Month: April 2017

By Richel V. Umel, Sunstar

CAMP EDILBERTO EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City – Two of the three wounded soldiers in Piagapo complex, Lanao del Sur province received Wounded Medals for Soldiers from BRIGADIER GENERAL ROLANDO JOSELITO D. BAUTISTA, Commander, 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, Philippine Army, on Tuesday morning, April 25 at Camp Edilberto Evangelista military hospital this city.

The two soldiers were wounded on Sunday, April 22, during a fierce firefight between the joint operating government forces against Maute local and foreign terrorists group. They were airlifted from the encounter site to the military camp.

The soldiers were identified as Corporal Refalbor Andres and Private Julios V. Crieta of the 1st Scout Ranger Company of the 1st Scout Ranger Battalion Special Operations Command of the Philippine Army .

The Medal for Wounded Soldiers is pursuant to paragraph 1-60 Section 11 Armed Forces of the Philippines Regulation General 131-054 General Headquarters Armed Forces of the Philippines dated June 26, 2014 as amended.

At least 36 suspected local and foreign terrorist were killed since the military operation started on April 21 midnight. The military troops overrun the encampment with two hundred fox holes under forest vegetation.

BGEN BAUTISTA said, “the troopers from 103rd Brigade based in Kampo Ranao Marawi City recovered one M-16 rifle after a five-minute firefight in the village of Tapucan, Piagapo complex.”

“Nagkawatak-watak na sila at nagtakbuhan at naiwan ang armas” (They got scattered. The recovered rifle was left along the chase.) BGEN BAUTISTA said.

No casualties were reported on the Philippine Army side.

(IN PHOTO BY RICHEL V. UMEL, SUNSTAR: Corporal Refalbor Andres and Private Julios V. Crieta of the 1st Scount Ranger Company of the 1st Scount Ranger Battalion Special Operations Command of the Philippine Army receive their Wounded Personnel Medal from BRIGADIER GENERAL ROLANDO JOSELITO D. BAUTISTA, Commander, 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, Philippine Army, on Tuesday, April 25, at Camp Edilberto Evangelista Military Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City. The soldiers were wounded during the encounter against an undetermined number of local and foreign terrorists in Piagapo complex in Lanao del Sur province since April 21.)

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(Update: 11:30AM, April 24, 2017)

The Combined Arms elements of 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army and tactical operations units of the Philippine Airforce conducted focused military operations against more or less 162 members of Local Terrorist Group (LTG) – Maute Group in Piagapo Complex, Lanao del Sur starting midnight of April 21, 2017.

The continuous focused military operations are in accordance to the President and Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive to destroy local terrorists groups not later than July 31, 2017.

The 103rd Infantry Brigade, 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army headed by BGEN NIXON C FORTES AFP reported 36 members of the Maute group were killed during the 3 days combat operations, which led to the seizure and occupation of enemy’s main encampment with fortified bunkers, fighting positions, and running trenches at Sitio Pagalungan, Brgy Gacap, Municipality of Piagapo, Lanao del Sur. Whereas, the government forces sustained 3 wounded in action (WIA) caused by shrapnel and bullet wound.

Aside from the enemies killed, 1 cadaver wearing camouflage uniform was recovered during the initial search. Further, various war materials were recovered in the encounter site: Fragmentation and rifle grenades; IED components such as blasting caps, detonating wire, and cellphones; video camera; assorted uniforms, literature’ and identifications of personalities; three (3) motorcycles; food stuffs; and passport of an Indonesian national.

According to BGEN ROLANDO JOSELITO D BAUTISTA AFP, Commander, 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army, combination of lethal and non-lethal effects were implemented to force the LTG out of its current stronghold and compelled them to break into smaller groups. Moreover, BGEN Bautista stressed the application of proportionate force such as surgical airstrikes and precisions to avoid collateral damage towards non-combatants.

The recruitment of teenagers conducted by LTG at Brgy Tambo and the establishment of their camp near their village at the boundary of Balindong and Piagapo towns forced the communities to coordinate and report the LTG activities to the military.

“The Government forces, Local Government Units, and communities will continue to work hand in hand to thwart banditry and terroristic activities and to ensure security, peace and development in Piagapo and adjacent municipalities,” BGEN Bautista said.

The success is the result of a nonstop collaboration and partnership with the military, LGUs and populace in the collective battle against terrorism, banditry and criminality.

