Tuesday, June 19, 2018

NPA justifies killing, injuring brgy captain

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 18): NPA justifies killing, injuring brgy captain
The Leonardo Panaligan Command of the New People’s Army issued a statement justifying the raid at the house of newly-elected barangay chairman Mike Jakosalem in Brgy. Humay-Humay, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental that caused his injuries, and resulted in the death of a civilian.

Ka JB Regalado, spokesperson of the Leonardo Panaligan Command, however, denied that they strafed the house of Jakosalem, claiming that a firefight ensued only after a member of the group of the barangay chairman fought back.

The nephew of Jakosalem, identified as Lenmar Cabasag died, while the barangay chairman, who sustained a gunshot wound in the head, survived. He is now recuperating in a hospital in Bacolod City.

Supt. Mario Baquiran, Guihulngan City police-officer-in charge, debunked NPA claims that Jakosalem engaged in illegal drug activities, saying that their validation showed he was not in the list of drug personalities.

Regalado also alleged that Jakosalem is an “agent” of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, that he also linked to the killings of drug surrenderers, and allegedly maintaining armed goons, among other accusations.

Baquiran said those allegations were hurled against Jakosalem by the NPA, upon withdrawing from the crime scene.

The NPA also claimed that they were able to seize four .45 caliber pistols, a browning shotgun, eight handsets and three cellular phones during the raid at the house of Jakosalem.

Baquiran said they will look into claims of rebels that they seized firearms from the victims, stressing that they have not been informed of this by the family of Jakosalem.

Regalado challenged other members of the group of Jakosalem to face their respective cases before the revolutionary court.

The newly-arrived 94th Infantry Battalion has been deployed by the 3rd Infantry Division in the hinterlands of Guihulngan City, to address atrocities committed by the CPP-NPA.


Military checking reports 5 terrorists killed in Lanao del Sur fresh fight – official

From Politiko-Mindanao (Jun 18): Military checking reports 5 terrorists killed in Lanao del Sur fresh fight – official

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is verifying reports that five members of the Maute-ISIS have been killed in a fresh fighting in Lanao del Sur.

Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., the spokesman of the Joint Task Force Ranao, said firefight broke out in Tuburan Sunday, June 17, as part of the fulfillment of the promise of the AFP to go after the remnants of the Maute-ISIS group.

“As of now, there are reports indicating that 5 members of the Maute-ISIS group led by Owayda Benito Marohombsar alias Abu Dar, have been killed. The military is still verifying these reports,” he said.

Brawner said the encounter was the result of months-long intelligence operations as well as the cooperation of the local government and the citizens.

He also said the military is now securing and assisting the internally displaced persons at the evacuation centers.

“We are asking the public to stay calm,” he said.

The official assured that the 103rd Infantry Brigade is making sure that the hostilities will not extend beyond the mountanous areas of Tubaran and Pagayawan of Lanao del Sur.


Grenade explodes, IED found in North Cotabato

From MindaNews (Jun 18): Grenade explodes, IED found in North Cotabato

A grenade exploded in Aleosan town while another one was recovered in Arakan, both in North Cotabato, over the weekend, authorities said.

In Aleosan, the grenade exploded near an Army detachment past 7 pm on Saturday, according to the Cotabato Police Provincial Office.

None of the soldiers and militiamen deployed at the detachment of the 44th North Cotabato Civilian Active Auxiliary company of the 38th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Poypoyon, Barangay Dualig was hurt, police said.

Investigators recovered fragments of a grenade at the explosion site.

They said the incident could be the handiwork of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters which is the target of an ongoing military operation in Aleosan and nearby areas.

No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion.

In Arakan, police recovered a roadside bomb planted near the boundary of Barangays Santo NiƱo and Tumanding.

Senior Inspector Jun Jinete Napat, officer-in-charge of Arakan police, said the improvised explosive device weighed about 15 kilos, had an unattached battery but had no switch box.

Senior Supt Maximo Layugan, provincial police director deployed an explosive ordnance disposal team to retrieve the bomb.


