Saturday, May 4, 2013

‘No end to violence, no talks with Reds’

From the Philippine Star (May 2): ‘No end to violence, no talks with Reds’

After a string of armed attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA), Malacañang said yesterday it would resume peace talks with communist rebels only if they abandon their violent ways.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said negotiations with the rebels will continue only if they pursue peace without resorting to armed struggle and drop the preconditions they have imposed.

Lacierda cited untenable demands made by the National Democratic Front (NDF), the umbrella organization representing the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the NPA, in talks with the government.

Government chief peace negotiator Alexander Padilla had lamented that the NDF virtually shot down the peace talks by demanding that the government abolish its peace and development efforts, including the conditional cash transfer, the PAMANA infrastructure upgrading in Samar and the military’s Oplan Bayanihan outreach program.

The NDF is also demanding the release of its jailed leaders, claiming they are consultants in the peace talks and covered by a guarantee of immunity against arrest.

Taking note of the statements made by NDF chairman Luis Jalandoni that they were still willing to resume peace talks, Lacierda said this would only happen if the conditions they set would be dropped.

He said nothing had happened with the regular track and a new approach must be agreed upon.

Lacierda quoted Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles as saying that in their discussion with the Norwegian facilitator last month where Jalandoni was present, they mutually established that the NDF had “killed” the special track that they themselves had proposed.

CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison had proposed the special track to speed up the negotiations by imposing no preconditions that would skirt the protracted process of the regular track.

But the NDF made some proposals that backtracked from their original position made by Sison.

“We are not going back to the regular track which is going nowhere. We are always ready to resume talks under a new approach which will offer a better chance of bringing us to the peace our people desire and deserve,” Lacierda quoted Deles as saying.

Lacierda said some confidence building measures would be pursued but “there is no way forward on the regular track.”

On the other hand, the CPP said the government “has chosen the path of the purely military approach.”

The communists also denied setting preconditions to allow the peace talks to continue.
“Contrary to the media spin of the Aquino regime, the NDF has never imposed any precondition for the resumption of formal peace negotiations with the (government).

The release of NDF consultants is an obligation of the government under previous agreements,” CPP said.

“The government’s refusal to fulfill its obligation to release the NDF consultants under the JASIG (safety and immunity guarantees) gives the people no assurance that it will fulfill the obligations it would enter into in the future,” the CPP added, referring to the immunity from arrest agreement of its supposed consultants in the peace talks.

Localized peace talks
The CPP also rejected the suggestion made by Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to hold peace talks with the rebels at the local level.

“The pursuit of ‘localized peace talks’ further show that the Aquino regime has no intent of addressing the roots of the armed conflict which stem not from local problems but from the policies of the national government,” the CPP said.

Gazmin had called on military field commanders to hold localized negotiations with the rebels while the peace talks in the national level remained stalled.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II also supported the idea of pushing for peace talks with the rebels in the local level if the national effort fails to push through.

“We support it (localized peace talks). We are always for peace. There will be no development without peace. If laws will not prevail, how can we improve?” Roxas said.

Roxas said the Office of the Presidential Adviser of the Peace Process (OPAPP) headed by Deles would likely take the initiative of pursuing localized peace talks with the rebels.

The military, on the other hand, said they are supporting efforts of pursuing peace talks with the rebels but is also prepared for any attacks.

“While we support the peace-building activities of the government, our focused combat operations directed against the armed group in the countryside will continue to protect our people in the communities,” Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Arnulfo Burgos said.

The military said close to 400 people have died in atrocities and clashes against the NPA since 2011.

Military data showed a total of 200 people were killed in 2011, higher than the 164 recorded last year. There were 19 fatalities during the first quarter of this year.

Of the 383 fatalities, 158 were civilians while the rest were soldiers, policemen and militiamen.

The AFP suffered 147 fatalities while the Philippine National Police (PNP) and civilian armed auxiliary units recorded 26 and 52 deaths, respectively.

Burgos said the data highlight the need for the communist rebels to give up the armed struggle.

“The armed violence is destroying public infrastructure and vital economic facilities and even causing innocent lives. If the NPA rebels are pro-people, they must abandon armed violence,” Burgos said.

Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, chairman of the Senate committee on peace, unification and reconciliation, reiterated the need for the government to pursue the peace talks with the NPA.

But Guingona also said the NPA should be accountable for the attack on his mother, Gingoog City Mayor Ruth Guingona.

Guingona challenged the NPA leadership to turn over the gunmen involved in the ambush of his mother, guaranteeing that they will face a fair trial.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said “any assistance to support the peace process will definitely boost and accelerate the effort.”

Lacson said the demand of the communists to share power with the present administration is unacceptable since it can be seen as tantamount to extending authority to some groups.

Skirmishes erupt between Malaysia, sultanate forces

From the Philippine Star (May 3): Skirmishes erupt between Malaysia, sultanate forces

Skirmishes erupted as Malaysian security forces attacked last Wednesday members of the Royal Security Forces (RSF) of the Sultanate of Sulu and other volunteers in several areas in Sabah, according to an official of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Habib Mujahab Hashim, who chairs the MNLF’s Islamic Command Council, yesterday said the fighting started after some 1,600 volunteers of the sultanate slipped recently into Sabah and joined the RSF led by Agbimuddin Kiram, younger brother of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III who has led some 200 fighters since February to revive the claim over Sabah of the heirs of the Sultanate of Sulu.

Hashim, who also chairs the sultanate’s Royal Council of Sharifs, said that based on the information they have received, the skirmishes erupted in the outskirts of Lahad Datu, Sabah as the Malaysian security forces continued their “Ops Daulat (Operation Sovereignty)” against the followers of the sultanate.

He said fighting was also reported in some areas in Sempurna even as Malaysians are preparing for their general elections on May 5.

“The royal security forces were fighting through guerrilla tactic, which appeared to be effective,” he said, adding there has been no casualty report yet.

