caraga region

Army, DOLE launch sustainable peace and development efforts

November 6, 2019

TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur – As part of the continuous empowerment of the intensified “whole of the nation approach” of the government in attaining sustainable peace and development, the Poverty Reduction and Livelihood Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) in Agusan del Sur, commenced its service implementation in Barangay Lydia, Lapaz, Agusan del Sur yesterday, November 05, 2019. With the coordination from the local government of Lapaz, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) as the cluster’s chair agency in partnership with the Agusan del Sur School of Arts and Trades (ASSAT), facilitated the conduct of the said activity and further give a brief background about the activity delivered by Engr. Norberto B. Dorado, supervising specialist of TESDA. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as the lead agency, implemented its program for the Former Rebels (FR’s) and Indigenous People (IP) entitled “Tulong pang hanapbuhay para sa ating mga displaced workers”, which will initiate on giving a cash for work program in 30 days except Saturdays and Sundays for the target beneficiaries. A total of fifty one (51) beneficiaries have been registered to the said program, six (6) of this are FRs. Mr. Jake E. Abunda of DOLE, gave an orientation to all the beneficiaries on the program. He further explained that it is not a long term program and that it will only give a daily income for thirty (30) days in order to provide financial assistance for them to have a capital if in case they want to venture in a certain business.“Three hundred twenty (320) pesos ang inyong madawat nga sweldo sa sulod sa thirty (30) days. Ang inyo lamang buhaton ang magtrabaho para gihapon sa inyong kaugalingon. Pinaagi sa Department of Agriculture nga maghatag sa inyo ug mga semilya sa mga pananum, makatukod na mo ug inyong farm, swelduhan pa mo sa inyong pagkabuhaton”, Abunda said.  Other clustered agencies who attended the said activity, also gave their contribution of services. The Public Employment Services Office (PESO) offered free massage for the local populace of Lydia. The Department of Health (DOH) through its Rural Health Unit (RHU) organized pre-natal check-up, immunization, family planning orientation, and distribution of medicines. The Philippine Army through 401st Brigade, 26th Infantry Battalion and 544th Engineering Battalion were also present. Aside from providing security for the said activity, they also conducted free haircut and treat the attendees especially the children for a free ice cream.  Barangay Lydia is one of the identified areas under Peace and Development Zone (PDZ) at the same time one of the identified barangays with a high percentage of poverty in the province. According to Provincial Statistics Office, more than 85% of poverty rate was recorded on the year 2018 in the said barangay. On the other hand, Barangay Lydia was considered as cleared barangay from New People’s Army (NPA) infestation and as a proof, they already declared the NPAs as Persona Non Grata last July 20, 2019. Meanwhile, the Municipal Mayor Michael D. Lim gave his heartfelt gratitude to PRLEC members for choosing his constituent barangay as beneficiary. He also emphasized that since Barangay Lydia is now clear from armed conflict, it is very timely to pour all the necessary government programs and projects in the barangay for sustainable development among its populace. “I am commending the PRLEC members for a job well done. Among the twelve (12) clusters in the PTF- ELCAC, PRLEC was the first to implement their programs and we were very lucky that our barangay was the first beneficiary”, Mayor Lim said. Likewise the Commanding Officer of 26th IB, Lt Col Romeo C. Jimenea inspirationally said, “This is the start of the collaborative efforts of all government agencies. We are very lucky that all the members of PRLEC are dedicated in their commitment to contribute to further enhance the cluster’s mission”, Lt Col Jimenea said. Relatively, the Deputy Brigade Commander of 401st Brigade, Col Francisco F. Lorenzo Jr. also said, “On behalf of our Brigade Commander Col Allan D. Hambala, I am commending the PRLEC members for their dedication in bringing the government near in this community. For the local populace of Barangay Lydia, the most important contribution you can give is your heartfelt commitment to the government, to be resilient individuals for the attainment of lasting peace. With your participation, we can create a progressive and peaceful community and live in tranquility”, Col Lorenzo said.        

