Saturday, December 1, 2012

Coast Guard Mulls Somalia Mission

From the Manila Bulletin (Dec 1): Coast Guard Mulls Somalia Mission

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is seriously studying the possibility of sending its elite Special Operations Group (SOG) personnel for an international mission next year to deliver food aid to the people of conflict-stricken Somalia. PCG Fleet Commander Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has a pending request for some members of the SOG to be commissioned to provide security to ships directed by international organizations. “The PCG could provide security on board commercial vessels going to Somalia. I said that was possible since our SOG number 350 personnel and we can dispense approximately 50 personnel, on rotation basis, as escort,” he said.

 The DFA recently asked the maritime agency if it could provide security escorts to guard against Somali pirates preying on commercial vessels bringing food to Somalia. Isorena, however, explained that there are different options to take with regard to this new task being offered to the PCG. “This deployment is very complicated. We are just asked to prepare just in case we would be dispatched, and that is why the SOG should start its training,” he said.

For the meantime, the PCG is in the process of negotiation and settling several aspects of the mission such as the composition of the SOG team. “The vessel owner might have to provide the logistical requirements,” he said. In addition, the PCG wants to know about the commercial vessels they will escort and whether or not they will bring their own firearms for this mission to Somalia. “Would we be using a cargo ship, would it have several compartments? We need to run through on what type of vessel. We are still in the planning stage and we still have a lot to talk about,” said PCG-SOG head Commandant Marco Antonio Gines. He added, “We have firearms, both long and short, but how about the tactical gear accessories that would be attached to it like the night visions. What we have are M16 rifles but if they (the enemy) have surface-to-air missiles, then we should be ready.”

Gines said they would welcome the possible Somalia assignment. “This is a welcome development for us…I have briefed the fleet and we have accepted this set up. We just have to give the go signal, if we are already ready mentally, in terms of the training, and the equipment before we could fully commit to the assignment,” he said.

Sports Event Honors AFP’s ‘Living Heroes’

From the Manila Bulletin (Dec 1): Sports Event Honors AFP’s ‘Living Heroes’

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will stage on Sunday at the Fort Bonifacio Complex in Taguig City its first-ever "Heroes Run 2012," to pay tribute to the living heroes who have brought pride and honor to the military and the country. The AFP Chief of Staff, Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa, with the Philippine Army Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista, and representatives from the Department of National Defense are expected to join the event. Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos, Jr., the AFP spokesman, said the event is organized by the Philippine Military Academy Alumni Association Inc. (PMAAI) - Philippine Army Chapter Inc., and the Philippine Army (PA).

"The run for a cause aims to provide medical assistance to our living heroes in uniform. Among the beneficiaries are PA’s battle-wounded in action (WIA) personnel, as well as, our athletes particularly the Philippine Dragon Boat Team, olympian Maristela Torres, soccer players Roel Gener and Eduardo Sacapano of the Philippine Azkals, and the National V-League champion, the Philippine Air Force Volleybelles," said Burgos, adding that medical benefits will be provided by the Army General Hospital. With the theme, “Run with the HEROES, Run for the HEROES Coz U R, a HERO”, the event is open to the general public. "This highlights the whole-of-nation, and multi-stakeholder principles of the military’s current campaign plan – the IPSP ‘Bayanihan.’ Runners from the uniformed service, the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will also join tomorrow’s event," according to Burgos.

The AFP is expecting 6,000 runners to flock the activity, including its personnel from the three major services- Army, Air Force, and Navy. Dependents, families, and friends of our uniformed men are also welcome to join the benefit. A public viewing of the AFP’s newest "Bayanihan" music video will also be conducted before the actual run.

Row with China a ‘reawakening’ for PH defense

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 2): Row with China a ‘reawakening’ for PH defense

The escalating conflict in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) has brought some good learning opportunities for the Philippines—from revisiting the country’s defense policies to introducing the public to a weighty concept called “national security,” security experts said. “Our reawakening always starts with a conflict. We have to thank China because its recent movements and strategies in the West Philippine Sea have made us look at our defense policies anew,” said Chester Cabalza, a National Defense College of the Philippines professor.

