Friday, November 30, 2012

MILF urged people to support planned Bangsamoro gov't in Mindanao

From the Philippine Star (Nov 39): MILF urged people to support planned Bangsamoro gov't in Mindanao

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front ( MILF) urged today the people in Mindanao to rally behind the planned Bangsamoro government. "What we will build and restore is Bangsamoro government that is strong, popular and responsible, a government that is honest and accountable, a government that will really care and will not exploit its people," said MILF First Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar. He clarified that the intention of the Bangsamoro government is not to weed out the traditional politics and politicians capitulated by political dynasties. Jaafar also assured that the new government will respect and protect the rights and general welfare of the non-Muslims such as the Christians and indigenous peoples. "I could not remember in the history of the Bangsamoro and find a government in the world that the rights of the non-Muslims were not respected and protected," he said. The MILF has been conducting advocacy campaign on the framework agreement since its formal signing in Manila on Oct. 15 by the Muslim rebel group and the Philippine government.

Aquino: China's plan defies int’l law

From Rappler (Nov 30): Aquino: China's plan defies int’l law

President Benigno Aquino III said China’s plan to board and expel ships “illegally entering” disputed waters violates freedom of navigation. Aquino said he ordered Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario to ask for details about the report and prepare “appropriate responses.” The President said, "It seems it will be very hard to implement that because there is a particular provision in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea about Freedom of Navigation."

"Publicly, China said several times that it will not hinder freedom of navigation. Now, we can see on the surface that this (plan) seems to be contrary to their off stated public statements,” Aquino said in Filipino during an interview in Cebu on Friday, November 30. Chinese state media reported that the Chinese province of Hainan passed regulations allowing police to board and seize control of foreign ships “illegally entering” the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea.) The China Daily report said illegal activities include entering Hainan’s waters without permission, damaging coastal defense facilities, and engaging in publicity that “threatens national security.”

Aquino said he read the reports but wants to find out the details to determine what action to take. “If we prove that there was indeed that order, it’s not just a proposal, we will lodge a diplomatic note or a formal protest and it also tells us where to go to in terms of advancing our interest.” Aquino said China’s move may even be grounds for the Philippines to elevate the territorial dispute to international bodies.  “We might accelerate and bring it before the appropriate international tribunal to finally settle the matter or at least start the process of settling it legally and concretely.”......’l-law

Soldiers intercept explosives in Cabadbaran

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Dec 1): Soldiers intercept explosives in Cabadbaran

Elements of the 23rd Infantry Battalion (CAFGU) under the operational control of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion stationed at Mahaba Patrol Base intercepted the transport of explosive materials during a security patrol conducted Monday morning. Confiscated from a certain Jun Canaway were 10 super dynamites, one roll of time fuse and ammonium nitrate used for making explosives allegedly owned by Satia Mineral Trading. The explosives were now under the custody of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion. “We have endorsed the apprehended person to the Philippine National Police and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group for proper investigation if there were violations made in transporting these explosives. What we are trying to prevent here is letting these explosives fell into the wrong hands. Many of our soldiers and police have already been victims of landmine explosions perpetrated by the New People’s Army and we do not want these things to happen again,” said Col. Ronald N. Albano, commander of the 402nd Infantry (Stingers) Brigade.

Airborne unit takes over control of Cafgus in ZC

From the Daily Zamboanga Times (Nov 30 ): Airborne unit takes over control of Cafgus in ZC

The internal defense of the city got a major boost as the Headquarters Support Company of the 4th Special Forces Battalion has effectively taken over the command and control of all civilian auxiliary forces or the CAFGU in Zamboanga City effective October 1 of this year. Company commander Lt. Archimedes Aranas yesterday paid a courtesy call on 2nd District Rep. Erbie A. Fabian to formally introduce the unit and inform the solon of their arrival in the city. The Riverine Company took over control of the armed civilian auxillary force here from the 18th infantry battalion as it transferred to Zamboanga City from its base in Basilan.

In his brief meeting with the 2nd district solon, Lt. Aranas expressed gratitude to Fabian for his continuing support for barangay tanods and to the military here as the solon remains emphatic in improving the peace and order condition in the city especially in the far flung rural areas. Fabian called on the airborne unit to continue the training of barangay tanods and the cafgu units to better equip civilian security forces in the barangays in times of emergency. Fabian also assured Lt. Aranas of his office continued support to the Special Forces Riverine company as they work to upgrade the capability of all civilian auxiliary defense units here.Lt. Aranas explained the transfer of command of all Cafgu units to his company required them to relocate here from Basilan. The Special Forces Battalion is currently under the command of Col. Moises M. Nayve Jr.

