Category: News & Updates

Kuta Cesar L Sang-An, Labangan, Zamboanga Del Sur, September 13, 2017 – The Provincial Government of Zamboanga Del Sur gave tribute to awarded “most outstanding” soldiers and police personnel during the 65th Araw ng Zamboanga del Sur, Peace and Order Night.

This year’s the uniformed personnel who give extraordinary efforts in the provincial government’s campaign in maintaining peace and order in the whole region were recognized on September 13, 2017 with the event theme: “Padayon nga Kauswagan, Seguridad sa Katawhan Ampingan.”

Brigadier General Nixon M. Fortes, Assistant Division Commander for Administration and Logistics of the Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, with staff officers from line and OPCON units attended the event at the Provincial Government Center, Dao, Pagadian City.

The Peace and Order Night was part of the weeklong celebration of the founding anniversary of Province of Zamboanga del Sur led by Zamboanga del Sur Governor Antonio H. Cerilles.

BGen. Fortes represented BGen. Rolly Bautista, Commander of 1ID, PA and Joint Task Force Marawi, as the Guest of Honor and Keynote speaker of the event.

BGen. Fortes stated his appreciation for the untiring support of the provincial government of Zamboanga Del Sur in the campaign against on illegal drugs and counter insurgency in the region. He encouraged everyone to revive the sense of urgency of the people of Zamboanga del Sur to maintain peace and order.

“As we continue the fight for peace and progress, we ask for your cooperation and unending support. We will not only win the peace, but we will secure the peace as well”, BGen. Fortes said.

The highlight of the occasion was the awarding of the Most Outstanding Officers and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police assigned in the province.

The three Tabak Troopers who were recognized because of their “extraordinary effort to attain peace and order in their area of operation” are: Lt. Col. Virgilio C. Hamos, Jr., Commanding Officer of 53rd Infantry Battalion; 1Lt. Jose Aristheo M. Pamor, Commanding Officer of Alpha Company, 55th Infantry Battalion; and Cpl. Edmundo G. Tayrus, Civil-Military Operation officer, Charlie Company, 44th Infantry Battalion.

“This occasion can build harmonious relationships among the AFP and PNP who are at the frontlines of bringing peace and order to our local communities,” BGen. Fortes said.

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As our troops continue with their efforts to eventually neutralize Maute/Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and bravely face danger to bring back peace in Marawi City, popular men’s clothing brand Bench donated 6,000 gift packages about P5-million worth for members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

The gift packages were handed over by Ben Chan of Bench to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on September 11, 2017 at Malacañan Palace. Executive Secretary Salvador C Medialdea and Presidential Security Group (PSG) Chief of Staff Col. Potenciano Camba facilitated the turn over of the gift packages.

The PSG transported the items via C130 flight to Marawi at two o’clock this morning. The donation from Bench was turned over to the office of Civil-Military Operations Coordinating Center (CMOCC) in Kampo Ranao, Marawi City at around 6:00pm on September 12, 2017. Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, Joint Task Force Marawi CMOCC chief said “these gift packages will be distributed immediately to our troops.”

Sec. Medialdea expressed the President’s gratitude for the generosity of Bench. He told Chan: “When the President knew about the donation, he was excited and was asking me, ‘Nakarating na ba sa mga sundalo?’”

Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commander of Joint Task Force Marawi said: “We are very thankful to Bench for this gift packages that also show gratitude to our troops who are fulfilling their mandate to serve our people and protect our land.”

PSG Commander Brig. Gen. Lope Dagoy said: “While securing the President, PSG is also building partnerships with different stakeholders in order to support the troops on the ground like Marawi. This noble stakeholders’ engagement in support to our fighting troops is our way of boosting their morale in their pursuit to destroy the enemies of the state.”

Ben Chan is a prominent Chinese-Filipino entreprenuer who is the founder of the Philippines’ largest clothing chain, Bench, under the trademark Suyen Corporation. With his world class fashion style and hardworking ethic, he has expanded the Philippine clothing chain into international markets.

From being one of the most popular men’s clothing brand, “Bench has grown to include a ladies’ line, underwear, fragrances, housewares, snacks, and a wide array of other lifestyle products. Throughout the years, Bench has achieved the distinction of being present virtually in every retail space in the Philippines, and has built a worldwide network of stores and outlets, reaching as far as the United States, the Middle East, and China,” the company statement said.

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At early dawn today, September 12, 2017, around 1:19am, government troops from the Marines Special Operations Group under Joint Task Group Tiger engaged the Maute/Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the main battle area of Marawi City.

The heavy firefight, which ensued about 30 minutes, yielded 5 confirmed killed on the enemy side with 4 enemy body counts. Two bodies were retrieved while the other two were left on the site because of dangerous circumstances. There was no casualty on the government side.

The recovered firearms from the enemy include 2 high-powered firearms and a night vision goggle.

