(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 14 November, 2019) Today, the center of Tropical Storm "RAMON" was estimated at 365 km East of Legazpi City,Albay (13.4N,127.1E), with maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 80 km/h. It is moving West Northwest at 10 km/h. Mindanao will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers due to Localized Thunderstorms. Light to moderate winds from Northwest to Southwest with slight to moderate seas. PAGASA/jpf

Thursday, October 17, 2019


Agusan Norte creates task force to end communist armed conflict

By Nora L. Molde

BUTUAN CITY, Oct. 17 (PIA) -- To ensure coherence in the realization of Executive Order Number (EO) 70,  series 2018, or the whole-of-nation approach in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace, the province of Agusan del Norte has created the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC) and its Executive Committee during the recent joint Provincial Development Council (PDC) and Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting held in this city.

Agusan del Norte Governor Dale Corvera said the creation of the task force will help the province in solving insurgency because peace and development can only be obtained if  the insurgency problem in the area is solved.

“There can be no development without peace, and there can be no peace without development. United effort is needed to solve insurgency,” Corvera said.

The mayors of the different municipalities and city have expressed their hundred percent support in the implementation of the EO 70 in ending local communist armed conflict in their area of responsibilities. Most of the municipalities have already organized and others are on the process of creating their municipal team in implementing the EO70.

Also, as a support to the task force, Provincial Police Office of Agusan del Norte provincial director Police Col. Ramir Perlito Perlas said that a 24-hour PNP personnel-manned check points are operating in the different areas of the province to ensure and maintain peace and order situation in the area.

Deputy brigade commander of 402IB Philippine Army Colonel Cerilo Balaoro also said that from January to October 10, 2019, they were able to neutralize 898 CNTs (NPA-54; Militia ng Bayan-130; Underground Movement Organization (UGMO) Members-714) that include 896 who surrendered, one killed and one being captured.

First district representative Ma. Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba is positive that with the concerted efforts of the Agusanons, the implementation of EO 70 will pave the way for a lasting peace where areas and vulnerable communities in the province will be accorded priority through the delivery of basic services, social development packages and infrastructure projects.

The Agusan del Norte task force was created through a Joint PDC-PPOC Resolution No. 2019-1.

It will be chaired by provincial governor Dale Corvera with the following members: Congressional representatives (1st district and 2nd district), all local chief executives, all department heads, provincial planning and development officer, SP member – chair of the peace and order committee, DILG provincial director, PNP provincial director, PDEA provincial director, 23rd and 29th IB Philippine Army battalion commanders, PSWD officer, provincial prosecutor, PIA provincial information officer, NBI director, DTI provincial director, DAR provincial agrarian reform officer, DENR PENRO, NCIP provincial director, DepEd schools division superintended, CHR regional director, PAO prosecutor, OPAPP area manager, TESDA provincial director, DPWH district engineer, Provincial health Officer, BFAR provincial  director, DOST provincial director, DOLE provincial director, CHED regional director, LTO provincial director, DA provincial officer, and civil society organization representatives.

Meanwhile, to ensure speedy action of the immediate concerns relative to the roles and responsibilities of the task force, an Executive Committee of the PTF-ELCAC was also created chaired by governor Corvera; vice chaired by vice governor Ramon A.G. Bungabong; DILG Agusan del Norte provincial director Ellen Vee Chua and Provincial Planning and Development Officer Rofel Cabaltera comprising the secretariat, with members from the 12 PTF-ELCAC cluster leads, indigenous peoples mandatory representatives (IPMRs), SP Peace and Order Committee chairperson, and League of Municipalities of the Philippines president. (NCLM/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Modern PUV caravan goes to Tandag City

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur, Oct. 17 -- Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Caraga regional director Maria Kristina Cassion and her team organized and led the second leg of the Public Utility Vehicle (PUV) Modernization Caravan in the region at the Tandag City Gymnasium on Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

The event was attended by Surigao del Sur governor Alexander Pimentel and Tandag City mayor Roxanne Pimentel who rallied behind the program and delivered messages expressing strong support to the program.

Gov. Pimentel told cooperative members it would be hard to modernize their fleet individually with the current cost of modern vehicles, but through the cooperative, it would not be too much of a burden especially with the loan assistance and subsidy program of the national government.

Meanwhile, mayor Pimentel said the local government unit (LGU) fully supports this program of the Duterte’s Administration and assured cooperative members they will provide assistance to the affected operators.

A motorcade around the event area showcasing the various modern PUV-compliant units signaled the start of the program and was followed by a short program with presentations by key national government agency partners discussing the significant details of the PUV Modernization Program (MP) such as consolidation of franchises, fleet management, subsidy, and loans.

It was also announced that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in the Region has already consolidated seven routes under various transport service cooperatives (TSC). 

