5 ASG fighters slain in encounter with Marines

Image may contain: 2 people, text

Zamboanga City – Five members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed, while several  others were believed wounded, in  an encounter with  government troops in a secluded sitio of Panamao town in  Sulu province  at dawn, Sunday.

Joint Task Force-Sulu Commander Brig. Gen.  Cirilito Sobejana said yesterday government troops under the Marine Battalion Landing Team 3, encountered an estimated 30 ASG members in Sitio Bud Bawis, Panamao, Sulu at 4:15 am, Sunday.

Fighting ended as morning broke at the encounter site with soldiers discovering the bodies of the four slain ASG fighters. An M14 rifle was also recovered.

“We have information from witnesses that another bandit died while the Abus were withdrawing. They also saw the group carrying and helping a number of wounded companions,” the commander of the JTF-Sulu said.

Sobejana continued:  “Our soldiers are still searching the immediate vicinity while the bulk of our troops are tracking the group of Bensio and Binda.”

The Marines were conducting operations Saturday night after receiving information that the group of ASG sub-leaders Sansibar Bensio and Habib Munap Binda, together with some kidnap victims, were in the area.

“Our troops were very careful because  of the report  that  there were kidnap victims with the Abus but upon reaching at the vicinity, our troops were immediately fired upon by the enemy, resulting to an exchange of gun fires,” Sobejana said.

DND-AFP opens its heart on Valentines Day, makes Congresswoman Roman, Philippines’ First Transgender Military officer

Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City – On Valentine’s Day, a historic event for gender equality is transpiring at the Department of National Defense (DND) and in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as it will be commissioning its first transgender military officer. Congresswoman Geraldine Roman of Bataan, the country’s first transgender national legislator, applied to join the AFP Reserve Force last 2017 and will be having her Donning of Ranks Ceremony today to be led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

She will be getting the reservist rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Philippine Army.

“War and disaster does not recognize gender, it affects everybody, and everyone must defend themselves, their families, their communities, and our country, that is why I am joining the AFP Reserve Force. We are very lucky to have a Strongman Leader and a snappy AFP Commander-in-Chief right now in the person of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and I was also inspired when I saw Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte as a reservist Colonel in the AFP Reserve Force. Today, Valentine’s Day, I thank Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP Chief of Staff- General Rey Leonardo Guerrero, for opening the hearts of the country’s military organization, to me. I am the country’s first transgender Congresswoman, and today, I am also fortunate to become the country’s first transgender military officer. I dedicate this military rank to my constituents in Bataan, to my fellow LGBTs across the archipelago, and to millions of our countrymen who aspire to transform themselves into something better and to become servant-leaders & defenders of their community and of our country.” Congresswoman Roman said.

She will be commissioned in the AFP Reserve Force together with Congressman Edwin Ong (Northern Samar) and Congresswoman Divina Yu (Zamboanga Del Sur). For inquiries, Congresswoman Roman can be reached directly at her number: 0939-995-3649.

Bodies of 2 NPA members found after encounter with troops in Agusan del Sur, says Army

Image may contain: one or more people and text

Two members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army (CPP-NPA) were found dead in Agusan del Sur after an encounter with the Philippine Army over the weekend.

According to reports of the Philippine Army, one of the two fatalities was identified as Levi Amando Bangogan or “King,” commander of the Samahang Yunit Pangproganda Platoon and Guerilla Front 3. The other one, a woman, has yet to be identified.

The bodies were found in Barangay Sta Emelia, Veruela, Agusan del Sur after an encounter with the troops of the 26th Infantry Battalion on Saturday afternoon.

“It is clear that NPA terrorists are not mindful of their comrades, leaving their dead bodies during clashes with our government troops,” Colonel Andres Centino, commander of the 401Bde, said, in an emailed statement.

“The 26th Infantry Battalion and 401st Infantry Brigade will ensure that the dead bodies will be delivered to their respective families, even though the government considers the NPAs as terrorists. This is a gesture to show that Philippine Army respects Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law,” he added.

4th Infantry Division Commander Major General Ronald Villanueva urged the militants to surrender or face the same fate as their comrades.

“Either they can choose to suffer the same fate as their comrades recently experienced, whose bodies were left during the clash with the government forces or they can choose to feel and experience a new life away from the evils of Terrorism and its futile efforts by surrendering with the benefits of Comprehensive Integration Program (CLIP) from the government,” he said. — Jon Viktor D. Cabuenas/BM, GMA News

NPA killed and firearms recovered in Abra encounter

Aquino, Tarlac City – NOLCOM Army forces spearheaded by the 24th Infantry Battalion (24IB) of the 7th Infantry Division (7ID), Philippine Army,  encountered more or less ten (10) members Communist New People’s Army Terrorists Group (CNTG), with unknown leader, in Sitio Mabungtot, Ud-Udiao, Sal-Lapadan, Abra at around 7:30 in the morning of February 11, 2018 (Sunday).

