northern mindanao

Villanueva to pursue peace despite breakdown of talks

August 25, 2017

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Despite the breakdown of negotiations between the government and the Communist rebels, the newly installed commanding general of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) remains optimistic that the conflict in Mindanao will end as he vowed to pursue peace during his term. “We will seek for peace because that’s what our government and the people want. If peace is elusive, we still seek for [it],” said Major General Ronald Villanueva. Villanueva, who headed the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), replaced Major General Benjamin Madrigal Jr. as the 4ID commander, who was reassigned as the chief of the Southern Luzon Command. Lieutenant General Glorioso Miranda, the commanding general of the Philippine Army, graced the turn-over of command ceremony. The task to achieving peace may be daunting for the new 4ID leader, but Villanueva said he will work to attain it since “we don’t want war because we are all Filipinos.” The 4ID area of responsibility covers the Northern Mindanao and Caraga regions where the New People’s Army (NPA) has a strong presence. Villanueva said he will also continue the programs that Madrigal had started. “I’ll just have to follow it. All existing directives, policies will remain in effect until we see the need to replace it,” he added. During his 17-month term, Madrigal has “achieved numerous breakthrough results,” according to Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, the 4ID spokesperson. With Madrigal’s leadership, a total of 239 NPA members had either surrendered, captured, or killed during combat operations. Some 243 assorted firearms and 125 improvised explosive devices were also recovered from the enemies. With the cooperation of law enforcement agencies, the 4ID during Madrigal’s time was able to help in the arrest of 140 suspected drug personalities, and confiscation of different types of illegal substances, particularly marijuana and shabu(crystal meth), with an estimated market value of P41 million. The outgoing 4ID commander was also the proponent of the Bayanihan Oversight and Advisory Committee (BOAC), a “whole-of-government” approach where everybody is empowered and focused on addressing the concerns in conflict-affected areas. BOAC is the venue for all concerned agencies to direct and focus their programs for the people with the same targets and timelines. It is composed of different local chief executives, agency heads, local leaders, Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is established in almost all towns and cities in Caraga and Northern Mindanao. Madrigal also managed to bring the 4ID to greater heights as it achieved the fourth and final stage of the Army Governance Pathway, which is the “Institutionalized Status.” The Division, Martinez said, is the first Philippine Army major unit to have achieved such status with Gold Trailblazer award after passing the revalidation on June 5, 2017 at the Philippine Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Said award was given to the 4ID during Wednesday’s turn-over ceremony.

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Illegal drug buy bust in Misor nets police

August 25, 2017

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Law enforcers collared a police officer for alleged possession and peddling of illegal drugs during a “buy bust” operation in Tagolo-an, a coastal town of Misamis Oriental, Wednesday night, the police said Thursday. Police Chief Inspector Albert Tare, the police chief of Tagolo-an, identified the suspect as PO2 Arnold Almanzor, a police officer assigned in the sub-police station of Cugman in Cagayan De Oro City and a certain “Grace” who was with him at the time of his arrest. Tare said that the operatives recovered 10 sachets of “Shabu” (Methamphetamine Hydrochloride), an illegal drug known as the “poor man’s cocaine” that abound in the Philippines. According to Tare, the police has been hunting a certain “Yoyong” who was reportedly known as the “ pusher ” of illegal Shabu in the town. The law enforcers have no idea who “Yoyong” was because the informants could not describe even his face until the buy bust operation Wednesday night, Tare said. “We [police] only knew that Almanzor turned out to be the faceless “Yoyong” after he was arrested in his boarding house in Tagolo- an Wednesday night,” Tare said. Almanzor has denied the allegation and accused Tare’s group of putting the alleged illegal drugs in the pockets of his trousers Wednesday night. He said that he tried to prevent the lawmen who tried to force open the door of his boarding house because “I don’t know them.” Almanzor said that he has the issued firearms, but did not shoot because he has no idea who were the men outside the door. “First, we sent an asset to buy twice the illegal drugs from the suspect. When the transaction turned positive, we send a police officer to buy the illegal drugs from the suspect for the third time,” Tare said. He said that it was good that his partner prevented him from firing his gun, otherwise he would be killed by the operatives. For now, Almanzor has to answer the charges in court, Tare said.

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Ga: Iligan is still on high alert

August 25, 2017

CAGAYAN de Oro City--Iligan City is still on high alert as threats of terror attacks still prevail as the conflict between state forces and the ISIS-inspired Maute terror group in Marawi reached its third month, a ranking police officer said. Sr. Supt. Leony Roy Ga, the Iligan city police director, said law enforcers in his jurisdiction are still on high alert following the advisory from the Philippine National Police (PNP) high command. He said that while armed extremist fighters are still engaging the government forces in Marawi, there are reports of persons mingling with the evacuees and that’s the police are looking into. “We receive intelligence reports from time to time, and we have to verify their veracity. But just the same we remain on alert,” Ga said in an interview on the sidelines of the awarding ceremony held at the PNP-10 headquarters at Camp Vicente Alagar in Barangay Lapasan on Thursday. Ga and the Iligan city police office are both awardees of the PNP. Ga was adjudged as the Best Senior Police Commissioned Officer for Operations, while his office was awarded with the Best City Police Office. Ga said the awards were based on his performance last year, especially on their anti-drug campaign. The awarding ceremony was graced by Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario, the deputy chief PNP for Administration. He said the donation of 10 Vios patrol cars and 14 pick-up trucks from the local government had boosted the morale of that city’s police force owing to their all-out anti-crime operations. Ga said the patrol cars are being used for urban police visibility while the pick-up trucks for securing the city’s boundaries, it shared with Lanao del Norte and Misamis Oriental. With the influx of internally displaced persons from Marawi, he said the Iligan city police are always on the lookout for possible terrorists. He said everybody in Iligan, from the city government to the zone leaders, is coordinating with the PNP to thwart any plan to sabotage the peace and order situation there. “In light of the Marawi conflict, we are doubling our efforts. Even during the start of the Marawi crisis, we had already anticipated that the next target is Iligan,” he said.

