Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Two abandoned rebel bases found in Samar

From the Sun Star (Nov 7): Two abandoned rebel bases found in Samar

"Bayanihan" peace and development teams from the 8th Infantry Division have located two abandoned New People's Army (NPA) bases in Samar early this week. Captain Gene R. Orense, the unit's spokesperson, said the first rebel camp was located at the hinterlands of Barangay Del Rosario, Matuguinao, Samar and the second one near a forested area in Lope De Vega town, also of the same province. He added that both bases were discovered last November 5 during patrol operations. Orense said the NPA base in Barangay Del Rosario, Matuguinao has a bunker system that can accommodate 45 rebel fighters while those in Lope De Vega can shelter 30 NPA members. “The abandoned NPA camps in Matuguianao and Lope De Vega symbolizes that the NPA is suffering a so-called social pressure not only by the pursuing military troops but primarily the lack of support from its former mass base in the area,” Major General Gerardo T. Layug, of 8th Infantry Division, said. He added that "Bayanihan" teams will continue its peace and development efforts in the these localities until the insurgency threat is over. "Bayanihan" is one the main thrust of the Philippine Army in assisting the local communities identify and address the local issues which hamper peace and development in the communities.


Soldier wounded in Samar encounter with alleged NPA rebels

From InterAksyon (Nov 7): Soldier wounded in Samar encounter with alleged NPA rebels

A soldier was wounded following a clash with alleged New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Matuguinao, Samar, according to a belated report from the Philippine Army.  Capt. Gene Orense, spokesman of the Army's 8th Infantry Division, said members of the 63rd Infantry Battalion fought with an undetermined number of rebels in Barangay Rizal at about 5 p.m., Monday. The 10-minute firefight left Private First Class Elwin Bert Paller wounded. He was rushed to a hospital for treatment. Prior to the encounter, soldiers discovered an alleged abandoned NPA camp in the hinterlands of Baraangay Del Rosario in the same town. Orense said the camp, with makeshift bunkers and a kitchen, could accommodate 45 rebels. “The Bayanihan team will continue its Peace and Development efforts inthe Municipality of Matuguinao amidst the series of armed encountersthat happened during the recent days," Lt. Col. Arvin Lagamon, 63rd IB commander, said.


MILF: Socsksargen Moros hold thanksgiving celebration for the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement

From the MILF Website (Nov 7): Socsksargen Moros hold thanksgiving celebration for the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement

Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat – Members of Moro communities coming from the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City (Socsksargen) held a Kanduli or thanksgiving celebration for the recently signed GPH-MILF Framework Agreement for the Bangsamoro. The 3-day celebration held on November 2-4, 2012 at Sitio Dawah, Barangay Malisbong, Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat was attended by more than two thousand delegates comprised of Moro people from Socsksargen that includes MNLF members and invited Christians, Tboli, Manobo and Ubo tribesmen. Representatives coming from the Offices of the Governor of Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani and Local Government Units of Maitum, Kiamba and Maasim, in Sarangani Province and Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat also graced the event. Members of the MILF Central Committee also attended the gathering. The celebration started with a motorcade of delegates on November 1 carrying their green flaglets signifying their support to the framework agreement and streamers bearing messages of thanking the Almighty for the remarkable development in the GPH-MILF peace process. “Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah)! GPH-MILF Framework Agreement for the Bangsamoro” and “Mabuhay! Framework Agreement for the Bangsamoro,” were inscribed in the streamers....


