Category: News & Updates

CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur – The former commander of the Joint Task Zamboanga will now lead the 102nd Infantry (IGSOON) Brigade, based in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay after the change of command ceremony held in the brigade headquarters, Monday, August 19, 2019.

Col. Leonel Nicolas succeeded Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan Jr., who is set to take post and promoted as the Assistant Division Commander of the 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division after a one year and two months stint as a brigade commander.

Nicolas is a proud member of Philippine Military Academy Class of 1991. An Airborne Ranger and well-rounded military officer with expertise in operations, intelligence and managerial acumen.

He is a graduate of Master of Management in Liceo de Cagayan University and Masters in Public Management Major in Development Security in Development Academy of the Philippines.

He also served as the Chief of Staff, Assistant chief of Staff for Operations and commanded two battalions of 1ID, the 10th and 5th Infantry Battalion, which makes him best-fitted to stir the helms of the Brigade for being accustomed to the sociological and security situation in the area and had already established “teamwork” for peace and development with local governments units.

During his assumption speech, Nicolas expressed his commitment to perform and contribute to  the Task Force ELCAC.

He also expressed that convergence effort among government agencies, security forces, and stakeholders will truly address the problem of insurgency.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, who presided the change of command ceremony, thanked and congratulated Brig. Gen. Gaerlan for his accomplishments in sustaining peace and security in the brigade’s area of responsibility.

“I am confident that the new brigade commander, with his expertise and capability, can sustain the gains of the brigade and can contribute in the attainment of a just and sustainable peace in Western Mindanao”, Ancan said.

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CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur – Army’s 5th Mechanized Battalion, 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade clashed against 20 members of an armed group in Brgy Karkum, Sapad Lanao del Norte, 9:50 a.m. Saturday, August 17, 2019.

According to Lt. Col. Rolando Orengo, 5th Mechanized Battalion Commander, “Our troops were able to out-maneuver the armed group even if they were in a well-fortified position”.

The 35-minute firefight made the enemy scampered that led into the recovery one M14, one M16, two Garrand rifles; one rifle grenade; magazines and ammunitions.

No government forces were hurt while undetermined number of enemy casualties based on the traces of bloodstains in their withdrawal route.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Ezra James Enriquez, 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade Commander who has operational jurisdiction over Lanao del Norte urged the wounded armed elements to surrender for them to be given proper medical treatment and assured them of their safety and security.

Enriquez also urged the people to cooperate and report to proper authorities if there are presence of armed groups in their communities.

For his part, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the troops for the successful encounter and the recovery of firearms.

“I urge everyone to continue our efforts in pursuing lasting peace not just for Mindanao but for the whole country. Let us conquer the challenges ahead of us and step up the momentum in sustaining our gains for our common aspiration”, said Ancan.

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CAMP SANG-AN, Pulacan, ZDS – Army’s 53rd Infantry (MATAPAT) Battalion celebrated its 17th Reactivation Anniversary Friday, August 16,2019, at their headquarters in Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur.

The 53rd Infantry Battalion was originally activated on 01 January 1985 as an organic Battalion of the 4th Infantry (DIAMOND) Division.

However, with the force reduction scheme and the streamlining of the Philippine Army during the Ramos Presidency, the battalion was deactivated on February 14, 1992.

Due to the volatile security situation in the area of the 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division in Western Mindanao area, the unit was rectivated on May 1, 2002, after ten years of dormancy.

Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria, the current Battalion Commander, during his speech acknowledged the achievements of the previous commanders and the stakeholders who supported the unit.

The anniversary was also celebrated by  awarding of military and civilian stakeholders who greatly contributed  the unit in accomplishing its  mission.

Hon. Victor Yu, Governor of Zamboanga del Sur and one of the awardee, during his message thanked the unit for their efforts in protecting and serving the constituents of Zamboanga del Sur.

“Rest assured that the local government of Zamboanga del Sur will support 53IB in any endeavor in order to sustain peace and security of the province”, said Yu.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Roberto T Ancan, Commander of 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, congratulated 53IB for the reactivation anniversary and for rendering selfless service to the Filipino nation and the people.

“You have shown your innovativeness and distinction in all your efforts in making your area of operations peaceful”, said Ancan.

“Let us continue to support the objectives of our government and of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, work hand-in-hand with encompassing loyal service to the over-all achievement of peace and progress of our nation”, Ancan concluded.

