Tuesday, October 9, 2012

NPA rebel killed in Surigao Norte encounter

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 10): NPA rebel killed in Surigao Norte encounter

One communist rebel was killed in a clash with troops of the 30th Infantry Battalion Monday morning at Gigaquit town, this province, an army official said. Lt. Col. Vincent B. Iringan, Commanding Officer of the 30IB said the encounter occurred around 8:56 a.m. at Sitio Boy Banwa, Barangay Camam-onan when the troops of Alpha Company led by 2LT Rogelio De La Rosa, Jr., stationed at Brgy. Mahanub in Gigaquit, while patrolling and visiting said sitio were fired upon by more or less 20 New People’s Army (NPAs) believed to be members of SPP 16A, Guerilla Front 16, North Eastern Mindanao regional committee...


Photos: PHIBLEX 2012

Posted to ABS-CBN (Oct 9): Photos: PHIBLEX 2012

US-Philippines war games

US and Philippine Marines carry their respective colors at the formal opening of the annual Philippine-US Amphibious Landing Exercises aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard, which docked at the former US naval base of Subic on Monday. The 10-day program will involve combined live fire exercises, aircraft displays, a helicopter raid as well as medical missions around Subic and in the western island of Palawan. Photo by Jay Directo, AFP

US and Philippine Marines in exercise

U.S. and Philippine Marines negotiate a river bed during an amphibious exercise at Crow Valley in Tarlac on Tuesday. About 3,000 U.S. and Philippine Marines are participating in the 12-day exercise dubbed PHIBLEX 2012.  Photo: ABS-CBNnews.com


Nur warns of unrest in South

From the Philippine Star (Oct 10): Nur warns of unrest in South

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founder Nur Misuari yesterday warned of possible unrest in Mindanao if the government pushes through with its Bangsamoro agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Misuari said the agreement is a violation of the series of agreements with the mainstream Muslim rebels that was brokered by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).
Misuari also blasted Malaysia for interfering in the Philippines’ internal affairs when it brokered the peace talks with the MILF. “It’s a slap on the face of the members of the 57 Muslim countries,” Misuari said over radio dzRH. He said the series of peace accords – the Tripoli Agreement, the Jeddah Accord in 1987 and the final peace agreement in 1996 – could not just be thrown out without expecting any backlash from the parties involved. Misuari insisted the MNLF is the only group recognized by the OIC representing not only the Muslims but also the indigenous communities and Christians in Mindanao....


Editorial--New engagement

Editorial posted to the MILF Website (Oct 8): New engagement

.... Solving the Moro Question, therefore, could only take two forms namely: independence or real autonomy. There is no third option, say integration. Instead of improving their lives, the Moros suffered humiliatingly under the choking unitary system of government pursued in the Philippines. More importantly, integration has never been or will ever be an option of the MILF.
The GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro is a template for real self-rule for the Bangsamoro in Mindanao. It is a solid document, short of the ideal option providing for an independent state....


MNLF threatens to sue PH gov’t at ICJ over peace deal with MILF

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Oct 9): MNLF threatens to sue PH gov’t at ICJ over peace deal with MILF

Moro National Liberation Front leader Nur Misuari threatened, on Tuesday, to file in court a suit against the Philippine government for signing a framework agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to pave the way for the setting up of a new Bangsamoro entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. Misuari, in an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, called the preliminary agreement between the Philippine government and the MILF illegal and something that would never solve the Mindanao problem. “Instead of solving, this will plunge Mindanao to another war that the Philippine government cannot afford to have at this time,” he said, adding that MNLF members have remained “alive and kicking” through the years. Believing that the framework agreement violated international laws, Misuari said the MNLF could sue the Philippine government before the International Court of Justice. The MNLF signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government under the Ramos administration, in 1996, to set up the ARMM. “This is illegal, we can bring President (Benigno Simeon) Aquino (III) to the International Court, the criminal court, for violating International Law,” he said....