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Fallen heroes, NPA victims honored this All Souls’ Day

November 5, 2019

Bayugan City, Agusan Del Sur--- “Fifty years of waging useless communist struggle is enough. Communist armed conflict must be put to an end.” This is the call of the Indigenous Peoples’ (IP) communities as they pray for the souls of fallen Army heroes and victims of the Communist NPA Terrorists’ (CNT’s) atrocities through series of prayer vigils held at various hinterlands of Agusan and Surigao Del Sur within the 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion’s (3SFBn’s) area of operations yesterday in observance to All Souls’ Day. Surrenderees revealed that many CNT recruits have been killed and left for dead by their comrades and leaders. “There were times when NPA cadres tell us to leave our wounded comrades because they are already a liability. If they die, we just bury them somewhere in the mountains. The poor families were clueless to what happened because the cadres only tell them that their NPA child was just assigned in a far-flung area, “alias Regan said. Adding to the number of victims, based on statistics of Project Ploughshares from 1969 to 2017 alone, CNTs have caused over 40,000 deaths. This is due to their attacks on innocent civilians to include former Loreto, Agusan Del Sur Mayor, Dario Otaza and his son Daryl who were kidnapped and later killed on October 2015. Last October 27, an off-duty and unarmed Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Active Auxillary, Pablo Omblero was mercilessly executed by the CNTs in front of his wife in Valencia, Bukidnon. These are the reasons why the IP Community leaders and the Surigao del Sur government turned down the request of Bayan Muna Representatives Eufemia Campos Cullamat and Carlos Isagani Zarate and their affiliate militant group, Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) to pullout the military in Lianga citing that Whole of Nation approach requires the military to secure the government agencies and the people who are subjects to harassments by the CNTs. “As we pray for our loved ones’ souls, let us not forget the souls of our fallen heroes and most especially, of the victims of the Communist NPA Terrorists  who are not yet in peace because they still cry for JUSTICE,” Lieutenant Colonel Joey B Baybayan, 3SFBn Commanding Officer, said. “The JUSTICE we can give them is to end the bloody local communist armed conflict and the CPP/NPA terrorist members and leaders be punished according to the rule of law for their countless murders that brought horror and shame to the Filipino nation,” LTC Baybayan ended.

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Caraga tops index crime solution for 3rd quarter of 2019

November 5, 2019

Camp Col Rafael C Rodriguez, Butuan City - Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 topped among the 17 police regional offices nationwide in index crime solved during the 3rd quarter of 2019. PRO13 had the highest index crimes solved at 63.33% followed by the National Capital Region Police Office with 62.53% as second and PRO3 with 58.13% as third. Police Regional Office 13 Director Police Brigadier General Joselito T Esquivel Jr.,  said that based on the data gathered by the office of Regional Investigative Detective Management Division (RIDMD13), 418 cases of murder, homicide, physical injuries, rape, robbery, theft,  motorcycle theft and cattle rustling were reported and recorded from July to September 2019. Of the 418 reported crimes regionwide, 260 cases have been solved while 324 crimes have been cleared. Police Provincial Office (PPO) of Dinagat Islands topped among other PPOs and Butuan City Police Office of PRO13 on index crime solved with 16 cases cleared and 16 cases solved out of the 17 reported crimes for the same period. “This is a result of collaborative efforts of the PNP, other law enforcement agencies and all stakeholders with the active support of the community,” Esquivel, Jr said. “Rest assured that the fight against criminality and threats will be strengthened. We will continue our anti-criminality campaign as well as our crime-solving efforts to improve the peace and order and ensure the safety and security of all Caraganons,” he added.

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Indigenous People, Army celebrate 22nd IPRA Anniversary in Surigao Sur

