Authorities firm up grassroots information net against terror

TAGBILARAN CITY, May 11, (PIA)–Proven to be very reliable, information from the grassroots about the where-about of the remaining two wounded members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has kept government troops on their toes.

It might not be long before the timely report could come anytime and the capture of the remaining bandits could happen, Police Regional Director Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño said, May 10.

With plenty unfiltered information getting in and communities on their toes, a regional police official summed, “right information at the right time should help.”

To do that, authorities are now organizing communities and capacitating residents what to look out for the of terrorists trying to evade government troops, through security briefings and impressed on the need to organize for information networking, while asserting and assuring tourists that travel in Bohol is still safe.

The Provincial Government gathered Bohol local officials: mayors and barangay captains including barangay peacekeeping action teams (BPATS) May 10, for the authorities to talk about helping government troops in reporting the presence of suspicious persons and of the Philippine National Police program Bikes for Peace and its events.

Explaining to members of the BPATS, barangay officials and local officials gathered for the Anti-Terrorism Information Drive at the Bohol Cultural Center in Tagbilaran and at the Quinale Beach in Anda, General Taliño emphasized Boholano courage and unity which thwarted the terror attempts of the notorious group here.

The police regional chief cited the crucial information of the community in Napo, in validating the presence of the armed men after the intelligence sources report a plan by the ASG to venture into the Visayas.

The information resulted to the encounter and the death of 4 armed men, 2 supporters and 4 government troopers.

He also cited the information from a motorcycle for hire driver about the presence of suspicious men near a cave in Bacani Clarin, a week later.

Band leader Joselito Melloria and three of his armed companions died in the ensuing gunfight after the validation of the information.

The community also efficiently caused the apprehension of another ASG bandit who survived over nearly a month roaming the jungles of Inabanga, Clarin and Tubigon before giving himself away when he attended a fiesta and refused to eat pork.

In fact, Taliño pointed out that the government troops’ engagement with the bandits succeeded because of the timely action of local authorities.

Without the courage and unity, [of Boholanos] the ASG could have done [what they intend to do], he pointed out.

Because of this, Police Chief Superintendent Taliño led the Regional Police Office and the Bohol Provincial Police Office and civilian bike enthusiasts in a two day Bike of Peace events in Bohol.

For the 20 kilometer Ride for Peace in Panglao May 9, General Taliño said the Rides for Peace would be held to assure tourists that it is still safe to go to Bohol or any place in the Visayas.

In Anda, after taking the 44 kilometer ride, bikers danced the zumba while waiting for the barangay officials for the terrorism briefing.

Topics during the forum with the local officials and peace advocates include Community and personal Profiling as well as Community Organizing.

Both topics are very important in fortifying communities against the entry of suspicious strangers that may further do crimes and start terror cells, the Tagalog speaking police chief said.

Importanteng bagay ang gusto nating ma-achieve, he said of the Bike for Peace and the Anti-Terrorism Forum.

We want people to help and we want fortified communities to help take care of their security, he added.

As to the Bike for Peace, Taliño said we will be doing this [Bike For Peace] in Bohol, Cebu or Siquijor, little this may be, but anything that can help, we will do, he capped. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

PCSuperintendent Noli Taliño speaks to BPATS and barangay officials of Anda, Candijay and Guindulman during the recent Anti-Terrorism Forum held at the Quinale Beach in And Bohol following a 44 kilometer Bike for Peace Ride from Jagna to Anda. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Officials urge fishermen to help guard Bohol waters

 

 

TAGBILARAN CITY, April 21 (PIA)–Local government officials here are not taking any more chances: they are mobilizing information force multipliers against threat groups inside and outside Bohol.

 

At the Press Briefing for the updates on the Inabanga clash between government troops and Abu Sayyaf Group members, Police Task Group Commander PCSuperintendent Noli Taliño hinted the need for a tight dragnet that could snag the remnants of the clash who are on the run and may slip out of Bohol through stolen boats.

