By Lt Col Harold M. Cabunoc




As one of the most experienced military in counterinsurgency operations, the Philippine Army has accumulated tons of lessons that can be shared among its leaders. In the 1950s, we had learned the value of winning popular support, a crucial factor in defeating the forces of the Huks. It was President Ramon Magsaysay’s pro-people policies that ensured the delivery of essential services to the poorest communities, enhancing the legitimacy of the Philippine government. The show of good governance during that period was also coincided with the creation of the AFP’s effective counterinsurgency outfits, the First Scout Ranger Regiment and the Civil Relations Service. However, these lessons usually disappeared in the shadows of oblivion because of poor documentation, lack of effort in doctrine development, and non-inclusion of COIN studies in our professional military education. In this article, I will attempt to describe how my unit relearnt some of the past COIN lessons that resulted in the surrender of a significant number of NPA rebels in Sultan Kudarat.



Communist insurgency in Sultan Kudarat


The Philippines as a whole and Sultan Kudarat in particular, suffered from the turmoils brought by various insurgencies after it was granted independence by the American colonizers in 1946. The newly created province became a battleground when the ethno-nationalist Moro National Liberation Front expanded its militaristic forays in mainland Mindanao in the 1970s. In response, pro-government paramilitary forces such as the BSDU/CHDF were organized to help the AFP contain the main security threat during that period. As a result, the indigenous peoples like the T’boli, Teduray, and Dulangan Manobo tribesmen, the jungle dwellers, got entangled in the armed conflict that raged in the area. Displaced from their ancestral domain, the indigenous people would later join the communist movement to fight the heavily armed ‘land grabbers’.



The Insurgents


Based on its own online publications, the communist movement (CPP-NPA-NDF) has remained focused in achieving its ultimate goal of replacing the current economic and political order in the Philippines with a socialist system. To achieve this, the communistscarry out a ‘protracted people’s war’ that is waged from the countryside. According to Commander Bobby of the NPA’s Local Guerilla Unit in Sultan Kudarat, the cadres of the Guerilla Front 73 entered the communities of the Dulangan Manobo tribe in the tri-boundary of Senator Ninoy Aquino, Bagumbayan, and Esperanza, sometime in May 2015. Led by Ka George (T.N. Randy Lamigo) and Ka Makmak, the small group of Visayan speaking NPA cadres gathered the Manobo tribal members including their Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representatives (IPMRs), to identify community problems. The NPA recruiters had a perfect audience for their organizing activities because of the existing land conflict between the lumads and the 29,000 hectareM&S Company. The issuance of high-powered rifles and the prospect of seizing what they claimed as part of their ancestral lands had attracted more than a hundred of the lumads (indigenous people) in joining the New People’s Army. The surge of lumad recruits is reflected by the fact that indigenous peoples comprise at least 90% of the ranks of the Guerilla Front 73. Notably, all of the 161 NPA surrenderees from May 2017-August 2018were Manobo tribesmen. The result of the custodial debriefing for the recent surrenderees reveal that they have not considered the state forces (Army and PNP) as their enemies; rather, they were focused on attacking the SCAA (Special CAFGU/paramilitary forces of the Army) that protects the peripheries of the plantation.


The support of the lumads enabled the Guerilla Front 73 to establish training camps along the Daguma Mountain Range, straddling from Ampatuan town in Maguindanao to Bagumbayan in Sultan Kudarat. The lumad support and the establishment of safe havens also allowed the NPA to collect ‘revolutionary taxes’ from farmers, illegal miners, businessmen, and private contractors. There is no reported foreign funding for the group but there are consistent reports about politicians from South Cotabato who had provided material and political support for the communist rebels.  In mixed communities, the insurgents were able to establish a tactical ‘alliance’ with other armed groups such as the loose factions of the MILF and other private armed groups.


Through the immersion of communist front organizations like Kalumaran and Kaluhamin, the insurgents were able to manipulate the lumads in joining the mass mobilizations in Koronadal, Kidapawan, and Davao City. Kilusang Rebolusyonaryong Baranggay leader Eson Digan was among the few who were deceived by the members of the Anak-Pawis and Bayan Muna in joining the protest rallies in Manila.