The Philippines has long been confronted with the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea but has had limited capabilities to address this security issue, Cabalza said. Moreover, the country has been focusing on an internal armed conflict for decades that external defense, such as the tug-of-war over territories in these waters, has been a secondary preoccupation for the government, he said. China’s new border patrol policy that would allow its police to board and search ships that “illegally enter” what it considers its territory in the South China Sea “greatly impacts” on the Philippines, Cabalza said.....

MILF rebels attack rival group; 3 hurt

From the Philippine Star (Dec 2): MILF rebels attack rival group; 3 hurt

Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) guerrillas led by a certain Commander Kuyo attacked last Thursday a village controlled by a rival group in Pikit, North Cotabato, wounding three civilian volunteers who tried to intervene and displacing dozens of villagers. Local officials identified the wounded barangay watchmen as Kanapia Musa and siblings Eric and Kamir Pasandalan. Citing initial reports, Col. Prudencio Asto, public affairs chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said the group of Commander Kuyo, who belongs to the MILF’s 105th Base Command, and the Tayuan clan and its followers are squabbling for control of strategic patches of arable lands in Barangay Langayen, surrounded by MILF enclaves covered by the 1997 ceasefire agreement.

MILF: BLMI holds training on accounting, management

From the MILF Website (Dec 1): BLMI holds training on accounting, management

The Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), in cooperation with the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), had ended successfully a four-day training seminar on Capacity Building workshop with its theme “Accounting and Management.” The seminar activity was held at the BLMI training center at Crossing, Simuay, Sultan Kudarat. Maguindanao on November 24-27. 2012. The seminar was funded by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which has been actively providing financial and technical aid assistance in uplifting the living condition of the people in the armed conflict regions. The 30 participants were came from Davao, General Santos, Lanao, North Cotabato, Maguindanao and Cotabato City, and have brought with them their laptop computers in order to learn a new type of methodology skills and modern system of accounting and management by using quick book and other related trends through hand’s on activity workshop.

The four-day seminar workshop was facilitated by Datu Hamlon Usman, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and BDA- CMO- Finance Head. He was assisted by Miss Gina Aisha Ladiasan, a BDA-CMO-finance officer. Sheikh Mahmod Ahmad, executive director of the BLMI Steering Committee and Sheikh Mohammad S. Yacob, BDA- Executive Director were present and graced the seminar workshop. Both officers gave their respective opening remarks. They also welcomed the participants and urged them to be attentive and to internalize the knowledge imparted by the resource speakers. Ahmad stressed that learning knowledge is very essential and it is a continuous process.

MILF: MILF Chairman invited to UMNO General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur

From the MILF Website (Dec 2): MILF Chairman invited to UMNO General Assembly in Kuala Lumpur

MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, who recently arrived from Djibouti to attend the Foreign Ministers’ Conference of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, was officially invited to the 66th General Assembly General Assembly of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) that commenced last November 29 and ended last December 1, 2012. Murad, who headed a seven-man delegation, was given the privilege to address the assembly held at the Dewan Merdeka (Independence Hall) of Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur.

Speaking to reporters, Murad said the two organisations (UMNO and MILF) shared similarities in their struggles, saying the transition of UMNO as a united independence movement into a governing political party was exemplary. He added that Malaysians had every reason to be grateful for the country's governance, which was less divisive than the one experienced in Philippine politics. "Your electoral franchise has preceded that of the Arab Spring. Your experience in governance is of lesser partisan divisive tendencies than we had experienced," he pointed out.

Murad also expressed his gratitude for Malaysia's role in mediating a peace deal between MILF and the Philippine government last month, bringing an end to four decades of conflict in the southern Philippines. "Having signed the Framework of Agreement on the Bangsamoro, the MILF has energized diplomacy, thanks to the facilitation of the Malaysian government,” he stressed. "It is not surprising that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who has the same sense of national purpose for moderation and transformation, witnessed the signing in person." About 3,000 delegates graced the UMNO largest gathering of party leaders in preparation for the 13 general election where the party in power, Barisan Nasional, in which the UMNO is a leading party member.....