MILF: BDA, AMAL Malaysia extend humanitarian assistance in Basilan

From the MILF Website (Nov 7): BDA, AMAL Malaysia extend humanitarian assistance in Basilan

BDA, AMAL Malaysia extend humanitarian assistance in Basilan

The Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) ZamBas Region and the Yayasan AMAL Malaysia extended humanitarian assistance during their 2nd Community Engagement Program for Mindanao 2012 in Basilan last October 24-28, 2012 .  BDA and AMAL Malaysia in coordination with the Provincial Government of Basilan distributed 46 cows and 46 goats amounting to Php 1,354,250.00. Various health care programs undertaken in Tipo-Tipo town that benefited some 150 people. Community driven civic actions were also extended assistance by AMAL purposely to work on improvements of Madrasah and Masjid.  Dr. Suhazeli Bin Abdullah headed the AMAL Delegation composed of 16 members who were warmly welcomed by Provincial Vice Governor Al-Rasheed Sakkalahul, Tony Sakkalahul, Regional Manager of BDA-Zambas, and their constituents. Prior to the conduct of any activities, said delegates together with the BDA staff headed by Mr Tony D. Sakkalahul, the BDA-RMO Regional Manager had paid due courtesy calls to the City Government of Isabela and the Provincial Government of Basilan. Tony D. Sakkalahul said “with the joint efforts and cooperation of the BDA, AMAL and the local governments of Basilan, the success of the programs was ensured.” The Yayasan AMAL Malaysia first came to Basilan last 2010 for to launch its Community Engagement Program for Mindanao.


Reds move to get peace talks on ‘special track’

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 6): Reds move to get peace talks on ‘special track’

Moves to hurdle the impasse in the peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) continue despite general pessimism over the failure of both parties to attain a breakthrough. Lawyer Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), who is also legal consultant to the NDFP peace panel, said that despite bumps on the road, the NDFP had proposed hastening negotiations via a special track running “parallel and complementary” to the regular talks track.  Both parties were about to tackle the second of a four-part agenda—on socio-economic reforms—when major disagreements brought the formal negotiations to a halt last year. Olalia said the “special track” basically consisted of the NDFP’s earlier proposal for a 10-point alliance and truce with the government, and has been proffered again by the NDFP to hasten the negotiations. He said an emissary from the Aquino administration was sent to the Netherlands in October to discuss the NDFP’s proposal with the negotiators. The talks are sponsored by Norway and held in Oslo while the NDFP’s leaders reside in Amsterdam. “There has been movement in terms of discussion, but as to status, I’m not at liberty to say, but at least there’s movement,” said Olalia, who was quick to add that he was merely expressing his opinion as a lawyer and his opinion should not in any way bind the NDFP at the negotiating table. Asked if the talks had a chance of resuming soon, he replied: “Of course, may pag-asa (there’s hope).”....


New deputy commander of 3ID assumes position

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 6): New deputy commander of 3ID assumes position

Brig. Gen. Lysander Suerte yesterday assumed as assistant commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division stationed at Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz. Suerte, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class 1982, was assigned at the 11th Infantry Battalion in Negros island when still a lieutenant, military records show. He succeeded Brig. Gen. Jonas Sumagaysay, who is now the deputy commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command in Cebu City. Major Enrico Gil Ileto, spokesman of the 3rd Infantry Division, said the assignment of Suerte in Western Visayas is a homecoming for him, having been being previously assigned at the 11th and 12th Infantry Battalions in Negros and Panay. In addition to his new duties, Suerte is also the chiefof the 3ID’s Office of Ethical Standards and Public Accountability, an anti-graft office that has an exclusive investigative jurisdiction over active military personnel and regular civilian employees, Ileto said. He added that the position of ADC carries with it the functionof Human Rights Officer of the 3ID, whoseresponsibility is to see to it that respect for human rights is observed by all soldiers within the area of responsibility of the division.


Anti-Communist Propaganda Facebook Posters

A sampling of anti-CPP front group material posted to the anti-communist Patriotic Pilipinas Facebook page (2012):


NPA rebel killed in Agusan del Norte

Posted to the Hukbong Katihan ng Pilipinas (Philippine Army) Facebook page (Nov 3): NPA rebel killed in Agusan del Norte

An NPA rebel lay dead after a brief clash with Special Forces troopers in Bgy Palo Dos, Santiago, Agusan del Norte at 8:50am today. The soldiers confiscated an AK 47 Rifle from the slain bandit who was left behind by his fleeing comrades. No one was hurt among the soldiers.