The firefight ensued, while the troops were conducting Focused Military Operations (FMO), as a response to the reports provided by the residents of NPA terrorists’ presence in their locality. The skirmish, which lasted for about twenty-eight (28) minutes, resulted to the killing of one (1) NPA criminal killed and the recovery of a total of four (4) high-powered firearms consisting of three (3) M16 rifles, one (1) carbine rifle and an ICOM Radio. On the other hand, no casualty or loss was incurred by the government forces. Moreover, additional troops were sent to pursue the remaining NPA terrorists.

The successful support to law enforcement operation was a result of the local community’s support to get rid lawless elements from their community. NOLCOM Commander, LTGEN EMMANUEL B SALAMAT AFP, lauded the troops for the successful conduct of this military operation. Further, NOLCOM encourages the remnants of the Communist NPA Terrorist Group to return to the folds of the law, do away with the armed struggle and be able to contribute to nation-building.


Marijuana plantation discovered by NolCom troops in Kalinga

Camp Aquino, Tarlac City – A Marijuana plantation was discovered and destroyed by the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) troops, in tandem with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) in Kalinga, Province, at around 11:30 in the morning of February 11, 2018 (Sunday).

PDEA has coordinated with the 50th Infantry Battalion (50IB) of the 5th Infantry Division (5ID), Philippine Army in seizing the target area, which was located in the mountainous and isolated area of Mount Chumanchil in Barangay Loccong, Tinglayan, Kalinga. A Joint Operation was conducted between the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Regional Unit Office 2, PDEA Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Kalinga Provincial Police Office and Tinglayan Municipal Police Office, 50IB of the Philippine Army (PA) and the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Kalinga.

The Joint Operation of the AFP, PDEA and PNP resulted to the seizing of the marijuana plantation, which was estimated to be one hundred (100) square meter area. The marijuana plants, which stood more than six (6) feet in height and ready for harvest, were subsequently uprooted by the authorities. Moreover, marijuana seedlings were also discovered within the plantation area.

 NOLCOM will continue to provide support to Law Enforcement Operations with other agencies, in curtailing criminality and illegal drugs, to further contribute to national peace and development efforts of the Philippine Government.

Navy holds Basic Military Training to new SCAA members

NFWM, Zamboanga City – The Naval Forces Western Mindanao through the 1st Western Mindanao SCAA Squadron (1st WMSS) convened a Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) Basic Military Training (BMT) CY 2018 to newly recruited SCAA members at NY Compound, Sinunuc, Zamboanga City on Wednesday, February 7, 2018.

The Opening Ceremony was attended by the Commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao, Rear Admiral Rene V Medina AFP as the Guest Speaker with the Deputy Commander for Marine Operations, Col. Hernanie S Songano PN (M)(GSC) and Commander of 1st Western Mindanao SCAA Squadron, Lt. Col. Noel R Precioso PN(M).

Composed of 196 individuals from different fishing companies of SOPHIL, BMT Class 2018 will undergo 10 days training to learn the basic military doctrine and policies. It is to equip them with knowledge and skills essential in the performance of their role as the Navy’s partner in maintaining  peace and stability in waters surrounding Western Mindanao.

Prior the said training of new members of SCAA, NAVFORWEM conducted refresher training for other SCAA members last 23-27 January. This training was initiated to continuously improve their capabilities and individual abilities to counteract attempt of piracy and seajacking.

Under the direct control of NAVFORWEM, SCAA plays a significant role in accomplishing the command’s mission. By putting eyes and ears on different ships and through cooperation of fishing companies in the SCAA program, NAVFORWEM captured Omar Amping, the fourth most wanted person in Zamboanga City, together with five others believed to be ASG members last 20 November 2017 off the vicinity of Bolod Island, Tonquil, Sulu.

Knowing that this program helps the Navy perform its mandate in Western Mindanao not only in operational but also in administrative, NAVFORWEM convened this BMT Class 2018. “Initial military training is an intensive resident programme normally lasting several weeks or months, which aims to teach the new recruits or applicants the social norms and essential tasks of the armed forces. The main purpose of this training is not to impose fear nor is it there for you to be battered into purple mesh. But it is to break your old self and mold you into a better person, a person with values and principles, a person with hope and vision.” Rear Admiral Medina said.

Through this effort, NAVFORWEM aims to completely eradicate or at least lessen the number of seajacking and other lawless acts in the region. It is in order to provide a safe sea for commerce, trade and peaceful living.