Monday, May 13, 2013

MNLF leader says confident to win polls

From the Philippine Star (May 13): MNLF leader says confident to win polls

The chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front, Cotabato City Vice-Mayor Muslimin Sema, who is a mayoral candidate of the Liberal Party, feeds a ballot into a Precinct Count Optical Scanner with the help of a Muslim teacher at the Muamad Elementary School in Kakar area in the city.  John Unson

The chairman of the largest group in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is optimistic he will win in the race for the city’s mayoral post.

Cotabato City Vice-Mayor Muslimin Sema, chairman of the biggest of at least three groups in the MNLF, expressed confidence that  the patience he had shown amid the mudslinging and black propaganda will sway votes in his favor.

Sema, who belongs to the Liberal Party, is contesting the re-election bid of Cotabato City Mayor Japan Guiani Jr. Sema, as a senior MNLF official, helped craft the group’s September 2, 1996 final peace accord with government.

As MNLF chairman, Sema wields influence over some 50,000 followers scattered in their more than 20 “revolutionary states” in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Palawan.

He said his followers voted for aspirants for local and national positions President Benigno Aquino III endorsed as LP candidates.

Some 30,000 voters and campaigners of Sema attended the LP’s miting-de-avance Friday at the parade grounds of the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College here.

Sema’s spouse, Sandra, is seeking re-election as congressional representative of the first district of Maguindanao and Cotabato City.

Sema cast his vote past 8:00 a.m. Monday at the Muamad Elementary School in Kakar area here, accompanied by relatives and supporters.

Sema had served as undefeated three-term city mayor before he was elected vice-mayor during the 2010 local elections.

Welcome to the MILF army: The unfortunately named Muslim rebel group patrolling the jungles of the Philippines

From the Daily Mail Online (May 13): Welcome to the MILF army: The unfortunately named Muslim rebel group patrolling the jungles of the Philippines

**Moro Islamic Liberation Front is tasked with peace keeping in Mindanao

**Its acronym joins other unfortunate abbreviations - such as BAAPS, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

**But despite its name, MILF is a deadly serious organisation

**Former terrorist group on roadmap to peace settlement with government

As abbreviations go, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's has got to be among the most unfortunate. 

But this didn't stop members of the former Muslim rebel group from patrolling the jungles of the Philippines today ahead of the country's contentious general elections.

MILF joins countless other organisations with unfortunate acronyms - such as BAAPS, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.
MILFS: Members of the armed group Moro Islamic Liberation Front take a rest inside a hut as they secure the perimeter to help maintain a peaceful election against other lawless elements in Shariff Aguak, Philippines

MILFS: Members of the armed group Moro Islamic Liberation Front take a rest inside a hut as they secure the perimeter to help maintain a peaceful election against other lawless elements in Shariff Aguak, Philippines

But despite the associations that may come with its abbreviated name, MILF is a deadly serious organization.

MILF is a splinter group of Muslim rebels from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) formed in the 1960s to achieve greater Bangsamoro autonomy in the southern Philippines.

It has used terrorist tactics to try and force greater independence on the region and declared a jihad against the government, its citizens and supporters.

MILF, which was officially formed in the 1980s, has also been linked to Al Qaeda and a bombing incident in Davao Airport in 2003.
In March 2007, the Philippine government offered to recognize the right of self-determination for the Moro people which it had never done in three decades of conflict.
The Muslim militant group MILF joins one of many organisations around the world with unfortunate acronyms
The Muslim militant group MILF joins one of many organisations around the world with unfortunate acronyms
But later that year in July, Islamic militants in Basilan in the southern Philippines killed 14 marines. MILF denied responsibility for the murders.

This delayed the start of the peace process but MILF and the Philippine government took the first tentative steps last year toward ending one of Asia's longest-running insurgencies.

Both parties signed a preliminary peace pact with a roadmap to a final peace settlement expected by 2016.

As part of the arrangement, MILF is responsible for maintaining peace on Mindanao island to prevent civil unrest during the congressional and local elections in the Philippines.