MILF hits delay in Transition Funds

From the Philippine Star (May 3): MILF hits delay  in Transition Funds

The release of the budget of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) has been delayed, forcing the body to work without funds and office, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said on Friday.

In an editorial posted on its website, MILF said the delay could be vaused by red tape and the upcoming elections.

“Until now the BTC is functioning without a budget and office. The release of its P100 million initial fund is delayed.” The group said.

“The reason, we are sure, is the choking bureaucratic red tape almost normal in developing countries and the nearing May 13 national elections where everybody seems to be focusing,” it added.

The BTC is tasked to draft the law that would create the Bangsamoro entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The 15-man body was formed through an executive order issued by President Aquino last December. The law will be certified as urgent by Aquino and will have to be approved by affected residents through a plebiscite.

The creation of the BTC was provided in the framework agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the MILF and the government on October 15, 2012.

The MILF said the government should extend all necessary logistical support to the commission “to fulfill its historic mission” of writing the law for the Bangsamoro.
“Be this as it may, the budget for the BTC should be treated as a special case that requires special attention. Without a budget, it cannot move and discharge its duties and it cannot deliver,” the group said.

The MILF said President Aquino need not intervene in the issue since the concerned agencies can handle it.

For now, the MILF believes that the BTC should help itself pending the release of its funds.

“It (BTC) can start functioning, as it is doing exactly right now, while waiting for the release of the budget. It can talk to friends of the peace process especially international entities, to help in many other ways,” the group said.

Among the groups that provided assistance to the BTC are the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, which shouldered some of the commission’s logistical requirement.

“It is cardinal rule that if one wants help, it must help itself first,” the MILF said.

Troops, rebels clash in Leon Postigo town

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (May 4): Troops, rebels clash in Leon Postigo town

THE timely response of the military forces have stopped a group of New People’s Army (NPA) from further extorting residents in the hinterlands of Zamboanga del Norte, an official said Saturday.

Troops from the Army’s 10th Infantry Battalion led by Lieutenant Colonel Leonel Nicolas clashed on Friday with a group of NPA rebels, who were taking rest coming from extortion operation.

“The rebels are camping in the forested area believed to be fresh from extortion activities in the nearby communities of Leon Postigo town when they were spotted by the troops,” Nicolas said.

The NPA rebels fled to different directions following a 30-minute firefight leaving behind belongings and valuables believed to have forcibly collected from the residents, Nicolas said.

Recovered belongings were one caliber .357 revolver, three sacks of food stuff extorted from the residents, five jungle packs containing personal belongings, subversive documents of high intelligence value, medical equipments and 50-rounds of live ammunition for M-16 Armalite rifle, he said.

The NPA rebels belong to the FLX “A” of the Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee operating in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, he added.

Nicolas said troops were deployed to pursue the NPA rebels to put to a stop of the rebels’ extortion activities in the hinterlands of Zamboanga del Norte.

Deles: Bangsamoro TransCom budget to be released soon

From ABS-CBN (May 4): Deles: Bangsamoro TransCom budget to be released soon

The budget for the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (TransCom) of the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will be released soon, presidential peace adviser Teresita "Ging" Deles said Saturday.
In a text message, presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda quoted Deles as saying that the fund release is already being processed and that the initial budget will be out early this week.

Still quoting Deles, Lacierda said: "Government has rules in releasing funds which needed time to work out for a new organization that still has no staff-accounting systems... [Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process] working closely with Transition Commission Executive Director to set up the needed systems."

TransCom Chairman Mohagher Iqbal on Wednesday said the 15-man commission has yet to receive its initial budget of P100 million from the Office of the President.

Iqbal said he has already written to the president requesting for the release of the funds.

Davao Oriental mayoral bet denies NPA abduction incident

From GMA News (May 4): Davao Oriental mayoral bet denies NPA abduction incident

There was no abduction. What happened was a friendly invitation.

This was how Davao Oriental's Bangaga town mayoralty candidate Ronnie Osnan described the incident that took place on Wednesday afternoon after alleged members of the communist
insurgents New People’s Army purportedly seized him following a campaign sortie in Barangay Kampawan.

“Wala namang kidnap na nangyari saka purely friendly invitation lang na makipag-usap. Hindi naman harassment o whatever,” Osnan was quoted as saying in a
television report aired at GMA’s “Saksi” on Friday.

Osnan’s companion pastor Manuel Tizon agreed with the independent candidate’s claim saying: “Na-invite lang kami para makipagkilala sa kanya. Pinuntahan namin yung bahay [tapos] nag-shake hands.”

After a five-hour hike, the rebels released Tizon leaving Osnan behind. The businessman was subsequently released the folowing day (Thursday).

However, the police was unconvinced the incident was a mere invitation saying the armed men were most likely wringing permit-to-campaign fees to the mayoralty bet, the television report said.

“But for us in the PNP there is no such thing as a permit to campaign policy, tawag namin dyan extortion activity talaga,” said Police Senior Superintendent Jose Carumba, Davao Oriental provincial director.

The police reminded local candidates to collaborate with authorities in connection with rebel’s extortion activities.

Meanwhile, Osman's rival mayoralty bet tagged the incident as a "kidnap me" propaganda, the report said

“Tingin ko, 75 percent to 80 percent, hindi ‘yan pagdukot. Kasi kung malinaw ‘yan na pagdukot, sa mga ganitong lugar na medyo malayu-layo, siguro mga two to three days bago makalabas,” said mayoral candidate and incumbent Bangaga vice mayor Arturo Monday.

Earlier, NPA abducted the security escort of Compostela Valley governor Arturo Uy last May 1 for failing to follow the no-firearms policy within “revolutionary territories.”

3 skeletons in 'Sulu military uniform' found in Sabah — reports

From GMA News (May 3): 3 skeletons in 'Sulu military uniform' found in Sabah — reports

Three skeletons believed to be those of fallen followers of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III were found in an area of Sabah where the followers clashed with Malaysian security forces in March.

