Thursday, November 15, 2012

Blast jolts ticketing office in Tacurong City

From GMANews (Nov 16): Blast jolts ticketing office in Tacurong City

A loud explosion jolted an area near a ticketing office along the national highway in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat at about 7:30 a.m. Friday, a police official said. Supt. Gilbert Tuzon, chief of Tacurong City Police, also said cops have arrested a suspect identified as Abdul Usman, also known as ‘Obing,’ 37, of Barangay Kudal in Pagalungan, Maguindanao. No one was reported hurt in the incident, he added. According to Tuzon, the suspect admitted he is connected with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFF) under a certain Commander Gani. The BIFF, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, was organized by MILF rouge commander Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato. The suspect also identified a certain Dots Andot as the mastermind of the incident. Tuzon, however, said police are still investigating the motive behind the blast. Moreover, he said they have recovered from another area along the same highway an improvised explosive device, which failed to explode. The latest blast was the fifth in Sultan Kudarat since October, reports said.

Rival groups in Maguindanao clash anew

From the Philippine Star (Nov 16): Rival groups in Maguindanao clash anew

Hostilities between two heavily armed rival groups in Maguindanao’s Montawal town erupted anew Thursday, sending hundreds of villagers running for their lives. It was the fifth encounter in three weeks between the two groups, one led by Andy Montawal, and the other, a band of Moro guerrillas under Commander Bigkug. Forces of both sides, armed with assault rifles and shoulder-fired 40-mm grenade launchers, traded shots in a least four spots in neighboring Barangays Tunggol and Talapas in Montawal, causing panic among innocent villagers. Bigkug first attacked the group of Montawal three weeks ago in retaliation for the death of a relative in North Cotabato’s Kabacan town, who was reportedly killed by Montawal’s men over a minor dispute. Montawal, who has standing arrest warrants for rape and other criminal cases, is an older sibling of the incumbent mayor of Montawal municipality, Otto Montawal. Lt. Col. Benjamin Hao, commanding officer of the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion, said more soldiers have been deployed in potential flashpoint areas in Montawal to prevent the spill over of the conflict involving Bigkug and Montawal to other areas. Montawal and several adjoining towns in North Cotabato are under the jurisdiction of the 7th IB, a component unit of the 602nd Brigade. Hao said their brigade commander, Col. Ademar Tomaro, is keen on resolving the conflict peacefully to prevent dislocation of more innocent villagers. Hao said he has recommended the intervention of the joint ceasefire committee of the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. The joint ceasefire committee, which is comprised of representatives of the police, the military and the MILF, helps in the resolution of peace and security concerns in areas covered by the 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities.

AFP Negros Island to probe NPA's source of funding

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 16): AFP Negros Island to probe NPA's source of funding

The Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP) in Negros Island is poised to conduct an investigation on the source of funds of the New People's Army (NPA) after it paid a total of P2.2 million bail for 16 members under military custody, it was learned on Friday. Col. Oscar Lactao, commander of the 303rd Brigade, said the AFP will bring the matter to the attention of the Anti-Money Laundering Council to help them in the investigation. Col.Lactao suspected there could be a group supporting these rebels and they already have identified persons involved but declined to divulge their identities. The 303rd Brigade commander said they have arrested a total of 20 Communist rebels for various violations ranging from the heinous crime of murder,robbery-in-band, arson and many others. Of the 20, the NPA was able to post a total bail of P2,204,800 for 16 rebels. Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police and the AFP placed priest turned rebel Francisco Fernandez who used the aliases as "Ibarra", "Canor", "Silio", and "Ago" in the list of the four most wanted persons in the province of Negros Occidental. Report has it that Fernandez has the highest bounty on his head pegged at P7.8 million for four counts of murder and one attempted murder.

Explosion rocks Tacurong City, bomber nabbed

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 16): Explosion rocks Tacurong City, bomber nabbed

An explosion took place near the ticketing area located along the national highway in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, around 730 a.m. on Friday, a police official said. No one was hurt in the blast. Supt. Gilbert Tuzon, chief of Tacurong City PNP, said during the pursuit operations they arrested a suspected bomber identified as Abdul Usman, also known as "Obing", 37, of Barangay Kudal in Pagalungan, Maguindanao. Tuzon said the suspect, during the investigation, admitted his connection with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) under a certain Commander Gani. BIFF is a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front(MILF). The suspect also identified a certain Dots Andot as the mastermind. Tuzon, however, has yet to know the motive behind the blast. Tuzon said they recovered another improvised explosive device (IED)in another location along the highway. The IED failed to explode.

OPAPP exec lauds civil society groups for backing peace and development projects

From the OPAPP Website (Nov 14): OPAPP exec lauds civil society groups for backing peace and development projects

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo commended civil society organizations (CSOs) in Quezon province for actively sustaining peace gains by encouraging communities to participate in peace and development initiatives through the Bondoc - Local Economic Development (LED) project. In a statement, Montalbo lauded the Social Action Center (SAC)-Gumaca, a church-based group; Quezon Advocates on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development Service (QUARRDS) that provide technical and legal assistance to vulnerable farmers; Rural Improvement Club and Kalipunan ng Liping Pilipina women’s groups; 4-H Club youth group; Provincial Agriculture and Fishery Council, and Tambuyog Center for helping empower communities. “Peace can only be sustained if stakeholders are empowered to own projects after they are turned over to communities," he said during a recent forum on Sustaining Peace through Local Economic Development held in Quezon Province recently. Joining Montalbo in the forum were OPAPP Director for Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities or PAMANA) -Luzon and Visayas Eileen Jose, Provincial Agriculturist Roberto Gajo, International Labour Organization (ILO) Program Manager Lourdes Katleen Santos, and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) Deputy Representative Aries Portugal. Montalbo said the CSOs served as proponents of the Bondoc-LED project which is a three-year joint undertaking of UN ILO and FAO with OPAPP as its lead national agency partner. "These CSOs play a vital role in initiating economic activities most especially in conflict areas where the private sector's presence is understandably low because of attendant risk. They also perform social preparations and project monitoring," he added......

