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8ID conducts media fellowship in Eastern Visayas

Young officers join the ranks of 8ID

PRO8 intensifies campaign against bladed weapons

8ID plants trees in observance of Labor Day

Leyte-Bantay Bayanihan holds forum at Army camp in Leyte

63IB celebrates 17th anniversary, gives recognition to outstanding military personnel

NMP continues to offer Deck, Engine, SMS & other upgrading courses

Army and CENRO confiscate illegally cut lumbers anew






8ID Internal Peace and Security Operations (IPSO) Assessment
8ID chief MajGen Jet Velarmino presiding over the 1st Semester Internal Peace and Security Operation Assessment participants at the 8ID Headquarters conference room on June 22, 2015.

8ID Conducts 1st Semester Internal Peace and Security Operations (IPSO) Assessment

June 22, 2015

CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division conducted the 1st Semester IPSO Assessment for calendar year 2015 at Headquarters 8ID, Barangay Maulong, Catbalogan City, Samar on June 22, 2015.

The highlight of the 1st Semester IPSO assessment were the presentations made by Brigadier General Herminigildo C. Aquino, 803rd Brigade Commander; Col. Leoncio A. Cirunay Jr., 801st Brigade Commander; Col. Dinoh A. Dolina, 802nd Brigade Commander of their units’ accomplishments in line with 8ID’s four line of efforts in areas of Focused Military Operation, Stakeholder Engagement, Bayanihan Team Activity, and Legal Operation.

In addition, the Police Regional Office 8 presented to the command the current status of the Criminal Investigation Course (CIC) being undertaken by PNP and Army personnel. The CIC is the latest collaboration between the PNP and the Army in Eastern Visayas to enhance inter-operability in conducting joint operations. Earlier, joint Police and Army Sniper Training and Radio Operation Seminar were undertaken to strengthen the bond between the personnel of the Army and PNP.

The IPSO Assessment was attended by Maj. Gen. Jet B. Velarmino, Commander 8ID; Col. Demy T. Tejares, Assistant Division Commander; Col. Leoncio A. Cirunay Jr., 801st Brigade Commander; Col. Dinoh A. Dolina, 802nd Brigade Commander; Brigadier General Herminigildo C. Aquino, 803rd Brigade Commander; PSSupt Isaias Tonog, Chief of Regional Investigation Management Division; PSSupt Brigido B. Unay, Chief of Regional Intelligence Division, PRO8; PSSupt Elizar Egloso, Chief of Police Regional Community Relations Division; and the 8ID Division Staff and Battalion Commanders.

Commenting on the Command’s operational successes as well as lapses, Velarmino said that we must review the time tested combat special operating procedures (SOPs) and the tactics techniques and procedures (TTPs) down to the squad level, so that when employed, soldiers will always be on advantage over adversaries. He also stressed the importance of the conduct of combat rehearsals and drills to ensure success of combat operations.

In addition, he reiterated the importance of sustaining the operational tempo and aggressiveness in meeting the set target goals and timelines in declaring the remaining provinces in our AOR as Insurgency-Free areas.

Further, he said that whatever challenges ahead, the Command must continue to march towards winning the peace until all the stakeholders have joined our cause to achieve peace, progress and prosperity in the region.





8ID and PNP capture high ranking NPA leader, recovers IED

June 22, 2015

CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – Troops under 801st Infantry Brigade and personnel from PNP Sta. Rita, Samar Municipal Police Station captured a high ranking NPA leader operating in Samar at Barangay Magsaysay, Sta. Rita, Samar at around 11:58 P.M. of June 21, 2015.

Based on a report from Colonel Leoncio A. Cirunay, Commander 801st Brigade, a concerned civilian reported about a suspicious person roaming around their community. Acting on the information, Cirunay immediately ordered an entrapment operation which resulted to the apprehension of a certain Erwin C. Lagucay alias Eman who was found out to be the NPA Commanding Officer of Sentro de Gravidad “Botchoy” and Head, Organizing Department of Jorge Bolito Command during the time of his arrest. The rebel yielded a cellular phone, one hand grenade, one blasting cap, two improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and bladed weapons.

