Sunday, December 17, 2017

Military anticipating stepped-up NPA attacks

From  Philippine Star (Dec 17): Military anticipating stepped-up NPA attacks

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Ray Tiongson said orders were given to the troops to protect civilians and put premium on human rights so as not to give the rebels an excuse to attack or recruit. AFP, File
Amid the reported plans of communist rebels to launch attacks on its anniversary on Dec. 26, the military directed all troops to intensify operations to protect civilians and communities.
Army spokesman Lt. Col. Ray Tiongson said orders were given to the troops to protect civilians and put premium on human rights so as not to give the rebels an excuse to attack or recruit.

“While our troops on the ground are intensifying focused military operations, they are directed to remain faithful and committed in the performance of their mandate to ensure peace and security in the communities, protect human rights and follow the rule of law,” Tiongson said.

Tiongson made the statement following reports that the communist New People’s Army (NPA) is gearing up to attack government forces to highlight the scheduled plenum in Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur in celebration of the 49th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Dec. 26.
Reports said the attacks will take place where the NPA has established strong presence in Eastern and Northern Mindanao, as well as provinces in Eastern and Western Visayas, Southern Tagalog, Bicol region, Central and Northern Luzon, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) and Cagayan Valley.

The military leadership has vowed to uphold human rights with the extension of martial law in Mindanao for another year.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero said the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao would specifically deal with the threats of Islamic State (IS) remnants and the communist NPA in the region.

The military used the strong presence of communist rebels in Mindanao as one of the arguments for recommending the extension of martial law for one year.

The AFP has activated two new military groups, the 88th and 89th Infantry Battalions. They will be deployed to the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) to support the 15th IB and the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion, both veterans of the fighting in Marawi City.

Eastmincom covers Southern Mindanao, Northern and Eastern Mindanao as well as part of Central Mindanao, the areas where the NPA mostly operate.
At least 50 percent of the total strength of the NPA in the country is reportedly operating in Eastmincom’s area of operations.
Eastmincom said there are about 1,900 NPA rebels in its area.
Local military officials also warned of possible NPA attacks on its anniversary on Dec. 26.

Col. Andres Centino, commander of the Army’s 401st Brigade in Agusan del Sur, said they have received directives from the Department of National Defense (DND) to sustain the military offensives against the NPA since there will be no traditional truce with the rebels during the holidays.

Centino said the directive was to prevent the NPA from gathering forces for their plenum in the area.

Centino was referring to the annual gathering of the NPA in the hinterlands of Agusan del Sur during their anniversary to show off their firepower before civilian supporters and local officials.

MNLF-Misuari: Photos: Iranun Sub-State

Posted to the Facebook page of Ustadz Murshi Ibrahim, Secretary General of the Moro National Liberation Front-Misuari (Dec 15): Photos: Iranun Sub-State

In this picture are : Cmdr. Sultan Nurkan, Ustadz Hasan Arsad, SG Ustadz Murshi D. Ibrahim; Brothers and Sisters Highlanders. Taken during Grand Rally held at the Crocodile Park, Davao City, November 30, 2017.

Iranun Sub State is one of the 7 - Sub States as proposed and espoused by the MNLF Founding Chairman, Prof/Dr. Nur P. Misuari.

Image may contain: 23 people, people smiling, people standing

Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling, people standing and outdoor

MILF: Editorial - ‘MILF communities’ in Region 9

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Dec 16): Editorial - ‘MILF communities’ in Region 9

Contrary to the claim contained in Resolution No. 06-2017 passed by the Regional Peace and Order Council IX, MILF (and MNLF) communities/areas abound in this region. This has been a fact since the MILF came into being in 1977 --- and they keep on growing and maturing as time passes by. They are home-grown, and they are there, as Moros, forever. That is their birthright to live and die here.
Region IX is composed of five cities such as Dapitan, Dipolog, Isabela, Pagadian, and Zamboanga located in the three provinces of Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay. All in all, it has 67 municipalities.

The government and MILF defined MILF areas/communities as referring to the places in Mindanao identified by their peace panels where the MILF elements are situated, irrespective of whether they are combatants or ordinary members. While they are mainly located in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), but there are sizeable numbers outside of it including faraway Palawan.