Expert lauds PHL commitment to anti-money laundering goals

From Business Mirror (Dec 1): Expert lauds PHL commitment to anti-money laundering goals

THE British government is working closely with regulators in the Philippines and around Asia to help stop money-laundering and terrorist-financing activities around the world worth as much as $1.2 trillion a year. At this level, the illicit flow of funds for laundering, terrorist financing and similar endeavors equal more or less 2.7 percent of the world’s total output or gross domestic product.
This was learned from Gert Demmink, a Dutch national working for the time being for the British government but whose four-day stay in the country was spent upgrading the capacity of Philippine anti-money laundering officials to track down, thwart and prosecute fraudsters and terrorist financiers. Demmink is a lawyer and forensic auditor and once worked at the Directorate of Supervision at the Netherlands Central Bank and senior adviser to central banks in the Netherlands IMF constituency (mainly former Soviet republics) with regard to anti-money laundering/counterterrorism financing/corruption and (tax) fraud. He has also advised Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia and Bulgaria. “The mission is not about trying to identify weak spots. The mission is about trying to get everybody in the region on a par with international best practices,” he said in an interview at the Traders Hotel.
According to him, the four days spent with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Insurance Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) “was about raising [compliance] standards.” “It was not only about having anti-money laundering legislation in place but applying that legislation where the need is highest because there is only so much [people and governments] can do,” he said. He lauded the Philippines and its officials for exhibiting deep commitments to the goals of anti-money laundering worldwide and cited the work done by the country’s AMLC to encourage local legislators to come up with enhanced laws against the illicit flow of funds......

PH: China move a global threat

From the Manila Standard Today (Dec 2): PH: China move a global threat

The United States said on Saturday that it does not take sides in the competing claims in the West Philippine Sea in the wake of China’s new policy that it would “board and search” ships that will pass by the contested waters, a move that the Foreign Affairs department said was a “gross violation” of the code of conduct in the Sea and posed a direct threat to the international community. In a statement, US Embassy spokeswoman Bettina Malone said that while Washington was not taking sides, it was urging claimant countries to “avoid provocative unilateral actions.” Bettina added that the US interest remained focus on the freedom of navigation and unimpeded lawful commerce in the West Philippine Sea. “As Secretary [Hilary] Clinton reiterated recently at the ASEAN [Association of the Southeast Asian Nation] Regional Forum, we do not take a position on competing sovereignty claims over land features in the South China Sea,” Malone said. “All concerned parties should avoid provocative unilateral actions that raise tensions and undermine the prospects for a diplomatic or other peaceful resolution of differences.” Bettina added that the US government would support a collaborative and diplomatic process by all claimants to resolve their disputes. “We believe all parties should pursue their territorial and maritime claims in accordance with international law, including as reflected in the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention,” Malone said.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Department, in a statement on Saturday, has asked the Chinese government to immediately clarify its reported plans to intercept vessels that would enter the disputed waters in the West Philippine Sea. “We would like China to immediately clarify its reported plans to interdict ships that enter what it considers its territory in the South China Sea,” the DFA said. The DFA had expressed its concern over reports that foreign vessels “illegally” entering the waters under the jurisdiction of Hainan Province, which include virtually the entire China Sea under its nine-dash line, boarded, inspected, confiscated, immobilized and its crew detained or expelled, among other punitive actions. The DFA said that the “planned action by China is a gross violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, the international law, particularly Unclos, and a direct threat to the entire international community.” The DFA also said that China “violates not only the maritime domain of coastal states established under Unclos, but also impedes the fundamental freedom of navigation and lawful commerce”.....