The case of TAMASCO claimants of the 1,600 hectares of land in the boundary between the villages of Sto Nino in Bagumbayan town and Ned in Lake Sebu, is the perfect example of how the communists are able to exploit the issues on land conflicts. Datu Victor ‘Bitul’ Denian, the leader of the Dulangan Manobo tribe, had been fighting to get back the 300  hectare Dawang Coffee Plantation of the Consunji Family. Unfortunately, when the contract of lease expired in December 2016, the investment company allegedly extended its hold of the land through ‘integration’ process. The indigenous people complained that the land must be returned because they no longer approved of the lease. While most of the tribal elders opted to raise their sentiments to DENR by legal means, Datu Victor and his followers, out of desperation, accommodated the CPP-NPA-NDF in their community. This patronage led to the forcible seizure of about 50 hectares of coffee plantation, employing child warriors with indigenous weapons. Former New People’s Army members who surrendered to the 33rd IB revealed that they were actually providing fire support in case the armed SCAA (militia forces) will repulse them.


Eventually, eight of Datu Victor’s followers became full time members of the New People’s Army. Meanwhile, Datal Bonglangon community gradually evolved as a communist guerilla base with a shadow government (Kilusang Rebolusyonaryong  Barangay) headed by Abelardo Wali and satellite camps manned by regular NPA members. The recovered subversive documents after the encounter against the armed groups in DatalBonglangon on December 3, 2017 revealed the extent of the communist influence in the area including nearby communities of the Dulangan Manobo and T’boli.




The Counterinsurgents


The 33rd Infantry (Makabayan) Battalion in collaboration with its partner government agencies, combines offensive, defensive and civil support operations in dealing the communist influence within the area of operations. Though thinly spread in a vast expanse of communist-influenced area, the unit enjoys the support of the majority of the population including the local government leaders. To appreciate the operating environment, I retooled two of my maneuver companies (Alpha and Charlie) in order to prepare them in the new operating environment that requires skill sets in both small-unit tactics, counter-guerilla operations, and nation-building. As the primary field operators in our counterinsurgency campaign, I encouraged collaboration and cooperation within the Army. I required my Intelligence Section to collaborate and exchange notes with other intelligence units that are directly supporting or complementing our operations. On the other hand, I taught my Company Commanders on how to conduct purposive stakeholders engagement to frame the problem correctly and to achieve unity of effort in our COIN campaign. At the battalion level, I work with my S3, S2, and S7 on how to support the line units in whatever means necessary, including the establishment of network of contacts among public servants and civil society organizations that can partner with our unit. Most importantly, I encouraged self-education by requiring my subordinates to ready and critically analyze books on Counterinsurgency and military history, and spearhead small group discussions on relevant topics that would improve our ability to effectively handle the local insurgency problem in our AO.




Lessons in Counterinsurgency


I have learned valuable lessons in my involvement in different type of insurgencies (carried out by non-state actors such as MNLF, Abu Sayyaf, and the MILF) since my younger years as a combat leader of the First Scout Ranger Regiment. I realized that there are similarities in most of the lessons based on my field experiences but let me put emphasis on the recent lessons that we gained in our recent campaign against the CPP-NPA-NDF’s Guerilla Front 73, Far South Mindanao Region:

  • Frame the problem
  • Win popular support
  • Synchronization of effort
  • Dominate the information domain


Framing the problem correctly enabled my battalion to focus its efforts on the root causes of the communist insurgency. Like any other insurgencies in the country, the armed insurgent is only a symptom of a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. Through our community engagements, we relearned that the communist insurgency in our AO is driven by socio-political and economic grievances. For example, the illiterate and desperate lumads (Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao) were easily convinced by the communist cadres that their ancestral domain claims could be solved through armed violence. The sad experience of being driven out of their traditional hunting grounds led the lumads to take up arms against the ‘Consunji guards’. This information was corroborated by the tribal elders during our initial engagement with all members of the Dulangan Manobo tribal council in April 2017, and it was further attested by the initial batch of Manobo tribesmen who surrendered to our unit in May 2017. Ka Randy, a former NPA leader from Kuden village, revealed that they were not fighting the government; rather, they were repulsing the ‘Consunji Guards’ who were allegedly sent to destroy their crops. This vital piece of information gave us a clearer picture on how to negotiate for the surrender of the other tribal members, and how to facilitate the resolution of their dispute with the M&S through legal means. As a battalion commander, I facilitated dialogues with the TAMASCO claimants of the Dawang Coffee Plantation in collaboration with Mayor Jonalette De Pedro of Bagumbayan town. Our problem was that Datu Victor, the President of TAMASCO, had allied with the NPA and seized part of the plantation. Later, the seized property became a communist run ‘communal farm’ tended by recruited YUMIL (Yunit Milisya) in the neighboring villages.


