(PAGASA 24-HOUR PUBLIC WEATHER FORECAST as of Thursday, 22 October, 2020) At 3:00 AM today, the center of Severe Tropical Storm "PEPITO" {SAUDEL} was estimated based on all available data at 380 km West of Dagupan City, Pangasinan (16.3°N, 116.8°E) with maximum sustained winds of 100 km/h near the center and gustiness of up to 125 km/h. It is moving West Northwestward at 10 km/h. Mindanao will have partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers or thunderstorms due to localized thunderstorm. Light to moderate winds from southwest to south and the coastal waters will be slight to moderate.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Members, mass supporters abandon NPA terrorist movement in AgSur

By Major Francisco Garello, Jr.

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 21 – Twenty-nine (29) Communist Party of the Philippines -New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) terrorist members, 80 Milisya ng Bayan (MBs) members, and 212 mass supporters have abandoned the CPP-NPA Terrorist (CNT) movement in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur during the Peace Rally and Mass Withdrawal of support Ceremony on September 15, 2020 held at the Esperanza National High School Gymnasium, Barangay Poblacion, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur.

The former NPA members and the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) supporters have openly denounced through a march protest rally, the atrocities and continuous exploitation of the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) of their communities. They expressed their sentiments against the CTG’s deception method and the continuous hardship they have brought to them.

A total of 321 members and supporters of the CTG composed of 29 regular NPA members, 80 Milisya ng Bayan members, 12 supporters, 151 mass organization members, 23 contacts, and 26 couriers, all residents of Esperanza town have pledged allegiance to the government and vowed to eradicate the influence of the CTG in their communities.

Guerilla Front (GF) 88, GF89 and GF4B of North Central Mindanao Regional Command (NCMRC) are the CTGs conducting agitation, organizing and recruitment in the said municipality to include extortion and threat.

Since January 2020, a total of 607 CNTs were already neutralized (killed, apprehended or surrendered) thru combat operations, joint law enforcement operations and the Community Support Program of the government.  

The Municipal Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict spearheaded by Mayor Leonida Manpatilan through the efforts of the Community Support Teams (CSTs) of the 26th Infantry (Ever Onward) Battalion under the operational control of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade (402nd) facilitated the Signing of Manifesto entitled “Manipesto sa Among Pagbugto sa Pagka-miyembro sa Kalihukan sa CPP-NPA-NDF Organisasyong Masa ug Militar.”

Mayor Manpatilan lamented the continuous threat brought about by the CNTs who sow fear by killing innocent civilians who refuse to support their movement in order to maintain control and influence in the communities. She also commended the courage and bravery of her constituents for coming back to the folds of the law and have now become peace partners of the government.

Fifteen members received financial assistance worth Php15,000.00 each from the LGU of Esperanza while the rest will still undergo validation.

Meanwhile, Brigadier General Maurito Licudine, 402nd Brigade Commander, said the shift of support of the former members of the CNTs and its mass supporters were already anticipated due to the strong advocacy of the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Esperanza led by their Municipal Mayor in facilitating the Whole of Nation Approach convergence to address the insurgency problem in their municipality.

“Local Chief Executives need to rise up and be the voice of their people in addressing this menace plaguing our communities for several decades. We are fortunate that Mayor Manpatilan and Vice Mayor Siohan together with their Sangguniang Members have joined hands with the security sector and recognized that only in an environment of peace that use can realize peaceful and progressive communities,” BGen. Licudine said.

“We call on the other Local Chief Executives to strengthen their resolve to fight these terrorists. Much is expected from our local leaders as they are the key element in leading their respective constituents in driving away the communist terrorist from their communities. Together let’s fight these pests who hamper the socio-economic development potentials of communities for the past decades,” added Licudine.

BGen. Licudine also encouraged remaining members of the CTG to surrender and avail the E-CLIP that can provide opportunities for them to start a new life.

Also in attendance in full support to the activity of the MTF ELCAC were Governor Santiago Cane, Jr., Lt. Col. Reynald Romel A Goce, 26IB commanding officer, and Datu Carlos “Balubaguio” Otacan, the Municipal IP Mandatory Representative of EADS. (CMO, 402nd Brigade)

Army finds CNT hideout in Agnor; seizes ammos, supplies

By 1Lt. Roel T. Maglalang

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, Sept. 21 -- Troopers of the 23rd Infantry  (Masigasig) Battalion (23rd IB), Philippine Army discovered a Communist New People’s Army Terrorists' (CNTs') hideout in the hinterlands of Barangay Amparo, Butuan City on the evening of September 17, 2020 after conducting a follow-up operation based on the information provided by Alias DANSOY/KEVIN, the Political Instructor (PI) of Sentro De Gravidad CAOCAO, Guerilla Front-4A, North Central Mindanao Regional Command.

