Saturday, October 28, 2006

PRO 10 on full alert until Nov. 3

THE Police Regional Office 10 (PRO 10) went on full alert effective at 10 a.m. Friday as SOP following President Arroyo’s departure for an official trip to China and in preparation for All Saints’ Day and the Christmas season, said Northern Mindanao police head Chief Supt. Florante Baguio yesterday.

Baguio said he has instructed his field commanders to maintain high police visibility and 24-hour patrols. He said each provincial and city police office has formed its dedicated team to guard vital installations and other key places.

Baguio said the full alert status in the entire region will remain up to Nov. 3 and may be extended as the need arises.

He reminded the public about the routine prohibition against carrying bladed weapons, alcoholic drinks and other illegal items inside cemeteries.

Early last week, police in the entire region has already increased alert level and even pronounced itself ready for any eventuality and prepared for any threat against peace during the said celebration of All Saints’ Day.

A memorandum from Camp Crame was also issued according to Baguio. The memorandum was signed by PNP chief Director General Oscar Calderon, directing all PNP personnel in the entire country to provide maximum security coverage and public safety service to include security assistance along the highways and major thoroughfares.

Starting Tuesday, last week, hundreds of policemen including regional mobile and traffic management group in the city likely seen on highways in preparation for the said two days activities.

"The entire police regional office is prepared for any threat against the peace of our country," said Baguio "will be on call 24 hours a day and our units are prepared for any eventuality."

The memorandum also directed all regional offices in the country to increase police visibility and provide traffic management along routes leading to cemeteries and other places of convergence such as airports, seaports and bus terminals.

“The activities shall be carried-out with the support of government agencies, non-government and other volunteer organizations,” Baguio said.

In the aftermath of the bombing attacks in Makilala, Cotabato early this month though, which killed seven people, Baguio cautioned the public to remain on their toes and immediately report to authorities any strangers behaving suspiciously.

"Kailangan ay lagi tayong maging mapagmasid sa ating kapaligiran… Iyung PNP, mga local government units ay nagtutulong-tulong para makapangasiwa ng mga security measures," he said.

Baguio said despite reported threat attacks by the MILF rebels in Lanao del Norte still police units still on guard.

“The attacks from rebel groups during the holidays might be possible but we’re ready at all times,” Baguio said.

Baguio also ordered policemen assigned in big cemeteries in key cities in the region to conduct arrests to people and confiscate bringing liquor including people playing cards, illegally.

“Hindi natin pinapayagan ang mga inuming nakalalasing sa loob ng sementeryo,” Baguio said adding drinking liquor inside the cemetery would disrupt and create unmannered environment particularly people praying with their dead.

Meanwhile, Traffic Management Office 10 regional chief PSupt. Felixberto Castillo said they are now conducting a 24-hours police patrolling on highways near cemetery in Cagayan de Oro City.

“Our men assigned in two major highways in Bulua and upper Balulang going Lumbia are all on guard, watching people traveling here in Cagayan de Oro,” Castillo said.

Castillo said an IMPLAN 11/2006, “Manman Kalye”, campaign against street crimes was also issued in observance of the said two-day activities.

“These are the crime that frequently occur in public places, such as highways, streets, and alleys, perpetrated by an individual or group of individuals against target,” Castillo said.

Castillo also said additional traffic enforcers will be deployed during All Souls and Saints day celebration.

“Checkpoints should be manned 24-hours during that days, our men assigned are all prepared and assured the riding public to reach cemetery safe and on time,” Castillo said.


Friday, October 27, 2006

3 NPA camps captured, 3 rebels killed

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (BEN BALCE /OCT. 26) - TROOPS from the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) based here killed three New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and seized at least three camps of the guerrillas in a major offensive in Quezon, Bukidnon province starting Friday and in Agusan del Sur, an army officials said yesterday.

“The captured NPA camps were one of the big camps in southern part of Bukidnon,” said Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion Lt. Col. Benjamin Madrigal.

Madrigal managed to overrun the two NPA camps on Tuesday and the sub-command center of Front Committee 6 of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) reportedly overrun yesterday.

Madrigal said his men also killed at least three rebels and seized automatic rifles, ammunition, and other war materials from the newly captured New People’s Army camp in Quezon yesterday.

Earlier, the major attack against communist insurgents was conducted by the 26th Infantry Battallion on Friday in the jungles of Migbantay, Quezon.

Madrigal said they made the attack and that started last Friday morning and lasted until late afternoon.

"Our operating troops also captured rifles, assorted live ammunition, medical paraphernalias, foods and subversive documents with high intelligence value," Madrigal said.

4th ID’s commanding general Brig Jose Barbieto said that also a maneuvering combat battalions of 403rd Brigade are pursuing fleeing communist insurgents without let-up in Bukidnon province until yesterday afternoon.

Meanwhile, in another attack, Barbieto also reported that soldiers in Agusan del Sur seized several Armalite rifles and live ammunition and other war materials from a house in Sibagat.

Brig. Gen. Ricardo A. David Jr., commander of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, reported to Barbieto that the 23rd Cadre of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Battallion under the command of Lt. Col. Rolando Manalo raided a house of the rebels in Sibagat jungle and seized several war materials, including Armalite.