Photo: PHIBLEX 2013

Posted to the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Oct 9): Photo: PHIBLEX 2013


Marines Lance Cpl. Cory Ralston lets the curious boys peek into his gun scope during a break in the 10-day Philippine-US Amphibious Landing Exercise (Phiblex) 2013 in Crow Valley, Capas, Tarlac. The annual Phiblex is designed to make both nations better friends and allies says the U.S. exercise director.  Raffy Lerma


75% for MILF in wealth sharing a ‘done deal’

From the Daily Tribune (Oct 9): 75% for MILF in wealth sharing a ‘done deal’

No wonder the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) leaders and the western powers such as the US and the United Kingdom are happy with the Philippine peace panel’s Framework Agreement, as the new political entity to be known as the Bangsamoro, is to get a 75 percent share in wealth produced in the areas to be controlled by the NPE, or 75 percent of revenues generated, with the Philippine government getting a mere 25 percent share. MILF Vice Chairman for Political Affairs Ghadzali Jaafar, in a radio interview yesterday said this wealth sharing was a “done deal.” “What was discussed on the issue of wealth sharing is that the national government will be getting a 25 percent share that will be coming from the revenues of economic activity in (the MILF areas). The way I see it, the 75 percent-25 percent is already a “done deal.” Malacañang and its peace negotiators earlier had claimed that the wealth sharing agreement between the national government and the Bangsamoro region has yet to be discussed, despite the wealth sharing clause already included in the framework agreement which is expected to be signed by both parties on Oct. 15....


Photo: Filipino and American Marines Practice at Crow Valley

From the front page of the Manila Standard Today (Oct 10): Photo: Filipino and American Marines Practice at Crow Valley


United. Filipino and American Marines (top and inset) practice at the Crowvalley in Capas, Tarlac, at the start of their 10-day joint military drills. (Photo by Danny Pata)

Six killed in clash between govt. troops, leftist rebels in southern Philippines

From the Global Times (Oct 9): Six killed in clash between govt. troops, leftist rebels in southern Philippines

Six people have been killed in a series of encounters between government troops and leftist rebels in southern Philippines, the military said Tuesday. Casualties include three New People's Army (NPA) guerrillas, a soldier and two policemen as government forces intensified their campaign against the insurgents in Northern and Eastern Mindanao, according to Lt. Col. Eugenio Osias IV, regional army spokesman. Two policemen and two insurgents were killed on Monday in near- simultaneous clashes in Gigaquit town, Surigao del Norte province to the north, and in the southern town of Veruela, in Agusan del Sur. A day earlier, troops under the army's 8th Infantry Battalion clashed with NPA rebels in Impasug-ong town, Bukidnon province. A soldier and a leftist guerrilla died in that incident. The fire fight in Veruela town also resulted in the rescue of a militiaman whom the rebels had kidnapped last week, while improvised bombs, rounds of ammunition and an AK-47 assault rifle were also recovered....


US to keep counterterrorism outpost in Philippines, despite peace deal

From The Hill (Oct 8): US to keep counterterrorism outpost in Philippines, despite peace deal

The long-standing U.S. counterterrorism outpost in the Philippines will remain in place, in case a landmark peace deal between Manila and Muslim extremists in the southern part of the country falls apart.... The details in that plan, which are still being negotiated with MILF leaders, will provide the backdrop for a long-term peace deal expected by 2016. But until then, American special operations forces will remain in the country, providing training and logistical support to Philippine military units continuing to hunt down Abu Sayyaf leaders and cells in the area. American intelligence and special operations forces have been conducting counterterrorism support operations from their base in Mindanao since 2001. Those U.S. forces attached to the Joint Special Operations Task Force—Philippines were initially sent to the country after the 9/11 attacks....

.... But public opinion in the Philippines has begun to turn against the American military presence there, which could make expansion of those forces difficult. Filipino citizens demanded Manila conduct an overarching review of the U.S. task force after a fatal accident in April involving American special forces and civilians in the area. A U.S. patrol boat piloted by members of special operations forces collided with a small fishing vessel in the waters around Mindanao after returning from a humanitarian mission in the town of Hadji Mutamad near Basilan. A Philippine fisherman was killed and his son injured as a result of the crash, and spawned regional protests against the U.S. presence in the south.


China splits Philippine politics

From the left-oriented Asia Times (Oct 10): China splits Philippine politics

Rising diplomatic tensions with China have sown divisions inside the Philippine ruling establishment, a widening and potentially destabilizing rift that has split President Benigno Aquino's administration. While Aquino has publicly taken a hard line in response to Beijing's perceived provocations in the South China Sea, he has privately bid to use back diplomatic channels to maintain crucial bilateral trade and investment ties. The domestic infighting comes in response to strained bilateral relations with China that some fear could break into open confrontation without a diplomatic course shift. That risk has risen in the context of America's "pivot" towards Asia and as Aquino makes strategic overtures towards the United States, including calls for more military assistance and the provision of spy planes to monitor China's naval activities in adjacent waters....