MILF: IP Community in Sarangani oriented on Bangsamoro Framework Agreement

From the MILF Website (Nov 30): IP Community in Sarangani oriented on Bangsamoro Framework Agreement

More than a hundred members of Indigenous People belonging to Blaan tribe were given orientation on the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro on November 27, 2012 at Barangay Banahaw, Malungon, Sarangani. The activity was a joint effort of the MILF- Political Committee in Malungon, Kalinaw Sarangani Unit (KSU) under the Office of the Governor of Sarangani, Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society-Rajah Buayan Chapter. The orientation was facilitated by Ayessa Tin from KSU, Osmeña Salisipan, Secretary of the Provincial Political Committee-Sugoda Buayan Province and Langcap Quraish, a peace advocate and local historian.

The audience was briefed on the history of Bangsamoro struggle and the progress of the GPH-MILF peace process. The salient points of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement were also explained. Salisipan highlighted the connection between the non-Islamized IPs and the Moro people through the siblings Mamalo and Tabunaway. The Malaysian-led GPH-MILF International Monitoring from Team Sites 4 and 5 also graced the activity. They shared to the audience their role in the peace process and accomplishments. Representatives from 1002nd Infantry Brigade, MILF-Ad Hoc Joint Action Group, Barangay Council of Banahaw, also supported the information drive.

During the open forum, the audience asked if the National Commission on Indigenous People can exercise its power inside the Bangsamoro territory. The organizers look forward for continuous collaboration to reach more communities of the province on the information dissemination activities about BAF. KSU has been active in the information drive on BAF since October 28, 2012 as per instruction of the governor. Jocelyn Lambac-Kanda, Peace Program Officer and Kalinaw Sarangani Program Manager, stressed the importance of educating the public on the FAB to gain their support. She believes that with massive information drive, the debacle brought by the failure of MOA-AD signing in 2008 will not be repeated.

Op/Ed: The Bangsamoro core territory

Op/Ed piece by Fr. Jun Mercadeo OMI in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 30): The Bangsamoro core territory

The Framework Agreement (FA) that was signed between the Philippine Government (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on October 15, 2012 defines the areas of coverage of the “emerging” Bangsamoro New Political Entity (NPE). 

Section V: on Territory, Article 1 states that the “Bangsamoro shall be composed of:
(a) the present geographical area of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM);(b) the Municipalities of Baloi, Munai, Nunungan, Pantar, Tagoloan and Tangkal in the province of Lanao del Norte and all other barangays in the Municipalities of Kabacan, Carmen, Aleosan, Pigkawayan, Pikit and Midsayap that voted for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 plebiscite;(c) the cities of Cotabato and Isabela; and\(d) all other contiguous areas where there is a resolution of the local government unit or a petition of at least ten percent (10%) of the qualified voters in the area asking for their inclusion at least two months prior to the conduct of the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the process of delimitation of the Bangsamoro as mentioned in the next paragraph.

I purposely put the last phrase in bold letters to show the ambiguity on who shall ratify the Basic Law. The next paragraph referred to specifies the manner by which the Basic Law will be drafted by the Transitional Commission. The Basic Law would go “through a process of popular ratification among all the Bangsamoro within the areas for their adoption” (Sec. V, Art. 2). The phrase “among all the Bangsamoro” limits the ratification of the Basic Law. It seems to collide with Section II: on Basic Law, Section 4 that specifies that the Basic Law shall be “ratified by the qualified voters within its territory.” The former limits the ratification among all the Bangsamoro, and the latter expands the ratification to include all the qualified voters within its territory, unless the definition of the word “qualified” in the said phrase refers only to the Bangsamoro.

The other question people raised is the definition of the phrase: “contiguous areas.” First, the word “area,” does it refer to municipality or barangay or both? Would it also include “sitio” and “community”? The other word that requires definition is “contiguous.” Does it mean adjacent to the core territory as defined in the FA and later on in the Basic Law? Some understand it as “adjacent to the present geographical area of the ARMM” (letter “a” in Article 1, Section V), while others understand it as adjacent to all the areas enumerated above. Whichever the case, the Basic Law needs to clearly specify or define the said phrase to avoid any ambiguity.

There is yet another provision in the FA on Territory that people ask for clarification. This is Article 3 which says areas that “are contiguous and outside the core territory where there are substantial population of the Bangsamoro may opt anytime to be part of the territory upon petition of at least ten percent (10%) of the residents and approved by a majority of qualified voters in a plebiscite.”

There is also the jurisprudence on the counting of votes for inclusion or exclusion in a plebiscite on Organic Act. In the two cases of RA 6734 and RA 9054 as well as in the case of the failed Organic Act in the Cordillera, the counting of votes is on the basis of plurality in a PROVINCE and CITY. Municipalities and barangays do NOT constitute separate and distinct units outside of provinces and cities. The principle behind the said jurisprudence is the fact that the whole province or the whole city would be affected by the said inclusion or exclusion process thus all qualified voters in the said province or city need to give their assent or dissent on the subject.