“The troops’ fighting spirit is further boosted because of the recent strong motivation and encouragement of the Commander-in-Chief. The President’s recent presence in the main battle area has left a mark in our troops in their strong desire to end the crisis in Marawi,” Joint Task Force Marawi Commander Brigadier General Rolly Bautista said.

Major General Danilo Pamonag, Commander of Joint Special Operations Task Force Trident said: “The seamless integration of troops’ interoperability with their heightened morale in fighting the enemy has resulted to the quick and deliberate assault of enemy positions. This accomplishment shows that the enemy’s hold in Marawi City is decreasing day-by-day. It is only a matter of time that the crisis will end.”

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Barangay Mapandi, Marawi became the venue for the Change of Command ceremonies on September 10, 2017 of the Light Reaction Regiment and the Retirement and Incorporation in the Reserve Force of Brig. Gen. Alexander L. Macario.

The turn-over ceremony was presided by Commanding General, Philippine Army Lt. Gen. Glorioso V. Miranda

The leadership of the LRR was passed on to Col. Corleto S. Vinluan Jr., who is concurrently one of the Task Group Commanders under the Joint Task Force Marawi.

The retirement ceremony and subsequent incorporation to the Reserve Force of Brig. Gen. Macario was the highlight of the event as he is set to retire on the 12th of this month.

In his message, Brig. Gen. Macario thanked the men and women whom has served with him and he took pride in the notable accomplishments of his troops.

Brig. Gen. Macario also gave a brief of his military career in retrospect that built his character and leadership.

The venue for this ceremony, usually held at the confines of military camp parade grounds, was chosen by Brig. Gen. Macario because this reflects his character as he has spent his military career in the battle field.

Lt. Gen. Miranda, a seasoned combat leader himself, lauded both the outgoing and the newly installed regiment commanders for their continued efforts in the liberation of Marawi.

Lt. Gen. Miranda commended all the government operating troops, both AFP and PNP who have forged brotherhood and camaraderie to achieve a single purpose not only for the city but also for the country.

The new LRR Commander, Col. Vinluan, who has occupied key positions under the Special Operations Command, has pledged to persevere the good cause of the previous regiment leadership while ensuing excellence for the organization.

Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commander of Joint task Force Marawi and 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army, said: “I am congratulating Brig. Gen. Macario for his outstanding contributions in the pursuit of peace and order. I am proud of working with him in Joint Task Force Marawi as we fulfill our mandate to serve the community and protect our land.”

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The Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division’s presentation on“Marawi Crisis and Violent Extremism: What is to be done?” was one of the highlights during the 6th Lanao del Norte Provincial Barangay Congress spearheaded by Governor Imelda “Angging” Quibranza-Dimaporo at Mindanao Civic Center in Tubod municipality.

Lieutenant Colonel Jo-ar A. Herrera, Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations (G7) represented the division in the event which was attended by representatives from 22 municipalities of Lanao del Norte.

Gov. Quibranza-Dimaporo said she was thankful for the presentation of Lt. Col. Herrera, which provided an overview of what happened in Lanao del Sur with regard to the Marawi City crisis since May 23, 2017.

“We were really worried because the spill over will be Lanao del Norte being the adjacent province. Out of 22 municipalities, 19 are hosting evacuees from Marawi. I am appealing to the barangay officials that they do not allow these extremists to go to our province and do not cuddle sympathizers or supporters of these extremists,” Gov. Quibranza-Dimaporo said.

“We are saddened with what happened to our troops in Marawi City. They also have families but they are fighting for the Maranaos. It’s really sad to know that there are even negative statements being thrown at them. Here in Lanao del Norte, we are fully supportive of the soldiers and Martial Law. We are safer and the province is more peaceful with Martial Law. The troops are always included in our prayers for their safety,” Gov. Quibranza-Dimaporo said.

Lanao del Norte:”Land of Beauty and Bounty”

In his message, Lt. Col. Herrera said the strategic location of the province of Lanao del Norte also known as the “Land of Beauty and Bounty” links Western Mindanao to Central and Eastern Mindanao and can serve as a catalyst for the development of trade and other economic interactions to neighboring provinces.

Although separated when the government established two provinces of Lanao in 1959, Lanao del Norte and del Sur up until the present time are one and united in their desire for peace and prosperity, Lt. Col. Herrera said.

As mentioned by Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista, Commander of Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division and Joint Task Force Marawi, in his message during the launching of Department of Trade and Industry’s Negosyo Center in Marawi City a few days before the Marawi Crisis, Lt. Col. Herrera said: “The people of Lanao are known for their bravery and unity. They stood brace and united against the Spaniards, the Americans, and the Japanese foreign invaders. The people of Lanao know that being brave and united, they can face any challenge, and they can be successful in solving problems in their communities.”

