Category: News & Updates

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte declared Marawi City liberated from the hands of the terrorists, during a simple flag raising ceremony held on October 17, 2017 inside the main battle area in culmination of almost five month-long government’s campaign against terrorists.

The occasion highlighted the commitment, heroism and sacrifice of troops especially those fallen comrades in the quest to end terrorism that affected Marawi City.

The President also promised to care the wounded soldiers and said, no one will be left behind.

“I declare Marawi City liberated from terrorists influence and marks the beginning of rehabilitation,” the President said.

The simple yet meaningful ceremony reverberated the achievement of Armed Forces of the Philippines which is also the victory of the people especially the Maranaos.

“This declaration gives hope and joy for the displaced Marawi residents,” said Lt. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commanding General of the Philippine Army.

“The deaths of Isnilon Hapilon and Omarkhayam Maute serve as a reminder that terrorists have no place in the Philippines. They perished in battle and those who want to follow their footsteps would suffer the same fate,” Lt. Gen. Bautista said.

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The deaths of key leaders behind the deadly siege in Marawi City is making an impact on the Catholic community.

Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon were killed in gunbattle with the government troops past midnight on Monday.

Omar and his brother Abdullah aligned themselves with Hapilon, a leader of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and supposed emir of Islamic State group in Southeast Asia.

Bishop Edwin dela Peña is hoping that the death of the terrorist leaders will finally bring an end to the hostilities in the city that erupted since last May.

“Crumbling leadership signals the beginning of the end. I’m beginning to feel relieved,” Dela Peña said.

Archbishop Martin Jumoad of Ozamiz said the death of the key terror is “victory for peace and order in our society”.

“This serves as a lesson that evil must be conquered so that goodness may reign. May those who plan evil realize that there are so many good people who will oppose them,” he said.

For his part, Fr. Jerome Secillano, executive secretary of the bishops’ Committee on Public Affairs, said extremism will not end in the death of the two leaders alone.

The priest said a “holistic approach” and not just military offensive is needed in battling terrorism.

“Education, employment, poverty eradication and infrastructure development should only be some of the measures that this government should undertake if only to dismantle or at least weaken the influence of terrorist cells,” he said.

More than 1,000 lives have been lost in the nearly five-month war, including 163 soldiers, 822 militants and 47 civilians. CBCPNews

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The following is the media statement of Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo M. Año in the afternoon of October 16, 2017.

This day marks the triumph of good over evil. The day when the labor and sacrifices of your security forces — Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines, Policemen, and Coast Guard personnel — finally paid off.

Today, with the unwavering support of the government and its people, we have nipped the budding terrorism, stamped out the leaders of the Daesh-inspired terrorist group, and made an unequivocal statement — we will not allow terrorism to reign in Marawi City or elsewhere in the country!

I am confirming that the taunted “emir” of ISIS in the Philippines and Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and the last of the dreaded Maute Brothers Omarkhayam are both dead.

Hapilon and Omar were both neutralized at a dawn raid today while each was dashing for refuge from one building to the other as your AFP’s elite units storm what remains of the former terrorists’ strongholds.

The lifeless bodies of these terrorist leaders were recovered, physically, independently, and positively identified by various individuals including former Maute-ISIS hostages and surrenderers.

With the precise and timely execution of our final plan to crush the terrorist group, the relentless offensives have trimmed down enemy position to the last one of two hectares remaining prior the death of the Hapilon and Omar. The well-orchestrated attacks further demoralized the terrorists who were seen scampering in disarray.

Your troops braved the dangers posed by IEDs and “booby traps” lain in their avenues of advance in search for hostages to rescue.

Their selfless and valiant act led to the rescue from the terrorists of a 2-month old baby among the 20 hostages rescued over the weekend.

As at 16 October 2017, after 147 days of intense fighting, around 824 terrorists were killed; 837 firearms recovered; and 1771 hostages were rescued to include the said 20 hostages.

One hundred Sixty Two (162) of your government security forces were Killed-In-Action and a thousand others more were maimed or Wounded-in-Action in the bid to successfully liberate Marawi.