The subject during an interview admitted that he was involved in the 2010 raid at Cancaiyas detachment and the ambush of PNP personnel at Barangay Binanalan, Sta. Rita, Samar in 2005. Lagucay is now under the custody of PNP Sta. Rita for proper disposition and filling of appropriate charges.

The discovery of IEDs in Lagucay’s is significant as it is a proof of the continuous violation of Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), an agreement between the government and the National Democratic Front which represented the New People’s Army and the Communist Party of the Philippines where use of landmines is prohibited. It was an upfront of their disregard to human life as well as of international humanitarian law.

Col. Cirunay lauded the success of the entrapment operation conducted with the PNP and bowed to continue their effort in going after the NPAs in his unit’s area of operation. He said that with the arrest of the NPA leader and the seizure of IEDs, the people in Samar will be spared from becoming possible casualties of the seized IED. He also acknowledged the civilian who tipped the information and call on the people to report NPA activities in their communities so that the rebel group’s inhumane acts can be prevented.





Chiz: MILF should come clean on weapons-making facility

By Office of Senator Chiz Escudero
June 22, 2015

PASAY CITY – Senator Chiz Escudero is calling on the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to come clean on its reported weapons manufacturing facility that produces high-powered firearms and explosives.

Escudero said it would have been a more credible confidence-building measure had the MILF surrendered its weapons machinery instead of just a small portion of its firearms collection during the so-called “ceremonial decommissioning” of MILF weapons and combatants last week.

“The MILF should have first surrendered their machinery that makes guns, bullets and bombs. It’s useless to surrender guns when they can easily make new ones,” Escudero said.

He also said that it was only fair to ask the MILF to explain how its forces were able to amass firearms and ammunition, as well as their sources and suppliers, in order to prove that they were really sincere in pursuing peace.

“As our partners in peace supposedly, can they also tell us where and how they brought in their arms and ammunition, and who and where did they buy these from and how did they bring these in,” Escudero said.

Escudero also vowed to press for the inclusion of the decommissioning process in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) after MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said the decommissioning will continue only if the BBL is passed.

“If indeed, as Iqbal says, they won’t continue with the decommissioning without the BBL passage, then I would insist on the inclusion of the decommissioning process in the BBL,” Escudero stressed.

Escudero earlier said the MILF’s precondition only underscored the need for the Senate to scrutinize the BBL and include a timetable that will detail the entire decommissioning process.

He said the details of the decommissioning process must be explicitly provided in the BBL to ensure that the MILF will no longer have the capability to perpetrate acts of violence after surrendering its forces and put all its firearms beyond use.

Last week, the MILF handed over 75 firearms and 145 combatants in a symbolic turnover witnessed by no less than President Benigno Aquino III.






Math Olympics for Pasil kids
Supervised by a teacher, a Pasil, Cebu City child ponders over the answer during a number identification game in the Math Olympics.

Foundations hold Math Olympics for Pasil kids

By Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc.
June 20, 2015

CEBU CITY – The Arcanys Early Learning Foundation and the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. (RAFI)-Dolores Aboitiz Children's Fund conducted a Math Olympics for beneficiaries of their "District Transformation Through Parent Coaching" project last May 13 and 15, benefiting children and parents of Barangay Pasil, Cebu City.

Under the program, Arcanys teachers went house-to-house to teach children Math skills, specifically rote counting, number recognition, object identification, numerical magnitude, missing number and simple addition.

The teachers also made the parents participate by letting them help teaching their children. The parents were made to interact with their children while the teacher observed their behaviours. This way, the parents realized that they, too, have the responsibility in teaching their children instead of just making their kids go off to school and leaving the responsibility to the teachers.

RAFI-DACF Grants Officer Jan Montilla said that through the project, the parents likewise learned to monitor their children's progress in school.