 

Earlier on that same day of the briefing April 17, Governor Edgar Chatto said he met Bohol Congressional representatives, Bohol Provincial Officials, mayors and Municipal Local Government Operations Officers to cascade the mandate to form the dragnet that they would spread across all coastal towns to watch for any attempt to escape.

 

The expressed instruction is: convene all coastal law enforcement (CLE) groups, fishermen organizations and commercial fishers to help in the efforts to keep Bohol safe.

 

Bohol has 29 coastal towns of its 48 towns and organizing these fisher groups and commercial fishers as additional eyes and ears can well boost Bohol’s efforts to enforce an impenetrable wall from the outside and a containment that does not allow just anybody to slip through.

 

Marginal fishermen, commercial fishers, they can be our help in watching our coastal areas from any stranger groups leaving or landing, a police security officer at the briefing sidelines explained.

 

While intelligence officials have hailed Bohol’s community based Purok Power movement which helped spread the information about the incursion of the ASG bandits over ten kilometers upriver, the governor stressed, “everyone realizes the defense of the community in not just a task of the police and the military.”

 

Army intelligence officer Lt Col. Adolfo Espuelas Jr., however was positive that the 7 ASG remnants of the encounter are still contained in the area around Napo, Canlinte, Cawayan, Dagohoy and Lonoy, in the hinterlands of Inabanga.

 

In a hostile community, the remnants of the clash are demoralized, left with few ammunition, have no food, no sleep and practically no capacity to consummate what they intend to do, Col. Espuellas said.

 

Army intelligence also bared that the firefight that almost lasted 24 hours, left the ASG’s local contact Joselito Melloria with a wound in the left back shoulder and left foot, another young fighter with a wound in the right leg and yet another fighter with wound in the right buttocks.

Intelligence also reports that the remnants have only 3 M16 rifles, one fitted with  an M203 grenade launcher, one M14, a depleted ammunition supply, an analog cell phone with spare batteries, no food, no local support, have been sleepless and are on the run without any more capacity to fight.

At the same meeting, Gov Chatto told media that he pressed on the role of civilians in the side of law enforcement against terrorism and criminality even as he cited the role the children played that led to the thwarting of the ASG terror plans.

 

“The mayors resolved to strengthen all towns, barangays and puroks especially their coastal areas,” Chatto appraised the Bohol media during the briefing.

 

Even then, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the government is giving a cash bounty of a million pesos to anybody who could positively share information leading to the arrest or neutralization of the remaining bandits in Bohol.

 

He also urged civilians to help as he hinted a government move to arm the civilians to help pursue the bandits. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

Bandits demoralized, left without support

 

TAGBILARAN CITY, April 18 (PIA)–The remnants of the armed bandits the joint police and military operatives encountered in Inabanga are demoralized, on the run without any support system, and it may not be long before the government troops get to them.

Thus hinted Lieutenant Colonel Adolfo Espuelas Jr, speaking for the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) during a press briefing with the military and the police on the Inabanga incident.

Last April 11, government troops acted upon information from the community in Napo and attempted to confirm the presence of at least 12 armed men, who came up river on three small but fast boats.

The bandits welcomed the troops with sniping fire, that a trading of gunfire ensued which lasted for over 24 hours.

The government used air assets, dropped 10 bombs and helicopter fire to flash out the snipers in well entrenched spots.

When the smoke of gunfight settled, the government lost three soldiers and a special weapons expert while the military declared five body counts from the enemies, including the alleged leader of the group Abu Rami.

Military authorities also recovered one Colt M4 Rifle with long magazine and 28 ammunitions, one M16 A1, one AR Cal 223, one M16 A1 Rifle with short magazine and twenty live ammo, one calibre 45, one M203 ammo, two short housing magazine assembly.

 

Also recovered were one galva tester (electronic current tester), one Icom radio, one flashlight, two remote control radio, two surgical forceps, five Kuran (Muslim bibles), one  electric soldering gun, 27 glue sticks, one electric cutter, one pair of scissors, one small screw driver, led component, 22 silicon control rectifiers (for electronic power control), four 12 volt relays, eight slide switches, 86 led lights, 46 resistors, three cellphone batteries, one nine volts battery, ten Christmas light bulbs and three pump boats.

