Thursday, November 8, 2012

Photo: Indian Coast Guard Vessel "Samrat" in RP for Exercise

From the Manila Standard Today (Nov 9): Photo: Samrat


Samrat, the Indian Coast Guard patrol ship with 60 crewmen, docks at Pier 15 in Manila for a four-day exercises with the Philippine Coast Guard. (Photo by Danny Pata)

PH, US exercises to continue ensuring free navigation in Spratlys area – Palace

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 8): PH, US exercises to continue ensuring free navigation in Spratlys area – Palace

With US President Barack Obama’s reelection, joint military exercises between Philippine and American troops would continue as part of the United States’ pivot to Asia, Malacañang said Thursday. “We have recently had a number of joint exercises by reason of the Visiting Forces Agreement. We will be part of that. It’s part of their orientation since we are a strategic partner of the United States. We’re expected to also hold exercises with the US forces,’’ Secretary Edwin Lacierda, presidential spokesperson, said in a briefing. Such exercises, he added, would also ensure “freedom of navigation’’ in the South China Sea. After meeting Aquino in the United States last June, following the standoff with China over Panatag Shoal, Obama said Manila and Washington would consult together as part of the US’ pivot back to Asia. Last month, Aquino promised Philippine cooperation in the US “policy of re-balancing’’ in the region....

Autopsy report: Bodies of 4 soldiers bore torture marks

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 9): Autopsy report: Bodies of 4 soldiers bore torture marks

The autopsy report for the four soldiers killed by communist rebels in Paquibato district last November 4 showed the victims' bodies bore torture marks plus stab and gunshot wounds, a military official bared here on Thursday. “It shows that the victims were tortured before they were brutally killed. One of them was even stabbed in the neck," said Major Jake Obligado, commander of the Civil Military Operation (CMO) Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division, who presented the autopsy report during a press briefing here. Obligado said the report is to show that the four members of the 60th Infantry Battalion's Peace and Development Team were tortured first before they were murdered by the New People's Army (NPA) rebels, who claimed the soldiers were killed in a legitimate encounter.... “We condemn this barbaric act of the notorious New People’s Army that massacred four of our men without considering that they were non-combatants at the time,” Paniza said in a statement. He added that the military is gaining momentum in harmonizing with the community and “that’s what the NPA is afraid of.”

Blast rocks mayor's house in Tacurong City

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8): Blast rocks mayor's house in Tacurong City

Two men riding in tandem on a motorbike fired a rifle grenade near the house of a Sultan Kudarat town mayor Thursday night, police said. No one was injured when the rifle grenade went off at about 7:30 p.m. outside the residential compound of President Quirino Mayor Emilio Salamanca along Malvar Street, Tacurong City. Salamanca is seeking reelection. According to Sr. Supt. Rolen Balquin, Sultan Kudarat police provincial director, no one was killed or injured in the grenade attack but it caused panic among the residents. Responding Army bomb disposal operatives recovered fragments of 40 mm rifle grenade in front of Salamanca’s house. “Based on our initial probe, it was a pure harassment,” Balquin said, adding that Salamanca has no threats to life prior to the grenade attack. Thursday night’s grenade attack came a day after a hand grenade exploded at the public market of Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, about 40 kilometers from Tacurong City.... Balquin said the twin grenade attack was not related.

MILF: Still part of peace process

Editorial posted to the MILF Website (Nov 8-15): Still part of peace process

.... Moreover, when two parties signed a peace agreement, they are enjoined to undertake efforts to implement the agreement mutually, but there are instances that the activity will only involve one party and the other party simply cannot help or participate. For instance, in case this is deemed necessary which we firmly believe it is, accommodating the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro as fleshed out in the Basic Law into the Philippine Constitution is an internal process of government but it is still part of the bargain and the peace process. It is therefore grossly incorrect to say that the MILF has already agreed, or is duped into agreeing, to the internal legal process of the government as mode of finishing the road map to full implementation of their agreement, because that legal process is still part of the peace process. It is not a separate effort but still part of the peace process. One simple way to help the peace-making in Mindanao is to understand the process itself. Any misdirected comment, even it is done without malice, will not be of any help. Instead, it promotes misunderstanding, intrigues, and problems; sometimes, it is tantamount to spoiling. This we should all shy away.

