imagine the devastating effect of these illegal drugs when it falls on the hands of the people especially on innocent ones.”

“I will not let these illegal activities to thrive in my area of responsibility. We will double or even triple our efforts just to ensure my area will be free from any kinds of illegal activities especially the illegal drug proliferation.” Ltc Pagayon added.

It can be noted that the operation came after the 3-day Law Enforcement Operations Trainers Training held at Headquarters, 4th Infantry Division in Camp Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro City last October 10 to 13 this year.

For his part, MGen Benjamin R Madrigal Jr, Commander of 4th Infantry Division said, “I once again congratulate the joint operation of our troops and our PNP counterpart. This is a very big achievement considering that the amount of seized Marijuana could possibly destroy thousands of innocent lives. I urge everyone to give all the necessary information that would lead us to the location of these illegal activities. Together, we can solve this illegal drug menace and save our next generation.” 4DPAO / MCAG

DWDD: AFP Chief on battle against ASG, “Use all tools of war”

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 17): AFP Chief on battle against ASG, “Use all tools of war”


CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City—The Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Ricardo R Visaya ordered the 125,000-strong military to use all available “tools of war” against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) during the 3rd Quarter Command Conference held last Friday, October 14, at the Tejeros Hall, Commissioned Officer’s Club here.

General Visaya gave the order after the AFP gained significant headways in the focused military operations against the ASG in their known lairs in Basilan and Sulu since the Commadner in Chief and President Rodrigo R Duterte ordered in July the total decimation of the terror group.
“Let us use all available tools of war in inflicting not just physical destruction, but also in rendering a psychological blow against the ASG. Ensure their isolation from their local support system and make the communities resilient against the influence of terrorists,” General Visaya said.
For the third quarter of the year, AFP operations resulted in the neutralization of 130 ASG personalities; 102 of whom were killed, seven were apprehended, and 21 have surrendered. The figure includes the death of key terror personalities Mohammad Said, Jamiri Jawhari, Musanna Jamiri, and Nelson and Braun Muktadil.
The AFP also recovered and confiscated 165 fastcrafts that are being used as means of transportation by the ASG. This development reduced the Group’s mobility and ability to cross borders around the Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-tawi (ZAMBASULTA) provinces.
In line with this, General Visaya ordered to take advantage of the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the DOTr that empowers the AFP to enforce regulations on the use of high-speed watercrafts, confiscate unregistered sea crafts, and dismantle illegally constructed piers and wharves.
“This must be enforced not only in the ZAMBASULTA area but throughout the country to significantly reduce enemy capabilities, further constrain their movement, and deny staging areas for their atrocities,” General Visaya said.
“We need to hit the ASG harder. Our goal is the total defeat of the ASG and the destruction of its cells the soonest possible time,” General Visaya added.

Duterte blames Yolanda on industrialized nations, belittles US aid

From ABS-CBN (Oct 17): Duterte blames Yolanda on industrialized nations, belittles US aid

President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a meeting with banana production businessmen in Davao city, in southern Philippines, October 7, 2016. Lean Daval Jr, Reuters

 President Rodrigo Duterte demeaned the assistance that the United States extended to the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon ''Yolanda'' in 2013, arguing that the calamity was caused by climate-warming emissions from industrialized nations.

Duterte made the remark in an Al Jazeera interview released Monday, where he confirmed a potential cease to defense treaties, including military exercises, with Washington because he does “not think they will be there for us” in times of need.

The President’s pronouncement prompted interviewer Wayne Hay to quip: “But they were there in Haiyan (Yolanda) just a few years ago.

In response, Duterte belittled the calamity aid, saying “If they want, you can forgo with it. Other nations will come. Or we will die, double the number.”

Besides, he added that the super typhoon, which killed over 7,000 people in the central islands, was a product of the global warming phenomenon generated by the carbon emissions of industrial countries.

“Haiyan is just a creation of climate change, which the industrial countries also created,” he added.
Duterte also insisted that the Philippines, with its relatively small carbon footprint, cannot be blamed for the changing climate patterns.

“You have reached the heights of industrialization. All these years, you have been spewing all the gas, carbon and everything. We had little or nothing to do with it,” he said.
“We have this guy, 'we'd like to help you but do not try to catch up with us and overtake us because it will contribute so much carbon emission.' And who's responsible for the climate? Who's responsible for Haiyan? Who's responsible for the monsters of tornado? It's industrialized countries. We had nothing to do with it.”