Appeal to Army: Leave civilians alone

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 1): Appeal to Army: Leave civilians alone

For Emily (not her real name), the jungle was the safest place to spend the night in with her two children—a year-old baby and a 10-year-old son—weeks after the grenade explosion that wounded more than 40 people in Paquibato District here. The jungle became her temporary refuge after soldiers harassed her 10-year-old son, asking the boy where his father was amid talk in Emily’s neighborhood that the man had joined the communist New People’s Army (NPA). “This left the boy shaken. He did not go to school for days,” Emily said.

Earlier, another woman, Rudith Montejas, her arms and legs covered by bandages from the September grenade explosion in the village, said she was thankful that she was the one who got hit in the explosion and not her 2-year-old child. Montejas said she had handed the child over to her husband only minutes before the blast. “I wouldn’t have known what to do if the child got hit,” she told the Inquirer.

Emily and Montejas, 28, are only two of the scores of civilians who are increasingly getting caught in the middle of the raging war between government forces and the NPA in Paquibato. Even as the wounds suffered by Montejas and her neighbors started to heal, people in areas near where the explosion took place continue to worry that the same fate, or worse, would befall them as fighting escalates between soldiers and rebels.

Bishop Modesto Villasanta, a leader of the interfaith group Exodus for Justice and Peace (EJP), said communities, where Army detachments are right smack in the middle of civilian communities, are increasingly getting “uneasy” and fearful that they will get caught in the crossfire. Bishop Villasanta said soldiers encamped in barangay halls, schools, daycare centers and other civilian structures is true not only in Davao City but also in other hinterland areas in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Agusan del Sur. He said that under Republic Act No. 7610, or the law providing deterrents and special protection measures against child abuse, exploitation and discrimination, soldiers are not supposed to use schools and daycare centers as camps because these are “zones for peace.”

But Lt. Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, head of the 69th Infantry Battalion assigned to the area, said the soldiers are there to “immerse” themselves in civilian life in the villages, which is part of the Army’s peace and development outreach program. “Soldiers in these areas are not committing any abuses,” Pasaporte said. “Instead, they are helping farmers,” he said.

But the fact-finding mission led by EJP in Barangay Pandaitan in Paquibato led to a different conclusion. Bishop Villasanta said people complained that when soldiers arrive to set up detachments, they also start conducting a “census,” asking people about their political affiliations and about the whereabouts of their family members.

2 NPA bandits are killed in Catanduanes clash

From the  Faces, Places & Voices (Ranger Cabunsky) Blog (Dec 1): 2 NPA bandits are killed in Catanduanes clash

VIRAC, Catanduanes--- Two NPA bandits including an amazon (female rebel) lay dead after a clash with Army soldiers here at around 1:45pm today (December 1). A 9-man squad of the 91st Division Reconnaissance Company led by 1st Lt Evar Louie Magamay was conducting security patrol when they encountered at least 15 heavily armed bandits in Calatagan village of this capital town. "We spotted the bandits carrying their firearms. We engaged them in a firefight when they raised their weapons to shoot us," said Magamay. The rest of the rebels fled with their casualties after about 30 minutes of exchanging fires with the soldiers.

The soldiers who scoured the scene of the firefight found the lifeless bodies of the bandits as well as several personal belongings. The soldiers seized 4 highpowered firearms from the bandits including an M653 Assault Rifle, two M16 Assault Rifle and an M14 Assault Rifle.
Magamay said that they have identified the dead woman as Lizel Isorilla a.k.a. Ka Shen based on the documents recovered from her.  "We are now carrying the dead bandits towards Virac town so that they can be claimed by their relatives and be given decent burial," said Magamay through phone call.
A small group of bandits still roam in the hinterlands of Catanduanes island. These bandits are responsible for the attacks against government forces and development projects implemented by the government in the province. In 2009, a group of NPA bandits attempted to burn the heavy equipment used in constructing the Solong Hydroelectric Plant in San Miguel town but they were repulsed by the a small group of courageous militiamen.

