Wednesday, November 14, 2012

FBI adds three to terror lists, citing insurgency, terror group support

From Government Security News (Nov 14): FBI adds three to terror lists, citing insurgency, terror group support

Hammami and Sahiron

The FBI added two new names to its Most Wanted Terrorists list and another to a terrorist watch list on Nov. 14. Former Alabama resident Omar Shafik Hammami and Philippine resident Raddulan Sahiron, were both added to the agency’s Most Wanted Terrorist list.... Sahiron, said the FBI, is wanted for his alleged involvement in the 1993 kidnapping of an American in the Philippines by the Abu Sayyaf Group. Sahiron, believed to be the leader of Abu Sayyaf, was indicted on federal hostage-taking charges and may currently be in the area of Patikul Jolo, Sulu, Philippines, it said.....

Army troops to ensure peaceful and orderly plebiscite in Cabanatuan City

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14): Army troops to ensure peaceful and orderly plebiscite in Cabanatuan City

The Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division has vowed to work hand-in-hand with concerned government agencies to ensure peaceful and orderly December 1 plebiscite for the conversion of Cabanatuan from component city of Nueva Ecija to highly-urbanized city. Brig. Gen. Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr., chief of the 7ID based here, said their troops here are on “standby alert” for deployment before, during and after the plebiscite to assist the Philippine National Police (PNP) during the conduct of checkpoints and security to polling centers for the Secured and Free Election (SAFE). ”Your Army in Central Luzon, the Kaugnay troopers, are disciplined soldiers who are geared towards protecting the nation and serving the Filipino people. And in the spirit of Bayanihan, we will work hand-in-hand with the government agencies for the peace and development of the region,” Catapang said. He reminded the government troops to follow the guidelines on the gun ban prohibition as disseminated in line with the Commission on Election (COMELEC) policies on elections and plebiscite....

PHL to welcome US support for resolving West Philippine Sea issue

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14): PHL to welcome US support for resolving West Philippine Sea issue

Any US backing calling for the adherence to the rule of law in resolving the West Philippine Sea dispute would be a great help for the Philippine advocacy in resolving the dispute peacefully, a foreign affairs official said on Wednesday. In a media briefing in Malacanang on President Benigno Aquino III’s attendance to the 21st ASEAN Summit in Cambodia, Foreign Affairs Spokesman Raul Hernandez said the help of US President Barack Obama for the peaceful resolution of the issue would be a welcome development for the ASEAN and the Philippines. “Being one of the dialogue partners, it would enhance the relationship between the US and ASEAN and I think the focus is really on ASEAN and its relationship with the United States,” Hernandez said. “Whatever help the dialogue partners — including the US — (can give) in trying to pursue a peaceful settlement of issues in the West Philippine Sea, in accordance with the international law particularly the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, would be a great help to our advocacy,” he said....

Rid Mindanao of landmines, says group

From the Mindanao Standard Today (Nov 14): Rid Mindanao of landmines, says group

The Philippine Campaign to Ban Land mines and the Foundation Suisse De Deminage on Wednesday urged the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to sit down with their representatives and discuss how to go about clearing areas in Mindanao of unexploded ordnance. According to, the official website of the MILF, FCBL national coordinator Alfredo Ferrariz Lubang and FSD program manager Craid Willis sent a joint letter addressed to Marvic Leonen, chairperson of the government’s peace panel and his MILF counterpart Mohagher Iqbal, and urged them to start conducting anti-personnel landmines clearance in the conflict-affected zones in Mindanao. “PCBL and FSD informed both panels that the European Union has given financial support towards the implementation of the Joint Landmines/Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Clearance Project, which is in accordance with the ‘Guidelines for the Implementation of the PCBL-FSD Project’ signed in May 2010 in Kuala Lumpur by both panels,” the MILF said. “PCBL and FSD also stressed the importance of the implementation of all signed agreements between the government and the MILF towards the benefit of the communities affected by the armed conflict, which the two organizations as a great opportunity to further collaborative work in helping the ongoing peace process by implementing one of the earlier signed agreements.”

MNLF, Army men plant trees

From Tempo (Nov 14): MNLF, Army men plant trees

BANAYBANAY, Davao Oriental ­- Some 100 former Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) combatants and about 60 Army troops converged last week and planted close to 1,500 trees at Barangay Pintatagan here, it was reported yesterday. The Moro contingents were led by Commander Amroden Serabo, his deputy Jamalon Darupo and liaison Florencio Buaya of the MNLF National Unified Command’s 3rd Expeditionary Force, while the soldiers were headed by Army 1Lt. Hermie Montelibano under Battalion commander Col. Francisco Lorenzo, Jr., Laons said. The groups planted “Bitanghol“ trees at a 400-hectare land in Barangay Pintatagan, some 440 meters away from the village’s coast, where a conflagration gutted several trees earlier, said Lanos, who serves as media liaison of the provincial government here.

