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8ID installs new Battalion Commander of 19IB

19th Infantry Battalion change of command ceremony

February 27, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – The 19th Infantry "Commando" Battalion, Philippine Army based in Catubig, Northern Samar welcomes its new Battalion Commander in a change of command ceremony, on Thursday, February 23, 2023.

The ceremony was presided over by 8th Infantry “Stormtroopers” Division Commander, Major General Camilo Z. Ligayo, and installed Lieutenant Colonel Marvin Maraggun as the new commander of the 19IB in place of Lieutenant Colonel Fernando Engcot.

Lt. Col. Engcot served as the battalion commander for two-years and greatly contributed to the counter-insurgency campaign of the 8ID.

In his message, Major General Ligayo, congratulated and expressed his appreciation to Lt. Col. Engcot's effective operational command to the unit.

“You personally led and supervised your troops in combat operations and you effectively implemented dynamic modernization in the administration of personnel, logistics, proper utilization of the unit’s resources and many more. I fully appreciate your efforts in taking good care of the commando battalion,” Ligayo said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Maraggun accepted the challenge as the unit's new commanding officer and pledged to maintain the unit's momentum and gains, particularly in the fight against Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs).

“The battalion will continue to be more proactive and aggressive in fulfilling its task in tandem with the local government and our stakeholders, rest assured that we will continue to work and collaborate with our dedicated and untiring partners to facilitate peace and development especially in the Geographically Disadvantage and Isolated Areas (GIDA),” Maraggun stated.

Maj. Gen. Ligayo also urged Lt. Col. Maraggun to continue the efforts and reforms started by his predecessor and to innovate as needed. He also assured the new leadership that the 8ID will be fully supportive in all of his efforts.

“Your vast operational and administrative experiences will definitely help you sustain the progressive efforts of the men under you. I also enjoin you to put in mind our thrust of transparency and good governance, and to intensified stakeholder engagements to support the command’s effort in achieving our mission,” Ligayo added.





DTI Secretary Pascual Supports Kadiwa ng Pangulo

Kadiwa ng Pangulo caravan in Cebu

By DTI-OSEC-Public Relations Unit
February 27, 2023

CEBU CITY – On 27 February 2023, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual expressed his support for the Kadiwa ng Pangulo caravan held in Cebu Provincial Capitol. Kadiwa ng Pangulo is a farm-to-consumer program that ensures Filipino consumers' access to low-priced and guaranteed high-quality produce from local consumers. The initiative is part of the Philippine government's ongoing efforts to stabilize the prices of manufactured and agricultural basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPCs) following the spike in prices of goods.

In his message, Secretary Pascual recognized the importance of the Kadiwa ng Pangulo, especially in offering consumers low-priced, high-quality products, assisting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), tempering the domestic impacts of the ongoing global inflation, and helping farmers, cooperatives, fishermen, and other sectors of agriculture earn profitable income and while connecting them directly to consumers.

“Bukod pa rito, ang Kadiwa caravan ay napapanahon sa adhikain ng pamahalaan na palakasin ang sektor ng agrikultura. Sa pag-unlad ng sektor na ito, makapagbibigay ito ng mas maraming hanap-buhay at mapatataas ang produksyon ng pagkain upang masiguro ang sapat na supply para sa lahat. Sa pagpapalakas at pagpapatibay ng mga Kadiwa stores, malaki ang maiaambag nito sa pagbangon ng ating ekonomiya matapos ang pandemya. Ang programang ito ay tugon din ng pamahalaan upang mapababa ang inflation rate ng bansa at maalalayan ang bawat pamilyang Pilipino sa pagkamit ng food at nutrition security,” said Secretary Pascual.

Further, the program will facilitate the removal of ‘middlemen’ that purposely hinder and disrupt the local supply chain of produce going to public markets. The permanent establishment of the Kadiwa caravan provides access to lower-priced consumer goods.

With its mandate of promoting consumer welfare and protection, Secretary Pascual also ensures the public that the Department of Trade and Industry will continue implementing policies and programs to ensure consumers' access to affordable and high-quality BNPCs. As part of this, the DTI regularly conducts price monitoring in supermarkets and public markets, operates Diskwento Caravans and rolling stores, and capacitates Local Price Coordinating Councils (LPCCs) to monitor and address or forestall exorbitant, excessive, and unreasonable prices.