Winning popular support rather than focusing on the armed insurgents is something that we have relearned from the experiences of past counterinsurgents around the world. Ramon Magsaysay understood this concept during the HUK Campaign in the 1950s, in the same way how General David Petraeus stabilized Mosul in 2004, and later, the whole of Iraq during the ‘Troop Surge’ in 2007. In our AO, we engaged the local chief executives to pledge our support in delivering social services right in ‘the doorstep’ of their constituents. As a result, our unit actively participated in the AKAP (Abot-Kamay Program) of Bagumbayan town and the similar public service caravans of Lutayan and Senator Ninoy Aquino (Kulaman). We took charge of the security arrangements on the ground and at the same time, provided ‘libreng gupit’ as well as donated items from our unit’s partner CSOs like HOPE Philippines, PBA Legends, and QSMI. Highly visible in the ‘whole of government’ delivery of essential services, our battalion facilitated the enhancement of the local government’s legitimacy. In summary, we learned that government’s legitimacy means winning the support of the people, the center of gravity in an insurgency.


Directly related to winning popular support is the ability of the military unit and the civil government to synchronize their effort towards a common goal. We learned the need to understand the impact of kinetic operations on the community. To attain unity of effort in a particular town, we briefed the local executives about our lines of operations and the objectives that we are trying to achieve. We explained to them that the military and civilian government can effectively work together in achieving common objectives in a particular community. The synergy of our effort is reflected by our battalion’s facilitation of the passage of a barangay resolution requesting for the establishment of a community defense system that will augment the effort of the Army in peace and security matters. The same is true with the unity of effort that we achieved in our community services that were participated and supported by non-government organizations such as HOPE Philippines focusing on education and Rotary Club of Tacurong for community based livelihood opportunities. Through synchronization of effort, we were able to walk the talk, enhancing our credibility before the people.


We have also relearned that respect for the rule of law establishes our credibility as members of the state forces. It means respect for human rights, adherence to the laws of armed conflict, and rules of engagement. To achieve this, I ensured that every soldier and our partners from other law enforcement agencies will refrain from committing abuses during our operations. During our focused military operations against the New People’s Army, we saved injured insurgentsand treated them humanely. My battalion observed the rules of engagement during the kinetic operations against members of the Platoon Cloud Phone in Isulan town in August 2017 during which we captured two NPA fighters. We replicated this during our combat actions against the Platoon Arabo of the NPA in Datal Bonglangon wherein my unit treated wounded combatants. These operations established my unit’s solid reputation as human rights advocates and pro-people soldiers. Consequently, the good reputation of the unit enabled us to win popular support, influencing the decision of the disorganized insurgents to lay down their arms.


Last but not the least, we learned the value of dominating the information domain. I taught my subordinate leaders to tell their story in images and videos. I reminded my soldiers the saying: “Even if Superman was able to save the whole world but nobody talks about it, it never happened.” To capacitate my unit, I invested in training. Ms. Hannah Reyes-Morales, a world-class photographer for National Geographic, shared her skills in Cellphone Photography. We also handpicked soldiers to undergo Combat Photography under Mr. Carlo Claudio, and hired an expert on  Video Editing/ Film Making. With a steady source of public affairs and psy-ops products, my unit utilized the social media in sharing our good stories, and refute the narrative of the communists. On the other hand, I learned that the people in the hinterlands are fond listeners of both Bombo Radyo and Brigada News, two of the most influential radio stations in the region. With this knowledge, I made sure that we were always ahead of the enemy in the headlines, focusing on the truth of what we have done in the communities. And, we reaped the fruits of our labor in a few months when Benjamin Calay, one of the first surrenderees from Platoon Cherry Mobile of the GF73, shared his story. He narrated during our radio guesting at Bombo Radyo-Koronadal that they learned about the deployment of trained snipers, based on the feature story of our advanced marksmanship training for selected CAFGU personnel. The ‘presence’ of the snipers (and also the good stories that they heard from the tribal elders) influenced his decision to surrender together with 10 of his fellow NPA fighters.



Learning and adapting


We recognize the fact that we are currently confronting a highly adaptive enemy in our COIN campaign all over the Philippine archipelago. It means that the  Philippine Army must document its lessons and turn it into case studies and doctrine manuals that will be shared to the next generation of COIN operators. We have to admit that we are currently engaged in ‘small wars’ that require continuous learning. We have to learn and adapt to win a war, as German leader Otto Von Bismarck said: “Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.”