Gunman kills school principal in Philippines

From the Mindanao Examiner (Nov 14): Gunman kills school principal in Philippines

A lone gunman killed a school principal in a daring attack in the capital town of Bongao in the remote southern Philippine province of Tawi-Tawi, police said. Police said the gunman shot Conchita Francisco, 62, shortly after stepping outside a Catholic church. One woman was slightly wounded after being hit by the stray bullet, said Senior Superintendent Rodelio Jocson, the provincial police chief. He said Francisco, the principal of the Mindanao State University-Laboratory Elementary School, was shot at close range during a power outage. “She came from mass and was shot outside the church. One woman who was near her was also hit by stray bullet and slightly injured,” Jocson told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner. No individual claimed responsibility for the attack, but Jocson the killing was probably connected to the victim’s work. “This is murder and we are looking into several angles and among this is the woman’s job as school principal,” Jocson said. He said one tricycle driver who was near the church witnessed the attack, but he refused to give any statement to the police for fear of reprisal. “There is a witness, but we cannot get anything from him. He is probably scared to talk to us and fears for his life,” he said. Police said Francisco was a devout Catholic and frequently went to hear mass in Bongao and had been appointed principal just last year. It was not immediately known whether the assailant is a hired killer or a member of the Abu Sayyaf group. In 2008, Abu Sayyaf militants raided a Catholic convent at the compound of the Notre Dame High School in Tawi-Tawi’s South Ubian town and killed Father Rey Roda in a botched kidnapping. Roda was praying when 10 gunmen barged in the convent and seized the priest and dragged him outside, but was eventually killed when he struggled to free himself. It was not the first time that the Abu Sayyaf killed a priest. In 2002, militants also kidnapped, tortured and killed a Claretian priest Roel Gallardo in Basilan province, several nautical miles south of Zamboanga City. In 1997, the Abu Sayyaf also assassinated a Catholic bishop Benjamin de Jesus in Jolo town in Sulu province. He was shot several times outside his church in a broad daylight attack. Three years later, the Abu Sayyaf also ambushed a Catholic missionary, Benjamin Inocencio, in Jolo town while buying gifts for poor Muslims. The Abu Sayyaf also randomly attacked and bombed Catholic churches in Tawi-Tawi, Sulu and in Mindanao the past decades. The Abu Sayyaf, which means “Bearer of the Sword,” was originally fighting for a separate Islamic state similar to Afghanistan, but resorted to banditry and kidnappings for ransom after its Libyan firebrand founder, Abdurajak Abubakar Janjalani, was killed in 1998 in a gun battle with policemen in Basilan province.

Toxic waste dump in Subic renews calls for abrogation of VFA

From the pro-CPP "news outlet" Bulatlat (Nov 14): Toxic waste dump in Subic renews calls for abrogation of VFA

“It’s not a question of who dumped the toxic waste. The question is whose toxic waste was dumped into our territory. Though Glenn Defense remains accountable for the act, the biggest accountability goes to the US and Aquino governments.” – Rep. Emmi de Jesus, Gabriela Women’s Party

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) is demanding that the United States Armed Forces should take responsibility for the toxic wastes in Subic. Reacting to reports that toxic wastes from US warships were being dumped in Subic, Bayan said one can never underestimate the dangers brought by the prolonged presence of US troops and ships in the Philippines. Critics of the return of US military forces in the Philippines have also pointed out that it is precisely the continuing enforcement of the the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA) that allows the US to continue using Philippine ports and bring in hazardous toxic wastes even as it escapes criminal liability. Under the VFA, the Philippine government cannot even inspect US warships that bring hazardous materials in Philippine territory. Neither can the government determine if these ships carry toxic wastes. Based on reports, because of the US rebalancing toward Asia, more and more US warships have been docking in PH ports and the US plans to reposition 60 percent of its warships to Asia.... Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes pointed out that the problem of toxic wastes is directly connected to the increasing number of naval ships in Subic. “More US warships mean more wastes. Those responsible for the waste dump must clean up the mess and pay damages to the Filipino people.The use of private military contractors like Glenn Defense Marine Philippines is merely a ploy for the US government to escape any accountability. The US government has failed to clean up its toxic wastes when it still operated US bases in our country,” Reyes said.... The US government is using private contractors so that it will not have any direct liability should there be problems with host countries. However, these private contractors arrogantly think that they are also insulated from any liability because they believe they are covered by the VFA. In the Subic waste dumping incident, we believe both the US government and its private contractor are liable,” Reyes said.....