Philippine Army News Clippings (Nov 3-6)

Posted to the Faces, Places & Voices (Ranger Cabunzky) Blog (Nov 3-5): Philippine Army News Clippings

November 3: http://www.scribd.com/doc/111960782/03-Nov-12-News-Clippings#page=1

November 4: http://www.scribd.com/doc/112109161/04-Nov-12-1#page=1

November 5: http://www.scribd.com/doc/112111457/05-Nov-12-News-Clippings#page=1


New 4th Infantry Division head assumes command

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Nov 6): New 4th Infantry Division head assumes command

THE 4th Infantry Division (4ID) of the Philippine Army finally has a new commanding officer: Major General Nestor A. Añonuevo, who is currently the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations of J3 at the 4ID. Añonuevo assumed command Tuesday, replacing acting 4ID Commander Brigadier General Romeo L. Gapuz, who is the current Assistant Division Commander. Although born in Quezon province, Añonuevo is not new in the area since he spent his early military services in Central Mindanao as platoon leader of the 42nd Infantry Battalion from 1981 to 1982 operating in Maguindanao-Cotabato areas. He also served thrice as battalion commander of the 9th Infantry Battalion in Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental in 1997, 26th Infantry Battalion in Lanao province from 1998 to 1999 both under 4ID, Commander of the Philippine Battalion in East Timor under the United Nations Peacekeeping operations in 2001, and several assignments in Northern and Central Mindanao....

New 4th Infantry Division head assumes command

CAGAYAN DE ORO. Incoming 4th Infantry Division chief Major General Nestor Añonuevo (middle) shakes hand with Brigadier General Romeo Gapuz, the outgoing 4th ID head while Lieutenant General Emmanuel Bautista, Army chief, looks on in a formal turn-over of command on Tuesday. (Joey P. Nacalaban)


NPA rebels own up killings of army soldiers in Davao City

From the Mindanao Examiner (Nov 6): NPA rebels own up killings of army soldiers in Davao City

The New People’s Army on Tuesday owned up to the killing of 4 government soldiers in an attack in Davao City in the southern Philippines. Rebel leader Leoncio Pitao said they also seized the soldiers’ weapons following a fire fight at a checkpoint in the village of Mapula in Paquibato District over the weekend. He said one rebel was also wounded in the clash. The military said the soldiers, who belonged to the 69th Infantry Battalion, were unarmed and off-duty when rebels attacked them. “The four armed AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) regulars were killed, one of them died several meters away from the scene, while an NPA member was wounded in the ensuing troops engagement which the AFP ridiculously painted as a brutal murder of its - unarmed, off-duty soldiers,” Pitao said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner. He said the clashes can hardly be described as massacre or abduction, “for it was a fitting retribution against a notorious Army unit feared and hated by the peasant masses in Paquibato.” Pitao said those killed were members of the army’s special operations team responsible for the summary execution of Mires Esdang, a hemp farmer in Paquibato, on October 18, and other grave abuses ranging from psychological warfare against peasants, intimidation of families of NPA rebels. He said the soldiers also forced many to villagers to surrender and coerced civilians to act as military guides, and other human rights violations in Paquibato. Pitao also urged government soldiers to resign from the military service and join the struggle against state tyranny. “In the face of the AFP atrocities, its poor and also exploited regular men and women on the field should instead leave their criminal and corrupt masters.” “The NPA exhorts them to join the people's struggle against imperialism, feudalism and state tyranny. As fascism and exploitation continues, the people and the revolutionary forces aspire to raise the level of armed resistance, wage agrarian revolution and strengthen themselves to advance the people's war and defeat the enemy,” he said....