(The author is the incumbent Battalion Commander of the 33rd Infantry Battalion based at Tual, President Quirino. The said military contingent confronts both communist insurgents and Southern Philippines secessionist groups in Central Mindanao. Prior to his current assignment, he had served in various conflict-affected areas such as Basilan, Sulu, Bicol Region, and Central Mindanao. He finished his Masters in Military and Defense Studies at the Australian National University)

1 biography




DONATO “BONDYING” VILLASOR JARABELO….sorbetero na nakapagpatapos ng limang anak sa kolehiyo

DONATO “BONDYING” VILLASOR JARABELO….sorbetero na nakapagpatapos ng limang anak sa kolehiyo

ni Apolinario Villalobos


Naging curious ako sa nasabing sorbetero noong isang taon pa nang ituro siya sa akin ng pamangkin ko at nagsabing nakapagpatapos siya ng limang anak sa kolehiyo mula sa kinita sa pagtinda ng ice cream. Kung bibilangin ang tagal ng pagtinda niya ay aabot sa 40 taon. Ang sorbetero ay si “Bondying” pero ang tawag sa kanya ng mga taga-Quirino Central School na suki niya ay “Boss” o di kaya ay “Bossing”.


Nakalimutan ko na sana si Bondying kung hindi ako nakabili ng ice cream sandwich sa kanyang pamangkin na naglalako na rin sa Quirino. Mabuti na lang at nagtanong ako sa kanya kung kilala niya ang isa pang nagtinda rin ng ice cream na maraming suki sa Quirino. Laking tuwa ko nang sabihin niyang, “tiyo ko siya” at dagdag pa niya ay sa Purok Liwayway ng San Pablo, Tacurong ito nakatira. Dagdag pa niya, nagsimula sa de-padyak na “topdown” ang kanyang tiyuhin pero nang magkaroon ng motorcycle ay binenta na lang ito sa isang naglalako ng gulay. Naalala kong may na-blog ako noong maliit na babaeng naglalako pa rin kahit padilim na taga-Purok Liwayway. Nang i-describe ko ang babae, sinabi ng kausap ko na siya nga ang nakabili ng de-padyak na “topdown”!


Kanina naman bago magtanghali ay may sinakyan akong tricycle at nagpahatid sa bahay ng isang kaibigan subalit wala ito….pinadiretso ko ang driver sa isa pang kaibigan subalit wala rin ito. Dahil ayaw kong masayang ang oras ay sinabi ko sa driver na ihatid na lang ako sa Purok Liwayway dahil gusto kong makausap yong taga-roon na gumagawa ng ice cream.  Sinabi kong malapit sa eskwelahan ang bahay, ayon sa pagkasabi sa akin ng pamangkin….at ang sabi ko sa driver ay hahanapin na lang naming siya.  Hindi kumibo ang driver subalit, hindi tumagal ay nagsabi ito ng, “halos wala na siyang ngipin”. Ang tinutukoy pala niya ay si Bondying na pakay ko sa Purok Liwayway. Inisip ko na lang na baka nakabili na ang driver ng ice cream sa hinahanap ko. Subalit nang narating na namin ang Purok Liwayway ay tuloy-tuloy lang kami at pagkaraan ng dalawang liko ay itinuro niya ang isang lalaki na tila may dinudurog sa container ng ice cream….yelo pala na pinapaligid niya sa bagong gawang ice cream, at ang lalaki ay mismong si Bondying na!


Nang magpakilala ako at nagsabi kung ano ang pakay ko kaya nakuha ko ang tiwala niya ay nagkuwento na siya. Hindi siya nakatapos ng elementary dahil pasaway daw siya…istambay…..bugoy. At dahil ayaw mag-aral ay hinayaan na lang ng mga magulang. Nang tumuntong siya sa gulang na 20 taon ay nakapag-asawa siya at noon siya natutong magtrabaho. Naging empleyado siya ng Presto Ice Cream sa General Santos na noon ay tinatawag na “Dadiangas”. Panakaw niyang pinag-aralan ang paggawa ng ice cream at nang makaipon ay nagpundar siya upang makagawa ng sarili niyang “home-made ice cream”. De-padyak ang una niyang ginamit na “topdown” sa paglako at nakakarating siya sa President Quirino na ang pangalan  noon ay “Sambolawan”. Halos sampung kilometro ang nilalakbay niya mula sa Tacurong hanggang sa Quirino kung saan ay nagkaroon siya ng mga suking mga mag-aaral ng President Quirino Central School.


