Friday, December 14, 2012

Malaysian JI bomber killed in Davao City

From CNN i-Report (Dec 15): Malaysian JI bomber killed in Davao City

A Malaysian national packing an improvised explosive device (IED) inside his bag was neutralized by the Davao City Police Office after threatening to detonate the bomb when cornered by the police Friday evening. DCPO chief Sr. Supt. Ronald dela Rosa identified the suspected Jemaah Islamiyah member as Mohd Noor Fikrie bin Abd Kahar. Kahar was with his Filipina companion, Annabelle Nieva Lee.

The couple checked in at Room 204 of the Sampaguita Hotel Friday. Dela Rosa said they received intelligence report that Kahar was in possession of a bomb and is planning an attack here in DavaoCity. Dela Rosa readily alerted all units of the DCPO, the Task Force Davao, and all other intelligence units in the city and started negotiating with the hotel management for the ejection of the couple from their hotel room.

Finally at 10:30 pm, the duo went out of their room for check out. While at the lobby, the woman wearing traditional Muslim attire with black backpack containing the IED was accosted by Sr. Supt. Dela Rosa while Kahar was accosted by intel operatives. But before he could be arrested, Kahar was able to raise his cellphone and declared, "if you arrest or shoot me I have a bomb, I will explode it". The declaration made everybody scamper for safety while the couple went out on the road embracing each other with Kahar's right hand holding the mobile phone used as triggering device was raised as if warning the lawmen of impending IED explosion.

"Take down orders were given to SWAT snipers but could not be implemented since the area was overcrowded with pedestrians and motorists until Kahar got the backpack containing the IED and ran towards People's Park and the chase ensued until the suspect was cornered at Toryanos in front of the Apo View Hotel where he was fatally shot by the pursuing SWAT team," Sr. Supt. dela Rosa said. Authorities recovered the IED composed of 60mm mortar and was rendered safe thru water disruptor by the bomb team. Authorities also recovered the mobile phones of the couple and other "exploitable materials" and were turned over to the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency 11.

Lee, a native of Sorsogon and is a Balik Islam, is presently detained at the DCPO for further investigation. Kahar's body is now at the Angel Funeral Homes.

Op/Ed: WAYWARD AND FANCIFUL: Soldier, farmer, peace builder

Op/Ed piece in MindaNews (Dec 13): WAYWARD AND FANCIFUL: Soldier, farmer, peace builder (Gail Ilagan)

[The following are several paragraphs excerpted from a highly lauditory opinion piece on LTC Kris Mortela, the former Training Unit commander and Operations chief of the 10th Infantry Division, now Commander of the 67th Infantry Battalion and concurrent Commander of the Incident Command Post (ICP) in the municipality of Baganga, Davao Oriental province.]

.....At the 67IB headquarters then, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the various academic expertise and technical skills of the soldiers were tapped as appropriate. Unit thrusts allowed them to employ their knowledge of agriculture, engineering, education, social work, forestry, and animal husbandry to teach other soldiers how to set up a demo farm in the camp so that they can train civilians. Before Typhoon Pablo walloped Baganga and their camp to the ground, 67IB troops were engaged in friendly competition over who had the best vegetable plot.

Kris encouraged his soldiers to learn skills alien to traditional soldiery. The enlisted men’s cooperative was earning from the piggery, poultry, vegetable garden, and vermiculture patch in the camp. Some of the troops were helping farmers prepare documents to register their cooperatives and people’s organizations. The soldiers were also providing support for budget planning in both the barangay and municipal government levels.

There was always something that the unit was doing in partnership with the government agencies and the civilian sectors. The 67IB mediated people’s access to government programs and donor support. Kris would even invite our center to provide inputs for the youth leadership training sessions his unit jointly sponsored with the LGUs. This became a venue for some of our students to engage the youth in Baganga and other neighboring towns.

Kris said that when people in the grassroots improve their income, they put food on the table, make improvements to their houses, and send their children to school. They earn. They gain self-respect. They become inclined to participate in community concerns and keep the peace. They’d rather not take up arms when they find that taking up the hoe instead would allow them to be better parents to their children and to sleep soundly at night.

Ten years ago, for a soldier to make this radical shift in thinking would have made Mortela unpopular in the military. He credits the influence of retired general Raymundo Ferrer and former 1003rd Infantry Brigade commander Lysander Suerte for resonating with his views on human security and people-centered approaches. Indeed, even before the implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Plan sought to introduce this paradigm shift in the military establishment, these were ideas for peace building that Ding, Dodoy, and Kris batted around in dialogue with civil society groups and the academe in Mindanao......

Killed Malaysian JI suspected 'suicide bomber'

From the Sun Star (Dec 15): Killed Malaysian JI suspected 'suicide bomber'

Police authorities are now verifying if the Malaysian Jemaah Islamiah (JI) member shot dead Friday evening here was a suicide bomber. Davao City Police Office (DCPO) Director Ronald de la Rosa identified the slain JI member as Mod Noor Fikrie Bin Abud Kahar. His Filipina wife, Annabel Nieva Lee from Sorsogon, was also arrested.

The couple checked in around 7 p.m. Friday at the Sampaguita Hotel, located along Mt. Apo and J. Camus St. here. Upon receiving an intelligence report, Dela Rosa immediately led a team and ordered the management to advise all occupants to quietly vacate the hotel. When the couple was already at the lobby, the raiding team announced the arrest.  However, the suspect resisted and raised his cellphone saying, “If you shoot me, I will explode the bomb. I have a bomb!”

The police reluctantly released the suspect who ran towards the nearby People’s Park. But security and park personnel, alarmed of some commotion, immediately locked the gates of the park where there are lots of people, not knowing what was happening at that time. The man proceeded to another area near Toriano’s Restaurant, fronting the Apo View Hotel along J. Camus St., where elements of the SWAT team shot him.

Dela Rosa said they recovered an identification card of the Malaysian and an improvised explosive device (IED) inside a backpack. He said the killed JI member was brought to the Angel Funeral parlor, while his wife was brought to the DCPO headquarters for questioning. (PNA)

MNLF: Philippines-Bangsamoro War in Mindanao: Origin and Aftermath

From the MNLF Website (Dec 13): Philippines-Bangsamoro War in Mindanao: Origin and Aftermath

[The following are the concluding paragraphs from the "analysis" posted to the MNLF Website]
Thirty years ago today, after Philippine colonialism under President/Dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos signed the highly media-hyped historical breakthrough Tripoli Peace Agreement in 1976, the Jeddah Peace Accord in 1987 under President Corazon C. Aquino, and the Jakarta MNLF-OIC-GRP Final Peace Agreements in 1996 under President Fidel V. Ramos, thePhilippines--Bangsamoro war in Mindanaohas still remained without permanent closure. Apparently, Philippine colonialism needs only to buy time in delaying the peace process. It is deliberately not at all interested to implement any peace agreement forged with the colonised Bangsamoro people in order to remain enforce the "legalised land-grabbing" 1935 Quirino-Recto Colonisation Act.