More than 52 million voters registered to elect 18,000 officials, including half of the 24-member Senate, nearly 300 members of the House of Representatives and leaders of a Muslim autonomous region in the south, where Islamic insurgents and militants are a concern.
Task force: MILF is a Muslim rebel group located in the southern Philippines which now has the agreement with the Philippine government to maintain peace in Mindanao island
Task force: MILF is a Muslim rebel group located in the southern Philippines which now has the agreement with the Philippine government to maintain peace in Mindanao island

Despite scattered killings and fears of fraud, the polls were relatively peaceful as soldiers and police secured stations in potentially violent areas.

The outcome will determine the level of support for President Benigno Aquino III's reforms in his remaining three years in office. Aquino has been praised at home and abroad for cracking down on widespread corruption, backing key legislation and concluding an initial peace agreement with Muslim rebels - including MILF.

But he cannot run for re-election and a choice of his successor, who will be expected to continue on the same reform path, will depend on the new political landscape.

Candidates backed by Aquino are running against a coalition headed by Vice President Jejomar Binay and deposed President Joseph Estrada.
Peace keepers: MILF has helped keep election day violence down to an all time low
Peace keepers: MILF has helped keep election day violence down to an all time low

Although officially No. 2 in the country, Binay has emerged as the administration's rival and may be positioning himself for the 2016 presidential race.

Among 33 senatorial candidates are two of Aquino's relatives, Binay's neophyte daughter, Estrada's son, a son of the sitting chamber president, a son of a late president, a spouse and children of former senators and there's a possibility that two siblings will be sitting in the same house. Currently, 15 senators have relatives serving in elective positions.

The race for the House is even more of a family affair. Toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos' widow, the flamboyant 83-year-old Imelda, is expected to keep her seat as a representative for Ilocos Norte province, the husband's birthplace where the locals kept electing the Marcoses despite allegations of corruption and abuse during their long rule. Marcos' daughter, Imee is seeking re-election as governor and the son, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., is already a senator.

Boxing star and incumbent Rep. Manny Pacquiao is running unopposed and building a dynasty of his own: his brother Rogelio is running to represent his southern district and his wife Jinkee is vying to become vice-governor for Sarangani province.

Estrada, who was ousted in a 2001 'people power' revolt on corruption allegations, is running for mayor of Manila, hoping to capitalize on his movie star popularity, particularly among the poor masses.

Philippine elections have long been dominated by politicians belonging to the same bloodlines. At least 250 political families have monopolized power across the country, although such dynasties are prohibited under the 1987 constitution. Congress - long controlled by members of powerful clans targeted by the constitutional ban - has failed to pass the law needed to define and enforce the provision.

Critics worry that a single family's stranglehold on different levels of government could stymie checks against abuses and corruption. A widely cited example is the 2009 massacre of 58 people, including 32 media workers, in an ambush blamed on rivalry between powerful clans in southern Maguindanao province.

In the latest violence, gunmen killed five people and wounded two mayoral candidates in separate attacks over the weekend. Last month, gunmen fired on a truck carrying a town mayor and his supporters in southern Lanao del Norte province, killing 13 people including his daughter.

The 125,000-strong military has helped the government in urging candidates to shun violence. An army general took off with his troops aboard two helicopters and dropped leaflets calling for peaceful elections in Masbate, a central province notorious for political killings.

Results are expected within a day or two.

Soldier dies in fresh encounter vs. rebels

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 14): Soldier dies in fresh encounter vs. rebels

A Philippine Army soldier was killed and another wounded after government troops clashed with suspected New People's Army rebels in Sta. Catalina town, Negros Oriental, at the height of the elections yesterday.

Initial reports from the Philippine Army's 79 th Infantry Battalion identified the fatality as Private First Class Aris De Emoy, and the injured soldier as PFC Anastacio Aloba Jr., who was hit in his left foot.

The Army said that a section of the Alpha Company of the 79 th IB, led by 1Lt. Alexander Robillos, was on combat patrol operations at around 11 a.m., when it encountered about 30 suspected rebels in Sitio Bongabong, Barangay Milagrosa in Sta. Catalina.

A firefight of almost 10 minutes was followed by a running gun-battle as the rebels believed to be members of the SDG Platoon Robinson of the South East Front of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Sentral Bisayas, withdrew westward.