Abu Sayyaf frees kidnapped Zambo Norte town mayor

From the Business Mirror (Nov 6): Abu Sayyaf frees kidnapped Zambo Norte town mayor

Suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits freed a Zamboanga del Norte town mayor kidnapped more than seven months ago, a top police official disclosed on Tuesday. The release of the town mayor has brought down to one the number of kidnapped victims from this region who remain in captivity. Released after seven months and three days in captivity was Jeffrey Lim, the mayor of the municipality of Salug, Zamboanga del Norte province. Western Mindanao police director Chief Supt. Napoleon Estilles said Lim was freed around 10 p.m. on Monday, in an undisclosed place here in Zamboanga City. Estilles said Lim was picked up by a still unidentified mediator who accompanied the mayor go home to Salug town. Lim, 36, was reunited with his family since they reached home around 3 a.m. on Tuesday, according to Estilles. Meanwhile, Estilles denied any knowledge on the reported payment of a P1.1-million ransom in exchange for Lim’s release, stressing they strictly comply with the no-ransom policy of the government. Around 10 gunmen clad in camouflage pants and shirts with “pulis” markings seized Lim around 7 p.m. on April 2 while he was eating dinner with friends near the bus terminal of Salug town. Lim was forced to board a yellow mini-van which was recovered several minutes after his disappearance around 3.5 kilometers away from the bus terminal. Later, military and police reports said the kidnappers brought the victim to Basilan, the traditional lair of the notorious Abu Sayyaf group. Still in the hands of the kidnappers, also suspected to be Abu Sayyaf bandits, is former Australian soldier Richard Warren Rodwell, 53. Rodwell was seized by gunmen from his residence in barangay Pangi, Ipil, the capital town of Zamboanga Sibugay province on Dec. 5 last year.


Cordillera peace process gets P67m

From the Manila Standard Today (Nov 7): Cordillera peace process gets P67m

Malacanang is allocating P67.1 million for PAMANA (Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan) projects in conflicted areas of the Cordillera Administrative Region. Ana Laylo, project manager under the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said the fund would benefit communities in Kalinga, Mt. Province, Ifugao, Abra, Apayao and Benguet. “The PAMANA program is set to implement P50 million worth of projects through the DILG and another P17.1 million through the Department of Social Welfare and Development,” she said. She cited a Memorandum of Agreement with the Cordillera Bodong Administration- Cordillera People’s Liberation Army was signed last year to release P92.56 million to local government units under the PAMANA program. Laylo said the process would go on a higher policy level to extend PAMANA in localities where the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army to National Democratic Front have been active. The late President Corazon Aquino signed the Mt. Data Peace Accord in 1986 with the late Conrado Balweg, representing the CBA-CPLA, an NPA splinter group. Last year, President Benigno Aquino III signed an agreement with the Cordillera Bodong Administration led by President Marcelina Bahatan anchored on economic development at the community level with village consultation, tribal and inter-tribal cooperation and mutual assistance....


Uztadz killed in Basilan ambush

From the Daily Tribune (Nov 7): Uztadz killed in Basilan ambush

Suspected Abu Sayyaf terrorists ambushed members of an Army engineering battalion constructing road networks and school buildings in Basilan on Monday, killing one soldier, who happened to be an Ustadz, and wounding two others. Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division (ID), identified the slain Army man as Pfc. Jalil Ahung, who was described as “well-reverred Ustadz or an Islamic teacher leading fellow Muslim-soldiers in prayers. “He died serving his community. Army engineering units are non-combatant units whose job is to help our countrymen in far-flung, depressed areas receive infrastructure projects from their local leaders,” said Cruz. Wounded were Sgt. Abdulnander Bakil and Cpl. Jaime Dugasan, who were both taken to the Camp Navarro Station Hospital for treatment. The three are members of the Army’s 55th Engineering Battalion. Cruz said the engineering unit was deployed in Basilan to help the local government implement infrastructure projects such as construction of school buildings, bridges and road networks. It also serves as first responder during calamities. The three were walking back to their home base Monday afternoon when fired upon by armed men along Barangay Amaloy in Tipo-Tipo town. Capt. Albert Caber, spokesman of 1st ID, said the three non-combatant soldiers were unarmed and in civilian clothes when ambushed.