Thus, it is really quite strange that with the signing of the three agreements in the past by Philippine colonialism and the Bangsamoro people represented by MNLF being the pillar of the Bangsamoro people's freedom struggle, the present Aquino II regime has unilaterally decided to forge another peace agreement with the MILF, disregarding totally the peace agreements signed by his predecessors with the MNLF.

Creating another euphoria of hope for peace in the Bangsamoro homeland similar to the atmosphere and situation in 1976, 1987 and 1996, Philippine colonialism under the Aquino II government has this time conspired with Malaysian colonialism under Prime Minister Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak in signing the November 15, 2012 Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) based on the justification of replacing the existing 5-province Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) because the political entity is a failed experiment.

For point of emphasis, the ARMM was unilaterally manufactured by Philippine Congress under the Aquino I regime to give a semblance that Philippine colonialism has implemented the 1976 TripoliPeace Agreement and the 1987 Jeddah Peace Accord. It was from the beginning a failed experiment because it was meant only to deceive the Bangsamoro people and the global peaceful community of nations.Thus, it would be not quite surprising if the present course of political action taken by the Aquino II regime in tandem with the Malaysian Razak regime is again to mesmerize only the Bangsamoro people and the peaceful humanity that peace, not war, is the end goal of both Filipino and Malaysian colonisers today.

What of the Philippines--Bangsamoro war in Mindanao? Is the comprehensive peaceful settlement of the Filipino-Moro hostilities in Mindanao within the ambit of the establishment of the planned Bangsamoro government called for by the 2012 FAB as conceived by the MILF, Aquino II dispensation and Malaysian government? Will the final, just and lasting peace in Mindanao be surely established if both the 1996 MNLF-OIC-GRP FPA and the 2012 MILF-GPH FAB be linked and harmonised as called for by the OIC and other stakeholder sectors to finally end the Philippines--Bangsamoro war in Mindanao?

On the other hypothetical note, although both the 1996 FPA and the 2012 FAB would be linked, harmonised and adopted to become the substantial road map to ultimately solve the Filipino-Moro conflict in Mindanao to guarantee permanent peace in war-torn Mindanao, is this achievable while still the active freedom fighters of the Moro Islamic Freedom Movement (MIFM) under Al-Ustaj Umra Amiril Kato are continuously waging the freedom struggle against Philippine colonialism to prove the moral point that the only substantial solution to the nagging Philippines--Bangsamoro war in Mindanao is the freedom of the Filipino-colonised Bangsamoro people and the independence of the Filipino-occupied Bangsamoro homeland of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan?

MILF: Management seminar to improve Madaris operations held

From the MILF Website (Dec 15): Management seminar to improve Madaris operations held

Fifty-five (55) stakeholders comprised of Asatidz (Madrasa teachers), Imams, and Presidents of Madaris (plural for Madrasa) Parents, Teachers and Community Associations of Malapatan, Sarangani Province underwent Islamic Leadership and Management Seminar at Sitio Lout, Barangay Publacion in Malapatan last November 22, 2012. The belated report said that the activity was conducted by the Association of Madaris for Development (AMD), the municipal federation of Madaris in Malapatan, in a bid to equip the stakeholders with knowledge and skills on how they can improve the operations of 15 Madaris in town manned by 31 Madaris teachers.

The Resource Persons were Ustadz Muhamad Anwar Salisipan, AMD Board of Trustees Member, Ustadz Abdulbayan Laguialam, the Provincial Coordinator of Madaris under the Governor’s Office, and Langcap Quraish, a peace advocate and training facilitator from the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society.

The participants learned from the inputs of the lecturers on management techniques, Islamic leadership, and Islamic governance. Madaris education in Malapatan and the whole of Sarangani hold classes every Saturday and Sunday. These institutions provide its pupils Islamic education and values which molds the young generation of Muslims into a better and productive constituents of the province. Most of the Madaris facilities were incurred through contributions and collaboration of the community members and sometimes with the financial aid from the Arab donors.

AMD President Ustadz Mahmod Wasag said lack of classrooms, unpolished blackboards, inadequate armchairs, and frequent absences of Madaris pupils are the major challenges the Madaris in Malapatan have been facing. “With this seminar, we are hopeful that the participants will increase their cooperation and come up with action plan on how they can develop our Madaris.

The Office of the Governor of Sarangani through its Kalinaw Sarangani Unit helps the operation of Madaris in the whole province through conducting regular teaching enhancement training of the Madaris teachers, conducting annual evaluation of the performance of Madaris pupils, and providing teaching materials and monthly honorarium. There are 45 Madaris centers in the province. The Office of the Municipal Mayor of Malapatan and other town mayors of the province also provide honorarium to volunteer Madaris teachers in their respective Madaris teachers that are not sponsored by the PLGU.

Photos: Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief Operations-Typhoon Bopha

From the PACOM Flikr Site (Dec 13): Photos: Humanitarian Assistance/Disaster Relief Operations-Typhoon Bopha

Philippine service members and U.S. Marines palletize relief supplies at Villamor Air Base in Manila during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. After palletizing the gear side by side, the Marines transported the supplies via KC-130J Hercules aircraft to Davao International Airport for further distribution to citizens in need throughout Mindanao, the region of the Philippines most affected by Typhoon Bopha, which made landfall Dec. 4. The U.S. Marines are landing support specialists with 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and embarkation specialists with 3rd MLG and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF. (Photo by 1st LT Jean-Scott Dodd)


Philippine service members and U.S. Marines palletize relief supplies at Villamor Air Base in Manila during humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations. After palletizing the gear side by side, the Marines transported the supplies via KC-130J Hercules aircraft to Davao International Airport for further distribution to citizens in need throughout Mindanao, the region of the Philippines most affected by Typhoon Bopha. The U.S. Marines are landing support specialists with 3rd Marine Logistics Group, III Marine Expeditionary Force, and embarkation specialists with 3rd MLG and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III MEF. The aircraft that transported the supplies are with Marine Aerial Refueler Squadron 152, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st MAW. Photo by 1st LT Jean-Scott Dodd)

Photo: Philippine Disaster Relief Operations

From the PACOM Flikr Site (Dec 14): Photo: Philippine Disaster Relief Operations

Lt. Gen. Terry G. Robling, left, discusses disaster relief operations with Philippine Air Force Maj. Rommel J. Padere at Villamor Air Base in Manila, Republic of the Philippines. Robling complimented the bilateral relief efforts Philippine service members and U.S. Marines are conducting in response to the devastation caused by Typhoon Pablo (international name Bopha). Robling is the commanding general of Marine Corps Forces Pacific. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Mathew Manning)

Photos: 2012 RP-US MDB/SEB Meeting

From the PACOM Flikr Site (Dec 13):  Photos: 2012 RP-US MDB/SEB Meeting

Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa (left), chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander of U.S. Pacific Command, hold a press conference regarding the way ahead in military relations after presiding over the Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City Dec. 13. The successful meetings covered mutual military interests and how the two allies move forward together in the Asia-Pacific. (U.S. Pacific Command photo by Army Staff Sgt. Carl N. Hudson)

Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III (left), commander of U.S. Pacific Command and Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, shake hands after signing the Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board agreement marking the way ahead regarding the U.S-Philippines military-to-military collaboration at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City Dec. 13. (U.S. Pacific Command photo by Army Staff Sgt. Carl N. Hudson)

Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III (left), commander of U.S. Pacific Command and Gen. Jessie D. Dellosa, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, sign the Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board agreement marking the way ahead regarding U.S-Philippines military-to-military collaboration at Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo in Quezon City Dec. 13. Collaboration between the two allies involves counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, cyber security and other operations. (U.S. Pacific Command photo by Army Staff Sgt. Carl N. Hudson)

Having the nine-dash map on Google won't validate China's claim - DFA spokesman

From InterAksyon (Dec 14): Having the nine-dash map on Google won't validate China's claim - DFA spokesman

Having it on Google doesn’t mean it’s legitimate.  Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Raul Hernandez said that even if China’s nine-dash map is on Google, its claim over disputed territories in South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) “will not gain any validity.""Putting the nine-dash line on Google map does not change the fact that the nine-dash line claim is contrary to the international law particularly Unclos [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea]," Hernandez said on Friday in a text message to reporters when asked to react on China's latest move in asserting its sovereignty in the disputed sea. “Such act will not gain any validity for China,” added Hernandez.

The Philippines and other claimant countries, including Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, and Taiwan have overlapping claims to the West Philippine Sea, which China is claiming entirely. Due to the map issued by Google, the Vietnam-based Nguyen Thai Hoc Foundation has circulated a petition requesting Google Inc. executive chairman Eric Schmidt, CEO Larry Page, and co-founder Sergey Brin to remove the label "China" from Paracel and Spratly Islands and the nine-dotted line from the Google maps. Google has already removed the said label but the nine-dotted line remains on its Chinese maps.

China Daily tags Manila as ‘trouble-maker’

From the Manila Standard Today (Dec 14): China Daily tags Manila as ‘trouble-maker’

A state-owned news agency in China on Thursday accused the Philippines for being a “trouble-maker” ever since the tension started in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea in April. In a commentary, China Daily criticized Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario who this week told the Financial Times that the government would “welcome” the re-arming of Japan because it would serve as a “counterbalance” to China’s growing aggression in the West Philippine Sea. “It is pathetic that to provoke China the foreign secretary of the Philippines has not hesitated to help Japan revive the dying ember of militarism,” China Daily wrote. “Del Rosario’s remarks only play into the hands of Japanese right-wingers who have been clamoring to break the limits of the country’s pacifist constitution,” it added.

The website, which is considered as the mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party, said the Philippines has been “jabbing a finger at China time and again”. In the same commentary, the news agency reminded the Philippine government of the painful memories of Japan’s military occupation during World War II. “For Asian countries victimized by Japanese aggression in World War II, normal ties with Japan are possible only under the condition that the country sticks to a pacifist road. Del Rosario’s rhetoric has touched the bottom line of peace and order in Asia,” it said.

It added that ever since the Philippines “unilaterally” raised tensions over its disputes with China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) in April, Manila has “dutifully played the role of a troublemaker” in the region. “While coveting territorial waters it is not entitled to, it has played one trick after another seeking confrontation with China. Its politicians have developed a penchant of talking tough on China, as if wild talk will make the country’s daydreaming come true,” it added. The news agency added that Del Rosario’s remarks laid bare Manila’s attempt to enlist support for its dispute with China.

“As a smaller country, it has resorted to opportunism to balance the big powers. However, if it goes too far, it will have to shoulder the consequences,” it said. “History shows us small countries tend to get the worse of it if they seek to hijack regional peace and stability as a bargaining chip,” it added. It argued that if Manila would insists on playing more “tricks,” “sooner or later it will have to pay a dear price and lose its own credibility in the region”. It said that the Philippines was “deceiving itself and miscalculating the situation” believing that it could get support from big countries like the United States and Japan. “And it is apparently underestimating China’s resolve to defend its sovereignty and core interests,” it added.

Meanwhile, an expert from Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Jakarta expressed fears of a possible armed conflict in the disputed territories if Declaration of Conduct in the South China Sea is not implemented. Rizal Sukma, executive director of CSIS said that China continuously insists during the summit last November that the discussion on the Code of Conduct could only take place “when the time is ripe”. “Indeed, the absence of significant progress on the CoC has again raised international and regional concerns about peace and stability in the region,” he said. He said that during the Association of the Southeast Asian Nation Summit in Phnom Penh last November, there were no such agreement between China and ASEAN on when COC talks would officially proceed. “Such concerns are not groundless. Recent developments in the South China Sea point to a growing risk of misperceptions and miscalculations, which could in turn increase the potential for new tensions among claimant states and other regional stakeholders,” he said.

US navy ships to make more port calls in PH

From the Manila Standard Today (Dec 14): US navy ships to make more port calls in PH

The United States Navy said on Thursday that it planned to increase its port visits in the country as part of its objectives to further boost bilateral security ties in several areas of concern between Manila and Washington. Armed Forces Chief of Staff General Jessie Dellosa said that starting next year, US vessels will make frequent visits based on new terms under the Mutual Defense Treaty, which the US and the Philippines signed in 1951. Dellosa signed the new terms Admiral Samuel James Locklear of the US Pacific Command in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday. “There will be an increase in port calls of US ships in the country,” Dellosa said.

The port visits, according to Dellosa, will provide the much-needed assistance to the AFP and the government, especially in times of disasters. “Increased US ports call could eventually benefit the country in times of disasters,” Dellosa said At least 200 US ships have visited the country’s various ports this year alone, including the USS George Washington, along with several destroyers and frigates which had docked in Palawan fronting the West Philippine Sea.

Dellosa and Locklear held a two-day meeting which ended Wednesday where they discussed a variety of topics, including the US commitment to provide equipment and strengthen the country’s maritime security, climate change and disaster preparedness and support. The US and Philippine military are expected to hold at least 100 military exercises by next year in their bid to further enhance its interoperability capability, and in reaffirming their strategic partnership. “Strengthening the US-Philippine alliance ensures that together, we continue to effectively and efficiently contribute to the stability and security of the Asia Pacific,” Locklear said.

On China’s threat to pass laws that will allow their naval troops to board and search ships passing through China Sea, Locklear said that there should be no provocative actions by any country to resolve territorial disputes in South China Sea. “There should be a freedom of navigation in South China Sea,” L0ocklear said.

PH, Vietnam discuss rival claims in S. China Sea

From ABS-CBN (Dec 14): PH, Vietnam discuss rival claims in S. China Sea

The Philippines and Vietnam will continue to coordinate efforts to reach a negotiated settlement with China on overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, a senior diplomat told Kyodo News on Friday. Officials of the two countries, who were in Manila to prepare for a meeting of the Philippine and Vietnamese foreign ministers in Manila early next year, decided to continue to work together on the South China Sea issue even though Malaysia and Brunei, two other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations with similar difficulties, begged off a planned four-way discussion set for Dec. 12.