Philippine Army Press Clippings (Nov 12-15)

Posted to the Faces, Places, & Voices (Ranger Cabunzky) Blog (Nov 10-15): Philippine Army Press Clippings

November 12:

November 13:

November 14:

November 15:

Protesters hold placards during a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Manila

From the Reuters Alert Net (Nov 13): Protesters hold placards during a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Manila

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Protesters hold placards during a demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy in Manila November 14, 2012. The protesters are denouncing the dumping of toxic waste in Subic, a former U.S. base, which is believed to have come from a U.S. Navy ship and then was collected and disposed of by a private contractor, a protest group statement said. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST MILITARY ENVIRONMENT)

War among party-lists gets worse

From the Manila Standard Today (Nov 16): War among party-lists gets worse

The quarrel between the left- and right-leaning party-list groups turned for the worse on Thursday, when the left-leaning Makabayan bloc denounced what it called an “An-Waray-led” attack on the left-leaning groups. Makabayan called the attack the “cheap, diversionary and retaliatory tactics of fake marginalized party-list groups.” In a joint statement, Bayan Muna Reps. Teddy Casiño and Neri Colmenares, Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, and ACT Teachers party-list Rep. Antonio Tinio said the An-Waray party-list group of Rep. Florencio Noel was in collusion with the ANAD or Alliance of Nationalism and Democracy of Rep. Pastor Alcover and the disqualified Ako Bicol to lobby for the disqualification of Bayan Muna before the Commission on Elections. “Misery loves company,” Casiño said of the three party-list groups who were disqualified by the Comelec. “It only shows that An-Waray, Ako Bicol and Anad are bereft of any argument against a sincere effort by the public to cleanse the party-list system of party-list groups created by the rich and powerful to get seats in Congress at the expense of the poor and powerless.” Eighteen out of the 50 party-list groups in the House of Representatives had earlier shut down their offices to dramatize their protest against Bayan Muna, the party-list group claiming to be the “real” and “only legitimate” marginalized sector. Included in the 18 party-list groups in silent protest were An-Waray, Anad and Ako Bicol. An-Waray describes itself as “a democratic multi-sectoral party-list organization that envisions a just, progressive and peaceful Filipino society” with a sense of community particularly in the Visayas. Anad is a right-leaning group whose sitting nominee in Congress—Alcover—was a former member of the Left. Ako Bicol obtained the highest number of votes in the last elections at 1.5 million.....

Insurgency fighter heads ISAFP

From Malaya (Nov 15): Insurgency fighter heads ISAFP

A SENIOR Army officer who led successful counter-insurgency operations in Quezon had been designated as chief of the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP), one of the most coveted posts in the military establishment. Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año, currently assistant AFP deputy chief of staff for intelligence, replaces Maj. Gen. Caesar Ronnie Ordoyo who assumed the command of the 6th Infantry Division in Maguindanao last week. A member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1983, Año served as head of the Army’s Intelligence Security Group and commander of the 201st Brigade which is credited for successful operations against the New People’s Army. This includes the killing of 11 NPA rebels in a firefight in San Narciso town in Quezon last June 30. Año had projected to clear Quezon, bailiwick of the late NPA leader Gregorio Rosal, of insurgency by the end of this year or next year. Año’s brigade was also responsible for the arrest of Southern Tagalog NPA leader Tirso Alcantara in January last year in Lucena City for various cases. The National Democratic Front is demanding the release of Alcantara, saying he is a consultant in the ongoing peace process with government. There is still no word as to who would take Año’s former post.

NDF tags N. Samar pol clan ‘enemies of people’

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 15): NDF tags N. Samar pol clan ‘enemies of people’

Communist rebels in Eastern Visayas declared top officials of Northern Samar as “enemies of the people” in a statement that the province’s officials said was just propaganda. In a statement, the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Eastern Visayas said Deputy Speaker Raul Daza and his son, Northern Samar Gov. Paul Daza, committed crimes against the people that included plunder and murders. The Nov. 13 statement, signed by NDF Eastern Visayas head Fr. Santiago Salas, said the reign of the Dazas in Northern Samar is the best argument in favor of dismantling political dynasties in the country. Representative Daza dismissed the NDF statement as politically motivated. According to the NDF statement, rebels are investigating numerous complaints against the Dazas that include plunder, systemic corruption, illegal drugs, illegal gambling, political killings and other rights violations. The rebels said the Dazas would be tried by a people’s court and face arrest by the New People’s Army. Among the charges against the clan, the NDF said, was the Dazas’ involvement in the theft of funds for a P3-billion irrigation project called Help Catubic Agricultural Advancement Project, which is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica). The project started in 2001 but is still unfinished more than 10 years later because of corruption involving the Dazas, the NDF said. Representative Daza said the family was never involved in the project. He said his role was only as chair of the steering committee that oversaw the project, which was bid out by other government agencies like the National Irrigation Administration. The NDF said the Dazas received 30 percent of the project cost as “kickback” from contractors. Representative Daza denied this. The congressman said the allegations made by the NDF were old issues that are being raised against him and his governor-son every election period. He said his accusers should just file charges in court if they have evidence to back their allegations.

Army hikes reward for rebel priest

From  the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 15): Army hikes reward for rebel priest

The military has increased to nearly P8 million the reward for the capture of one of the most elusive and highest ranking leaders of the communist underground movement, a priest-turned-rebel, in Negros Occidental. Col. Oscar Lactao, head of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, said the reward for the capture of Fr. Frank Fernandez was increased from P5 million to P7.8 million, quoting a memo from the armed forces headquarters. Lactao said the cash reward will come from funds being allotted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police for the capture of the country’s most wanted persons. Fernandez, a Catholic priest, is secretary of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) regional committee based in Negros Occidental. He is also known by his aliases Ibarra, Kanor, Suilo and Ago and is wanted for four counts of murder and attempted murder. According to the military, Fernandez supervises the operations of at least four guerrilla fronts of the New People’s Army on Negros Island that has at least 200 fighters. Rewards for the capture of dozens of other communist leaders have been put up by the government. They include Arlo Vargas. In a statement, the CPP on Wednesday condemned the bounty, which total P466.8 million for 235 communist leaders....