The US was one of the first countries to send aid to the Philippines in the wake of Yolanda, the strongest typhoon on record.
It is also the Philippines' only treaty ally. The 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty binds the two countries to "defend themselves against external armed attack."

The US-Philippine alliance, however, has been strained since Washington raised the alarm on the piling body count in Manila’s drug war, prompting Duterte to unleash a string of verbal attacks.

While criticizing the US, Duterte has signaled building ties with Washington's foes Beijing and Moscow. This, despite the Philippines and China sparring over the resource-rich South China Sea.

Davao blast suspects told to submit reply

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 17): Davao blast suspects told to submit reply

The three arrested suspects in the Davao night market blast last September 2 have been subpoenaed to submit their testimonies about their part in the incident.

DAVAO BOMBING SUSPECTS — (From left) Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Mustapha and TJ Tagadaya Macabalang, all suspects in the deadly bombing in Davao City last month, are lined up during a press briefing Friday at the Armed Forces headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. The military says the three belong to the Maute terrorist group. (Mark Balmores/Manila Bulletin)
DAVAO BOMBING SUSPECTS — (From left) Wendel Apostol Facturan, Musali Mustapha and TJ Tagadaya Macabalang, all suspects in the deadly bombing in Davao City last month, are lined up during a press briefing Friday at the Armed Forces headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City. The military says the three belong to the Maute terrorist group. (Mark Balmores/Manila Bulletin)

Prosecutor Jay Karel Sanchez of the Davao City Prosecutor’s Office said the respondents—TJ Tagadaya Macabang, Wendell Facturan and Musali Mustapha—are given 10 days from the receipt of the subpoenas to file their counter-affidavits.

“In order to afford these three named respondents their constitutional rights to due process, and of course, statutory rights to preliminary investigation, the panel has already sent subpeonas to these three individuals to afford them of their right to submit their counter-affidavits. The panel will be waiting for these counter-affidavits before we can finally resolve the case,” she said.

She said they expect the panel to complete the resolution by middle of next month.

“The resolution will indicate whether the case will be filed against these individuals and what case will be filed. The panel will assess if these individuals are responsible for the bombing,” she said.

On Friday, the Crime Investigation and Detection Group submitted their supplemental evidence against Macabang, Facturan and Mustapha, alleged members of the Maute Group who were arrested in a checkpoint on October 4 in Cotabato City.

They were primarily blamed for the blast at the Roxas night market in Davao City, where 15 people were killed and 69 others were wounded.

Sino-Philippine detente will end misery of these Filipino fishermen (VIDEO)

From the Malay Mail Online (Oct 16): Sino-Philippine detente will end misery of these Filipino fishermen (VIDEO)

[Video report]

The territorial dispute between the Philippines and China in the South China Sea has all but wrecked the livelihoods of these Filipino fishermen.

The Philippines won an international court ruling in its favour over who owns the Scarborough Shoal.
China's rejected that ruling and has stopped the Filipino fishermen entering the waters in and around the Shoal since 2012.

Now they're hoping their president's impending visit to China will restore their decades-old livelihoods.

The BRP Sierra Madre, a marooned transport ship which Philippine Marines live on as a military outpost, is pictured in the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea March 30, 2014.  — Reuters pic

The BRP Sierra Madre, a marooned transport ship which Philippine Marines live on as a military outpost, is pictured in the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea March 30, 2014. — Reuters pic

Fishing boat captain Nesal Milanio says: “I hope the president will push the issue in their bilateral talks, or at least allow us to fish while the talks are happening. We're not soldiers fighting against them.”

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte's pursuing a less aggressive line with China over the dispute.
Ramon Casiple of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reform in Manila says it's a tactic to get China on his side.

Casiple says: “After what happened to the relationship between China and the Philippines during the Aquino administration, he's trying to bring it back to normal friendly level in order to start a bilateral negotiation.”

For now the fishermen of Pangasinan Province must look elsewhere for their catches.