Both Brunei and Malaysia said scheduling problems prevented their senior officials from coming to Manila this week, although some believe those two countries are more concerned about upsetting China than forging a common stance on the sea claims with Vietnam and the Philippines.

The diplomat said the Friday meeting has shown the Philippines and Vietnam are ready to discuss maritime security and cooperation and to resolve the South China Sea disputes by negotiation. "We have a common understanding that it is really important to maintain peace and stability in the region because the seas surrounding our region interconnect the countries of Asia-Pacific and beyond," the diplomat said.

The Philippines and Vietnam are the most vocal among ASEAN countries in demanding that China forge a binding code of conduct with ASEAN to prevent clashes in disputed areas. China and Vietnam dispute ownership of parts of the Paracel Islands, which China has occupied. The four ASEAN claimants and Taiwan also dispute with China ownership of parts of the Spratly Islands and the Philippines disagrees with China on ownership of Scarborough Shoal, north of the Spratlys.

A statement issued by the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said the Friday meeting "discussed the implementation of the Philippines-Viet Nam Action Plan 2011-2016, which covers cooperation on political, defense, security, economic, fisheries, agriculture, forestry, environment, science and technology, energy, education, cultural and tourism, social welfare and development, and maritime and ocean concerns and issues."

In addition to the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei, ASEAN includes Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Thailand.

CAFGU killed in clash against NPA

From the Philippine Star (Dec 14): CAFGU killed in clash against NPA

Communist rebels gunned down a militiaman as they tried to take over a paramilitary detachment in North Cotabato’s Tulunan town Thursday. Soldiers and members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit guarding the detachment in Barangay Tuburan, Makilala which New People’s Army guerillas attacked managed to return fire and prevent them from closing in. A CAFGU member named Relex Endencio was killed in the ensuing firefight, which waned only when the NPAs retreated to another barangay after they failed to breach the three parallel lines of bamboo fences encircling the detachment.

Col. Ademar Tomaro, commanding officer of the Army’s 602nd Brigade, said the attack could be in retaliation for the heavy loses the NPAs incurred in a series of encounters with soldiers the past three weeks in nearby Magpet town, also in North Cotabato. Civilians displaced by the Army-NPA hostilities in Magpet confirmed that more than 20 rebels were killed in the encounters, which waned only last week following the liberation of 15 guerilla enclaves in the area from enemy occupation.

The anti-NPA operations in Magpet by the 602nd Brigade and its component units, the 57th, the 40th and 7th Infantry Battalions and combatants of the Army’s elite Scout Rangers and Special Forces were launched on the demand of farmers complaining about excessive taxation activities of rebel. Rebels have also been harassing villagers they suspect of sympathizing with the military, or are reluctant to shell out “protection money” on a regular basis. Tomaro said the remains of the slain militiaman have been turned over to his family in Tulunan, North Cotabato.

MILF issues directive on fighters' carrying of firearms

From the Philippine Star (Dec 14): MILF issues directive on fighters' carrying of firearms

The leadership of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has issued a directive, asking all its members not to carry firearms and wear their fatigue uniforms in public places. MILF Chief of Staff Sammy Almanzur also asked Moro fighters to carry their firearms only if they are engage in official peace events. Almanzur also reminded MILF members that they are only allowed to wear uniforms and carry firearms inside the perimeters of Camp Darapan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao and during special events.

The military, meanwhile, praised the latest directive from the MILF leadership. “The Philippine Army welcomes the act of the MILF in issuing an order dissuading its field members from carrying firearms and using military fatigue uniforms in public places. This will surely advance the cause and the spirit of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement," Army chief Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said.

Army spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc also said that the MILF's latest move is a positive step towards a lasting peace in Mindanao. Almanzur’s order is line with the framework signed last October 15 at the Malacańang Palace by the peace panels of the government and the MILF. The peace agreement aims to pave the way for the establishment of the new autonomous political entity, the Bangsamoro, to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

NPA hampering 'Pablo' relief efforts - military

From the Philippine Star (Dec 14): NPA hampering 'Pablo' relief efforts - military

The military on Friday accused the New People’s Army (NPA) of hampering humanitarian efforts in areas hit by typhoon “Pablo.” The Army said a group affiliated with the rebels tried to intercept soldiers who were about to deliver goods to typhoon victims in Talaingod, Davao del Norte last week. Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Army’s 10th division, said the soldiers were members of the 60th battalion tasked to assist typhoon victims in Sitio Banoog in barangay Sto. Niño. “Members of the 60th Infantry Battalion were fired upon at the outreach station in said village”, Paniza said in a statement. He said the attack had transpired despite the 29-day ceasefire declared by communist rebels in typhoon-stricken areas.

The National Democratic Front (NDF) in Mindanao declared a unilateral ceasefire that started on December 5 until January 3 to enable its fighters to assist the typhoon victims. The NDF also urged the state forces to refrain from using the relief efforts to conduct offensives against the NPA.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also accused the rebels of trying to kill a soldier and abducting his two daughters in San Isidro, Davao del Norte last Sunday. AFP spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said Pfc. Lito Mansaluon was on his way back to his detachment on board a motorcycle with his children and another civilian when he was flagged down by suspected rebels. Burgos said the suspected rebels took Mansaluon’s children as hostages. The children were freed after two hours through the help of local tribal leaders. “The AFP condemned these atrocities perpetrated by the NPA especially at the time when our soldiers are conducting rescue and relief missions to aid the typhoon victims,” Burgos said. “The recent violent incidents did not only complicate ongoing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations in the calamity-affected areas but also put the lives of innocent civilians in danger,” he added.

AFP chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa called on the rebels to adhere to the ceasefire they declared. “Pronouncements of ceasefire demands commitment hence the NPA must be sincere and should translate that into actions. It is not for publicity or lip service,” he said.

Leftist rebel killed in Surigao clashes

From the Philippine Star (Dec 14): Leftist rebel killed in Surigao clashes

A member of the New People's Army (NPA) was killed following a series of encounters between leftist rebels and government security forces, a military official said today. Maj. Gen. Nestor A. Anonuevo, commander of the 4th Infantry Division, said government security forces clashed with NPA members in the village of Lobo, Cantilan town on Dec. 11 and in the village of Hinapuyan, Carmen town in the province of Surigao del Sur on Dec. 13. Anonuevo said government security forces pursued the leftist rebels after they received reports that the NPA members were conducting extortion activities in those areas. Aside from the body of the unidentified leftist rebel, the troops also recovered two AK-47 rifles and two AK-47 rifle magazines.

2 soldiers killed, 19 ‘reds’ caught

From the Visayan Daily Star (Dec 14): 2 soldiers killed, 19 ‘reds’ caught

Two Army soldiers were killed, and four others injured when government troopers overran a suspected New People’s Army camp yesterday in Sitio Mahopaho, Brgy. San Agustin, Isabela, Negros Occidental. Col. Oscar Patrimonio, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said 19 suspected rebels were also arrested at the encounter site, which is an isolated area with no houses. Patrimonio said the overran camp could accommodate about 50 persons.