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SANG-ANG, Labangan, ZDS – A 40-year clan war in Lanao del Sur was settled by Army’s 49th CAMP Infantry Battalion and Local Government of Poona Bayabao and Masiu in Headquarters, 103rd Infantry Brigade, Marawi City, Wednesday, August 14, 2019.

“Warring families of Baraontong, Macud, Rangeris and Magandia against Ditopor and Faisal Lumamba occurred due to political rivalry and land disputes”, said Lt. Col Edgar Allan Villanueva, 49th Infantry Battalion Commander.

Both parties yielded two M16 rifle, magazines and ammunitions, signed the agreement “Kapasadan” and pledge to the Qur’an to show their sincerity of ending the clan war.

Mayor Nasser Pangandaman of Masiu and Mayor Lampa Pandi of Poona Bayabao, who also facilitated the end of dispute, were thankful to the troops who stood as the mediator of the warring clans.

Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner, 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander and who has operational jurisdiction of Lanao del Sur, is grateful and honoured for the clans decision to end their war and unite at their headquarters.

“We are all Filipinos and brothers in blood. We must unite and we should not allow our younger generations to inherit the grudges and the rages we’ve had in our past”, added Brawner.

For his part, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the troops and the local government for the successful Rido settlement.

“Our troops and your Army is sincere and ready to mediate, assist and facilitate settlement of clan wars in order to achieve a just and lasting peace in our communities”, added Ancan.

“We are also thankful to the stakeholders and the local government units for their unwavering efforts in addressing social and societal problems in our area of responsibility”, Ancan concluded.

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CAMP SANG-ANG, Labangan, ZDS –Four Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) surrendered and yielded arms cache to Army’s  44th Infantry Battalion in

Titay,  Zamboanga Sibugay Province, Thursday, August 8, 2019.

Two of the surrenderees were  amazons, one of which is a team leader, while the other one is a medic.

According to Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo the surrenderees immediately revealed the location of the arms cache that consists one M14, one AK-47, one Carbine rifle, one calibre 38 revolver.

Two land mines, ammunitions, three cellphones and subversive documents with high intelligence value were also surrendered by the CNTs to the troops.

“Based on our initial debriefing, they’ve heard that their surrendered comrades felt the sincerity of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program  (E-CLIP) intended for the former rebels”, Templonuevo said.

“The four connived, find ways to escape from the group and surrendered to our troops”, Templonuevo added.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan Jr., 102nd Infantry Brigade commander, who has operational jurisdiction of Zamboanga Sibugay said that, “we expect a snowball of surrenderees in the coming days as we’ve already created the Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, part of the Executive Order 70 signed by our President”.

“We  also anticipate that the four surrendered CNTs will encourage some of their comrades to follow their path”, Gaerlan added.

As of this year, 31 CNTs already surrendered to 102nd Infantry Brigade.

For his part, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the troops  for the successful surrender of the CNTs and the recovery of firearms in an arms cache.

“We also recognized the efforts of the government agencies who were part of the Regional Task Forces – ELCAC 9 and E-CLIP that sincerely welcomed our long lost brothers and sisters who have been victims of lies and deceit and wanted another chance to live peacefully”, added Ancan.

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CAMP SANG-ANG, Labangan, ZDS – Army’s 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division here hosted the Squad Snipers Training Class 3 facilitated by the Mobile Training Team, Marksmanship Training School, Training and Doctrine Command on August 6, 2019.

Two hundred seventy five participants from different Infantry Division of Philippine Army will endure the six-weeks course designed to develop the fighting capability particularly in shooting  ability.

The training also aims to enhance the participant’s knowledge, skills, attitude and confidence in delivering shots using the standard issued assault rifle R4A3.

Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, encouraged the participants to take advantage of the training, learn and develop their skills in shooting and remember the core competency, war fighting.

“We aimed in making our Army equipped, modernized, highly disciplined and motivated that has established a respectable image and capable of addressing all internal and external security threats”, said Ancan.

“Bear in mind that many people sleep peacefully at night because there are men stand ready to protect them and that is our sworn oath”, Ancan added.

“Be technically and tactically proficient. Apply what you have learned in the training. Hit the armed enemy who continue to sow terror to our communities ”, Ancan concluded.