The Marawi crisis and your Army

A briefer on the Marawi Crisis was presented with emphasis on terrorists being the perpetrators of the problem that resulted to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Marawi residents, whose physical, emotional and psychological make-up were affected. The following are excerpts from Lt. Col. Herrera’s message:

“The Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorist groups wanted to occupy Marawi because of their greed for power and money. They are not fighting for Islam and they have a corrupted view of Jihad because they only want to sow terror, hate and division among peace loving Muslims and Christians.”

“This is the reason why your soldiers are fighting the terrorists in Marawi to preserve peace and order. Your soldiers are fulfilling their mandate to serve our people and protect our land. Your soldiers are just like the people of Lanao del norte who are standing brave and united against the terrorists.”

“With the ongoing battle against the terrorists, your government is doing its best to take care of those who are affected. Your Army is ensuring the successful implementation of Humanitarian Missions including Relief Operations, Community Engagements, and Psychosocial Activities including initiatives for children in affected communities.”

“Your Army intends to maintain its strong support and partnerships with local leaders for peace building in the communities at the barangay level. We will organize peace building events including Youth Leadership Summits, Social Media Summit, Educational Sociocultural Tours, and Project Enlightenment for out-of-school youth and students.”

“Several Civil Military Operation programs are being implemented with the end view of being able to establish a strong support mechanism from the communities to further develop an authentic and credible messaging to counter violent extremism, taking into consideration the local context and culture.”

Violent extremism and the youth

“The evolving network of terrorists in Mindanao complements regional trend of terrorism observed in the South East Asia region. Radicalization or violent extremism, which leads to terrorism have already taken place in our land. The extent of radical indoctrination among our youth has been uncovered in the ongoing crisis in Marawi where youngsters are involved and form the main forces of Maute/ASG.”

“As part of counter violent extremism measures, Joint Task Force Marawi together with partners are conducting activities to harness community support to counter radicalization in affected areas in order to suppress or reduce the vulnerability of at-risk communities from the threat posed by violent extremism leading to terrorist organization recruitment.”

What should be done to counter violent extremism?

  1. The significant need of activities to counter violent extremism among the youth should be emphasized.
  2. Children and youth should be empowered to increase their awareness and understanding about peace and non-violent path.
  3. Partnerships of communities should be increased to provide interventions among the youth.
  4. More dialogue spaces and approaches in dealing with the conflict should be provided such as empowering traditional leaders, ulama, academe, and instituions.
  5. Support Peace Education Programs focusing on counter violent extremism should be promoted in Lanao del Norte.

In conclusion, Brig. Gen. Rolly Bautista statement was quoted: “Together in Unity, we can bravely face any challenge in countering violent extremism among our youth. With your help and support to your soldiers, we can build a lasting peaceful environment for Lanao del Norte.”

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By Bong Garcia, SunStar Zamboanga

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through the Joint Task Force Marawi, is hosting an educational tour to 35 conflict-displaced children in Manila, a top military official announced.

Brigadier General Rolando Joselito Bautista, Joint Task Force Marawi commander, said the educational tour started on Monday, August 28, and ends on Friday, September 1. Dubbed as “Tabak Educational Tour: Peaceful Environment for Marawi Children,” the Manila tour is aimed to provide the children-participants, who live in conflict-affected areas, with educational experience, social and cultural values for peace-building, and exposure to peaceful environments.

Bautista said that the children-participants were identified as among those vulnerable and susceptible to violent extremism. They are aged seven to 13. Bautista said the tour is one of the initiatives of the AFP to ensure that children displaced by the crisis in Marawi City are given adequate support and psycho-social treatment by the government.

“It is imperative that at the initial stage, those deemed vulnerable are being guided and educated to know their roles in the mainstream society,” he said. He noted that the Maute group recruited and use child warriors in the main battle area and “are still recruiting minors until now.”

The educational tour is a joint undertaking of Joint Task Force Marawi, Lanao del Sur provincial government, Philippine National Police Women and Children Protection Desk, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Teach Peace Build Peace Movement, and the Kilos Kabataan Livelihood Foundation, Inc.

The conduct of the tour is also in coordination with concerned government agencies, offices, and partners in Manila. (SunStar Philippines)

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte welcomed the Maranao youngsters who are part of the Tabak Educational Tour: Peaceful Environment for Marawi Children on August 29, 2017 at the Reception Hall, Malacañan Palace.

In his speech, the President assured them that he would prioritize the construction of the schools and homes of Marawi residents. He also promised to rebuild their city and gave them hope that the war would eventually end soon.

“Ito ang ipinangako ko sa iyo na we will rebuild Marawi. Babaguhin ko ang Marawi. Ipatayo ko ang mga building ninyo at magkaroon kayo ng bagong pag-asa,” he said.

The educational tour also includes a visit to the Mind Museum and the Philippine Army. It aims to give the children an insight on a tranquil environment and let them experience peace-building activities.

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