Saturday, November 30, 2013

MILF: Editorial -- Crafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law

From the MILF Website (Dec 1): Editorial: Crafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law

There is a growing urgency for the immediate signing of the two remaining Annexes (Power-sharing and Normalization) as time ticks away.   Members of Congress reached out by officials of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) urged it to submit to Congress the final draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), certified as urgent bill by President Benigno Aquino III, at least in May this year, so that there will still be enough time to pass it into law.
As a matter of fact, they wanted it submitted in January this year, which is no longer possible because of at least two main reasons: 1) the two annexes as indicated above are still under negotiation in Kuala Lumpur; and 2) the crafting the BBL requires parallel public engagements/consultation to factor into the BBL relevant and important inputs from the people.

The two peace panels must tighten their belts and act now to finish the remaining annexes, at least for now the Annex on Power-sharing. Although Annex on Normalization is as important, but not much of it is required into the BBL, except the structural aspect of policing for the Bangsamoro. In this country, there is only one national police, but the MILF takes a position that the police for Bangsamoro shall be more or less under the control (not absolute) of the Bangsamoro “Parliament”. The MILF is firm on this position, which it stresses time and again especially in their meeting with members of the Independent Commission on Policing (ICP), which was created by the MILF and government peace panels to study and recommend to the parties the most appropriate policing for the Bangsamoro. Canada heads the ICP, alongside Japan and Australia as members. There are two members each from the MILF and government.

The capacity of the BTC to beat the timeline suggested by Congress is not much a problem, because the BTC has actually started working on the draft especially after the Annex on Wealth-Sharing was signed in July last year. There are also ongoing consultations especially by BTC’s Committee on Fiscal Autonomy and Committee on Transitional Provisions chaired by Commissioners Raissa Jajurie and Johaira Wahab, respectively. Besides, all the commissioners are in highest spirit and are raring, like an impassioned writer, when to start his/her masterpiece. However, out of respect, they can only manage to ask politely “when will the two remaining annexes be completed?” Most always, the answer is also left hanging; negotiation is one human endeavor which is highly unpredictable.

But truth is that until and unless all the annexes are completed, the BTC’s draft of the BBL will still be tentative --- not be official --- because all its provisions must confirm with the template set forth in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) or Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) plus the four annexes signed into one document called CPA.

MILF: ICP Conduct Consultation for Propose Bangsamoro State Police

From the MILF Website (Dec 1): ICP Conduct Consultation for Propose Bangsamoro State Police

(Simuay Sultan Kudarat Nov 27, 2013)…The Independent Commission on Policing (ICP) constituted by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) held its consultation this week to the Armed Forces of the Philippines, then Tuesday evening to the members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) particular the Bangsamro Islamic Armed forces (BIAF).
This  Wednesday morning to the Civil Soiety Organization (CSO) and in  afternoon IP’s, held at Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) training center in Crossing Simuay, Sultan Kudarat Maguindanao.

The consultation is  in preparation for its task of submitting recommendations to the peace panels on the appropriate form, structures, and relationships of the police force for the envisioned Bangsamoro region.

ICP members who conducted the consultation  were Randall Beck as Chairperson (from Canada); retired Police Director Ricardo De Leon (GPH selected local expert); retired Police Chief Superintendent Amerodin Hamdag (MILF selected local expert); Police Dir. Lina Sarmiento (GPH appointed representative); Von Al Haq (MILF appointed representative); and Cedric Netto (international expert from Australia). Another international expert who will be nominated by the Japan government has yet to be named. Hirotaka Ono, First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in the Philippines and member of the International Contact Group (ICG), attended in the meantime.
During Consultation , the commissioners asked  the participants how the proposed state police  composed, role model and set up;

Who will take the lead in organizing the Bangsamoro  State Police;

Composition and recruitment of the Bangsamoro Police Commission;

Basis of recruitment for commissioned Officers and non-commissioned officers, in case of  Female police be admitted?;

ICP was convened for the first time in September during the 40th round of talks wherein the parties, in a joint statement, said that “the ICP shall commence its work by mid-October.” The ICP's Terms of Reference was signed by the parties on February 27, 2013 during the 36th GPH-MILF exploratory talks.

As stated in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), the commission “shall recommend appropriate policing within the Bangsamoro which is civilian in character and responsible both to the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government, and to the communities it serves.”

House bills seek revival of compulsory military training for college students

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 30): House bills seek revival of compulsory military training for college students
With tensions mounting over regional territorial disputes, some lawmakers have revived proposals to make the Reserve Officers Training Corps mandatory again for college students, so that the country would have a pool of capable officers to provide military service should the need arise.

The House Committee on National Defense and Security is scheduled to tackle the proposal during the first week of December, but the matter could turn out to be a contentious one as a counter-proposal to abolish the ROTC is also to be taken up.

The ROTC program was made optional with the passage of the National Service Training Program (NSTP) Act of 2001. This came amid intensified calls for the abolition of the ROTC following the killing of student Mark Welson Chua, who had exposed corruption in the program.

There are at least four bills seeking to reinstate mandatory ROTC for students in colleges and universities.

One of the authors, Cavite Representative Francis Gerard Abaya, said in the introduction to his bill that the constitutional provision allowing the government to call upon the people to defend the state and require them to render military or civil service has become more true and timely because of recent events in which the country may have to defend its territory from incursions by foreign powers.

But Abaya said this mandate has become hard to implement because the ROTC program was no longer mandatory. There are few students enrolled in the ROTC program, he said.

Because of this, the country may not have enough able people to call upon when it needs to defend itself, he warned.

“At the rate that the number of college students under the NSTP prefer other forms of civic duty over ROTC, it is not unimaginable that our country will not have sufficient reserve officers to call to render military services when warranted by national circumstances, whether as response to any national security threat or national emergency,” he said in his explanatory note to the bill.

Abaya’s bill states that mandatory ROTC should be part of the curriculum of all baccalaureate courses as well as two-year vocational or technical courses, and would be a requirement before graduation for all male students in public and private colleges and universities.

A similar bill was authored by Muntinlupa Rep. Rodolfo Biazon, a former Armed Forces chief, who said that with ROTC being optional, the recruitment and development of a military reserve component has been adversely affected.

Citing experts, Biazon said the concept of a citizen armed force as envisioned by the Constitution would not be realized if the status quo continued.  His measure, though, seeks mandatory ROTC only for students of state colleges and universities.

“Since the state subsidizes the education of these students, it is but proper that it should be able to primarily depend on them for its defense,” he said.

But clashing with the mandatory ROTC bills is the measure filed by Kabataan Rep. Terry Ridon, who said the program has no place in civilian educational institutions.

Ridon’s bill seeks to abolish the ROTC altogether and expand the social and civic service programs under the NSTP.

In his explanatory note, he said the ROTC “was proven irrelevant in fostering discipline, social responsibility, and patriotism in the youth.”

Instead, he said, it bred corruption, bribery, physical and verbal violence, and other abuses, and became a burden to students.

He also said that while the people are duty bound to defend the state, “providing military training, institutional or material support, should not be the responsibility of civilian educational institutions.”

The ROTC would be inconsistent with international humanitarian law and the law protecting children from abuse, exploitation and discrimination, he added.

Ridon also contended that the military culture propagated by the ROTC program clashes with academic freedom, since military training imposes strict obedience to authority and the chain of command.

“Schools are places for opening minds to new ideas, critical and independent thinking,” he said.

According to him, the ROTC program has also bred machismo and sexism, and imposes unnecessary reverence for the military culture.

Given this, it’s the civic component of the NSTP that should be expanded, Ridon said.

“What we need as a nation today is not an army of young men and women trained in the ways of the military, but an army of volunteers and advocates ready to serve and uphold the needs of their communities and the nation as a whole,” he said.

Techies vs. NSA: Encryption arms race escalates

From the Philippine Star (Dec 1): Techies vs. NSA: Encryption arms race escalates

Encrypted email, secure instant messaging and other privacy services are booming in the wake of the National Security Agency's recently revealed surveillance programs. But the flood of new computer security services is of variable quality, and much of it, experts say, can bog down computers and isn't likely to keep out spies.

