Tuesday, February 26, 2013

CPP-NPA claims victory over Oplan Bayanihan

From the Sun Star-Bacolod (Feb 26): CPP-NPA claims victory over Oplan Bayanihan

THE Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) claimed victory over Oplan Bayanihan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Negros citing increase in their strength by forty percent since the start of said campaign until the early part of 2013.

In a press statement, spokesman of the Leonardo Panaligan Command LPC of the NPA in Central Negros claimed that their mass base also grew from 35 to 40 percent.
In reaction, Col. Oscar Lactao of the 303rd Brigade commander said that "as our society continues to develop socially, politically and economically, their irrelevance is irreversible."

It said that since December 2012 until the first part of January 2013 it was proven that Oplan Bayanihan failed in Central Negros citing that with the support of the masses the LPC-NPA claimed victories in their military offensives.

Regalado said that the NPA confiscated 12 high-powered firearms, four M16, one M203 grenade launcher, one carbine, one sub-machine gun, one shotgun, one caliber 38 pistol, one 357 pistol and a .45 caliber pistol.

Other items they confiscated included one handheld radio, goggles and three cellular phones.

Regalado said that in their military offensives, four soldiers were killed, one policeman, one military asset, two village chiefs and three BPAT members.

As far as the Barangay Puso massacre is concern, Regalado accused 302rd Brigade commander Col. Francisco Patrimonio, 303rd Brigade commander Col. Oscar Lactao and NOPPO acting director Sr. Supt. Celestino Guara of allegedly mobilizing the social democrats as well as the fascists-clergy in allegedly calling for the NPA to surrender those behind the ambush massacre that left nine dead and 14 others injured.

Regalado also called on the civilians not to allow them to be used as human shields by the military at the same time not to ride in vehicles being used by the military and the police.

Earlier, the military here claimed that no amount of justification can redeem what the NPA rebels did in the La Castellana massacre.

Major Gen. Jose Mabanta, 3rd ID commander, said the La Castellana massacre was a big blunder on the part of the NPA as most of the casualties were civilians.

Practically all the human rights groups here except the militant Karapatan condemned the La Castellana massacre saying that it was a total disregard for human rights by the NPA rebels, Mabanta said.


Rebel leader behind Army camp attack nabbed

From the Sun Star-Bacolod (Feb 26): Rebel leader behind Army camp attack nabbed

THE leader of the New People's Army (NPA) group, which attacked an Army detachment in northern Negros more than two years ago, was arrested in Calatrava town last Saturday.

Arrested by elements of the 62nd Infantry Battalion (62IB) and the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Special Action Force was a certain Joel Danioso alias Ewen, commanding officer of the Yunit Milista (YM) of Barangay Malatas, Calatrava town.

Danioso was arrested in Sitio Minatipik, Barangay Winaswasan, Calatrava by virtue of a warrant of arrest for the crime of robbery with homicide and physical injuries issued by presiding judge Katherine Go of the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 59 in San Carlos City.

Danioso, a resident of Sitio Minatipik, Barangay Winaswasan, Calatrava, Negros Occidental, 34, led the raid of Polopangyan detachment in Barangay Bug-ang, Toboso Negros Occidental on August 28, 2010.

He was brought to Calatrava PNP after the arrest and further brought to Toboso PNP for detention.

"We will continue to help the PNP in implementing arrest warrants issued by courts. We are serious in enforcing our laws. Let the rule of law apply to these people who are menace to the society," said 62IB commander Efren Morados.

3rd Infantry Division Commander MGen Jose Mabanta Jr said, "This is a continuous law enforcement operation as part of your Army's commitment in protecting the communities, government and private establishments so that the people will live in a more secure and peaceful environment."


Police overruns NPA camp in Agusan del Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 26): Police overruns NPA camp in Agusan del Sur

The Philippine National Police (PNP) overran a New Peoples Army (NPA) camp Monday morning after a 20-minute gunbattle at the hinterlands of Bunawan, Agusan del Sur.