 

The discovery bolstered the  intelligence reports that the group were to do bombing operations.

 

Two of those who died were a couple who owned the house where the armed bandits.

Military sources later said some 7 armed men may have escaped the onslaught but are still contained in the nearby barangays.

A day later, during mopping up operations, military troops dug up another corpse which later was pegged as the bandit’s bomb expert.

While frightened Boholanos shared hundreds of information on social media about the incident, Governor Edgar Chatto called for vigilance and pleaded to pass any information to authorities so they can handle the analysis.

Even if you have good intentions but do not have the basis for sharing information, do not make conclusions and do not pass it on. You are not helping, Chatto was quoted by his media group the Effective Development Communications (EDCOM).

But as the days went on with the military troops tracking the stragglers, Col Espuelas said the enemies are in no fighting mood and their priority is escaping.

“The firefight has expended most of their ammunition and they have lost the capacity to inflict any more damage,” he said.

On or about 1:00 PM of April 12, residents have confirmed the presence of 7 armed bandits begging for food in the vicinity of the encounter area, and days later, witnesses reportedly saw the same armed men, emaciated, three of them wounded, including their local contact Joselito Meloria, who nursed a wound in the back of the shoulder.

They have no food, they are in a hostile territory unlike in Sulu or Basilan when they have supporters, and Boholanos are reporting their whereabouts, Col Espuelas commented.

“It might not be long, as government troops continue to scour the area,” he added.

Bohol authorities have confirmed that a concerned citizen has put up a bounty of P100,000 for each of the bandits, the reward money to be given to anyone who could provide information leading to the arrest and neutralization of any of the stragglers.  (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

Bohol Police Chief PSSupt Felipe Natividad and ISAFP Lt. Col Adolfo Espuelas are positive the remnants of the armed bandits are on the brink of breaking down, contained in the fields of Inabanga, where the government troops are catching up on them anytime. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

PO2 Arlene Manatad: One, only woman SWAT

TAGBILARAN CITY, March 11, (PIA)—So what’s with a woman in the elite police force?