In the end, the new geek wars —between tech industry programmers on the one side and government spooks, fraudsters and hacktivists on the other— may leave people's PCs and businesses' computer systems encrypted to the teeth but no better protected from hordes of savvy code crackers.

"Every time a situation like this erupts you're going to have a frenzy of snake oil sellers who are going to throw their products into the street," says Carson Sweet, CEO of San Francisco-based data storage security firm CloudPassage. "It's quite a quandary for the consumer."

Encryption isn't meant to keep hackers out, but when it's designed and implemented correctly, it alters the way messages look. Intruders who don't have a decryption key see only gobbledygook.

A series of disclosures from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden this year has exposed sweeping US government surveillance programs. The revelations are sparking fury and calls for better encryption from citizens and leaders in France, Germany, Spain and Brazil who were reportedly among those tapped. Both Google and Yahoo, whose data center communications lines were also reportedly tapped, have committed to boosting encryption and online security. Although there's no indication Facebook was tapped, the social network is also upping its encryption systems.

"Yahoo has never given access to our data centers to the NSA or to any other government agency. Ever," wrote Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in a Nov. 18 post on the company's Tumblr blog announcing plans to encrypt all of its services by early next year. "There is nothing more important to us than protecting our users' privacy."

For those who want to take matters into their own hands, encryption software has been proliferating across the Internet since the Snowden revelations broke. — Swedish for "secret" — is marketed as a secure messaging app for your phone.

MailPile aims to combine a Gmail-like user friendly interface with a sometimes clunky technique known as public key encryption. Younited hopes to keep spies out of your cloud storage, and Pirate Browser aims to keep spies from seeing your search history.

A host of other security-centered programs with names like Silent Circle, RedPhone, Threema, TextSecure, and Wickr all promise privacy.

Many of the people behind these programs are well known for pushing the boundaries of privacy and security online. is being developed by Peter Sunde, co-founder of notorious file sharing website The Pirate Bay. Finland's F-Secure, home of Internet security expert Mikko Hypponen, is behind Younited. Dreadlocked hacker hero Moxie Marlinspike is the brains behind RedPhone, while Phil Zimmerman, one of the biggest names in privacy, is trying to sell the world on Silent Circle. Even flamboyant file sharing kingpin Kim Dotcom is getting in on the secure messaging game with an encrypted email service.

The quality of these new programs and services is uneven, and a few have run into trouble. Nadim Kobeissi, developed encrypted instant messaging service Cryptocat in 2011 as an alternative to services such as Facebook chat and Skype. The Montreal-based programmer received glowing press for Cryptocat's ease of use, but he suffered embarrassment earlier this year when researchers discovered an error in the program's code, which may have exposed users' communications. Kobeissi used the experience to argue that shiny new privacy apps need to be aggressively vetted before users can trust them.

"You need to be vigilant," he says. "We're two years old and we're just starting to reach the kind of maturity I would want." also encountered difficulties and angered users when its creators said they wouldn't use open source — or publicly auditable — code. And Silent Circle abruptly dropped its encrypted email service in August, expressing concern that it could not keep the service safe from government intrusion.

"What we found is the encryption services range in quality," says George Kurtz, CEO of Irvine, Calif.-based CrowdStrike, a big data, security technology company. "I feel safe using some built by people who know what they are doing , but others are Johnny-come-latelies who use a lot of buzzwords but may not be all that useful."

Even so, private services report thousands of new users, and nonprofit, free encryption services say they have also see sharp upticks in downloads.

And for many users, encryption really isn't enough to avoid the US government's prying eyes.

Paris-based Bouygues Telecom told its data storage provider Pogoplug in San Francisco that it needs the data center moved out of the US to get out from under the provisions of US law. So this month, PogoPlug CEO Daniel Putterman is keeping Bouygues as a client by shipping a multi-million dollar data center, from cabinets to cables, from California to France.

"They want French law to apply, not US law," says Putterman, who is also arranging a similar move for an Israeli client.

Bouygues spokesman Alexandre Andre doesn't draw a direct connection with the Patriot Act, and says Bouygues' arrangement with Pogoplug is driven by concerns over performance and privacy. Andre says Bouygues wants the data stored in France, but it was up to Pogoplug to decide whether this would be done on Bouygues' own servers or Pogoplug's.

"There is a general worry in France over data security, and storing data in France permits us to reassure our clients," Andre says. The arrangement also helps improve the service's performance, Andre says, another reason for the move.

For Pogoplug, business is booming — it's garnered close to 1 million paid subscribers in its first year — and Putterman says the company is anxious to accommodate concerned clients. And this month, Pogoplug launched a $49 software package called Safeplug that prevents third parties, from the NSA to Google, from learning about a user's location or browsing habits.

But many warn that encryption offers a false sense of security.

"The fundamental designers of cryptography are in an arms race right now, but there are a series of weaknesses and missing oversights that have nothing to do with encryption that leave people vulnerable," says Patrick Peterson, CEO of Silicon Valley-based email security firm Agari. And many that do work, bog down or freeze computers, forcing "a trade-off between security and convenience," he says.

In any case, most attacks don't happen because some cybercriminal used complicated methods to gain entry into a network, he adds.

"Most attacks occur because someone made a mistake. With phishing emails, it just takes one person to unwittingly open an attachment or click on a malicious link, and from there, cybercriminals are able to get a foothold," Peterson says.

In addition, experts agree that with enough time and money, any encryption can be broken. And already the NSA has bypassed —or altogether cracked— much of the digital encryption that businesses and everyday Web surfers use, according to reports based on Snowden's disclosures. The reports describe how the NSA invested billions of dollars, starting in 2000, to make nearly everyone's secrets available for government consumption.

Meanwhile, the US government's computing power continues to grow. This fall, the NSA plans to open a $1.7 billion cyber-arsenal — a Utah data center filled with super-powered computers designed to store massive amounts of classified information, including data that awaits decryption.

8th Infantry Division to continue with its relief, rehabilitation works

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1): 8th Infantry Division to continue with its relief, rehabilitation works

With Tacloban City starting to normalize, the 8th Infantry Division announced it would continue assisting the various government and non-government agencies helping in the ongoing rehabilitation and relief operations.

This was confirmed by Capt. Amado Gutierrez, 8th Infantry Division spokesperson.

He added that their thrust for now will be providing medical care for the evacuees living in the city's 32 evacuation centers alongside with local and foreign relief organizations.

The Philippine Army (PA) earlier announced that plans were afoot to deploy a brigade-size force of engineers to help in the ongoing reconstruction efforts in the Visayas Region.

"There are plans and projections to deploy a brigade size (force) of engineers to help in the ongoing reconstruction effort," Army spokesperson Capt. Anthony Bacus said.

However, he declined to comment as to when these units would be deployed, adding the plans were still under study.

Presently, the PA's 525th Engineering Combat Battalion and the 1st Special Forces Battalion are helping the ongoing reconstruction and relief efforts.

Andres Bonifacio: Myths, trivia, execution

From Rappler (Nov 30): Andres Bonifacio: Myths, trivia, execution

MANILA, Philippines – Whether you think he should be the country’s official national hero or not, knowing more about Andres Bonifacio won’t hurt. Consider it your gift to the Supremo of Katipunan – it’s his 150th birthday, after all.

Rappler compiled 10 facts about Bonifacio: myths we should clarify, trivia we can refresh our memory with, and of course, his execution – one of the most controversial deaths in Philippine history.

1. Bonifacio was a versatile, young worker

The young Bonifacio, out of necessity, started beefing up his resumé at an early age after his parents died of tuberculosis. As the new head of the family, he made walking canes and paper fans with his brothers and sisters at night, selling them at premium prices in Manila’s busy streets in the morning.

He also took on other jobs to sustain them:
  • bodegero (warehouse keeper) in a mosaic tile factory
  • clerk-messenger for the English firm J.M. Fleming and Company
  • maker of attractive posters for companies such as clothes dealers (he had a good penmanship)
  • bodegero and supply clerk, then promoted as a sales agent at the German firm Carlos Fressel & Company
  • Moro-moro performer
2. Is the hero of the masses really poor?