Military drive vs NPA behind cancellation of talks – CPP

From MindaNews (Jun 18): Military drive vs NPA behind cancellation of talks – CPP

President Duterte cancelled the scheduled resumption of peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to allow the military to continue with its all-out offensive against the New People’s Army until the end of 2018, the Communist Party of the Philippines said on Sunday.

A soldier relaxes after a long firefight against NPA rebels in Makilala, North Cotabato from midnight until dawn Monday (22 January 2018). Three NPAs and a CAFGU member died in the clash. MindaNews photo by FERDINANDH CABRERA

“By calling off the scheduled peace negotiations with the NDFP, Duterte aims to give the AFP more time to complete its military campaign plan for 2018 of mounting bigger offensives under Oplan Kapayapaan in the hope of crippling the NPA and inducing the NDFP to negotiate a surrender,” said the CPP.

On Thursday last week, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced Duterte cancelled the talks scheduled on June 28-30 with the NDFP in Oslo, Norway because government wanted to hold consultations with stakeholders before forging agreements with the revolutionary group.

Dureza said getting the inputs of stakeholders will ensure that the agreements would have the people’s support.

But the CPP called Duterte’s reason for cancelling the talks “a thin veil that fails to conceal his real aims.”

NDF chief political consultant Jose Ma. Sison. Photo courtesy of NDF International Information Office

It claimed that the president’s decision came “after being briefed on the status of Oplan Kapayapaan in a meeting with the top brass of the AFP and defense officials. Defense Sec.”

“Delfin Lorenzana has publicly announced that the military wants 3-6 more months before Duterte resumes talks with the NDFP,” it said.

“Clearly, Duterte does not want the AFP’s military campaign plan disrupted by the peace talks,” it added.

The NDFP has been negotiating with successive administrations since 1986 for a political settlement of the rural-based, Maoist-oriented armed struggle being waged by the NPA, armed wing of the CPP.


Monday, June 18, 2018

Palace insists on holding peace talks with NDFP in PH

From MindaNews (Jun 18): Palace insists on holding peace talks with NDFP in PH

The GPH-NDF peace panels on Day 2 of the talks in Oslo, Norway on August 23, 2016. The reciprocal working groups on socio-economic reforms, political-constitutional reforms, end of hostilities and disposition of forces, JASIG/releases and ceasefire are meeting simultaneously on Days 3 and 4. Closing rites of the first round of formal peace talks will be held on August 26. Photo by Edwin Espejo / OPAPP

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 June) – Malacanang said peace talks between government (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) must be held in the country and that there may no longer be a need for a third-party facilitator once it resumes.

In a press briefing at the Palace on Monday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the President has maintained that since the concerns Filipinos it should be resolved in the country.

The Royal Norwegian Government has been mediating the peace negotiations since 2001.

Roque said the government panel can arrange the talks, claiming “they have the authority to fix the logistics” but added any party who has been involved in the peace process is welcome to help.

“He (Duterte) does not understand why we should continue talking in Norway. We are all Filipinos. We can talk it here in the Philippines. Why do we have to leave?” he said.

In a statement, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison said the President is willfully and maliciously killing the peace negotiations by breaking the standing GRP-NDFP agreement on a foreign neutral venue and dismissing the third-party facilitator.

“He is inflaming the civil war in the Philippines to justify his fascist dictatorship. He really does not want to have the peace negotiations,” Sison, also the NDFP’s chief political consultant, said.

Sison said Duterte knows very well that the NDFP will never submit itself to “surveillance, control and duress by his bloody regime and his military and police butchers and death squads.”

“He is hell-bent on scapegoating the CPP and NPA to justify his methods of fake surrenders and mass murders and enable him to impose on the people martial law nationwide and fascist dictatorship,” he added.

Roque said Duterte has guaranteed the safety of Sison, his professor in Political Thought, and even vowed to shoulder the self-exiled CPP leader’s expenses if he comes home to the Philippines to talk peace.

The President has also promised to personally take Sison to the airport if the negotiations would fail, he said.

The resumption of the 5thround of peace talks will no longer push through on June 28-30 as scheduled earlier, after Duterte instructed the GRP peace panel to engage the “bigger table” first before they would work out agreements with the communist leaders.

“It was the President alone who wanted to review certain matters in connection with the peace talks,” Roque said.