MNLF: Peace pact to divide Muslims

From the Manila Times (Oct 9): MNLF: Peace pact to divide Muslims

The government has been lauded for reaching a peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), but some Muslim groups are not happy with the pact that will establish a Bangsamoro region. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) denounced the government for forging the agreement, saying that it is tantamount to abandoning the Tripoli Agreement and the Final Peace Agreement (FPA) signed by MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari and his counterpart in the government. On Monday, the MNLF said that it is doubtful if the new peace agreement would provide the comprehensive and lasting solution to the Mindanao problem. Ustadz Murshi Ibrahim, secretary general of the MNLF Central Committee, told The Manila Times that replacing the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with the Bangsamoro region is tantamount to abandoning the Tripoli Agreement signed in 1976 and the FPA, which was inked in 1996....

Sultan Firdausi Ismael y Abbas, the chairman of the Bangsamoro Party and president emeritus of the Muslim Bar Association, also said that his group does not share the optimism of Malacañang with regard to the agreement concluded between the government and the MILF. “We do not accept the MILF as representative of the Bangsamoro people because presently it is the MNLF which is recognized as such by the OIC,” he added. Abbas said that the report on the framework of agreement came as a total surprise to many Muslims. “What happened to the transparency which the Liberal Party clamored for in protest against the Memorandum of Agreement signed between the government and the MILF during the tenure of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo?’ he asked. Abbas also questioned the nature of the framework of agreement. “Is it internal between the MILF and the Philippine government, or is it characterized as an international agreement which would require the concurrence of at least 2/3 of all the members of the Senate pursuant to Article 7, Section 21 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution?” he added. The Bangsamoro party head said that the program of the MILF is vague.  “Who will run the new government in the South?” he asked....


Advance the antifeudal struggle, intensify the people's war

Editorial from Ang Bayan posted to the CPP Website (Oct 8): Advance the antifeudal struggle, intensify the people's war

Advancing struggles for genuine land reform is among the critical tasks needed to push the people’s war to the next stage of the strategic stalemate. Conducting antifeudal struggles on a broader scale, level and intensity and mobilizing peasants in their millions will serve as the foundation for achieving a new level of guerrilla warfare and establishing organs of political power. The land reform program is the main content of the people’s democratic revolution. It is the principal demand of the peasantry, the main force of the democratic revolution. It is the key link in advancing the revolutionary mass movement in the countryside ang mobilizing millions of peasants for the national-democratic revolution....


Aquino's puppetry, militarism, rural oppression, duplicity dim prospects for peace agreement--CPP

Posted to the CPP Website (Oct 9): Aquino's puppetry, militarism, rural oppression, duplicity dim prospects for peace agreement--CPP

While the Filipino revolutionary forces continue to exert efforts to push the Aquino regime to work for the resolution of the social roots of the raging armed conflict through peace negotiations, they are acutely aware that the prospects of forging a political settlement grows dimmer by the day as the reactionary Aquino government continues to veer sharply towards the path of puppetry to the US government, brutal militarism and rural oppression. The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) issued this statement in reaction to announcements by Malacañang yesterday that the Philippine government (GPH) intends to resume peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), a day after revealing that a “Framework Agreement” is set to be signed between the GPH and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)....


The Aquinos and the MILF

Glenda Gloria historical background piece in Rappler (Oct 9): The Aquinos and the MILF


Government hopes for MNLF-MILF alliance to fully attain peace in Mindanao --Leonen

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 9): Government hopes for MNLF-MILF alliance to fully attain peace in Mindanao --Leonen

In view of the forging of a framework peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Philippine government is hoping that the MILF will have an alliance with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). Dean Marvic Leonen, chairman of the government peace panel, said in an interview that the MNLF, which signed the Tripoli Agreement in 1976 with the Philippine government, is a political organization, while the MILF is a Moro rebel group. "The MNLF is a political organization and it depends on the MILF if it wants to build alliances with the MNLF and we're hoping that they do," he said. The MNLF headed by Nur Misuari earlier denounced the Framework Agreement, saying it is tantamount to abandoning the Tripoli Agreement and the Final Peace Agreement....