Before Erap, there was Bonifacio – a true leader of the masses. But the title does not mean he was dirt-poor, when his patrons were the rich who bought his canes and fans.
Bonifacio and his siblings rose to lower middle class status after their parents’ death, and the hero even married his second wife Gregoria de Jesus, who belonged to a lower middle class family.

In the two firms he was employed in, Bonifacio was also promoted. According to historian Michael “Xiao” Chua, the hero’s monthly salary then is equivalent to P18,000 today.

3. Who dared calling him the 'Bobong Supremo'?

Because he was orphaned and had to support his siblings at a young age, he was often called uneducated. But according to scholars, he studied in Guillermo Osmeña’s school in Cebu, and reached what is now second year high school.

His employer, Doña Elvira Prysler, even remembered Bonifacio holding a book every lunch time. What does a national hero read? See for yourself:
  • books by Alexander Dumas, a French writer known for his adventurous historical novels
  • Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
  • The Wandering Jew (Eugene Sue)
  • The Ruins of Palmyra: Meditations on the Revolution of the Empire
  • The Holy Bible
  • Religion Within the Reach of All
  • Lives of the Presidents of the United States
  • Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo (Jose Rizal)
  • History of the French Revolution
  • law (international law, civil code, penal code) and medical books
“Shutting a book, he would announce to Nonay (Espiridiona) that he had just completed a course in law or in medicine,” Sylvia Mendez Ventura wrote.

4. Undress Bonifacio: Why the camisa de chino?

You know what they say: Picture or it didn’t happen.

The same may be said of what the national hero really looks like. Most monuments and history books like dressing him up in a camisa de chino, with a red handkerchief around the neck and a bolo in one hand. But in his only surviving photograph, Bonifacio is wearing what looks like a coat and tie.

Historian Isagani Medina also wrote about how Bonifacio dressed neatly and well in spite of his meager resources, and of his penchant for carrying an umbrella regardless of the weather.

5. Promising start: Bonifacio’s Katipunan name

It was a secret society after all. The final test to be a Katipunero was a blood compact (sandugo) reminiscent of the first one Filipinos shared with the Spaniards early in history. It was the Katipunan’s way of capturing the narrative from the “traitors” and making brotherhood their own.

But the twist to the Katipunan’s sandugo was that they wrote their oath in their own blood. After this, they chose a symbolic name for themselves. Quite interesting was the Supremo’s choice of name, and quite telling too, for a leader of a hopeful nation: MAYPAG-ASA.

6. Bonifacio picked up a pen too

National Artist and Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino chair Virgilio Almario argued that Bonifacio is a better writer than Rizal because his works – dubbed “akdang Katipunero” – were more easy to grasp for the masses than the writings of the ilustrados. (READ: His Excellency, President Andres Bonifacio?)

Perhaps the best example of this is Bonifacio's “Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Bayan (Love of Fatherland),” a compelling poem about one's love for the nation – an ideology at the very heart of the revolution.

“Aling pag-ibig pa ang hihigit kaya / Sa pagkadalisay at pagkadakila / Gaya ng pag-ibig sa Tinubuang lupa? / Aling pag-ibig pa? Wala na nga, wala.”

He also wrote other pieces like “Ang Dapat Mabatid ng Mga Tagalog (What the Filipinos Should Know)” and “Tapunan ng Lingap (Care a Little)."

7. Is Rizal Bonifacio’s hero?

There’s no doubt Bonifacio read Rizal’s work, considering how widely-read the books were at the time. But to say Bonifacio was merely inspired by Rizal to revolt is only half the truth, Chua said.

“If you look at it, when Bonifacio created the Katipunan, it was so different from what the Ilustrados are thinking...Bonifacio had a clear concept of who we are as a people, and I'm sorry to say, even more than Rizal.”

In Bonifacio’s Katipunan...
  • They revived the indigenous practices of the Filipinos (blood compact or sandugo, a sign of brotherhood)
  • Love is the key to his concept of nationhood
  • Freedom is not a mere declaration of independence but a result of complete rest coming from goodness within
  • They existed not only to fight Spaniards, but also to uphold righteousness and the unity of Filipinos
8. The tragedies and struggles of 1896

The year 1896 was so tough for Bonifacio that "A Series of Unfortunate Events" may actually pale in comparison:

Holy Week: The nipa-roofed house of Bonifacio and his wife Gregoria de Jesus (Katipunan name: Lakangbini or Lakambini) in Sta. Cruz was burned down during the Holy Week of 1896
Shortly after the loss of their home: Their baby boy Andres died of smallpox
August 19: Katipunan was discovered after Teodoro Patiño, an unhappy member of the Katipunan, told Fr Mariano Gil about the secret society. Many Filipinos were arrested, jailed, and shot as a result. Andres and Gregoria went into hiding.
August 23: Bonifacio, with other Katipunan leaders, met in Pugadlawin, tore up their cedulas (residence tax papers) and vowed to fight the Spaniards down to the last man.
August 30: The first battle of the Philippine Revolution commenced, led by Andres Bonifacio and his best friend Emilio Jacinto. Out of their 800-man army, more than 150 Katipuneros died and another 200 were captured.

9. Not your hot-tempered kind of hero

There has been a longstanding debate on who our national hero really should be, with supporters of Rizal arguing that Bonifacio revolted through violent means when their hero was a peace-loving man. It doesn’t help Bonifacio’s image either that he pointed a gun at Daniel Tirona during the Tejeros Convention.

But context is always important, Chua said. At that time, Bonifacio drew his gun to challenge Tirona to a duel – what Chua called "defending [one's] honor with blood" – after Tirona called him an uneducated man.

And if his war strategy during the 1896 Battle of Manila is any indication, it supports accounts that he doesn’t attack aimlessly. E. R. Azicate wrote in Filipino: “Bonifacio had great capacity as a military leader if the basis is planning, preparing, coordinating, and executing the game plan. In short, he is good at strategy and tactics.”

10. What were the last scenes leading to Bonifacio’s death? Choose your own ending.

On April 26, 1897, Bonifacio was arrested. Tried by a military court in Maragondon, Cavite, for only 12 days, he was charged with treason for trying to overthrow Emilio Aguinaldo and his government.

As if his trial was not controversial enough, Ambeth Ocampo even mentioned in his book, “Bones of Contention,” what he called an “ugly bit of history” in the narrative: the supposed rape of Gregoria de Jesus:

“Bonifacio in his testimony told the court that Col. Yntong was forcing his wife into an empty house ‘sa talagang kilos na ilugso ang kapurihan’ but this was averted when the other officers objected. Later in Indang, Col. Yntong attempted to rape Aling Oryang again but this time, Bonifacio pleaded with Tomas Mascardo who mercifully intervened...It was possible that one of the motives for raping Aling Oryang was that it would further humiliate Bonifacio.”

Yntong is Col. Agapito Bonzon, head of the officers sent by the new government to arrest Bonifacio.

Bonifacio and his brother Procopio were sentenced to death on May 8, 1897, supposedly on Aguinaldo's orders. Two days after, they were brought to Mt Nagpatong, where Gen Lazaro Makapagal carried out the sentence and shot the brothers. This is the widely-accepted ending to the life of the Father of the Philippine Revolution.

That is, until the 1950s and 1960s, when Ocampo said another narrative from Guillermo Masangkay, one of the first members of the Katipunan, claimed Bonifacio was hacked to death with bolos.

“As they did not want to waste precious ammunition they decided to use bladed weapons.”

CPP/NDF: Isulong ang rebolusyon ni Bonifacio! Manggagawa, lumahok sa armadong pakikibaka! (Advance the revolution of Bonifacio! Workers, participate in the armed struggle!)

Posted to the CPP Website (Nov 30): Isulong ang rebolusyon ni Bonifacio!
Manggagawa, lumahok sa armadong pakikibaka! (Advance the revolution of Bonifacio! Workers, participate in the armed struggle!)

Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions
Armadong rebolusyon ang sagot sa pang-aapi’t pagsasamantala ng mga dayuhang kapangyarihan at mga opisyal na papet nila. Ito ang kailangan para kamtin ang pambansang kalayaan at demokrasya. Iyan ang pinatunayan ng himagsikan ni Andres Bonifacio at ng Katipunan.