Troopers of the 11th Infantry Battalion Alpha Company led by 1Lt. Von Ryan Gomez were on security operations when they figured in an encounter with about 30 to 40 armed NPA rebels, which led to a running gunbattle that lasted for several hours. Two soldiers were killed and four others, including an Army junior officer, were injured in the gunbattle. However, their identities have been withheld, pending notification of their families.

As Army soldiers pressed their attack, Patrimonio said the fleeing rebels hastily abandoned their positions and camp, leaving behind eight combat packs, containing a .45 caliber pistol with two magazines of ammunition, ammunition and magazines for M-14 and M-16 assault rifles, personal belongings, subversive documents and tarpaulins. Two rebels were also reported killed, while an undetermined member was injured during the initial gunbattle. However, they were carried away by their fleeing comrades, he added.

Patrimonio said the 15 suspected rebels,who were found at the encounter site, could be held liable for murder and frustrated murder, for the death of the two soldiers and the injuries of four others. He added that the 19 suspected rebels have already been turned over to the Isabela Police Station for further investigation.Inspector Jason Manguilimutan, Isabela police chief, said last night that the 19 arrested individuals turned over to them by the Philippine Army will be temporarily placed under police custody.

Patrimonio said the armed rebels encountered by the 11IB soldiers came from the hinterlands of Guihulngan, who had transferred their guerilla base camp to Isabela, because of pressure exerted on them by government troopers in Negros Oriental. Patrimonio also said they have maximized their security operations, in response to harassments on two military outposts Isabela and Moises Padilla, and threats to attack Linantuyan detachment and Bayanihan teams. Capt. Ariel Quirog, 11IB Civil Military Operations officer, yesterday said the encounter and seizure of the rebel camp was an offshoot of information relayed to the 11IB by residents in the area.

Rep. Alejandro Mirasol (5th district, Negros Occ) yesterday said “It is sad and unfortunate that the encounter between our soldiers and the insurgents happened when we are celebrating the yuletide season”. Isabela town is part of the 5th district of Negros Occidental. Mirasol said he is appealing to all parties to re-think their position and instead do positive acts to help the countryside attain prosperity and development. Senior Supt. Milko Lirazan, officer-in-charge of the Negros Occidental, said yesterday that he has placed all police stations in the province, on alert in the wake of a rebel attack on the Roxas Police Station in Palawan on Wednesday.

AFP accuses NPA of violating self-imposed 29-day ceasefire

From InterAksyon (Dec 14): AFP accuses NPA of violating self-imposed 29-day ceasefire

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) accused the New People's Army (NPA) of violating its self-imposed 29-day ceasefire as the rebels launched attacks against soldiers conducting humanitarian aid in Davao del Norte last week. Lieutenant Colonel Lyndon Paniza, spokesman of the Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division, said members of the 66th Infantry Battalion were attacked by the rebels last week in Sitio Banoog, Barangay Sto. Nino, Talaingod town. The soldiers, who were conducting humanitarian missions in typhoon-hit Davao Oriental, were fired upon at their outreach station in the said village, Paniza said. "This is contrary to their promise of a 29-day ceasefire," Paniza said. The self-imposed ceasefire by the NPA runs from December 5 to January 3, 2013.

NPA rebels were also blamed for the attempted killing of Private First Class Lito Mansaluon and the kidnapping of his two daughters in the remote sitio of Danao, Barangay Gupitan in San Isidro town last Sunday. Paniza said Mansaluon lost his home to the typhoon and was headed to his military detachment with his daughters when they were waylaid by the rebels.

The military condemned the recent NPA attacks, which it said had hampered humanitarian aid to typhoon victims and also put innocent civilians at risk. “These NPA-initiated atrocities are crimes against our people. Pronouncements of ceasefire demands commitment hence the NPA must be sincere and should translate that into actions. It is not for publicity or lip service,” AFP Chief of Staff, General Jessie Dellosa said. Despite the attacks, the military vowed to continue providing relief assistance to typhoon victims in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley.

6 strife-torn municipalities in Caraga to benefit of peace project

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 14): 6 strife-torn municipalities in Caraga to benefit of peace project

The Regional Office XIII (Caraga) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) will extend its peace and development project to six strife-torn municipalities in the region, a senior regional social welfare official said. The KC-Pamana integrates peace and social framework of the DSWD’s Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan-Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (Kalahi-CIDSS), Ester V. Villamor, regional community development specialist of the Kalahi-CIDSS, said.  The project is funded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (Opapp) under the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Pamana) funds. Villamor said that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) implements the “Pillar 2” of the Pamana program. This may refer to the “micro-level interventions to promote the convergent delivery of services and goods focused on households and communities by both national and local agencies.”  The project started in 2011 and may extend until 2015.

The peace and development project will cover the 6 municipalities of San Miguel and its 4 barangays; Tagbina and its 8 barangays and Gigaquit and its 3 barangays, all in the province of Surigao del Sur as well as the municipalities of Esperanza and its 28 barangays; Veruela and its 18 barangays and Lapaz and its 3 barangays, all in the province of Agusan del Sur. The municipalities were identified by the Opapp as conflict-affected areas (CAAs) and their respective barangays sa Conflict-affected barangays (CABs) because of the sightings, influence or presence of the Maoist guerillas in the area.

AFP-8th ID celebrates anniversary with bloodletting and greening activities

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 14): AFP-8th ID celebrates anniversary with bloodletting and greening activities

As part of the 77th year anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan City, Samar, marked the celebration with its army brothers across the nation with bloodletting and greening programs. Major-General Gerardo Layug, commander of the 8th ID, said in a statement that the bloodletting is the Army’s continuing commitment in serving the people and that the blood donation is intended for both the Army personnel’s use and the civilians’ medical needs.

The anniversary activities, held in December 1-11 was in coordination with various government and non-government agencies in Samar province namely the Philippine Red Cross-Leyte chapter, city government of Catbalogan, Regional Community Defense Group, Army Reserved Command of the Philippine Army, Samar Provincial Police Office, and other civic organizations. Captain Gene Orense, 8th ID spokesperson, disclosed that the bloodletting activity called “Dugo Mo, Buhay Ko” last December 3 at the 8th ID covered court, generated about 70 units equivalent to 31, 500 cc of blood from generous donors.

Meanwhile, the army’s environmental activity under its greening programs revealed a total of 1,500 mahogany and star apple trees planted. The activity, jointly done by about 500 military personnel, Catbalogan city government employees, Kabalikat Civicom members, and Samar Police Provincial Office Personnel, was part of the Army’s anniversary celebration.

Military secures vital installation in Leyte against rebel attacks

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 14): Military secures vital installation in Leyte against rebel attacks

Government troops from the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police continue to secure vital installations in Leyte like the geothermal plant located in Kananga town and the city of Ormoc. Captain Dranreb Canto, 802nd Infantry Brigade public information officer, said the military is considering all vital installations as soft target of attacks. He said that while the military has not monitored or received information that the New People’s Army (NPA) will attack vital installations, they will not put their guard down. The rebel group has initiated two separate attacks this month in the towns of Jaro and Albuera both of the province of Leyte. It was learned that a troop under the 802nd is stationed inside the geothermal complex to ensure the safety of its personnel and all its structures. The military is making sure that the geothermal plant is secured against attacks of the rebel group as the plant supplies electricity not just in Leyte province but the whole of Eastern Visayas region including those of the nearby regions and some parts of Luzon.