In closing, Secretary Pascual said that "Sa pamamagitan ng pagsasagawa ng Kadiwa ng Pangulo caravan, titiyakin ng DTI na may abot-kayang halagang pagkain sa bawat hapag kainan ng pamilyang Pilipino."





8ID lauds Gomez couple promotion in Army Reserve Force

Army Reserve Force

February 25, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – The 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, praises the top politician couple in the province of Leyte for receiving Lieutenant Colonel ranks in the Army’s Reserve Force, at the Headquarters, Philippine Army, Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila on February 23, 2023.

The ceremony was presided by Army Commanding General Lieutenant General Romeo S. Brawner Jr., promoting Leyte 4th District Representative Richard I. Gomez and his wife Ormoc City Mayor Lucy Torres-Gomez in the reserved force.

In his message, 8ID Commander Major General Camilo Z. Ligayo lauded the Gomez couple for supporting the development and security operations of the Philippine Army.

"The government’s objective of ending the local communist armed conflict is highly commendable. Together, we are getting closer to realizing our dreams of reaching long-term peace," Maj. Gen. Ligayo said.

Meanwhile, the sports enthusiast, actor, and politician has pledge not only to lead the entire 4th District of Leyte to their full potential, but also to be strong advocates for peace, order, and security, which he sees as the foundation of progress.

“It is a great honor and privilege to be part of the (Army) reserve force, Sa pagpapaganda at pagpapaunlad ng bayan natin, magkakasama tayo dito. Let us continue to make sure that this country will grow. Let us continue to make sure that our country will be peaceful through our efforts,” Lt. Col. Gomez urged.

Congressman Gomez was commissioned into the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Reserve Force, October last year, while Mayor Gomez also joined the Coast Guard auxiliary force on the same year.

Lucy Torres-GomezRichard Gomez





Army in EV donates books as aid to conflict-affected areas in Samar

8ID book donation

February 24, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – In response to the need to provide educational access to the most vulnerable communities in the province of Samar, 8th Infantry “Stormtroopers” Division (8ID), Philippine Army, through the Office of the Assistant Division Commander for Reservist and Retiree Affairs (ADCRAA) donated educational books to the Samar Provincial Library, on Tuesday, February 21, 2022.

This is in support to the Barangay Reading Center or School Library program of the Samar Provincial Government.

The Assistant Division Commander for Reservist and Retiree Affairs of 8ID, Colonel Erwin Rommel Lamzon personally turned-over a total of 244 books to Samar Provincial Library.

Col Lamzon supported the said initiative with the intent to equip or aid those children who need reading materials, especially those who are in the Geographically Isolated and Disadvantage Areas (GIDAs).

“Books are testaments of things, facts, ideas, and place, so even though may advent na ng technology kasi pwede na nating i-download. But there are still areas na wala namang access to platforms like google, yahoo, and others. So, they can still benefit from the books that we are donating kasi ang karamihan doon ay K to 12 certified, various grades, mayroon din pang high school, mayroon ding pang College,” Col Lamzon said.

Col. Lamzon started the initiative through his sister’s book donation drive and thought of donating the books to various places in 8ID’s area of operations, which includes all Army Brigades in Eastern Visayas. He recognized that books are important and needed especially in GIDAs that lack modern reading materials.

Meanwhile, Melita Mallari, Officer-in-Charge of the Samar Provincial Library, was grateful for the newly established partnership between military personnel and their office in implementing this kind of program.

“The majority of our collected reading materials are not readily available in most places, especially those without access to the internet; thus, through our project, we can give them access to different kinds of library materials,” Mallari added.

The Samar Provincial Library has been providing additional support to barangays and school libraries, including the conflict-affected areas for the past three years.

This year, SPL’s book donation program intends to carry out five donation activities, and the beneficiaries will be selected through the Department of Education (DepEd) Catbalogan City Division office.





ICHRP warns against further violations of Filipino people’s economic, social and cultural rights as the Philippine Senate ratifies RCEP

Press Release
February 23, 2023

MANILA – Following the Philippine Senate ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP) expresses a grave warning on the free trade agreement’s (FTA) possible violation of the Filipino people’s economic, social and cultural rights. The 20 senators who voted for the ratification of this unfair agreement showed their anti-people stance by dumping the poor Filipino people further into poverty.

“As a comprehensive free trade agreement covering the biggest economies in the Asia-Pacific, the RCEP puts local producers and markets in the Philippines at a disadvantage as they will be forced to compete with a flood of cheaper and high-grade imported goods from highly-industrialized countries”, said Peter Murphy, ICHRP Chairperson.