Palace announces holidays for 2013

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 15): Palace announces holidays for 2013

Malacañang has announced the list of holidays and special nonworking days for 2013.
Filipinos have a chance to plan ahead their vacations for next year as there are at least 17 days of holidays and nonworking days, based on Proclamation 459 signed by President Benigno Aquino III. National holidays for the observance of Eid’l Fitr and Eidul Adha shall be proclaimed only after the approximate dates of the Islamic holidays have been determined. “To this end, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) shall inform the Office of the President on which day the holiday shall fall,” said in the proclamation. February 25, meanwhile, is a special holiday for all schools to commemorate the Edsa People Power Revolution, “which restored and ushered political, social and economic reforms in the country.” Christmas’ Eve (December 24) has also been declared as a special non-working holiday, “in order to foster closer family ties and enable our countrymen to observe Christmas more meaningfully.” The full list of the special nonworking days also contains:

March 30, Black Saturday

Aug. 21, Ninoy Aquino Day (Wednesday)

Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day (Friday)

Nov. 2, All Souls’ Day (Saturday)

Dec. 24, Christmas’ Eve (Tuesday)

Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve (Tuesday)

Meanwhile, the regular holidays include:

Jan. 1, New Year’s Day (Tuesday)

March 28, Maundy Thursday

March 29, Good Friday

April 9, Araw ng Kagitingan (Tuesday)

May 1, Labor Day (Wednesday)

June 12, Independence Day (Wednesday)

Aug. 26, National Heroes’ Day (last Monday of August)

Nov. 30, Bonifacio Day (Saturday)

Dec. 25, Christmas Day (Wednesday)

Dec. 30, Rizal Day (Monday)

The proclamation also said that “holidays, except those which are religious in nature, are moved to the nearest Monday unless otherwise modified by law, order or proclamation.”

Group, agencies to sign MOA for torture cases probe

From the Philippine  Star (Nov 15): Group, agencies to sign MOA for torture cases probe

A non-government organization will sign an agreement with government agencies on Thursday for the training of investigators and prosecutors to strengthen the probe and prosecution of torture cases in the country. The Medical Action Group representatives will ink a memorandum of agreement with officials of the British Embassy Manila, Department of Justice, and Philippine National Police this morning at the DOJ main office in Manila. MAG said the training aims to enhance the capacity of the investigators in gathering and handling of pieces of evidence and to provide necessary knowledge and skills for the prosecutors to properly evaluate pieces of physical and meical evidence in court proceedings on alleged torture cases. The training also aims to meet the international standards contained in the UN Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“the Istanbul Protocol”), the group added. "This is in view of the lack of documentation standards for torture cases has often resulted in the rejection of physical and medical evidences by the courts. This training will have a direct impact on the ability to investigate and secure prosecution by improving the quality of evidences in torture cases," MAG said. The training will be undertaken with funding from the British Embassy’s Human Rights and Democracy Programme and the signing of the MOA will be witnessed by the Commission on Human Rights.

7 leftist rebels surrender in Agusan

From the Philippine Star (Nov 15): 7 leftist rebels surrender in Agusan

Seven members of the leftist New People's Army (NPA) surrendered to government security forces in southern Philippines on Wednesday, a military official said today. Lt. Col. Eugenio Julius Osias IV, spokesman of the Philippine army's 4th Infantry Division, said the NPA guerillas surrendered to the 75th Infantry Battalions. Osias identified the surrenderees as Ricky Banding Yambo, Juan Intua, Julius Casan, Julie Bonifacio, Elfie Pinaloay, Giovanni Juvilla, and the group's leader, Alfredo Asuncion. "The (NPA guerillas) could no longer bear the hardships they faced in the mountains while evading government troops," he said. Osias said the seven former rebels yielded to local officials in Agusan del Sur through provincial social welfare chief Josefina Bajade. Seven firearms consisting of assault rifles were also brought by the former rebels upon their surrender, making them eligible to the government's firearms-for-cash assistance to former insurgents.

Moro groups want human rights provisions in final GPH-MILF peace pact

From MindaNews (Nov 15): Moro groups want human rights provisions in final GPH-MILF peace pact

Moro organizations which have been helping educate stakeholders in the grassroots on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) said they want human rights provisions to be included in the final peace accord between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Bai Ali Indayla, secretary general of Kawagib, an alliance for the advancement of Moro human rights, said they have organized school and community forums to educate the people on the FAB, peace negotiation and the situation of the Moro people in general. Indayla said Kawagib will propose the inclusion of human rights provisions concerning justice for victims of abuses, release of Moro political detainees and forced evacuations in the final peace agreement. She said these issues affect women especially those who had lost their husbands and children during military operations....

Meanwhile, Zaynab Ampatuan, executive director of the Moro People’s Community Organization for Reform and Empowerment, Inc. (PCORE) said their group has been holding community discussions on the signed framework agreement. Ampatuan said the Moro PCORE will propose a program on the Shari’ah provisions to be included in the final peace agreement. “We would study and push for more liberal application of Shari’ah without clashing with Muslim sensibilities. We’ll involve everyone in the discussions and drafting a program for Moro and Lumad women’s empowerment,” she said....

Indayla, second nominee of the Kabataan party-list, called on the people, especially the Moro youth, to continue their vigilance. She said that while Kawagib supports and recognizes the FAB as the result of perseverance of both parties towards peace, it must be clear to the Bangsamoro people that it is not yet the answer Moro people’s clamor for their right to self determination. “Bantayan natin ang mga susunod na mangyayari sa peace talks at maging bahagi ng pag-assert ng kasunduan na panig sa interes ng mamamayang Moro (Let’s be vigilant on what will happen next in the peace talks and be involved in asserting for an agreement that favors the interest of the Moro people.),” she said. Indayla pointed out that many things may happen in the process of crafting the final peace agreement, saying that the “devils are in the details.”....