Ang nakakatuwa ay nang malaman ko mula sa mga dating mga pupils ng President Quirino Central School na ang tawag nila sa kanya ay “Boss” at kung wala daw silang pera ay niyog ang pinampapalit nila sa ice cream. Nang banggitin ko ito kay Bondying ay sinabi niya na yong iba daw ay gulay ang binibigay sa kanya kapalit ng ice cream. Sa sinabi niya ay naalala ko ang pinsan kong doktor na si Leo na ganoon din ang ugali….sa kabaitan ay hindi nagtuturing ng presyo sa mga pasyente at binibigyan din ng gulay kapalit ng kanyang panggagamot.


Mag-uusap pa sana kami ng matagal ni Bondying subalit naalala ko ang binanggit niya na ang kagagawa lang iyang “halal” ice cream ay idi-deliver niya agad sa kaibigang Muslim….at, pagkatapos ay dadalo siya sa isang reunion. Masama ang panahon kaya ayaw kong maabala pa siyang masyado kahit halata kong enjoy siya sa pag-uusap naming. Nagpasalamat ako sa kanya dahil kahit may mga kompromiso pala ay nagpaunlak siya ng halos isang oras na pag-uusap. Nangako akong babalikan ko siya.


Lima ang anak ni Bondying….ang panganay ay Assistant Principal, may dalawa pang teacher, isang nagtapos ng Information Technology, at isang nagtapos ng Crimonology. SOBRANG NAKAKABILIB ANG KUWENTO NG BUHAY NI BONDYING…. ISANG TAONG NAGING ISTAMBAY SUBALIT NAGSIKAP AT IGINAPANG ANG KAPAKANAN NG MGA ANAK KAYA NAGAWANG MAPAGTAPOS SILANG LAHAT SA KOLEHIYO.


Ang araw na ito ay isa na namang patunay na tila may gumagabay sa mga gusto kong gawin dahil sa nagtagpi-tagping pangyayari mula sa pagbili ko ng ice cream sandwich sa pamangkin ni Bondying na nagbigay sa akin ng address niya, sa nai-blog kong babaeng nagtitinda ng gulay na ang “topdown” o de-padyak na sasakyan ay unang pundar ni Bondying upang magamit sa pagtinda ng ice cream hanggang sa tricycle driver na taga-Purok Liwayway at  isa pala niyang kaibigan!


ni Apolinario Villalobos

Una akong bumilib kay Jonathan Padrones nang makita ko siya sa kanyang lypsinch act at lalong bumilib pa nang malaman kong marami siyang mga advocacies sa abot ng kanyang makakaya, at ang pinaka-popular ay ang pamimigay ng tsinelas sa mga kinakapos na mga kabataan.

Siguro ang nasa isip niya ay upang hindi masaktan ang talampakan ng mga batang nagsusumikap sa buhay habang tinatahak ang mabatong landasin patungo sa kanilang pangarap….HINDI TULAD NIYA NONG KABATAAN NIYA NA SA KAGUSTUHANG MAKATULONG SA MGA MAHAL SA BUHAY AY MATINDING HIRAP ANG DINANAS SA PAGTAHAK SA LANDAS NA NABANGGIT UPANG MATUPAD ANG KANYANG PANGARAP.

Mula sa Pagko-konduktor, naging Konsehal – COUNCILOR MUNDO M. AYOB


…Datu Paglas Municipal Councilor, MUNDO M. AYOB

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Nakakabilib na malamang ang soft-spoken at palangiti na nakita kong kumakain kasama ang pamilya sa isang pastilan ay isa palang Konsehal ng bayan ng Datu Paglas sa Maguindanao. Ang una kong napansin ay ang anak nilang simpleng kumain ng pastil na walang ulam. Sumunod na kumain silang mag-asawa na ang inulam lang ay tortang talong at nilagang itlong. Nalaman ko na lang na konsehal pala ang nakasuot ng kopya na nagpahiwatig na nakarating siya sa Mecca ng sabihin sa akin ng hipag pala niyang may-ari ng pastilan.


Lalo akong nagulat nang pagkatiwalaan niya ako ng kuwento ng kanyang buhay na nakaka-inspire. Ayon sa kanyang hipag ay hindi tinapos ni Konsehal Mundo ang kanyang high school dahil nagtrabaho siya bilang konduktor ng mga pampasaherong sasakyang may biyaheng Tacurong-Kabacan. Ang dahilan ng kanyang pagtigil sa pag-aaral at pagkonduktor ay ang dalawang nakababatang kapatid na babae na tinulungan niyang makatapos sa pag-aaral. Bukod sa pagko-konduktor ay nagtanim din siya ng palay sa kalahating ektarya nilang bukid.. Ikinuwento niyang iisa ang ginagamit niyang t-shirt sa pagko-konduktor. Pag-uwi niya sa gabi ay nilalabhan agad niya para maisuot sa umaga kahit medyo basa pa. Dahil sa kanyang pagsisikap ay nakatapos ang kanyang mga kapatid at ngayon ay maganda na ang mga kalagayan sa buhay.


