AFP: Always Forging for Peace!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

AFP civil relations chief also named military spokesman

News Published by
MANILA, Philippines - Newly-appointed Civil Relations Service chief Brigadier General Joselito Kakilala has been given a second role as Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman by chief of staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr.
Kakilala, a member of Philippine Military Academy “Maharlika” Class 1984, will relinquish his former post as head of the Office of Special Studies and Strategic Management to his “mistah,” Colonel Paterno Morales, on Thursday.
On the same day, Kakilala will replace Colonel Restituto Padilla as AFP spokesman.
Kakilala has extensive combat experience as a battalion and brigade commander in the Bicol region.
As head of the OSSSM, Kakilala led in the development of strategic concepts and paradigms for the smooth implementation of the AFP Transformation Roadmap.

Press Statement of Brigadier General Joselito Kakilala AFP
(AFP Spokesman)

Before I start my briefing, I would like everyone to pause in silence as we offer a 1-minute prayer for the three brave soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice while fighting the Abu Sayyaf Group in Patikul, Sulu yesterday:

1.   1st Lt. Emerson M Somera
2.   1st Lt. James Magbanua
3.   Sgt Niel Daez

May these fallen heroes rest in peace. By relentlessly pursuing the criminals and terrorists inside their forest lairs, we are seeking justice to all the victims of the ASG’s violence.

The purpose of my briefing is to present to you the brief historical background of our ongoing law enforcement operations against the Abu Sayyaf and the BIFF.

I would like to stress that our current efforts against the lawless elements and terrorist groups in Central Mindanao, Sulu and Basilan, are based on the guidance from the Commander-in-Chief, President Benigno S Aquino III.

Yesterday, the Chief of Staff, Gen Gregorio Catapang Jr., visited both Sulu and Maguindanao to receive updates about the ‘all-out’ offensive actions against the enemies of state.

With the current developments, we are gaining grounds in our fight against lawlessness and terrorism.

In Sulu, we have the following updates:

In 2014, the Joint Task Group Sulu has the following accomplishments. (Show slide)

In 2015, the following are our gains: (Show Slide)

In Basilan, we have recently foiled an attempt to lay an improvised bomb by suspected ASG bandits in Bgy Kulay Bato, Lamitan City. We have coordinated with the LGU, local leaders and the police in monitoring the situation in order to pre-empt any terrorist attacks.

I would like to stress that the separate law enforcement operations against the BIFF started after it broke away from the MILF about 7 years ago.

Our major successes against the BIFF include the following:

(slide showing capture of Camp Omar, transition to the capture of BIFF stronghold in Reina Regente,  1st bomb factory in Libutan, Mamasapano and the 2nd bomb factory in Dasikil, Mamasapano)

We have inflicted casualties on the BIFF in the latest operations as shown. (slide)

The order of the Chief of Staff to launch an ‘all out offensive’ law enforcement operations were triggered by the senseless attacks by the BIFF led by Kagi Karialan, on various communities in Pikit, North Cotabato in mid-February 2015. Gen Catapang was saddened by the influx of evacuees numbering about 25,000 as an aftermath to the violent clashes that ensued between the MILF and the BIFF.

Armed with an accurate and timely information from the MILF, the troops of Charlie Company, 7th Infantry Battalion was able to engage the BIFF and inflicted about 50 casualties through the employment of artillery fires.

As of yesterday, all of the evacuees who took shelter inside the evacuation center in Pikit town had already returned to their respective communities. About 70% of the evacuees from Pagalungan town had already returned to their communities as well.

The 7th Infantry Battalion is closely coordinating with Pagalungan LGU for the return of the rest of the evacuees, and they are also collaborating with relief organizations for the delivery of humanitarian assistance direct to the affected communities.

We have also deployed the Task Force Kalinga, a unit that is composed of military doctors that will be augmented with civilian volunteers, in order to provide medical services to the evacuees who fled the ongoing law enforcement actions against the BIFF in Maguindanao.

Yesterday, General Catapang had also met Maguindanao Governor, Hon. Esmael “Toto Mangudadatu” to collaborate on how to help deliver humanitarian assistance to the affected families.

The AFP intends to neutralize the BIFF through law enforcement actions in the “SPMS Box” (Salvo, Pagatin, Mamasapano, Shariff Aguak) and deny them influence in surrounding areas.

We would also like to emphasize that the MILF has supported our ongoing operations and they have voluntarily relocated to an ‘Area of Temporary Stay’ away from the affected areas.

We would like to accomplish the clearing operations as fast as we can so that we can bring normalcy to the affected communities. In his guidance to the WESTMINCOM and 6ID commanders yesterday, General Catapang has extended the conduct of clearing operations for another three days, after which they will conduct a detailed operational assessment for our future actions.

Once we have flushed out the armed bandits and terrorists from the affected areas, we will facilitate the safe return of the civilians back to their homes.

We are appealing to all armed groups to end all acts of violence that have caused the displacement of people from different communities. Please consider your options: Embrace lasting peace as our partners or continue to be on the run as enemies of the state.

We are assuring the Filipino people that the AFP has remained committed to the peace process. Through our collective efforts, we will help claim the peace, progress and prosperity for our people. 

Released by: PAO,AFP

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