Mayor in Lanao Sur wants army detachment set up in his town

From GMANews (nov 14): Mayor in Lanao Sur wants army detachment set up in his town

Claiming a rise in the number of loose firearms in his municipality, a mayor in Lanao del Sur has requested the Army to set up a temporary detachment near the town. Mayor Ibrahim Macadato of Butig town had made the request through First (Tabak) Division chief Major General Ricardo Raineir Cruz III, who in trun said he will discuss the matter with Brigadier General Danilo A. Lucero of the 103rd Infantry Brigade. Citing police reports, Macadato said the number of loose firearms could now reach up to 6,000, and that an "abnormal situation" might be created with these guns in the hands of civilians – given the rampant family feuds in the municipality and the upcoming midterm polls. Based on latest records, he said, the town has around 20,000 population, including minorities and non-resident Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members. He noted that Camp Busra, a major MILF camp, is located in Butig. The mayor said he has already submitted their formal request with supporting documents such as the Sangguniang Bayan resolution asking for the establishment of a temporary detachment. He said members of Philippine National Police Mobile group, who have become close and familiar to the townsfolk, are having a hard time enforcing the "no carrying of firearms" policy, that is why the Sangguniang Bayan wanted army's help. According to him, the MILF leadership has no objection to the establishment of an army detachment in the municipality. The Government of the Philippines and the MILF have recently signed a framework agreement, through which both parties have agreed to work for peace in the southern Philippines.

Jockeying for top military position intensifies

From the Business Mirror (Nov 14): Jockeying for top military position intensifies

JOCKEYING has intensified among senior officers who are aspiring to become the next Armed Forces chief of staff. The officers reportedly have their own backers or lobbyists who have the ear of the President, sources said. There are persistent talks that the Armed Forces chief of staff, Gen. Jessie Dellosa, will turn over his post to his successor during the Armed Forces anniversary celebration in December, more than a month before he reaches the mandatory retirement of age of 56 on January 20, 2013. Dellosa is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class 1979. A senior officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said the general manager of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), retired Maj. Gen. Jose Angel Honrado, is vouching for Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz (PMA Class 1980), Air Force commander. “It was General Honrado who was behind his [de la Cruz’s] appointment as Air Force chief. The position was then hotly contested by two strong candidates, Maj. Gen. Ricardo Banayat and Maj. Gen. Jose Tony Villarete, the source said. Banayat is currently the commander of the 1st Air Division based in Clark Field, Pampanga, while Villarete is the commander of the 3rd Air Division based in Zamboanga City. Both are PMA classmates of Dellosa. Reached for comment, Hondrado denied the report that he was lobbying for the appointment of de la Cruz to the military’s top position. “I have retired from the military already. The selection of the Chief of Staff is the President’s sole prerogative,” Honrado said. BusinessMirror tried but failed to get the side of de la Cruz through his mobile phone.  Allegedly, de la Cruz was able to secure Mr. Aquino’s “initial consent” when the President told him, “O, ikaw na ang susunod na Chief of Staff,” during one of the regular weekend firing sessions in Malacañang. Mr. Aquino himself is a gun enthusiast.
Gazmin’s hand
ANOTHER senior officer, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin is working for the appointment of the Army commander, Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista (PMA Class 1981). “I received information that Secretary Gazmin prefers General Bautista to be the next Chief of Staff,” he said. If Bautista gets the Chief of Staff position, the source said, the Armed Forces vice chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes (PMA Class 1980), will be named Army commander. “As far as I know, that’s plan of the Gazmin camp,” the source added. But some senior officers expressed dismay over the “jockeying,” which involves retired military officials who also happens to be close to Mr. Aquino. “That’s bata-bata system. Such lobbying is very unprofessional because this circumvents the promotion processes. Unfortunately, the two generals vying for the Chief of Staff position happened to be members of the Board of Generals (BOG). I could not imagine kung ano na lamang ang sitwasyon sa loob ng conference room kung nagmi-meeting ang BOG kasama itong dalawa,” the source said. The BOG composed of Dellosa; Coballes; The Deputy Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gregorio Macapagal; Bautista, the Navy flag officer in command, Vice Adm. Alexander Pama; and de la Cruz. The body deliberates on the promotion and designation of senior officers, including the position of Armed Forces chief of staff. Earlier, military insiders who were privy to the promotions board said the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) chief, Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara and Coballes were also being eyed strong candidates to replace Dellosa. Honrado, a non-PMAer and a product of the Air Forces Flying School, was a spokesman for the Armed Forces during the watch of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. He retired from the service in 2007. Honrado was Mr. Aquino’s security adviser during the 2010 campaign. He also served as an aide-de-camp of Mr. Aquino’s mother, President Cory Aquino. Gazmin (PMA Class ’68), on the other hand, served as the head of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) of Cory Aquino. He was promoted Army chief by then President Fidel Ramos and retired a lieutenant general.