There must have something that toughened this frail girl in a brood of four from a remote barangay in Buenavista, Bohol to let her squeeze through hardships as they fall one by one the moment she wears the bulletproof vest of prayer and determination.
The name Arlene Manatad is just like any ordinary Boholano name.
At 27, and a single parent to an 8 year old girl, this innocent looking face and disarming smile is a woman’s taser. But her normal build masks a core toughness that makes Arlene Manatad a name whispered among the elites of Bohol police force.
She has just crossed over the fence of the frail woman image to be honored as the first and only woman member of the elite police Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team in Bohol.
Said to be the toughest test of physical fitness and agility, mental and spiritual strength among elite police officer’s trainings, SWAT commissioning have been notoriously called the most physically rigorous and mentally straining activity for 77 days of police life.
But for Police Officer 2 Manatad, the pain and the strain are just hurdles towards her determined goal to bring the woman earn its rightful equal footing, with the men.
Born on June 4, 1989 as the youngest in a brood of four, three of them boys, Arlene traces her playgrounds in remote barangay in Lusong, Buenavista town. Their father works as the barangay captian and sallies back and forth with works at the National Grid Corporation while her mother does the child rearing and the housework.
For her, being alone to fend off for herself is never new: she has to walk from her barangay to the nearby elementary school in Lubang, and to stay in a boarding house in Getafe for her secondary schools. By the time she was ripe for college, she opted to sail across to Cebu and studied Bachelor of Science major in Criminology at the University of Cebu. Alone.
A class mate in college, whom she would have to be forced to marry, got her pregnant. Four days after her marriage, her husband left them and would show up again later in her life.
When ladies of less temper would have surrendered to the bad fate, she continued her school while nursing the baby and keeping them eating square meals in economically challenging Cebu.
By December 1, 2010, she was accepted in the police force after passing the board, at that time, her estranged husband showed up to seek favors, but having survived after he abandoned them, she has had enough.
Her first assignment was at the Cebu Provincial Police Office, but desk work bores her that she decided to barge into the world of men in the police force: the Regional Public Safety Battalion.
There she showed what a woman can do in a world dominated by testosterone: become intelligence chief among Alpha ones.
To prove she still has a fight left in her, she jumped into the chance to train into the anti-insurgency police force: the PNP Scouts.
Along with 2000 at the trainings, Arlene was said to be the youngest but was the source of inspiration among women in the training camp.
“I was the youngest but I hand to be the mother taking care of the women who feel too tired to go on,” she beamed.
For that, she said she felt lucky to be among the 264 police officers accepted.
And that plus her precise operational skills endeared her to the elder SWAT: she was often borrowed to infiltrate anti-drug and anti- crime ring operations.
After completing years of meritorious service for Cebu, PO2 Arlene requested for transfer, where the SWAT and RPSB take turns using her skill and intelligence gathering skills in operations, enough to push her to finally officially join the SWAT training in Bohol.
Of the 4 women in the 72 who started training in November, PO2 Manatad flew through the hurdles, grimacing but the pain paid off when she finished among the top ten in a graduating class of 64.
“The training was hard but what was harder was when my father left us and my mother for another woman in 2012,” she bared.
But, if it had to happen, it should, she finally hinted.
Already whetted by the abrasive stones of trails, the acid test of endurance in trainings and the firm resolve to fight it out; nails and teeth, when life hands a dirty deal, living as a woman, mother and a crime-buster for PO2 Arlene Manatad has always been a multi-tasking feat.
“Of course, life is tough, she hints, but with the playing fields now expanding for women to get on the arena, all one needs is to commit to the tasks at hand and never give up,” she advised.
“As women, we should never be afraid to stand for our rights,” she stressed.
We are not alone. We have agencies that are there to help us, she capped.
That statement etched an image in our minds, “fix eyes to the target, breathe, relax, aim and shoot.”
It could have been PO2 Manatad’s unspoken motto.
She is an undisputed sharpshooter, co SWAT graduates proudly told us. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)


Fixing the eyes to the crosshairs, breathe, relax, aim, squeeze and shoot. PO2 Arlene Manatad shares what being a woman is in a world brimming with testosterone. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

Police adopt parameters for antidrug enforcement teams

TAGBILARAN CITY, March 9 (PIA)—They are back, and while there are stricter parameters for police participation in the government’s anti drug campaign, they come in with a new tenacity.

Now reinforced with the 64 newly graduated members of the Police and the military’s Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT), the Philippine National Police again rejoins the fray with a resolve: erase the vile left by rogue cops using the drug raids to mask their corruption.

PNP Central Visayas Chief PCSuperintendent Noli Taliño told media that when the police rejoin the anti-drug campaign, those involved would he a team of disciplined and police with a good track service record.

This as the police resume their tasks in the anti illegal drugs campaign with the return of Oplan Double Barrel Alpha Reloaded.

“Unlike then, not all the police in the force can now join the drive,” General Taliño bared during the recent turn-over of the P4.87 million modern police station in Cortes.

Even Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mike Sueño admitted that when the government started the anti drugs drive, they just accepted those who volunteered, without going for a background investigation.

“That is where we allowed the bad elements to contaminate the program, Sueño candidly admitted during a forum with barangay chairmen in Bohol last month.

Determined not to fall into that same trap, the PNP organization firms up the national Drug Enforcement Unit, PCSupt Taliño, upon which his office also draws guidance from the DILG during operations.

The provinces also form their Provincial Drug Enforcement Team (DET), and so would the towns firm up their Municipal DETs, CSupt. Taliño explained further.

Those who constitute the DETs would be going past a rigorous personality check and background information to make sure they are fit and can be trusted, hinted the police chief for Central Visayas.

He said everyone would be placed under investigation, before getting admitted to run the government anti drug drive in their areas.

Even then, these DETS would still need to coordinate their operations with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA).