Makalipas ang ilang daang taon, lalong tumindi ang pang-aapi’t pagsasamantala sa mga manggagawa at sambayanang Pilipino. Hindi pa rin nakakamit ng mga Pilipino ang mithiing kalayaan at demokrasya ni Bonifacio.

Ngayong taon, sa paggunita natin sa ika-150 anibersaryo ng kapanganakan ng bayani ng uring anakpawis, hamon sa mga manggagawa at sambayanan na ipagpatuloy at ipagtagumpay ang pambansa-demokratikong rebolusyong isinulong ni Bonifacio.

Ibagsak ang rehimeng US-Aquino!

Sa ilalim ng rehimeng US-Aquino, lantad na lantad ang kabulukan ng malakolonyal at malapyudal na sistemang panlipunan. Hindi na maikubli ng mabubulaklak na salita’t pangako ang grabeng pambubusabos ni Noynoy sa mga manggagawa’t sambayanan.

Ang tatlong taon ni Noynoy sa poder ay batbat ng kababuyan, katutaan at kriminal na kainutilan. Garapalan at ginagawa pang ligal ang pagnanakaw sa kabang bayan sa umano’y matuwid na daan. Walang kahihiyang tinatraydor ang mga Pilipino sa matapat na pagpapakatuta sa imperyalismong Kano. Ang kriminal na kainutilan ni Noynoy sa harap ng mga kalamidad at sakuna ay nagresulta na ng kamatayan ng libu-libo nating kababayan.

Malaking hadlang ang rehimeng US-Aquino sa pagkakamit ng mga mithiin nila Bonifacio na hanggang ngayo’y mithiin ng mga manggagawa at sambayanan: ang pambansang kalayaan, demokrasya at panlipunang pagbabago.

Manggagawa, sumapi sa New People’s Army!

Kailangang wakasan na ang bulok na naghaharing sistemang kinakatawan ng rehimeng US-Aquino! Wala itong idinudulot sa mga manggagawa’t sambayanan kundi labis-labis na pambubusabos at pagsasamantala.

Tulad ng pinatunayan ni Bonifacio, magagawa lang ito sa pamamagitan ng armadong rebolusyon. Kaya naman hamon at panawagan sa mga manggagawa at maralita na libu-libong dumagsa sa kanayunan at sumapi sa hukbong bayang nagpapatuloy ng rebolusyon ni Bonifacio, ang New People’s Army.

Ito ang pinakamabisang sandata para wakasan ang malakolonyal at malapyudal na lipunan, palayain ang sambayanan sa imperyalismong Kano, itatag at palakasin ang tunay na gobyerno ng mga mamamayan, ipamahagi ang lupa sa mga magsasaka, at itayo ang nagsasarili at maunlad na pambansang industriya.

Sa pamamagitan lang ng pambansa-demokratikong rebolusyon makakamit ng mga manggagawa at sambayanan ang mithiin ni Bonifacio na pambansang kalayaan at demokrasya at ang isang lipunang sosyalista – isang lipunang may tunay na kalayaan, kasaganaan at kapayapaan.

Isulong ang rebolusyon ni Bonifacio!
Ibagsak ang rehimeng US-Aquino!
Isulong ang pambansa-demokratikong rebolusyon!
Manggagawa, sumapi sa New People’s Army!
Mabuhay ang NPA!

CPP/NDF: Video -- Fr. Salas on Yolanda (with Pilipino subtitles)

Posted to the CPP Website (Nov 30): Video: Fr. Salas on Yolanda (with Pilipino subtitles)  


NDFP-EV denounces Aquino government's inutility in aiding calamity victims,
calls for speedy humanitarian assistance.

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Eastern Visayas commiserates with the millions of people who suffered losses of lives and properties in the region and elsewhere in the country due to Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) last November 8. We condemn the gross incompetence and unreadiness of the Aquino government even though weather forecasts had already warned days in advance of the category 4 superstorm and the expected massive flooding from the storm surge. The Aquino government only made token announcements and evacuations, did not stock food and water, and did not prepare emergency services. Rather than passing the buck to the local government, it should have been the responsibility of the national governmment to ensure the safety and well-being of the people because of the scale and scope of the calamity.

Philippines to monitor Chinese warships on training maneuvers near disputed waters

From the Manila Times (Nov 30): Philippines to monitor Chinese warships on training maneuvers near disputed waters

The military will keep a close watch on a fleet of Chinese warships that are on training maneuvers in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Saturday the Philippines will coordinate with its allies in monitoring of the movement of the warships that include China’s only aircraft carrier, the Liaoning.

Gazmin said that they see no extra security concern while the Chinese fleet, consisting of the refurbished aircraft carrier, two destroyers and two frigates, conducts its training exercise near the disputed areas.

“For as long as it does not get into territorial waters, we will not have any problem and there’s this safe passage at high seas in the international waters, but once you enter territorial waters, you have to identify yourself,” Gazmin said.

He said the Philippines’ two newly acquired naval vessels, the Gregorio del Pilar and Ramon Alcaraz, are helping in relief efforts in typhoon-ravaged Eastern Visayas and could not be deployed to monitor the Chinese fleet.

“They are not vessel that can be used for patrol… we still also have other seacraft that we also use for patrolling,” Gazmin said.

The said that once the Chinese ships enter Philippine waters, they must comply with rules and regulations recognized by the international community.

If they don’t, the Philippines will file a protest,” Gazmin said, ruling out military action.

The Philippines, China and also Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam claim parts of the oil- and gas-rich Spratly Islands on the southern tip of west Philippine Sea.

Soldier dies in Kalinga encounter

From the Manila Bulletin (Nov 30): Soldier dies in Kalinga encounter

A soldier died while three other government troopers and an undetermined number of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels were wounded in a fierce firefight in the outskirt Barangay Baling, Balbalan, Kalinga province last Thursday, a belated report said here yesterday.

Second Lieutenant Charmaine B. Leonero identified the fatality as a certain Private First Class Quisagan, of the army’s 17th Infantry Battalion based in Cagayan province.

The wounded were one Corporal Unida, a PFC Macario and a certain PFC Abordo, all of the same battalion.

Leonero said the soldiers were conducting security patrol operations to respond to a reported harassment of residents by armed NPA rebels in the area when they were fired upon.

US won’t revise operations in China air zone despite warning

From the Daily Tribune (Dec 1): US won’t revise operations in China air zone despite warning

US military chiefs insist they will not change their operations despite a move by China to scramble fighter jets to monitor American and Japanese aircraft in Beijing’s newly declared air defense zone.

The Philippines, military ally of both Washington and Tokyo, had earlier voiced concern that China may extend control of air space over disputed areas of the South China Sea where the two nations have a separate territorial dispute.

But the State Department said US commercial airlines should observe China’s demand to be given notice of aircraft entering the zone, while stating that compliance “does not indicate US government acceptance of China’s requirements.”

China flew warplanes into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) last Friday, Chinese state media said, nearly a week after it announced the zone, which covers islands at the center of a dispute between Beijing and Tokyo, raising regional tensions.

The Xinhua report indicated that Japan and the United States are continuing to disregard China’s demands that aircraft submit flight plans when traversing the area in the East China Sea or face unspecified “defensive emergency measures.”

“We have flights routinely transiting international airspace throughout the Pacific, including the area China is including in their ADIZ,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren yesterday said.

“These flights are consistent with long-standing and well-known US freedom of navigation policies that are applied in many areas of operation around the world. I can confirm that the US has and will continue to operate in the area as normal.”

Compliance by commercial flights “does not indicate US government acceptance of China’s requirements for operating in the newly declared ADIZ,” the State Department said in a statement.

Japanese airlines, under pressure from Tokyo, stopped following China’s new rules last Wednesday, after initially complying.

Chinese air force spokesman Shen Jinke earlier said several combat aircraft were scrambled to “verify the identities” of US and Japanese aircraft entering the air defense zone, according to Xinhua.

The Chinese planes, which included at least two fighter jets, identified two US surveillance aircraft and 10 Japanese aircraft including an F-15 warplane, Shen said.

Japan and South Korea both said Thursday they had disregarded the ADIZ, showing a united front after US B-52 bombers also entered the area.

Despite the scrambling of jets referred to in China’s state media, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera yesterday said there were no “peculiar developments.”