It is not good to deny the existence of these MILF communities/areas in this region; the facts on the ground, on the contrary, are overwhelming and they cannot be suppressed. It is like beating the surface of water which splashes back right into the face of the beater or person.

But their presence here including Zamboanga City, aside from reality, is a big plus factor for the promotion of peace in Mindanao. MILF political and military officers are fully cooperating in the furtherance of the peace process and the observance of the ceasefire between MILF and government forces. At present, the government and MILF are not only in partnership in the peace process and maintenance of the ceasefire but also in many activities such as in anti-kidnapping, anti-criminal gangsterism, anti-drug trafficking, and lately in anti-terrorism.

To take note, the inclusion of terrorists, both local and foreigner, in their latest agreement was made possible after lengthy deliberation. It passed through the proverbial eye of the needle test which provided that only individuals and not organizations can be classified and to be “mutually identified” as such by the parties.

Terrorism is a vague term that is prone to many interpretations, and at times to abuses, hence the caveat. This is provided in the Revised Implementing Guidelines on the Joint Communique’ of May 6, 2002 signed by government and MILF on December 17, 2017.

However, if the purpose of the Resolution No. 06-2017 passed by the Regional Peace and Order Council IX, in declaring that there is no presence of MILF, and MNLF communities/areas in Region IX is probably to register the region’s leaders’ abhorrence to be part of the future Bangsamoro political entity, then there is little sense to it. The Moros are already minoritized in this region due to massive migrations of people from Luzon and the Visayas at the turn of last century. There is virtually no chance of this region becoming part of this entity. More importantly, the MILF prefers a small and compact territory where the populations are overwhelmingly Moros, because that is precisely the purpose for the grant of autonomy. It is for them and not for other people. (We don’t know for the MNLF; they have their own agreement with the government, which President Rodrigo Roa Duterte repeatedly said he is committed to implement. We respect their standpoint and their agreement with government).

All premises considered, we appeal to leaders of this region the likes of Mayor Maria Isabelle G. Climaco, Congressman Celso Lobregat, and Governor Antonio Ceriles to support the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which is now under deliberation in Congress. This proposed law is key to peace and development in Mindanao and an effective antidote to rising violent extremism plaguing the region. It is time to close all the vestiges of the Moro-Spanish War that ended 119 years ago. We have tested the devastating effects of enmity and violence and nobody won. Already, we have now come to terms with reality that enemies before should and must embrace and cooperate with one another. This is good for all of us, in fact, the only good way forward.

MILF: RHRC documents hundreds of human rights violations in Marawi

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Dec 16): RHRC documents hundreds of human rights violations in Marawi

Thousands of narratives detailing hundreds of alleged human rights violations in Marawi City have been documented in the aftermath of the months-long siege by the Regional Human Rights Commission in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Philstar said in its online report today.
Abdulnasser Badrudin, Chairman of the Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC) in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said they have launched an extensive investigation to verify supposed violations of human rights of the people of Marawi.

Badrudin said they have documented stories of over 14,000 internally displaced people, many of whom have complained over the loss of their homes and livelihood because of the armed conflict.

“Most of the issues focus on the loss of homes and other personal items, including identification cards (that make it difficult for them to move),” Badrudin said in a phone interview by Philstar.

“We are also investigating cases of looting,” he said, referring to reports that some people have taken advantage of the conflict to steal from the residents.

Badrudin said they are sorting through the narratives to determine how best to address the complaints of residents.

He noted that there also complaints against the security forces, mostly on alleged illegal arrests and supposed violation of the people’s right to movement as a result of lack of identification documents, the Philstar article also said.

And while they have yet to gain access to the main battleground area, Badrudin said the situation in the city has started to normalize as residents have begun returning to areas declared as safe zones.

For its part, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) issued a statement calling on the government to address allegations of human rights violations and investigate claims against the military and other actors, said the report by Philstar.

It noted that the military has been accused of looting, unlawful or arbitrary arrests, presence in camps, profiling and military harassment.

The CHR also noted incidents of enforced disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killings.

“We also urge the government to hold to account both state and non-state actors responsible for the atrocities committed against the local residents,” it said.