ARMM folks to observe Sheik Makdum Day on Nov. 7

From the Philippine Star (Nov 6): ARMM folks to observe Sheik Makdum Day on Nov. 7
Residents of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao will observe November 7 as a special non-working “Sheik Makdum Day” in commemoration of the arrival in 1380 via the Southern backdoor of the first ever Arab missionary to spread Islam. Sheik Karimul Makdum, also named Makdum Karim in some Islamic history books, first set foot in Bohe Indangan, or Tubig Indangan in Tausog, in what is now island town of Simunul in Tawi-Tawi, and built there what was to become the country’s first ever mosque just as he started preaching to the area’s Samah seafaring inhabitants. The term “sheik” is an Arabic honorific title that can either mean a religious official, a community chieftain or a respectable village representative.  Samah and Tausog contemporary historians in Tawi-Tawi said Makdum, as a missionary, established  Muslim communities in Simunul and surrounding islands based on the Islamic concept of oneness of faith and governance and equality of all men, regardless of race and religion. Makdum was also said to have introduced the Islamic concept of addressing peace and security issues through dialogues and consensus-building. The ARMM’s acting governor, Mujiv Hataman, has declared November 7 a non-working holiday in the autonomous region....


Military Says--Rebels get another blow

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 6): Military Says--Rebels get another blow

The arrest of an alleged finance officer of the Komiteng Rehiyal-Negros and the death of a rebel amazon suspected to be the logistics and medical officer of the NPA South West Front were described by the military as another blow to the leadership of the revolutionary movement in Negros island. Sarah Alvarez, alias Ka Olsen, was apprehended Oct. 30 by a combined team of police and military personnel, by virtue of arrest warrants for murder and robbery-in-band, in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental. On the same day, Julia Tabat, with the aliases of Ka Gab/Alex, an alleged logistics and medical officer of the NPA South West Front, died in an encounter with soldiers of the 47th Infantry Battalion in Candoni town.... Alvarez, who dismissed the criminal complaints filed against her as trumped-up charges, was denied bail by Cadiz Regional Trial Court Judge Renato Munez for the murder charges.... Alvarez, who remained locked up at the Cadiz police jail, however, said that because of the frustration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to cripple the NPA revolutionary movement in Negros, ordinary civilians are now being targeted by the military....


Norway assures Philippines of continued assistance in peace processes

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 6): Norway assures Philippines of continued assistance in peace processes

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg assured President Benigno S. Aquino III of Norway’s continued assistance to the peace processes during their meeting on November 5 at the sidelines of the 9th ASEM Leaders’ Summit in Vientiane, Laos. Prime Minister Stoltenberg congratulated President Aquino on the recent signing of the Framework Agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and assured him of Norway’s continued assistance to the peace processes, a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs said. Norway is a member of the International Monitoring Team for the GPH-MILF Peace Process and is the third country facilitator for the GPH-CPP/NPA/NDF Peace Process....


Outgoing brigade chief hopes sustained convergence program

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 6): Outgoing brigade chief hopes sustained convergence program

