Soldier hailed for honesty in Zambo City

He is a well-rounded warrior with exceptional skills, an epitome of a true soldier living up to the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ core values of honor, service, and patriotism.

Clad in battle-dress uniform, Technical Sergeant Armando Gamboa marched on Western Mindanao Command’s parade ground on Monday morning to receive the award of Sagisag ng Ulirang Kawal—a befitting recognition conferred on him by the WestMinCom leadership for his honesty.

TSg. Gamboa returned a wallet with PhP6,000 cash and several automated teller machine cards containing millions of pesos, refusing to accept a monetary reward offered by the owner.

He found the thing along Veterans Avenue corner at noon on June 11, 2019.

            “Sa 27 taon ko sa serbisyo, laging nakatatak sa puso at isipan ko ang pagiging sundalo na may disiplina, dignidad, at katapatan sa tungkulin, hindi lamang sa bayan kung hindi maging sa kapwa tao (In my 27 years of active military service, I have always inculcated in my heart and mind the values of discipline, dignity, and honesty),” said TSg. Gamboa.

He immediately handed over the wallet with GBPI TV-11; however, nobody claimed the thing a week after. Finding an emergency number in the owner’s identification card, TSg. Gamboa called the former’s wife on June 25. This communication facilitated the meeting between the two at GBPI.

The owner, elated by his honesty, offered a PhP10,000 reward, but TSg. Gamboa refused, saying, “Ang paggawa ng tama ay walang katumbas na halaga ng pera o karangyaan sa buhay.”

Western Mindanao Command officials, represented by Brigadier General Generoso Ponio, the deputy commander for operations, awarded the Sagisag ng Ulirang Kawal to TSg. Gamboa during a flag-raising ceremony in Camp Navarro, Zamboanga City at 7am on June 22.

“TSg. Gamboa made the whole armed forces proud with his deed. We hope this account will inspire our ranks to maintain the same degree of integrity, professionalism, and conduct,” said WestMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana.

Displaced persons revisit home in Marawi affected areas

Escorted by soldiers, 700 displaced families revisited their homes in Marawi affected areas on June 20.

“Soldiers provided support, manpower, and security assistance to displaced families who were allowed to enter affected areas and inspect their homes in Barangays Tulali and Daguduban,” said Brig. Gen. Romeo Brawner, Jr., 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander.

Through Kambisita 3, displaced persons may be allowed to return upon inspection and clearance by Task Force Bangon Marawi.

Soldiers from 103rd Infantry Brigade ensured affected areas were cleared of explosives.

The interagency task force, through Kambisita 1 and 2, allowed some displaced families to return home and collect their property at the starting phase of Marawi rehabilitation.

“Kambisita 3 signifies the progress we are making in our rehabilitation roadmap with the vision of rebuilding a better Marawi City,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Western Mindanao Command.

“Expect that our coordination will be sustained to facilitate the immediate recovery of the besieged city,” he added.

Western Mindanao Command congratulates Senator Manny Pacquiao

Western Mindanao Command congratulates Senator Manny Pacquiao on his hard-earned WBA welterweight title against Keith Thurman.

Soldiers stand motivated and proud of Sen. Pacquiao for bringing Filipinos another honor and glory with his acumen and grit.

He has once again proved his title as one of the best boxers. Ang kaniyang laban at tagumpay ay laban at tagumpay rin ng bawat sundalo at ng Pilipino sa kalahatan.

Maraming salamat sa iyong tagumpay, Pacman!


LtGeneral Cirilito E. Sobejana

Commander, WestMinCom

WestMinCom facilitates orientation on E.O. 70

Security officials and heads of various agencies discussed the implementation of Executive Order No. 70 in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao in a meeting held at 6th Infantry Division “Kampilan” headquarters in Maguindanao on July 18.

Led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, BARMM and military officials talked about salient provisions of E.O. No. 70 (Institutionalizing the Whole-of-Nation Approach in Attaining Inclusive and Sustainable Peace, Creating a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, and Directing the Adoption of a National Peace Framework).

The meeting was held to orient the BARMM leadership, local chief executives of BARMM provinces and cities, and security officials in crafting a similar framework in a regional context to address the security issues by involving the different stakeholders in the region.

BARMM Interim Chief Minister Ahod Balawag Ebrahim said: “You know that we are still at the infancy and we are facing enormous challenges in the BARMM. With the support of the security sector, local government units, civil society, and our country, we hope that we will succeed, as our failure will be the failure of the region and our country, too.”

Key officials tackled the guidance of President Rodrigo Duterte on security and development situation in the BARMM, the national task force structure, and updates on the Bangsamoro Transition Authority.