Ang asawa ni konsehal Mundo ay si Noria na hindi rin nakapagtapos sa pag-aaral pero bihasa o magaling sa Arabic. Sa kabila niyan, dahil sa pagsisikap ay umasenso sa pag-negosyo. Nagtutulungan silang mag-asawa sa pagpalago ng kanilang mga negosyong dalawang bakery at isang grocery. Pinagmamalaki din ni konsehal Mundo na ang kanilang panadero ay isang Ilonggo na galing pa sa Zamboanga. Ang bunsong anak na si Zam ay tinuturin naman nilang “hajj baby” dahil nabuo siya noong panahong sila ay nag-pilgrimage sa Mecca.


Binanggit ni konsehal na nang ikasal ang kanyang anak na babaeng si Surayna sa The Farm, isang high-end na restaurant sa Koronadal ay nai-feature ang okasyon ni Jessica Soho sa kanyang programa sa TV.


Inimbita niya akong pumasyal sa kanila sa Datu Paglas nang malaman niyang interesado akong i-blog ang bayan ang mga karatig na mga barangay nito. Siguradong pupunta ako sa kanila dahil nasimulan ko na rin ang pagsulat tungkol sa Buluan na madadaanan papunta sa kanila.


Paghinumdum Sang Ako Bata Pa Sadto (Hiligaynon dialect of the Visayans in the Philippines)

Paghinumdum Sang Ako Bata Pa Sadto
ni Maria Cristina A. Villaralvo


Sang una pa nga panahon sa akon pagpanumdom, ang akon lang nga handum amo ang manamit nga pagkaon.
Sa kabudlay sang kabuhi sa kaumahan kun diin ako nagdaku kag nagkabuhi, ang dahon dahon sa palibot lagaun lang kag imimi sa kamatis nga may asin kag may kan on nga manami, sampat gid sulbad na ang hiribati sang maubusan nga gahinibi.
Kay kulang ang isa ka baso nga tinig ang sa anom ka kabataan, si nanay hinali nga nagtak ang sang iya nga tinig ang.
Tapos tig ab kag panghugas pinggan, kami tanan nagdinalagan kay si tatay nag abot dun halin sa kaumahan may dala nga turagsoy kag puyo baw kanamit lapwahan.
Mangahoy kami sa kawayanan kag manag ub anay bago maghampang, pag abot sang kahapunanon bago ang bulan magsubang kami tanan sa altar mag atubang ang orasyon paga umpisahan.
Ang kasimple sang amuni nga pangabuhi ang indi ko gid ikambyo sa bulawan nga masiri. Ang kalipay nga akon naambit bisan sa kabudlay sang pangabuhi, basta si tatay, si nanay pirmi ara kun ako nagahibi indi ko gid itandi sa mga mangad nga brilyante akun sa bulawan nga masiri.
Sa pagtapak ko sa bag o nga pinanid sang istorya sang akon kabuhi, pangamuyo ko lang nga ang pamilya nga sa akon ginhatag sang hamili, mapangapinan ko sa mga hitabu nga hinali, kag matipon ko sa isa ka bubong asta ang mga magburugto makakita sang ila pinili man nga pangabuhi.



(The author is a Grade 10 and 15-year old student of the Tacurong National High School. The essay garnered First Prize during the Essay Writing Contest in commemoration of the National Disaster Resilience Month held at the Tacurong Pilot Elementary School on July 3, 2018. Her coach is Ms. Marites Goce.)



By Joanna Marie Goloyugo



Humans are given the gift of life and have very strong survival instinct. The need to preserve life courses down through their mind and body, especially, when faced with life and death situations. The survival instinct pushes to strive their way out of chaos, forcing them to thin, “I need to stay alive”. Unfortunately, this instinctive urge is not enough to save humans from direly threatening situations that result from unforeseen occurrences caused by Mother Nature, as well as, other human beings. In this regard, there is a need for preparedness as it can mitigate or lessen the physical, mental and emotional trauma when a unforeseen events occur.


