19IB’s ‘Bangon’ farms prepares to market its vegetables

Bangon farms manned by local farmers and the Phil. Army in Leyte province. (Photo by DPAO, 8ID)

Bangon farms manned by local farmers and the Phil. Army in Leyte province. (Photo by DPAO, 8ID)

KANANGA, Leyte – The Phil. Army’s 19th Infantry Battalion (19IB) based here together with the Bangon Mini-Farms Association are eyeing a nationwide market chain for their vegetable products.

This developed after the Board of Trustees meeting for the Bangon Mini-Farms Association Alpha Sector Inc. on July 16 at the headquarters of the 19IB in barangay (village) Aguiting.

Director Domingo Diaz, a member of the Land Bank of Trustees, said a memorandum of agreement is underway between the association and a market chain in Cebu.

Bangon Mini Farm, a brainchild of Diaz, is a livelihood project helping areas affected by super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in the provinces of Leyte and Samar through planting varieties of vegetables and later on to be sold to the market.

Gil Carandang, the Father of Philippine Organic Farming, is scheduled to conduct a weeklong field audit to assess 19 types of vegetables required by the target market.

The vegetables requested by the market are currently on intensive field test at Bangon pilot farms in Ormoc City, Kananga, Capoocan, Carigara, San Isidro, Calubian, and Jaro, all of Leyte province. They will be assisted by the 19IB.

According to Capt. Christopher Badong, Civil Military Operations (CMO) officer of the 19IB, the farmers are hoping more access to institutions and big markets that will lead them to bottom line growth. And with the market of their agricultural products they will have to expand their markets to viable, sustainable businesses.

“The idea is, rather than trying to bus people to farmers’ markets we decided to take their agri products to where the neighborhoods are,” Badong said.

Badong added that they continue to collaborate with other agencies to come up with different strategies to help farmers market their produce.

Meanwhile, Director Diaz handed over the Alpha Sector’s Certificate of Incorporation (COI) issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on June 18.

Membership of Bangon Mini-Farms Association Alpha Sector Inc. is now at 426, more than eight months after the typhoon ravaged the province on Nov. 8, 2013. When it started the membership was only 100 but members conducted their own trainings to bring others to the program.

This was similarly replicated in the municipalities of Kananga, Calubian, San Isidro and Jaro and the City of Ormoc where Bangon farms are also there.

Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar, commanding officer of 19IB, said the program is beneficial to farmers whose income is within the poverty threshold.

“With this program, a farmer with 1000 square meters of tillable land can earn up to P16,000.00 per month,” he said in a statement.

“We hope to encourage future and present farmers to think like entrepreneurs and uplift their standard of living. We are hoping as well that the program will attract more people, especially the rebels who chose to fight in bloody battles rather than in ending poverty and hunger,” he added.

The Bangon’s Ormoc City cluster opened its farmer’s market in barangay (village) Camp Downes. The market sells organic vegetable products and is opens weekly on Friday to Sunday. ### (By Division Public Affairs Office, 8th Infantry Division, Phil. Army with reports from Jazmin Bonifacio of Samar News)

Soldiers build houses in Murcia

BACOLOD CITY— Eleven homeless families in barangay Sta. Rosa in Murcia town, 17 kilometers east of this city, are the beneficiaries of newly built houses by the soldiers of the Phil. Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (303rd Bde).

They were turned over in a ceremony on Thursday (July 24).

The housing project was courtesy of the Negros Occidental provincial government in partnership with 303rd Bde.

Beneficiaries include the families of Stephen Gawan, Eliseo Penes, Roger Maghinay, Hernando Penes, Avelina Gallano, Richard Castro, Ernani Penes, Felisa Penes, Beverly Bohia, Lovelyn Gawan, and Primitivo Entiban.

Made of light materials, each house cost P20,000. Beneficiaries, in turn, did some sweat equity by helping in the construction.