The cooperative members, operators, and drivers also participated in the open forum to share and clarify their concerns on the PUVMP. Some 300 participants including the members of seven cooperatives from Surigao del Sur province have attended the event which was part of the information campaign and communication component of the PUVMP.

The activity was anchored on the theme, “Modern PUV Caravan: Arangkada ng Pagbabago Tungo sa Kaunlaran,” as it is part of the government’s efforts to engage stakeholders across the country to support the program that aims to modernize PUV in the country.

Representatives from key national government agency partners were also present such as the Office of Transportation Cooperatives (OTC), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Landbank of the Philippines (LBP).

The PUV Modernization Program is the flagship non-infrastructure project of the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte with the goal of providing a comfortable life for all Filipinos through a safe, reliable, convenient, affordable and environmentally-sustainable transportation system in the country. (LTFRB-Caraga/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

IP to Cullamat: Will genuine peace prevail or another scheme to play?

By 1Lt. Krisjuper Andreo Punsalan

"Together, let us end insurgency and commit to peace." 

This is the call of the indigenous peoples (IP) community to representative Eufemia “Ka Femia” Campos Cullamat of Bayan Muna who invited the IP mandatory representative (MR), Philippine Army and Surigao del Sur provincial government in a peace dialogue on October 21 at Sitio Simuwao (Kilometer 9), Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

The last dialogue conducted with the militant group Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) was aimed at convincing Governor Alexander Pimentel to pull-out the community support teams (CSTs) of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion (3SFBn) citing the rehash false and malicious accusations against the Army personnel who religiously work to attain sustainable peace in the Km. 9 IP community.

They also threatened the governor to stage their usual scripted “Taktikang Bakwit” to hamper the whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict in the geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas (GIDAs) and conflict-affected areas (ConAAs) in Andap Valley Complex.

“We greatly hope that this dialogue will be about peace and reflect their sincere support to end local communist armed conflict in the area, not the other way around. It is our fervent prayer that they will not make any scene to trigger any conflict and chaos to discredit our peace and development efforts in the community because we are sincere in what we do for the community. It is also our hope that representative Cullamat will support our community support program or CSP; the aim of the President [Duterte]; and vocally stand firm in condemning the Communist NPA Terrorists," said Hawudon Jumar Bucales, IPMR of Lianga.

This is a test of Cullamat’s genuineness to end the local communist armed conflict. Despite being the sister of a communist NPA terrorist (CNT) leader, Pablito Sinzo Campos alias "Batik," front secretary of GF 21A who was captured by the 3SFBn last 2018 with his M4 rifle, a grenade and subversive documents, should prove and show to the people that being a government official, blood is not thicker than water because the rule of law must always prevail.

Another sister of Cullamat is Bae Gloria Campos Tumalon, chair of Katribo Mo, a non-government organization (NGO) that promotes communist principles as revealed in the statement of Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., Armed Forces of the Philippines deputy chief-of-staff for civil-military operations.

Peace dialogues should make ends meet. It must promote reconciliation, synergy, convergence, and cooperation among the government and the community to harmoniously resolve basic social delivery services issues used by the CNTs to agitate, organize and mobilize the affected IP community to turn them into rebels.

“Let’s see what happens on October 21, if their peace dialogue invitation is aimed at supporting the peace initiatives of the government and the IP community or just a mere scenario to discredit the whole-of-nation approach to end the insurgency. If they create a scene to hamper the peace efforts of our government, then she is really not for peace. Her own actions and attitude on that event will define her. Deception and commitment to peace are two different things,” Bucales said. (3SFBn-CMO/PIA-Surigao del Sur)


CNT leadership crumbles in Surigao Sur

By 1Lt Jonald Romorosa

TAGO, Surigao del Sur, Oct. 17 -- The Communist New People’s Army (NPA) Terrorist (CNT) leadership is crumbling down in Surigao del Sur as CNT leaders and supporters surrendered to Army’s 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion (36IB) at the battalion headquarters in Barangay Dayoan, Tago of this province.

A former mess officer of Sentro de Grabidad (SDG) Platoon, Guerilla Front (GF) 30 alias Justine and his wife, a mass supporter, voluntarily surrendered to 36IB on October 2, 2019. They brought along with them one KG9, an empty magazine, and a hand grenade.

On October 3, 2019, another two NPA leaders identified as alias Julian/Ronnie, a commanding officer of Platoon 8, Weakened Guerilla Front 19 (WFG 19), North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) and Libra/Marquez, team leader Abe, Squad 2, Sub-Region Sentro de Grabidad (SRSDG) Platoon 2, Sub-Regional Committee (SRC) 1419, NEMRC, and a civilian from Carromata, San Miguel and an active Milisya ng Bayan (MB) member voluntarily surrendered to 36IB commander Lt. Col. Xerxes Trinidad.