OPAPP Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., Deputy Director General Vicente Agdamag of the National Security Council, Special Envoy to Malaysia Wencelito Andanar, Western Mindanao Commander Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, and local officials of five provinces and two cities under BARMM graced the said meeting.

“I find this approach befitting in addressing the root causes of insurgencies in the BARMM and the entire western and central Mindanao,” said Lt. Gen. Sobejana. “With a common vision of eradicating the communist terrorist and other threat groups in our respective communities, we are certain that peace and development in the region will soon be attained.”

“Rest assured that WestMinCom will never be above you, will never be below you, but will always be beside you,” added Lt. Gen. Sobejana.


Tired and weary, 5 BIFFs surrender in Maguindanao

Tired of hiding, five members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) yielded to the troops of the 90th Infantry Battalion in Maguindanao at 3:40pm on July 17, 2019.

The successful surrender was through the efforts of the Alpha Company, 90IB and in coordination with Mayor Abdulwahab “Allan” Sabal and the local government unit of Talitay, Maguindanao.

The five surrenderors, who are residents of Barangay Gadungan, Talitay, Maguindanao and members of the Karialan Faction, turned over two Garand Rifles with 15 rounds of ammunition and a bandolier; a Caliber .45 Pistol with an empty magazine; a Rocket Propelled Grenade Launcher with ammunition; and a 60mm mortar with ammunition.

“I commend the 90IB troopers for facilitating the successful surrender of the BIFF members. Your hardwork has paid off,” said WestMinCom Commander Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana.

“We are also very thankful to the positive gesture of support and cooperation of our stakeholders and the civilians in our journey of bringing long and lasting peace in the WestMinCom’s joint area of operations,” added LtGen Sobejana.

Turned over firearms are currently under the custody of 90IB for documentation and safekeeping.

Binoy to troops: ‘Saludo ako sa inyo’

Actor Robin Padilla visited Thursday morning soldiers recuperating at Camp Navarro General Hospital in Zamboanga City.

Padilla saluted wounded soldiers and bade their fast recovery during his visit in Calarian at around 11am on July 18.

“Isa akong practicing Muslim at I pray 5 times a day. Allah Hu Akbar din ang sinasabi ko, pero wala akong terorismo sa katawan,” said Padilla.

The action star was accompanied by Army officials, Major Jean Alia Robles, of the Office of Plans and Research Branch, and Captain Abdulraq Mohammad, Command Imam.

Officials of Western Mindanao Command welcomed Padilla at Laong Laan in Camp Navarro.

He and other military officials met with Islamic leaders in this city to discuss the military’s campaign against terrorism in Mindanao.

“The support that we get from people, like Mr. Padilla, will continue to spur our determination to confront the adversary and to win battles for the sake of peace and for our countrymen,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, WestMinCom commander.


NPA rebel neutralized in Zambo Sibugay

Soldiers neutralized a communist rebel in an armed engagement in Zamboanga Sibugay on July 17.

Troops from 44th Infantry Battalion recovered a firearm, magazines, and subversive documents of the communist group following a 30-minute gunfight in Barangay Diampak, Kabasalan at 3pm on Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, 44IB Commander, said military troops acted on reports of armed rebels extorting money and foodstuff in said barangay.

“Soldiers witnessed some wounded rebels scamper and retreat from the area of engagement,” he added.

Augmenting troops pursue evading communist terrorists while personnel of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) investigated the encounter site.

The military immediately coordinated with barangay officials to secure residents in the area.

Meanwhile, a soldier incurred slight wounds in the course of said armed encounter. Troops brought him to the nearest hospital for proper medication.

“We will unify and harmonize our peace and development efforts with the local government units, government agencies, and other stakeholders to end the local communist armed conflict in the region,” said Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, Joint Task Force ZamPeLan Commander.

“We condole with the bereaved family of the communist terrorist neutralized in the recent gunfight,” he added.

“It is befitting that we attribute this operational feat to the steadfast dedication and swift action of our military forces and the peace-loving community. Our concerted efforts will continue to bear unprecedented results in our anti-insurgency campaign in Mindanao,” said Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Western Mindanao Command.

“Employing the whole-of-nation approach, the armed forces will combat insurgency by sustaining military and non-military actions, measures that we believe are feasible given all the considerations that we have to make to achieve peace in the midst of diversity,” he added.

Ex-rebels receive Kabuhayan Starter Kits

Sixty-four former rebels received Kabuhayan Starter Kits from the combined efforts of the 103rd Infantry (HARIBON) Brigade and the Department of Labor and Employment in a civic program held at the brigade’s headquarters on Tuesday (July 16).