For her part, Ampatuan said her group is more into capacity building rather than expecting from the FAB. She admitted though that the signing provided more fertile ground for the attainment of self-governing Moro and Lumad areas. “We have experiences with the past government and learned lots of lessons. With these, we have to strengthen the people in defending their territories with or without the signed framework agreement,” she added....

PNoy to push for sea code of conduct at ASEAN summit

From GMANews (Nov 15): PNoy to push for sea code of conduct at ASEAN summit

President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday announced that his main objective for the upcoming ASEAN Summit is to personally push for an assurance that the Code of Conduct in the west Philippine Sea (South China Sea) will be implemented. “Iyong una muna, siyempre gusto nating magkaroon sana ng mas matibay na consensus, mas mapadali iyong tinatawag na Code of Conduct to implement the Declaration of Conduct on South China Sea,” Aquino said on the sidelines of the 38th Top Level Management Conference of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas. Aquino was here to serve as guest of honor and keynote speaker. The president reminded the public that along with the Philippines, three other nations in the ASEAN claim territories in the sea—all the more reason to push for a multilateral approach to resolving the disputes.

CHR sees land rights as key to peace in conflict areas

From GMANews (Nov 15): CHR sees land rights as key to peace in conflict areas

Commission on Human Rights chair Etta Rosales Rosales said Wednesday that "the struggle for land rights must be seen from the question of a key issue in building peace on the ground." Furthermore, conflict areas will remain such “unless we are able to help the people have access to land, access to food, access to information, access to social justice,” she added during a policy forum titled “Breaking Barriers to Peace: Conflict and Land Rights”, which was held at the Balay Kalinaw in the University of the Philippines’ Diliman campus. The forum aimed to develop new policies or ways by which to strengthen existing ones regarding agrarian reform and the protection of ancestral domains. It was co-hosted by the CHR and the Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court (PCICC), a non-government organization seeks to find ways in which to assist people living in conflict-ridden areas. Also, through workshops during the forum, the PCICC will collect and analyze input provided by invited guests from conflict-ridden areas and government agencies, and submit these to the CHR and DAR. Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes was also invited to the event to speak about the issue of land rights, but was on an out-of-town trip that he committed to earlier. Meanwhile, Rosales urged residents of conflict-ridden to be patient. “Kahit gaano kahirap ang mga hinaharap nating problema, basta malinaw ang direksyon kung saan natin gusto pumunta, at malinaw kung ano ang paraan para makapunta sa direksyon na ito, wala tayong dapat katakutan,” she said.

One of the efforts taken to relieve conflicts over land ownership is the PCICC’s project called Building Bridges for Peace (BBP). Launched In 2009 with the support of the German Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (IFA), the project “that empowers farmers and IP (Indigenous Peoples) communities, and brings them to the table with LGUs, executive agencies, the military, to engage in dialogue and assert their claims to farms and ancestral lands.” The BBP projects particularly focused on the conflict-ridden areas of Quezon, Agusan del Norte and Misamis Oriental. These places are either facing issues of corporate interests in ancestral lands or armed conflict due to frustration in the process of fighting for land rights. According to the PCICC, its BPP dialogues have helped “effective rights assertions” in, among others, the following: facilitation of dialogues among stakeholders (farmers, indigenous peoples, government); a multi-sectoral review of the implementation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act and processing of Certificates of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT); and clarification of the role of the army in protecting the rights of farmers and IP.

Noynoy rapped for cover-up of US toxic dumping

From the Daily  Tribune (Nov 15): Noynoy rapped for cover-up of US toxic dumping

Filipino scientists yesterday accused President Aquino of covering up for the United States Navy in dumping toxic wastes, done through its waste contractor, which wastes that were dumped were tested to be 700 times more toxic than the government’s allowable water toxicity level, but Malacañang appears not to do anything about it, and has in fact downplayed the issue. Even as the Subic Authority chairman Roberto Garcia was summoned to Malacañang, Aquino’s spokesmen had claimed that while the President and Garcia met, nothing about the issue of toxic waste dumping was discussed. It was also noted that Garcia, after that meeting with Aquino, downplayed his earlier charges against the operators of MT Glen Guardian. Garcia has not been heard commenting on this toxic waste dumping since that meeting with Aquino. As of October of this year, 70 US Navy ships had passed through Subic, more than the 55 in 2011 and the 51 in 2010. A wire service report said that the Pentagon says that more than 100 US planes stop over each month at Clark, another former US base located between Manila and Subic. With 70 ships passing through Subic, it is reasonable to assume that their ships’ toxic wastes have also been dumped into Philppine waters. This was confirmed in the same report with a statement from Garcia who was quoted as saying: “Every month we have ships coming. A few weeks ago, we had the submarines, we’ve had the aircraft carriers.” Garcia is the 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 House Minority, led by Depury Minority Floor Leader Rep. Danilo Suarez, however, is pushing a probe on this matter and has called for one. Despite Tribune’s query, the Office of the Presidential Spokesman has declined to issue a statement on the charges of its alleged cover-up on the US government and the private shipping contractor’s dumping of toxic waste. Dr. Givanni Tapang, chairman of the local scientists organization called the AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, also condemned what they said was an irresponsible act of dumping hazardous and toxic waste in Subic Bay by US Navy contractor Glenn Defense Marine Asia. “What they dumped on our waters is highly dangerous and can cause possible death and harm to humans, according to Subic Bay Management Authority’s own laboratory analysis,” said Tapang, who is also the concurrent vice-president of Kalikasan Network....