Would the plebiscite envisioned in the ratification of the Basic Law radically change the counting of assents to the inclusion and exclusion process? If yes, on what basis would the said change be introduced without violating the constitutional guarantee in any plebiscite for creating, dividing, inclusion or exclusion of territories or areas? No doubt, the final and definitive version on the subject will be the Basic Law. Though the Transitional Commission shall draft the said law, it is the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines that will have the final say since it shall enact the said law. Ultimately, it will be the qualified voters in the said territory who would have the final say. They have to give their assent for inclusion or exclusion in the process either by voting “yes” or “no” to the Basic Law. Only areas where the “yes” votes have the plurality would be included in the Bangsamoro New Autonomous Political Entity.

Casiño expects red-tagging vs leftist candidates

From Rapper (Nov 30): Casiño expects red-tagging vs leftist candidates

Senatorial candidate Teodoro "Teddy" Casiño of the Makabayan coalition said they are expecting “rehashed red-tagging” to disenfranchise "progressive" politicians in the coming elections. “Red-tagging against us will always be present every election. But we believe that the people will eventually see through this labels,” Casiño said in front of thousands of supporters here. “The challenge is to show what we have actually accomplished,” Casiño added.

The Makabayan bloc, the official umbrella political organization of leftist party-list groups, made the same accusation againt the military and other rightist groups, including retired general and now fugitive Jovito Palparan, during the 2010 national elections. Makabayan fielded former Bayan Muna Rep Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Rep Liza Maza for the Senate race in that election. Both lost.
Makabayan said their critics seek to demonize the leftist candidates as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army to intimidate their members and supporters. The militants have consistently denied the allegations. Ariel Casilao, Makabayan regional coordinator for Southern Mindanao, is confident the red tagging will not work. But he maintained that the red tagging must be resisted and exposed.

NCIP-XI nixes arming Lumads in Davao against NPA

From MindaNews (Nov 30): NCIP-XI nixes arming Lumads in Davao against NPA

An official of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in Region XI has dissuaded the Lumads or indigenous peoples in Paquibato District in Davao City from joining a paramilitary group to protect themselves against threats allegedly coming from the New People’s Army (NPA). Jane Lopez-Banzon, community affairs officer of NCIP XI, on Wednesday said she told the Lumads that arming themselves is not part of their culture. Banzon and representatives from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees went to Sitio Malingkong, Paquibato on Tuesday to visit 17 families who evacuated from Sitios 26 and Alon after receiving threats allegedly from NPA commander Leoncio Pitao aka Parago. She said the Lumads wanted to become members of the paramilitary Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) to protect themselves from the revolutionary group. She pointed out that the Lumads simply want to live peacefully, and it is hard on their part to decide whether they should arm themselves against the NPA.

Banzon said there are appropriate measures in addressing the security problem of the Lumads, adding it would be better for the government to continue the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Mayor Sara Duterte said in a text message that while becoming a Cafgu member is a personal decision “it is a good idea for the community to be trained to secure themselves.” She added however that it is all up to the military being the organization that handles the Cafgu. Councilor Karlo Bello, chair of the city council committee on civil, political and human rights, said in a phone interview that becoming a member of a paramilitary would make the Lumads part of the government forces. This, he noted, would make them targets of the NPA.

Lt. Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, commanding officer of the 69th Infantry Battalion, said in a text message that it was the Lumads themselves who asked to be trained as Cafgus to ward off the NPA from their community. “I think they have spoken that they want to be secured in their communities and to have economic opportunities,” he added. Asked whether the military will recruit the Lumads in Malikongkong into the Cafgu, he said it was up to the 10th Infantry Division. “I guess the IPs in Paquibato have spoken that they do not want the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA-NDFP in their communities. It’s time for them to heed the sentiments and call of the IPs,” Pasaporte said.

Dulphing Ogan of Kalumaran said the intention of some Lumads to join the AFP is a usual reaction as they are divided. He cited that there is a pending application for a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) and mining in the area. That is why there is a strong campaign against the NPA due to the armed group’s resistance to CADT and mining applications, he added. He said there should be an independent investigation on the incidet.

Rev. Jurie Jaime, secretary general of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, also called for an in-depth probe “to establish whether there is, indeed, a threat or none, or if this move to arm the lumads is not instigated by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines and the military-backed group called ‘Black Fighter’ and ‘Alamara’.” “The AFP is clearly using the Lumads for their counterinsurgency program. They will be used by the military as baits and shields against the NPA. This move breeds more human rights violations in the coming days, we can foresee a chaotic Lumad community under the control of military commands,” he said. He added that the AFP is “using this scenario to justify their presence and encampments in civilian communities, and to have more budgets and amaze logistical support from the people’s money through arming the Lumads.” Berilo Mambo-o, the Lumad representative in the city council, said earlier that there was no real threat to the Lumads in Paquibato, adding that striking back at the NPA will not resolve the problem.