It can be recalled that Alias DANSOY/KEVIN surrendered to 23rd IB on the same date. The discovered hideout has an estimated land area of three hundred square meters (300m2) which can accommodate more or less 28 persons. It was abandoned a few hours prior to discovery.

Seized from the said hideout were one Motorcycle (SKYGO), 314 rounds of live ammunition of Ctg Cal .30, Carbine; 54 rounds of live ammunition of Ctg 5.56mm, M16 Rifle; four rounds of live ammunition of Ctg 7.62mm, M14 Rifle, one long magazine for M16 Rifle; one short magazine for M16 Rifle; three Short Magazines for Cal .30, Carbine, one round of live ammunition of Ctg 40mm, HE M203 GL, one short magazine for cal. .30, Carbine; six blasting caps; one handheld radio (Baofeng), three batteries for handheld radio (Baofeng); one charger for handheld radio (Baofeng); three antennas for handheld radio (Baofeng); three USB connectors; 17 pieces sim cards; two memory adaptors; two chargers for cellular phone; one rubber duck; three civilian bag packs; one jungle hammock; five tents; assorted medical supplies; assorted clothing; one-half (½) sack of rice; and subversive documents.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, Commander of 23IB expressed gratitude to the former rebel (FR) who provided the positive information to the unit.

“Through the active cooperation of the FR who recently surrendered to our unit, we have located the CNT hideout and probably foil their hostile plans in the community. We now have two best reliable sources of positive information -- the weary civilian populace and the FRs,” Paulo said.

He also emphasized that the CNTs no longer have a place to hide as the civilians are now are showing their full support to the government particularly to the Army and the police.

“No matter where these CNTs will hide, we will still locate them and we will continue to pursue them because we know that they are just around the area,” Paulo said.

He again urged the remaining and tired CNT members in Agusan del Norte to listen to the call of the government and take hold of the opportunity being offered to them.

“Come down, lay down your arms, and avail of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) of the government. But, if you will not heed to our call, then we will never hesitate to use our force to neutralize you for the benefit of the Filipino people who longed to live peacefully,” Paulo said. (CMO Officer, 23IB, 4ID, PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

Head of AgNor's 'Milisya ng Bayan' yields to Army

By 1Lt. Roel T. Maglalang

BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, Sept. 21 -- The head of the Sangay ng Partido sa Lokalidad (SPL) and Milisya  ng Bayan (MB) in Agusan del Norte surrendered to the troops of the 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion (23rd IB), Philippine Army on September 16, 2020, at around 9:50am.

The MB head identified as “Rico," 28,  was operating in Barangay Durian, Las Nieves town under the Guerrilla Front (GF) 4A of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) of the New People’s Army (NPA). Alias Rico voluntarily surrendered to Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, the commander of 23rd IB at the battalion headquarters in Jamboree Site, Purok 6, Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

He also turned over to the 23rd IB one (1) Honda XRM 125 Motorcycle, one (1) ACER Laptop, one (1) Baofeng Radio, two (2) assorted Andriod phones, seven (7) assorted keypad phones, two (2) gun tuckers and assorted receipts. He also revealed that the Honda motorcycle is owned by Khim Agad Mapoy @PATRICK, the Secretary of GF4A, NCMRC.

During the interview, “Rico” said that being an MB of the Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT), he was tasked to keep the gears, equipment, firearms and personal belongings of the CNT members inside his residence. He added that keeping such belongings had risked and put into danger the lives of his family members. He admitted of living in fear as he is already known in their community as a supporter and the keeper of CNT belongings.

It can be recalled that the residents and the members of the council in Barangay Durian already declared the CPP-NPA-NDF and all its allied organizations as persona non grata last November 6, 2019. The declaration showed the will of the people to get rid of the presence of the CNTs in their community. On December 4, 2019, a young NPA combatant died during an encounter between the 23rd IB troopers and the CNTs in Sitio San Jose, Durian. Series of peace consultations and dialogues were also facilitated in the said barangay where the residents and the council requested the Army for the establishment of a patrol base in their community to neutralize the CNT members. Through the joint efforts of the 23rd IB and the members of the barangay council, “Rico” finally realized that he was not on the right path and voluntarily surrendered to the Army. “Rico” also admitted that he is already tired of giving support to the CNTs and he also wanted to clear his name.