MILF: BLMI-TAFa 5-day on Crash Course

From the MILF Website (Nov 9): BLMI-TAFa 5-day on Crash Course

The Crash Course sponsored by the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), in partnership with The Asia Foundation (TAF) and UK-aid, a leading International Non- Government Organization (NGO), had ended Thursday with high note of satisfaction from the 30-man participants....

The first day of the training was facilitated by Miss Noraida Chio and Eric Aseo from TAF and it dealt with initially on the introduction and presentation of participant’s name, affiliation and expectation. The Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) Oversight Committee Chairman Mohagher Iqbal was also present and graced the seminar. He gave a brief yet motivational message about the significance of acquiring knowledge in the course of any noble struggle particularly the struggle of Bangsamoro.... On the part of BLMI, the executive Director of the Institute Sheikh Mahmod Ahmad presented the BLMI Mission, Vision and its correlation with its divine guidance from Noble Qur’an, as well as the sayings and practices of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)....

In the second day of seminar, Atty. Raissa Jajuri and her husband Guiamel Alim, Executive Director of Kadtuntaya Foundation Incorporated (KFI) were among the invited lecturers. Atty. Raissa emphasized and explained some contexts in the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement, while Guiamel presented a bag of encouragement and challenges to the participants....

In third day seminar session, TAF officials continued to facilitate and dealt on organizational strengthening. Atty. Suharto Ambolodto from AUS-aid visited the venue of the activity. Three (3) Japanese officials from Japan embassy accompanied by Mohagher Iqbal , the BLMI Oversight Committee Head and MILF Peace Panel Chairman; and Mike Pasigan, MILF Peace Panel secretariat also visited and observed the on- going seminar workshop.....

US Navy contractor invokes VFA

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 9): US Navy contractor invokes VFA

A US Navy contractor accused of dumping toxic wastes on Subic Bay invoked the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), saying the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has no jurisdiction over the company. Glenn Defense Marine Asia Philippines Inc., which operates here, took this line of defense in reply to the SBMA Ecology Center’s show cause letter. In a Nov. 6 letter, lawyers from the Villaraza Cruz Marcelo and Angangco law firm, who represent Glenn Defense Marine Asia, told the SBMA that the Presidential Commission on the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFACOM) was the sole and proper authority that should handle the concerns and issues it raised on the waste dumping incident. The letter was signed by lawyers Kristoffer James Purisima and Bernard Joseph Malibiran. “At the outset, it should be pointed out that our client provides marine husbandry and logistics support services (‘support vessels’) solely and exclusively to US Navy vessels visiting the Philippines pursuant to the provisions of the VFA between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States,” Purisima and Malibiran said. The VFA provides the legal framework for regulating the presence of American military personnel and equipment in the Philippines, they said. “It is clear that vessels operated by or for the United States armed forces—such as the support vessels of our client—may enter the Philippines upon the approval of the government of the Philippines and the movement thereof shall be the subject to mutually acceptable implementing agreements,” they added....

US toxic waste dumped in Subic

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 9): US toxic waste dumped in Subic


UNDER PROBE. The MT Glenn Guardian docked at Alava Pier on Subic Bay. ROBERT GONZAGA/INQUIRER CENTRAL LUZON
The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is investigating a US Navy contractor for allegedly dumping hazardous wastes on Subic Bay last month. SBMA records showed that wastes dumped by the tanker MT Glenn Guardian were collected from American ships that joined the recently concluded joint military exercises in the country. The tanker is one of the vessels owned by Glenn Defense Marine Asia, a Malaysian company operating in several countries which services American ships in the Philippines. The allegations of waste dumping in Subic Bay have alarmed locators and environmental organizations in the free port.... A copy of the SBMA spot report showed that the tanker was carrying some 189,500 liters of domestic waste and about 760 liters of bilge water (a combination of water, oil and grease), all of which were hauled from Emory Land, a US Navy ship....
In a statement sent by e-mail, Cynthia Cook, deputy press attaché of the US Embassy in Manila, said: “We are aware of the allegations against Glenn Defense Marine Philippines, a contractor for the US Navy in the Philippines, and we understand there is an ongoing investigation by the Subic Bay Freeport authorities.” Cook, however, said the US government would await the results of the investigation before it imposed sanctions, if any. “We will take appropriate action depending on the outcome of the investigation,” she said.