“We are doing this because the people need help,” said Col. Jon Aying, 303IB commander.

“The provincial government asked for our support. We will help when we see more opportunities,” he added.

Leading yesterday’s turnover of the houses were Murcia mayor Andrew Montelibano, Sta. Rosa barangay captain Benjamin Parreño Jr., and Marlyn Sanogal, the provincial planning and development officer and the Provincial Peace Integration Development Unit coordinator.

Phil. Navy Chief plans to strengthen Navforcen base in Cebu

Naval Base Rafael Ramos (NBRR) was the center of the relief operations in last year's 7.2-magnitude earthquake in October and the super typhoon 'Yolanda' in November. (PHOTO BY NAVFORCEN PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE)

Naval Base Rafael Ramos (NBRR) was the center of the relief operations in last year’s 7.2-magnitude earthquake in October and the super typhoon ‘Yolanda’ in November. (PHOTO BY NAVFORCEN PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE)

LAPU-LAPU CITY, CEBU— The Naval Forces Central (Navforcen) headquarters here will soon be the home of future Naval assets.

Phil. Navy chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan disclosed this to the media after the change of command ceremony here on Tuesday morning.

“This is support to the sustainment of our naval assets in the future,” he said in a media interview.

Millan is challenging new Navforcen chief Commodore Ronald Joseph Mercado to craft the plans so they can start the developments for Naval Base Rafael Ramos (NBRR) in barangay Looc in this city.

Millan noted that NBRR has become one of the vital hub for transport of evacuees and relief goods in typhoon stricken areas in the Visayas last year.

Millan said that they are looking at making NBRR as the Naval base of additional forces who will respond to future calamities- man-made and natural.

“Cebu is the hub of the support system in the evacuation as well as in the delivery of relief goods to the affected areas,” he told reporters.

“We would like this Naval Base will be developed so that we can have the necessary facilities that would accept the reception of additional forces or responders in the future for scenarios,” he added.

Apart from it, Millan said they have identified shipping companies here in Cebu that is capable of providing repair services for their floating assets.

Meanwhile, Millan announced that they will be expecting first delivery of one of the two strategic sealift vessel in 2016.

Millan said this is to support the Navy in its humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

He also added that there are two additional ships in the pipe line and is already in its second stage of process. ### (By Public Information Office, Central Command, AFP)

A Cebuano sits as new Navforcen chief

Phil. Navy chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan turns over the Navforcen flag to its new commander, Commodore Ronald Joseph Mercado in a change of command ceremony today in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. (PHOTO BY: 3RD CIVIL RELATIONS GROUP, CIVIL RELATIONS SERVICE, AFP)

Phil. Navy chief Vice Admiral Jesus Millan turns over the Navforcen flag to its new commander, Commodore Ronald Joseph Mercado in a change of command ceremony today in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. (PHOTO BY: 3RD CIVIL RELATIONS GROUP, CIVIL RELATIONS SERVICE, AFP)

LAPU-LAPU CITY, CEBU— A Cebuano now sits as the new Naval Forces Central (Navforcen) chief after the change of command ceremony at Naval Base Rafael Ramos in barangay Looc in this city at 9a.m. today.

Commodore Ronald Joseph Mercado replaces new Naval Forces Western Mindanao chief Commodore Reynaldo Yoma.

In his speech today during the change of command ceremony, Mercado reaffirms its commitment to work closely with Central Command (Centcom) in ensuring that the Visayas region will “remain a haven for business and tourism”.

“… where our countrymen can go about their lives in an environment peaceful, secured and orderly,” he said.

Mercado also assured of continued maritime security for the Visayan seas.

Mercado, who traces his roots in Banawa in Cebu City, said his assignment here is, in a way, a homecoming for him.