The RCEP eliminates 90 percent of tariffs among its participating economies, the 10 member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea. The RCEP covers roughly 30 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP). It is widely perceived as China’s counterweight to the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) from which then President Donald Trump withdrew participation in January 2017.

Despite gross violation of human rights in Myanmar, China and the Philippines, the RCEP has no commitments to human rights, labor rights or environmental standards.

“The RCEP will surely mean the worsening violation of workers’ rights. Filipino workers already suffer from contractualization, low wages, unsafe working conditions and the non respect of ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on their right to associate and to collective bargaining. Peasants will face impossible competition from giant agri-corporations, and indigenous peoples (IPs) will be confronted by the expansion of destructive mega-mining projects,” continued Murphy.

“Following a neoliberal framework, it will also open up basic social services to further liberalization, privatization, and deregulation, making it more difficult for the Filipino masses to have access to desperately needed medical, education, and transportation services.”

“Instead of participating in unfair free trade agreements like RCEP, the Philippine Government should focus on improving its national economy and supporting its local producers and businesses who are already reeling from the continued rise of inflation in the country. A primary focus should be given to genuine land reform and national industrialization which would generate quality jobs and would respond to the actual needs of the Filipino people,” concluded Murphy.





Army deploys two additional battalions to boost anti-insurgency campaign in EV

74th Infantry Battalion

February 22, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City, Samar – The 8th Infantry “Stormtroopers” Division (8ID) welcomes the arrival of 74th Infantry “Unbeatable” Battalion and 42 Infantry “Tagapagtanggol” Battalion at Government Center, Palo Leyte Yesterday, February 20, 2023.

The said Battalions will be placed under the operational control of the Joint Task Force -Storm (JTF-Storm) and will help sustain the gains of the Stormtroopers in the successful implementation of its campaigns.

The 74IB is one of the battalions of the 2nd Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division. Prior to their deployment in Eastern Visayas, 74IB have made significant accomplishments in the fight against the Abu Sayaff Group (ASG) in Basilan Province. The unit also made significant contributions in the campaigns of the Western Mindanao Command under the Operational Control of Joint Task Force Zamboanga.

Meanwhile, the 42IB of the 9th Infantry “Spear” Division also showed exemplary performance in the conduct of offensive operations against the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army operating in Quezon and Bicol area.

The unit have been assigned to different areas in the Philippines; Camarines Sur, Zamboanga Peninsula, Lanao Del Sur and Sulu.

The unit also contributed to the liberation of Marawi City, where they took part in the 6-month  fight against the ISIS-Maute Group.

Significant accomplishments in Zamboanga Del Norte was also recorded as they were able to neutralize key NPA leaders and personalities and were able to dismantle the Regional Leadership of Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC).

With their deployment in Eastern Visayas, the Commander of 8th Infantry Division, Major General Camilo Ligayo said that the two additional battalion will boost the anti-insurgency campaign in the region especially that four of the last five remaining guerilla fronts in the country is located here in region 8.

“This Division is in the the winning momentum in dismantling the four active guerilla fronts in the area of operations. Thus, an additional force would be great as we continue to strike hard on the Communist Terrorist Groups and will shorten the time in attaining strategic victory and to finally put an end to this insurgency.”

“The higher headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines is very supportive, from additional forces to war-fighting equipment, they really ensure that we are fully equip in this fight. And definitely, in no time we can totally eradicate the CTGs in the region,” Ligayo said.

Last February 17, 2023 the 21st Scout Ranger Company belonging to the elite force of 4th Scout Ranger Battalion has also arrived as an additional forces to help end the decades-long insurgency problem in the region.

Since last year, a total of four additional battalions have been deployed to Eastern Visayas that will contribute in the internal security operations against CTGs in the region.





RCEP secured Senate nod

Senate approves RCEP

By DTI-Bureau of International Trade Relations
February 22, 2023

PASAY CITY – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual, Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, and Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty expressed their utmost appreciation to the Philippine Senate for concurring with the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on 21 February 2023.

With 20 senators voting for the concurrence, the Philippines is now set to participate in the largest free trade area.

“We laud the Philippine Senate for its prompt action on this very important treaty. This gives a strong signal to our trading partners as to the trade policy direction of the country, and the resolve of the present administration to provide a conducive business environment for potential investors”, said Secretary Pascual.

During the plenary deliberation, no less than Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri and Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda defended the concurrence of the Senate.