Gazmin calls for formal protest of Chinese naval patrol of disputed territories

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 30): Gazmin calls for formal protest of Chinese naval patrol of disputed territories

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Friday the Philippines should formally protest China’s reported new policy on patrolling the South China Sea as security experts viewed as a serious concern China’s threat to board and expel vessels that enter areas it claims to be part of its territory. “That’s not a good statement from China. We will just have to see what we can do to avoid this situation where they will be boarding our ships. Maybe at this point we need to file right away a protest. Let’s do the diplomatic and legal action on this,” Gazmin told reporters following the rites commemorating the 149th birth anniversary of Andres Bonifacio at the Philippine Army’s headquarters at Fort Bonifacio. Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez said Gazmin’s recommendation would be “the action once (the new border patrol rule) is made official” by a statement from the Chinese government itself.
On Thursday, China’s state-run media reported that China will allow its police in the southern Chinese province of Hainan to board, seize control, or expel foreign ships that “illegally enter” Chinese waters. The reports said the new rule would take effect on Jan. 1.
As of late Friday afternoon, Galvez said the Department of National Defense continued to “gather more information” regarding China’s reported new border patrol rule. “We are waiting for an official statement from the Chinese government. That will be something that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) will clarify,” Galvez said......

PAF gets 2 new helicopters

From the Philippine Star (Nov 30): PAF gets 2 new helicopters

One of the Sokol helicopters that arrived in Clark, Pampanga last Monday - Air Force photo

Two brand-new combat utility helicopters acquired from a Polish firm have arrived in the country, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) said Friday. PAF spokesman Col. Miguel Okol said the Sokol helicopters arrived last Monday via an Antonov cargo plane in Clark Airbase, Pampanga. The helicopters were airlifted from a factory in Poland and were delivered to the 410th Maintenance Wing for assembly and final maintenance checks. The two helicopters constitute the second batch of Sokols acquired from Polish manufacturer PZL-Świdnik S.A. The first batch, which consisted of four helicopters, arrived last February while the final two Sokols are expected to be delivered early next year. “These helicopters will be used for search and rescue missions. It has enough space for two pilots, two crewmen, three medical attendants and six rescued survivors,” Okol said.

The acquisition of the eight combat utility helicopters costs P2.8 billion, including ground support equipment, spare parts, support services and training for aircrew and maintainers. The helicopters will be turned over to the 505th Search and Rescue Group where it will augment the first four Sokols delivered last February. PZL-Świdnik said the delivery marked “an important program milestone” for both the Air Force and the Polish firm. “The outstanding capabilities of the Sokol helicopter and its ability to perform a wide range of roles will further enhance the capabilities of the Philippine Air Force” said Nicola Bianco, managing director of PZL-Świdnik S.A. in a statement. Officials earlier said that the Sokol (Polish for “falcon”) helicopter is an ideal air asset since it can be fitted with equipment depending on its mission. In its website, PZL Swidnik S.A. described itself as “a major industrial partner in the aerospace market, supplying aero structures to many of the world’s leading helicopter and aircraft manufacturers.”

Recent air mishaps have depleted the capabilities of the Air Force, which critics have jokingly described as “all air but no force.” Last October, a newly-refurbished C-130 cargo plane arrived at the Villamor Airbase in Pasay from the United States (US). The C-130 with tail number 4704 was sent to a British Aerospace facility at Mojave, California last August 8 for periodic depot maintenance. The maintenance works cost P190 million and was funded through foreign military sales. At present, there are only two C-130 planes in the PAF inventory.

Earlier, PAF said it is looking forward to the planned acquisition of key aerial assets in the next two to three years. These assets are three radar systems, 21 utility helicopters, 10 attack helicopters, four search and rescue helicopters, two long-range patrol aircraft, a special mission aircraft, three medium lift aircraft and 12 lead-in fighters.

Soldier injured in battle

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 30): Soldier injured in battle

An Army soldier, who used to be assigned in southern Negros, was injured in an encounter yesterday with suspected New People's Army rebels, in Brgy. Acuna, Tapaz, Capiz, the military said. PFC Brent Pagulayan was rushed to a hospital in Capiz for treatment of a head injury, after he was hit by a rock splinter, as they were being harassed by rebels. The 61 st Infantry Battalion was assigned in southern Negros before its transfer and swapping of areas with the 47 th Infantry Battalion in the boundary of Iloilo and Capiz, military records show. Major Enrico Gil Ileto, spokesman of the Army's 3 rd Infantry Division, said the delivery of government projects, construction of schools under the Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan–Comprehensive Integrated Delivery of Social Service project, and road improvements near the encounter site will continue despite the attempt of rebels to disrupt them. Capt. Joselito Dalida of the 61 st IB said the encounter lasted for about five minutes, and the rebels withdrew in separate directions. Pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels are ongoing.