Mercado is the outgoing commander of the Offshore Combat Force. He is set to turnover his duties and responsibilities to incoming commander Capt. Ingemar Pernes on Friday. ### (By Public Information Office, Central Command, AFP)

Phil. Army’s 8th Infantry Division kicks-off anniversary celebration with a mountain trail run competition

Both civilian and military soldiers participated in the 9.1 kilometer trail run to kick-off the anniversary celebration of the Phil. Army's 8th Infantry Division. (Photo by: DPAO, 8ID, PA)

Both civilian and military soldiers participated in the 9.1 kilometer trail run to kick-off the anniversary celebration of the Phil. Army’s 8th Infantry Division. (Photo by: DPAO, 8ID, PA)

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar – The 8th Infantry Division conducted the “Stormtroopers Trail Run” on July 12, 2014 as a prelude to a series of activities in celebration of its 26th Founding Anniversary on August 1, 2014.

The 9.1 kms trail run circuit was designed along the trails and ridges passing along the hills adjacent to Headquarters 8ID and Catbalogan City.

A total of 163 runners participated in the challenging running event composed of running enthusiasts from Catbalogan City and personnel of 8ID. Gun start was at exactly 5:30 a.m. The first finisher clocked-in at 48 minutes.

The following were the top 5 male and female participants.

For the male category:
Mc Allan Latoja – 1st
Captain Albert P Guloy – 2nd
Richard O. Oblino – 3rd
Corporal Rolando Villa – 4th
Private First Class Ranny Rodrigito – 5th

For the female category:
Leonila Tan – 1st
Mary Grace Solarte – 2nd
Marilyn Solobayba – 3rd
Ethyl Marie Cailo – 4th
Corporal Dally Lagawad – 5th

The top 5 male and female participants were given trophies as top finishers of the competition by no less than the commander of the 8ID, Major General Jet B Velarmino AFP in a simple awarding ceremony at the finish line.

For most of the participants who experienced the trail run for the first time, the excitement was the challenge of the terrain, and the experience of enjoying the joy of running with mother nature.

Meanwhile, a 12.1-kilometer Mountain Bike Challenge gathered 58 bikers both from the 8ID led by Maj. Gen. Velarmino and the civilian bike enthusiasts.

The following were the top ten participants:
Mark Johncine Abay – 1st
Benjamin D. Solarte – 2nd
Henry T. Castillo – 3rd
Raymar M. Cruz – 4th
Major Angelo D. Malaran – 5th
Pfc Ardel P. Calvintos – 6th
Sergeant Aris M. Gacula – 7th
Corporal Reyno B. Marines – 8th
Private First Class Gerome D. Lebiste – 9th
Pernito A. Zeta Jr. – 10th

Other sporting challenge slated to be conducted at Headquarters 8ID are: Badminton Competition – July 20, 2014; Shooting competition dubbed as “Band of Brothers Shooting Events” – July 26, 2014 and Lawn Tennis Fellowship – July 27, 2014.### (By DPAO, 8ID, PA)

Calbayog City now ‘manageable conflict-affected and development ready’

CATBALOGAN CITY, Samar – In a ceremony conducted on July 9, 2014 at Calbayog City Convention Center, the Peace and Order Council (POC) of Calbayog City declared the city as Manageable Conflict-affected and Development-ready (MCADR).

The ceremony was attended by Hon. Ronaldo P. Aquino, Mayor of Calbayog City; Rev. Niceas Abenoja of Calbayog City Diocese; Ms. Imelda C. Bonifacio, PAMANA Regional Manager of the Office of the Presidential Assistant for Peace Process; BGen. Wilson M. Leyva AFP, Commander 801st Infantry Brigade, other local officials of Calbayog City and military and police officers. The declaration of the City as MCADR was a symbol of desire of the Calbayognon’s for peace and progress.

The declaration means that the basic issues that beset the people were already addressed by the City and concerned government agencies. It also means that the NPA rebel’s interference to the economic activity in the City is already negligible and can be easily address by the PNP.