MNLF feels 'double talked,' 'betrayed'

From the Philippine Star (Oct 9): MNLF feels 'double talked,' 'betrayed'

The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) said Tuesday that it felt "double talked" and "betrayed" by the national government for entering into the "framework agreement" with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The MNLF said that the current treatment of the government of the 1996 final peace accord will force its members to return from the mainstream to arms struggle. Habib Mujahab Hashim, chairman of the MNLF’s Islamic Command Council (ICC), said the “framework agreement” is tantamount to the total abrogation of the peace accord they have with the government. The ICC is one of the three factions of the MNLF led by its founder , Nur Misuari and the wing of Muslimin Sema. “But what about the final agreement with the MNLF and the GRP? They should have first declared this as abrogated and abrogate it officially before entering into another agreement,” Hashim said. “For us, this is double talk, a betrayal on the part of the government on the MNLF,” he added....


Army seizes NPA camp in NSamar

From the Philippine Star (Oct 9): Army seizes NPA camp in NSamar

Members of the Army’s 63rd Infantry Battalion seized on Monday a camp of the New People’s Army (NPA) after a clash with the rebels in Las Navas, Northern Samar. Capt. Gene Orense, spokesman of the Army’s 8th division, said a 30-minute encounter between soldiers and the insurgents ensued at around 11:30 a.m. in barangay Capoto-an in Las Navas town. He said the clash resulted in the recovery of a rebel camp with 22 makeshift bunkers, eight ponchos, a mess hall and a kitchen. Soldiers also found two M16 rifles with live ammunitions and subversive documents. Orense said for the third quarter alone, a total of 30 NPA camps have been captured in Samar Island.... http://www.philstar.com/nation/article.aspx?publicationSubCategoryId=200&articleId=857705

Marines transferred to Palawan to fight off NPA

From the Philippine Star (Oct 9): Marines transferred to Palawan to fight off NPA

The 3rd Marine Brigade headquarters was transferred from Sulu to Palawan to counter the emergence of the New People's Army (NPA) in the island province. Maj. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, commandant of the Philippine Marines (PM), said that NPA rebels are now operating in Palawan and the Marines are being deployed in the province as a containing force. “Basically, the Marines are deployed in Palawan for internal security operations,” Guerrero told reporters following the launching of the Phiblex 2013 held inside Harrier jet hangar of USS Bonhomme, a Marine ground and air strike vessel now docked at the former US Naval facility in Subic Bay. Thousands of Moro rebels from the Moro National Islamic Liberation Front (MNLF) are also based in several locations in Palawan, which Guerrero failed to mention in the media interview....


New chief of Army's TRADOC named

From the Philippine Star (Oct 9): New chief of Army's TRADOC named

A Mindanao veteran and graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class ’81 has been named chief of the Army’s premiere training institution. Brig. Gen. Benito Antonio de Leon has been appointed commander of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), which operates 14 training schools, groups and centers all over the country.... De Leon was among the military officers implicated in a plunder complaint filed by former military comptroller George Rabusa last year. The complaint stemmed from the alleged large-scale corruption in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Rabusa’s allegations, however, have yet to progress into a real case. The approval by the president (of my appointment) is a vindication of myself,” de Leon said.... De Leon spent most of his combat duties in Mindanao, leading a platoon of soldiers under the 12th Infantry Battalion in the 1980s. From 1999-2000, he led the 58th Infantry Battalion which saw action against MILF rebels during the time of former President Joseph Estrada.... De Leon was chief of the 104th Brigade when the peace talks between the MILF and the government broke down in 2008. He also helped bring back stability in Lanao del Norte and Iligan, which were attacked by disgruntled MILF members. De Leon also served as executive assistant to the AFP chief, senior military assistant to the Defense Secretary and acting commandant of the AFP Command and General Staff College.


2 killed in Agusan del Sur encounter

From ABS-CBN (Oct 9): 2 killed in Agusan del Sur encounter

A policeman and a member of the New People’s Army were killed in an encounter on Monday morning in Agusan del Sur. Police Officer 1 Rommer Demaulo was killed from the government side while the rebel fatality remains unidentified. The skirmish happened at the vicinity of Sitio Tilangkog, Barangay Caigangan in the municipality of Veruela. Government troops were conducting combat operations in the area when they encountered a group of armed men believed to be members of the NPA’s Guerilla Front 3, under Alias Rigor. A firefight ensued for 30 minutes until the rebels retreated. The operation also resulted in the safe recovery of a certain Jesse Agravante, a CAFGU member of the 23rd Company of La Fortuna Patrol Base, who was kidnapped by rebels last Saturday afternoon. Government troops were able to enter the house allegedly used by the rebels and found the body of the unidentified NPA, as well as a grenade and ammunitions.