PN: Marine Martial Arts

From the Philippine Navy Website (Nov 30):  Marine Martial Arts

The Philippine Marine Corps (PMC) regularly conducts its martial arts proficiency exercise to enhance the Corps’s widely-practiced combat technique particularly useful during close combat battles. This proficiency-based practice was presented last November 23, 2012 by some of the PMC personnel in their combat uniforms. Their simultaneous demonstration performance with one group using long blades and another using knifes on their capabilities was held at BNS Grandstand, Bonifacio Naval Station (BNS), Fort Bonifacio, Tagiug City.

The PMC Martial Arts, also known as Pekiti Tirsia Kali, is a Filipino close quarter fighting system that focuses on edged weapons. It encompasses a wide range of traditional weapons and tactics strategy based on mobility, counterattacking and triangular movement and clearly comes from the era when it was common for Filipino men to carry swords and knives. The Philippine Force Recon Marines have trained US special operations forces and other combat units in close-quarters combat, demonstrating the effectiveness of the system.




PN: Phil-Brunei Navies Maritime Training

From the Philippine Navy Website (Nov 28): Phil-Brunei Navies Maritime Training

The combined naval exercise dubbed as Maritime Training Activity (MTA) SEAGULL 05/12 that will be participated by the Philippine Navy (PN) and the Royal Brunei Navy (RBN) officially opened recently, November 19, 2012 and proceeded until November 25, 2012. The Royal Brunei Navy is the hosting organization for this 5th series of bilateral engagement which is being held every two (2) years. The events will include harbour phase and sea phase to be conducted in Negara Brunei Darussalam Area of Responsibility (AOR).

The Commander of the Royal Brunei Navy presided the Opening Ceremony held at the Royal Brunei Navy Headquarters. Philippine Ambassador, His Excellency Nestor Z Ochoa attended the ceremony and will also grace these activities that will run for seven (7) days, along with other Senior Officers, officers and personnel of both Navies. More or less 200 PN personnel will be participating for the said bilateral maritime exercise. This training activity's PN contingents were composed of personnel from the Philippine Fleet and Fleet-Marine Ready Force.

For this year, two (2) ships from the RBN namely, KDB SYAFAAT and KDB AFIAT and two (2) Patrol Ships from the PN namely, BRP General Mariano Alvarez (PS 38) and BRP Artemio Ricarte (PS 37) will jointly participate in the series of exercises.

MTA SEAGULL, through the conduct of the training events using common operational doctrines, procedures and tactics, aims to enhance interoperability while it strengthens bilateral relationships and mutual understanding and cooperation between the two navies. It will also provide opportunity for the PN and RBN personnel to develop camaraderie through the conduct of at-sea Fleet Training Exercises (FTX) and other social interactions such as courtesy calls, lectures and discussions, receptions, area visits and sports activities.



PN: Naval Forces Southern Luzon Receives New Commander

From the Philippine Navy Website (Nov 29):  Naval Forces Southern Luzon Receives New Commander

The Philippine Navy (PN) Flag Officer In Command (FOIC), Vice Admiral Alexander P Pama AFP presided the recently concluded Change of Command Ceremony of Naval Forces Southern Luzon (NFSL). The event was held last November 23, 2012 at Headquarters NFSL, Naval Station Julhasan A Arasain, Naval Station Legaspi, Rawis, Legaspi City. The event was attended by NFSL organic personnel and some of the Headquarters Philippine Navy (HPN) Staff.

After being the Acting Commander, NFSL from July 2012, Captain Rommel Jason L Galang PN (GSC), relinquished the duties and responsibilities to Commodore Manuel Natalio A Abinuman PN (GSC), the incoming Commander, NFSL. Commo Abinuman is the outgoing Commander, Patrol Force of the Philippine Fleet for more than nineteen (19) months. Capt Galang was then again slated as the Deputy Commander of NFSL. The event was highlighted by the turn-over of the Command Flag to the incoming Commander.

Naval Forces Southern Luzon is one of the Operational Commands of the Philippine Navy. Its task is to conduct naval operations in order to protect and defend the country’s maritime areas within its Area of Responsibility (AOR). It has capabilities for conducting territorial defense operations, internal security operations and such other activities to support naval administration, logistics, service support and community development.