“We do not recognize there have been peculiar developments that we should disclose such as one where aircraft suddenly came close as the Chinese side announced yesterday,” he said.

Palace: Japanese defense chief to check Japan’s relief work in Visayas

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 30): Palace: Japanese defense chief to check Japan’s relief work in Visayas

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera will visit the Philippines next week to check on Japanese Self-Defense Forces personnel involved in humanitarian relief activities in the typhoon-ravaged areas in the Philippines, a Malacanang official said on Saturday.

Citing information from the Department of National Defense, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Onodera’s visit will focus on Japan’s participation on the ongoing relief works in the Visayas.

According to Coloma, three Japanese ships with some 1,000 personnel from the Japanese Self-Defense Forces are in the Philippines for the ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts.

The Japanese forces also have C-130 planes and other equipment needed for their operation in the disaster areas, he said.

Coloma said that on Sunday, Dec. 1, the Task Force Yolanda and the Japan Joint Task Force, and the Philippine Disaster Relief Medical Team will conduct a relief mission in Leyte.

“Kaya iyon pong pagdalaw ni Japanese Defense Minister Onodera, ang pangunahing pakay po ay iyong pagpunta sa calamity area, at pag-assess ng ginagawang assistance ng Japanese Self-Defense Forces,” he said.

The Japanese defense chief’s visit is in the midst of rising tension in East China Sea, following China’s imposition of an air defense zone, which it said was aimed at bolstering its guard from outside threats.

C-130 aircraft: PAF's workhorse in relief operations for typhoon 'Yolanda' victims

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 30): C-130 aircraft: PAF's workhorse in relief operations for typhoon 'Yolanda' victims
Despite having only three Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft in the arsenal of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), the planes proved their worth as the PAF's workhorse in the ongoing relief operations for victims of super typhoon "Yolanda" in Eastern Visayas, particularly Samar and Leyte.

Day and night, PAF pilots fly on rotation basis, bringing in vital food, water and medicines for the millions of typhoon survivors who lost all their possessions, including their homes when the world's deadliest typhoon to hit land in over a century battered Central Philippines on Nov. 8.

On the other hand, the UH1-H "Huey" helicopters of the Air Force are being tapped to bring the relief goods to far-flung typhoon-ravaged areas in Samar, Leyte, Capiz and as far as Palawan.

The C-130 Hercules is a four-engine turboprop military transport aircraft designed and built originally by Lockheed, now Lockheed Martin.

The versatile plane is capable of using unprepared runways for takeoffs and landings.

The C-130 was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation, and cargo transport plane.

But the aircraft can also be converted into a gunship (AC-130), for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling, maritime patrol, and aerial firefighting.

The PAF is using all its three C-130 planes for airlifting of troops to various points in the country and the transport of relief goods during disasters such as typhoons and earthquakes.

It is now the main tactical airlifter for many military forces worldwide, including the Philippines.

The C-130 is so valuable that over 40 models and variants of the Hercules are in service in more than 60 countries.

Although the C-130 entered service in the United States Air Force in the 1950s, it has remained as the workhorse in many military units the world over to date.

In fact, the Hercules family has participated in countless military, civilian and humanitarian aid operations.

The C-130 family has the longest continuous production run of any military aircraft in history.

In 2007, the C-130 became the fifth aircraft —- after the English Electric Canberra, Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, Tupolev Tu-95, and Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, all designed with various forms of aviation gas turbine power plants -- to mark 50 years of continuous use with its original primary customer, in this case, the United States Air Force.

The C-130 is one of the military aircraft to remain in continuous production for over 50 years with its original customer, as the updated C-130J Super Hercules, according to Wikipedia.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Kidnapped tourist gets medication

From The Star Online (Nov 30): Kidnapped tourist gets medication

KOTA KINABALU: Badly-needed medication for abducted Taiwanese tourist Chang An Wei has reached her as ransom negotiations are continuing with the kidnappers.

The 58-year-old woman, who was snatched by a group of armed men from Pom Pom Island Resort in Semporna on Nov 15 after they killed her husband Li Min Hsu, remains weak at an undisclosed location in the Philippines’ Tawi Tawi chain of islands.

Taiwanese legislator Tsai Cheng Yuan said the kidnappers had allowed Chang to take her medication for various health problems, including diabetes.

“We know that she has received her medication and she is taking it. She is okay but she is weak,” he said in an e-mail interview.

Tsai, who has been helping to secure Chang’s release, said her family had made contact with the abductors but declined to comment further.

He, however, said the family was working through an intermediary but they were not sure if the person had the power to make final decisions to secure Chang’s release.

Tsai also declined to say if any ransom demand was made.

Chang’s brother Richard went to Manila a week ago to work out arrangements for his sister’s release and to find ways to send medicine to her.

The gunmen are believed to be holding Chang in a remote area on an island in Tawi Tawi before getting to Jolo Island where the notorious Abu Sayaff group will take over the hostage, according to Tawi Tawi sources.

However, bad weather conditions and a heavy Philippine military presence around Jolo were hampering their efforts to leave Tawi Tawi, where other armed groups might attempt to kidnap Chang for themselves.

Army wants ceasefire ‘forever'

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 30): Army wants ceasefire ‘forever'

He wants a “forever” ceasefire, and not just a ceasefire to deceive the government.

This was the response of Col. Jon Aying, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, to the Communist Party of the Philippines- New People's Army that had lambasted the government for its continued tactical offensives against the NPA, despite their suspension of military operations, to help the typhoon victims.

Aying said their actions against the CPP-NPA atrocities, deceit and lies, serve as the rescue, relief and rehabilitation of the people. “We want to rescue the local people from the violence and sufferings experienced under the NPA rebels, regression and ceased to move in progress and rehabilitate their values, beliefs and capacity for self-reliance and sustainability”.

The CPP had earlier announced an extension of its ceasefire in typhoon-ravaged areas, including Negros island, to Dec. 24 this year, in view of what it claims to be the extent and gravity of the devastation from the super typhoon that it said has been made worse by the gross negligence and inutility of the ruling Aquino regime.

“This will allow all committees of the people's democratic government, respective commands of the NPA, and units of the people's militias in the devastated areas to continue with rehabilitation efforts,” it added

Aying, however, said the NPA violated its own ceasefire in Negros, when its Special Partisan Unit shot and killed SPO1 Agustin Hulleza on Nov. 16 in San Carlos City, two days after the declaration of their suspension of military operations.

Defense chief worried China’s ADIZ may trigger conflict

From the Daily Tribune (Nov 30): Defense chief worried China’s ADIZ may trigger conflict

“What was done by China should have not been done because it’s becoming dangerous. It could trigger an unexpected incident,” he noted.

The US immediately sent B52 bombers to the area after China announced its imposition of ADIZ. South Korea and Japan also denounced Beijing’s move.

Gazmin expressed hopes that the “strong reactions” from the US, South Korea and Japan – all allies of the Philippines, should stop China from pushing through with its ADIZ.

“Common sense will tell you that you should not commit the same mistake, if they recognize that as a mistake. But we will have to wait and see but based on the reaction of several countries, the (Chinese)move is not welcome,” he said.

Gazmin, however, assured the public that the government is closely monitoring the country’s territory as a Chinese aircraft carrier is now deployed in the South China Sea.

“We have monitoring, we are closely monitoring and closely coordinating with our allies,” he said.

The Defense chief also maintained that the Philippine will not resort to military action in dealing with the South China Sea issue.

“It will be subjected to another process which is probably to file a protest,” replied Gazmin when asked what if the Chinese aircraft carrier crosses into Philippine waters.

He stressed the government will not resort to military action.

“We renounced that (use of military action),” Gazmin said.

Meanwhile, Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera will visit the Philippines next week amid increased regional tensions with China’s air defense zone policy.

While Gazmin claimed that there’s no agenda yet on his scheduled meeting with Onodera, he raised the possibility that the revived tension between China and Japan may be discussed.

“Maybe. It depends. It’s a free-flowing discussion. There is no fixed agenda.’

Earlier, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) expressed concern over the deployment of Liaoning, the Chinese aircraft carrier, to the West Philippine Sea.