Marañon chides Ledesma for falsely claiming project

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 8): Marañon chides Ledesma for falsely claiming project

Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. yesterday chided Rep. Julio Ledesma IV for claiming that the road concreting project in the hinterlands of Toboso, Negros Occidental, which is about to be started by the Army’s 542nd Engineering Construction Battalion, is a nationally-funded project.... Lt. Col. Ireneo Sebastian, 542nd ECB commander, yesterday said the road concreting project will spur development in the hinterlands of Toboso. Lt. Col. Efren Morados, 62nd Infantry Battalion, whose troops are helping Army engineers in securing the project from being sabotaged, said this will limit the “playing field” of the New People’s Army rebels, who may face a hard time in recruiting new members, because of the development. Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, also expressed his appreciation to the leadership of the provincial government in bringing infrastructure development in the country-sides, that helps lessen their work in addressing the insurgency problem. More than a year ago, suspected rebels seized and burned a military outpost in Sitio Polopangyan, after killing the detachment commander, and carted away more than 20 high-powered firearms, military records show. Lactao also encouraged the residents to help the Philippine Army in securing the infra project, for the Army engineers to hasten its completion before the rainy season starts next year....

CPP: Aquino's Marcos-style cover-up of human rights violations

Ang Bayan statement posted to the CPP Website (Nov 8): Aquino's Marcos-style cover-up of human rights violations

Aquino recently responded insolently to a flood of complaints on human rights violations by armed agents of the state by dismissing the growing cases of state violence against the people as nothing but “Leftist propaganda.” He even pervertedly accused the people of “violating the human rights of the military and police” by citing as an example urban poor residents throwing stones at demolition teams escorted by state agents armed with guns, teargas and truncheons. In making such dismissive statements, Aquino has shown his fascist and antipeople character, his utter insensitivity to the sentiments and cries for justice of the families of victims of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance and other violations of human rights perpetrated by the state. Aquino manifested his gross disregard for worsening human rights abuses by state forces only days after soldiers of the 27th IB massacred the Capion family in Davao del Sur. Aquino’s denials remind us of how the former dictator Ferdinand Marcos propagated the lie that there were no political prisoners, when up to 70,000 people were imprisoned under martial law....

CPP: CPP demands punishment of Army soldiers in attempted rape of 12-year old in Leyte

Posted to the CPP Website (Nov 8): CPP demands punishment of Army soldiers in attempted rape of 12-year old in Leyte

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today demanded the punishment of Army soldiers belonging to the 78th IB involved in the attempted rape of a 12-year old girl in Barangay Cagbana, Burauen, Leyte last October 17. The CPP demanded that the leadership of the 8th ID also be made accountable. “It was fortunate that the young girl was able to escape her captors and tell her relatives of her ordeal.” The identify of the minor has been forwarded to the Special Office for the Protection of Children of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) headed by Ms. Coni Ledesma for further investigation and action. “The attempted rape of the minor was perpetrated by the crazed soldiers of the 78th IB after two of its men were killed in an ambush by Red fighters of the New People’s Army (NPA) under the Mt. Amandewin Command (NPA-Leyte Provincial Operations Command) in the same barangay,” said the CPP. “The attempted rape reveals the continuing violence and abuses being inflicted by the fascist AFP on the people in the course of its Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression,” said the CPP. “It further reveals the hypocrisy of the Aquino regime’s endless ‘human rights’ rhetoric which only serves to cover up the AFP’s reign of terror, especially in the countryside.”