"This project aims to teach young children with early mathematical skills that are proven by research to contribute to cognitive development and personal success in life. It also aims to teach and develop parents' ability to teach their children and gain positive parents skill,” she said.

Montilla said the project was also an opportunity for parents to gain something, as Arcanys and RAFI held Parenting Education Session for them to learn how to teach their children correctly.

After months of being taught by Arcany’s teachers, the pupils and their parents showed what they learned through a Math Olympics at the Pasil Gym, where they also participated in the fun games and activities.





On MILF decommissioning:

The Bangsamoro has shown sincerity, Congress can follow suit, says peace group

Press Release
June 19, 2015

MANILA – “If the turnover of firearms and transition from rebel to civilian life are positive indicators of sincerity to peace, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have accomplished a big and crucial step forward. Now it’s time for Congress, specially the Senate to follow suit by passing a ‘just’ Bangsamoro Basic Law,” said Gus Miclat, a convener of the All-Out-Peace (AOP) movement, a nationwide network of peace advocates in reaction to the MILF decommissioning ceremony held recently in Maguindanao where the rebel group turned over 75 high-powered weapons and de-mobilized 145 of its combatants.

The first phase of the decommissioning program is part of the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which indicates that the MILF’s firearms will be put beyond use and combatants will be assisted to return to civilian lives. The normalization process also includes socio-development programs, confidence-building measures, such as the transformation of camps to ordinary communities and amnesty, and the creation of a reconciliation committee.

Miclat added, “it’s a very laudable action on the part of the MILF and it must be reciprocated to strengthen the trust and confidence between the peace actors. Passing a just BBL that reflects the Bangsamoro’s aspiration for peace and self-rule is not only a duty but an obligation that must be fulfilled by the government. Congress must do it for the sake of the entire nation.”

The group also reiterated its concern to a watered-down version of the BBL, saying that a diluted BBL will not genuinely serve the interest of the whole nation for peace and social justice in the Bangsamoro. Miclat continued, “the decommissioning was based on the CAB and we are witness to how the MILF followed this stipulation in the peace agreement. Congress should therefore enact a CAB-based BBL where the fundamental rights, welfare and freedoms of the Bangsamoro are ensured.”

Contemplate on BBL during Ramadan

As Islamic communities nationwide started the holy month of Ramadan, the AOP likewise urged lawmakers deliberating on the BBL to extend solidarity to the Bangsamoro by contemplating on the merits of passing the said law this month of July.

“For the sake of peace, renewal and hope of the Bangsamoro for a just and peaceful society, we respectfully appeal to our lawmakers to reflect on their positions on the BBL in this sacred period. The urgent task for them is to legislate peace and social justice for the Bangsamoro and to conclude the 17 years of peace negotiations by passing the BBL,” Miclat concluded.





8ID troops encounter NPA anew in Northern Samar

June 18, 2015

CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – Army troops operating in Northern Samar Province encountered NPA members in a remote area of Barangay El-empon, Las Navas, Northern Samar early in the morning of June 15, 2015.

According to Lt. Col. Miguel E. Ceballos, Commanding Officer of the 20th Infantry (We Lead) Battalion, his troops led by 1Lt. Robbi Irvin Cruz received information from the residents on the activity of the NPAs of the said barangay and immediately conducted Focused Military Operation in the outskirts of Barangay El-empon when they saw a group of NPA rebels who were also in the area. Firefight ensued forcing the enemy to withdraw from their position leaving behind one (1) hand grenade at the encounter site.

There were three casualties on the government forces who were slightly wounded caused by the shrapnel’s inflicted by the grenade launcher while one NPA member was killed whose cadaver was brought to the barangay officials for proper disposition and identification.

Names of the wounded troops are being withheld pending notification of the next of kin. They will be evacuated to Camp Lukban Station Hospital for their recovery.

It can be recalled that the same encounter happened last week at Brgy McKinley, Catarman, Northern Samar wherein the NPA also suffered one casualty.