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Hamza Taib said the skeletons, clad in so-called "Sulu military uniforms" were found in some bushes, Malaysia's The Star Online reported late Friday.

The report said the skeletons were
found in the Tanjung Batu area in Lahad Datu.

A separate report on state-run Bernama news agency said Malaysian security forces "stumbled" on the skeletal remains Thursday.

Bernama said the security forces also seized a firearm, several bullets and documents which indicated the deceased were "Sulu terrorists."

Hamza said an initial investigation showed the deceased were either shot dead on March 6, or when the security forces mounted clean-up operations in Kampung Tanjung Batu.

"We have not ruled out the possibility that the three terrorists could have died from injuries while fleeing from security forces," he said.

The Bernama report said this brought to 59 the number of bodies of suspected Kiram followers found by the security forces, while the total number Kiram followers shot dead stands at 73.

Kiram's followers had engaged Malaysian forces in a three-week standoff last February. The standoff ended in deadly clashes last March 1 and 2.

In turn, the deadly clashes prompted Malaysian security forces to conduct offensives against the Kiram followers.

Kiram said he sent his followers to Sabah to reclaim their homeland as efforts to get it back from Malaysia has been relegated to the backburner by the Philippine government.

Meanwhile, Hamza said 31 out of the 184 people arrested under the Security Offenses (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) have been charged in court.

Palace dismisses Joma threat, says govt ready to defend citizens

From GMA News (May 4): Palace dismisses Joma threat, says govt ready to defend citizens

Malacañang on Saturday dismissed Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison’s claims of intensified attacks by the New People’s Army, after the government effectively ended formal peace talks with the communist rebels.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda also accused the communist rebels of negotiating with a “forked tongue,” saying the NPA had never stopped its attacks even when the peace process was ongoing.

“Ang sinasabi nila hindi na bago 'yan. Anong sinasabi nila i-intensify ang operation, election time nag-e-extort ng pera sa pulitiko, permit to campaign...," Lacierda said on government-run dzRB radio.

Lacierda also maintained the police and military are ready to defend the citizenry.

“Insofar as the defense (establishment) is concerned, we will always defend our citizenry,” he said.

He even characterized the CPP’s peace efforts with the government as “Chatty Chatty Bang Bang” – borrowing from the novel “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” – to refer to the communist rebels’ continued violence while peace efforts are ongoing.

“Ang talagang walang violence kung nagde-declare ng ceasefire, [that's the] only time na walang ginagawang violence ang NPA," he said.

Earlier, government peace panel head Alexander Padilla said the government is no longer keen on formal peace talks with the communist rebels.

Padilla noted the peace efforts with the communist insurgents had been “going nowhere for the past 27 years,” adding there had been “mounting violence” by the NPA on civilian targets recently.

On Saturday, Sison reiterated his attacks on the government, warning of increased offensives by the NPA due to the effective end of the formal peace talks.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted him as saying in an email interview that the government is “asking for intensified tactical offensives by the NPA.”

On the other hand, Lacierda said Padilla will stay on as the chief negotiator dealing with the communist rebels.

“Paano siya papalitan hindi siya ang problema (Why replace him when he is not the problem)?” he said.

Abu Sayyaf gunmen abduct 2 men in Sulu

From the Zamboanga Today (May 4): Abu Sayyaf gunmen abduct 2 men in Sulu

Eight masked men armed with firearms seized a cement mixer truck driver and his buddy at the vicinity of Baunoh, Butong, Kilometer 5, Barangay Latih, Patikul Municupality, Sulu Province yesterday.

Sulu Police Provincial Director Sr. Supt. Antonio Freyra told Zamboanga Today that Awan Usaman, 30, and Boy Nunung, 32, were forcibly abducted by eigth armed men, believed to be members of the dread abu sayyaf group (ASG).

Another report received showed that the ASG was led by sub commander Basaron Ninok Safari operating in the areas of latih, Patikul.

Based on the report, the victims were in a local company managed by a certain Engineer Tabanilang.

Police said that no further details is available regarding the incident.

Last April 20, 2013, a panciteria and resto owner, Reynato Yanga, 53, was abducted in Poblacion Jolo, Sulu by unidentified armed group while opening his establishment for business located at Walled City, Jolo, Sulu.

As of the press time, no words coming from the authorities as to the status of the latest abduction in Sulu.

Abu Sayyaf kidnaps driver in Sulu

From Rappler (May 4): Abu Sayyaf kidnaps driver in Sulu

A driver for a local construction firm was kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf, the police said on Saturday, May 4.

The police identified the driver as Awan Usman, 30. He was driving the company's heavy equipment vehicle when he was kidnapped at around 8:30 am in the remote village of Latih, Patikul township of Sulu province.

Provincial police commander Senior Supt Antonio Freyna said Usman was captured at gunpoint by 8 members of the Abu Sayyaf.

Freyna said the perpetrators were followers of Abu Sayyaf leader Ninok Safari. He said the police has not received word from Usman's captors on whether he was still alive.

"Safari’s men have long been asking protection money but they refused to give," Freyna said.

The 380-strong Abu Sayyaf group, founded in the early 1990s by Islamic extremists, has been notorious for kidnappings, bombings and even beheadings in Mindanao in the past decade.

The group, linked to the al-Qaeda, was blacklisted by the US as a foreign terrorist organization.

CPP/NDF-EV: NDF-EV sends ultimatum to Daza camp over impunity in Northern Samar

Posted to the CPP Website (May 4): NDF-EV sends ultimatum to Daza camp over impunity in Northern Samar

Fr. Santiago Salas (Ka Sanny)
NDFP Eastern Visayas Chapter

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas condemns the attempted assassination last May 2 of Jose Ardales, the incumbent mayor running for reelection in Victoria, Northern Samar and an opponent of the Daza political dynasty in the province. While the People’s Democratic Government is still investigating the issue, it is clear that the victim is staunchly opposed to the Dazas and is currently undergoing political harassment by them. The attempted assassination is also another mark on the long list of extrajudicial killings and other acts of political violence in the province, which the Dazas are accused of being behind to protect their political and criminal interests.