The abrupt occurrences of typhoon, floods, earthquakes and other calamities, leave the Philippines shaken and in complete tatters…shambles…disarray. They create chaos in the affected communities and to be blamed partly is the negligence of man.  The victims leave the world, their cold remains viewed for a lasting memory of their loved ones.  Here’s why….despite all the conducted drills, trainings and seminars, the nation still faces devastating results from calamities and disasters. Lives are lost, properties are destroyed, despite which, the people never learn, making the government re-evaluations useless. Lessons are never learned.


The National Disaster and Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) encourages citizens to be prepared for emergency situations. The Republic Act 1-121, NDRRM Act that was implemented on May 2010 has four core functions: Mitigation and Prevention, Preparedness, Response, Rehabilitation and Recovery. They serve as guides in the drills conducted in schools and workplaces, and should also be observed in homes to prepare families for the occurrences that result to huge losses, both in life and property. At the helm of this effort is the Secretary of Department of National Defense (DND), Ricardo Jalad. Its aim is to transform the country’s emergency management system from “Disaster Relief and Response” to “Disaster Risk Reduction”. The aforementioned RA 1-121 repealed the Presidential Decree No. 1566 that was enacted in 1978, the emergency management of which centered only on the hazards and impacts of a disaster or calamity.  On the other hand, the current law provides that the citizens should be prepared for them to know what to do before, during and after an occurrence.


Unfortunately, despite the directives from the government, some agencies both private and public do not conduct drills regularly. If they do, the concerned people treat the drill as some kind of a “play”…without seriousness. This attitude practically, makes the objective of the emergency preparedness fly over their head. In some schools, teachers observed that the students do not give much thought of the drill being conducted. Their nonchalance shows that they do not care much about the importance of the drill and its use for any untoward occurrence in the future. Some are observed without seriousness in practicing the ducking which is about the covering of the head with both hands, a simple act which is neglected by many participants.


When seminars and orientations are conducted by the agency involved in rescue, disaster prevention and risk management, many students are observed as not paying attention to the resource speakers. They chat with away the time with seatmates, play with their cellphones, or worst, skip such activity that their school has painstakingly arranged for them.


Knowledge plays a very important part in a person’s chance for survival. Even a simple rule such as avoiding large or tall objects, trees or buildings due to the possibility of their collapsing, is vital to survival. For this effort, there is a concerted effort among concerned agencies and the schools to make the students aware of the value of disaster preparedness. Along this line, rescue agencies of local governments conduct seminars and trainings in school with the aim of preventing or minimizing the damaging effects on humans and properties.


Meanwhile, the acquired knowledge may not be enough as there is always the possibility for panic to strike, especially, during the actual occurrence of an earthquake for instance and horrific car crash or accident as they make the mind blank which hinders the chances of survival. To quote Laurence Gonzales, the author of the bestselling book, “Deep Survival”, he said, “It’s been proven that if you put someone under pressure, he can’t solve simple mathematical equations or recall a sequence of words.” He added that, “In effect, losing your cool makes you stupid. That’s an oversimplification but emotions and reason work together like a seesaw. The higher emotion a person feels, the lower becomes his ability to reason. But reason is what’s going to get you out of trouble.”


There have been many instances where people know what to do but their emotion becomes unstable and because of extreme pressure and fear, they fail to adapt to the situation at hand. In the case of the well-known tragedy, the sinking of the Titanic, a survivor stated that when the water began to fill the ship, the passengers went into frenzy, jumped out of the window right into the cold ocean…others grabbed a hold to overloaded lifeboats which almost capsize while others just stood still, shocked. As mentioned earlier, though man has the innate survival instinct like animals, but when caught in perilous moment, some chose to stand still like a deer staring at the headlights of an oncoming car, practically waiting to be bumped.


Laurence Gonzalez spent three and a half decades studying survivors’ stories, taking note who have lived or died and reasons why. Finally, he concluded that, “Personality, emotions, attitude and how well a person can cope to adversity have much more to do in survival than any type of equipment.”


To be mentally and emotionally prepared is a very crucial factor in survival. This reminder has been repeatedly mentioned in seminars, trainings, and drills – a statement that holds the key to the gate of survival, summarized in two words, “Don’t Panic”. As aforementioned, it is essentially important to stay collected and calm during chaotic times so that the brains can function properly which includes avoiding careless mistakes or reckless actions which are usually spurred on by the heat of the moment.


LDS psychologist, Dr. Ella Gourgouris, one of the leading experts in Traumatic Stress Response stated, “One of the best ways to get the mind to perform under pressure is to physically practice beforehand. Dr. Terry Lyles, a fellow psychologist under the same department as Dr. Gourgouris also added, “The more prepared you are, the panicked you are going to be when things go wrong. But you have to practice it…it is not enough just to know it.”