Lt. Col. Marion Sison, commander of the 79 th IB, said pursuit operations are ongoing, and two military helicopter gunships have been deployed to assist ground troops.

This was the third armed clash between the 79 th IB and the same group of suspected rebels, the first being on May 6 and the next on May 11.

MILF: Madaris in General Santos City hold Musabaqa

From the MILF Website (May 14): Madaris in General Santos City hold Musabaqa

Students of Madaris (Islamic schools) in General Santos City hold Musabaqa (intramurals) on May 11-12, 2013 in a Madrasa in Sitio Camasi, Barangay Ligaya geared to develop sportsmanship and strengthen unity among the young learners.
The pupils of around 30 Madaris of the city participated in mental and physical competitions. There were also competition on reciting the Holy Qur’an, Azhan (call for prayer), and singing among the little delegates.

Sports competitions include basketball, volleyball, badminton, track and field and running high and long jumps.

Primary pupils participated in spelling and arranging alphabets while intermediate pupils joined quiz bee such as General Information. There were also parlor games such as throwing eggs for female students.

Musabaqa is the most awaited citywide event among the young Muslims of the city. “It is where pupils from different Madaris meet and know each other thereby strengthening unity among our young Muslims,” said Ustadz Badrosabah Alanga, President of General Santos City Madaris Federation.

“More than developing sportsmanship among our young generation, we are also getting them away from vices like taking drugs, alcoholism or smoking through sports,” he pointed out.

The event was supported by the Local Government of General Santos City and Madaris Parents and Teachers Association in every Madrasa.

The support to Madaris education is facilitated by the Office on Cultural Communities under the Office of the City Mayor. More than a hundred Asatidz of the city receive monthly honorarium of P3,000.

Madaris learners acquire Islamic values, Arabic literacy, mathematics, science, history, Hadith (sayings of the Prophet) and Islamic ideology in Madaris. Classes that are held every Saturday and Sunday. The city has more than four thousand Madaris students.

Public elementary schools also offers Arabic Literacy and Islamic Values Education (ALIVE) subject. Most public schools in the city where there are considerable population of Muslim pupils have ALIVE teachers.

MILF: MILF makes final appeal: vote for pro-peace, anti-violence candidates

From the MILF Website (May 13): MILF makes final appeal: vote for pro-peace, anti-violence candidates

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) has made its final appeal to voters throughout the country especially those in Bangsamoro areas to vote for candidates who are known for their pro-peace and anti-violence stances.
“The line is now clearly drawn that voters must vote for candidates who can support the peace process between the MILF and the government and those opposed to it and between those who hated violence as means to get to power and those who use violence to grab power.”

This was the statement of Muhammad Ameen, chair of the MILF Secretariat, after he emerged from a meeting with non-government organizations who are working for clean, peaceful, and honest elections in Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.

He said the MILF is not supporting any candidate officially but we want candidates whose platforms are clearly pro-people and pro-peace and whose track records are not tainted with killings.

He also disclosed that the MILF and the Aquino administration, after the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the formal organization of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, as well as other joint undertakings such as the Sajahatra Bangsamoro, a socio-economic program, are in partnership that requires that this election should result in electing candidates to Congress, the House and Senate, who are known for their pro-peace process track records.

“This partnership must continue,” he continued, but added that the whole road map for the implementation of the agreements especially the FAB must be completed.

However, he lamented that the three remaining annexes to the FAB to pave the way for the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement are still hanging in the balance.

“I don’t know what prevented the government to fast track the signing of these annexes especially annex on wealth-sharing which was initialed by the parties last February 27.

“Let us see after these elections whether there is clear-cut movement of the peace talks,” he asked.

Asked who these candidates are, he said I cannot be specific, but stressed that personal records are more important than other considerations.