Major General Jet B. Velarmino, 8ID Commander, expressed his appreciation to the operating troops of the 20IB for doing their role as vanguards of the people in Northern Samar. Further, he reiterated the government’s call for the rebels to return to the folds of the law and live a peaceful and productive life thru Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).





8ID condemns NPA violation of CARHRIHL in Samar

June 16, 2015

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The Army’s 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division joins the local government officials, the clergy, the civil society organizations and the peace advocates in strongly condemning the violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) committed by the New People’s Army (NPA) here on June 13, 2015 at 3:30 A.M. when members of the NPA indiscriminately harassed the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) at Barangay Lagundi, Catbalogan City, Samar.

The Lagundi Jail was destroyed by the NPA through the use of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) that destroyed the wall of the facility that prompted a firefight which caused the instantaneous death of inmate Roy Yangzon while inflicted injury to three BJMP personnel.

It can be recalled that the NPA also ambushed an unarmed troops on board a motorcycle who went on marketing their food supplies from Catbalogan City while on their way to San Jose de Buan last month. It also killed a two year-old baby Dishley Arandia thru strafing last April in Matuguinao, Samar that prompted the LGU and the family to condemn the barbaric act of the NPA and that justice should be served for the loss of innocent lives.

These activities are gross violation of CARHRIHL by the CPP-NPA which the communist group is a signatory while their leadership just tolerate such act.

CARHRIHL states that parties involved in the agreement should affirm and apply the principles of international humanitarian law in order to protect the civilian population and individual civilians, as well as persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict and also guarantees the right against economic and food blockades and indiscriminate bombings, shelling, strafing, gunfire and the use of landmines.

Under the Principle of Distinction which is the basis of international humanitarian law which applies in all armed conflicts, the principle obliges “Parties to a conflict” (i.e. the warring parties, whether states or non-state armed groups) to target only military objectives and not the civilian population or individual civilians or civilian objectives. Failing to make this distinction in military operations represents an indiscriminate attack and is a war crime.

Meanwhile, it was gathered that said atrocity is a punitive action for a depleted support from the people of Samar Province who wants just and lasting peace thru a concerted efforts between the 8ID and other stakeholders from different sectors of the society wherein on June 12, 2015 the three islands municipality of Samar namely; Almagro, Sto Niño, Tagapul-an was declared “Insurgency-Free” municipalities thru the support of the Local Chief executives and the Provincial Government of Samar.

The CPP-NPA has been desperate in attempting to counter the government’s efforts in bringing peace and development to the people through continuous disregard of the law to boast their effort in reviving those areas where they lost support from the masses.

Major General Jet B. Velarmino, Commander 8ID stressed by calling the Samar people of peace to help in convincing those who are deceived by the CPP-NPA to follow the path of peace and condemn those who advocate violence and use arms against civilians.

Further, the Army here in Eastern Visayas will continue to protect the citizenry especially the hapless civilians who have been victims by these lawless activities of the CPP-NPA.






insurgency-free towns in Samar
801st Bde commander Col Leoncio A. Cirunay and Mayor Vicente Limpiado of Tagapul-an, Samar during the reading of Joint Declaration and Signing of MOU as Insurgency Free Municipality at the Tagapul-an covered court together with Samar Board Member Allan Diomangay representing Gov. Sharee Ann Tan.

Samar’s 3 island towns declared insurgency-free

June 15, 2015

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The three island municipalities of Samar were declared “Insurgency-Free” on June 12, 2015, during the Commemoration of 117th Philippine Independence Day at Municipal Covered Court Tagapul-an, Samar.

The joint declaration of Almagro, Sto Niño and Tagapul-an as insurgency free municipalities was formalized with the signing of a covenant between the AFP represented by Colonel Leoncio A. Cirunay and the Local Chief Executives namely; Hon. Kathleen S. Prudenciano, Municipal Mayor of Almagro; Hon. Lelia A. Coñejos, Mayor of Sto. Niño and Hon. Vicente F. Lumpiado Jr., Mayor of Tagapul-an and was witnessed by Hon. Allan B. Diomangay, Provincial board member as a representative of Governor Sharee Ann Tan.