Commenting on the declaration of Calbayog City as MCADR, Brig. Gen. Leyva said, “We should recognize the effort of all the barangay chairmen of Calbayog City, the POC, the PNP, our soldiers and the people in the barangays for without them and their contribution, the much awaited declaration of Calbayog city as MCADR could not have been possible.”

“The joint effort of the stakeholders depicted the treasured tradition of the Filipino people which is the true spirit of working together or “Bayanihan”. Let us not rest in our laurels, let us sustain the momentum, let us continue what we started and do not let the peace that we worked for be taken from our grasp again,” Leyva added. ### (By 8th Infantry Division Public Affairs, Phil. Army)

2 Soldiers killed, another wounded in Negros Occidental encounter

CAMP LAPULAPU, CEBU CITY—Two soldiers were killed while another one was wounded in an encounter with communist rebels at 2:15pm on Thursday in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.

The two slain soldiers- Corporal Napoleon Supresencia and Private First Class Henry Lumio Jr.- were said to be conducting peace and development activities in Sitio Madaha, barangay (village) Buenavista in the said city when about 30 armed men believed to be members of the Central Negros Front, Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros (CNF, KR-N) shot them.

A firefight ensued between the rebels and the other soldiers belonging to the 47th Infantry Battalion (47IB).

One wounded soldier- Private First Class Leland Sucatre- suffered minor gunshot wound on his back.

Major Ray Tiongson, Phil. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) spokesman, said in a press statement that prior to the encounter, residents have reported of the presence of armed men there.

Major Tiongson added that two M16 rifles were taken from the slain soldiers.

Lt. Col. Ariel Reyes, commanding officer of the 47IB, said this recent incident will not impede their continuous efforts in bringing government services and assistance to the people in the hinterlands.

“We will work even more in Bayanihan spirit together with the local government units, other stakeholders and the people for peace and development to thrive in their communities,” Lt. Col. Reyes added.

Meanwhile, 3ID chief Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad sent his deepest sympathies to the family of the two slain soldiers.

“They offered their lives for the sake of the people. They will always be remembered as true heroes and advocates of peace,” Maj. Gen. Baladad said in a press statement.

Central Command (Centcom) chief Lt. Gen. John Bonafos denounce this as a desperate attempt by the communist rebels to hamper the province’s pursuit for long-lasting peace.

“This is a desperate act that we strongly condemn. But we will not take rest in doing what we came to do in these villages- to bring government services to those who need them in remote areas,” Lt. Gen. Bonafos said. ### (By Public Information office, Central Command, AFP)

Office of Civil Defense turns over disaster equipment to Central Command

CEBU CITY— The Office of the Civil Defense in Central Visayas (OCD-7) turned over brand new disaster equipments to Central Command (Centcom) on Wednesday morning.

The equipment that were turned over to the Command aims to enhance Centcom’s capability on disaster response.

Among the equipments donated include divers tank, life locator, mobile command, thermal imager, snake camera, wey suits, buoyancy compensator, and regulator, ‘jaws of life’ cutter and spreader.

According to Engineer Verneil Balaba, operations officer of the OCD-7, the equipments are brand new and is worth P5 million.

Balaba added that these equipments are used for urban search and rescue as well as water search and rescue.

Centcom chief Lt. Gen. John Bonafos received the equipments from OCD-7 head Olivia Luces.

Lt. Gen. Bonafos said these equipments will be useful in responding to disasters whether manmade or natural.

Bonafos said that the AFP has intensified training of its personnel by equipping them also with trainings on disaster response. (BY: Public Information Office, Central Command, AFP)

NPA rebel killed in encounter in Negros Occidental

Camp Lapulapu, Cebu City – A communist rebel was killed in an encounter with Army troops on Monday morning in Binalbagan town, Negros Occidental.

Members of the 11th Infantry Battalion (11IB) figured in an encounter with at least 20 armed rebels believed to be members of the Central Negros Front, Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros (CNF, KR-N) of the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

The encounter occurred in Sitio Mainit, barangay (village) Santol in the said town at 6:15a.m. on Monday.