The NDF-EV is thus sending an ultimatum to the Daza political camp to abide by the guidelines of the People’s Democratic Government on the reactionary elections, specifically the prohibition of armed violence against political rivals and the people, as well as of widespread cheating. Congressman Raul Daza and his son Gov. Paul Daza should be mindful that they are already being investigated by the revolutionary justice system for plunder, widespread corruption, criminality, and impunity for extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations. It will not matter whether they win or lose in the elections; they will surely undergo due process and be made to account before the people’s court.

The NDF-EV also slams Gov. Daza for making provocative statements against the revolutionary movement in support of the Aquino regime’s ditching of the peace process with the NDFP. Even though he has not even secured his reelection, Gov. Daza is already boasting of securing P50 million for “peace and prosperity roads” that are really meant for the “counterinsurgency” operations of the 8th Infantry Division. This means expressing full support for the Aquino regime’s unilateral ending of peace talks with the NDFP and gunning for all-out war through the Oplan Bayanihan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Therefore, the NDF-EV reminds the Dazas of the gravity of the charges against them. The burden is on the Dazas to refrain from brazen acts against the people and the revolution, and to show as well their accountability and willingness to reform. But if they continue to show impunity, they will only give just cause for the People’s Democratic Government to act with appropriate measures to speedily bring them to revolutionary justice.

All candidates in the reactionary elections are enjoined to respect the guidelines of the People’s Democratic Government that have been made clear to them. They should not use goons or state security forces to terrorize the people. They should not bribe or cheat to corrupt and divide the people. They will be made to account before the people if they fail to do so.#

NDF-EV Media Office
Connect also to NDF-EV through Facebook:

CPP: People's armed resistance will emerge stronger towards end of Aquino's term--CPP

From the CPP Website (May 4): People's armed resistance will emerge stronger towards end of Aquino's term--CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said the Filipino people’s armed resistance will not only outlast Benigno Aquino as president of the government of the Republic of the Philippines but is bound to emerge stronger and more widespread by the end of his term as the Aquino regime intensifies its counter-revolutionary war of suppression and carry out more anti-people measures after completely abandoning peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

“The revolutionary forces would have preferred to engage the ruling reactionary government in peace negotiations to address the roots of the armed conflict and forge agreements to work for a just and lasting peace”, pointed out the CPP.

“However, with the war-freak stance of the Aquino regime, its intransingent refusal to respect and uphold past agreements and fulfill its obligations, and its decision not to return to the negotiating table, the revolutionary forces are left with no other option but to wait out the current regime.”

The CPP said it is the general policy of the revolutionary movement “to remain open to peace negotiations with any ruling reactionary government that is willing to engage in serious negotiations, build on the foundations built over more than 20 years of peace talks and continue negotiations on necessary socio-economic reforms to achieve a just and lasting peace.”

“By abandoning peace negotiations, the Aquino regime has succeeded only in further fomenting democratic mass struggles and armed resistance,” said the CPP. “Aquino has shown outright contempt towards the people’s demands for land, higher wages, decent jobs, affordable housing, free health services and public education. He has employed the state armed forces to carry out a campaign of suppression against the people’s resistance. He has shown clearly his bias for foreign and local big business,” said the CPP.

“The Aquino regime will reap the whirlwind of its decision to end peace talks with the NDFP. The second half of Aquino’s term is bound to be marked by an upsurge of democratic mass struggles in the cities and intensified rural peasant struggles as well as by heightened armed offensives by the New People’s Army and the people’s militias in the countryside.”

“The Filipino people’s armed resistance is bound to emerge ever stronger in the next few years as the Aquino regime subjects the Filipino people to greater oppression, exploitation and repression,” said the CPP. “Aquino’s objection to undertake genuine land reform and national industrialization and perpetuate the semicolonial and semifeudal system only makes the grounds ever more fertile for the rapid expansion of progressive and revolutionary mass organizations and accelerated growth of the New People’s Army and the people’s militias.”

“The New People’s Army can surpass its former peak strength in the mid-1980s towards the second half of the Benigno Aquino III’s term of office,” said the CPP. “Thousands of peasants, workers, educated youth and other oppressed classes and sectors seek to join the NPA as their worsening socio-economic conditions show there is no other recourse but to wage revolutionary armed struggle.”

“They denounce the Aquino regime for seeking to further allow the entry of foreign companies to rake in superprofits by engaging in plunderous mining, plantation and logging operations,” said the CPP. “Aquino’s priorities subject the people to greater environmental disasters and displaces tens of thousands of peasants and farm workers from their land.”

“Aquino subjects the Filipino toiling masses to ever greater foreign exploitation by imposing a wage-freeze policy, implementing the two-tiered wage system which basically abolishes the minimum wage system, carrying out attacks against workers unions and their right to strike and refusing to take measures to put a stop to contractualization and the lack of job security,” added the CPP.

“Aquino favors foreign big business and their local partners in allowing monopoly oil companies to rake in superprofits through overpricing of diesel and gasoline prices, carrying out the demolition of urban poor communities to pave the way for big business infrastructure projects and imposing austerity measures and privatization schemes to allow big business to take over public services,” pointed out the CPP.

“The Aquino regime is set at intensifying the Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression being carried out by its armed forces,” said the CPP. “Cases of violations of human rights, children’s rights and international humanitarian law by the Armed Forces of the Philippines are sure to surge as the Aquino regime becomes ever more desperate in putting a stop to the growth of the people’s resistance.”

Activist youth leader bares alleged military surveillance, harassment

From InterAksyon (May 4): Activist youth leader bares alleged military surveillance, harassment

Anakbayan chairman Vencer Crisostomo at a rally (photo from

The chairman of the activist youth group Anakbayan has raised the alarm over what he said were “several incidents of suspected military surveillance and harassment against me.”