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CAMP SANG-ANG, Labangan, ZDS – Three Infantry Battalions of Army’s 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division will now have new commanding officers after the joint change ceremony held here Monday August 5, 2019.

The 10th Infantry “Steady On” Battalion will now be led by Lt. Col. Ray Tiongson, the former Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations of the command.

Tiongson is a member of Philippine Military Academy “Kalasag-Lahi” class of 1997.

He replaced Lt. Col. John Andrada who also assumed as the commanding officer of the 97th Infantry “Kalasag-Lahi” Battalion.

Andrada is a member of Officer Cadet School, New Zealand class of 1997.

Lt. Col. Rufino De Leon, who turned over the command of 97th IB to Lt. Col. Andrada, will now be the commanding officer of 5th Infantry “Duty Bound” (CADRE) Battalion and replaced Lt. Col. Ryan Severo who is set to be assigned in Higher Headquarters.

De Leon is a member of Officer Candidate Course “Makabayan” class 13 in year 1995.

The three newly assumed commanding officers were scout rangers and a graduate of Command and General Staff Course, one of the requirements for the battalion commander position.

Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, congratulated the outgoing battalion commanders for the job well done.

He emphasized that their commitment and dedication to duty greatly contributed to the accomplishment of command’s mission.

Ancan also challenged the new battalion commanders and urged them to use their full potential and apply the best practices that they have learned from the length of their experiences and from the various educations and trainings they’ve taken.

“Always give your best shot and I can assure you that my full support together with all the Tabak Troopers will always be extended to you”, said Ancan.

“Stay focus on your role as commander in the accomplishment of mission and the welfare of your men as well. Let us work together for the success of the 1st Infantry Division”, Ancan concluded.

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CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan, ZDS – Twenty-one Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) supporters, and four Local Terrorist Group (LTG) members surrendered to Army’s 103rd Infantry (HARIBON) Brigade in Brgy Sabala Bantayao, Lumba Bayabao, Lanao del Sur. 10:00 a.m. Thursday, August 2, 2019.

According to Brig. Gen. Romeo S Brawner, Commander of the 103rd, “One of the supporters of the CTG was a minor who surrendered to Lt. Col. Edgar Allan Villanueva, 49th Infantry Battalion Commander”.

“Two of the surrendered LTGs were involved in the attack of Butig town in the year 2016”, added Brawner.

The surrendrees yielded one rocket propelled grenade, one M1 Carbine rifle, one 1911A1 cal.45 pistol, two cal.38 revolvers and ammunitions.

The surrender was a result of the joint effort with the local government unit of Lumba Bayabao headed by Mayor Mahar Dagalangit and the PNP of the said municipality.

The returnees pledged their allegiance to the constitution and likewise for the CNT surrenderees, they denounced the CTG.

Afterwards, the local government of Lumba Bayabao declared the CTG as persona non grata. The declaration made their municipality in the province of Lanao del Sur the first to assert such act.

CLAN WAR SETTELED:

Warring families also settled their dispute during the event with the Bantak, Dimaporo, and Linga families affixing their signatures in a written pledge which formalized their settlement.

As a token of their commitment an improvised cal.50 rifle (Improvised Barrett) was surrendered during the event. Tugaya Municipal Mayor Alfattah Norol Pacalna also assisted in the settlement and was present during the settlement signing ceremony.

CTG PRESSURED:

Recently, on July 28, troops from the 103rd Infantry Brigade encountered with the CTGs, who intruded into the town of Lumba Bayabao in the attempt of establishing a foothold in the area and to elude military operations in Bukidnon.

“The relentless offensive of the troops pressured the enemy forces to flee and this prompted their supporters to surrender. The said supporters revealed that they were obliged to support the CTGs in their area due to the fear that they will be hurt or killed if they refuse to support the CTGs”, said Brawner.

“We will assist the surrenderees to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program. Likewise, separate integration program for the LTGs of Lanao”, Brawner concluded.

For his part, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the local government unit of Lanao del Sur on the successful surrender of CTGs and LTGs and the declaration of the CTG as Persona Non Grata.

“Your 1st Infantry (TABAK) Division, in collaboration with the LGUs and other stakeholders, remains steadfast in its commitment to attain just and lasting peace in our area of operation thru our campaign against terrorist groups and loose firearms,” said Ancan.

“Likewise, we thank the local government and other stakeholders for their continued trust and support to our troops in contributing peace and development in the whole province of Lanao del Sur,” Ancan added.