It will be a matter of days before it can finally be declared that Marawi has been liberated from the clutches of terrorists. From thereon, clearing operations can proceed to pave the way for the reconstruction and rebuilding in Marawi.

I am certain that the neutralization of Hapilon and Omar is the last straw that has broken the camel’s back.

The Marawi Crisis will be over–sooner than later. The resistance of–or what is left of it— the terrorists will crumble.

It’s a dead end. There is nowhere else to go for them.

Needless to say, the remaining terrorist should as well free their hostages and have their dignity intact by letting the non-combatants go.

I have high praises for the Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines, and even policemen and Coast Guard personnel whose unrelenting and unwavering patience, courage, and determination brought the campaign this far, at this stage of mission accomplishment.

I earnestly request all of us to continue to work—together– in this yet challenging phase of our rise as a people which is the reconstruction and rebuilding, not only of our houses and edifices but also our lives.

Magandang Hapon po. Wassalam!

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The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reports: “The Philippine army has launched an offensive to flush out the last 40 fighters loyal to so-called Islamic State (IS) from the southern city of Marawi.”

Read more at http://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-asia-41630696/philippines-says-is-linked-militants-in-marawi-are-making-last-stand.

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The Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Joint Task Force Marawi, Rajan Lanao Inc., and Mindanao State University held a forum dubbed “Understanding the Law Under a Martial Rule: Multi-Sectoral Forum on Martial Law and Human Rights with the theme: “Championing Rights And Rebuilding Marawi, A Collective Goal Amidst the Rift of Times,” on October 14, 2017 at the Pavilion, College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, Mindanao State University, Main Campus, Marawi City.

More than 100 participants who joined the event represented the Armed Forces of the Philippine, Philippine National Police, academe, youth, local government units, different line agencies of the government, business sectors, religious and cultural leaders, and the civil society organizations.

The whole day activity was aimed at updating the participants on current laws and jurisprudence related to the implementation of Martial Law.

Maj. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Philippine Army’ Commanding General said in his keynote message delivered by Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations (G7):

“Your Philippine Army appreciates your concerns regarding the declaration of Martial Law in our island of Mindanao. We welcome your viewpoints that may provide us a wider perspective for the efficient implementation of government programs in the affected areas.

As this Multi-Sectoral Forum provides a platform for dialogue and discussion among us, we have an opportunity to arrive to a common understanding and resolve on issues and questions at hand. Your Army appreciates the need for a united effort with you, who are the prime movers of the communities we serve, in our pursuit of peace and development, not only in Marawi City, but in the rest of Mindanao and the country as a whole.”

Resource speakers in the forum included: Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera; Atty. Mabandes S. Diron Jr, (Human Rights in the Philippines); Atty. Hamid Barra (Marawi Siege from a Civilian Perspective); Cpt. Michael O. Malacad (Marawi Crisis Situationer); Cpt. Mark Dumalan (Understanding the Martial Law); Atty. Norhabib Bin Suod Barodi (A Perspective on Land Rights Issues and the Marawi Crisis; and Police Superintendent Ebra M. Moxsir PNP (Law Enforcement in the Context of Martial Law).

Maj. Gen. Bautista said:

“As head of your Philippine Army, I am rallying our soldiers and other security sectors to strive in our initiatives in serving and protecting you and the community. I am assuring you that every member of our forces is properly guided to uphold human rights and the rule of law while implementing Martial Law. Any one in our ranks who will violate the law will be dealt accordingly. Your Army will keep on our operations in accordance to International Humanitarian Law and Rules of Engagements while maintaining harmonious relationships with civilians.

Even when the fighting ends in Marawi, our fight for better and peaceful communities will continue. Even when the implementation of Martial Law has been suspended, your army will always continue to be your partner for peace and development.

The insights and contributions of participants and speakers of today’s Multi-Sectoral Forum will become an important part of the healing as we take the necessary steps in rebuilding Marawi. Your soldiers will be with you in rebuilding Marawi. We will continue to be your partner in peace building efforts to provide a better peaceful environment for our children.”