The encounter that lasted for three hours resulted to the killing of a certain Jerry Dorillo.

Dorillo was identified to be a member of the Sandatahang Platoon Pampropaganda 1 (SPP1) of CNF, KR-N.

Also recovered in the encounter area were eight (8) firearms- one (1) improvised M14 single shot, four (4) shotguns, two (2) Cal .357 and one (1) Cal. 45 with several assorted live ammunition.

Lt. Col. Paulito Idul, commanding officer of 11IB, said that nine suspected NPA rebels were also caught during the encounter.

However, two of them were released and turned over to the local officials of barangay (village) Santol while the seven others were turned over to Binalbagan Police Station for medical check-up and investigation.

The assorted firearms and ammunition recovered were also turned over to the police.

“In observance to human rights and the rule of law, the suspected rebels were treated humanely and apprised of their constitutional rights. They were released by Binalbagan PNP to barangay chairman of Santol after the investigation and custodial debriefing,” Lt. Col. Idul added.

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista makes his exit visit in Cebu

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista was welcomed by Central Command Chief Lt. Gen. John Bonafos in his exit visit at 11.a.m. on Wednesday in Cebu. (Photo by: 3rd Civil Relations Group, Civil Relations Service)

AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista was welcomed by Central Command Chief Lt. Gen. John Bonafos in his exit visit at 11.a.m. on Wednesday in Cebu. (Photo by: SGT John Lee Montecalvo, 3rd Civil Relations Group, Civil Relations Service)

LAPU-LAPU CITY, CEBU— The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista made his exit visit today at the Brig. Gen. Benito Ebuen Air Base, nine days prior to his scheduled retirement from military service.

Gen. Bautista, in his message to the AFP troops, announced that the modernization in the Visayas is underway.

The general also reminded his troops to aim and reach the goals set by the AFP Transformation Road Map.

“Dapat natin maisagawa ang mga reporma tungo sa propesiyonalisasyon natin at sa pag-angat ng antas ng ating kapabilidad. Na tayo ay maging world-class. Na tayo ay ipinagmamalaki ng ating sambayanan (We should ensure that reforms will be implemented towards our professionalization and to raise the bar of our capability. We should be world-class. We should be the source of pride of our nation),” he said in his talk to men today at 11a.m.

Gen. Bautista was welcomed by the AFP’s top commanders led by Central Command chief Lt. Gen. John Bonafos, 2nd Air Division chief Maj. Gen. Romeo Poquiz and Naval Forces Central acting chief Capt. Ingemar Pernes. Also present were Phil. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad and 8th Infantry Division chief Maj. Gen. Jet Velarmino.

Other Centcom officials and staff were also present during his visit.

The different unit commanders presented their tokens to Gen. Bautista.

A boodle fight with the retiring general capped his exit visit here.

Gen. Bautista, a member of the Phil. Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1981, assumed his post as AFP’s chief of staff on January 17, 2013.

He is the 44th AFP Chief of staff after replacing retired Gen. Jessie Dellosa.

It was Bautista himself who crafted IPSP Bayanihan, the current anti-insurgency campaign of the government anchored on a multi-sectoral effort of “winning the peace” instead of carrying out a bloody campaign to end the decades-long insurgency problem of the country.

Bautista’s focus on “winning the peace” takes root in the violent death of his father.

He is the son of the late Brig. Gen. Teodulfo Bautista, who was killed along with 33 other military officers and men, by rebels of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), on Oct. 10, 1977 in Patikul, Sulu province.

During his stint, Bautista also focused on reforming the image of the entire Armed Forces.

He was very supportive of the Army Transformation Road Map, which he said aims to change the “tarnished” image of the Army because of allegations of human rights violations, among others.### (By Public Information Office, Central Command, AFP)

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