Government troops are pursuing the rebels up to press time according to Barbieto.
Report said that also a soldier was wounded in the two separate incidents.

David said that their offensive attacks on lairs of communist insurgents would continue until peace will reign in reported NPA stronghold in the Caraga. (with a report from MIKE BAÑOS)


Army Troopers score vs NPA in Agusan del Norte, Bukidnon

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MIKE BAÑOS / Oct 26) Troopers of the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry "Diamond" Division's 23rd Infantry Battalion under Lt. Col. Rolando Manalo engaged an estimated twenty (20) armed communist guerrillas believed led by Ricardo Manili alias Joker of the Front Committee 4A of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC), CPP/NPA/NDF in a 15-minute firefight in the vicinity Sitio Mankilana, Bgy Lawan-lawan, Las Nieves, Agusan del Norte last October 20, 2006.

Troopers from the same unit led by 1st Lieutenant Wilfredo Dalisay later recovered two (2) M-16 Armalite rifles, a fragmentation grenade, one bandolier with magazines, ammunition and a jungle pack of subversive documents from the area.

4th ID Public Affairs Chief Maj. Samuel Sagun said the troopers were personally commended by Army Chief Lt. Gen. Romeo P. Tolentino whose wired citation read: "It is my pride in commending 4ID particularly 23IB for the successful encounter against twenty (20) fully armed communist terrorists. Indeed, such accomplishment clearly demonstrates a high level of training and dedication to duty. Congratulations for a job well done and carry on the good work".

In another operation, Diamond Division Chief Brig. Gen. Jose Barbieto reported that soldiers in Agusan del Sur seized several Armalite rifles and live ammunition and other war materials from a house in Sibagat.

In a report filed with Barbieto, Brig. Gen. Ricardo A. David Jr., commander of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade, reported that the 23rd Cadre of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Battalion under Lt. Col. Rolando Manalo raided a house of the rebels in Sibagat and seized several war materials, including Armalite. David said that their offensive attacks on lairs of communist insurgents would continue until the NPA units in the area were neutralized.

Improved intelligence gathering and processing by the 4th ID also led to the capture of two (2) NPA camps Tuesday in San Fernando and the sub-command center of Front Committee 6 of the North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC) Wednesday by the 26th Infantry Battalion in Quezon, Bukidnon.

Battalion commander Lt. Col. Benjamin Madrigal said this was one of the major NPA camps in Southern Bukidnon. He said his men also killed three (3) rebels and seized automatic rifles, ammunition, medical supplies, food and "high-value" subversive documents. The same unit launched a major assault against communist rebels in Migbantay, Quezon last Friday.

Barbieto said organic units of the 4th ID's 403rd Infantry Brigade are still conducting hot pursuit operations against fleeing communist rebels in the area. (with a report from Ben Balce)


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

For linking AFP to rash of killing: Military hits back at CPP/NPA on purging

CAGAYAN de Oro City (BEN BALCE / Oct 24) - The Armed Forces yesterday said its evidences that communist party leaders ordered the purging of over a hundred rebels and civilians in the provinces of Leyte, Bukidnon, the two Surigaos and Agusans are stronger than that of linking the military to the rash of killings of leftist militants.

Capt. Ramon Zagala, deputy chief of the military’s public information office, said they have witnesses to prove that communist party founder Jose Ma. Sison ordered the purge in the ‘80s.

Aside from Sison, the other two top communist members linked by the military to the purge called “Operation VD,” were Luis Jalandoni, chief negotiator of the National Democratic Front, and Bayan Muna party list Rep. Satur Ocampo.

Jalandoni and Ocampo were then members of the central committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines, according to Zagala.

“It is historically proven that you (communist leaders) purge your ranks and you just cannot set aside statements tagging you as responsible for this (purge),” Zagala said.

The killings have been condemned by human rights groups and prompted President Gloria Arroyo to order an investigation. Left-wing groups have blamed the military, which has denied involvement.

Leaders of the underground Communist Party and its armed wing have acknowledged that up to 900 suspected spies and government informers were killed in the southern Mindanao region during the 1980s. More than 60 others were killed in Quezon province and outlying areas southeast of Manila, according to people who survived the purges.

The guerrillas later acknowledged the killings as among the most horrible blunders in the insurgency.

Earlier, AFP General Hermogones Esperon said the military, police and other agencies will file multiple murder charges against Sison and Jalandoni, both living in exile in the Netherlands, and opposition lawmaker Ocampo.

The military has been blamed for the killing of more than 100 militants since President Arroyo assumed the presidency in January 2001.

Unlike the Leftist groups, he said, the military has witnesses “who are saying you were the ones who did this (purge) so you have to be held responsible for this.”

The military earlier said one of their witnesses, a former rebel leader, can prove that Sison, Jalandoni and Sison signed a document ordering the “cleansing” of their ranks.

Among military officials being implicated in the rash killings is former Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, commander of the 7th Infantry Division. Palparan has called the allegations mere propaganda.