The DFA said the deployment caused renewed tensions in the disputed area and could be violative of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS).

The Philippines and China are among the countries disputing the Kalayaan Islands Group or the Spratlys that lie in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.

Other claimant-countries are Brunei, Taiwan, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Air power important in disaster relief efforts

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 30): Air power important in disaster relief efforts

As demonstrated by super typhoon "Yolanda", air power proved to be the deciding factor in the immediate provision of relief and aid to the survivors, Philippine Air Force (PAF) spokesperson Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol said Saturday.

This was demonstrated by the fact that the PAF through its three Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" cargo aircraft and various helicopters succeeded in flying 1,124 sorties in support of the government's ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts in the affected provinces.

He added that speed is very important in such situations.

This equates to 1,338.3 flight hours.

He added that they also have transported 3,767,561 pounds of relief supplies and materials.

Aside from this, the PAF has also flown 789,852 pounds of various cargoes.

Okol added that their support for "Yolanda" relief efforts will continue until the situation further normalizes.

Comelec: No Abang Lingkod proclamation

From the Visayan Daily Star (Nov 29): Comelec: No Abang Lingkod proclamation

“There will be no proclamation yet because the SC ruling is not final.”

That was the reaction yesterday of Commission on Elections Chairman Sixto Brillantes to the Supreme Court order to the Comelec to proclaim Abang Lingkod a winning partylist group.

Abang Lingkod, a sectoral organization representing farmers and fisherfolk, obtained 260,215 votes during the May elections entitling it to a seat in the House of Representatives.

The Abang Lingkod first nominee is Stephen Paduano, alias Carapali Lualhati, former national commander of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade.

He said that, as first nominee, he expects to sit as Abang Lingkod’s representative in the House of Representatives, when the SC decision becomes final.

Brillantes said the Comelec will file a motion for reconsideration on the SC ruling that is “not yet final and executory”.

In its decision promulgated October 22, the SC reversed and set aside the resolution issued by the Comelec on May 10 cancelling Abang Lingkod’s registration, and disallowing its participation in the May 13 elections.

The Comelec gravely abused its discretion when it insisted on requiring Abang Lingkod to provide its track record even if that is no longer required pursuant to the SC pronouncement in Atong Paglaum, the High Court said.

Upholding the cancellation of Abang Lingkod’s registration, even if it was able to obtain sufficient number of votes for a legislative seat, would serve no purpose other than to subvert the will of the electorate who voted to give it the privilege to represent them in the House of Representatives, the SC also said.

Ambassador visits USS Germantown

From DVIDS (Nov 29): Ambassador visits USS Germantown

USS Germantown

An MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft from Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 262 prepares to land on the flight deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42). Aboard the Osprey was the U.S. ambassador to The Republic of the Philippines, Philip S. Goldberg. The Germantown and USS Ashland (LSD 48) along with embarked Commander, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 and elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) are in the Leyte Gulf in the Republic of the Philippines in support of Operation Damayan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tony DeFilippo/Released)

USS GERMANTOWN, At Sea – Philip S. Goldberg, the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines, visited sailors and Marines aboard the USS Germantown (LSD 42) Nov. 28 as the ship steamed through Leyte Gulf to thank them for their role in assisting the people of the Philippines during Operation Damayan.

Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest ever recorded, made landfall in the Philippines on Nov. 7. In response to a request for assistance by the Government of the Philippines, the Germantown and USS Ashland (LSD 48) relieved the George Washington Strike Group of its relief mission Nov. 21.

Goldberg was joined by U.S. Marine Lt. Gen. John Wissler, the commander of Joint Task Force 505 (JTF-505), Rear Adm. Hugh Wetherald, the commander of Amphibious Forces 7th Fleet, and other distinguished guests.

JTF-505 is overseeing the U.S. militaries relief efforts during Operation Damayan in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines, other international militaries and non-governmental organizations.

During his visit, Goldberg was given a tour of the ship, met with Sailors and Marines and thanked the crew for their service.

“In my many years of service, I have been honored to work with Marines and sailors, and I’ve been impressed every time,” he said. “You all have done amazing work here, and I’m proud to share Thanksgiving with you.”

Lt. Gen. Wissler also addressed the Marines and Sailors about the impact they’ve had on the people of the Philippines.

“What the Navy and Marine Corps team has done here is help bring peace of mind with your presence in the area,” he said. “Our partnership with the Government of the Philippines shows we are here with them during a difficult time. I couldn’t be more proud of your ability to respond when called.”

The Germantown, along with the Ashland, embarked Commander, Amphibious Squadron Eleven (CPR11), Naval Beach Unit (NBU) 7 and elements of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is operating in support of Operation Damayan.

China scrambles jets after US, Japan enter air zone—Xinhua

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 30): China scrambles jets after US, Japan enter air zone—Xinhua

Map showing Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZs) over the East China Sea region.

China on Friday scrambled fighter jets to monitor a dozen US and Japanese military aircraft that entered its new air defense zone, state media said.

Beijing’s announcement last weekend of the air defense identification zone, which covers islands at the center of a dispute between China and Japan, has raised tensions in the region.

The report indicated that Japan and the US are continuing to disregard Beijing’s demands that aircraft submit flight plans when traversing the zone in the East China Sea or face unspecified “defensive emergency measures.”

“Several combat aircraft were scrambled to verify the identities” of US and Japanese aircraft entering the air defense zone, the official Xinhua news agency said, quoting air force spokesman Shen Jinke.

The Chinese aircraft, which included at least two fighter jets, identified two US surveillance aircraft and 10 Japanese aircraft including an F-15 warplane, Shen said.

The Pentagon said Friday that American forces would continue normal operations, despite China’s latest move.

“We’ll continue to partner with our allies in the region and operate as normal,” Lieutenant-Colonel Erik Brine, a Pentagon spokesman, told AFP without elaborating.

The US, South Korea, Japan and other countries have accused Beijing of increasing regional tensions with its new air defense zone.

Shen said the air force had a mission to monitor foreign aircraft inside the zone “throughout the entire process, with timely identification.”

Japan and South Korea both said Thursday they had disregarded the ADIZ, showing a united front after US B-52 bombers also entered the area.

Chinese media call for ‘timely countermeasures’

But Beijing is facing considerable internal pressure to assert itself. China’s state media called Friday for “timely countermeasures without hesitation” if Japan violates the zone.

Washington has security alliances with both Tokyo and Seoul, and analysts say that neither China nor Japan—the world’s second- and third-biggest economies, and major trading partners of each other—want to engage in armed conflict.

The Global Times newspaper, which generally takes a more nationalistic tone than China’s government, said in an editorial Friday: “We should carry out timely countermeasures without hesitation against Japan when it challenges China’s newly declared ADIZ.

“If Tokyo flies its aircraft over the zone, we will be bound to send our plane to its ADIZ.”

The paper, which is close to the ruling Communist party, said: “We are willing to engage in a protracted confrontation with Japan.”

But it shied away from threatening Washington, which sent giant Stratofortress bombers inside the zone, issuing an unmistakable message.

“If the US does not go too far, we will not target it in safeguarding our air defense zone,” the paper said.

The Communist Party seeks to bolster its public support by tapping into deep-seated resentment of Japan for its brutal invasion of the country in the 1930s.

Such passions are easily ignited, and posters on Chinese social media networks have urged Beijing to act, with one saying Friday: “Japan, US and South Korea jointly ran the red light on purpose, the Chinese government should take decisive measures to deal with them as a war of words won’t solve any problems.”

The media rhetoric came after Chinese planes conducted air patrols on Thursday, Xinhua said, after it first sent fighters, scouts and early warning aircraft into the zone on Saturday.

China’s rules covering the zone require aircraft to provide their flight plan, declare their nationality and maintain two-way radio communication—or face unspecified “defensive emergency measures.”

Both Japan and Washington have ADIZs of their own, and China accuses them of double standards, though China’s zone includes a rock which is disputed between Beijing and Seoul, as well as islands controlled by Japan and claimed by China.

Japan denies that there is a dispute over the islands, and Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga declined Friday to be drawn on reports that a Chinese envoy had suggested setting up a mechanism to prevent mid-air incidents.