“Indeed, Senators Zubiri and Legarda excellently argued the merits of the RCEP Agreement and showed why the Philippines could not afford not to be part of it. One of the most critical reasons is that if we refuse to participate, businesses and investors may relocate in other countries that are already participating in RCEP. This means we will be at a disadvantaged position in ASEAN”, the Trade Chief added.

Senator Legarda emphasized the need to support the agriculture sector, stressing that RCEP itself is a tool that needs to be utilized by Filipino businesses in order for gains to materialize.

“There is nothing wrong with RCEP, it is smuggling, lack of support of agriculture,” she stated, in response to concerns that the agriculture sector will be adversely affected by RCEP. “This is not a magic pill. RCEP or no RCEP, we must help these sectors,” she added.

Meanwhile, Senator Zubiri stressed the need for a holistic approach to RCEP, stating that the government should also take into account the welfare of other sectors of the economy.

“Whether we have RCEP or not, the agri sector, in its state right now is suffering. Let’s say we don’t ratify RCEP, I think it will still be suffering but the thing is manufacturing will also be suffering, exports will also suffer. In the totality of things, I am not just standing as an agriculturalist, but I am also standing as a Senator of the Republic, we also have other constituencies to protect, so we are looking at the totality of it all,” Zubiri said.

According to Secretary Pascual, he commends the two senators not only for their sterling defense of RCEP but also for their creative approach in handling the issues and concerns raised by oppositors.

Further, under the Resolution of the Senate concurring on the ratification of the RCEP Agreement, a Senate oversight committee was created to ensure the effective implementation of programs intended to improve the competitiveness of local stakeholders, especially farmers.

For its part, the Executive Department showed its full support during the interpellation. Present during the deliberation were Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, Special Assistant to the President Antonio Lagdameo Jr., Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Customs Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio, Acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos Sorreta, Labor and Employment Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma, and Agriculture Senior Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban.

The Agreement will be effective for the Philippines 60 days after the submission of the country’s Instrument of Ratification (IOR) to the ASEAN Secretary General as the Depositary.





8ID welcomes 564 new breed of soldiers

8ID 564 new soldiers

February 20, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 8th Infantry "Stormtroopers" Division, Philippine Army welcomes a new breed of soldiers after having completed a six-month training at Camp Eugenio Daza in Hinabangan, Samar today, February 20, 2023.

A total of 564 new privates who graduated from the Candidate Soldier Course Classes 736, 737, 738, and 739-2022 have finished their Basic Military Training (BMT) during their Candidate Soldier Course, which started on July 18, 2022.

The new privates have completed their training that has put their physical and mental abilities to test while transforming them from civilians into military men and women.

Of the 564 new privates, 537 are males and 27 are females. Two hundred ninety-one of them are from Samar, 42 from Eastern Samar, 45 from Northern Samar, 139 from Leyte, 13 from Southern Leyte, 5 from Cebu, 3 from Bohol, 1 from Biliran, 4 from Negros Oriental, 2 from Negros Occidental, 2 from Camarines Sur, 1 from Surigao del Sur, 6 from North Cotabato, 2 from Lanao del Norte, 2 from Agusan del Sur, 2 from Surigao del Norte, 1 from Davao del Norte, 1 from Bukidnon, 1 from Kalinga and 1 from Rizal.

Among the 564 new soldiers, a 22-year-old Pvt Joshua Regayas from Calbayog City, Samar topped the newest batch of Army soldiers in Eastern Visayas. And followed by a 24-year-old Pvt Angela Cayunda still from Calbayog City, Samar. Pvt Cayunda is a licensed criminologist, an advanced ROTC graduate, and a commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Army Reserve Command.

Major General Camilo Z. Ligayo, Commander of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, presided over the ceremony.

In his speech, Maj. Gen. Ligayo lauded the trainees for overcoming the challenges that were part of the process of shaping and preparing them to be smarter, stronger, and better individuals equipped with the necessary knowledge as they begin their journey in serving the country.

He also emphasized the essence of being a soldier and the responsibilities it entails.

“Dugo’t pawis ang inyong naging puhunan upang maabot ninyo ang inyong kinatatayuan ngayon. At sa pagkakataong ito, ang inyong dedikasyon at pagsisikap ay nagbunga na sapagkat kayo ay ganap ng mga sundalo ng Republika ng Pilipinas,” Maj. Gen Ligayo said.

Maj. Gen. Ligayo also expressed his gratitude to the parents of the new troops for entrusting them with their children who would serve the nation as new soldiers.