PH Air Force has 2 new Sokol helicopters

From InterAksyon (Nov 30): PH Air Force has 2 new Sokol helicopters

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) received two new helicopters early this week, which is expected to boost its air capability. In a statement Friday, PAF spokesman Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said the two Sokol multipurpose helicopters arrived last November 26 at Clark Air Base in Pampanga. The choppers were airlifted using an Antonov cargo plane from a factory in Poland. Okol said the helicopters would be used for search and rescue missions. The aircraft can accommodate two pilots, two crew members, three medical attendants, and six more people. The helicopters will be turned over to the 505th Search and Rescue Group and will augment the four Sokols delivered earlier this year. Two more helicopters are expected to be delivered to the Air Force next year.

All is set for week of peace celebration in Basilan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 30): All is set for week of peace celebration in Basilan

Several activities have been lined up for the Nov. 29-Dec. 5 observance of the Mindanao Week of Peace 2012 in Basilan. A motorcade held Thursday kicked off the celebration. Prior the start of the celebration, series of multi-stakeholders meeting were held to plan out the activities for the meaningful observance of the annual week of peace celebration with this year’s theme “Love of God, Love of Neighbor, Together for Sustainable Peace: A Challenge for Mindanao.” The multi-stakeholders group was composed of representatives from selected government agencies, non-government organizations, academe, the religious sector, and the military and police, among others.

Spearheaded by the Nagdilaab Foundation Inc. (NFI), the multi-stakeholders group has agreed to initiate and support the following activities: Lantawan Youth Peace Camp on Nov. 30-Dec. 2, Anti-Drug Abuse symposium in Maluso town on Dec 3, Poster-making competition among students and pupils from the different school districts in Basilan and Isabela City on Dec 4, an Inter-Faith Dialogue on Dec. 5. A peace conference and forum on the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) is also slated on December 6 depending on the availability of the resource persons. The FAB forum was earlier scheduled last Nov 24, but was postponed initially to December 7 because of the appointment of Government chief negotiator Marvic Leonen to the Supreme Court. He was supposed to be the main speaker during the FAB forum in Basilan.

Officials from the provincial government of Basilan said that arrangements are still being done with the GPH-MILF peace panel hoping that the December 6 FAB forum will finally push through. NFI Executive Director Miriam Suacito has enjoined the public to participate in all the activities of the week of peace celebration in Basilan. She also thanked all stakeholders who have been supportive to the activities toward greater awareness of peace-building in the province.

PHL Navy completes SEAGULL maritime training in Brunei

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 30): PHL Navy completes SEAGULL maritime training in Brunei

The Naval Task Group 80.1 of the Philippine Navy, the country’s participants to the recently concluded Maritime Training Activity (MTA) SEAGULL 05/12 between the Philippine Navy and Royal Brunei Navy, arrived at 2lt Lagare Pier, Tide Pole, Parola in Palawan on Tuesday Nov 27. In a statement Acting Public Affairs Officer 2Lt Ann F Abrigo PN(M) shared that MTA SEAGULL is a bilateral naval exercise hosted by Negara Brunei Darussalam and is the fifth in the series of bilateral engagement held every two years. She said it is aimed to foster better and more cordial relationship between the two navies and enhance interoperability.

As the guest of honor, Commander of Western Command LtGen Juancho M Sabban AFP led the ceremony in welcoming home the participants. “From November 19 to 25, nothing was handed to you, except the opportunity to enhance your capability and represent the fighting spirit of the Philippine Navy in the western front,” LtGen Sabban said. The Commander commended the participants for grabbing the chance, which he considered as an achievement in itself. “Now that you are back with the new found knowledge, I am confident that you are all more enthused by your commitment to service for aggressive efforts toward peace and security in the Area of Responsibility (AOR),” he said.

Although WESCOM is making important progress, LtGen Sabban said that efforts need to get further along in creating a platform of lasting success. Through unified endeavors, Palawan and the Kalayaan Islands Group (KIG) will surely embrace a more promising future. “I urged everyone to continuously get dynamically involved in moving the last frontier ahead. This is just a starting point. There is more to do. And together, we can do it best,” he concluded.

NTG 80.1 is composed of two ships, namely BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS37) and BRP General Mariano Alvarez (PS38), a team from Naval Special Operations Group and a support/ evaluation group from Fleet-Marine Ready Force led by Commo Alexander S Lopez AFP, with a total compliment of 118 personnel. Activities conducted during the joint training included Communications Exercise, Diving Techniques and Procedures, Combined Practical Boarding, At-Sea Maneuvers, and Gunnery Exercise.