Mindanao peace process boosts ARMM’s investment climate

From the Philippine Star (Nov 14): Mindanao peace process boosts ARMM’s investment climate


Mujiv Hataman, acting ARMM governor and Major Gen. Ceasar Ronnie Ordoyo lead the symbolic planting of a Cavendish banana seedling in the newly established farm site of a multinational fruit firm in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao. The Costa Rican manager of the agricultural outfit, Miguel Purtuguez looks on (left). - John Unson

Local officials in Basilan and Tawi-Tawi assured they can also accommodate foreign-funded agricultural ventures the way their counterparts do in the now investments-friendly Maguindanao, where the dividends of Southern Mindanao peace process have started spreading around. Muslim communities in Datu Abdullah Sangki town in Maguindanao held Tuesday the symbolic rite for the start of the commercial operations of the municipality’s first ever foreign-assisted, P569-million Cavendish banana plantation. The banana farm being established by the Delinanas Development Corp., a subsidiary of the Del Monte Fresh Produce Inc., will initially employ 866 local residents, company officials said.... Furigay said he and his constituent-public officials were fascinated by Tuesday’s launching of the 500-hectare Cavendish banana farm project in Datu Abdullah Sangki, which is surrounded by enclaves of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. “The foreign investors responsible for bringing in that project can also come to Lamitan City and try investing in our territory since Basilan is also inside the proposed Bangsamoro region the MILF wants to put up,” Furigay said. The launching of the banana farm was jointly led by Major Gen. Ceasar Ronnie Ordoyo of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman, Datu Sangki Mayor Acmad Sangki and the Costa Rican operations manager of the multinational firm Delinanas, Miguel Purtugeuz....

Army helps stranded commuters in Lanao del Sur

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 14): Army helps stranded commuters in Lanao del Sur

Around 150 stranded commuters and motorists here have sought refuge at the headquarters of the 51st Infantry Battalion on Sunday night, November 11. Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Ceasar Marlon M. Yadao, said the stranded commuters were accommodated to stay overnight at the Battalion headquarters because part of the Narciso Ramos Highway was not passable to any type of vehicles due to flood waters. He said the heavy downpour of rains that started at around 12:30 in the afternoon caused flooding along the national highway, particularly at Barangay BPS Village and Bago-Ingud. Yadao immediately dispatched a platoon of Disaster Relief and Rescue Operation Unit and two military trucks to the area to extend transportation to the commuters. As the situation got worse at around 6 p.m., Yadao dispatched another platoon to secure the commuters and motorists from lawless elements and extortionists in the area. The stranded commuters and motorists came from the Zamboanga Peninsula and the cities of Pagadian, Iligan and Marawi. They were offered hot cooked rice and sardines during their stay since most of them have not yet taken their meals. The facilities of the military unit, as well as, the personal beddings and hammocks of the soldiers were also offered to them as a sign of hospitality. They left the camp premises on Monday morning, November 12. (51st IB/APB/PIA-10)

Navy to put naval station in Bolinao town

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 14): Navy to put naval station in Bolinao town

The Naval Forces Northern Luzon (NFNL) and local government unit of Bolinao in Pangasinan town signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on November 8 that will allow the navy to utilize a vacant lot owned by the municipality for its establishment of a Naval Monitoring Station, Commander Levi C. Carane, NFNL Public Affairs Officer said. In an interview, Carame said the creation of naval station in the area will help them monitor the transit of vessel at the West Philippine Sea and assist the sea-faring populace in the safe conduct of their commerce. The station will also protect the local fishermen during calamities and serves as deterrence/prevention to lessen reported incidents of missing fishermen during bad weather and sea conditions. Carane said the navy personnel who will be assigned in the station particularly at Barangay Patar will augment the local police and barangay volunteers in safeguarding the tourists and beachgoers especially on holiday and summer seasons. Meanwhile, in a related development, the NFNL will provide technical know-how and trainings of the Bantay Dagat to enhance their capability and competency in implementing maritime and coastal laws preserving marine protected areas and resources of Bolinao and the whole Lingayen Gulf, Carane added. The MOA was signed by Commodore Caesar C. Taccad, Commander of the Naval Forces and Mayor Alfonso Celeste. Deputy Commander, NFNL and Task Force Commander of Naval Task Force 11, Capt. Rommel Jude G. Ong and Vice Mayor Elias C. Quisay Jr. served witnesses.