NPA raid on AFP, PNP installations foiled

From the Daily Tribune (Nov 9): NPA raid on AFP, PNP installations foiled

Government troops yesterday claimed to have thwarted a plot by the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels to attack military and police installations in Sorsogon province following a deliberate assault against a communist band in Casiguran town on Wednesday. Col. Generoso Bolina, spokesman of the military’s Southern Luzon Command (Solcom), said that elements of the 31st Infantry Battalion (IB), led by Lt. Col. Teody Toribio, discovered to NPA plot after recovery of documents, including maps, following a deliberate operation against the communists in Sitio Marinas, Barangay Boton at around 5:30 a.m. The 31st IB, Bolina said, launched the deliberate operation against the more or less 20 NPA rebels who were “just the advance party serving as guards to a bigger group in the area.” “The documents and maps recovered from the encounter site confirmed prior information and reports from various sources that the NPA in Sorsogon are planning tactical offensives targeting two Army detachments and a police station in the province,” said Bolina. “They (NPAs) have depicted in the NPAs’ maps the locations of their targets and their direction of attack,” added Bolina. The military, however, would not reveal what were the target detachments and stations of the NPA. “Additional trrops were inserted in the area as pursuit operations to track down the rebels are ongoing. All Army detachments and PNP stations were given alert notice,” said Bolina. Bolina said the firefight lasted for about 20 minutes that resulted in the killing of one rebel while two others were reported wounded. On the other hand, Bolina said that the 31st IB suffered no casualty. Two civilians, identified as Richard Bigaso, 23, and Raffy Jitomo, 35, who happened to be at the vicinity during the firefight, were slightly wounded. Recovered from the encounter site were three improvised explosive devices, bomb-making materials, combat packs, communication equipment and subversive documents.

Palparan ‘clones’ still infest PH military, says Colmenares

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 8): Palparan ‘clones’ still infest PH military, says Colmenares

The extrajudicial killings in Mindanao prove that hundreds of Jovito Palparans exist in the military, contrary to the claims of a high military official that the so-called “berdugo (butcher)” was the last of his kind, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said.... Colmenares and several members of the House committee on justice, chaired by Rep. Rene Relampagos of Bohol, are in the city for the two-day hearing on extrajudicial killings until Friday.... “Listening to their stories alone will expose as a lie the Army’s claim that Palparan is the last of his kind in the Philippine Army,” Colmenares said. “The rising incidence of human rights violations in Mindanao alone will prove there are still hundreds of Palparans roaming around.” ....

Left group gets into the act: Forms coalition for 2013 polls

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 8): Left group gets into the act: Forms coalition for 2013 polls

Political alliances for next year’s elections just got stranger after Senate candidates of the two major coalitions received the endorsement of a 3.8-million-strong left-leaning umbrella group that is fielding its own senatorial candidate as well. The Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) on Thursday announced it was taking in as guest candidates Senators Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda and Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Rep. Cynthia Villar and censors board chair Grace Poe Llamanzares.  With Makabayan’s own candidate, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño, the guest candidates have been dubbed the “6 Senate champions” and the “Super 6,” in an alliance forged on “historical relationships” and “unity on issues.” “This manifests our confidence in the leadership qualities of the six, their personal integrity and their pro-people stand on significant public issues,” said Makabayan president Satur Ocampo in a press conference announcing the alliance.... still, Makabayan said it saw nothing “strange” about the Super 6 alliance, given its traditional opposition to the administration and personalities identified with UNA. “It will not be awkward. We are not strange bedfellows,” said Casino, rejecting the idea the alliance was “unholy.” “It’s an honor to be part of this dream team of politicians,” he added. All the candidates but Pimentel showed up to formally accept Makabayan’s endorsement....

MILF recruiting new members in Basilan?

From the Philippine Star (Nov 8): MILF recruiting new members in Basilan?