Interagency and law enforcement operations in support of the Police and LGUs are continuously being implemented by the military in various places to prevent LTGs diversionary attacks.

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As part of the month-long celebration of its 81st Founding Anniversary, the 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, Philippine Army held the “Libreng Opera sa mga Bungi ug Ngoho (Free Harelip Operation)” at the Kuta Major Cesar L Sang-an Station Hospital, Pulacan, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur on April 19-23, 2017.

The beneficiaries of this activity included 67 patients with harelip condition mostly children from the provinces of Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Sur and Zamboanga Sibugay.

This surgical mission that covered cleft lip and cleft palate operations was conducted in partnership with the Alpha Phi Omega Project Brotherhood Sweet Smile (BOSS) and Advance Craniofacial Project Philippines Incorporated Foundation (ACPPIF).

Among those who participated in this medical mission included doctors from ACPPIF and the APO Project BOSS founders Belton T. Yenko and Gaudiosa C. Rota.

“With the unified efforts of stakeholders and your 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, there is now a reason to smile for the poor beneficiaries who were once victims of embarrassment and ridicule,” said BGEN ROLANDO JOSELITO D BAUTISTA AFP, Commander, 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army.

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To bring the Division closer to the people primarily to the communities in Zamboanga Peninsula, Lanao Province and Misamis Occidental and to manifest its ability to trend with technological developments, the 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, Philippine Army formally launched TEAMTABAK.COM, the Division’s official online presence along with vigorous initiatives in strengthening its social media properties during the Media Fellowship event at Kuta Major Cesar L Sang-an, Pulacan, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur on Saturday, April 22, 2017.

The digital innovations on the Internet have offered new opportunities in reaching more people to promote TABAK’s advocacies efficiently. “We recognize that the Internet is an efficient platform to disseminate information about what we do – serving the community and protecting the land – for a wider reach anytime, anywhere. The Internet does not only allow us to have better access to knowledge and information, but it also facilitates easier and faster connection with others around the World. It opens up an entirely different venue for communication and dialogue between our organization and the people we serve. We intend to harness this power of the Internet in today’s digital environment,” said BGEN ROLANDO JOSELITO D BAUTISTA AFP, Commander, 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, Philippine Army.

BGEN BAUTISTA said TEAMTABAK.COM would also allow an easier alignment not only to the TABAK Division’s mission but also to higher headquarters of the Philippine Army. While keeping its constituents informed, TEAMTABAK.COM can be accessed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will also allow the Division to reach more people not only in the Philippines, but also global communities all over the world.

“A vital asset for information support in our operations, TEAMTABAK.COM will give a better appreciation to effectively and efficiently address interests, issues and challenges in carrying out the Division’s mission,” BGEN BAUTISTA said.

“We are able to establish a platform that would make communications easier and paint a picture of what TABAK really is as we reach and engage more people in the digital world, our website would pave way to a meaningful form of communication to our Brigades and other AFP and PNP units, the local media, and other agencies and stakeholders,” BGEN BAUTISTA said.

“Information dissemination is one of our objectives in creating TEAMTABAK.COM as we are more open through posting projects of the division. Over the years, we have conducted several medical and dental missions, and other community service activities that reached out to barangays in our area of operation. Through these, we are able to change the mindset of the general public that we, soldiers can do good; we are able to change what we are perceived to be,” BGEN BAUTISTA said.

With about 60% of the Philippine’s population now accessing the Internet, it is imperative to establish an online presence for the 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division. As a valuable information dissemination asset to its organization, TEAMTABAK.COM can provide a real-time visualization of press releases, news and updates element for the media and will be available to anyone as a community platform. TEAMTABAK.COM will feature content not only about the military but about the community that the TABAK Division serves.

In the video presentation of TEAMTABAK.COM launching with the theme: “Strength in Online Presence, Enhancing Digital Media Capability,” it was stated that the new website will showcase “the Division’s best efforts toward the achievement of the Armed Forces of the Philippine’s Ultimate Vision: A World-Class Armed Forces and Source of National Pride.”

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As part of its efforts to strengthen relationships with the local media, the 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, Philippine Army, held a Media Fellowship and Funshoot event at Kuta Major Cesar L Sang-an, Pulacan, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur on Saturday, April 22, 2017.

51 media practitioners from various organizations in Ozamis, Dipolog, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga Sibugay, Lanao del Sur Oroquita and Calamba areas participated in the events.