November 4, 2019

Bancasi, Butuan City – The National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP) of Surigao del Sur (SDS) in partnership with the Provincial Government of Surigao del Sur celebrated on October 29, 2019, the 22nd Indigenous People Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997 and the 2nd IP Day Celebration of Surigao del Sur with a theme “Strengthening Future Leadership and Management of Ancestral Domains: Entrusting the IP Youths” held at Tandag City Gym, Brgy Bongtud, Tandag City of said province. In support to the IP’s role in the pursuit of peace and development in Caraga region, the Brigade Commander of the 402nd Infantry Brigade, Col Maurito L Licudine, graced the momentous event together with Provincial Director of Police Provincial Office (PPO) of SDS, PCol James P Gofort. More or less two-thousand (2,000) IPs from the different Tribal Communities of the municipalities/cities of the province attended the 2nd year celebration spearheaded by no less than the Regional Director (RD) of NCIP Caraga, Mr Ferdausi S Cerna, the SDS Provincial IP Mandatory Representative (IPMR), Hon Jimmy I Guinsod, and Datu Cesar Bat-ao, the Provincial Tribal Chieftain together with other local agency representatives. The festivities started with a grand parade of all tribal communities around the City followed by an IP ritual at the gym highlighted by the presentation of NCIP SDS and IPMR Accomplishment Report. RD Cerna in his speech said, “The 22nd year of IPRA celebration is not a celebration but more of a challenge. Challenge for the IPs to move forward despite the threats from the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) and greedy investors. Through EO70, where basic services are surely to be rendered, I am sure we can win this war against insurgency. As what Sun Tzu have said, that the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting, and this is what we are doing now”.   Meanwhile, Col Licudine in his message highlighted the significance of the government interventions that empowered IPs such as the institutionalization of the IP Structure, designation of IP Mandatory Representatives and the implementation of priority programs of PRRD that are already in the pipeline to include the special quota for IP enlistment to the regular force of the Philippine Army. He said, “We congratulate the whole the IP community of SDS for celebrating 22nd IPRA Anniversary. After 22yrs of IPRA existence, however, many IPs still remain marginalize and isolated. This is because IPs have been exploited and controlled by the CTG for so long. They wanted the IPs to remain in poverty, without education and neglected so that they can continue to exploit the issues at the expense of the tribal communities. “The CNTs are the obstacle of the IPs progress! They capitalized on destroying traditional leadership that IPs built, separate families and make the tribes fight each other. Hence, I call on all IP leaders and its members to unite and overcome this ploy of the CNTs and together let us end insurgency, resolve our internal rift and do not surrender your aspiration to pursue peace and development for your communities. Rest assured, you have the 100 percent commitment and support of the Army”, Col Licudine ended.  

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13 more SurSur barangays condemn NPAs

October 31, 2019

BAYUGAN CITY, Agusan Del Sur – All 13 barangays of the municipality of San Agustin, Surigao del Sur declared the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) persona non-grata through resolutions citing the collection of revolutionary taxes, hostage takings, harassments and killings of innocent and defenseless civilians as primary reasons for their decision to condemn the CNTs. The declaration is officially made public by the 3rd Special Forces “Arrowhead” Battalion (3SFBn) today in barangay Noli, Bayugan City. Lieutenant Colonel Joey B Baybayan INF (GSC) PA, 3SFBn Commanding Officer, expressed his gratitude to the Local Government Unit (LGU) of San Agustin under the leadership of Mayor Libertad Alameda for their courageous stand against the NPAs. “This San Agustin LGUs declaration is a courageous move and a concrete manifestation of their all-out support to the country’s Whole-Of-Nation Approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. Not all local leaders have the guts to do this in some parts of the country,” LTC Baybayan said. The 3SFBn warns the public to be more vigilant because the remaining NPAs have no other means to gain support but to intimidate and terrorize the IP communities, local leaders, investors and residents from far-flung areas, liquidation of personnel and destruction of government properties such as burning construction equipment to delay the government’s developmental projects just to show that they still exist. “These terrorists are desperate now because they have nothing left but their deception-based propaganda, their failed and useless ideology, their firearms and explosives intended to sow fear to the defenseless. Help us locate them through all forms of communication, “LTC Baybayan added. Meanwhile, an unarmed and off-duty CAA Pablo Omblero was executed by the alleged NPAs last October 27 in Valencia City, Bukidnon, a concrete proof of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violation and another clear reason for all Filipinos and the international community to condemn the CNTs.

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1,500 PNP Caraga ready for additional deployment for UNDAS 2019

October 25, 2019

Camp Col Rafael C Rodriguez, Butuan City-----Aside from continuous conduct of strengthened police checkpoints of every Municipal Police Stations (MPS), City Police Stations (CPS) and mobile forces, Police Regional Office (PRO) 13 will deploy additional 1,500 police personnel to cemeteries, churches, ports, bus terminals, malls, and other places of convergence to secure the observance of All Souls’ and All Saints’ Days. Additional police personnel will be conducting mobile patrol, foot patrol, police presence and will be manning Police Assistance Desks established in cemeteries and Motorist Assistance Centers in the different areas in Caraga region. The EOD and K9 Teams will also be deployed to strategic areas where heavy influx of people is expected. Police Brigadier General Joselito T Esquivel, Jr, PRO13 Director, disclosed that police operations will be intensified before, during and after the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days to ensure peace and order and public safety during the season. “There is a need to intensify security and public safety operations to secure the region from any form of criminality and terroristic activities. I assure the people of Caraga that we have enough resources and contingency plans are ready to be implemented in case of eventualities,” said PBGEN Esquivel, Jr.  

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