He said the President assured “the nation that he has always given top priority to peace talks with both the Muslim insurgents and the populists’ insurgents and he has not given up on the process at all.”

He said any peace agreement, especially with the CPP-NPA must be inclusive and must pass the test of both legal and political scrutiny.

“The delay thus in the talks with the CPP-NPA is indispensable if we have, if we are to have an agreement that will pass these tests. it would help if Mr Joma Sison would allow the government to be the one to brief the nation on any future developments,” he said.


Army enlists 241 new soldiers to fight rebels in Eastern Visayas

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 18): Army enlists 241 new soldiers to fight rebels in Eastern Visayas

The new recruits of the Philippine Army in Eastern Visayas during the enlistment ceremony on Sunday in Catbalogan City, Samar. (photo from FB page of Philippine Army 8ID)

TACLOBAN CITY -- Some 241 soldiers took their oath Sunday as new members of the Philippine Army to fight insurgency in Eastern Visayas region.

The Army’s 8th Infantry Division reported that majority of new soldiers came from Samar and Leyte provinces. The Army held the enlistment ceremony at the Camp Vicente Lukban in Catbalogan City, Samar.

Of the 241 new fighters, 52 of them are college graduates; 121 are college level and 68 are high school graduates with skills training from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

“They will be honed for four months in basic military training and tactics and will serve as additional soldiers that will beef up the personnel strength of the infantry division,” said 8th Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Raul Farnacio, in a statement issued Monday morning.

“No one signified to quit after the five stations in performing rigid exercises under the heat of the sun.”

Immediately after the enlistment program, the Army distributed clothing allowance to the new recruits and some needed equipment for their training.

From December 2017 to April 2018, the Philippine Army conducted examinations for Armed Forces of the Philippines Service Aptitude Test, Army Qualifying Examination/Special Written Examination for Officer Candidate Course, Officer Preparatory Course and Candidate Soldier Course to all aspiring qualified applicants from Eastern Visayas.

The newly-enlisted privates will boost the fight against Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) that has been affecting the development of the region.

Farnacio stressed the need to step up the training of soldiers and for government troops as they are at the forefront in fighting the NPA especially in remote communities in Samar Island.

On June 14, Private Jay Aranzado was killed in an encounter with a group of communist rebels in Senonogan De Tubang village, Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Private Aranzado. He died protecting the people of Northern Samar in pursuit of peace and development,” Farnacio added.

Farnacio asked military units in Northern Samar to press on with the pursuit operations to put an end to the terroristic activities of communist rebels.


Abu Sayyaf man killed in fresh clash with troops

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 18): Abu Sayyaf man killed in fresh clash with troops

Government forces killed a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in a fresh clash with the bandits in Sulu, military officials said on Monday.

Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the clash happened around 3:20 p.m. Saturday in Sitio Sailih, Barangay Panglayahan in Patikul, Sulu.

Pabayo said troops from the Army’s 32nd Infantry Battalion, led by Lt. Col. Ronaldo Mateo, were checking the reported presence of the ASG when they clash with a group of 40 bandits led by sub-leader Hatib Hajaan Sawadjaan. The military has been pursuing the group in a bid to rescue several remaining hostages.

The Sulu-based Abu Sayyaf bandits are still holding captive nine people consisting of five foreigners--three Indonesians, one Vietnamese and one Dutch--as well as three Filipinos.

Pabayo said the firefight lasted for about 35 minutes, after which,  the ASG bandits fled. No casualty was reported among the government troops.

He said the troops recovered improvised bombs and personal belongings abandoned by the bandits.

“We are thankful for the information given by the local populace every time the bandits come to the area. This only shows that the people is fed up of the menace brought by the ASG and because they want to move forward towards peace and development in their locality,” Pabayo said.

Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said the offensive against the ASG will continue and is meant to finish off the bandits “so that people in the area can live in peace.”

Dela Vega said the continuing offensive also meant to secure on-going government projects that are aimed at delivering services to the communities.

“The ASG has brought so much destruction in Western Mindanao so we really have to join hands in defeating them. Of course, they can yield to the government and opt to live peacefully with their family,” Dela Vega said.