The signing of declaration was based on the AFP-PNP Joint Letter Directive 3 which categorized the three island towns as “CLEARED” area that it qualifies to be declared as Insurgency-Free municipalities as stipulated on the five imperatives for declaring municipalities.

Further, the joint declaration of the three island municipalities will increase the influx of tourism in their locality. The populace of the said municipalities are enjoying peaceful environment away from extortion activities of the NPA.

Col Leoncio A. Cirunay, 801st Brigade Commander, said, “The joint declaration of the three island municipalities may attract investors especially that these islands are tourist destinations and that many investors will establish their businesses in a secured area which will greatly improve the town’s economic and financial status.”





8ID conducts static display during the 117th Philippine Independence Day

8ID static display at Robinson’s Mall

June 13, 2015

CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 8th Infantry (Stormtrooper) Division, Philippine Army launched the 117th Philippine Independence Day Celebration at Robinson’s Mall, Tacloban City, Leyte on June 12, 2015.

The said event was highlighted with a photo display featuring the command's accomplishment thru focused military operations, Bayanihan Team Activity (BTA), legal operations and stakeholder's engagement along with the static display of the Army squad organization, emergency response team, armor and field artillery assets display and a free concert conducted by the 8ID Combo.

The celebration was anchored on the theme, "Tagumpay sa Pagbabagong Nasimulan, Abot-kamay na ng Bayan" which gives emphasis on the importance of reminiscing our forefathers sacrifices so that our country will be free from tyranny. Gracing the event was the presence of Colonel Dinoh Dolina, 802nd Brigade Commander; Colonel Divino Rey C Pabayo JR., Chief of Staff 8ID, Lt. Col. Erwin A. Alea, Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operation and the media.

Col. Dolina in his message stressed that, we should cherish the freedom that our heroes entrusted to us, it is our responsibility to take good care of our country's future as we are going to entrust it also for the new generations to come.





Electronic system launched to help reduce jail congestion

June 9, 2015

MANILA – As part of ongoing efforts to reduce jail congestion, an electronic system for computing inmates’ good conduct time allowance will be rolled out by the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) in six pilot jails.

To support these efforts, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) today donated seven computers to the BJMP for the deployment of the Electronic Time Allowance Calculator (e-TAC) system.

“This software system will help the BJMP improve the accuracy and speed of computing good conduct credits. This credit system encourages good behaviour behind bars, giving inmates the possibility of release before serving their full sentence,” said Vincent Ballon, the ICRC delegate in charge of the programme with the BJMP. “Its effective implementation will help decrease congestion in BJMP jails by enabling jail staff to better monitor inmate data,” he added.

The ICRC takes a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to its work on behalf of people deprived of their freedom. It works in various aspects of detention, such as the detainees’ access to water and health care, living conditions and judicial guarantees, and then works with the authorities to bring about tangible improvements in the detention system and detainees’ conditions and treatment.

Republic Act No. 10592 of 2014, an amendment to the Revised Penal Code, extended the good conduct time allowance – “credit for good behavior” – to all inmates, including those under trial. Currently, over 86,000 people are detained in 459 BJMP jails, which have an actual capacity of about 20,000. The reduction of overcrowding is one of the priorities outlined by the BJMP in its 2014-16 roadmap.

The e-TAC will first be tested in Manila City Jail’s male and female dorms, Quezon City Jail and Las Piñas City Jail (Metro Manila), and in Sta. Maria Municipal Jail and San Jose del Monte Municipal Jail (Bulacan) before being implemented in other BJMP jails.

The ICRC, a neutral, impartial and independent humanitarian organization, has been visiting detainees in the Philippines for over 60 years. Since 2007, it has been supporting the detaining authorities, including the BJMP, in reducing jail overcrowding by addressing its causes, and in alleviating the consequences on detainees.



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