In a blog entry in the Philippine Online Chronicles, Vencer Crisostomo said he was preparing to leave his Quezon City home to join Labor Day protests on May 1 when, “at around 9 in the morning, a neighbor reported that a blue van was spotted slowing down in front of our house … seemingly doing surveillance.”

“At least four men were inside the van. (The neighbor) said that at least one wore camouflage pants and military jackets were hanging at the back of the van, visible through the rearview mirror,” he added.

Crisostomo said the neighbor reported the van to security guards of their housing village who confirmed that the driver “identified himself as MSgt Federico Sagun Tambacao, Jr. and presented an military ID card.”

However, Crisostomo said the men in the van “did not know and could not tell the guards the exact address of their destination,” which prompted a guard to follow the vehicle and eventually ask them to “turn back and leave the village.”

After the May 1 rally in Mendiola, Crisostomo said he was talking to a colleague when “I noticed a man holding a cellphone who kept looking at me from a few feet away.”
Suspecting the man was tailing him, the Anakabayan chairman said he approached the rally stage to get out of his follower’s line of sight and then jumped onboard a jeepney ferrying other youth activists away.

The man he suspected of following him stood up, “anxiously searching, and looking at the direction where I initially went,” Crisostomo said.

“This incident is the latest among the many cases of suspected military activities targeting me and other activist youth leaders,” he said. “A few months ago, suspected military agents broke into the venue of our youth leaders’ meeting in the middle of the night and stole all our laptops and gadgets.”

He also cited “more than a dozen other cases of military attacks against the youth.”
Crisostomo said the government’s recent moves to terminate peace talks with communist rebels “could also be an indication that it is planning to intensify military offensives and step up its attacks against activists.”

Citing records from the human rights group Karapatan, Crisostomo said there have been 137 extrajudicial killings, 72 incidents of torture, 498 illegal arrests, and 30,260 victims of forced evacuation under President Benigno Aquino III.

US-based Remington wins bid to supply 50,000 M4 rifles for AFP, company rep says

From InterAksyon (May 4): US-based Remington wins bid to supply 50,000 M4 rifles for AFP, company rep says

Image from

The Bids and Awards Committee (BAC) of the Department of National Defense (DND) has declared the United States-based Remington company the winning bidder to supply 50,629 pieces of M4 rifles, according to the Philippine representative of the company. The bid was for little less than P2-billion.

"Remington was declared the winning single calculated bid on the AFP requirement for 50,629 pieces M4 cal 5.56mm assault rifles," Neri Dionisio, head of the P.B. Dionisio & Co., Inc., said. Dionisio is the official local representative of Remington.
In a follow-up phone interview, Dionisio said the bidding was conducted on Tuesday at the DND. Apart from Remington, it was participated in by Colt Defense, Sig Sauer and Manroy, he added.

"Remington submitted a total bid price of P1,944,261,591.66, saving government coffers P1,245,365,408.34, (based on) the total authorized budget of contract of P3,189,627,000." This would place the price for each rifle at around P38,400, or around $960.

Even as Dionisio announced Remington's winning bid, however, a source from the DND-BAC said they expected at least one of the losing bidders, particularly Colt, to file a motion for reconsideration.

"We've been expecting that, but we're confident the DND-BAC is certain they got the right bidder. With or without the contest of Colt we will be filing our request for a post-qualification bid on Friday," Dionisio said.

The post-qualification process will revalidate the documents for bidding. After this, the DND-BAC moves to the conduct of a pre-delivery inspection of the items from the winning bidder.

"A group from DND, most probably the Technical Group (TWG), will be going to the factory in the US to inspect the firearms. If there is no problem then the DND-BAC will finally award the contract to Remington," Dionisio said.

Reds torch Philex facilities, kill 5 troops in southern Negros Occidental

From InterAksyon (May 4): Reds torch Philex facilities, kill 5 troops in southern Negros Occidental

Communist rebels burned facilities of Philex Mining Corp. in southern Negros Occidental Friday evening and killed five soldiers and wounded two others who were engaged in clearing operations the next morning, police said.

Senior Superintendent Ricardo dela Paz, acting provincial police director, identified the fatalities as team leader Corporal Aljun Francisco, Privates First Class Charlie Magne Jomento, Jan Granzo, Ramer Aguilario and Benjie Tolog, all of the 47rth Infantry Battalion.
The military later identified the wounded soldiers as Corporal Jovimar Lateza and PFC Rommel Agustino, who are now confined at a hospital in Kabankalan City.

Dela Paz said the rebels also seized six rifles from the soldiers.

The police officer said the burning of the mining firm’s facilities could have been a ruse to “draw in the Army … and engage them,” noting that the site of the clash in which the soldiers were killed or wounded was near the Philex compound.

Philex, in a statement released Saturday afternoon, confirmed the rebel raid on its exploration site and said a bunkhouse, an off-road vehicle and one generator set were burned.

"The area of attack is 30 kilometers away from the company's Bulawan gold project, which is now under care and maintenance through its subsidiary Philex Gold Philippines Inc.," the statement said, adding that no workers were harmed.

"Philex Mining has reinforced security measures to ensure the safety of the surrounding community while employees assigned at the Umas exploration site had been pulled out for safety and security," the company said.

"It is unfortunate that this is incident happened and we are unaware of the reasons why the rebels committed such acts of violence," it added.

The firm said its exploration activities "are permitted and endorsed by its host local governments, Sipalay City and Hinobaan municipality, as well as (by) the provincial government ... It has been operating the Bulawan Project since 1990, through its subsidiary, Philex Gold Phils. Inc."

The Bulawan project began production in 1996 hut was shut down in 2002 when world gold prices slumped.

"While still onsite to monitor the mine facilities and ponds stability, Philex Mining continues to explore within the tenement for feasible ore resources. Environmental activities continue, including reforestation, solid waste management and establishment of Robusta coffee plantation with the support of its host and neighboring communities," the company said.

