caraga region

Forty IP women establish a group in Surigao del Sur against armed conflict

January 16, 2020

From conflict-affected to a resilient IP Community in Surigao Sur Lianga, Surigao del Sur – Forty members of the Conflict-affected Indigenous Peoples (IP) Community of Sitio Simuwao formed a women’s organization named, Km9 Simuwao Kabudangan Association (KSKA) on January 12 at Sitio Simuwao (Kilometer 9), in barangay Diatagon of Lianga to prepare the community for the implementation of government livelihood programs of the Surigao del Sur Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC). This is one of the IP community’s first steps to become resilient and empowered to any conflict.  The Community Support Program (CSP) teams composed of the 9th Special Forces Company, 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion, 41ST Civil-Military Operations Company, Lianga Police Community Relations, IP Tribal Council of Lianga and the Barangay Local Government Unit of barangay Diatagon facilitated the IP women’s drafting of their constitution and by-laws. Their next activities will include leadership and livelihood training.  It can be recalled that Kilometer 9 IPs were then exploited by the alleged Communist NPA Terrorist (CNTs) linked anti-government and militant groups through the conduct of “Taktikang Bakwit” in the past years. However, through the Local Government Unit (LGU)-led effort to win the peace through the Task Force ELCAC and CSP, an environment of genuine peace and reconciliation between the government (to include the military) and the IP Community was fostered.  During the first peace dialogue between the military and IPs last August 22, 2019, some of the IPs were still skeptical, but with tangible results of sustainable development and people empowerment by the government such as the rehabilitation of farm to market roads, installation of electricity lines, and the delivery of various basic government services, the IPs found a real ally against the CNTs who exploited them.  One mother from KM9 said, “We now realized that the only way to attain the tribe’s preservation and development is to make ourselves resilient. We don’t need to rely always to the government. Instead, we have to strive ourselves to have a better life.” Bayan Muna and Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa mga Sumusunod (MAPASU) attempted to stop the government’s implementation of Executive Order No. 70 and demanded to pull-out the military from the community but Surigao Sur province and the IP community remained steadfast to their commitment to end insurgency and turned down their demand immediately. Meanwhile, the IP Council mulls the establishment of a detachment which will serve as an inter-agency facility to address criminality, insurgency and environment exploitation in Kilometer 9 to further boost their quest to have a resilient and peaceful community.  

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NPA surrenderees in Surigao Sur reveal arm cache hidden in Mt Gacob

January 14, 2020

SAN AGUSTIN, Surigao del Sur – The joint elements of the 9th Special Forces “Hounds” Company under the 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion (3SFBn) and the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) of Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) seized an NPA arms cache on January 10 at Mt. Gacob, Sitio Magkahunaw, Barangay Buhisan, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. Recovered were two caliber 30 Garand rifles, and assorted ammunitions and explosives. This is a result from the follow-up interviews of the two rebel surrenderees (@John and @Dave) who revealed the location of the arms cache. “The declaration of persona non-grata to the members of the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) by Surigao del Sur province and the institutionalization of the Local Task Forces to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (LTF-ELCAC) of the Province down to its municipalities play a role on the influx of rebel surrenderees in Surigao Sur, “Lieutenant Colonel Joey B Baybayan INF (GSC) PA, 3SFBn Commanding Officer, said. During the  Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) Meeting last January 6 presided by Governor Alexander T. Pimentel, the council observed the significant decrease of NPA violent and non-violent activities in Surigao Sur. Further, participation among people in demonstrations organized by anti-government militant groups allegedly linked to CNTs significantly decreased. Colonel Allan D Hambala INF (MNSA) PA, 401st (Unite and Fight) Infantry Brigade Commander lauds the Provincial Government of Surigao Del Sur for its steadfast support to end insurgency through the plans and programs under Executive Order No. 70 of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. In the whole region of CARAGA, the province of Surigao del Sur was the first to declare CNTs unwelcome. Meanwhile, the Army and the Task Forces to End Local Communist Armed Conflict continuously call on the remaining CNTs to abandon armed struggle and avail of the Enhanced Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) for rebel surrenderees.  