Philippine Army Newsclippings (Nov 28-30)

Posted to the Faces, Places & Voices (Ranger Cabunzky) Blog: Philippine Army Newsclippings (Nov 28-30)

November 28:

November 29:

November 30:

NPA ambush in Albuera kills 1 soldier, wounds 2 others

From the Philippine  Information Agency (Dec 1): NPA ambush in Albuera kills 1 soldier, wounds 2 others

At least one soldier was killed while two others were wounded when elements of the New People's Army ambushed government troops at around 4 p.m. on November 20 at Sitio Calingatnan, Barangay San Pedro, Albuera, Leyte. Sixteen soldiers of the 78th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army under 1LT Almendras were aboard a KM450 vehicle on their way back to their headquarters from peace and development activities in the interior sitios of Albuera when they were ambushed by around 10 NPAs, Captain Dranreb Canto, information officer of the 802nd Infantry Brigade, reported. The names of the victims are being withheld pending notification of their immediate families. Colonel Rafael Valencia, the Brigade Commander of 802nd Brigade, said that his troops will continue hot pursuit operations on the perpetuators of the dastardly act. The Brigade Commanded vowed to continue with the Peace and Development effort to help uplift the lives of the people in the area. He further said that these sacrifices of the soldiers will not go in vain if everyone will join hands in working for a just and lasting peace.

Photo: Army men busy with Bayanihan not war

From the Negros Chronicle (Nov 25):  Photo:  Army men busy with Bayanihan not war

Photo: 125 men undergo CAFGU training in Negros Oriental

From the Negros Chronicle (Nov 25): Photo: 125 men  undergo CAFGU training in Negros Oriental

Some 120 able-bodied men who came from the different municipalities of Negros Oriental compose the Class 38-2012 of CAFGU Basic Military Training during their orientation at Headquarters, Alpha Company of 12th IB in Camp Leon Kilat, Tanjay City, Negros Oriental.

Some 120 able-bodied men who came from the different municipalities of Negros Oriental compose the Class 38-2012 of CAFGU Basic Military Training during their orientation at Headquarters, Alpha Company of 12th IB in Camp Leon Kilat, Tanjay City, Negros Oriental

Army troops siezes 9 NPA camps in Samar Island this month

From the Leyte Samar Daily Express (Dec 1): Army troops siezes 9 NPA camps in Samar Island this month

For this month alone, nine camps of the rebel group,the New People’s Army, were recovered by the government troops based in Samar Island, the biggest of which could accomodate about 90 rebels. Captain Gene Orense, civil military officer of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City, said that the recovery of the camps, albiet abandoned by the rebels, is an indication that the soldiers are gaining a headway on their counterinsurgency campaign in Samar Island.

Military officials in the region have vowed to clear Samar Island, comprising of Samar, Eastern Samar and Northern Samar provinces, of insurgents. Colonel Roberto Capulong, operations chief of the 8th ID, said that for next year, they would wage a military campaign in Samar Island, particularly Samar and Northern Samar and finished their campaign by 2013, the least. Several Eastern Samar towns were already declared by the Army in the region to be insurgency-free and with the hope that the entire province would eventually be declared as NPA-free.

Orense said that of the nine abandoned camps recovered by the soldiers for this month, the latest to be seized was a camp located in Barangay Buenaswerte in Victoria, Northern Samar. The said camp was recovered by the members of the 20th Infantry Battalion, which is headed by Colonel Noel Vestuir, last Wednesday and which could accommodate 40 NPA members and has makeshift bunkers; kitchens; comfort rooms and outposts. “It is a clear manifestation that the NPA in Samar provinces is losing grounds, literally and losing their influences over the people which will eventually will lead to their downfall and collapse,” Orense said, quoting Major General Gerardo Layug, commanding general of the 8th ID.