“Alam ko ang lungkot na inyong pinagdaanan ng mawalay sila sa inyo ng panandalian subalit kapalit naman nito ay kasiyahan na sila ay masilayan suot ang unipormeng kanilang pinaghirapang makamtan,” Maj. Gen. Ligayo added.

The new graduates will assist in fighting insurgency and bringing out peace to the entire region by serving in various army battalions and units throughout Eastern Visayas.

The distribution of certificates and awarding of individuals, oath-taking, and ceremonial entrustment of firearms are some of the highlights of the said activity.





8ID welcomes the deployment of additional elite Scout Ranger Company in EV

21st Scout Ranger Company

February 20, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City – The 8th Infantry "Stormtroopers" Division (8ID) welcomes the arrival of additional troops from the 4th Scout Ranger "Masigasig" Battalion (4SRBn) at Headquarters, 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army , Catbalogan City, Samar on February 17, 2023.

The 21st Scout Ranger Company (SRC) troopers will be placed under the operational control of the Joint Task Force Storm and will help increase the operational tempo in Ending Local Communist and Armed Conflict in Eastern Visayas.

Prior to their transfer, the 21st SRC made significant accomplishments against the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) operating in Paquibato District in Davao. They also played significant role in the 4-month-long battle against the ISIS-Maute Group in Marawi City.

Before their deployment to Eastern Visayas, the 21st SRC underwent training both locally and abroad to further enhance their capability to counter-insurgency operations.

The Commander of the 8th Infantry Division Major General Camilo Ligayo expressed that the deployment of the 21st SRC in the region will be a game changer and will play a significant role in the overall campaign of the 8ID.

"Truly it is overwhelming feeling how the higher headquarters manifest their support to the division's campaign by sending the elite forces to augment our troops deployed on this island. With their vast experiences, am confident with these advantages surely, we will be victorious in this battle,” Maj. Gen. Ligayo expressed.

Despite the success in combat operations from their previous assignments, Maj. Gen. Ligayo urged the troops of the 21st SRC not to be complacent and remain vigilant since they will be confronting the CTG's in this last bastion of insurgency.

"Your unit has displayed a high sense of professionalism and competencies in your previous deployment and has been a game changer in every employment. I trust that everyone remains mission-oriented and always respect human rights, adhere to the International Humanitarian Law and the rule of law as you proceed to your area of operations," Ligayo said.

The 21st SRC as one of the elite forces in the AFP will be deployed in Northern Samar, one of the strongholds of the terrorist group in the region, as they are best trained and suited for the task of ending the decades-long insurgency.





1 NPA killed, war materiel seize in Eastern Samar clash

February 19, 2023

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City - A New People’s Army (NPA) rebel was killed while assorted war material were seized during an encounter in Borongan City, Eastern Samar on February 18, 2023.

The troops of 78th Infantry "Warrior" Battalion (78IB) clashed with more or less 9 Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) members after a concerned citizen reported the presence of an armed group in the hinterlands of Barangay San Andres, Borongan City, Eastern Samar, on the afternoon of February 17, 2023. Recovered during the encounter were one M16 rifle and a backpack.

A pursuit operation was then conducted that resulted in another encounter at 11 a.m. on February 18. The clash resulted in the death of one unidentified CTG member and the recovery of one prohibited Anti-Personnel Mine (APM) and assorted ammunition.

In his statement, Lieutenant Colonel Allan Tria, the Commanding Officer of the 78IB appealed to the remaining members of the CTGs to consider laying down their arms and return to the folds of the law as the army will continue its offensive against the CTGs.

"Hindi maipagkakaila na sa bakas ng mga dugo na mayroong mga sugatang NPA sa engkwentro, hinihiling namin sa ating residente na makipag tulungan sa paghahanap sa mga sugatan upang agarang mabigyan ng paunang lunas at mailigtas sila sa tiyak na kapahamakan," Lt. Col. Tria said.

Meanwhile, Major General Camilo Z. Ligayo, the Commander of 8ID commended the troops of 78IB for their efforts of bringing peace in Eastern Samar.

"Once again, the CTG leadership failed to take care of their fallen comrade. They have been deceiving the people of Samar Island to join their futile and ill-motivated armed struggle ever since. I call on the Samar Island people to join us in our efforts and once and for all End the Local Communist Armed Conflict here in Eastern Visayas,” added Maj. Gen. Ligayo.



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