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Pest Surveillance Officers train on Identification of Pests and Diseases in High Value Crops

August 25, 2017

To further equip the agricultural extension workers (AEWs) from the different local government units (LGUs) serving as pest surveillance officers for high value crops, the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 10 (DA-RFO 10) through its Plant Health Regulatory Services Section (PHRS) of the Regulatory Division staged a two-day Capability Training Workshop, on August 16-17, 2017, here in the city of Cagayan de Oro. Attended by twenty (20) AEWs throughout the region, the said capabuild targets to enhance the pest surveillance officers’ knowledge on monitoring and surveillance across farms being planted with high value crops to observe and record the incidence and severity of pests and diseases. In his message, Luisito S. Ofngol, senior agriculturist and PHRS chief explained that such undertaking will influence the region’s decision in coming up and implementing initiatives relative to pest and diseases prevention, eradication, management and information status updates. Course outline includes the Identification and Presentation of Pest and Diseases in Mango, Banana and Lanzones and Quarantinable Pests and Diseases. Prior to the discussions, a pre-test moving exam was conducted to gauge the existing learnings among the AEWs. # (JLOlson, DA-RFO 10)

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Livestock stakeholders encouraged to be GAHP certified

August 25, 2017

Cagayan de Oro City – Livestock raisers from the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental convened during a Livestock Stakeholders’Forum on August 18, 2017 through which they were encouraged to apply for Good Animal Husbandry Practices (GAHP) certification. This was spearheaded by the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division (AMAD) of the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office 10 (DA-RFO 10). On her message, Agribusiness Industry Support SectionChiefSonia E. Oliveros emphasized that GAHP certification will enable livestock raisers to compete with other agribusinesses since it sets out the standard quality of livestock products that meet the consumers’ expectation for safe and healthy food. “GAHP certification is already a trade language and more importantly, it gives assurance to our consumers that we are producing food that is safe for consumption,” Oliveros said. Accordingly, Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS) Regional Focal Person Arlene Culgue presented the scope, objectives and, compliances for GAHP certification. GAHP was established pursuant to the Republic Act No. 10611 also known as the Food Safety Act of 2003. The said forum was undertaken to provide participants the updates on the agency’s thrusts on the livestock industry, discuss issues and concerns, and raise suggestions and recommendations.

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Villanueva is new 4th ID commander

August 24, 2017

CAMP Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City--After seventeen months of leading the 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division, Philippine Army, Major General Benjamin R. Madrigal Jr. has finally turned over the command responsibility to Major General Ronald C. Villanueva during the change of command early yesterday at the 4ID headquarters. The ceremony was graced by the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, Lieutenant General Glorioso V. Miranda and was attended by the different Local Chief Executives, Tribal Chieftains, Regional Directors, and distinguished guests from Northern Mindanao and Caraga Regions. Looking at Madrigal’s term, the Division has achieved numerous breakthrough results. A total of 239 NPAs were either surrendered, captured, or died during the combat operations; recovered 243 assorted firearms and 125 Improvised Explosive Devices; arrested 140 drug personalities; and recovery of different types of illegal drugs with a total market value of P41 million during the support to law enforcement operations. He is the proponent of the Bayanihan Oversight and Advisory Committee (BOAC). This is a Whole-of-Government in action where everybody is empowered and focused on addressing the concerns in conflict-affected areas. Likewise, it is the venue for all concerned agencies to direct and focus their programs for the people with the same targets and timelines. It is composed of different local chief executives, agency heads, local leaders, PNP, and the AFP and it is established in almost all municipalities and cities in the two regions. All these efforts and achievements have paved way to the clearing of a total of 568 barangays in the two regions. Likewise, he was able to bring the Division to greater heights as it achieved the fourth and final stage of the Army Governance Pathway which is the Institutionalized Status. The 4ID is the first Philippine Army major unit to have achieved such status with a Gold Trailblazer award after passing the re-validation on June 5 this year at the Headquarters Philippine Army at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. The award was formally given by Lt. Gen. Miranda during yesterday’s ceremony. For his part, Villanueva is the Chief of the AFP’s Intelligence Service before seating as the 41st Commander of the 4ID. He is a well-decorated and well-rounded Army General which qualifies him to hold such position. His Command positions are the following: Company Commander under the 53rd Infantry Battlation in 1987; Commanding Officer of the 28th Infantry Battalion in 2003 and later lead the 26th Infantry Battalion until 2005; and Commander of 1002nd Infantry Brigade stationed in Sarangani Province from 2014 to 2016. Villanueva’s strategic posts would later on take him to the Department of National Defense where he served as Group Commander of the Defense Intelligence and Security Group from 2007 until 2010 before orchestrating the affairs of the Counter Intelligence Division of the AFP’s OJ2 from 2010 to 2011. He has also served as head of the Faculty Department of the AFPCGSC in 2012. Earning the distinction of having delved in many military disciplines and mastering them all, he became Chiefs of Staff of both the 4th and 7th Infantry Divisions from 2012 to 2014. Villanueva is a proud Mindanaon who has been tested by years of experience and right schooling both in Military Schools and Civilian Academic Institutions. He is a Scout Ranger, a combat diver, an expert marksman, an Infantry and Intelligence Officer with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Xavier University, a Master’s Degree in National Security from the National Defense College of the Philippines and a Diploma in International Development and Security from the Development Academy of the Philippines. The two men of the hour are both members of the Philippine Military Academy “Sandiwa” Class of 1985.

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