Newly promoted Brig. Gen. Lysander Suerte of the 1003rd Infantry “Raptor” Brigade recently turned over his post to Col. Buenaventura Pascual with high hopes that socio-civic initiatives would be sustained. Speaking during the turning over ceremony held on Oct. 31 at the 1003rd Infantry Brigade Headquarters in Brgy New Visayas, Sto Tomas, Suerte echoed the assurance of Provincial Gov. Rodolfo del Rosario that the provincial government will continue hauling services to barangays through the Convergence for Peace and Development. The Convergence for Peace and Development known as the Convergence, was born during the 1003rd IB stint of Suerte with whom del Rosario planned the idea early last year, to pool together the resources of Peace and Development Outreach Program (PDOP) of the Philippine Army and the PEOPLE Development Agenda of the provincial government.... Suerte held his post as the commanding officer of 1003rd IB for 23 months. He will be taking a new position as the assistant commanding general of the 3rd Infantry Division. In his reply, Pascual assured to continue the civil military initiatives left behind by Suerte, taking stock of his experience as former Civil Military Operations officer and former commander former commander of Task Force Zamboanga....


Army pursues rebels after deadly ambush

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 6): Army pursues rebels after deadly ambush

CAMP MANUAL YAN, MAWAB, Compostela Valley: The military launched pursuit operations against members of the New People’s Army following an ambush that killed four soldiers 5:30 pm Sunday (Nov. 4) in Sitio Cinco, Brgy. Mapula, Paquibato District, Davao City. Lt. Colonel Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division identified the victims as Privates First Class Ahian Vir Dolero , Marvin Lauronal, Noel Sigan whose remains are now in Villa Funeral Homes, Panabo City. He said Private Marcelo Himaya who was missing in the early search was found dead in a nearby area and believed to be summarily executed. Paniza said all victims belonged to the 60th Infantry Battalion. He said the four victims were on board three motorcycles and on civilian attire and unarmed when waylaid by more or less ten heavily armed men. “They were on their way back to their detachment after buying some goods when the incident happened,” Paniza said.


Two Army brigades get new commanders

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 6): Two Army brigades get new commanders

Two Infantry Brigades under the 10th Infantry Division have new commanders, according to Lt. Colonel Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division. Colonel Angelito De Leon replaces newly promoted Brigadier General Roberto Domines as head of the 1001st Infantry Brigade based in Maco, Compostela Valley while Domines assumes the post as assistant commander of the 7th Infantry Division in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. Paniza said Colonel Buenaventura Pascual takes the post as head of the 1003rd Infantry Brigade based in Sto. Tomas, Davao del Norte, replacing Brig. General Lysander Suerte who is now the assistant commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division in Jamindan, Capiz. He said De Leon was formerly assigned in the general headquarters of the Philippine Army in Camp Aguinaldo as assistant of chief of staff for operations, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy class 1984. “He is no longer new to the region since he was assigned in Davao del Norte and Compostela Valley during his lieutenant days,” Paniza said. He said Pascual was the former chief of Task Force Zamboanga. Paniza said that prior to his TF Zambo post, Pascual also assumed responsibility as chief of staff for operations of the Philippine Army. “The revamp will not affect our operation since the two generals who left the command recently were really due for promotion,” he said. Paniza said Domines and Suerte were included in the list of twenty-three senior military officers who were promoted last week, which also included Major General Ariel Bernardo, commander, 10th Infantry Division and Brig. General Yerson Depayso, assistant division commander.


4ID has a new Commander

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 6): 4ID has a new Commander

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City: The 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division held a Change of Command Ceremony at the Division's Grandstand today. Major General Nestor A. Añonuevo took over the reins of leadership of the 4ID from Brigadier General Romeo L. Gapuz, the Acting Commander of the Division and current Assistant Division Commander. The ceremony is a symbol of warm reception to the new leadership which was highlighted by the parade and review in honor of the guest and presiding general, LtGen. Emmanuel T. Bautista AFP, Commanding General of the Philippine Army. MGen. Añonuevo is not new in the area since he was once assigned here at 4ID during his senior officer years as one of the Division’s Staff, Executive Officer of 401st Brigade, Commanding Officer of 26th Infantry Battalion and Deputy Brigade Commander of 402nd Brigade. Prior to MGen. Añonuevo’s assumption as 4ID Commander, he was the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3. He is a well decorated officer who received various military awards for excellence in combat and administrative functions, letters and plaques of commendation and appreciation, from different military and civilian organizations and individuals. He is known as a well-rounded and highly respected officer having been assigned to several military units and offices here and abroad holding different sensitive positions in operations, intelligence and civil-military operations....