Ano to take top post of ISAFP

From the Daily Tribune (Nov 15): Ano to take top post of ISAFP

A well-respected and seasoned intelligence officer looms to take over the coveted Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (Isafp) top post which is presently vacant due to recent top-level reassignments in the AFP. Reliable Camp Aguinaldo sources said that Brig. Gen. Eduardo Ano, incumbent assistant AFP deputy chief of staff for intelligence (J2), is the strongest contender for the Isafp top post. “General Ano is the strongest contender as chief Isafp. He is well-respected in the intelligence community where he excelled during his years of stint in various intel units of the Army,” said a mid-ranking intelligence officer. Another officer said “General Ano is very much qualified to take Isafp. He has very good intelligence background.” Ano was credited for cleansing Quezon province communist New People’s Army (NPA) during his stint as commander of the Army’s 201st Brigade. Prior to this, he served at the Army’s Intelligence and Security Group (ISG).  A member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1983, Ano is described as a “seasoned intelligence and operations officer.” The Isafp top post was vacated by the promotion of Maj. Gen. Caesar Ronnie Ordoyo, of PMA Class of 1980, as commanding general of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID).

ARMM communities, police, military celebrate Islamic New Year

From the Philippine Star (Nov 15): ARMM communities, police, military celebrate Islamic New Year

Southern communities, the police and the military celebrated on Thursday the Amon Jadid, or Islamic New Year, with calls for continuing support to the Mindanao peace process and cooperation in ensuring clean and honest elections in 2013. Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman declared November 15 a non-working holiday in ARMM, which covers Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur; the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, and the cities of Lamitan and Marawi. This year’s Amon Jadid, or the first day of the month of Muharram in year 1434, falls on October 15. Muslim members of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division were given day-long reprieve from duties for them to have enough time to be with their friends and relatives to celebrate Amon Jadid. Major Gen. Ceasar Ronnie Ordoyo, commander of 6th ID, ordered Thursday all military units in Maguindanao and North Cotabato to embark on more humanitarian projects and backchannel dialogues with the Muslim and Christian communities they serve to show the government’s sincerity in dealing with the MILF and the Moro National Liberation Front. Ordoyo also assured local officials in Maguindanao and North Cotabato of the 6th ID’s support to their medical and dental missions in far-flung areas where there are MILF enclaves covered by the July 1997 Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities. The MILF has more than 50 duly acknowledged lairs in Maguindanao. The group’s main bastion, Camp Darapanan, is located in the town of Sultan Kudarat in the first district of the same province.

ASG member in Lamitan siege falls

From the Philippine Star (Nov 15): ASG member in Lamitan siege falls

Intelligence and security forces captured an Abu Sayyaf member, tagged to be involved in the Lamitan siege, Thursday in the downtown of Lamitan City, Basilan province, according to officials. The suspect, charged for kidnapping with illegal detention, was identified as a certain Abu Benjamin, according to Capt. Alberto Caber, Spokesman of 1st Army Division. Caber said the suspect was cornered in Barangay Oval by the joint military and police intelligence unit and elements from the 32nd Infantry Battalion and Lamitan police. “Alias Abu Benjamin was involved in the infamous Lamitan siege in June 2001 following the Dos Palmas kidnapping and the invasion of the bandits in the city and took hostage of medical staff of the Jose Maria Torres Memorial Hospital,” Caber said. The suspect who was then with the group of slain abu Sayyaf chieftain Khadaffy Janjalani and henchman Aldam Tilao alias Abu Sabaya also occupied adjacent Saint Peter’s Church during the siege. The suspect was brought to the military headquarters in this city and placed under tactical debriefing before he would be handed over to the court for proper disposition. Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, 1st Army Division chief, commended the troops and ordered to continue the hunt against the Abu Sayyaf group, who is blamed for the spate of abductions and bombing attacks in the region.

Soldiers lauded for ‘saving’ rebel

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 15): Soldiers lauded for ‘saving’ rebel

The Army’s 6th Infantry Division yesterday commended Negrense Col. Ademar Tomaro, the new commander of the 602nd Infantry Brigade, and his men for strictly implementing the code of conduct stipulated in the Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan”. The group was recommended for extending medical first aid and evacuating an injured New People’ Army rebel to a hospital, saving his life. In his report to Major General Ceasar Ordoyo yesterday, Tomaro said the injured NPA member was airlifted to a military hospital in Maguindanao, after an encounter on Tuesday with 6th Scout Ranger Company troopers in Tulunan town of North Cotabato. Government troopers recovered an M16 and AK-47 assault rifles from the encounter site, where the body of a suspected NPA rebel killed in the encounter, was also found, military records show. Tomaro assumed command of the 602nd Infantry Brigade two weeks ago. He supervises the internal peace and security operations of four Army battalions in central Mindanao. Several days before the encounter, an abandoned rebel camp was discovered in the area by state security forces. Ordoyo also commended Tomaro, Lt. Col. Noel de la Cruz and 1Lt. Jonathan Sara Sara for the proper handling of the combat operation, and for strictly observing the Rules of Engagement. No casualty was reported on the government side. “Though we are gaining grounds against the NPA, “Ordoyo said, “I am also saddened that somebody’s life had to be sacrificed”. Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said that the 47th Infantry Battalion also extended help to the family of slain NPA medical officer Julia Tabat during her burial in Candoni recently. The NPA Armando Sumayang Command hailed Tabat, who was killed in an encounter with 47IB soldiers, as a martyr of the revolutionary movement.

Army chides latest HR complaint as mere propaganda

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 15): Army chides latest HR complaint as mere propaganda

The military brushed aside as mere propaganda the complaint of a farmer who was allegedly mauled by members of the 66th Infantry Battalion in Barangay San Roque, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley. Lt. Colonel Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division said the aggrieved party could have filed his complaint to the police for proper investigation. He said the complaint could have been heard in the venue where the accused can answer the charges against them. “The aggrieved party must file the complaint before a proper forum so that the accused, can answer his accusations," Paniza said. The complainant on Tuesday, filed a formal complaint against the soldiers before the Commission on Human Rights XI in Davao City and claimed he was allegedly mauled by them as they allegedly identified him to be the rebel leader operating in the area. Paniza said the military leadership ordered an investigation on the eight soldiers and two militiamen who allegedly figured in the incident. However, he doubted the veracity of the complaint saying it could just be another plot to discredit the soldiers. Paniza also expressed doubts on the credibility of the complainant who allegedly demanded P3,000 for the damages during a forum held in Barangay San Isidro, Nabunturan. He said the soldiers declined to yield to his demand and cited all his claims as baseless accusation. Colonel Antonino Florendo, commanding officer of the 66th IB expressed willingness to cooperate to an objective investigation on the alleged incident. He maintained that his soldiers did not commit human rights violation. “With the current thrust of winning the peace, the Army has put premium in the protection of the people, respect for human rights and the observation of the International Humanitarian Law,” Florendo said.