The nine recovered NPA camps are located in the hinterland villages of the towns of Victoria, Las Navas, Lope de Vega and Gamay, all in Northern Samar; Matuguinao, Calbiga and Pinabacdao, all in Samar. And of these NPA camps overran by the government troops, the biggest was in Barangay Cuenco, Las Navas town wherein the said camp could accommodate about 90 rebels, Orense said. The said camp that was recovered last November 23 is equipped with a generator pit; 47 bunkers; three kitchens; two guard posts; three foxholes and two comfort rooms. The second biggest recovered NPA camp was located within the boundary of Brgy.Canlolobo,Pinabacdao and Brgy.Antol, Calbiga in Samar. It can accommodate about 70 people and equipped with a single classroom and 37 makeshift bunkers; advanced posts; toilets and kitchens. The other camps recovered by the government troops were located in Brgy. Inubod, Matuguinao,Samar which has a capacity of 30 people; in Brgy. del Rosario, also in Matuguinao which has a capacity of 45 persons; Brgy. Somoroy in Lope de Vega, Northern Samar which can accommodate 15 rebels; another camp in Brgy. Catoto-ogan in Las Navas, also in Northern Samar which has a capacity of 20; and another camp in Brgy. Victory, of the same town which can accommodate 60 persons, the third biggest camp seized from the rebels; in Brgy.Henogawa, Gamay, Northern, Samar which has a capacity of 50 NPAs.

Jaafar: Don't drag MILF in Ampatuan massacre

From ABS-CBN (Nov 30): Jaafar: Don't drag MILF in Ampatuan massacre

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Friday urged people not to drag the Moro rebel group in the Ampatuan massacre in Maguindanao province. MILF First Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaafar aired the call in response to reports saying that some of the suspects in massacre are hiding in MILF-controlled areas. He cited one report claiming that the massacre could become "collateral damage" to the government and MILF peace talks, now that the Masturas and Ampatuans are under one party and allied in the 2013 elections. Sultan Kudarat Mayor Datu Tucao Mastura is a supporter of the MILF. Matsura, a brother of MILF panel member Atty. Michael Mastura, is running for governor of Maguindanao. Jaafar said they are hands-off on the issue of politics in Maguindanao.  However, he said anyone, including government officials in Maguindanao, can support the MILF. Jaafar also urged people linking the MILF and the Ampatuan clan to show proof that massacre suspects are indeed hiding in rebel-controlled areas. "Dapat huwag idamay at isangkot ang MILF dito lalo na ang peace talks dahil kami ay naghahanap ng solusyon para magkaroon ng kapayapaan sa Mindanao, dahil mahirap yung nadadamay ang mga walang kinalaman, not unless ayaw nito ng kapayapaan at gustong guluhin ang sitwasyon. Huwag naman sanang i-politicize ito," Jaafar said. He also stressed that the peace talks have nothing to do with the massacre.

2 NPA fighters killed in Catanduanes encounter

From GMANews (Dec 1): Police: 2 NPA fighters killed in Catanduanes encounter

Two alleged members of the New People's Army were killed in an encounter with soldiers of the Philippine Army at about 11:30 a.m. in Catanduanes, a police report said Saturday. Bicol Region Philippine National Police spokesman Supt. Renato Bataller said the firefight that killed two communist guerrillas lasted for ten minutes. He said the incident took place in Barangay Calatagan when soldiers on combat patrol chanced upon a group of armed rebels. The rebels withdrew and left behind two bodies of their slain comrades, Battaler said, adding that the soldiers recovered in the area an M16 rifle, 1 M653 baby Armalite, and 1 M14 rifle.

Fresh PH-China face off looms

From the Manila Times (Dec 1): Fresh PH-China face off looms

Disputed claim in the south China Sea. AFP Graphic

ANOTHER face-off looms between the naval forces of the Philippines and China in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), following the latter’s pronouncement that it would implement starting next year a no permit, no entry policy on all Chinese-claimed territories. President Benigno Aquino 3rd said on Friday that the Philippines will accelerate the filing of a protest, claim before an International Tribunal if China’s plans to board ships in the West Philippine Sea are verified as true. The President said that he ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs to form a task force that will verify China’s plans to board and search ships in the disputed waters. If found to be true, the President said that the country could either file a diplomatic note or formal protest. “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,” he added Lt. Gen. Juancho Sabban, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Command, said that his forces are always ready if the need arises.