Peace panel member assists family of ambushed soldiers in filing complaints before CHR

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 6): Peace panel member assists family of ambushed soldiers in filing complaints before CHR

A member of the peace panel on the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) is assisting the family of the four soldiers massacred by suspected New People's Army (NPA) members to file complaints before the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Atty. Jaime Arroyo, Secretariat Peace Panel on CARHRIHL, arrived in Davao 11:00 a.m. Tuesday to probe over the death of four soldiers Sunday afternoon in Sitio Cinco, Barangay Mapula, Paquibato District here which the Army calls an “overkill.” Privates First Class Ahian Vir Dolero, Marvin Lauronal, Noel Sigan and Marcelo Himaya, all members of the 60th Infantry Battalion, were mowed down by some 10 heavily armed suspects as they returned to camp from buying goods in Panabo City. The victims were in civilian attire and unarmed at that time. “An autopsy report reveals that they were mercilessly murdered”, said Maj. Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, commander of 10th Civil Military Operations Battalion. He said that there was an indication that victims already surrendered which was also supported by civilians who witnessed the incident. “If you can see the cadavers, you can immediately assess that it was overkill. Some of their body parts were almost mutilated”, he said....

Bomb experts defuse suspected IED in Tacurong City

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 6): Bomb experts defuse suspected IED in Tacurong City

Operatives of the Explosives and Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team of the Philippine Army defused a suspected bomb left inside the baggage counter of a mall in Tacurong City in Sultan Kudarat province, minutes before noon Tuesday, reports said. The suspected bomb placed inside a white sack, however, turned out to be a fake, according to Inspector Ariel Moralejo of Task Force Talakudong. “After the blast, we saw only bananas,” said Moralejo. What was surprising, though, he said, was that the K-9 of the EOD sat near the sack, which was an indication that there was ‘something’ inside it. The sack, according to the guard assigned at the baggage counter of Tacurong Fitmart, was left by a still unidentified costumer....  The EOD, Task Force Talakudong, and other police units have been on alert after an improvised explosive device (IED) placed outside a government bank along the highway in Tacurong City went off last month....

Palace condemns killing of four 'unarmed' soldiers in Davao attack

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 6): Palace condemns killing of four 'unarmed' soldiers in Davao attack

Malacanang on Tuesday condemned the attack by armed group in Sitio Cinco, Barangay Mapula, Paquibato District, Davao City over the weekend killing four unarmed soldiers. "We do condemn what had happened to four of our soldiers. And we have to stress -- the soldiers were unarmed, that makes it all the more condemnable -- what had happened to them," said Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte at the press briefing. Valte said the soldiers were not on any mission but were attending a peace and development seminar. "The requisite assistance will be provided by the military to their units," she said. Valte, however, refused to comment on whether the perpetrators were members of the communist New People's Army. "We will hold off on the speculations on the affiliation of the perpetrators. At this point, nobody has confirmation on whether the perpetrators are actually affiliated with a particular group," she said.... The Philippine Army earlier condemned the brutal attack on four unarmed soldiers in Sitio Cinco, Barangay Mapula, Paquibato District, Davao City Sunday afternoon allegedly perpetrated by the NPA rebels. "We want all of our peace partners to condemn the NPA's dastardly act of killing four unarmed, off-duty soldiers," said PA Spokesman Major Harold Cabunoc. Cabunoc stressed that the attack was a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law and Republic Act No. 9851 or "An Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other Crimes Against Humanity." "It is high time for the Filipino people to be united in renouncing the NPA's continuous use of violence to advance its interests. We must never allow the NPA to freely carry out its violent attacks because this will never end our various problems," he said.