PAF announces the recruitment for enlisted personnel

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 15): PAF announces the recruitment for enlisted personnel

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) through the Philippine Air Force Personnel Management Center is currently recruiting applicants to become an Enlisted personnel who will be a Candidate Soldier (CS). The qualifications for male or female should be natural born citizen of the Republic of the Philippines; with at least 72 college units; height must be 5’0” for both male and female; and for Indigenous people/member should submit certification from National Commission on Indigenous People Main Office; not less than 18 years old and not a day older than 23 years old upon admission for training (born from 30 April 1990 to 30 April 1995); Single and no legal obligation to support a child or children; physically and mentally fit for military training and with good moral character. Requirements must have an authenticated photocopy of NSO Birth Certificate; authenticated copy of transcript of records or for graduating/currently enrolled students – certificate of completion of number of units earned from the school registrar and two pieces 2x2 pictures. Deadline for submission of application will be on November 26, 2012.
For Visayas, there will be a simultaneous schedule of examinations on December 1 at the 560th ABW, Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base, Lapu-Lapu City and TOG 6, Dingle, Iloilo City.

For Luzon, on November 24 will be held at the AETC, Fernando Air Base, Lipa City, Batangas, TOG 1. Loakan Airport, Baguio City and 580th ACWG, San Fernando City, La Union; November 28 at the TOG 5, Legazpi Airport, Legazpi City, 600TH ABW, CAB, Angeles City, Pampanga and TOG 2, Cauayan Airport, Cauayan, Isabela. On December 1 will be at the 570th ABW, Antonio Bautista Air Base, Palawan and December 4 will be at the PAFPMC, Col Jesus Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.

For Mindanao, on November 24 will be held at the 530th ABW, EAAB, Zamboanga City and TOG 10, Lumbia Airport, Cagayan De Oro City and another schedule will be on November 28 at the TOG 12, Datu Udin Sinsuat, Awang, Cotabato City and TOG 11, Sasa, Davao City.
They will be trained at the summer capital of the Philippine Air Force at Air Education Training Command, Lipa City, Batangas.(HFG/PIA-7/PAF)

NPA rebel killed, another wounded in clash with military troops

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 14): NPA rebel killed, another wounded in clash with military troops

A communist rebel was killed while another was wounded in a clash Tuesday with government troops in the boundary of Tulunan, North Cotabato and Magsaysay, Davao del Sur. Col. Prudencio Asto, Army’s 6th Infantry Division military-public affairs office chief, said the encounter was a result of the operations launched by Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade after the residents tipped to the military the presence of armed New People's Army (NPA) rebels in the area. Accordingly, the local residents have been fed up with the threats, intimidation and extortion of the NPAs for a long time. This developed as the military airlifted to the infirmary of this camp the wounded rebel identified as Reynante Soliman Dalon shortly after the encounter for immediate treatment. During clearing operations, government troopers also recovered two high-powered firearms at the encounter site. There was no casualty on the government side, Asto stressed.

New AFP central commander assures support to peaceful and clean elections

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 15): New AFP central commander assures support to peaceful and clean elections

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Commander Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano assured that their units will support the holding of peaceful and clean elections come May 2013. Alano, who assumed his position only last October and is now visiting all units in the Visayas island which he covers, said that the AFP members are ready to perform their jobs in protecting the people and will ensure the holding of peaceful and honest election. He further said that they are part of the joint peace and security council together with the Philippine National Police and led by the Comelec. “We will go after the private armies to make sure that there will be no coercion and the rebel groups' extortion activities stopped,” Alano contended. The AFP Central Command covers Regions 6, 7, and 8 in the Visayan island.

New AFP central commander visits 301st IB in Panay

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 15): New AFP central commander visits 301st IB in Panay

The New Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Central Commander Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano visited Thursday the 301st Infantry Brigrade in Dingle, Iloilo and covers Panay island. Alano, who paid courtesy call to Iloilo Gov. Arthur Defensor, Sr. before heading for Dingle, said his visit was part of his job to supervise all units under the central command that covers Regions 6,7, and 8 in the Visayas island. He said he wanted to ensure that all AFP units be able to perform their jobs and carry out their mandate. Alano was accompanied by 301st Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Arnold M. Quiapo in visiting the governor at the New Iloilo Capitol Building today.

Army soldiers conduct ‘Harvest Festival’ in Davao Oriental

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 15): Army soldiers conduct ‘Harvest Festival’ in Davao Oriental

The military recently conducted “Harvest Festival” aimed to provide alternative livelihood for residents in Barangay Tagboa, Lupon here. Col. Reuben Basiao, commander of the 72nd Infantry Battalion, said hundreds of residents benefited from their community-based project “Gulayan” after they harvested more than 60 kilos of upo, five kilos of okra and five kilos of string beans from their 500-square meter vegetable garden. The military detachment’s “Gulayan” is among the model projects on vegetable production using organic fertilizer especially prepared by the CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) and military personnel trained by the Department of Agriculture (DA) regional office. The "Harvest Festival" in the said CAA Patrol Base "Gulayan", was also participated by the faculties and Parents Teachers Association officials and students from Macangao Agricultural Tagboa Extension High School, barangay health officials, barangay officials and local populace of the place. Lt. Benedict Joy Corpuz, Bravo company commander of 72nd IB, said that after establishing a model “Gulayan” in barangays, their trained personnel will continue to extend their technical expertise and manpower to train and assist in the creation of “Gulayan sa Paaralan” projects and will soon expand the said livelihood to other sitios as they deploy their Community Development Teams (CDTs). Basiao said they are putting efforts to transform the CAA getting involved in various community-based activities to support the local chiefs in their respective areas in creating productive and secure communities.