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon, Jr. condoled with the families of the slain soldiers and called on the rebels to “go down” and “talk peace” with the government.

“Our enemies are not each other but hunger and poverty,” he told 

Southern Negros is a traditional stronghold of the New People’s Army.

82nd Infantry Battalion highlights 4th founding anniversary

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 3): 82nd Infantry Battalion highlights 4th founding anniversary

The 82nd Infantry (Bantay Laya) Battalion, 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division, Philippine Army celebrates its 4th Battalion Founding Anniversary Friday at Camp Monteclaro, Brgy Igtuba, Miag-ao, Iloilo.

The 82nd IB which was formally activated in June 18, 2009 at Camp Macario V. Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz, in the presence of then Commanding General of the Philippine Army, Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit, was composed of 23 officers and 349 enlisted personnel and charged of supporting the internal security operation (ISO) efforts in Panay, safeguarding the freedom of its citizens from the threats of insurgency.

It was organized using the 3rd Division Reconnaissance Companies and the Headquarters Service Battalion of the Command. Its first Battalion Commander was Lt. Col. George Joel N. Lalaquil. They chose the name "Bantay Laya" as their name and has operational control over the province of Antique and southern Iloilo.

From its infancy, it has metamorphosed into a unit to be reckoned with. Now headed by the 4th Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Aldwine I. Almase INF (GSC) PA, it had come up with numerous peace and development programs and initiatives in Antique and southern Iloilo which benefited the people and communities especially in far flung areas.

It is proud of being partly responsible for bringing back peace and order in the towns of San Remigio and Sibalom towns here and declaring the province of Antique as Manageable Conflict-affected and development/investment ready area.

In an interview with Lt. Col Almase, he said "that our operational framework not only promotes human security but also provides opportunity for the peaceful resolution of conflict under the ambit of IPSP Bayanihan."

A day long activities is lined-up today to mark its 4th anniversary with sportsfest, thanksgiving mass, anniversary program, distribution of wheelchairs and socials among others. Highlight of which is the awarding of certificates to 11 individual awardees, 10 group awardees for their valuable support extended to the battalion and their Best Best for 2013 (Best Platoon Sergeant, Best Squad Leader, Best Enlisted Personnel).

Col. Arnold M. Quiapo, Commmander 301st Brigade 3ID, PA, is the guest of honor and speaker in today's activity.

Peace rally condemns NPA atrocities

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 3): Peace rally condemns NPA atrocities

The 4th Infantry Division (4ID) joined the peace rally at the Rizal Park in Gingoog City last April 29 to express sympathy to the families and friends of the Velasco brothers who died during the ambush perpetrated in by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels against Mayor Ruth de Lara Guingona’s convoy last April 20.

Local municipal and barangay officials, religious groups, people’s organizations, non-government organizations, indigenous peoples’ organizations, youth and student sector and the women’s sector participated in the rally.

The people condemned the crimes and atrocities done by the NPA rebels, not only in Gingoog City but in other places in Misamis Oriental.

Brig. Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya, general officer-in-charge of 4ID said, “The recent incidents which happened which was perpetrated in by the insurgents proved that the description of being terrorist, robbers, gruesome and animalistic are actually not enough to really describe them.”

“We cannot just let this hinder the development in our area, I believe that collaboration between government, non-government organizations and other stakeholders is best to counter this unproductive and inhumane atrocities of the rebels. It is only by acting together we can attain peace and seize the existence of NPAs which have been the burden of the country for more than four decades,” said Visaya.

4ID supports jobs fair on Labor Day

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 3): 4ID supports jobs fair on Labor Day

The 4th Infantry Division (4ID) joined the Labor Day jobs fair with SM Cagayan de Oro and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) region 10 at the SM city here on May 1.

The division through its Army Recruitment Office (ARO) opened the application for a Philippine Army Officer to give interested and qualified applicants a chance to get a stable job in the security service where they will receive a decent salary with several benefits once employed.

The quota for this year for army officers is 100. Interested applicants will undergo the normal process of recruitment which will start with the compliance of documentary requirement for the qualifying examination called the Philippine Army Aptitude Test Battery (PAATB) which can be taken at the ARO (Mindanao) here.

Brig. Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya, general officer-in-charge of 4ID said, “This activity is most appropriate especially today that we celebrate Labor Day, it is not only aimed in giving employment opportunity to aspiring applicants but this will also give the applicants the opportunity and pride to serve our country.”

Visaya encouraged all those interested in being a soldier to take advantage of this activity and apply for officership in the army.

He said the process may be tedious but it is worth it, because in the profession, those interested will be given the honor to serve the country and fellow Filipinos while receiving competitive compensation. (4CMO/4ID/PIA10)

l be given the honor to serve the country and fellow Filipino while receiving a competitive compensation or salary.

PMA cadets showcase silent drill in Panabo City

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 3): PMA cadets showcase silent drill in Panabo City

Ninety-two cadets composed of 18 women and 74 men of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Gabay Laya” Class of 2016 performed their 45-minute silent drill under the heat of the scorching sun in the Panabo Multipurpose Tourism Cultural and Sports Center grounds, Panabo City.

The delegation was welcomed by Mayor Jose Silvosa Sr. during their courtesy call. The visitors were composed of Head of the PMA Delegation, Cmdr Junjie B. Tabuada, PN together with Maj Julius C. Librada PA, the Course Director in the Soldier Team Development Course, LTC Inocencio I. Pasaporte INF (GSC) PA Commander of 69th Infantry Battalion, 7ID, PA and several PMA cadets.

“This is a part of their annual southern cruise, for the cadets to be oriented in the different AFP units of the Philippines, that will help them choose which branch of service they will serve – the Army, the Navy or the Air Force, after graduating from the Academy,” said Tabuada. “We are also promoting the PMA in the southern region, also to encourage the male and female youth to study in the Academy.”

During the 45-minute presentation, the cadets executed marching and manual of arms without the benefit of oral commands. Gun salutes were also fired during the performance. Added attraction was their performance of various modern dance moves, including Harlem Shake, Gangnam Style,Careless Whisper, and Davao’s Budots.