“Our country’s principle is that we will assert our position firmly in a stern but calm manner,” Suga said. “And we keep the window of dialogue open.”

The Yomiuri Shimbun reported that the US and Japan planned to enhance military cooperation in the area, with Tokyo permanently stationing E-2C early-warning planes in Okinawa, and US Global Hawk unmanned drones expected to be operated from Japan soon.

The European Union added its voice to the criticism of the zone on Friday, with its top foreign affairs official Catherine Ashton saying it “contributes to raising tensions in the region.”

At a regular briefing Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang dismissed her remarks, saying: “Ms. Ashton knows that within the EU, some countries have ADIZs, so I don’t know if that means the situation in Europe is getting more tense.”

US Vice President Joe Biden is visiting the region next week, and administration officials said that while in Beijing he will raise Washington’s concerns about the ADIZ, and China’s assertiveness toward its neighbors.

The Philippines has voiced concern that China may extend control of air space over disputed areas of the South China Sea, where the two nations have a separate territorial dispute.

AFPRescom vows to return to help 'Yolanda' victims in Samar

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 29): AFPRescom vows to return to help 'Yolanda' victims in Samar

Like World War II hero Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Reserve Command (AFPRescom) vowed to return to Eastern Samar to help local residents affected badly by super typhoon "Yolanda" last Nov. 8.

This was disclosed by Lt. Col. Abraham Bayan, AFPRescom 1st Technical Services Administration Battalion commander, during a chance interview in Quinapondan town Thursday afternoon.

He said that he and his men would try to come back to the province to give aid and medical care to the displaced residents.

Earlier, Bayan and eight of his men, who are mostly medical professionals, distributed two truckloads of relief goods consisting of clothing, blankets and medicines to residents of Quinapondan town.

He said that these items were sourced from the AFPRescom, television network GMA-7 and a Japanese relief agency. He added that the relief items were transported to Eastern Samar via a Royal Australian Air Force C-130.

PAF sorties for 'Yolanda' relief efforts hit 1,124 mark

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 29): PAF sorties for 'Yolanda' relief efforts hit 1,124 mark

Since the onslaught of Supertyphoon "Yolanda" in the Visayas Region last Nov. 8, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has conducted 1,124 sorties in support of the government's ongoing relief and rehabilitation efforts in the affected provinces.

Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol, PAF spokesperson, said Friday that this equates to 1,338.3 flight hours.

He added that they also have transported 3,767,561 pounds of relief supplies and materials.

Aside from this, the PAF has also flown 789,852 pounds of various cargoes.

The PAF earlier announced that all three of its Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" cargo aircraft are all conducting relief missions for "Yolanda" victims.

PN reserve units transport 240 'Yolanda' displaced residents

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 29): PN reserve units transport 240 'Yolanda' displaced residents

The Philippine Navy (PN) on Friday announced that two of its affiliate reserve units have transported 240 Tacloban City residents displaced by super typhoon "Yolanda".

These ships are the F/B Wood Rose and F/B Brilliant Star.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, PN spokesman, said the F/B Wood Rose arrived at the Navotas City Pier Friday carrying 178 "Yolanda" displaced residents from Tacloban.

It left the area late Thursday.

While the F/B Brilliant Star, who earlier carried 80 tons of relief supplies for Tacloban City, departed for the Navotas City Pier Friday and is expected to arrive here 11 a.m. Saturday.

Meanwhile, the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) is currently anchored in the vicinity of Guiuan, Eastern Samar.

It is serving as a platform for command and control of humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations thereat.

Fabic said the vessel continuously monitors the activities/intention of all naval floating assets and foreign naval ships at the vicinity of Tacloban City.

While the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) is also anchored near the above-mentioned position and is now unloading her cargo of assorted relief goods which amounted to around 124 tons.

"Unloading/transfer of assorted relief goods through ship to shore movement with the help of BRP Manobo (AT-297) is currently in progress. Continue unloading cargo to AT-297 and AT-291 through ship to shore movement," Fabic concluded.

UK aircraft carrier brings relief aid to typhoon victims in Palawan

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 29): UK aircraft carrier brings relief aid to typhoon victims in Palawan

The Royal Navy’s second Invincible-class light aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious is set to dock on the shores on Palawan to bring much-needed relief aid to survivors of super typhoon Yolanda under the Western Command’ (Wescom) Humanitarian Assistance and Relief Efforts.

Expected to arrive late Friday from a relief mission in the Visayas, the HMS Illustrious, said WESCOM spokesperson Lt. Cherryl Tindog to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), will bring relief aid to the survivors of Yolanda in badly hit Coron and nearby island towns.

Initially, it will bring aid to the residents of barangays Concepcion, Alceciras and Maguin Island in Agutaya municipality that was also affected by Yolanda.

The HMS Illustrious, she disclosed, is also expected to donate a generator set to the Coron District Hospital (CDH) to fully serve the residents, particularly those who survived the onslaught of the monster typhoon.

In related news, the Regional Director of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in the Southern Tagalog Region has issued a travel advisory informing that travels to the CALABARZON and MIMAROPA regions, including Coron in Palawan, “are safe and secure for any tourist-related activity after Yolanda.

Regional director Rebecca Labit issued the travel advisory Tuesday, even highlighting the municipality of Coron.

“Air, sea, and land transports to CALABARZON and MIMAROPA regions from all points are safe and normal,” she said in a bid to encourage domestic and foreign tourists not to stop going to Coron.

Army seeks CAFGU deployment in 2 Nueva Vizcaya towns

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 29): Army seeks CAFGU deployment in 2 Nueva Vizcaya towns

The Philippine Army (PA) here has asked the deployment of Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in two towns here to thwart any attempt of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) to enter upland villages.

Lt. Colonel Eugene Mata, commanding officer of the army’s 31st Battalion, 7th Infantry Division based in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija, said they have requested the deployment of CAFGU men in the villages of Ambaguio and Villaverde towns near the boundary of Asipulo, Ifugao.

The deployment of CAFGU forces in the areas, he said will serve as a deterrent factor in driving away remnants of NPA rebels who are in the process of recruitment in the upland villages near the Ifugao, Nueva Vizcaya boundary.

“With the presence of our auxiliary forces there, we can prevent the frequent visits of the communist remnants who are trying to seek community support and recruitment,” Mata said during the recent Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) meeting.

A report made by the army and the Philippine National Police (PNP) showed that there were four sightings and movements of NPA remnants in the towns of Ambaguio, Dupax del Norte, Dupax del Sur, Kasibu and Villaverde towns .

He said two of these sightings resulted to a kidnapping incident of a villager and a recruitment activity.

IED found in Puerto Princesa City

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 29): IED found in Puerto Princesa City

Government forces in this city retrieved Wednesday an improvised explosive device (IED) believed to be part of the September 18 road ambush of a convoy of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 4 (MBLT4) at Sitio Tarabanan, Barangay Binduyan.

Western Command (Wescom) spokesperson Lt. Cherryl Tindog said the IED was discovered by residents of the barangay, who immediately reported to military authorities.

The IED, she disclosed, was made from high explosives. It was found in the site where suspected armed rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA) staged the September 18 ambush of the MBLT 4 convoy that came from a routine log run in northern Palawan.

“The angle we’re looking at here is that it was part of the entire plan to ambush the MBLT4 convoy, or it could be part of a new ambush plan,” she said.

Tindog said IED was managed out of the place by the Quick Reaction Forces-Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team (QRF-EODT).

Currently, a clearing operation is being conducted at the sitio to ensure that no more IED is left in the area.

Two North Cotabato villages get P5.3-million Pamana projects

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 29): Two North Cotabato villages get P5.3-million Pamana projects

About P5.3 million worth of projects were turned over by the Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (Peaceful and Resilient Communities) Program or Pamana of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to two villages of Kabacan, North Cotabato, officials said.

These include rice mill building (P2.250 million), warehouse (P1.9 million), solar dryer (P688,750) or a total of P4,838,750 in Barangay Pedtad, and another set consisting of a Peace Center (P4.490M), solar dryer (P688,750) and water system rehabilitation (P71,250) in Barangay Nangaan, both in Kabacan municipality.