Extortion behind burning of four road equipment in Nueva Ecija

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 15): Extortion behind burning of four road equipment in Nueva Ecija

The burning of four heavy construction equipment in Barangay Pesa here last Monday was an act of “extortion” by four alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA). This surfaced as the local police submitted a progress report to Nueva Ecija Provincial Police Director Sr. Supt. Walter Castillejos on Wednesday. The four alleged NPA members that set on fire four heavy construction equipment were said to have demanded payment of “revolutionary tax” from the owner of the equipment. The four heavy construction equipment were then doing some rehabilitation work along a river bank in Barangay Pesa when doused with gasoline and set on fire by the alleged NPA rebel group. Town chief of police Chief Inspector Jonathan Alayon reported that Israel Reguyal of Barangay Larcon, this town, had received a letter sometime in 2011 from the NPA group demanding P200,000 as “revolutionary tax.” Reguyal owns the heavy equipment. Reguyal told the police that at the time he gave P40,000 only. Reguyal said he later received a call through his cell phone demanding that he pay the remaining balance of P160,000 until December 2011 or something bad will happen to him. The police also learned that right after the Nov. 12 burning incident, at 11 p.m., a caller who identified himself as “Ka Lenny” contacted Reguyal and told him that they were responsible for the burning. Meanwhile, the army’s the Intelligence and Security Agency and Military Intelligence Group, and the 7th Infantry (“Kaugnay”) Division confirmed the identity of “Ka Lenny” as the commanding officer of the sub-regional guerrilla unit under the command of Arsenio Paras alias “Ka Bobong Paras,” secretary of Central Luzon Regional Command of the NPA.

Eight Zambo Sibugay towns receive P16M for Pamana projects

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 15): Eight Zambo Sibugay towns receive P16M for Pamana projects

The province of Zamboanga Sibugay received P16 million for the implementation of Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) projects in eight towns in the province. The fund was handed over by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Regional Director Pedro Cueva, Jr. to Zamboanga Sibugay acting Planning and Development Coordinator Venancio Ferrer with Finance and Administrative Division officer-in-charge Fiorello Elizaga. The eight beneficiary towns and the corresponding amount they will receive are as follows: Tungawan, P2 million; Payao, P4 million; Mabuhay and Kabasalan, P3 million; Naga, P4 million; Talusan, P1 million; Olutanga, P1 million; and, Titay, P1 million. The implementation of Pamana projects is anchored on one of the primary objectives of the program, which is to reduce poverty and vulnerability in conflict-affected areas through sustainable rural development, community infrastructure and focused delivery of social services. Pamana is the national government’s program and framework for peace and development. It is implemented in areas affected by conflict and communities covered by existing peace agreements. A complementary track to peace negotiations, the program’s main strategy is to bring back government to Pamana areas, ensuring that the communities benefit from improved delivery of basic social services and are served by responsive, transparent and accountable government units. From 2011-2016, Pamana will be implemented in 48 provinces where each area will receive development programs according to the specific needs of the people residing in that region.

MNLF, MILF delegations in Djibouti for OIC meet

From MindaNews (Nov 15): MNLF, MILF delegations in Djibouti for OIC meet

The Moro National Liberation Front under Nur Misuari and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front may not have sat down for a meeting in the Philippines but they will find themselves in the same place in Djibouti, Africa, for the 39th Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) meeting in Djibouti, Africa on November 15 to 17. Misuari announced he would attend the Djibouti conference during the “Grand Summit Gathering” of the MNLF at the Crocodile Park in Davao City on October 21. The MNLF has been sitting as observer in the OIC since 1977, before Misuari’s vice chair, Salamat Hashim, broke away to form what initially was referred to as the “New MNLF” but was later renamed MILF. Mohagher Iqbal, MILF peace panel chair, told MindaNews on Wednesday that MILF peace panel members Michael Mastura and Maulana Alonto, along with secretariat member Mohajirin Ali, are attending the conference in Djibouti. The Philippine government has also sent a representative in the OIC, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Rafael Seguis, who was former chair of the GPH panel negotiating with the MILF. Iqbal declined to comment if MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, who was also invited to the CFM, is attending. Murad and Misuari had met previously in a CFM, sat specifically in the 37th meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on May 18 to 20, 2010. The OIC has been trying to set up a Bangsamoro Coordination Forum consisting of the MNLF factions and the MILF....

GPH, MILF in KL to work on annexes; “partners now, not adversaries”

From MindaNews (Nov 15): GPH, MILF in KL to work on annexes; “partners now, not adversaries”

A month after the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), the government (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are back at the Palace of the Golden Horses hotel to buckle down to work on the annexes on power-sharing, wealth-sharing and normalization, “to complete a comprehensive agreement by the end of the year.” The technical working groups (TWGs) on power-sharing and wealth-sharing have been meeting here since August but the TWG on Normalization was convened only on Monday with the MILF handing over its proposal to the GPH on Wednesday afternoon. Unlike previous peace negotiations, the mood has changed as both parties no longer view each other as adversaries but as partners, GPH peace panel chair Marvic Leonen and MILF peace panel chair Mohagher Iqbal said. Leonen told MindaNews that while the TWG are facing “several challenges, “it’s no longer adversarial. It’s more on let’s work on this together.” Iqbal agreed with Leonen’s observation. “It is more on problem-solving mode now,” he told MindaNews. The T­­­WG meetings are held simultaneously. This is the longest GPH-MILF negotiation in the last 15 years — seven days from November 12 to 18 — longer than last month’s six-day final round to complete the FAB. This is also the biggest delegation for both the government and the MILF – 40 for the government and 15 from the MILF. Each TWG has six members, three from each panel, with note-takers and observers that include members of the International Contact Group....