Former Local Terrorist Group members from Lanao del Sur and Misamis Oriental were aided with farming livelihood grants; six cellular phone accessories business starter kits; 35 rice trading; one package of vulcanizing equipment; and 36 sari-sari store business starter kits.

“We are fulfilling our commitment to the FRs for them to fully reintegrate to the mainstream society,” said Ms. Criste Perpekto, DOLE Supervising Labor and Employment Officer.

According to Alinor Montic, one of the FRs, “Masaya kami at sa pag-uwi namin ay mayroon na kaming panimula sa bagong buhay.”

In his message, 103rd Infantry Brigade commander, Brigadier General Romeo Brawner Jr., said, “Pag nagkita-kita tayo sana ay lumago na ang kabuhayan niyo.”

“Mas masarap mabuhay nang normal at maging partner sa kapayapaan at pag-unlad sa komunidad kung saan kayo nakatira,” added BGen Brawner.

The joint activity of the LGU and the military is part of the government’s peace-building effort to prevent and counter violent extremism.

“I am very much grateful of the overwhelming support of other government agencies in our quest for peace in Western and Central Mindanao,” Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, WestMinCom Commander said.

“We call on the rest of our brothers and sisters who are still contemplating to come out and take advantage of the livelihood programs implemented by the government,” LtGen Sobejana added.

Local terrorists’ supporters yield, turn over firearms in Lanao del Sur

Two supporters of the Local Terrorist Group yielded and turned over two 1911 Caliber .45 handguns to the troops of the 55th Infantry Battalion in Barangay Matitikop, Tubaran, Lanao del Sur at 1pm Monday, July 15, 2019.

“The two surrenderors revealed that they’ve provided logistical support to the group of Owayda Marohombsar, a.k.a Abu Dar, before he was neutralized in the neighboring barangay,” said Lieutenant Colonel Ian Noel Ignes, commander of the 55th Infantry Battalion.

Abu Dar and three of his followers were decapitated in an encounter with the government forces in Barangay Dinaigan, Tubaran, Lanao del Sur.

Tubaran Mayor Khaledyassin Papandayan and the 55IB facilitated the successful surrender of the two.

“The death of top LTG leaders, including the Maute brothers, and the surrender of their members have significantly contributed to the sustained peaceful environment in the province of Lanao del Sur,” said 103rd Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier General Romeo Brawner, Jr.

“We continuously collaborate with local chief executives and other stakeholders to encourage other supporters or even the locals with loose firearms to surrender and submit themselves to the folds of the law in order to stop the criminalities and attain a more peaceful community,” BGen Brawner added.

Likewise, Joint Task Force ZamPeLan commander Major General Roberto Ancan expressed his gratitude to the local government and stakeholders for their continued trust and support to the troops in sustaining an environment conducive to peace and development in Lanao del Sur.

“The peace efforts of the Western Mindanao Command will never falter. We will continue to eradicate terrorism and criminalities in the entire Western and Central Mindanao through the whole-of-nation approach institutionalized by the President,” said Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, WestMinCom commander.


9 Sayyafs yield to troops in Sulu

Amid the intensified operations launched by the government forces, nine Abu Sayyaf Group members yielded to the troops of the 2nd Special Forces Battalion in Sulu at 9:30 am yesterday, July 15, 2019.

Sharizmal Jumlani Tahil, a.k.a Shariz; Fhadzrimar Say-in Tahil; Julhamid Tirol, a.k.a Maid; Haime Ahaban Sali, a.k.a Haime; Haber Maang Ejong, a.k.a Kubal-kubal; Shedimar Jawali Askali, a.k.a Siddik; Lakkiyan Isirael Safari, a.k.a Lakkiyan; Gapor Laja; and Gajir Laja turned over 7 high-powered and 2 low-powered firearms, including 2 M16 rifles, 5 M1 Garand rifles, and 2 Caliber .45 pistols.

Subject surrenderors and turned over firearms were then presented to Brigadier General Corleto Vinluan, commander of the 11th Infantry Division, and Brigadier General Antonio Nafarrete, commander of the 1101st Brigade, at the 11ID headquarters in Barangay Busbus, Jolo.

Seven of the 9 surrenderors operated under different sub-leaders while Gapor Laja and Gajir Laja were members of the Ajang-ajang group.

“I would like to attribute this success to the loving people of Sulu who continuously support us in our campaign against the Abu Sayyaf,” said Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, WestMinCom Commander.

Said surrenderors are currently undergoing custodial debriefing at Headquarters, 2SFBn in Sitio Bayug, Barangay Samak, Talipao, Sulu.

“We anticipate that in the coming days, the remaining bandits will opt to lay down their arms and choose to live a peaceful life,” Lt. Gen. Sobejana added.