Alias Julian/Ronnie brought along with him one M16 rifle and a magazine with 13 ammunition. He revealed that he decided to surrender due to distrust in their organization's leadership and integrity, and that most of them are already surrendering to the government.

He said they have experienced hardship inside the communist movement and the lost struggle of his fellow "tribu" who were deceived by the CPP-NPA and were fighting for a lost cause.

It can be recalled that alias Hasan, a former squad leader of Squad Uno, Platoon 8, GF 19 NEMRC also surrendered to this unit last January 1, 2019 and has already received the assistance through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) as the government’s intervention package for former rebels. The CNTs have learned the genuine offer of the government towards achieving peace in their communities.

Lt. Trinidad said that “the series of surrender among the communist terrorist group (CTG)  to the government is a clear manifestation that they are crumbling down and will soon become irrelevant to the peace-loving community of Surigao del Sur. The government’s thrust for genuine peace has awakened not just the community but also the regular members of the CNTs to include their ground leaders who were deceived by the CPP-NPA and were blinded by false ideologies."

The surrenderers will be processed and validated for enrollment to the E-CLIP, the government intervention package for former rebels. (CMO, 36IB/PIA-Surigao del Sur)

DOH Caraga advises DepEd to lift deworming MDA in Surigao Norte

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Oct. 17 -- The Department of Health (DOH) Caraga finally recommends lifting of suspension of deworming activities in Surigao del Norte following the findings of the investigation and examination from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Crime Laboratory received on October 10, 2019 where results revealed that deworming drug did not cause an untoward demise.

It was on July 26, 2019 when DOH Caraga issued an advisory to the Department of Education (DepEd) Caraga to suspend all the deworming Mass Drug Administration (MDA) in Surigao del Norte due to the alleged death of a young girl in one of the schools in the province.

“The histopathological and toxicological examinations disclosed that the patient died of natural death. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration – Davao Office also stated that the deworming drug samples sent to them were free of any contaminants and has passed the assessment. With these developments, we advise DepEd Caraga to continue deworming our students in Surigao del Norte,” said DOG Caraga regional director Jose Llacuna, Jr.
DOH Caraga through its Provincial DOH Office in Surigao del Norte has also provided feedback and assistance to the affected family while contracting their consent to release the results and findings following the child’s autopsy.

“We strongly reiterate to the public the agency’s nationwide drive to eliminate intestinal parasitism which is detrimental to our child’s growth and development. We urge parents and the community to let us help your children by providing necessary health services to combat the burden of the worms, and this is through deworming,” Lacuna said.

The National Deworming MDA is a simultaneous activity by the DOH together with its partners in schools and the local government units (LGUs) to deworm preschool and school-aged children to improve their health and nutrition. (DOH Caraga/PIA-Surigao del Norte)

CNTs torch construction equipment in Surigao del Norte anew

SURIGAO CITY, Surigao del Norte, Oct. 17 -- The Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) Terrorists or CNTs start again its extortion-arson antics as they burned one backhoe loader and strafed the equipment of CTB Construction at its stock area at Barangay Campo, Bacuag, Surigao del Norte morning of October 14, 2019.

Around seven CNTs led by spouses Alberto CastaƱeda alias JD and his party wife alias Menchie of Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda (SYP) 16C2, Guerilla Front (GF) 16, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), perpetrated said atrocity.

CTB Construction was conducting road widening works at Bacuag-Gigaquit road stretch in line with the Build, Build, Build Program of the national government.

After the incident, the CNTs withdrew towards the west direction. Troops of 30th Infantry "Python" Battalion (30IB) immediately proceeded to the crime scene that resulted in an encounter that lasted for about five minutes. No casualty was reported on the government side while undetermined from the enemy side.


Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey A. Villarosa, the commanding officer of 30IB said the incident was a clear manifestation of the CNTs gross disregard for the safety of civilians and affront to development. He added that the equipment they burned are not military targets and are not in any way involved in any armed conflict.

Villarosa said that it was just fortunate that no construction workers and civilians from the nearby houses were hit by CNTs indiscriminate firing. This shows that they will sabotage and even murder and abduct innocent civilians in order to extort regardless of the damage they inflict to the community, added Villarosa.

"To our peace-loving Surigaonons, your AFP and PNP will always work to support our local government units and national line agencies as they provide their services especially in our Peace and Development Zone in SALASICAM (Brgy. Sapa of Claver and Barangays Lahi, Sico-sico and Camam-onan, all of Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte). Continue to extend your cooperation with us and finally end the destruction of the CNTs,” Villarosa said.

Meanwhile, BGen. Maurito L. Licudine, commander of 402nd Infantry Brigade, deplored the CNTs’ continuing atrocities that hamper the peace and development of the communities. "The CNTs use terror and threat as their way to control people. Let us not faint on these treacherous tactics and instead bring these terrorists to justice," said Licudine. (30IB/402nd Brigade/PIA-Surigao del Norte)