Cadets also offered red roses to the delight of the female audience in the middle of executing their dance steps.

“We are inviting the youth of Panabo to apply for the Philippine Military Academy, the premier leadership institution in the country. This is a rare chance to serve our country as part of the country’s armed forces,” said Cadet 3rd Class Don Stanley Dalisay, president of Gabay Laya Class. “Yearly entrance examinations are done every last Sunday of August. Application forms are available in various military camps and ROTC units.”

To be able to qualify for the academy, applicants must be: a natural born Filipino Citizen, 17 to 21 years old, physically fit and of good moral character, single and has never been married, have a height of at least 5 feet but not exceed 6’4” for both male and female. They also must pass the PMA entrance examination. Interested applicants can also apply online at

All cadets at the PMA are granted full scholarship receiving monthly salary and allowances higher than the salary of the highest ranking enlisted personnel of the AFP while studying for four years earning a bachelor of science degree and a chance to study abroad after graduation.

Gabay Laya Class of 2016 had already done their presentations in some of the key cities in Mindanao, including Davao City and Digos City. After their performance in Panabo City, their next stop is Tagum City.

Seventeen soldiers lauded for heroic feat

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 3): Seventeen soldiers lauded for heroic feat

The military cited 17 members of the 66th Infantry Battalion for a job well-done after figuring in an encounter with the New People’s Army which resulted to the death of two rebels and the recovery of several high-powered fire arms in April 25, in the hinterlands of Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.

Lt. General Noel Coballes, commander of the Philippine Army granted the merits to the soldiers in a simple ceremony at the 66th Infantry Battalion Headquarters in Barangay Cabinuangan, New Bataan, Compostela Valley, Wednesday.

He lauded the soldiers for respecting the rights of the people and the International Human Law and above the rule of law.

“Keep up the good work as protectors of the people,” Coballes said.

The 17 members of the Scout Platoon of 66IB were led by 1Lt. Marvin Gamad when they engaged the rebels in a firefight at Sitio Apogon, Brgy Katipunan, Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.

The encounter resulted to recovery of six high-powered firearms, namely five M-16 Armalite rifles and one M-14 rifle, one anti-personnel landmine, handheld radios, and campaign materials. 

The soldiers treated and alternately carried one wounded rebel from mountainous area towards the poblacion using an improvised stretcher for his immediate transfer to Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City.

The rebel succumbed to massive organ failure while being treated in the hospital.

Military, police clash with NPAs in Agusan del Sur

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 3): Military, police clash with NPAs in Agusan del Sur

Soldiers from the 75th Infantry Battalion and policemen from the Special Action Force encountered more or less 10 fully armed rebels in Road 88, Brgy. Bunawan Brooks, Bunawan, Agusan del Sur, Monday evening

The soldiers and policemen were on a joint security patrol in the area when they encountered the armed group believed to be from Section Committee 14 of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee.

The encounter resulted to one wounded on the government side and undetermined casualty on the rebel side.

Col Gregory M Cayetano, Commander of 401st Infantry Brigade, has ordered the 75th Infantry Battalion to launch pursuit operations.

“Again, we thank concerned citizens in the area who have tipped us off about the enemy presence in their barangay. We highly appreciate their effort to help us round up these criminals the soonest possible time. We assure everyone that the information that the people will provide us will be treated with utmost confidentiality,” said LTC Danilo Benavides, commanding officer of 75th Infantry Battalion.

“We appeal to the families and loved ones of these rebels to help us encourage them to abandon the armed struggle and return to the folds of the law and to normalcy. For more than four decades now, we have all felt the pain and loss that the armed struggle has brought us. It has never been a solution to our country’s problem. in fact, it has been one of the deterrents to our development and progress. The AFP’s concept of Bayanihan is far better than the revolution’s idea of complete overthrow of our government. In Bayanihan, we are all benefitted, while in armed struggle we are all losers,” said Col Cayetano.

Philippine Navy–Eastmincom commits sea assets for May 13 polls

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4): Philippine Navy–Eastmincom commits sea assets for May 13 polls

The Philippine Navy in Eastern Mindanao is committing its naval assets to support the conduct of the May 13 elections.

Commodore Isabelo Gador, outgoing commander of the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao, said the deployment of the navy in the region is coursed through the Eastern Mindanao Command. In line with the mandate, he said that personnel, equipment, and assets will be ready to assist and support the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

He said the five naval vessels of NFEM will be used to transport PCOS machines particularly to the islands of Balut in Davao del Sur and Siargao in Surigao del Norte. A battalion of Philippine Marines have been deployed from Zamboanga to Misamis Oriental to support Army troops after the ambush of Gingoog Mayor Ruthie Guingona.

Gador said the Navy has not encountered any maritime threats that will disrupt the conduct of the May 13 elections adding that the presence of navy vessels is enough deterrent to nefarious elements. "Once they see our vessels, they will be scared," Gador said.

The outgoing NFEM commander said that of the original seven naval vessels of the NFEM which covers southeastern and northern Mindanao, two vessels have been redeployed to Tawi-Tawi in the aftermath of the Sabah crisis, where armed followers of the Sultan of Sulu clashed with Malaysian forces in the Malaysian town of Lahad Datu.

Gador who will take over Naval Forces Western Mindanao this May 10 will relinquish his NFEM command to Captain Antonio Habulan in ceremonies at the Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Panacan, Davao City this May 7.

NPA couple yields in Compostela Valley town

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4): NPA couple yields in Compostela Valley town

A couple, both members of the New People's Army’s Front Committee 27, returned to the folds of the law Friday afternoon in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.

They were identified as Henry Longkayas and wife Analiza, residents of Panoraon, Maco, also in Compostela Valley.

Through the initiatives of barangay officials in Libasan, the two surrendered to Captain Jan Ferido, company commander of the Alpha Company of the 72nd Infantry Battalion.