2 suspected Abu Sayyaf members arrested in Marawi — PNP

From GMA News (May 13): 2 suspected Abu Sayyaf members arrested in Marawi — PNP

Two suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group linked to past explosions in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro were arrested in a government operation in Marawi City over the weekend, the Philippine National Police said Monday.
In a post on its Facebook page, the PNP identified the suspected bandits as Termije Ahmad a.k.a. Emran Napeh and Miding; and Reneer Lou Dongon, a.k.a. Roly Unting. 
The PNP said the two were arrested via two separate warrants for kidnapping issued by the regional trial courts of Metro Manila and Zamboanga City. The suspects were now in the custody of the Police Regional Office10 Intelligence Division in Camp Alagar in Lapasan, Cagayan de Oro City.
"Police investigators are also preparing enough evidence against the suspects for their involvement in the IED explosions in Iligan City and near Maxandrea Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City," the PNP said.
The PNP said the two were arrested in a joint operation of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Region 12, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Units (CIDU) of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and Region 10, Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Commission (PAOCC) and Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) 10.
"Seized from the two when they were arrested in Barangay Fort in Marawi City were 29 blasting caps, five screwdrivers, seven 9-volt batteries, five batteries, a Samsung notebook, five handheld radios, a CD player, six SIM packs, a Sony digital camera, a broadband modem, and seven improvised explosive device components," the PNP statement said.
"Also recovered from them were three electronic testers, four soldering guns, 17 empty 7.62 mm shells, one gallon of ammonium nitrate mixture, two capacitors, and a cal-.45 pistol with one magazine and seven rounds of ammunition," it added.

Taiwan rules out armed conflict with PHL over fisherman's death

From GMA News (May 14): Taiwan rules out armed conflict with PHL over fisherman's death

Although it is not discounting additional sanctions against the Philippines for the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman in disputed waters last May 9, Taiwan does not consider armed conflict against the Philippines as an option.

Taiwanese foreign affairs minister David Lin also admitted thre is little if any chance of joint cooperation in protecting fishing boats in disputed waters, Taipei Times reported Tuesday.

“We do not rule out additional sanctions,” the report quoted Lin as saying, but added he said armed conflict is not an option.

When Taiwanese lawmakers asked him about the chances of cooperation between Taiwan and China in protecting fishing boats in disputed waters, Lin said he “didn’t see this happening.”
He pointed out the Philippines upholds “One China” policy, where it maintains diplomatic ties with Beijing but only economic ties with Taipei, which Beijing considers a province.

 Last May 9, Philippine authorities fired on the Taiwanese fishing boat Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, killing fisherman Hung Shih-cheng, 65. The Coast Guard said the boat tried to ram them.

He also demanded compensation for Hung’s relatives, as well as an investigation of the incident and punishment for the guilty.

Ma Ying-jeou also demanded that Taiwan and the Philippines start talks on a fisheries agreement. 

 Otherwise, he said that if Manila does not respond by midnight Tuesday, Taiwan may freeze Philippine workers’ applications, recall Taiwan’s representative to the Philippines and expel Basilio. 

Taiwan awaits Manila response

For now, Taiwan expects to hear before midnight Tuesday a formal response from Manila on its demands stemming from the shooting.

Lin said Philippine representative to Taiwan Antonio Basilio assured him Malacañang will have a formal response before the deadline lapses.

He said Basilio had promised him Sunday night he would “make the utmost efforts” to find a solution to the situation.

ut he said Taiwan will immediately impose sanctions, including the freezing of applications of Filipino migrant workers, if Taipei finds Manila’s response unacceptable.

“We will immediately impose the sanctions if we find the response from (Manila) to be unacceptable,” Taipei Times quoted Lin as saying before lawmakers at a meeting of the legislature’s Foreign Affairs and National Defense Committee.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Anna Kao also said the ministry had learned that Basilio is scheduled to return to Taipei Tuesday.

 'Confidential meeting'

Also, the Taipei Times cited a Central News Agency report from Manila claiming Aquino  presided over a confidential meeting Monday.

Basilio reportedly attended the meeting, which discussed the issue.

Soldiers clash with NPAs in Agusan Norte

From the Philippine Star (May 14): Soldiers clash with NPAs in Agusan Norte

BUTUAN CITY, Philippines – Members of the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion encountered on Sunday night at least 20 suspected New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas supposedly out to disrupt yesterday’s polls in Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte.

Lt. Col. Ricardo Leonardo, the battalion’s commander, confirmed that one of his men was wounded in the encounter in the supposedly rebel-influenced area.