Under the rules of engagement, Sabban explained that it is the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Maritime Police that should implement the country’s maritime defense, but stressed that his command is always ready to provide the necessary firepower and support. “They can call us for support,” Sabban said as he assured the Coast Guard and the country’s Maritime Police that his forces would be there to provide support where the action is at a given notice. According to Sabban, the command’s naval and air assets are always conducting regular sea patrols and reconnaissance flights to monitor the situation in the West Philippine Sea.

Beijing earlier said that it has granted its police border patrol to board and seize foreign vessels entering in disputed territories. “Activities such as entering the island province’s waters without permission, damaging coastal defense facilities, and engaging in publicity that threatens national security are illegal,” the China Daily reported. Sabban pointed out that if China pushes through with its plan, it would violate the law on international passage. China, he added, is going beyond the limit at a time when the Philippine is exerting all diplomatic efforts to maintain peace and stability in the area. “Sobra na yun, while we are exerting all peaceful means yun naman ang ginagawa nila,” Sabban stressed......

Soldier killed, 2 others wounded in Leyte ambush

From InterAksyon (Dec 1): Soldier killed, 2 others wounded in Leyte ambush

Alleged New People's Army (NPA) rebels ambushed government troops in Albuera, Leyte Friday afternoon, leaving one soldier killed and two others wounded. Captain Dranreb Canto, spokesman of the Philippine Army's 802nd Infantry Brigade based in Ormoc City, said members of the 78th Infantry Battalion were on their way back from "peace and development activities" in the interior sitios of Albuera when they were ambushed by around 10 rebels in Sitio Calingatnan, Barangay San Pedro, 4 p.m. Friday, Bonifacio Day. Of the 16 soldiers on board the military vehicle, Private First Class Richard Abines was killed while Private First Class Jay Baysa Pinabacdao and Pfc Frederic Mar were wounded. Colonel Valencia, Brigade Commander, has directed pursuit against the rebels and vowed to continue with the peace and development efforts in the area.

CPP blasts Aquino's human rights "superbody" as publicity gimmick

From the CPP Website (Dec 1): CPP blasts Aquino's human rights "superbody" as publicity gimmick

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today dismissed the Aquino regime’s formation of the so-called “human rights superbody” as “nothing more than a publicity stunt to pretend that it is serious in defending human rights while its armed state agents continue to trample on human rights with impunity and increasing brutality.” Aquino announced the issuance of Administrative Order No. 35 last Thursday which directs the formation of the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) to handle cases of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other forms of human rights abuses. The IAC is supposed to prioritize human cases committed under the previous regime.

“The formation of this so-called human rights ‘superbody’ is a desperate attempt to shore up Aquino’s faltering popularity both locally and internationally due to continuing grave abuses of human rights,” added the CPP. “As if to insult the victims of human rights abuses, Aquino appointed the head of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) as members of the IAC,” said the CPP. “This single act alone show clearly that this IAC will go nowhere in terms of resolving the outstanding cases of human rights violations carried out by military and police agents in line with the present and past reactionary regime’s policies of all-out war of suppression.” “Aquino’s brutal Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression has reduced respect for human rights into empty rhetoric.”

“For three years now, the Aquino regime has promised to uphold human rights. Like many others, Aquino has failed to deliver on this promise, more than three years into his six-year term. On the contrary, violations of human rights continue to be committed by the AFP and PNP against civilians in the course of implementing Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan war,” pointed out the CPP. “Massacres, extrajudicial killings, torture, illegal arrests, beatings, threats of physical harm, violations of domicile and many other human rights transgressions are being perpetrated by state armed agents in the course of militarizing communities in the name of ‘peace and development’.”,,,,,