They say the fish they get now is nothing like the amount they pulled from the rich waters of the Scarborough Shoal but it's safer than confrontation with the Chinese coastguard. — Reuters

31st MEU Shock Trauma Platoon rehearses pediatric care, procedures

From the Defense Video Imagery Distribution System (Oct 9): 31st MEU Shock Trauma Platoon rehearses pediatric care, procedures

31st MEU Shock Trauma Platoon rehearses pediatric care, procedures

Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Sheep, officer-in-charge of Shock Trauma Platoon, Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, discusses pediatric treatment during Amphibious Landing Exercise 33 (PHIBLEX 33) at Col. Ernesto Ravina Air Base, Philippines, Oct. 8, 2016. Shock Trauma Plt. conducted medical training during PHIBLEX 33 to prepare its Sailors to treat child patients. PHIBLEX 33 is an annual U.S.-Philippine military bilateral exercise that combines amphibious capabilities and live-fire training with humanitarian civic assistance efforts to strengthen interoperability and working relationships. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Tiffany Edwards/Released)

COL. ERNESTO RAVINA AIR BASE, Philippines – U.S. Navy medical officers and corpsmen with Shock Trauma Platoon, Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, conducted pediatric malady training at Col. Ernesto Ravina Air Base, Philippines, during Amphibious Landing Exercise 33 (PHIBLEX 33) Oct. 8, 2016.

“We covered pediatric trauma resuscitation and blood testing to detect maladies,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Sheep, officer-in-charge of Shock Trauma Plt., CLB-31, 31st MEU. “One of the things we enjoy about PHIBLEX is interacting with the local children. We want to be able to respond appropriately to all trauma scenarios when they do come up, including pediatric cases.”

The day’s training included a review of different injuries and illnesses children are susceptible to, as well as blood testing procedures and medical examinations to quickly pinpoint different maladies that can affect child patients. Sheep also discussed with the hospital corpsmen the anatomical differences between children and adults and how that knowledge can be applied in specific trauma situations.

Medical personnel have to take into account how medication, fluid and blood doses are different in children, and how children respond differently than adults to specific treatments.

“This training absolutely benefits the Shock Trauma Platoon,” Sheep said. “We want to have the widest possible applicability of medical care to both adults and children. We want to be able to treat anyone who comes through our facility at any time for anything, and in a humanitarian assistance or disaster relief scenario, we are more likely to have pediatric casualties than adult casualties.”

The Shock Trauma Plt. Sailors also conducted scenario-based training with their Philippine Marine counterparts during PHIBLEX 33, based on three common trauma injuries: penetrating trauma resulting in massive blood-loss; airway-compromising burns; and lung abnormalities caused by penetrating trauma. According to Sheep, the Philippine Marines partnered with the corpsmen, and then the platoon was split into two teams to see who could perform the fastest resuscitation.

“Everyone had a good time, and the Philippine Marines certainly enjoyed being a part of the training,” Sheep said. “We gain experience from working with the Philippine Marines, they bring different scenarios to the table. They get to see how we do things, and it’s also just really fun to build camaraderie with our Philippine counterparts.”

DND says no Chinese reclamation activities in Panatag Shoal

From GMA News (Oct 17): DND says no Chinese reclamation activities in Panatag Shoal

An official of the Department of National Defense (DND) on Monday refuted reports of alleged reclamation activities by China in Scarborough Shoal, locally known as Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc.

Speaking before the joint hearing of the Senate committees on Blue Ribbon, and environment and natural resources, Defense Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario said the Philippine Navy found four Chinese coast guards and two fishing vessels in the area, but there was no indication of a land reclamation project.

“Upon hearing Governor Ebdane stating that there was no reclamation in Bajo de Masinloc, we confirmed about this information…Perhaps in other areas [there are reclamation activities], but not in Bajo,” Del Rosario said.

“In Bajo de Masinloc, there is none,” he stressed.

In its ruling in July 12, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that the Panatag Shoal, located 124 nautical miles from the nearest point in Zambales, is a common fishing ground.

Zambales Governor Amor Deloso earlier said that soil excavated from two mountains in Zambales province were allegedly used for China's reclamation activities in Panatag Shoal.

Deloso  claimed that soils and rocks from Mt. Pinmagong and Mt. Binabag — both in Barangay Gisgis Sta. Cruz — are allegedly being smuggled to build 3,500 hectares of land reclamation.

When asked by Senator Richard Gordon, chairman of the committee, if Deloso saw the ongoing reclamation himself, Deloso cited fishermen's eyewitness accounts.

Deloso said then that his predecessor, former governor Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr., allowed the excavations.

During the hearing on Monday, Deloso reiterated that his testimony before the Senate hearing was not based on his personal knowledge.

“I did not say it was my personal knowledge and I did not say it was the former governor,” Deloso said.

Gordon admonished Deloso, saying the Senate committee was on a “wild goose chase” over his allegations.