The activities aim to boost the camaraderie and enhance relationships between the 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, Philippine Army and the Tabak Division Press Corps (TPDC-ATR Champion) members and also to increase the number of stakeholders’ engagement.

Cris Llamon of Pagadian-based media organization ABS/TV 24/ITVN and president of the TABAK Press Corps (TPDC-ATR Champion) said: “We are very thankful to the TABAK Division for spearheading this event. The Division can count on the TABAK Press Corps to support the Division’s initiatives in serving the people and protecting the land.”

During the event, the media group also formally announced its resolution to support the policies and thrust of the new Division Commander, BGEN ROLANDO JOSELITO D BAUTISTA AFP, 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, Philippine Army.

The event also highlighted the launching of the Division’s official online presence, TEAMTABAK.COM along with its vigorous initiatives in strengthening its social media properties.

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(Update: 7:57 AM, April 23, 2017)

As part of continuous focused military operations in Lanao Province in accordance to the President and Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s directive to destroy local terrorist groups, the 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division/Joint Task Force ZAMPELAN conducted focused military operations in Piagapo Complex, Lanao del Sur starting midnight of April 21, 2017.

The operations resulted to a series of encounters between the operating troops of 103rd Infantry Brigade under 1st Infantry Division/JTF ZAMPELAN and undetermined number of local terrorist group members starting 1:00AM of the next day (April 22, 2017).

According to BGEN ROLANDO JOSELITO D BAUTISTA AFP, Commander, 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, Philippine Army, coordination with the community and local government units paved the way to pinpoint the location of terrorist groups in Lanao del Sur.

At around 5:45AM today (April 23, 2017), intense firefight between the operating troops and local terrorist groups  took place in the area and still ongoing as of this report.

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PAGADIAN CITY, April 20, 2017 – The Battalion Commanders’ Symposium (BCS) 2017 – WESTMINCOM leg, with the theme: “Competent and Dynamic Battalion Commanders, Key to Success of the AFP Development Service Support Plan (DSSP)”, was held at Mardale Hotel and Convention Center, Pagadian City on April 18 – 20, 2017.

The first BCS conducted by the Headquarters Philippine Army this year, this event was spearheaded by the 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division to instill upon the battalion commanders on their critical role in advancing the Commander-in-Chief’s directives as stated in the AFP Development Support and Security Plan “Kapayapaan”; and to update them on the current Command’s initiatives and programs in support to the AFP’s mission.

Participants of the BCS 2017 included 61 Battalion Commanders from Combat, Combat Support, and Combat Service Support Units from 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division and 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division.

The three-day symposium included talks and lectures of resource speakers from the military and civilian sectors.

Zamboanga del Sur Governor Antonio H. Cerilles, who provided insights as a Local Chief Executive, emphasized that one way to effectively develop a community is to engage with various government agencies. He also encouraged the battalion commanders to maintain robust relationships with the local government units and support for the success of their development initiatives, which also contribute to the fulfilment of the Army’s duties and responsibilities.

BGEN ROLANDO JOSELITO D BAUTISTA, Commander, 1st Infantry Division shared his insights on the role of the military in community development. He said that in addition to their tasks to maintain peace and security, military units must commit to contribute to the development of their community or area of responsibility. “Once we are given a task, we go for gold and always do our best”, he said.

LTGEN CARLITO G GALVEZ JR, AFP, Commander, Western Mindanao Command provided inspiration to the participants when he described the WESTMINCOM based battalion commanders as the “best among the bests”. He challenged them to level up and explore as leaders who should “go to where they have never been before.”

The arrival of Commanding General, Philippine Army, LTGEN GLORIOSO V MIRANDA, AFP highlighted the final day of BCS 2017. He motivated the battalion commanders in his keynote message: “Being a soldier is never easy. It will remain difficult but one has to accomplish its mission at any cost while putting the welfare of every soldier at the top. Soldiers must develop the ability to learn, to remember, and most importantly to adopt. For soldiers to succeed, they should never stop to imagine and think. Thay should always look forward and anticipate things.”

The CGPA also assured that the Headquarters Philippine Army is always open for the battalion’s concerns.

The Battalion Commander’s Symposium is a yearly program to update its Battalion Commanders on the current policies and thrust of the Philippine Army. The symposium was also a venue where the participants had the opportunity to discuss critical issues and strategies as well as best practices in peace and development.

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