Aquino to push for diplomatic solution to West Philippine Sea issue during 21st ASEAN Summit

From the Philippine  News Agency (Nov 14): Aquino to push for diplomatic solution to West Philippine Sea issue during 21st ASEAN Summit

President Benigno S. Aquino III will push for the peaceful resolution in the West Philippine Sea, hoping that leadership change in China will enhance cooperation with the Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. The President will leave for Cambodia Saturday to attend the 21st ASEAN Summit and other related summits, which China and the United States will also attend. Raul Hernandez, the spokesman of the Dept. of Foreign Affairs, told a media briefing in Malacanang the President may raise the West Philippine Sea issue when he attends the plenary and retreat sessions with other leaders Sunday. “The West Philippine Sea or the maritime security and cooperation is one of our advocacies and it will be in this context will we push the discussion of this issue,” Hernandez said. While the leadership change is a domestic activity in China, Hernandez said the Philippines hopes that with the change, there would be a positive development in the relationship between ASEAN and China as well as between China and the Philippines. “That’s why we are also expecting that with the developments there, there would be an onward development as far as marine security and cooperation is concerned,” he said. With regard to the discussions over the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea, Hernandez said it would be one of the topics for discussion with China in the ASEAN-China Summit. The initial ASEAN agreement, the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the South China Sea, will reach its 10th year this year, the foreign affairs official said. Hernandez added that after the discussions, they expect China will commit on starting the negotiation on the Code of Conduct for the good and stability and the peace in the region.... Foreign ministers failed to agree on a joint communiqué on this the issue several months ago, raising perceptions about rifts in the relationships among the ASEAN-member countries.

Army, NDF trade accusations over Albay beheading

From ABS-CBN (Nov 12): Army, NDF trade accusations over Albay beheading

The Philippine Army and communist rebels are accusing each other of being behind the beheading of a village official in Albay. The Army's 9th Infantry Division, in a press statement, said New People's Army (NPA) rebels beheaded barangay kagawad Ely Oguis in Guinobatan town, Albay on Monday morning. The military said barangay officials reported the incident to an Army Peace and Development Team. "We condemn the brutal beheading of Brgy Kagawad Oguis by the NPA," said Col. Ricardo Visaya, commander of the 901st Brigade based in Daraga, Albay. "While he was working hard for a living for his family, the NPA rebels were extorting money from him.".... The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), on the other hand, denied that NPA rebels were behind the murder.Greg Bañares, spokesman of NDFP Bicol, accused the Army of beheading Oguis. "Mariing kinukundena ng NDFP-Bicol ang brutal at di-makataong pagpapahirap at pagpaslang ng berdugong 2nd IBPA kay Bgy. Kgd. Ely Oguis ng Bgy. Cabaluaon, Guinobatan, Albay nitong Nob. 11 ng gabi," he said in a press statement....

Teacher, five others abducted by soldiers in Rizal province

From the pro-CPP "news" outlet Bulatlat (Nov 14): Teacher, five others abducted by soldiers in Rizal province

A teacher and five others were abducted by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Rodriguez, Rizal recently, prompting a lawmaker to demand their immediate release. ACT Teachers Party-List Rep. Antonio Tinio said in a statement that Mrs. Lanie Latuga, a teacher of Dumagat children, and five others arrested in Rizal last October 7 remain in military custody in an undisclosed military location. Saying that human rights abuses continue despite AFP claims to the contrary, the lawmaker strongly condemned the “illegal arrest and detention” of the six. Tinio said elements of the 16th and 59th Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army (PA) arrested the six civilians in Sitio Uron, Puray. The civilians were arrested in an area where there was a reported encounter between Army soldiers and New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas on November 7. The soldiers arrested the civilians accusing them of being either members or supporters of the NPA. In the meantime, Army officials have yet to issue an official statement on the abduction, nor have they revealed where the six, who are mostly women, are being kept. “Teacher Lanie and her companions are the newest victims of a military establishment which—per the skewed, inhumane logic of Oplan Bayanihan—does not distinguish between combatants and civilians,” said Tinio. “That they were arrested for being near the site of an encounter proves that there are more Palparans still running loose, victimizing militarized communities, unchecked by the AFP.” Tinio called on officials of the 16th and 59th IB to surface the six and demanded accountability from those responsible. He said these Army units are notorious among the residents of their places of assignment for cases of human rights violations....The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in Rizal, in the meantime, also issued a statement denouncing the AFP, saying that the teacher’s abduction “is a cowardly act and a clear violation of human rights and international war protocols which mandates that civilians should be not be treated as combatants with all their rights respected.”.....