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was reportedly conducting mass recruitment of young members in Basilan province, luring them with the possibility of joining the police and military, a town official said. Under the framework agreement that the government and the MILF signed las month, MILF members might be allowed to join the police and the military. An executive of Akbar town, who asked not to be named for security reasons, said residents are enthusiastically applying for MILF membership. According to the official, some commanders of the MILF in Akbar town have distributed biodata sheets to the prospective young recruits, who came from other municipalities and are gathering in the town. “They were promised of being integrated into the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), [as MILF commanders] cited that it was part of the framework agreement that was signed by the MILF and the government recently,” the source added. Lt. Col. Randolf Cabangbang, spokesman of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said they were checking the reported mass recruitment of young members in Basilan. The provincial government was alarmed by disinformation about the framework agreement and urged the MILF commanders to attend the information campaign on the framework agreement on November 24 in Isabela City, Basilan. David Malcampo, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi (BASULTA) info-center manager of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), said they are holding the information campaign to educate the people about the framework agreement and to clear doubts about the peace deal among people in the province. He said they have invited the MILF from Central Mindanao and the representatives of the GPH panel or from Office of the Presidential Adviser of the Peace Process (OPAPP) to attend the event.

Son of Cordillera rebel leader to face murder raps

From the Philippine Star (Nov 8): Son of Cordillera rebel leader to face murder raps

The son of underground Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front Spokesperson Simon Naogsan taken last Monday by police and military intelligence agents will face two murder and one frustrated murder cases in various courts in Mt. Province. Cordillera police director Chief Supt. Benjamin Magalong confirmed the arrest Thursday morning, more than two days after Grayson Naogsan was taken reportedly by operatives of the PNP’s Regional Intelligence Unit 14, Regional Intelligence Division of the Cordillera police, Baguio City and Mt. Province policemen and Military Intelligence Group 1 of the ISAFP. He said the younger Naogsan is facing two murder and one frustrated murder cases in Bontoc, Mt. Province’s capital town. Earlier, family members and Baguio-based human rights group Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) were reportedly alarmed after the younger Naogsan went “missing” after the arrest. But Magalong said intelligence agents took Naogsan, allegedly a political officer of the Abra Provincial Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines-Ilocos Cordillera Regional Committee, at around 3:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 5 while he and his companion were having coffee at a shopping mall on top of Luneta Hill here. Naogsan and his companion, the CHRA claimed, were shown a warrant of arrest that indicated his name while handguns were poked at their sides discreetly....  Magalong said the younger Naogsan carries a P700,000 reward from the Department of Interior and Local Government for his arrest.More than five years ago, Naogsan’s brother—Simon Jr. – was slain in a firefight with government troopers in Abra province.

Army kills NPA rebel in Surigao

From the Philippine Star (Nov 8): Army kills NPA rebel in Surigao

Army troops killed a New People’s Army (NPA) rebel in a heavy fighting Thursday morning in Surigao del Norte. Lt. Col. Eugenio Julio Oisas IV, spokesman of the Cagayan de Oro City-based 4th Infantry Division said scores of the insurgents were also believed wounded in the clash that occurred at about 9:55 a.m. at Sitio Lagangan, Barangay Caras-an, Tago town. Osias said fighting broke out when Army elements from the 29th Infantry Division chanced upon a 25-man rebel group while extorting money from the local residents in the area. When fighting ended at about 11 a.m., the troops also recovered an AK-47 and an M-16 rifles while conducting clearing operations and retrieving the body of unidentified insurgent. Osias said that operations against the fleeing rebels have been launched following the directive issued by Col. Romeo Gan of the 401st Brigade.  “We have to show to the people that we will never allow the NPAs to go on with their extortion activities,” Osias, quoting Gan, said.