Reports from Agusan del Sur Police Provincial Office reaching the regional headquarters here stated that members of the Agusan del Sur Provincial Public Safety Company and the 131st Regional Public Safety Company led by Insp. Jessie P. Soriano were conducting a combat patrol operation around 11:10 a.m in Barangay San Andres, Bunawan when they were harassed by an undetermined number of rebels resulting to a 20-minute firefight before the rebels withdrew to the mountainous part of the area.

During the clearing operations, the policemen, augmented by members of the 75th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, discovered the abandoned NPA camp near the site of the encounter.

Police believe the armed group were members of the CPP/NPA under the Southeastern Command of the Northeastern Mindanao revolutionary Committee. Police stations near the area were ordered to establish checkpoints and intensify intelligence operations to apprehend the insurgents.


US, AFP gird up for Operation Pacific Angel 2013 in Negros Oriental

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 26): US, AFP gird up for Operation Pacific Angel 2013 in Negros Oriental

The United States and the Philippines are finalizing plans to conduct a humanitarian assistance mission known as Operation Pacific Angel, set to kick-off on March 4 in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental.

About 80 members of the U.S. military, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and a number of local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) led by the Oriental Negros Children’s Advocacy Network (ONCAN) are participating in Operation Pacific Angel 2013 from March 4 to 9 in at least five areas in the province.

The U.S. Embassy in Manila, in a news release, also said Operation Pacific Angel 2013 will include medical, dental, optometry and engineering programs as well as various subject-matter expert exchanges.

ONCAN head Marrietta Jambora confirmed that Operation Pacific Angel 2013 will be held in Dumaguete City, specifically at the Lamberto Macias Sports and Cultural Complex, and mobile teams in Pamplona, Amlan, Tanjay City and Dauin.

Part of the activity include the repair of three classrooms, namely, the Tugawe Elementary School in Dauin, the Bio-os Elementary School in Amlan and the Pamplona Elementary School in Pamplona, according to Jambora.

Jambora said the provincial government of Negros Oriental and the local governments are partners in the said activity. The Dumaguete City Tourism Office will provide nightly cultural presentations while partner NGOs will be allowed to set up booths at the vicinity of the Macias Sports Center.

According to Jambora, ONCAN sought free internal and external humanitarian and disaster relief assistance for Negros Oriental as early as August last year following two major calamities that struck the province, namely Tropical Storm Sendong in December of 2011 and the magnitude 6.9 killer earthquake on February 6, 2012. A final planning was held last December here in Dumaguete.

Meanwhile, according to the US Embassy-Manila news release, Operation Pacific Angel is a joint and combined humanitarian assistance led by Pacific Air Forces and is now on its sixth year.

“The exercise is a capacity-building and experience-sharing effort hosted by U.S. Pacific Command and implemented jointly with other governments, non-governmental agencies, and multilateral militaries in the Asia Pacific region to provide medical, dental, optometry, and engineering assistance to their citizens.”

“The experience gained through participation in this mission can be applied during future humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts”, the news release added.

During the previous Pacific Angel in the Philippines in 2012, more than 8,500 people in the Bicol Province of Albay received medical, dental, and optometry care. Hundreds more were the beneficiaries of subject-matter expert exchanges, to include sessions on women's health, oral hygiene, and water sanitation.

Four additional Pacific Angel missions are scheduled for 2013 in the Asia Pacific region. They include Indonesia (April 22 to 26) in Yogyjakarta, Java Island; Vietnam (June 10 to 14) in Quang Binh Province; Sri Lanka (August 5 to 10) in Jaffna Province; and Cambodia (September 9 to 14) in the Ratanakiri area.


PHL objects to China routine fishery patrols in WPS

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 26): PHL objects to China routine fishery patrols in WPS

The Dept. of Foreign Affairs Tuesday protested China’s routine fishery patrols in the disputed South China Sea as part of it would include areas within the Philippines’ territorial waters.