Army’s 1st Infantry Division sends 3 truckloads of relief goods to Compostela Valley

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 14): Army’s 1st Infantry Division sends 3 truckloads of relief goods to Compostela Valley

The Army’s 1st Infantry Division has joined in the massive efforts to provide humanitarian assistance and alleviate the plight of the victims of typhoon "Pablo." Maj. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz, III, commander of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said three truck loads of relief goods--food stuffs and clothing--were dispatched to Composela Valley province Friday. “We hope that these assistance would ease the suffering of the survivors. This is a support from our troops to our kababayans,” Cruz said. Cruz said the relief goods were gathered by his Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations Lt. Col. Randolf Sino Cruz from line units and various stakeholders within the 1st Infantry Division area of responsibility.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said death toll to typhoon "Pablo" continues to climb reaching 906 as of Friday morning, with estimated damage of P15.1 billion. Only 575 of the dead have been identified of which 848 were from Compostela Valley. The number of missing persons also rose to 932.

Army, Davao Oriental officials distribute food packs to ‘Pablo’ victims

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 14): Army, Davao Oriental officials distribute food packs to ‘Pablo’ victims

The Philippine Army, through the 10th Infantry Division, in coordination with the Davao Oriental provincial government has distributed a total of 75,801 packs of food supplies in the municipality of Baganga, Davao Oriental, one of the hardest hit areas by typhoon "Pablo". The distribution of food supplies has covered all the 18 barangays of Baganga as of Thursday, according to Lt. Col. Krishnamurti Mortela, commander of Incident Command Post (ICP) in the Municipality of Baganga.

 The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), has also distributed 327 tents to the different barangays in Baganga. The relief good distribution was spearheaded by Army’s 10th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo and Davao Oriental Gov. Corazon Malanyaon. “We have delivered food to the people, even in remotest villages of the municipality,” barangay coordinator Andy Monday stressed.  Aside from Baganga, the two officials also led the distribution of relief goods in some barangays in Cateel town in the same province.

Malanyaon has expressed her heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the troops of the Army’s 67th Infantry Battalion based in Barangay Salingcomot, Baganga “for your valuable support to the province in these difficult times.” “You are our reliable partner not only for peace, but also in disaster relief and rescue operations,” Malanyaon added. Bernardo also distributed goods and uniforms to the 67th Infantry Battalion troopers who were heavily affected by the typhoon Pablo. “Higher headquarters will support your needs from individual uniform and equipment to reconstruction of your camp,” Bernardo said.

Meanwhile, a mobile soup kitchen of the Army 701st Infantry Brigade under Capt. Edren Santiago continued on its second day serving the most affected areas with a total number of 1,600 beneficiaries in barangay Kinablangan, Baganga.

Aquino leads PCG change of command

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 14): Aquino leads PCG change of command

President Benigno S. Aquino III led Friday the change of command in the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), challenging the new commandant to continue the positive thrusts of his predecessor. Rear Admiral Rodolfo Isorena assumed on Friday as the new commandant of the PCG, replacing Vice Admiral Edmund Tan. The turnover of command rites marks the beginning of a new page in the history of Philippine Coast Guard, the President said in his speech during the event at the PCG’s headquarters at Port Area, Manila.

“Kay Rear Admiral Isorena: Huwag mong sasayangin ang mga repormang ipinunla ng iyong mga sinundan. Suklian mo ng tapat na paglilingkod ang tiwalang kaloob sa iyo, hindi lang ng Tanod Baybayin ng Pilipinas, kundi ng sambayanan,” he said. “Lagi mo sanang tatandaan na ang iyong pagkakatalaga ay hindi pribilehiyo, kundi isang tungkuling may kaakibat na responsibilidad. Nakasalalay sa lakas ng iyong bawat tauhan ang kabuuang lakas ng Coast Guard. Dapat mo silang alagaan; dapat mong pakinggan ang kanilang mga problema,”

The Chief Executive said that Isorena should treat every PCG personnel as a member of the PCG family, noting that their “bosses,” the Filipino expect to fulfill his duties effectively. The President also expressed his gratitude to Vice Admiral Tan, that despite his 11-month stint in the PCG, he has accomplished a lot. Tan performed well even during challenging situations to protect the country’s territory, fight crime and ensure the safety of people at sea, the President said. He also thanked the entire PCG for performing its duties.

The President praised the PCG for its successful operations during the Philippine-China standoff in Bajo de Masinloc. “Sa kabila ng mga banta’t panganib, napanatili ng Coast Guard, hindi lamang ang seguridad at kaayusan sa ating teritoryong pandagat; naipaabot din ninyo sa ibang mga bansa na hangga’t nasa katwiran tayo, handang ipaglaban ng Pilipino ang tunay na pag-aari ng Pilipino,” he said.

The PCG has effectively pushed the government’s campaign against human trafficking, illicit drugs and arms trade as well as transnational crimes, he said. Since January 2012, the PCG conducted 230 maritime law enforcement and security operations that resulted to the arrest of 237 individuals. It also intercepted 65 sea vessels being used for illegal activities. In addition, the PCG also confiscated more than P233 million of smuggled goods, the chief executive said. To make the PCG more effective in doing its job, the President said the NEDA board approved last month P8.8 billion allocation for the purchase of 10 units of 40-meter Multi-role Response Vessels. “Inaasan po na mas aangat ang antas ng serbisyo ng mga Tanod Baybayin; mas dadami ang mailalayo sa mga sakuna’t peligro; at sa dulo nito, mas panalo at mas ligtas ang sambayanang Pilipino,” he said.

The new PCG commandant is a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy, coming from the Sandigan Class of 1982. A native of Virac, Catanduanes, Isorena was commissioned as ensign in the Philippine Navy in 1982 and was assigned at the PCG in 1993. He also studied here and abroad while at the PCG. He has degrees and trainings in Sweden, the US, Japan, and Denmark. Among the awards and citations he received while in the PCG include the Coast Guard Legion of Honors, Distinguished Service Medals, Outstanding Achievement Medal, and Gawad Kaunlaran Medals.

Joining the President during Friday’s event were Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.

NDFP-Mindanao declares ceasefire

From the Sun Star-Davao (Dec 13): NDFP-Mindanao declares ceasefire

THE National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) declared Wednesday a 29-day unilateral ceasefire in the typhoon desolated areas in Mindanao to give way to relief operations. Ka Oris, NDFP Mindanao spokesperson, in a statement said the ceasefire started December 5 and it will end in January 3, 2013 at around 12 noon. He said the duration of the treaty can be extended if it is needed. Oris said the NDFP Mindanao decided to declare a ceasefire to extend their empathy to the affected areas and their residents who lost loved ones and properties after the Typhoon Pablo hit Mindanao, particularly the Davao Region.