The CHR said it is committed to extend all possible assistance to rebuild the communities and ensure that the people’s rights to access to education, shelter, food, water and proper sanitation, among others are fulfilled by the government.

Former CHR chair Loretta Ann Rosales said the government should focus on helping the people of Marawi instead of using the crisis to extend the declaration of martial law.

“The results of martial rule have taken their toll on the most basic and fundamental rights of the people of Marawi to live a free, prosperous and democratic life,” she said in a statement, as quoted by Philstar.

Also in today’s online report by Philstar, AFP chief Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero gave the assurance to allay fears that the military’s intensified campaign against terrorist groups across the country would result human rights abuse.

Gen. Guerrero, whose stint as AFP Chief of Staff has been extended by Pres. Rodrigo Duterte said the military’s Human Rights Office will actively monitor the activities of AFP troops, and violators will be held accountable.

He gave assurance that human rights complaints would be entertained and acted upon. (Source: Philstar)


MILF: BDA receives Top Performing Award

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Dec 14): BDA receives Top Performing Award

The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) was awarded the ‘Regional Sandugo Top Performing Non-LGU Award’ for its outstanding, and sustained support to the National Voluntary Blood Services Program (NVBSP) for the year 2016.
The plaque as top performing award was given to BDA during the Unified Awarding for SOCCSARGEN’s Best in Health 2016 conducted by the Department of Health – Region XII (DOH-RXII) at Greenleaf Hotel, General Santos City on December 6, 2017.

In recognition of the efforts of individuals, groups, and organizations in the continuous journey of BDA in almost a decade of organizing people to advocate Muslim Blood Donation (MBD), and in conducting mass bloodletting activity, Badrudin Sendad of BDA-Central Mindanao (CenMin) said, “This award is given solely to BDA, but the eternal rewards in this world till the day hereafter will go surely to the following: pool of volunteers of Muslim Blood Donation (MBD) for their continuing volunteerism; donors for their unwavering blood donation; supporters for their sincere, and support of any kind, and means; and partners for their continued steadfastness to work with, and help BDA.”

“In spite of almost a decade of BDA untiring efforts to let people become aware of MBD; to share their life by donating blood; and, to save life, it would not be successful and its achievements are nothing if not with the pool of volunteers, donors, partners and supporters who continuously sustain their unified, and strong commitment for these great acts of generosity such as blood donation, and all other related activities,” added Sendad.

This is why Nazneen Biruar-Piang, R.N., MBD Coordinator, while thanking the DOH-RXII for giving the award, she also expressed her gratitude to the volunteers, donors, partners, and supporters of MBD.

“With their unified and strong commitment for MBD, the BDA not only strengthens its development intervention for the Bangsamoro, and other stakeholders but also won the recognition of the Philippine Red Cross, and the DOH through the NVBSP,” said Biruar-Piang.

“The recognition is manifested by the awards given to the BDA since 2009,” added Biruar-Piang.

The following are the awards received by BDA:

1. Certificate of Recognition as Sandugo Kabalikat in grateful recognition of their support and cooperation given to the NVBSP that resulted to immeasurable success in making safe blood available. Awarded by DOH – RXII last October 30, 2009 at Lady M. Catering House, Kidapawan City.

2. Sandugo Kabalikat Award for being the 10th Highest Mobile Blood Donation in 2011 that collected 270 Blood Units. Awarded by DOH – RXII last November 18, 2011 at EMR Kidapawan City.

3. Sandugo Kabalikat Award for being the 3rd Highest Mobile Blood Donation in 2011 that collected 550 Blood Units. Awarded by DOH – RXII last November 13, 2012 at Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC), Cotabato City

4. Certificate of Recognition in recognition of its successful mobile blood donation for the year 2012 which enabled the chapter to effectively deliver its various service programs thereby contributing significantly to its progress for the purpose of saving lives and promotion of the ideals of the Philippine Red Cross for the Cause of Humanity. Awarded by Philippine Red Cross – Cotabato Chapter last December 16, 2012 at Marqueza Hotel, Cotabato City.

5. Sandugo Kabalikat Award for collecting 1,777 Blood Units. Awarded by DOH – RXII last December 3, 2013 at JC Leisure and Business Place, Kidapawan City.