Cops get bounty for arrest of rebel’s son

From the Sun Star-Baguio: Cops get bounty for arrest of rebel’s son

Operatives from the Regional Police are set to receive a P3.2M-cash reward for arresting an alleged rebel leader and wanted person inside a mall in Baguio City Monday afternoon. Police Regional Office-Cordillera (Procor) Director Benjamin Magalong said their arrest of Grayson Naogsan is legitimate. A police statement recently claimed Naogsan as an alleged member of the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Command and the Kilusang Larangang Guerilya Maco ICRC and the East Chico Line Team of the communist rebels. Grayson, the son of Cordillera People’s Democratic Front spokesperson “Ka Filliw” Naogsan, is facing 10 counts of murder and one count of crime of rebellion, an updated report from Procor revealed.... Magalong said the monetary reward he carried out earlier amounting to P700,000 under JO Nr. 10-2009 dated April 23, 2009 was updated and the bounty was increased to P3.2 million under AFP and PNP Joint Resolution Number 72-2012 dated August 28, 2012. The arrested rebel leader was brought to the General Headquarters, of the Intelligence Group in Camp Crame, Quezon City for documentation prior to his turn-over to the court of origin.“We are proud of the accomplishments of our intelligence officers. Were confident that they will be able to sustain their passion and sincerity as well as dedication to the police service,” Magalong added.

Groups plan prosecution of HR abuses after fact-finding mission in San Fernando

From MindaNews (Nov 14): Groups plan prosecution of HR abuses after fact-finding mission in San Fernando

Charges of human rights violations may be filed based on the results of a fact-finding mission scheduled on Nov. 17-19 in San Fernando, Bukidnon, a group said. The mission, organized by Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization and Karapatan Northern Mindanao Region aims to “call on the Philippine government to stop the escalating killings of indigenous peoples and human rights defenders working on land rights in Mindanao,” according to Sr. Ma. Famita N. Somogod, MSM, event coordinator. “The output could be used in filing of charges on human rights violations, for policy advocacy, and for report to local and international bodies like the Asian Inter-Governmental Human Rights Commission and the United Nations, and to various foreign consulates in the Philippines,” the group said in a statement seeking media coverage. The group said residents of Barangay Dao, San Fernando were still harassed by a paramilitary band called New Indigenous People’s Army for Reforms (Nipar), which is accused of killing village chief Jimmy Liguyon on March 5. Alde Salusad, a former New People’s Army rebel who heads Nipar, admitted to killing Liguyon in an interview over dxDB-Malaybalay a few weeks after the incident. Salusad said he killed Liguyon for being an alleged rebel supporter. But relatives said he was killed for his opposition to mining activities in Dao and for his refusal to endorse the ancestral domain claim of Salusad’s group. The self-confessed killer is the son of Benjamin Salusad, also a former NPA rebel who is now a member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit. The groups cited that a warrant of arrest was issued against Salusad and 14 others for murder but it was never served. Supt. Rustom Duran, then provincial police director, repeatedly told provincial legislators and reporters about the police teams’ difficulty in pursuing Salusad. The evacuees however said the suspect was freely going around Dao. The group also lamented that the Commission on Human Rights has refused to release the report of its own investigation. Anilaw Inlantong Erwin Marte, focal person of the Bukidnon Human Rights multi-sectoral coordinating council where CHR is a member, told MindaNews Monday they have eyed a multi-sectoral fact finding mission on their own. The killing led to two evacuations, on March 14 and August 29. The first group of evacuees encamped in front of the Capitol to press for Alde Salusad’s arrest but went home on August 7 after authorities failed to catch the suspect. The second group of evacuees arrived on August 29 and also put up tents in front of the Capitol where they have remained to date. Kasilo, an organization of Matigsalugs in San Fernando is hosting the three-day mission, which includes medical and relief services. The Community-Based Health Services – Northern Mindanao, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region, and the Asia Indigenous People’s Pact are also joining the mission.

2 killed in clashes in Mindanao

From the Mindanao Examiner (Nov 14): 2 killed in clashes in Mindanao
A communist rebel and a government soldier were killed in separate clashes in the southern Philippines where security forces are battling the insurgents, officials said Wednesday. Capt. Alberto Caber, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division, said New People’s Army rebels killed Corporal Anthony Bahala, a member of the 53rd Infantry Battalion, in the town of Guipos in Zamboanga del Sur province. He said Bahala was sent to the village of Dalapan to verify the presence of rebels extorting money from civilians and heading back to base when attacked by the NPA late Tuesday afternoon. “It was a treacherous attack and troops are tracking down the NPA rebels,” Caber told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner. He said regional Army commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III has ordered troops to stay vigilant following the attack on the soldier. Government troops also clashed Tuesday with communist rebels, killing one gunman and wounding another near the town of Tulunan in North Cotabato province. Col. Prudencio Asto, a spokesman for the 6th Infantry Division, said the wounded rebel was airlifted by army soldiers to a military hospital in Maguindanao province to save his life. He said the fighting broke out following a military operation in the town where NPA rebels were harassing civilians and extorting money from villagers. “The encounter came after the 602nd Infantry Brigade launched an operation in the area as a result of information provided by residents to the military. The civilians are fed up with the threats and intimidation, and extortion of the NPA in the town,” Asto said. He said no soldiers were killed or wounded in the fighting. There were also no reports of civilian casualties....