“You should not make statements which you have no personal knowledge of…It’s worthy of respect but now it would appear that you’re withdrawing your statement,” Gordon said.

Ebdane, for his part, denied the allegations against him.

“I cannot sell something that is not mine, and over which I have no authority. The so-called presence of the Chinese military is ridiculous,” Ebdane, a former national police chief, said.

No Chinese reclamation in Scarborough Shoal – DND

From Rappler (Oct 17): No Chinese reclamation in Scarborough Shoal – DND

Senator Richard Gordon also admonishes Zambales Governor Amor Deloso for retracting his previous statements on alleged construction in the disputed shoal   

The Department of National Defense (DND) denied reports that China is conducting reclamation work in the disputed Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc.

Defense Undersecretary Eduardo del Rosario said this as he faced the Senate blue ribbon committee's probe into the alleged illegal and destructive mining operations in Zambales.

"We confirmed from Nolcom (Northern Luzon Command ) about this information and the Philippine Navy went there last September 18 and they found 4 Chinese coast guard [ships] and 2 fishing vessels. There was no reclamation," Del Rosario said.

Senator Richard Gordon clarified the issue once more, saying: "No airport (there)?"

"Perhaps in other areas but not in Scarborough Shoal. In Bajo de Masinloc, there is none," Del Rosario answered. (READ: Duterte: No bargains with China on West PH Sea)

During the first Senate hearing, Zambales Governor Amor Deloso alleged that there was indeed illegal excavation in the mountains of the province, with the soil supposedly being used for construction in the disputed Scarborough Shoal. He also claimed this has been going on since 2013.

Deloso insinuated that his predecessor, former governor Hermogenes Ebdane Jr, granted permits to miners then. Ebdane was also accused of selling 2 mountains in the province supposedly to build a 3,500-hectare Chinese island near the shoal, which is a key source of income and livelihood for Filipino fishermen.

Ebdane denied the allegations, saying local executives have no authority over mining permits.

"I did not mean any of us got involved in those operations because we the governors, local officials, do not have any authority in the granting of permits nor operations of these large-scale mining," he told the Senate committee.

Deloso, however, has since backtracked from his earlier pronouncement. On Monday, he told senators that he has no "personal knowledge" of the matter.

This irked Gordon, who admonished the governor.

"You know, statements had been made here and now you're saying 'I've no personal knowledge.' The chair admonishes you therefore, Governor Deloso, that you should not make statements unless you have personal knowledge," Gordon said.

1CAV, PNP undergo training, forge strong partnership

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 17): 1CAV, PNP undergo training, forge strong partnership 

To better equip soldiers and policemen for the job at hand, the 1st Cavalry (Tagapanguna) Squadron, Mechanized Infantry Division, Philippine Army and the Pagadian City Police Station forged partnership and collaboration through an exercise dubbed  “Supply Management and Explosive Ordnance Reconnaissance Agent Training” (EORAT) held recently at Camp Jacobo Zobel, Major Cesar Sang-an, Pulacan, this town.

LtCol. Charlemange F. Batayola, Jr., commanding officer of the 1Cav squadron thanked the 31 participants composed of troopers and PNP personnel for their  steadfast commitment to enhance their learning and skills development as well as professional growth.

“The training is geared towards the enhancement of your character as individual soldiers and policemen. I would presume that you have rediscovered your sense of purpose in our organization whether you are a member of the AFP or PNP,” Batayola said.

He cited that during the week-long extensive training, troopers have personally experienced the pressure in detonating explosives which they did not  normally perform before, adding that their role is to provide effective and efficient armor support to the 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army.

Batayola said troopers and PNP personnel were taught on the principles and procedures in the conduct of reconnaissance during explosives-related incidents and identification of explosive materials.

“You now possess an increased awareness and vigilance on the safety precautions and preventive measures when explosive materials are found prior to the arrival of the responding EOD teams or bomb squad,” he declared.

It was indeed an opportunity for soldiers and policemen to join together to achieve their common goal of preserving peace in our country, according to Batayola.

Meanwhile, Police Officer 3 Ruben Balido, team leader of the Pagadian City Police Station Bomb Squad said the training was able to establish good relations between the PNP and AFP.

He also expressed optimism that participants will apply the theories, principles and practical exercises on the training rules and safety precautions that they have learned.

“They are already equipped with the knowledge. Every time there is a bomb threat, they know their roles as first responders before the bomb squad will arrive,” Balido concluded.