The project turnover in Pedtad village was witnessed by Cotabato Governor Emmylou Mendoza, Cotabato 3rd District Representative Jose “Ping” Tejada and Kabacan Municipal Mayor Herlo Guzman.

Barangay Pedtad chairperson Romeo Mantawal, barangay council officers and residents received projects which will be benefited by the constituents in terms of livelihood.

Barangay Pedtad, once a conflict-stricken area in Kabacan became the latest recipient of Pamana program along with other conflict affected villages in the province of North Cotabato and other parts of Mindanao.

Mantawal said was exceptionally happy to receive the projects saying that Pamana already put two projects in the village. These were the fishpond for the village’s fisher folks and rubber dispersal program for qualified farmers.

“We are indeed very fortunate to become again a recipient of these projects from Pamana. We would like to thank Governor Taliño-Mendoza for her efforts in identifying our village as recipient," Mantawal said.

"It is an exceptional thing that within her first term she was able to make those projects possible,” Mantawal added.

The warehouse, after the turnover, was immediately ready for use as well as the solar dryer and the farm equipment.

On the other hand, Barangay Nangaan chairman Matog Lumambas, through Mayor Guzman has expressed his gratitude for the projects received by his village.

The Peace Center, put up in the center of the village according to him is a symbol of harmony and unity in the place despite the previous conflict situations encountered.

“This structure would somehow uphold the present peaceful situation here in the village of Nangaan. With projects put up by Pamana here, then we expect that peace would ultimately reign here,” Lumambas said.

He lauded Gov. Mendoza for actively implementing livelihood projects not only in his place but also in other villages in Kabacan.

Many residents of Nangaan village rely mainly on agriculture for work and livelihood, thus their need for a solar dryer.

PA fetes Gat Andres Bonifacio on his 150th birth anniversary Saturday

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 29): PA fetes Gat Andres Bonifacio on his 150th birth anniversary Saturday

The Philippine Army (PA) said on Friday that its officers and men will pay tribute to the greatness of revolutionary leader Gat Andres Bonifacio as the nation commemorates the patriot's sesquicentennial birth anniversary on Saturday, Nov. 30.

President Benigno S. Aquino III is scheduled to lead the commemoration of Bonifacio’s heroic contribution to the Philippine campaign for independence as the "Great Plebeian" through a wreath-laying ceremony at the Bonifacio National Monument in Grace Park, Caloocan City.

The President will be joined by Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista as the military host, and the commanders of the major services as co-hosts.

Army personnel are to be led by PA chief-of-staff, Brig. Gen. Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero.

They will also offer a wreath at the monument of Andres Bonifacio at the PA Headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. This activity will be attended by Mae Andrea Bonifacio, a descendant of the national hero.

More than the wreaths offered at Bonifacio’s monument, the PA believes that another great way of paying tribute to the founder and supremo of the Katipunan is by remembering his courage and heroism and emulating this as the soldiers carry out their mandate of preserving the country’s freedom and democracy.

The PA also draws inspiration from the sacrifices of Bonifacio and the Katipuneros who played a crucial role in liberating the country and the people from foreign colonization.

As Filipinos celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Bonifacio, the PA also encourages its personnel to serve with commitment and courage, just like what the hero did.

Meanwhile, a befitting tribute accorded to Bonifacio was the naming of the Army’s headquarters after him. From Fort William Mckinley, which used to be the headquarters of the Philippine Division during the American colonial period, it was renamed Fort Andres Bonifacio.

Japan defense minister to visit Philippines next month

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 29): Japan defense minister to visit Philippines next month

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera will visit the Philippines next month to check on Japanese Self-Defense Forces personnel involved in humanitarian relief activities in the typhoon-ravaged areas of the country, Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Friday.

Japanese Embassy officials in Manila confirmed the planned visit by Onodera, who last visited the country in June, saying he is scheduled to arrive on Dec. 7. for a two-day visit.

He will meet with Philippine government officials before visiting with the SDF personnel working on Leyte Island, which was among the areas worst hit by Typhoon Haiyan that ravaged the central Philippines on Nov. 8.

ANALYSIS | With new air zone, China tests US dominance in East Asia

From InterAksyon (Nov 29): ANALYSIS | With new air zone, China tests US dominance in East Asia

China's new air defense zone, stretching far into East Asia's international skies, is an historic challenge to the United States, which has dominated the region for decades.

For years, Chinese naval officers have told their US counterparts they are uncomfortable with America's presence in the western Pacific - and Beijing is now confronting strategic assumptions that have governed the region since World War Two.

China's recent maritime muscle-flexing in disputes over the Paracel islands and Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea and over Japanese-administered islands in the East China Sea has stirred concern and extensive backroom diplomacy in Washington.

But it took the events of the last week to spark an immediate and symbolic response from the United States - the unannounced appearance in the zone of two unarmed B-52 bombers from the fortified island of Guam, the closest US territory to the Chinese coast.

China's unilateral creation of the zone - accompanied by warnings that it would take "defensive emergency measures" against aircraft that didn't identify themselves - has raised the stakes in a territorial dispute with Japan over tiny, uninhabited islands in the area.

Even as some suggest Beijing's move is already backfiring, experts in China say it is a part of a long-term effort, carrying broader historic significance for the United States as the traditional provider of Japanese security.

The regional tensions will loom large when US Vice President Joe Biden travels to Japan, China and South Korea early next week.

Strategic space

Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University who advises Beijing's State Council, said Washington had recognized China as a great trade and diplomatic power, and should now acknowledge China needs its own "strategic space".

"How the US and its allies recognize that will be vital to the future of the region," he said. "This (zone) could cause the US to have more profound strategic thinking about China's rise."

A Chinese analyst with ties to the military warned Tokyo and Washington against mistaking Beijing as a "paper tiger", adding that US surveillance flights near China's coast - such as one that sparked a fatal collision over Hainan Island in 2001 - "will never be allowed to happen again."

Japan and South Korea, another treaty ally of the US, also sent military aircraft through the zone this week without informing China, lending muscle to earlier diplomatic protests.

For all the apparent boldness of China's move, some regional analysts believe Beijing has over-reached, in comparison to earlier campaigns of assertion.

For example, China's rotating presence of ships in seas around Japan's Senkaku islands, which China claims and calls the Diaoyu, have continued without sparking a direct military response from Washington.

Some suggest the fact that Chinese planes have yet to attempt an interception in the air this week, despite the swift flouting of its demands, shows that Beijing's bluff has been called. They are also puzzled how the move fits with Beijing's vaunted "soft power" diplomacy - on display recently as China's leaders toured South East Asia after US President Barack Obama pulled out of a long-planned trip.

"What (President) Xi Jinping is trying to do is create a balance between soft and hard, conservatives and liberals. This is part of their trial and error process to get the right balance," said former senior Japanese diplomat Hitoshi Tanaka.

The fact China's zone overlaps Japan's - including contested islands that the US is obliged to defend under its treaty with Japan - represents a dangerous strategic shift, US officials say. And China's declaration it could take action against unidentified aircraft that ignored its warnings has sparked fears of an increased risk of accidents and miscalculations.

"It causes friction and uncertainty, it constitutes a unilateral challenge to the status quo in ... a region that is already fraught," one US administration official said.

A long game?

In Tokyo, too, there is a sense that China is playing a long-term game - even if Beijing struggles to enforce a move some analysts described as poorly thought out.

Speaking privately, one government source said that while it could damage Japan's "effective control" of disputed islands in the short-term, in the longer term it represented a push by Beijing to create a broad defensive zone across the East and South China Seas. "They don't feel safe without vast space between themselves and their enemies," the person said.

Narushige Michishita, a security expert at Tokyo's National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, described the zone as a "bad step" for both Japan and China. "So far, China's move has backfired on it, but it might have longer term ... or internal political objectives," he said. "We should be cautious."

In China, there is a palpable sense of historic mission.

"China's actions are a way of facing up to the US escalation of military power in the region," said Ni Lexiong, a defense analyst at the Shanghai University of Political Science and Law. "This is an issue of face and respect."

"It's also about national interests. You have to look in the context of history - there have been many agrarian countries that have developed their economies and then transformed into naval powers. It's a consequence of a country doing business globally. It's normal," he noted.