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The Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Tabak Division participated in a forum titled “Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation” held on October 11, 2017 in Barangay Poblacion, Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operation (G7) represented the Army as guest of honor and speaker during the event.

During the forum, community representatives from Muslims, Christians, and Lumads, particularly the various tribes, religious groups and organizations initiated a peace covenant to preserve and protect the interests of the people and promote unity to foster the culture of peace as “One Human Family Under God”.

The peace covenant in a form of a resolution was signed by about 300 participants including Lanao del Norte Gov. Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo, Vice. Gov. Ma. Cristina N. Atay, Vice Governor, 1st District Congressman Muhamad Khalid Q. Dimaporo, 2nd District Congressman Abdullah D. Dimaporo, Balo-I Mayor Datu Madid Elias L. Ali, Municipal.

“What happened in Marawi provides us an opportunity to become a better community for a better society. This forum strengthens and renews our commitment towards peace in Lanao del Norte,” Lt. Col. Herrera said.

“It also sends a strong message that terrorism has no place in the land of bounty and beauty where the people bound together in love and faith as we call ourselves as ambassadors for peace,” Lt. Col. Herrera said.

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The Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Tabak Division led by its Commander, Brig. Gen. Roseller G. Murillo, spearheaded the 3rd Regional Youth Leadership Summit with the theme: “Youth of Today, Our Partner for a Positive Activism” hosted by the province of Lanao del Norte led by Gov. Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo, on October 5-9, 2017 at the Mindanao Civic Center, Tubod, Lanao del Norte.

“The Philippine Government is initiating Anti-Terrorism Program to end radicalization and extremism for a better and peaceful society. Anti-Terrorism is a collective effort of the whole community,” said BGen. Murillo.

“The Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte is doing its own little way in preserving and protecting the interests of the youth by promoting sports and other essential activities that would foster unity among all residents of the province,” said Gov. Quibranza-Dimaporo.

The 92 participants were composed of selected youth leaders from Zamboanga Peninsula, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Sur, Lanao del Norte and Iligan City.

“The development of the youth sector is one of the priority program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). This activity aims to engage the youth to become responsible citizens and advocates of the government’s peace and development initiatives,” BGen. Murillo said.

The various activities of the 5-day summit enhance the youth’s awareness of their integral role in nation-building by instilling in them the spirit of patriotism, nationalism and social responsibility. The activities instilled among the participants a critical understanding of themselves and their responsibilities, and encouraged them to recommend and implement programs in close partnership with local Government units.

“This activity had inculcated the role of youth in nation-building, developed their potential as leaders and increase youth support and confidence to the AFP and government,” BGen. Murillo said.

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OPPAP reports: “In partnership with the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement (TPBPM), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) provided a foothold on youth empowerment as it continues its early recovery program through a three-day Inter-Camp Peace and Leadership Training held in Linamon near Iligan City last October 4 to 6.”

Read more at https://peace.gov.ph/2017/10/maranao-youth-leaders-pledge-peacebuilders-marawi-rise/.

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The Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division took an active participation in the Inter-Camp Peace and Leadership Training for Marawi youth leaders with the theme: “Puso para sa Kapayapaan, Magkaisa para sa Bayan,” an initiative of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) and Teach Peach Build Peace Movement, on October 4-6, 2017 at a beach resort in Lanao del Norte.

With 26 participants aged 13 to 30 years old selected from evacuation centers in Iligan City, the youth camp is aimed at capacitating the youth in their role and responsibility in peace building, environment stewardship and camp management.

The activity is part of OPAPP’s implementation of community-based comprehensive peace process program to demonstrate the government’s commitment to achieving just and lasting peace. In partnership with the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement, participants were provided seminars on basic orientation on peace, conflict and violence, holistic understanding of the culture of peace, dialogue as a pathway to conflict resolution, creative outlets such as arts and dance, agenda planning and formation of organization for youth evacuees.