China’s Fishery Bureau last week announced that patrols in the resource-rich waters where Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims will be a "top priority" in 2013 and 2014. The patrols, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency, aim to safeguard the "legitimate interests of Chinese fishermen."

China’s announcement came a week after it rejected Manila’s initiative to let a United Nations arbitration body hear the Philippines’ complaint over what it calls Beijing’s “excessive” claim to waters where undersea gas deposits have been discovered in several areas.

China said Manila’s case was legally infirm and carried unacceptable allegations. “The Philippines strongly objects to the Chinese patrol of Philippine maritime domain in the West Philippine Sea.

Such activities would not validate the nine-dash line and are contrary to China’s obligation under international law including the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Hernandez told a press briefing.

China’s nine-dash line is a U-shaped map that covers nearly 90 percent of the South China Sea.  “We again call in China to respect our territorial sovereignty and exclusive economic zone,” he said.

The Philippines, he asserted, “exercises sovereignty and sovereign rights over the waters and features in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf in the West Philippine Sea.”

“Therefore, we continue to call on China to act responsibly and to refrain from taking further action that would heighten tensions in the region.”


Malaysian security forces get green light to disarm sultanate followers - report

From InterAksyon (Feb 26): Malaysian security forces get green light to disarm sultanate followers - report

Malaysian security forces have received the green light to disarm followers of the Sulu sultanate who have occupied a village in Sabah, a Malaysian news site reported Tuesday.

The Star quoted Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib as saying: “It is only a question of right timing for us to act.”

Since the sultanate’s followers, led by Raja Muda Azzimudie Kiram, occupied a village in Lahad Datu town three weeks ago, Malaysian authorities have so far set three deadlines for them to return to Sulu, but have decided not to act as efforts continue to seek a peaceful resolution to the matter.

However, on Tuesday, President Benigno Aquino III appealed to them to leave Sabah, saying the “point of no return” was “fast approaching.”

Kiram is brother to Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, who has refused to order his followers to return from Sabah, saying they were determined to stake their claim to the territory, which is historically part of the sultanate but was ceded by the British to its former colony, Malaysia.

The Philippines has sent a ship and offered to ferry back the sultanate’s followers but the Kirams have declined.


Kiram letter seeking consultation on peace talks 'lost in the maze' - Aquino

From InterAksyon (Feb 26): Kiram letter seeking consultation on peace talks 'lost in the maze' - Aquino

President Benigno Aquino III admitted Tuesday that a letter from Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III to him in 2010 asking to be consulted on the peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front had been "lost in the bureaucratic maze."

But Aquino stressed that this was not enough reason for Kiram to feel left out of the peace talks process, much more for the sultanate to order the armed incursion of its followers into Sabah.

Early this month, more than 200 followers of the sultanate, led by Kiram’s brother, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram, landed in Lahad Datu town in Sabah and occupied the village of Tanduo to press their ownership of the territory. Since then they have engaged in a standoff with Malaysian security forces.

"Let me say to Sultan Jamalul Kiram III: I have just been made aware that a letter to me, from you, was sent through the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process in the very first weeks of my term, when we were organizing the government. Unfortunately, this letter was lost in the bureaucratic maze," Aquino said.

"Let me make clear that there was no intention to ignore your letter. Knowing this now, will you let your mistaken belief dictate your course of action?" he added.

Aquino appealed to Kiram to sit down with the government "as brothers" to address their grievances "in a peaceful, calm manner according to our laws and according to correct processes when your people arrive home."

"The avenue of peaceful and open dialogue is still available to us. And so this is my appeal to you: These are your people, and it behooves you to recall them," Aquino said.

"It must be clear to you that this small group of people will not succeed in addressing your grievances, and that there is no way that force can achieve your aims," he said.