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2 young NPA rebels surrender with high-powered firearms

January 10, 2020

Marihatag , Surigao del Sur – A new life for the new year as two young NPAs on the army’s watch list surrendered yesterday, January 9, at the 7th Special Forces “Spartans” Company under 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion at barangay Mararag in Marihatag bringing along one 5.56 M16A1 rifle, one M653 rifles,  2 long magazines with 86 rounds of ammunitions. Both surrenderees are members of the Communist NPA Terrorists, (CNTs’) Weakened Guerilla Front 19 (WGF19), Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC). @John who was 17 years old then, and @Dave, who requested anonymity for security reasons, were buddies and both are residents of barangay Mahaba in Marihatag.  A certain @Julian recruited them in the vicinity of Baliad in Diatagon, Lianga, SDS. As curious young individuals, they explored and joined the terrorist group but, in the end, regretted their decision because miserable experiences. Starvation, exhaustion and the irrelevance of their existence as a terrorist group were factors for their surrender. They had a chance to break out of the group when they were tasked to plead for food in the far-flung communities outside their guerrilla base. Both became squad leaders and stayed in the group from April-October 2019 and this year, they formally surrendered. “Gutom, pagod at takot sa aming buhay lang ang inabot namin. Mali talaga ang desisyon namin sumali. Kaya nang inutusan kami kumuha ng pagkain, tumakas nakami at ayaw na naming bumalik,” @John said. It can be recalled that last December 2019, the Marihatag Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) hosted a peace dialogue in barangay Mahaba spearheaded by TESDA Surigao del Sur as the lead agency for Poverty Reduction, Employment and Livelihood Cluster wherein the Enhanced Local Comprehensive Integration Program (E-CLIP) for NPA surrenderees was discussed and disseminated in the community through leaflets distribution and the Community Support Program teams that were immersed in the barangay last year. Colonel Allan D Hambala INF (MNSA) PA, 401st”Unite and Fight” Infantry Brigade Commander urge members of the Task Forces to be more active in delivering the basic services in the conflict-affected areas because the government’s visibility will surely have a developmental impact to disprove the CNT’s promises and will weaken the CNTs’ will to fight which can induce more surrenders in the future. 

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Anti-NPA campaign rally held in Caraga Region

January 6, 2020

BAYUGAN, Agusan del Sur - An anti-NPA campaign rally was held recently in Bayugan City and Lianga, Surigao del Sur, participated the local govenrment and indigenous peoples (IPs), youth groups and members of the Philippina National Police. Hawudon S. Bucales said the New People Army (NPA) are the ones who allegedly destroyed the IP culture by respecting the IP's governance in the hinterlands. Bucales was a representative of the Lianga Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative, a very active group of the indigenous communities in the province.   “Gusto nilang ipalit na mga lider sa IP ay yung mga kaya nilang kontrolin at gamitin ag tribo para iabante ang political at armadong pakikibaka ng CPP/NPA,” Bucales said. He also called on the militant groups to stop using the tribe as props to gain sympathy from foreign funding institutions. “Pauwiin niyo na ang mga katribo naming nasa Maynila, nanjan sa UP Diliman, ginagawa niyo silang kasangkapan para kumuha lang ng simpatya at siraan ang gobyerno at military na tumutugis sa mga teroristang NPA,” Bucales added. This year, Agusan, Surigao del Sur municipalities and various provinces in Mindanao have declared the Communist NPA Terrorists as persona non-grata making them more irrelevant and their cause useless. Lieutenant Colonel Joey B Baybayan INF GSC PA, 3SFBn calls on the remaining terrorists to surrender and lay down their arms as the whole nation stands against them. “With the Task Forces to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, many people became enlightened with their deceitful tactics making them more cautious and concerned because anyone could be a target and a victim of NPA recruitment, extortion and many other atrocities committed by the CNTs,” LTC Baybayan, said. “Filipinos are peace-loving and if you really fight for the people, hear their cry against you. The people want you out. They want you to stop your crimes and atrocities. The people don’t need you (NPAs) because you are a hindrance to attaining lasting peace in the country,” he added.  Meanwhile, Hands off of Our Children, League of the Parents of Philippines, Citizen Crime Watch at Manila NGO Alliance, Bantay Bayan and other concerned citizens rose up against the CNTs, Communist Party of the Philippines and National Democratic Front, who have caused divisiveness, terror and unrest especially in the conflict-affected areas around the country through mass rallies in Metro Manila.

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Another town in SurNor vows to end local communism armed conflict 