CPP: P467M bounty against CPP leaders, source of military corruption and abuses--CPP

From the CPP Website (Nov 14): P467M bounty against CPP leaders, source of military corruption and abuses--CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today strongly protested the issuance of a P466.8 million bounty for the capture of 235 people whom the Aquino regime claims to be leaders of the CPP, saying this will only lead to more corruption in the military, illegal arrests, torture and other grave human rights abuses. The reward system was contained in Joint Order 14-2012 issued yesterday by the Department of National Defense and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG). Among the names listed in the DND-DILG order are leaders of the CPP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) who are known to be actively involved in peace negotiations with the Aquino regime. The CPP said the reward system “will only be used by military and police officials to pocket millions of pesos and commit grave violations of human rights.” It cited the recent case of 48-year old civilian security guard Rolly Panesa who was arrested together with his wife, son and daughter-in-law last October 5 in Quezon City. Panesa works at the ACP Compound in Eastwood and resides in Project 4, Quezon City.... “More and more, the Aquino regime is intensifying its Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression, saturating rural communities with its armed forces, resulting in grave and widespread cases of human rights abuses ranging from massacres to extrajudicial killings, illegal abductions and torture, indiscriminate firing and other terror tactics.”

MILF: MILF to send powerhouse delegation to OIC meeting in Djibouti

From the MILF Website (Nov 14): MILF to send powerhouse delegation to OIC meeting in Djibouti

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is sending a powerhouse delegation to the 39th Session of the Council of Foreign Affairs Ministers (CFAM) of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Nov. 15 to 17 in Djibouti, East Africa....  A source in the MILF Secretariat told Luwaran that the delegation is already on the way to Djibouti and will be expected to land there today or had already landed yesterday. The MILF, the source added, has received an OIC invitation to attend the OIC-CFAM, where the "question of Muslims in Southern Philippines" has been a feature since the mid-1970s. However, the source did not identify the head of the MILF delegation, but disclosed that two members of the MILF Peace Panel, Atty. Michael Mastura and Roberto “Maulana” Alonto, are part of the five-man MILF delegation. But another source disclosed that it can be 1st Vice Chairnan Ghazali Jaafar or 2nd Vice Chairman Ali Pangalian, will lead the delegation. The OIC invitation to the MILF came on the heels of the signing in Manila on Oct. 15 of the Framework Agreement (FA) by the Philippine Government and the MILF, which sets the parameter of the “totality of relationship between the larger state and the Bangsamoro people....

30 communist rebel returnees get P1.1M financial aid

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14): 30 communist rebel returnees get P1.1M financial aid

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) on Tuesday gave some P1,145,450 to 30 communist rebel returnees from Danao City and Tuburan town in Cebu.
The cash aid was coursed through the Cebu Provincial Government. Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia and Provincial Board (PB) Member Sun Shimura distributed the checks to the former rebels at the Provincial Capitol worth a total of P1,145,450. Garcia said the money will be used by the former rebels to start a livelihood. Garcia said the Capitol also gave the former rebels P30,000 each before OPAPP gave the checks. "This will convince the rebels who are still in the mountains that they have a future if they surrender," he said. OPAPP representative Maricel Ballasola-Bantilo said the rebel returnees were already given P30,000 each right after their surrender a few years ago. Bantilo said OPAPP will monitor the livelihood program to be implemented by the rebel returnees.

Mindanao leaders say Framework Agreement for Peace is not about faith but a vital political concern

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14): Mindanao leaders say Framework Agreement for Peace is not about faith but a vital political concern

Acting Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Governor Mujiv Hataman and House Deputy Minority Leader Simeon Datumanong said the struggle for self-determination in Muslim Mindanao should not be misconstrued as an issue of faith but as a vital political concern. A staunch supporter of the Aquino administration, Hataman said that political leaders in Muslim-dominated provinces in Mindanao have set aside political differences to support the implementation of the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement for peace. "And when you actually dig deeper into it, an important component of this is the right of the people to be served," he said. House Deputy Minority Leader Simeon Datumanong confirmed Hataman’s claim, saying that key Mindanao leaders allied with opposing political groups are one in hoping that Congress will pass the legislative requirements for the proposed "Bangsamoro" entity. Hataman and Datumanong also called for a massive information dissemination campaign to give Filipinos a better understanding of the GPH-MILF pact. They stressed that the best way to realize a final resolution of the nearly half-a century conflict through the Framework Agreement is to get the support of the people. Hataman said a full understanding of the legal, cultural and social implications of the implementation of the agreement is vital if the backing of majority of Filipinos is to be guaranteed. "Our struggle for right to self-determination is a political issue, it has never been an issue of faith or religion," the ARMM leader said....