“Nibalik ko sa sabakan sa balaod kay gusto nako hinluan akong pangalan kay gibantog na gyud ko sa among lugar nga usa ka full time NPA, pero ang tinuod, usa lang ko ka MB busa wala ko mahadlok nga mo dangop sa kasundaluhan. Gawas pa ana, gikapoy na ko sulod sa halos tulo (3) ka tuig nga nagpaulipon nako sa walhong grupo. Ako ang ilang sugoon sa pagpalusot sa ilang bugas ug mga supplies ug mangitag ka plastaran nila nga kampo, Ang nakapait pa kay sa sinako nga bugas nga akong ihatod sa kampo, maayo nalang ug mahatagan ko ug lima (5) ka salmon. Ila pang ibilin ug itago ang ilang mga gamit s among balay ug mahadlok ko nga masakpan sa otoridad,” “Rico” said.

Lt. Col. Paulo was grateful for “Rico's” realization which led to his decision to return to the folds of the law.

“I am glad that the SPL/CO MB in Barangay Durian now returned to the folds of the law and I am grateful for his decision to surrender because through this, the CNT activities will also be neutralized in their community,” Paulo said.

He emphasized that the surrender of “Rico” indicates that the government is winning the war without the use of arms and violence.

“We don’t want the residents of Barangay Durian to once again experience armed conflict because it only brought senseless deaths, miseries and destroyed the future of the people. Hence, we will ensure his personal safety and well-being as he returns to the folds of the law,” Paulo said.

The 23rd IB commander is also seeing the decline of the atrocities of the CNTs in the area, such as extortion and recruitment because of the loss of their trusted MB leader. (CMO Officer, 23IB, 4ID, PA/PIA Agusan del Norte)

DTI Caraga coaches agrarian reform beneficiaries in adapting digital marketing

BUTUAN CITY, Sept. 21 -- A series of seminars preparing micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) transition to digital media have been conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry - Agusan del Norte (DTI-AdN) here to its assisted Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Organizations (ARBOs) under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) for July and August 2020.

Nine ARBOs from the municipalities of Buenavista, Nasipit, Jabonga, Santiago and Las Nieves, including four ARBOs in Butuan City participated in the said seminar.

The recipients were the Manapa ARB and Community Coop of Manapa, Buenavista on July 3, De Oro ARP Coop of Butuan City on July 10, Culit MPC of Nasipt on July 9, Palmavera Small Coconut Farmers Beneficiaries Coop of Las Nieves and Libas MPC of Jabonga on August 11-13.

It can be recalled that last August 18, the DTI-CARP AdN invited Agrikultura Shop Online represented by Djon Scottie Amoc to orient and bring on board Butuanon ARBOs in their online marketplace during a meeting in Brgy. Sto Niño, Butuan City. This was attended by the Sto. Niño MPC, Duque ARB Cooperative and Taguibo MPC.

A separate schedule for RIC Tagbuyacan was held last August 20 to complete the month’s target.

DTI-CARP AdN encouraged their ARBOpreneurs to cope with the current changes in doing business forced by COVID-19 through e-commerce to advertise one’s product and generate sales without doing it physically.

“There are many simple and free methods MSMEs here in the Philippines can do. One, which also serves as a stepping stone in understanding more E-business is making borderless market through Facebook (FB)-the most popular social media application which is now used also as an e-marketing platform,” DTI-CARP AdN further explained.

The mentioned ARBOs sell various food and non-food products such as lumpia, coconut oil, ube powder, organic rice, personal protective equipment and coco peat fertilizer and organic beverages like turmeric and salabat. They are now starting to onboard their products to their own online marketing platforms they created.

The seminars reportedly provided additional lessons about various technology tools other than digital marketing that the ARBOs may integrate to their operation.

Some of those mentioned were e-payments, online advertising, online productivity tools, logistics and many more.

Along with the learnings taught, DTI-CARP AdN also provided the participants with a prepaid wifi modem to help them eventually start their e-marketing operations. (DTI-Caraga/DTI-Agusan del Norte/PIA-Caraga)