The DRRM applies the preparations through seminars ad trainings conducted by agencies, among which are the Red Cross and the Junior Emergency Response Team (JERT) member using scenarios where in which a disaster has hit a community and capable residents apply first aid to the injured. Such activity could create a prepared mindset which is very necessary. In schools, frequent drills and trainings could also create a prepared mindset such that when the alarm is sounded throughout the campus, students are supposed to immediately go to the designated evacuation area with the teachers doing headcounts to make sure that none is missing.


It is suggested that for a better observation of behavior in a threatening situation, unannounced or surprised drills should be conducted with the alarm sounded without prior notice to anyone except the top management of an establishment or institution, for instance. That way, those affected can be observed if they instinctively do the ducking properly, aside from protective acts. After the event, analysis of what have been observed can be made and corrections can be made as necessary. The affected should be made to feel the fear and the accompanying adrenalin rush, aside from the pressure and panic which can be made as basis in the evaluation based on which guidelines on how they could remain calm and cool during adversities could be made, thereby, avoiding eventual death.


Being alive is the most wonderful gift humans have ever received. But staying alive is hard as unexpected events could claim lives as fast as the speed of light. Humans can prevent this by being prepared for any eventuality that does not necessitate being a part of an organization or big group and to be able to help, one need not be a member of a response or rescue team. Know what to do during unfortunate events, hence, having been prepared for these is more than enough to mitigate the nation’s economic losses and human casualties. And, when the unfortunate events occur, institutions and agencies all over the country can proudly exclaim that, “WE ARE PREPARED!”.

JM Adie Goloyugo




Ang Kalagayan ng Pilipinas Ngayon


Ni Apolinario Villalobos




  • Hilaw ang demokrasya ng Pilipinas. Noon pa man ay ayaw pa ng ilang Amerikanong mambabatas na bigyan agad ng kalayaan ang bansa subalit nagpilit ang mga apuradong pulitiko na may pansariling layunin kaya nagkaroon agad ng Commonwealth.


  • Hindi lahat ng naging presidente mula pa noon ay 100% na malinis at pwedeng masabing “modelo” ng ugaling Pilipino. Si Quezon ay matinding magmura pero sa Kastila nga lang…si Qurino ay sinasabing may “golden arenola”, etc.


  • Panahon pa lang ng Amerikano, may mga iskwater nang naninirahan sa loob ng Intramuros at baybayin ng Tondo na bandang huli ay umabot sa tinawag na Isla Puting Bato at Baseco Compound. Hind sila nakontrol ng mga umupong presidente noon kaya dumami nang dumami…lalo pa at ginamit sila ng mga tiwaling pulitiko bilang mga “boto” na kailangan nila tuwing eleksiyon. Sila din ang mga hinahakot ng gobyerno at ng leftist groups tuwing may rally….mga bayarang makabayan kuno.


  • May nagpapagalaw sa mga grupong “makabayan” kuno na halatang walang direksiyon. Tuwing may uupong bagong presidente ay kinakalaban nila…tinatawag na tuta ng Amerika. NGAYON KAY DUTERTE AY HINDI NILA MAGAWA YAN…LALONG HINDI NILA MATAWAG NA TUTA SIYA NG AMERIKA. Nagkaroon ng problema ang bansa laban sa Tsina dahil sa West Philippine Sea or South China Sea pero sa harap sila ng US embassy nagra-rally hindi sa labas ng Chinese embassy. Maraming alam ang mga grupong ito pero ang nakakapagtaka ay parang wala silang alam tungkol sa CIA ng Amerika.


  • Ginagamit na stepping stone ng mga ambisyoso ang mga grupong makabayan upang maabot ang mas mataas na “puwesto” sa senado o kongreso kaya napapaghalata ang makasarili nilang layunin dahil kahit nasa bulwagan na sila ng mga batasan ay wala pa rin silang nagawang tulong sa masa….lalong lumawak ang saklaw ng squatting sa Manila at malalaking lunsod….may unemployment pa rin, yon nga lang ay seasonal dahil sa contractualization, kaya gutom pa rin ang inaabot ng maraming pamilya kapag “finished contract” na ang kumakayod para sa pamilya.


  • Hindi nawawala ang cartel sa bigas dahil hindi na bumalik sa dating presyo ang staple food na ito ng mga Pilipino….halatang may nagkokontrol na grupo. Ang nakakabahala ay ang hindi napapansing pagmahal ng mga de-boteng tubig na baka sa bandang huli ay magiging mas mahal pa kaysa kurudo o gasoline.