“Anchored on the OPAPP’s Early Recovery and Rehabilitation Program, the three-day Inter-Camp Peace and Leadership Training is a key strategy to further strengthen and legitimize the youths’ participation and leadership in their early recovery and in preparation for their return to their communities of origin. Specifically, this activity aims to equip them with basic peacebuilding knowledge and skills, further explore their capacities and role in peacebuilding and early recovery, assist them in coming up with peacebuilding and early recovery strategies and solutions, and rebuild social networks of internally displaced youths as part of return and settlement strategies.,” said Kriselle Marie Aquino of OPPAP.

Teach Peace Build Peace, a non-government organization with a mission of making every Filipino child and youth a peace builder, is composed of an expanding network of active and empowered young generations of different faiths, cultures and ethnic groups who are working together as prime movers in building a culture of peace.

“We are utilizing an intergenerational approach on peace education, servant leadership and on the implementation of innovative and creative strategies: Music, Arts, Games, Sports and Community Service,” Sumndad-Usman said.

The participants were trained on various interactive activities that provide interfaith and intercultural dialogues and are designed to develop the values of compassion, service to others, empowerment, equality, respect and understanding. “This is the very foundation of a just and peaceful society where every individual practices peace as a way of life,” Sumndad-Usman said.

“The approach of the Teach Peace Build Peace Movement is: we have to Teach Peace to build a Culture of Peace. We have to build a Culture of Peace to create different generations of peace builders toward our goal of a just and peaceful society,” Sumndad-Usman said.

Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operation (G7) of 1ID, provided guidance in crafting the activity program content. He was also a resource speaker representing Joint Task Force Marawi.

After providing an overview of the current situation of the crisis, Lt. Col. Herrera challenged the participants in taking part on positive activism in rebuilding Marawi. He emphasized that the youth should “dream for themselves and for Marawi” taking on the Maranao culture and heritage of unity and bravery.

Maj. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commanding General of the Philippine Army said: “As we continue to build strong partnerships with various civilian organizations, this is one of the initiatives of your Joint Task Force Marawi to ensure that the youth children displaced by the crisis in Marawi City are given adequate community support for peace building programs.”

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FORT BONIFACIO, Metro Manila – Major General Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, the former Commander of the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division and Joint Task Force Marawi is installed as the new Philippine Army Commanding General in a Change of Command Ceremony held here on October 5, 2017.

Maj. Gen. Bautista assumed as the 59th Commanding General of the Philippine Army, replacing Lieutenant General Glorioso V. Miranda who is set to retire on October 8, 2017.

The Change of Command Ceremony was presided by the President and Commander-in-Chief Rodrigo Roa Duterte with the Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Eduardo M. Año.

Philippine Army Headquarters based officers, soldiers, and civilian employees were also present while a full military honor was rendered to welcome the new Army Chief.

During his assumption speech, Maj. Gen. Bautista said: “To the officers and men whom I call as the liberators of Marawi, I would like to attribute my designation as CG, PA to all of you. Kung hindi dahil sa inyo ay hindi ko makukuha ang position na ito. Buong puso kong tatanawin itong utang na loob hanggang sa magretiro ako. Maraming salamat at Mabuhay ang Marawi warriors and liberators. God bless us all.”

Maj. Gen. Bautista is a member of the Philippine Military Academy “Sandiwa” Class of 1985. He has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

A Scout Ranger, an Infantry Officer, a trainer and a paratrooper among others, Maj. Gen. Bautista has advance training in the United States, and a graduate of Counter Urban Terrorist Operations Course.

Prior to his appointment as the Commander of the 1st Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. Bautista ed the Presidential Security Group in 2016. He was the Commander of the Joint Task Force Gensan in 2013 and 104th Brigade, 1ID in 2014.

Serving in the Army for more than 32 years now, Maj. Gen. Bautista is a recipient of numerous awards including a Bronze Cross Medal, Distinguished Service Stars, Military Merit Medals, and Military Commendation Medals.

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