6. Plaque of Recognition in grateful recognition for their support and cooperation given to the NVBSP. Awarded by DOH – RXII during the Sandugo Awarding Ceremony last December 5, 2014 at EMR Complex, Koronadal City.

7. Sandugo Kabalikat Award for being the Regional Top 3 best performing NGO. Awarded by DOH – RXII during the Sandugo Awarding Ceremony last December 5, 2014 at EMR Complex, Koronadal City.

8. Plaque of Recognition for astounding support to the NVBSP for the year 2015. Awarded by DOH – RXII last November 17, 2016 at Family Country Hotel and Convention, General Santos City.

9. Regional Sandugo Top Performing Non-LGU Award for its outstanding and sustained support to the NVBSP for the year 2016. Awarded by DOH – RXII last December 6, 2017 at Greenleaf Hotel, General Santos City.

Shiekh Abdulrasheed B. Ambil, BDA-CenMin Regional Manager, and a Gold Medal Awardee as regular blood donor, congratulated the MBD Team, and expressed his thanks, and gratitude to all volunteers, donors, partners and supporters for their continuing efforts in sustaining BDA years of journey by helping others to save life through blood donation.

Ambil also recognized, and expressed his thanks, and gratitude to Dr. Rizaldy Piang, BDA Vice-Chairman, also Gold Medal Awardee for his utmost sincerity, and continued all-out support in the pursuit of MBD”.

Dr. Piang is the main proponent of MBD along with committed BDA volunteers during his stint as Regional Manager of BDA-CenMin.

He was also the first to donate blood during the 1st MBD in 2008 for the others to observe, and learn the process of bloodletting.

BDA-CenMin is the only proponent region of MBD, and Youth Development Program (YDP). BDA-CenMin covers the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, some parts of Bukidnon and other areas of Sultan Kudarat.

NDF/NDF-Mindanao: Martial Law Extension in Mindanao - A Defacto Nationwide Declaration Further Lays the Ground for Duterte's Dictatorship

NDF-Mindanao propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Dec 16): Martial Law Extension in Mindanao - A Defacto Nationwide Declaration Further Lays the Ground for Duterte's Dictatorship

 Press statement
15 December 2017

The NDFP-Mindanao vehemently denounces the one-year extension of martial law and the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao, which is a step further in laying the ground for Duterte’s fascist dictatorial rule. And since the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), which are nationwide revolutionary organizations, are included as “bases” for the extension, martial law is thus imposed, de facto, on a nationwide scale, whose implementation, by way of the bloody all-out war and Oplan Kapayapaan, goes beyond Mindanao towards both the Visayas and Luzon.

With the backing of his supermajority cohort in congress, Duterte secured for himself and the AFP/PNP absolute control over the economic, political and even the cultural life of the people in the island. Duterte’s AFP and PNP, through their brutal operations, can control the economic activities (such as farming) of the masses, especially those which they suspect to be in support of the revolutionary movement. They can impose upon local government units to redirect their resources to buttress its unjust war and attacks against the people. The AFP/PNP even threatened to deprive media people of their right to cover activities of the CPP and the NPA such as their anniversary celebration, an act which disregards the media’s independence and the freedom of the press.

This is the latest in a series of draconian measures imposed by the US-Duterte regime that aims to deliberately kill any semblance of democracy left in the nation. With the extension, the Filipino people are forced to swallow Duterte’s tyranny. Part of its deceitful strategy is to focus on Mindanao first and perfidiously work its way up to encompass the Visayas and Luzon, so that, in dividing the nation, Duterte will avoid facing the impact of a nationwide uprising against his fascist rule. A one-year extension will also serve to “test the waters” and feel the people’s pulse, but will not limit it to further extensions beyond 2018. Duterte’s minions in congress enabled him to further consolidate his tyranny even in shameless and blatant violation of their own Constitution, which they, in all hypocrisy, swore to uphold and defend.

With the extension, the people of Mindanao can only expect the escalation of Duterte’s and the AFP’s brutal, anti-people all-out war against the revolutionary movement and the peasant and Lumad masses. The extended and more inclusive martial law will further give license to the AFP to employ indiscriminate airstrikes using jet fighters, attack helicopters and armed drones, shelling with newly-bought 155mm howitzer cannons, and direct brutal attacks by regular AFP troops and their paramilitary goons – all aimed against civilian communities in the countryside, towns and cities. These atrocities will lead to the evacuation and displacement of innocent civilians in their hundreds of thousands.