Thousands parade for the 14th Mindanao Week of Peace

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 30): Thousands parade for the 14th Mindanao Week of Peace

Thousands of individuals coming from all sectors in the city showed unity for sustainable peace in Mindanao by participating in the parade Thursday morning, officially kicking off this year’s Mindanao Week of Peace which will run from November 29 to December 5. This year’s theme is “Journeying toward Sustainable Peace in Mindanao”, fittingly depicting the recent success of the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in coming up with a Framework Agreement.

The Inter-Religious Solidarity Movement for Peace (IRSMP), the lead organization of the Week of Peace, in a statement expressed joy and fulfillment knowing that its peace building activity for the past 14 years is finally bearing fruit and has helped both the national government and the MILF to seriously consider peace, thus, the signing of the peace framework last October 15. Peace Advocate Zamboanga (PAZ) said around 30,000 individuals from the government and private sectors, the academe, and other non-government and civic organizations have signified their support to join the parade.....

23 former rebels in North Samar receive livelihood cash assistance

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 30): 23 former rebels in North Samar receive livelihood cash assistance

Some 23 former New People's Army rebels recently received livelihood assistance from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) and from the Provincial Government of Northern Samar. The former rebels who were members of Batakang Organisasyon han Partido (BOP), a CPP/NPA mass organization in the barangays received a total of P355,000 as livelihood financial assistance through the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of OPAPP and the Local Social Integration Program (LSIP) of Northern Samar, Lt. Colonel Noel Vestuir, commanding officer of the 20th Infantry Battalion said. A turn over ceremony was held at the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office on November 28.

Six former NPA regulars received P40,000 each; One unit militiaman received P10,000 as cash assistance; four BOP leaders received P5,000 each; seven facilitators or those who worked out and negotiated for the surrender of NPA regulars also received P5,000 each; and the 18 members of the defunct BOP received a livelihood cash assistance amounting to P50,000. The giving of said financial assistance came after the conduct of a three - day social preparation cum livelihood workshop on reintegration and rehabilitation conducted by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) of Northern Samar.  The seminar workshop hoped to prepare the former NPA regulars, Militia and BOP members as they will be reintegrated into the mainstream society to start new, normal and decent lives along with their families. The three-day workshop was attended by Ms. Carmen Mejia of Northern Samar PSWDO; Fr. Fred Placa, Pastoral Director, Diocese of Catarman; Ms. Maricel Bantilo, representative of OPAPP; PSSupt Isias Tonog, Provincial Director, NSPPO; top ranking military officers and friends from the media. The seminar workshop included sessions on Financial and Home management; Understanding and overcoming obstacles in starting a business; Getting to Know you; Choosing the Right Livelihood Project; Marketing Strategies; Financial Recording; and Spiritual Enlightenment and Recollection.
The former NPA regulars, militia and BOP members came out and voluntarily surfaced after the series of Bayanihan Team activities conducted by the troops of 20IB in the province. “These former NPA regulars, militia and BOP members, after knowing the programs of the government that would indeed help them in starting a new life, have realized the futility of their continued resistance and support to the terrorist group, ”Lt. Colonel Vestuir said. Vestuir also called on other NPA regulars, militia and members of CPP/NPA allied organizations to come out and rejoin their former comrades in the mainstream society.

Two Eastern Samar towns declared as insurgency free

From the Philippine Information Agency (Nov 30): Two Eastern Samar towns declared as insurgency free

San Policarpo and Sulat towns in Eastern Samar are the latest towns of the province declared as insurgency free, a military official here said. Captain Gene Orense, civil military chief of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, based in Catbalogan City said that the two towns are the latest addition to the towns of Taft, Balangkayan, Maydolong, Mercedes, Guiuan, San Julian, Salcedo, Mercedes, Hernani and Borongan City to be declared as insurgency free. The civil military chief clarified though that the declaration do not really mean the absolute absence of members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area. He said further that presence of the NPA is still felt but not enough to create any major trouble.
San Policarpo town mayor Conrado Nicart III and Col. Romeo Labador, commanding officer of the 801st Infantry Brigade both signed the declaration last November 19 while Sulat town mayor Virginia Zacate signed for her town last October this year. The mayors of both towns have expressed hope that with the declaration, economic development would follow as businessmen would be attracted to invest business in their towns. The presence of the rebel group in the towns of Eastern Samar has been a factor why the province has been considered as one of the poorest provinces in the country.

Village councilman shot dead in Sultan Kudarat

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 30): Village councilman shot dead in Sultan Kudarat

Police have launched a province-wide manhunt against two men who shot dead a village councilor in President Quirino town in Sultan Kudarat province on Thursday. Sr. Supt. Rolen Balquin, Sultan Kudarat police provincial director, said all police units in Tacurong City and in Sultan Kudarat have been placed on alert against the gunmen in the murder of village councilman Felix Figa. Figa, village official of Barangay Poblacion, President Quirino was walking near his home when two men riding in tandem on a motorbike fired at him at close range about 9 p.m. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital. Balquin said initial investigation showed that the victim had no known enemy and that police are still determining if the killing was work related or has something to do with politics. Balquin said his office is also coordinating with the office of Senior Supt. Jaime Pido, Maguindanao police provincial director, because the gunmen, using the same motorcycle, fled toward Buluan town in Maguindanao after the shooting.