Meanwhile, Jesuit priest Fr. Romeo Intengan said it is possible that most of the militants recently killed were also victims of a cleansing ordered by CPP leaders to rid their ranks of suspected traitors and infiltrators.

Intengan, who is also the chairman of the Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP), said there has been no change in the policies and character of CPP and NDF leaders who he said can easily order its armed wing, the New People’s Army, to liquidate party members believed to be traitors to the movement.

He said the “barbaric executions” carried out as far back as 20 years ago have not stopped.
He said the mass graves in Leyte and other places in Mindanao are evidence of “extreme paranoia and ruthlessness” of communist leaders.

Starting Aug. 26 until early this October, government troops from the 8th Infantry Division and the Army’s 4th Infantry Division here began digging up mass graves in different hinterland barangays in the country.

In Barangay Kaulisihan in Inopacan, Leyte, and in Bukidnon, about a hundred bodies of rebel and civilian remains were uncovered and were said to have been ordered executed in the 1980s on suspicion they were military spies.

Earlier, the 4th Infantry Division here, had recovered over 50 skeletal remains. Quoting initial forensic tests, the military said three of the victims were women while a fourth was below 18 years old.

“The Leyte killing fields resulted from the paranoia and insecurity that has characterized the CPP-NPA-NDF ever since,” Intengan said.

The killings and disappearances were blamed by the NPA and their supporters on the military and police so that the people would hate the government.

“More than 20 years after, it is only now that we realize the truth. To those who accuse government now of the same heinous crimes, the truth will come out at the right time,” he said.
Intengan further said the CPP has its internal procedures guided by democratic centralism.

“There are no deviations, no questions. NPAs in Leyte carried out the purging on what they believed were party directives,” he said.

Intengan said the execution of party members suspected to be government informants or deep-penetration agents continues up to now.

“It is despicable that the CPP-NDF-NPA has not stopped carrying out summary executions. It has been rabid in condemning alleged killings perpetrated by the military and police. Communist leaders have no right to point an accusing finger at the government when they themselves are behind many of the killings,” he said.

Intengan challenged the human rights group like Karapatan to send a fact-finding team to different places where there were claimed buried victims of extra-judicial killings to investigate the victims of the purge.

Karapatan is among groups tagging the military behind the recent spate of killings.
The group is yet to issue a statement on the military’s challenge.

Karapatan Northern Mindanao chairperson Atty. Beberly Musni earlier tagged the Arroyo administration for being responsible in the series of extra-judicial killings in the region.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

N. Mindanao’s most wanted fugitive falls

THE city police office scored big yesterday in their campaign against criminality when they successfully arrested a long-wanted suspected criminal who is No. 12 in the list of region 10’s most wanted persons.

City police director S/Supt. Aurelio Trampe presented to media yesterday murder suspect Jelsen Estrosas, who had been fugitive since 1998 for killing a certain Francisco Ragasajo of Zone 4, Tibasak, Brgy. Macasandig. A P75,000 reward was set for his arrest.

Estrosas, 33, was arrested yesterday morning by the Special Operations Group (SOG) led by C/Insp. Jason M Aguillon at Brgy. Consolacion by virtue of a warrant of arrest issued by Judge Admiral P. Labis of the 10th judicial region branch 18.

Trampe said the successful operation was a result of the police’s continued efforts to curb criminalities in the city and eventually earn the total trust of the people.


Cops urge bus rob victims to sue suspects

CAMP ALAGAR Cagayan de Oro City - (BEN BALCE / Oct. 22) -
NORTHERN Mindanao police head Chief Superintendent Florante Baguio yesterday urged victims of the RTMI bus robbery to come out and file charges against the suspects following their arrest by the police early this month.
Baguio said police in Bacolod town in Lanao del Norte arrested two of the six suspects in the highway robbery at Sitio Lawian in said town in Lanao del Norte.

“Victims should come out in the open and file formal complaints in court against the suspects,” Baguio said adding the filing against them (suspects) would help the victims in tracing the identities of the other four suspects.

Baguio said the suspects were identified as Rodel Labigan, 25 of Barangay Paiton, Tangub city and Cesar Estabas, 20 of Barangay Rebocon, Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte.

Baguio also said, the arrest of the suspects would be a great help to policemen and including the victims.

Police said the suspects were the one responsible in the robbing of Rural Transit bus with bus number 1134 on September 12, 2006.

Earlier, Police Community Relation Division chief Rolando dela Vega said they already increased their personnel in securing bus and jeepney terminals in the region to avoid another possible highway robberies.

De la Vega said, the suspects arrested while they were on board a jeepney where one of the passengers named Richelle Hajiula who was likewise one of the victims during the said RTMI robbery.

Police investigators said the suspects were positively identified by policemen who among the robbers that robbed the RTMI bus.

Baguio said a cellphone, Nokia 6610 which turned-out to be the cellphone of Ritchelle Hajiula was seized from the possession of the suspects during their arrest.

Police said a case for highway Robbery/Brigandage was filed against the suspects docketed in Criminal Case number 12729 dated September 18, 2006 at the 12th RTC, Iligan City with a P30,000.00 bail recommended for their temporary liberty.