December 22, 2019

Placer, Surigao del Norte – With a strong advocacy for peace and development, the Municipality of Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte has launched its Municipal Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (MTF-ELCAC) last Tuesday, December 17, 2019 at Sitio Tiltilan, Brgy Mahanub, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte. Gigaquit TF-ELCAC was institutionalized through a joint Resolution No.1, s. 2019 on September 30, 2019 of the Municipal Development Council (MDC) and Municipal Peace and Order Council (MPOC). The launching is a manifestation of Team Gigaquit’s support to Executive Order 70. This collective desire to embrace peace was put into action through the signing of the Pledge of Commitment by the Gigaquit TF-ELCAC members, partners and other stakeholders. Present during the launching were Hon. Chandru "Bobet" Bonite, Gigaquit Municipal Mayor as well as the chairperson of the MTF ELCAC, Vice Mayor Jennifer Pearl “Pem” Bonite, Kagawads from Barangay Mahanub headed by Hon. Julito Go represented by Hon John Vincent Go, Kagawad of Brgy Mahanub, Ms Emalyn J Yamito, Senior Business Councilor, DTI, Mr Roland E Mira, MHO-Gigaquit, Ms Marcelina Dulpina, CDO-III of NCIP, Ms Remelinda C Alac, MPO Designate, Ms Aiglenn T Molina, MSWDO, Mr Guillermo M Lipio Jr, Chief Statistical Specialists, PSA-SDN, Mr Roel Paniza, Comrel Manager-Taganito Mining Corp, other partners and stakeholders, and the Gigaquit town folks. The highlight of the activity was the “Serbisyo Caravan”, a “Government on wheels” Program of Mayor Chandru where the community received different government services such as – medical consultation and treatment by the RHU personnel, Libreng Gupit, Merry Making Performance of Mascots with "Mickey mouse and Santa Claus", and distribution of buntis kit, slippers and seedlings by the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) , Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) and LGU-Gigaquit department heads of Surigao del Norte. In his message, Mayor Chandru challenged his constituents to reject outright the CNTs and its alied left-leaning organizations in order to move forward in one direction particularly in ending the local communist armed conflict in order to attain a long and lasting peace in Gigaquit.  Lt. Col. Jeffrey A Villarosa, Commanding Officer of 30th Infantry Battalion (30IB) congratulated Team Gigaquit for having launched  its TF-ELCAC. He also stated that having the TF ELCAC launched at Sitio Tiltilan is symbolic in our clam that Tiltilan is under "government control," as it has always been. "We must remember that last 20 December 2017, Reynaldo Leyson aka Edroy/Pedyo and NPA elements of Guerilla Front 16 used Sitio Tiltilan in their propaganda and usurped authority and control over the place. Today, the peace-loving residents of the predominantly Mamanwa residents of Sitios Tiltilan, Palilihan, Puhagan and Puyawon, all of Barangay Mahanub, together with the local government of Gigaquit, the National Line Agencies, and all our partners for peace, stake our claim not just over Sitio Tiltilan and the other Sitios of Barangay Mahanub, but on all of the municipality of Gigaquit. " This claim was earlier inked by the Barangay LGU of Mahanub in its Resolution nbr 22 series of 2019 on 05 August 2019 where they declared the group of Reynaldo Leyson as Persona Non Grata. “You must also reclaim your brothers, sisters and community members who are deceived into joining as regular NPA members. Let us help them go back to the folds of the law before it is too late for them. Our government will always welcome them back and they will be given another opportunity to live normal lives. They will be given the full benefits of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or ECLIP. ” Lt. Col. Villarosa added.  

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Conflict-affected communities receive Christmas gifts

December 18, 2019

Marihatag, Surigao del Sur -- The army and its partners in peace efforts and developments in conflict-affected areas conducted a gift-giving activities in Kilometer 9, Diatagon, Lianga, as well as in Tago town, Surigao del Sur, including Magsaysay in Prosperidad, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur - from December 14-17.  Some sitios in Diatagon and Baragay Caras-an are populated by Indigenous Peoples (IP) and they belong mostly to Manobo tribes. Caras-an, on the other hand, is approximately 50 kilometers from the municipality of Tago. Most of the barangays of the towns are the usual routes of the communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) “No road is long and no mountain is high if we are sincere to bring sustainable and genuine peace in these conflict-affected areas,” Lieutenant Colonel Baybayan said. Baybayan said the efforts in collaborating among different agencies and private organizations exemplified the so-called Whole Nation Approach purposely to end communist armed struggles. The 7th Special Forces “Spartan” Company, 8th Special Forces “Dragoons” Company, 9th Special Forces “Hounds” Company, 41st CMO Company, PNP personnel, Local Government Units (LGUs) of Prosperidad, Tago and Lianga, Philippine National Red Cross Agusan and Surigao del Sur Chapters, ACDI Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Philippine Army Finance Center Producers Integrated Cooperative (PAFCIPIC),  Armed Forces & Police Mutual Benefit Association, Inc (AFPMBAI), Rotary Club San Francisco Chapter, DSWD Regional Rehabilitation Center for Youth, Propelling our Inherited Nation Through our Youth (POINTY) Agusan and Surigao del Sur Chapters, and the Bureau of Customs produced and distributed the goods, mostly toys, school supplies and Noche Buena packages to around 1,000 beneficiaries. “There is no substitute to your families, we call on the remaining NPAs to surrender and think about their families. To live life in peace with your families despite the hardships in life is better than living with corrupt NPA leaders and terrorists because they never value family as they continually recruit minors and take them away from their parents,” LTC Baybayan ended.    

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