Recently, Duterte once again alluded to an attack by so-called “ISIS-inspired terrorists” sometime in the next few weeks somewhere in Mindanao, possibly in North or South Cotabato or even in Cotabato City. With an extended martial law in place, we can expect Duterte’s AFP to rain down its destructive force once more against another city or town, similar to what it did to Marawi City. With this, the Duterte regime’s war against the Bangsamoro will doubtlessly intensify, stifling further the Moro people’s struggle for their genuine right to self-determination.

The AFP/PNP claim that cities are more “peaceful” under martial law, but this is a big lie. This is just another devious tactic to deny support from people in the urban centers to the masses who are victims of militarization in the countryside. The truth is, under military rule, Mindanao will lay witness to an unprecedented rise in the body count of extrajudicial killing victims in urban centers, either through the bloody Oplan Tokhang, which has been recently taken over by the PNP, or through the political assassination of leaders and members of legitimate progressive organizations, whom Duterte threatened to crackdown.

However, despite all of Duterte’s Hitler-like fear-mongering and shock-and-awe tactics, the revolutionary movement, led by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), is unperturbed and determined to fight. Revolutionaries as well as the struggling masses would rather face death fighting rather than bow down to Duterte’s fascist dictatorship.

As soon as Duterte exposed himself as a blood-thirsty fascist who desire nothing but his rise as a dictator, he has already signed his own death certificate by way of his regime’s downfall. But Duterte’s ouster will only take place under the resolute unity of the people. Thus, now more than ever, it is the moral responsibility of all exploited and oppressed classes and sectors in society, including the middle classes as well as the patriotic and enlightened gentry, in Mindanao and the rest of the country to unite in a broad anti-fascist united front to oust the US-Duterte regime. The NDFP-Mindanao also calls upon the people of Luzon and the Visayas to march hand in hand with the people of Mindanao and fight against Duterte’s fascism and eventually boot him out and bury him and his tyranny in the dustbin of history.#


Duterte accuses NPA of committing sexual abuses

From GMA News (Dec 17): Duterte accuses NPA of committing sexual abuses

President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday accused the New People's Army of committing sexual abuses.

"I do not want to talk to the communists anymore. I have been receiving reports, kayong mga komunista... roaming around everywhere and some of you, I have reports from anywhere, you are into molesting or sexually abusing 'yung mga tao sa bukid. Hinihipo ninyo 'yung mga babae at 'yung iba ninanakaw n'yo ang asawa," Duterte said during the 7th Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,Transgender (LGBT) gathering in Davao City.

"Is that the kind of revolution we have been fighting for 50 years? If you want another 50 years, so be it," Duterte said. "'Di ko talaga... kalokohan na ganon," he added.

Duterte has formally tagged the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the NPA, as terror groups after he terminated peace negotiations with the communist group.

Children-buying in Mindanao

In his speech, the President also condemned the supposed kidnapping activities in the Mindanao region, noting that he will treat kidnappers as drug lords.

"There are some tribes in Mindanao, maybe in Visayas and Luzon who's practice of buying children... Huminto kayo diyan or else I will treat you just like a drug lord. Slavery must stop. I cannot imagine a human being growing up in a family na di niya alam na di talaga siya ron, madami sa Davao ang kinikidnap. I will take a strong stance against this. I will not tolerate it," Duterte said.

"'Wag kayo pumasok diyan. Just imagine, magkidnap ka ng isang bata, ipabili mo doon sa ibang lugar and this woman will grow up believing talagang slave siya," he added.

Duterte assured the public that every individual will be "protected" during his term.

"You have my guarantee that everybody, at least during my term, will be protected and nurtured as human being, there will be no oppression and we will recognize your importance in the society," he said.

Last week, Congress granted Duterte's request to further extend the implementation of martial law in Mindanao until Dec. 31, 2018.

Duterte declared a 60-day martial law in Mindanao following the attack of the Maute group in Marawi City on May 23.

The declaration was supposed to lapse last July, but Congress granted his initial request to extend the Mindanao martial law until Dec. 31, 2017.