"Isip tubag sa grabeng katalagman ug sa ngalan sa mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa, ang NDFP-Mindanao mideklara ug kaugalingong ceasefire aron mamahimong luwas, wala'y babag ug paspas ang pagluwas sa mga biktima, ug sa pagpahigayon sa paspas ug wala'y bara nga pagtunol sa serbisyong relief sa mga apektadong komunidad (As a response to the calamity and in the name of the revoltionary movement, NDF-Miindanao has declared a unilateral ceasefire to make it speed up search and rescure operations and expedite delivery of relief goods to the affected communities) " Oris said.

"Mahimong ipadayon ang ceasefire kung kinahanglan depende sa mahimong resulta sa assessment sa kondukta sa ceasefire. Ang tanan mga yunit sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan nga langkob niining deklarasyon sa ceasefire gimandoan nga dili maglunsad og taktikal nga opensiba sulod sa gitakda nga petsa (The ceasefire can be extended if necessary depending on the assessment in the conduct of the ceasefire. All units of the New People’s Army under this ceasefire declaration are ordered not to launch tactical offensives during the period that was set)," he added.

Oris also urged all BHB units in the affected areas like Compostela Valley Province, Davao Oriental and Surigao del Sur to provide necessary assistance to the victims of the typhoon. The NDFP Mindanao also demanded all large-scale mining companies as well as logging and plantation firms to also provide enough financial assistance for the relief and rehabilitation of the affected areas. "Amo pud giawhag ang Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police nga dili gamiton ang kalihokan nga search and rescue operation, pag-apod-apod sa mga hinabang, ug paglunsad sa outreach program isip pangtabon sa ilang mga operasyon militar batok sa BHB (We are also asking the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police not to use search and rescue operations, distribution of relief goods and the conduct of outreach programs as a camouflage of their military operations against BHB)," Oris said.

He added that BHB units will have the right and are ready to protect themselves and the community if it is needed. In response to the letter, Lt. General Jorge V. Segovia, commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), told Sun.Star Davao through a text message that the NDFP is "too late the hero." "We've been busy saving lives from the start. I have no time for their propaganda. Abala lang sa atin yang mga useless statements nila," Segovia said.

"Baga na kaayo ug nawong kaning mga NPA nga gamiton kining trahedya para sa ilang propaganda," said Col. Leopoldo Galon Jr. commander for the Eastmincom’s Civil Relations Group (CRG). Major Jacob Thaddeus Obligado, commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Division's Civil Military Operation Battalion (CMOBN), said the NDFP and NPA are just trying to be make some noise so they could get the attention of the public.

In the spirit of bayanihan, Brigadier General Ariel B. Bernardo, commander of the Army's 10th Infantry Division, said everyone who wish to extend assistance to the people who were devastated by the typhoon are most welcome. "The AFP has always been the reliable partner especially when it comes to disaster relief and rescue operations. Our troops are not even spared of their safety," Bernardo said.

Greenpeace, MNLF work with TFD in aiding typhoon victims

From the Mindanao Times (Dec 12): Greenpeace, MNLF work with TFD in aiding typhoon victims
The Task Force Davao coordinated with Greenpeace and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) to distribute relief goods and assistance to the victims of typhoon Pablo. The Esperanza ship arrived last Wednesday at the Sasa Wharf carrying relief goods with a total volume of 55 tons, which include rice, water, clothing, and other packed items from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Save the Children Foundation and Sagip Kapamilya, all based in Manila.

Lt. Col. Gerry M. Besana, TF Davao spokesperson, said that Greenpeace of Southeast Asia is involved in environmental protection advocacy, adding that they were supposedly in Manila for their Christmas tour but instead diverted the course of the ship. Besana added that 19 skilled workers will also help in the distribution of relief operations as part of their support for the humanitarian response. “All donated goods were received by the DSWD, Region XI and initially transported to the Inter-Agency Relief Operation Center (IAROC) at the Department of Public Works and Highways Equipment Depot in Panacan, prior to dispatch to the established relief operations hubs in the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental,” Besana said.

Meanwhile, the MNLF volunteered their manpower to reinforce the ongoing relief operations for the victims of typhoon Pablo at the IAROPC. The Airborne Division of the MNLF, led by B/Gen. Sherwin B. Sazon, participated in the repackaging of relief goods.

2 kids abducted by NPA undergo stress debriefing

From the Mindanao Times (Dec 14): 2 kids abducted by NPA undergo stress debriefing

The two children of a soldier are now in the Eastern Command Station Hospital in Panacan to undergo a stress debriefing after they were taken by the New People’s Army at 9:30 a.m. in Kapalong, Davao Del Norte last Dec. 9. ,Lt. Joy Damasco, commander of Peace Communication and Information Company, Civil Military Operations Battalion of the 10th Infantry Division, said that the two teens—aged 12 and 17—suffered a traumatic experience. The name of the father is withheld to protect the victims.

Damasco added that psychiatrists from Panacan Hospital and some volunteer doctors from Ateneo de Davao University are watching over the kids. Their father, a rebel integree, believed that the abduction was meant as revenge for leaving the movement. The two children and another civilian were left to the care of the tribal chieftain of Kapalong and was brought to Datu Domingo last Monday morning.

According to the police report, Masaluon and the two kids were on their way home after picking up a sack of rice in Barangay Datu Balong. They were one of the victims of typhoon “Pablo” and temporarily staying in the detachment. A platoon of New People’s Army blocked their path and he ran in another direction away from the children, hoping that the rebels will run after him. Three of the NPA rebels followed him while the other four abducted his two children and another civilian.

Brigade commander in Cagayan relieved on the spot due to NPA ambush

From the Mindanao Examiner (Dec 13): Brigade commander sa Cagayan sinibak sa puwesto dahil sa NPA ambush (Brigade commander in Cagayan relieved on the spot due to NPA ambush)

Nalalagay ngayon sa balad ng alanganin ang isang Philippine Army brigade commander matapos itong sibakin sa kanyang pwesto makaraang mamatayan ng 7 sundalo at 8 sugatan sa isang ambush ng New People’s Army. Kinilala ni Col. Loreto Magundayao, Jr., hepe ng Civil Military Operations Battalion ng 5th Infantry Division, ang sinibak na opisyal na si Col. Eduardo Collado, ang pinuno ng 502nd Infantry Brigade. Sinabi nitong may isinasagawang imbestigasyon sa naturang ambush upang mabatid kung ano ang naging lapses ng militar. “In military parlance, he (Collado) has been given (rest and recreation) pending the result of the investigation in connection with the encounter,” ani Magundayao. Naganap ang ambush sa kabundukan ng Barangay Mabbayad sa bayan ng Echague at kasama sa mga nasawi ay isang tinyente mula sa Bukidnon province sa northern Mindanao. Si Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcos, ang deputy commander ng 5th Infantry Division, ang pansamantalang hahawak sa naiwan na brigade ni Collado.