Two NPAs die in clash with soldiers in Compostela Valley

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 30): Two NPAs die in clash with soldiers in Compostela Valley

Two New People’s Army (NPA) rebels died in a clash with government troops in a remote village of Compostela Valley province, a military official announced Friday. Lt. Col. Antonio Florendo, 66th Infantry Battalion commander, said the clash took place around 3 a.m. Thursday in Barangay Lebanon, Montevista municipality. Florendo said the firefight ensued when a group of NPA rebels opened fire while the troops were conducting security patrol at Purok 4 of Barangay Lebanon. Florendo said the troops conducted a patrol upon reports on the presence of NPA rebels extorting money from the residents in the area. The NPA rebels fled to different directions following a few minutes of fire fight leaving behind their two dead comrades, Florendo said. He said the troops have recovered a .45-caliber pistol and an improvised bomb fashioned out as a landmine from one of the two slain rebels. Florendo said they are still trying to establish the identities of the two slain NPAs in order for the family to claim their remains and “give the two victims a decent burial.” Florendo extended his sympathies to the family and relatives of the two slain NPAs. “We believe that the deceitful acts of the New People’s Army caused the death of its two members,” Florendo said.

Parents claim bodies of slain rebels

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 30): Parents claim bodies of slain rebels

Parents of two slain young rebels who died during a firefight with government troops here on Friday came to identify and claim their bodies. Col. Antonino Florendo, commander of the 66th Infantry Battalion, said parents of rebels Joriben Caipan, 20, of Purok 2-B, Barangay San Jose, and Christopher Mawang, 18, of Purok 2, Brgy, Camantangan, both of Montevista, went to St. Peter’s Funeral Homes in Montevista on Friday afternoon. The parents presented documents to prove that the slain rebels were their sons. He said his men were conducting combat security patrol at Purok 4 in Barangay Lebanon after receiving reports of the presence of armed men when the firefight ensued early Friday morning killing the two rebels. Government operatives recovered a .45 caliber pistol and an improvised land line from the slain rebels.

CPP/NDF: NDFP-NCMR unites with the struggle of the workers in PACCO in Tagoloan, Mis. Or.

Posted to the Philippine Revolutionary Web Central (PRWC) Blog (Nov 29): NDFP-NCMR unites with the struggle of the workers in PACCO in Tagoloan, Mis. Or.

Cesar Renerio
NDFP-North Central Mindanao Region

The National Democratic Front – North Central Mindanao Region resolutely unites with the struggle of the workers of Pacific Activated Carbon Co. Inc. (PACCO) in Gracia, Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental. Amidst the severe exploitation and oppression of the company against the workers, the latter have resorted to their last legal means—the strike.

For a long time, the workers have suffered from low wages and the denial of benefits and the right to organization. Their agony has been aggravated since March 2011. With the bankruptcy of the other companies owned by Herman Montenegro, the fruits of the labor of the poor workers of PACCO were used to pay for his countless financial liabilities. They were forced to continue working without a definite wage. These last 17 months or so, the PACCO worker only receives a measly P100 to P500 a week, and is given a transportation allowance so that he may not fail to report to work every day. This wage is far from enough to cover even the daily food expenses of the average worker's family. Some of them were already driven to seek other jobs....

Only through strong organization and determined struggle can the PACCO workers attain further strength to continue demanding for their rights. They should unite with the other democratic classes and sectors who are engaged in struggle like them. They must understand that the solution to their problem regarding the exploitation and oppression of PACCO can only be fully achieved with the fulfillment of genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization in the context of the national-democratic revolution now being launched in the countryside and the following socialist revolution and construction. If the legal struggle proves futile for them, the guerilla zones are always open to those who are ready to embrace armed struggle and join the New People's Army.

We challenge the local government officials of Tagoloan and the province of Misamis Oriental to show their service to the people by defending their oppressed constituents. We also encourage the military and the police, who receive their salaries from the people's taxes, to take sides with the poor who pay for their salaries and not with the greedy capitalists.

CPP/NDF-Mindanao: Serve the people, set ablaze the fire and daringness of the Kabataang Makabayan

Posted to  the Philippine Revolutionary Web Central (PRWC) Blog (Nov 30): Serve the people, set ablaze the fire and daringness of the Kabataang Makabayan

Ka Oris

With the great joy, the NDFP-Mindanao congratulates all leading cadres and members of the Kabataang Makabayan (KM) who, upon its 48th founding anniversary today, have vowed to carry forward the blazing torch of the militant and revolutionary youth movement in the Philippines towards the victory of the people’s war. With great pride, we salute all members of the KM who, since the dark days of the Marcos dictatorship, have heroically offered their lives for the revolution, as well as to all those who persevere until now.