Navy, PAF to hold Dagit exercises

From the Philippine Star (Nov 8): Navy, PAF to hold Dagit exercises

The Navy and the Philippine Air Force (PAF) will hold the annual Dagit exercise from Nov. 12 to 17 to enhance their operability and improve their maritime security capabilities. Navy spokesman Col. Omar Tonsay said more than 300 soldiers will participate in the five-day drills to be held in Zamboanga City. A total of 200 sailors, 124 airmen and 20 observers from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Joint Staff for Training, AFP Joint and Combined Training Center and Western Mindanao will be involved in the training. Five ships, an Islander aircraft, six air assets will be used during the exercises. “The joint training activity aims to enhance competencies and capabilities of participating Navy and PAF personnel on Joint Air-Surface Operations and Senior Leader’s Forum,” Tonsay said in a statement. “It also aims to test and assess the response mechanism of Navy and PAF units for the Coast Watch System and in maritime domain awareness in general,” he added. The exercise will be opened on Nov. 12 at the PAF Third Air Division Multi-Purpose Hall in Zamboanga City. Tonsay said the activity will be conducted in three phases. The preparation phase consists of coordinating conferences and event scheduling. The exercise phase will include subject matter expertise exchanges, air-ground operations seminar, air support, and administrative matters. The exercise phase will include drills on maritime surveillance, search and rescue, maritime interdiction operations and casualty evacuation; subject matter expertise exchanges, air-ground operations seminar; close air support; heliborne operations; aerial spotting; and communications drills. The termination phase will involve the conduct of sporting events and a closing ceremony.

Army probes link of brgy. workers to NPA

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 8): Army probes link of brgy. workers to NPA

The Philippine Army is investigating the alleged linkages of some barangay officials and local government health workers in Brgy. Malasibog, Escalante City, Negros Occidental, to the communist rebel movement, after the recovery of video footages, showing them participating in a program with armed New People’s Army men. Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said that while he fully appreciates the support of the local government of Escalante in the peace and development campaign of the 62nd Infantry and 3rd Civil Military Operations Battalions, he was concerned over the reports about some barangay kagawads and health workers seen in the company of armed rebels, as shown in video footages, that were among the items found in encounter sites in northern Negros. In July last year, a member of the NPA identified as Edgar Sagure Lopez, who turned out to be a purok president, died in an encounter with troopers of the 6th Regional Public Safety Battalion in Brgy. Paitan, Escalante City, military records show.... Meanwhile, he commended the 3rd CMOB headed by Major Antonio Tumnog for a job well done in the eight hinterland barangays of Escalante, referring to their Bayanihan team activities, in coordination with the 62nd Infantry Battalion. After six months of deployment in Escalante, Lactao said they were able to bring to the attention of the Department of Agrarian Reform the problems confronted by the farmers and landowners....

Govt closely tracking HR compliance by communist rebels

From InterAksyon (Nov 8): Govt closely tracking HR compliance by communist rebels

The Philippine government has vowed to intensify its efforts to ensure human rights compliance in the ongoing conflict with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF). An inter-agency group, called the Complaint Monitoring Working Group (CMWG), was convened to document, investigate and if possible prosecute human rights violators both from the government side and the CPP/NPA/NDF side. The CMWG is composed of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, the Department of Justice, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Commission on Human RIghts. The CMWG will receive, gather, file and record complaints related to violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). It will also investigate complaints either through the PNP or AFP and prosecute suspects through the DOJ. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles said the group will only handle complaints related to the CPP/NPA/NDF conflict....

US, PH to honor World War veterans on Nov. 11

From InterAksyon (Nov 8): US, PH to honor World War veterans on Nov. 11

U.S. Ambassador Harry K. Thomas, Jr. will lead the American community and guests in honoring the sacrifices of American and Filipino veterans at the annual Veterans’ Day on Nov. 11. The activity will be held at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Taguig City, Metro Manila. Veterans of both countries and representatives from the US Embassy and Philippine government including Undersecretary Edilberto P. Adan, the executive director of the Presidential Commission on the visiting Forces Agreement, will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony. As in past years, the Veteran’s Day ceremony will begin promptly at 11a.m., which is the time that major hostilities of World War I formally ended with the signing of the Armistice at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

Gov’t signs TOR to strengthen peace, human rights promotion

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 8): Gov’t signs TOR to strengthen peace, human rights promotion

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) formalized a partnership in peace and human rights promotion during a ceremonial signing of a terms of reference (TOR) Thursday. The interagency partnership, otherwise called Complaint Monitoring Working Group (CMWG), was formed to improve and focus on the processing of the human rights violations complaints associated with armed conflict between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the latter also representing the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. The TOR shall serve as a guideline on the roles and functions of each agency in the substantiation, validation, verification and legal action accorded to complaints received by the GPH-Monitoring Committee (GPH-MC). Signatories to the TOR are Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita “Ging” Q. Deles, Justice Secretary Leila M. De Lima, AFP Brigadier General Herbert S. Yambing and PNP Police Director Lina C. Sarmiento. During the ceremony, Chairman Loretta Ann P. Rosales of the Commission on Human Rights, though not officially part of the technical working group, also expressed support in the peace building endeavor of the CMWG.