SPECIAL REPORT | Subic: It looks like a US base, it acts like a US base, but is it a US base?

From InterAksyon (Nov 14): SPECIAL REPORT | Subic: It looks like a US base, it acts like a US base, but is it a US base?

From his office window, Roberto Garcia watches workers repair the USS Emory S. Land, a submarine support vessel that is part of a US military buildup as Washington turns its attention to fast-growing Asia and a newly assertive China. The Philippines, Australia and other parts of the region have seen a resurgence of US warships, planes and personnel since President Barack Obama announced a "pivot" in foreign, economic and security policy towards Asia late last year. Washington insists the shift is not about containing China or a permanent return to military bases of the past. But it is sometimes tough to tell the difference at Subic Bay, a deepwater port near vital sea lanes and border disputes in the South China Sea that have raised tensions between China and Southeast Asian nations. "Every month we have ships coming. A few weeks ago, we had the submarines, we've had the aircraft carriers," said Garcia, chairman of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, which oversees an economic zone built on the former US base. "They cannot find this kind of facility anywhere else in Asia." The territorial tensions and the US shift towards the region will be high on the agenda when Obama visits Southeast Asia in coming days. The Pentagon says the United States has "no intention of re-establishing bases in the Philippines." But activity in Subic, a breezy coastal city about 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Manila that has the feel of a tidy American suburb with shopping malls, fast-food outlets and well-lit streets, resembles a buildup. As of October, 70 US Navy ships had passed through Subic, more than the 55 in 2011 and the 51 in 2010. The Pentagon says more than 100 US planes stop over each month at Clark, another former US base located between Manila and Subic. "It's like leasing a car as opposed to buying it - all the advantages of ownership with a reduced risk," said James Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor of IHS Jane's Defense Weekly. "If you look at Subic, the US will be leveraging Philippine bases and assets, privately owned assets, and all at a fraction of the monetary and political price of taking back ownership of the base. It gives the US the same strategic reach that basing would have done but without all the hassle.".......

Right-wing party-list solon wants Comelec chair's mental fitness examined

From InterAksyon (Nov 14): Right-wing party-list solon wants Comelec chair's mental fitness examined

A lawmaker from a Right-wing party-list that was recently disqualified from the 2013 elections asked the House of Representatives to examine the mental fitness of Commission on Elections chairman Sixto Brillantes Jr. “The recent actuations and pronouncements made by the Comelec chairman show alarming signs of mental and psychological instability, which, if remained unchecked, might lead this country into anarchy, lawlessness or civil unrest considering that the 2013 elections which is going to be administered and overseen by Comelec is fast approaching,” Representative Pastor Alcover Jr. of the Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy said in House Resolution 2883. Reacting to this, Brillantes tweeted: “I am willing to undergo psychiatric exam (once again) IF Rep. Pastor Alcover would be willing to take it with me.” Alcover claimed Brillantes’ recent pronouncements about party-list groups “manifest alarming signs of mental and psychological instability and grandiose illusions of power and greatness which could very well reflect the fact that he is not mentally sound and psychologically capable of heading the Comelec.” He cited Brillantes’ statement in a media interview describing the party-list system as a joke.  He also cited the Comelec chairman’s giving credence to the letter of the watchdog Kontra Daya, even if this contained pure allegations.At a separate news conference, Alcover claimed some of the people behind Kontra Daya are communist supporters.

AMBUSH | Army corporal killed while returning to camp in Zamboanga Sur

From InterAksyon (Nov 14): AMBUSH | Army corporal killed while returning to camp in Zamboanga Sur

An Army corporal returning to camp onboard a motorcycle was killed in an ambush by 10 New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Guipos, Zamboanga del Sur on Tuesday afternoon. Corporal Anthony Bahala was on his way back to camp after verifying reports that NPA rebels in Barangay Dalapan were engaged in extortion, Captain Alberto Caber, spokesman of the Army's 1st Infantry Division, said. Bahala was waylaid by the rebels from the NPA's Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee (WMRPC) at the boundaries of Bugwak and Dalapan, Lt. Col. Victor Tanggawohn Jr., commander of the 53rd Infantry Battalion, said. Although he was able to return fire, Bahala was overpowered. “Traces of blood were seen by the first responders at a vegetated area where the assailants were positioned. A joint Army-PNP pursuit operation against the gunmen is ongoing,” Tanggawohn said. Communist rebels have been waging a war with the government for the past four decades.