(The situation of a Philippine Army brigade commander is uncertain after 7 soldiers were killed and 8 wounded in an ambush by the New People's ArmyCol. Loreto Magundayao, Jr., Chief of the Civil Military Operations Battalion of the 5th Infantry Division said that Col. Eduardo Collado, the head of the 502nd Infantry Brigade was relieved due the ongoing investigation into  the ambush to determine what military lapses took place. "In military parlance, he (Collado) has been given (rest and recreation) pending the result of the investigation in connection with the encounter," said Magundayao. The ambush took place in the mountains of Barangay Echague, Mabbayad town and among the dead was a lieutenant from Bukidnon province in northern Mindanao. Brig. Gen. Arnulfo Marcos, the deputy commander of the 5th Infantry Division, now has temporary command of Collado's brigade.)

CPP/NPA: NPA refutes abduction claim

Posted to the CPP Website (Dec 13): NPA refutes abduction claim

Boyet Makatindog
NPA Southern Mindanao (Davao-Agusan Command (Front 34)

This is to clarify the twisted pronouncement made by the AFP regarding the purported abduction by the New People’s Army of two children, December 9. Red fighters of the Guerilla Front 34 Operations Command were busy repairing the houses of peasant masses — who were affected by typhoon Pablo — when they were alerted by a passing motorcycle bearing three passengers and one driver. The driver suddenly stopped, alighted, and left the two children and the woman as he ran away. Finding his behavior suspicious, the Red fighters tried to stop him and gave chase for about two to three kilometers. When the man threw them a grenade — which failed to explode — it was then that the Red fighters realized that he was an active AFP soldier. In defense, the Red fighters fired three shots. The man threw them a grenade the second time, hitting and seriously injuring one Red fighter.

In the meantime, the other NPA members attended to the three civilians who were left behind. They turned them over to the wife of the purok chairman four hours later. The AFP has again maximized the incident to turn the tables to the NPA and cry children’s rights violations. The NPA fully abides with the regulations and policies concerning the rights and welfare of children.

As the typhoon Pablo struck Kapalong, San Isidro, Laak, Loreto and Veruela, Red fighters conducted immediate relief assistance, medical missions and repair of precious houses. It is outrageous to insinuate that, in the midst of Pablo tragedy, the NPA was callously on the prowl and still on active operations against the AFP. Along with the poor peasant and Lumad masses, the NPA faced the onslaught of Pablo on December 4. In the aftermath of Pablo, the NPA fighters readily shifted its various military and comprehensive work and immediately attended to the needs of the suffering masses. To say that the NPA ”kidnapped” children who were also victims of Pablo, is indeed, a claim that only the fascist and devious AFP can readily concoct and spin.

CPP: CPP denounces US increasing involvement in Oplan Bayanihan

Posted to the CPP Website (Dec 14): CPP denounces US increasing involvement in Oplan Bayanihan

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today denounced the increasing US military intervention in local counterinsurgency operations as indicated in the agreements signed yesterday by officials of the Philippine and US military. Five new terms of reference were signed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Jessie Dellosa and US Pacific Command commander Admiral Samuel James Locklear in a series of meetings by the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board over the past few days.

Among others, the new agreements call for the creation of a technology and experimentation subcommittee on civil-military operations, a humanitarian and disaster response working group and the activation of a counter-terrorism working group. “The Filipino people must demand the full disclosure of these agreements which indicate further deepening US involvement in the internal affairs of the Philippines, particularly in the implementation of the AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression,” said the CPP. “Oplan Bayanihan was designed by the AFP in accordance with the Counterinsurgency Guide of 2009 issued by the US State Department and is being implemented with the guidance of US military advisers.”

“Involvement of US military forces in counter-insurgency planning and operations in the Philippines constitutes interference in the internal affairs of the Philippines,” pointed out the CPP. “The US is using its puppet regime to carry out its war by proxy against the armed resistance and non-armed movement which are fighting for national liberation from US domination and oppression.” “Aside from providing strategic advice, US military forces have long been known to be involved in tactical operations, providing local operating troops with intelligence and logistical support and experimental armaments besides having American soldiers directly embedded in combat operations,” added the CPP.

“The Filipino people must hold the Obama government accountable for the mounting human rights abuses being committed by the Aquino regime’s armed forces, police personnel and state-attached paramilitary groups in the course of the US-directed Oplan Bayanihan,” asserted the CPP. “Behind the rhetoric of peace and human rights repeated ad nauseum by Aquino and his military officials is the fact that cases of extrajudicial killings, abductions and disappearances, illegal arrest and detention, torture and other forms of military abuses continue to increase by the day.”

“The US is using such catchprhases as ‘freedom of navigation’, ‘regional stability’ and ‘counter-terrorism’ to serve as smokescreens for its increasing military presence and interventionism in the Philippines and heightened presence in Asia,” said the CPP. “In the end, it is only the ultra-nationalist interests of the US big capitalists that are being served by the increased presence of US military forces in the Philippines and in the Asia-Pacific region.”

The CPP said that “the Aquino and Obama regimes are riding roughshod over Philippine sovereignty in collaborating to further increase the presence of US military forces, particularly the growing number of rotational US military warship and troop dockings in Philippine ports.” “The Philippines is being used by the US military as an operations base of its large flotilla of interventionist troops plying the sea routes in and around the Philippines,” said the CPP. “This year, there have been close to 80 dockings by American warships at the former US naval base at Subic, in Manila Bay as well as other ports, which practically translates to the daily presence of American forces in some part of the country.” “Add to this the military base of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTFP) inside Camp Navarro that permanently hosts at least 700 American soldiers.”

MILF: IPs, parents and students in Sarangani & South Cotabato oriented on Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

From the MILF Website (Dec 14): IPs, parents and students in Sarangani & South Cotabato oriented on Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro

More than three hundred Indigenous Peoples, students, parents and community leaders in Glan, Sarangani and Lake Sebu, South Cotabato were oriented on the Government of the Philippines (GPH)-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) on December 10, 2012 aimed to let the people understand the said accord which is hoped to settle the conflict in Southern Philippines. The activity was also geared to provide the public information on the recent development on the peace process between the government and the Moro people.
The information drive which took place at Barangays Pangyan and Baliton in Glan was spearheaded by Kalinaw Sarangani Unit (KSU) in coordination with Sugoda Buayan Provincial Political Committee of the MILF.

Ayessa Tin, a staff of KSU, gave the highlights of FAB to almost 300 high school students, teachers, parents, barangay officials and community leaders at the gymnasium of Barangay Pangyan and Training Hall of Barangay Baliton, all in Glan. Osmena Salisipan, Vice-Chairman of the Provincial Political Committee, narrated the struggle of the Bangsamoro People and discussed the development prospects of the Bangsamoro Government that will replace the present Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao. In Lake Sebu, Prof. Raby Angkal which was sent by the Office of the MILF First Vice Chairman, gave the highlights and the bright hopes the FAB brings to Mindanao and the whole country in general. The FAB is a working document that will lead to the crafting of Bangsamoro Basic Law which will serve as the charter for the Moro people to exercise their own governance in a defined territory. It is hoped to give the Muslims in Mindanao “real autonomy.” The basic law will pass the congress for ratification.....