DILG-12 releases P24-M grant to PAMANA recipients in North Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8): DILG-12 releases P24-M grant to PAMANA recipients in North Cotabato

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Region 12 has released an initial P24 million for the implementation of peace and development projects in North Cotabato province. Buagas Sulaik, DILG Region 12 director, said the funds comprise the first tranche of the approved grant for 12 local government units (LGUs) in North Cotabato under the DILG-Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan or PAMANA fund. “The amount will be used to subsidize programs and projects that are identified by LGUs, which will eventually address the peace and development needs and challenges, particularly of the vulnerable sectors in their respective areas,” he said in s statement.... The official said the PAMANA program was conceived as a framework for intervention in conflict-affected and vulnerable areas in Mindanao to complement the government’s peace efforts. He said the program, which was set for a five-year period or from 2011-2016, aims to “contribute to lasting peace by reducing poverty and vulnerability in conflict-affected areas, improving governance and empowering communities and strengthen their capacities to promotesocial cohesion.”....

Socsksargen Moro leaders, folks renew support to Mindanao peace process

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8): Socsksargen Moro leaders, folks renew support to Mindanao peace process

Thousands of Moro residents and local leaders from various parts of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and this city or the Socsksargen area have renewed their support to the ongoing peace process in Mindanao and the implementation of the framework agreement signed last month by thegovernment and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Such commitments were issued by around 8,000 Moro residents and local government leaders who gathered in Malapatan town in nearby Sarangani province on Wednesday for the Socsksargen leg of the MILF central committee’s ongoing general consultation on the framework agreement. Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF’s first vice chairperson, said theoverwhelming support came after they presented the contents and important provisions of the landmark agreement, which is mainly a roadmap for the Mindanao peace process. “We made it clear that we’re here to inform and educate the people on what the agreement was all about and that it was mainly for them,” he said. Jaafar reiterated that the framework agreement, which was signed in Malacanang last Oct. 15, is for the Bangsamoro and not for the MILF. “We’re just instruments to the attainment of this agreement,” he stressed.... The MILF leadership launched the 10-day consultations last Monday, to complement with the national government’s ongoing information campaign for the framework agreement. Jaafar said they were simultaneously holding the consultations in the Davao Region; island provinces of Sulu, Basilan and Tawi-Tawi; South-Central Mindanao; Lanao provinces; and, Zamboanga peninsula....

Police arrest 4 kidnap gang members in Sultan Kudarat

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 8): Police arrest 4 kidnap gang members in Sultan Kudarat

Acting on tips from villagers here, policemen on Wednesday morning arrested four suspected kidnap-for-ransom gang members operating in Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato. Sr. Supt. Rolen Balquin, Sultan Kudarat police chief, said the police flagged down a vehicle with four heavily armed men at a checkpoint in Isulan, Sultan Kudarat. "They were to proceed to Tacurong City to allegedly carry out the planned kidnapping,” according to Senior Supt. Rolen Balquin, Sultan Kudarat police chief. Arrested were Kaharudin Odin, Jimmy Abbas, Benjar Salik, and Ismael Lantenge, all residents of nearby Maguindanao. Balquin said the suspects were on their way to Tacurong City on board a Blue Tamaraw FX with license plates UKB 849. Balquin said, the four revealed that they were to proceed to Tacurong City to meet their contacts for the planned kidnapping. The suspects yielded two fragmentation grenades, a .357 Magnum revolver and a shotgun. The four did not resist arrest but could not explain why they are armed. Balquin said the suspects are also being questioned on their possible involvement in Wednesday’s grenade attack in Esperanza, also in Sultan Kudarat province that left four people injured.