The PDEA is the government agency primarily tasked to head the government anti drug campaign.

Drug operations, like then would need a barangay official, a priest, imam, pastor or any leader of a religious sect in the area, as witnesses.

And to get past that, in its efforts to internally cleanse its organization, the regional chief said they did random drug tests to its 8,000 officers and men in the region, including its non-uniformed personnel.

At the random drug tests, 9 tested positive and are now facing summary dismissal proceedings, he told the modest crowd gathered at the turn-over.

“If found to be truly guilty, I am sure they would be dismissed,” he sternly declared.

On their return to rejoin the drug war, he urged his men: Let’s restore the good support given to us, with a good service.”(rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

Double Barrel Alpha Reloaded gets its confirmed resumption when PNP Regional Director PCSupt Noli Taliño announced it in Cortes during the recent turn-over of the new police station. Taliño said they will be back, but it would be via a disciplined team of credible officers passing a rigorous test of honesty and courage. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

PCSupt Taliño turns over P4.87 M Cortes station

CORTES, Bohol March 8 (PIA)–Central Visayas regional Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Noli Taliño led police and local government officials in the inauguration and turn-over of the P4.87 million three-storey Cortes Police Station, March 8.

Accompanied by Regional Deputy Director for Logistics PSupt. Pedrillo Villlamor Jr, Bohol Police Chief PSSupt Felipe Natividad, Police Regional Chief for engineering PSinspector Jason Gutierrez, regional and provincial office staff, PCSupt. Taliño openly beamed his appreciation for the Cortes local officials led by Mayor Lynn Ivenn Lim for the support.

“With the lot donation, the only PNP requirement for the setting up of the fund for the building, we have this to show,” the regional chief said, referring to the iconic blue and white police station building.

“This is part of the police transformation program which CPNP General Conrado Lomibao initiated and put in the funds so the PNP can have separate police stations,” Taliño explained.

He said the PNP minimum lot donation is 400 square meters, and the donation would not go to the PNP, it still belongs to the town.

“We just make sure that it is the PNP which uses the building,” he added.

Cortes Parish Priest Roderick Pizarras officiated the blessing which was also attended by local advisory council members and town constituents.

Although seemingly getting to be credited by the accomplishment, Cortes mayor Lim also insisted that the success also goes to the past leaders and the Sangguniang Bayan members led by Vice Mayor Leo Pabotoy.

He told the crowd that it was during the incumbency of then Mayor Leo Pabotoy when the lot donation happened in 1989.

Lim said he was still a councilor then.

When then police inspector Lamberto Hibaya resurrected the plan to build a station, and asked for a donation, all he did was ask the secretary of the council to dig the records, the mayor narrated.

Cortes donated the lot of which the National Government through the Philippine National Police and its Regional Office implemented the P4.87 million structure.

The building incorporates detention cells for male and female inmates, offices for Women and Children, Admin and Operations, Chief of Station, officers quarters, radio room, and an open space for conferences at the third floor.

Built according to the standards followed by the PNP for their buildings, the new structure, according to Mayor Lim, is the first public building built in Cortes during his term.

PCSupt Taliño also thanked the Mayor over local reports that the Cortes leadership intends to purchase furniture and fixtures to the new building which the government fully funded.

Cortes Officer in Charge SPO4 Josue Lungog along with PCSupt Taliño signed the acceptance documents even as Mayor Lim received the symbolic key to the infrastructure.

Upon receiving the key, Mayor Lim stressed his gratefulness to the PNP stressing the key role of the police in maintaining peace and order and in effecting progress in the town.

Taliño urges the police and the town folks to take care of the building as it might be long after a new building for the police could be built.

And to his men, General Taliño commanded: We will repay the town with a good service. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

Cortes Mayor Lynn Ivenn Lim shows off the ribbon to the town folk after the ceremonial cutting signaling the turn-over of the P4.8 M facility for the local police, while PNP7 RD Noli Taliño (back towards cam) witnessed and graced the event. Also there was Fr Roderick Pizarras, PSupt Baja and regional and provincial office staff. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)