FBI adds Sayyaf leader to ‘Most Wanted Terrorists’ list, offers $1 million bounty

From the Mindanao Examiner (Nov 15): FBI adds Sayyaf leader to ‘Most Wanted Terrorists’ list, offers $1 million bounty

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation has added a senior Abu Sayyaf leader on its list of the most wanted terrorist in the world for his involvement in the kidnapping of US missionary Charles Walton in the southern Philippines province of Sulu. Walton, then working for the Summer Institute Linguistics, a missionary organization involved in translating the Bible, was kidnapped in November 14, 1993 in Pangutaran Island where he lived for nearly 20 years. He was freed a month later. “Raddulan Sahiron is wanted for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping of a United States Citizen. On November 14, 1993, the victim was abducted from his residence at Simbahan, Pangutaran, Sulu, Philippines, by approximately 14 armed members of the terrorist organization Al Harakat al Islamiyyah, also known as the Abu Sayyaf Group. The victim was transported to the terrorist's jungle camp on the Southern Philippine island of Jolo. He was held captive for 23 days until his release on December 7, 1993,” the FBI said.It said Sahiron was indicted in the US District Court in Columbia on February 27, 2007, and was charged with hostage taking and aiding and abetting and causing an act to be done. It added that an arrest warrant was issued on the same date. Sahiron, a former commander of the Moro National Liberation Front, is believed to be hiding in Sulu’s Patikul town. The US State Department has offered a bounty of $1 million for the capture of Sahiron, who was also linked to the 2001 kidnappings of a US missionary couple Martin and Gracia Burnham, and California man Guillermo Sobero, along with 17 Filipino holiday makers in Palawan Island in Western Visayas in central Philippines and brought them by boat to Basilan province in southern Philippines....

CPP/NDF: Justice still elusive for Leonard Co as human rights violations remain widespread

Posted to the CPP Website (Nov 15): Justice still elusive for Leonard Co as human rights violations remain widespread

Fr. Santiago Salas (Ka Sanny)
NDF-Eastern Visayas

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today marked the second death anniversary of scientist Leonard Co who was murdered in Kananga, Leyte, and said that justice remains elusive for him because human rights violations have not been addressed but in fact continue under the Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan. “It is sad to note that two years after the massacre of Leonard Co and his companions in November 2010, not one of the perpetrators from the 19th IB have been brought to justice, and that is true of other rights violations as well,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago Salas. “Government troops enjoy impunity on military offensives disguised as for “peace and development.” The military propagadists led by the chief of the 8th Infantry Division, Gen. Gerardo Layug, are bastardizing human rights and international humanitarian law in claiming to uphold these even as many civilians are affected by Oplan Bayanihan.”.... Furthermore, there is clear US backing for Oplan Bayanihan not only as a “counterinsurgency” doctrine but through direct support—a glaring violation of national sovereignty—as seen in the 8th ID’s boasting that US troops provided them this year with infrastructure, medical and capability support through the Pacific Partnership military intervention disguised as a “humanitarian mission.” The Aquino regime is also using its so-called Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) as a “counterinsurgency” tool, where millions are poured into communities being torn by militarization to cover up the realities of rights violations and the lack of long-lasting solutions for the people’s poverty and misery....

MILF: MILF to members: ‘It’s not yet liberation’

From the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Website (Nov 15): MILF to members: ‘It’s not yet liberation’

One of the main advocacy lines that the various advocacy groups impart to members of the MILF from Sulu to Malapatan, Sarangani, to Dinas, Zamboanga del Sur, to Buluan, Maguindanao, and to Mati, Davao Oriental, and elsewhere is: “It is not yet liberation for the Bangsamoro.” Ali Celes, who led the six-man advocacy team to Jolo, Sulu, told Luwaran that the support shown by the people of this historic island province is more than our expectation. “It is overwhelming. They came in hordes and they wanted to hold a parade but we advised them not to proceed; it is not yet advisable,” he said. “It is not yet liberation,” he told a jam-packed gymnasium of the Sulu State College in downtown Jolo in one of their sessions last November 9. The team planned to proceed to Bongao, Tawi-Tawi for another engagement. “We must come together and help one another for the road ahead is still full of thorns and traps,” he warned them. In Malapatan, Sarangani, no less than MILF Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar spearheaded the sortie here, noting the high spirit of the civilian populations which included members of the indigenous tribes and Christians. “The euphoria of the signing in Manila is very much alive,” another member team disclosed to Luwaran. In Mati, Davao Oriental, the MILF Peace Panel sent Datu Antonio Kinoc, an alternate member, to explain the Framework Agreement and it affects the people’s lives in Mindanao. “It is a key (referring to the Agreement) for just peace, development, and progress in Mindanao,” he pointed out, adding that more and more efforts and sacrifices are needed to surge ahead with the Agreement. In Baloi, Lanao del Norte, equally excited civilians welcomed the MILF advocacy team with cheers of “Allahu Akbar! (Allah is great!)....

Ka Frank still Army’s most wanted

From the Sun Star-Bacolod (Nov 15): Ka Frank still Army’s most wanted

FORMER priest-turned-rebel Frank Fernandez, head of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in Negros Occidental, is still ranked as number one among the most wanted list of the Philippine Army here in the province. Fernandez, who faces a string of cases, included murder and attempted murder, carries a P7.8-million bounty for his arrest. This was bared during a press conference Wednesday held by the Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center at the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office presided by 303rd Brigade commander Col. Oscar Lactao and provincial police director, Senior Superintendent Milko Lirazan. Lactao admitted that Fernandez, despite his age and reported ailment, continues to elude arrest. Also included in the wanted list is former village chief Noel Ayalin who was charged with the murder of four village officials in Barangay Kapitan Ramon, Silay City almost two years ago. Lirazan said that government troops continue to be on the lookout for Ayalin who was reported to have been sick and has grown his hair as part of changing his appearance. Ayalin carries a P500,000 reward for his arrest.