Like a spark that began a prairie fire, KM’s inception in the 60s led to the rise of the militant youth and students’ movement that took upon itself the task of reinvestigating Philippine society and openly oppose the ills of imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat- capitalism. When Martial Law was declared and KM pronounced illegal, most members of KM opted to struggle beyond the boundaries of the legal arena, and took to the mountains to plant the seed of armed revolutionary struggle. Armed only with the ideology and zeal of the re-established Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP-MLM), they set the revolutionary fire anew, but this time in the countryside across the archipelago, organizing among poor peasants in order to build the proletarian army and establish Red bases.....

CPP/KM: Statement on the 48th Anniversary of Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth)--Youth, participate in armed revolution!

Posted to the CPP Website (Nov 30): Pahayag para sa Ika-48 na Anibersaryo ng KABATAANG MAKABAYAN--Kabataan, lumahok sa armadong rebolusyon! (Statement on the 48th Anniversary of Kabataang Makabayan (Patriotic Youth)--Youth, participate in armed revolution!)

[Rough translation of the lead paragraph of the KM statement]

Rebolusyonaryong pagbati sa mga tunay na anak ng bayan, mga kasapi at lider ng mga balangay ng rebolusyonaryong Kabataang Makabayan (KM) sa ika-48 na pagdiriwang ng anibersaryo ng KM sa buong kapuluan. Mahal na mga kasama, pagpugayan natin ang mga rebolusyonaryong martir ng KM at ng sambayanan sa kanilang iniaalay na buhay, lakas at talino para sa pagsusulong ng pambansa demokratikong rebolusyon na may sosyalistang perspektiba. Kung wala ang kanilang mga sakripisyo hindi maabot ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang kasalukuyang lakas nito. Ang kanilang mga ambag ay nagsisilbing ilaw sa karimlan upang ang sambayanan ay patuloy na umasa ng paglaya sa imperyalistang pandarambong at mga lokal na naghaharing-uring kasapakat nito......

[Revolutionary greetings to the true children of the people, members and leaders of the revolutionary youth Kabataang Makabayan (KM--Patriotic Youth) on the 48th anniversary celebration of KM across the country. Dear comrades, we salute the revolutionary martyrs of KM and those who offered their lives, energy and talent for advancing the national democratic revolution with a socialist perspective. Without their sacrifice the revolutionary movement could not have reached its current strength. Their contributions will serve as a light in darkness as the nation continues to expect liberation from imperialist plunder and local ruling class cohorts.....]

CPP: CPP denounces Aquino for using Bonifiacio's name to hide his servility to US imperialism

From the CPP Website (Nov 30): CPP denounces Aquino for using Bonifiacio's name to hide his servility to US imperialism

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today denounced Benigno Aquino III “for using Andres Bonifiacio’s name and legacy to camouflage his servility to the US government and conceal continuing neocolonial domination by US imperialism through its puppet republic.” “Aquino deceives the people when he insists that the principal threat to Philippine sovereignty is China and projects himself as the Bonifacio who doesn’t bow to threats, when in reality, he is a puppet of the US imperialists who prostrates himself before his US masters,” said the CPP. “At every opportunity, Aquino doesn’t fail to assail China’s claims to the South China Sea which is also being claimed by several other countries,” pointed out the CPP. “Yet, he does not raise a whimper at the fact that US warships have been permanently stationed at the South China Sea where it extends its claims of sovereign power.”

“Aquino projects himself as a modern-day Bonifacio unintimidated by the ‘Chinese bully’ when behind this façade, he is spineless in the face of his US imperialist masters. Aquino makes a mockery of Philippine sovereignty when he zips his mouth in the face of the permanent basing of close to a thousand American troops on Philippine soil, carry out combat operations, fly their drones, drop bombs, conduct surveillance, direct the operations of the Philippine military, sail and dock their ships, carry their weight around, dump their waste, violate local laws and ravage women, all in outright violation of Philippine sovereignty.”“No, Mr. Aquino, you are not a Bonifacio,” the CPP said.

“The Aquino regime, class descendants of the upper-class ilustrados who betrayed the Philippine revolution, who bowed to US colonial subjugation and served as its puppets a century hence, are in no position to lead the celebrations of the 150th birth anniversary of the working class hero Andres Bonifiacio,” said the CPP. The Aquino regime’s official celebration of Bonifacio’s 150th birth anniversary seeks only to “trivialize and depreciate his historic role in the revolutionary struggle for national liberation and obscure the unbroken thread of revolutionary armed resistance that continues to this day,” said the CPP.....