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CAMP SANG-ANG, Labangan, ZDS – Weeks after the province declared the communist group as ‘persona non grata, six members of Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) surrendered to Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion in Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur Friday, August 2, 2019,

According to Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria, Battalion Commander of the 53rd IB, “The surrender of the six CNTs is a product of the fruitful information dissemination that encouraged them to return to folds of the law”.

“They were led by Ka Diego who operated in the hinterlands of Brgy. Lison Valley, this city and has been with the communist group for three years while the rest are at least 3 months”, said Patria

The six surrenderees also yielded four handguns and ammunitions.

The surrenderees were formally presented to Hon. Victor Yu, Governor, Zamboanga del Sur,   Hon. Divina Grace Yu, Congresswoman 1st District, Hon. Leonardo Babasa, Congressman 2nd District and Board Member John Regala.

A pledged for the sincerity of their surrender was conducted in front of the local chief executives.

“Insurgency is one factor that deters the development of the province. We need peace. That is why I am happy to see them. Later they will realize that our government is looking after their welfare especially that the call of President Duterte is to eradicate insurgency,” Yu said.

Yu also emphasized that the government in coordination with other national agencies have laid down programs so these people can realize that we are stretching our hand for their common good.

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan, Jr., Commander of 102nd Infantry (IGSOON) Brigade who operationally controlled the 53rd IB said that, “We are gaining grounds and our relentless military operation in the province pressured them to surrender”.

“With their surrender, we hoped that they can encouraged some of their comrades to follow their path for them to benefit the programs of the government”, Gaerlan added.

For his part, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the troops and the local government for the successful surrender of the CNTs.

“The declaration of CTG as persona non-grata and the stern leadership of the RTF-ELCAC 9 and PTF-ELCAC of Zamboanga del Sur under Gov. Yu resulted into this successful fete,” Ancan added.

“Your Army together with all the government instrumentalities and stakeholders will continue to work together in order to defeat the CNTs and to attain just and sustainable peace in Western Mindanao,” added Ancan.

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CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur – The peace-loving people of Zamboanga del Sur has declared the Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) Group  as persona non grata during the 3rd Regular Session of Sangguniang Panlalawigan on July 18, 2019.

The regular session which was attended by the Vice Governor, Acting Presiding Officer, Floor Leader, Sangguniang Panlalawigan, and Ex-officio members filed the Resolution no. 035-2019 which states that;

“The provincial government of Zambonga del Sur, through its local leaders make out the need for a united and intensive effort with the police, military and the populace for the deterrence of any act of terrorism and insurgency in the province of Zamboanga del Sur.”

“Whereas, the local leaders, needless to say, expressly abhor any act of violence, intimidation, and the sufferings caused by the terrorists and insurgents in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, thereby, they deem it of the essence to declare the terrorist group as persona non-grata.”

“Whereas, the declaration of persona non-grata of the Communist NPA Terrorist will give the government and its forces advantage as it is a big step to once and for all end the decades-long insurgency in the Philippines.”

Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria, commanding officer of the 53rd Infantry (Matapat) Battalion, said “Even with this declaration, we will intensify our community security operations to pursue the remaining CNT members who are still hiding in the mountains. We also encourage them (CNT) to go down, lay down their arms peacefully and join their comrades who are now living peacefully together with their families.”

Meanwhile, Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan, Jr., Commander of 102nd Infantry (IGSOON) Brigade who operationally controlled the 53rd IB said that, “This bold move is a great help in our effort to protect the communities from the atrocities of the communist terrorist group.”

“With the declaration, the CTG will have a small chance of recruiting our people especially the farmers, the youth, the women and the indigenous people who are vulnerable to the deception of this terrorist group. Likewise, we are expecting an enhanced cooperation between and among the people in giving information on the whereabouts of these terrorist group”, Gaerlan added.

For his part, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, lauded the local government unit of Zamboanga del Sur on the declaration of the CTG as Persona Non Grata.

“The declaration of CTG as persona non-grata is in unison with the EO 70, creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), where “Whole-of-Nation-Approach” is institutionalized in attaining inclusive and sustainable peace,” Ancan added.

“With the help of the local communities, local chief executives and other stakeholders of peace and development, we can end the insurgency, attain a just and lasting peace and continue on with the progress and development of this part of the country,” Ancan concluded.

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