Hardships and deception were cited by the couple as the main reasons for their surrender.

They added missing their two-year-old son whom they abandoned just to join the underground movement.

Ferido turned over the couple to Lt. Col. Michael Logico, commander of the 66th Infantry Battalion.

Logico said “the constant pressure applied by our troops slowly sapped away their morale. The successful encounter last week was probably their decision point."

NPA attacks CAFGU Patrol Base

From the Philippine News Agency (may 4): NPA attacks CAFGU Patrol Base

A patrol base of the Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) located at a remote village of a northern municipality in Agusan del Norte, was attacked by members of the CPP/NPA rebels early Saturday morning, a senior military official said.

In a local radio interview, Lt. Col. Potenciano Camba, commanding officer of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion, confirmed reports that about 50 NPA rebels staged an attack against the CAFGU patrol base located at San Antonio, RTR Agusan del Norte 4:30 a.m. Saturday.

However, the well-entrenched defenders fought back and drove away the attackers.

"Our base defenders were prepared and well-entrenched and we have sent the reinforcement on time, that's why the attack was unsuccessful," Camba said. The military official said pursuing troopers were able to recover arms, landmines and other personal belongings left in haste by the fleeing rebels.

Camba also said that this was the second failed attempt of the rebels in attacking the said patrol base. The first happened on January last year. Lt. Col. Camba said that they are now ascertaining if the attackers came from the NPA's Guerilla Front 21.

Military in Negros identifies casualties in Sipalay encounter

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4): Military in Negros identifies casualties in Sipalay encounter

The military authorities in Negros Occidental has identified the five army soldiers who died in an encounter with the New People’s Army (NPA) early Saturday morning in Sitio Omas, Brgy. Camindangan, Sipalay City in southern Negros Occidental.

Based on the military report, Lt. Col. Rey Bañares, deputy commander of 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Minoyan, Murcia, Negros Occidental has identified the casualties as Cpl. Aljun Francisco, Pfc Charlie Magne-Jomento, Pfc Jan Granson, Private Ramir Aguilario and Private Benjamin Tulog, all members of the 47th Infantry Battalion (47IB) operating in southern Negros Occidental.

The wounded troopers are Cpl. Jovimar Lateza and Pfc Rommel Agustino, who are now confined at a hospital in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.

Banares said the encounter between soldiers of the 47th IB and members of the NPA’s Southwest Front took place in the midst of the hot pursuit operation launched by government forces after a group of some 30 heavily armed insurgents who torched on Friday evening the two bunkhouses of mining personnel, a Kubota tractor, generator set and ICOM radio owned by Philex Mining Corporation in Brgy. Camindangan, Sipalay City.

The pursuing 47IB soldiers led by its team leader Cpl. Francisco caught up with the armed insurgents at Sitio Omas, Brgy. Camindangan 8o'clock Saturday morning that resulted to an hour-long firefight between the two groups that unfortunately killed five soldiers and wounded two others.

The 303rd Infantry Brigade which has the jurisdiction over Army battalions operating in Negros Occidental, said the enemy likewise suffered an undetermined casualties whom their comrades carried in their escape.

Likewise, the pursuing government forces recovered four M-16 armalite rifles, one M-14 and K-3 rifles left behind by the fleeing insurgents.

The government troops scoured the hinterlands of Brgy. Camindangan for the fleeing enemy believed holed in their mountain lairs in Sipalay, Negros Occidental.

Army troops monitor NPA movements in Samar

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4): Army troops monitor NPA movements in Samar

The Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division (8ID) is now closely monitoring the movements of the local insurgents in Samar particularly its extortion activities against candidates seeking posts for the May 13 polls.

“The focus of our troops is to be vigilant in monitoring the movements and extortion activities of these rebels,” said Capt. Amado Gutierrez, spokesman of the 8th ID based here.

Every day, the 8ID received reports from the local assets and community folks that members of the New People’s Army (NPA) have been roaming around asking money in the form of permit to campaign or permit to win fees to the local candidates.

“We first validate these reports and immediately send troops to the area,” Gutierrez added.

Last Thursday, at least two local insurgents apparently conducting extortion activities were killed during the 15-minute encounter with the government security forces in Barangay Albalate, this city.

The other three companions of the rebels fled the scene. Recovered from the two unidentified dead rebels were two assault rifles and explosives, the army said.

Earlier, the military in the region claimed that the NPA is soliciting permit to campaign and permit to win fees from candidates, ranging from P50,000 to P5 million, depending on the position being sought by a candidate.

Documents recovered by the military revealed that the NPA was tasked by the National Democratic Front (NDF) in Eastern Visayas to implement the collection of the “permit to win” and “permit to campaign” fees to local candidates.

Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF in Eastern Visayas spokesman, however, denied the claim.

Meanwhile, Major General Gerardo Layug, 8th Infantry Division commander, said the military will continue to perform its mandate to ensure peaceful and safe elections. Thousands of soldiers had been deployed to assist the police in securing the peace and order in the region.

Five soldiers killed, two others hurt in Negros Occidental firefight

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4): Five soldiers killed, two others hurt in Negros Occidental firefight

Five soldiers were killed while two others were wounded on Saturday morning in an encounter with the New People's Army (NPA) rebels who raided the Philex Mining Corporation compound in Barangay Camindangan, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.

The rebels raided the compound around 9 p.m. Friday and torched two employee bunkhouses, one Kubota tractor with drilling machine, one generator set, ICOM radio, and personal belongings of some workers.

Pursuing troopers, all assigned at the 303rd Infantry Brigade, encountered the rebels at Sitio Omas in Barangay Camindangan around 7:40 a.m. Saturday where a firefight ensued which lasted for one hour.

During the battle, five soldiers were killed while two others were wounded with the NPAs taking an undetermined number of casualties aside.

The names of the government casualties were not released pending notification of their next-of-kin.

Six rifles were also reported stolen by the fleeing rebels.

Pursuit operations are ongoing.