NPA admits killing Tarlac mayoral bet

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 13): NPA admits killing Tarlac mayoral bet

A leader of communist rebels operating in Central Luzon has admitted responsibility for the murder of a mayoral candidate in San Jose town in Tarlac last week.

The candidate, Rudy Abella, was not only a former policeman but a leader of the dreaded “Monkees” in the 1970s, Jose Agaton, spokesperson of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Josefino Corpus Command in Central Luzon, said in a statement sent by e-mail to the Inquirer.

The Monkees were goons of Tarlac politicians in the late 1960s to the 1970s. They included some policemen.

Abella, along with his vice mayoral candidate, Judy Laurzano, also the village chief of Iba, was in a caucus at 5 p.m. on May 6 when two men with .45-cal. and 9mm pistols approached him and shot him at close range. Three other men served as lookout.

Abella, 65, who had served as village chief of Burgos for the past 11 years, was challenging the reelection bid of Mayor Jose Yap Jr., brother of Tarlac Gov. Victor Yap.

The NPA statement said Abella’s group was a “private army” of political warlords who had been involved in cases of massacre, rape, looting, robbery and other crimes.

Agaton said Abella was sentenced to die and punished by members of the NPA’s Nelson Mesina Command for what he described as “sins of the past.”

In a press briefing in Tarlac on Monday, President Aquino said he was informed by police that the initial investigation on Abella’s murder showed that the motive might not be election-related.

The President said the police had a suspect and witnesses, and that “to relate the incident to the elections at this point was speculative.”

In Mindanao, the NPA found itself releasing “arrested individuals,” including soldiers and policemen, after clearing them of suspicions of involvement in “antirevolutionary” activities. But it stopped short of apologizing to its captives or their families.

The communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF) in southern Mindanao said it had ordered the NPA to release a police escort of Compostela Valley Gov. Arturo Uy it had “taken into custody” after flagging down the official’s convoy at a roadblock in the province on April 28.

Pfc. Jesus Tomas of the Army’s 71st Infantry Battalion and SPO2 Allan Pansoy, who was taken out of Uy’s convoy, are to be freed after the NPA did not find enough evidence to indict them, Rubi del Mundo, NDF spokesperson, said.

Del Mundo said the exact date of releases would be determined by the military’s compliance with the NPA demand for suspension of all offensives in the towns of Maco, Mabini, Nabunturan, Mawab and Pantukan. “These towns were being considered as release sites,” she said.

The announcement on the impending releases came barely a day after PO3 Maula Ali of the Arakan, North Cotabato police was set free near Bukidnon.

In April, the rebels released PO3 Ruben Nojapa Jr., who was seized while reporting for work in Nabunturan town on March 18, and seven militiamen they took in Agusan del Sur for “not having committed any serious offense against the people and the revolution.”

A few days earlier, two policemen from Loreto town in Agusan del Sur—PO1 Nemuel España and PO2 Allan Muñez—made a daring escape from an NPA camp after engaging their captors in a brief firefight.

In February, the NPA freed Pfc. Jezreel Culango and PO1 Ruel Pasion, who were both abducted in Laak, Compostela Valley.

CPP: Reply to Aquino's termination of the peace talks

Posted to  the CPP Website (May 13): Reply to Aquino's termination of the peace talks

Philippines and all the revolutionary mass organizations under the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) assail the US-Aquino regime’s unilateral termination of the peace negotiations. At the end of April, Malacañang officials declared that the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) under Aquino was no longer interested in talking with the representatives of the NDFP.

To justify their decision, they claimed that the NDFP’s demand to release its 14 peace talks consultants is an unjust and impossible “precondition.” The NDFP clarified that this was not a “precondition” because it is an obligation on the part of the GPH stipulated under the JASIG (Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees).

The JASIG provides guarantees to the safety and security of persons involved in the talks against arrest, detention, surveillance or prosecution by the other party.

The US-Aquino regime has terminated the peace talks without formality and without even giving notice to the NDFP and the Royal Norwegian Government (RNG) which serves as third-party facilitator in the negotiations. The JASIG states that a party intending the early termination of the talks must formally inform the other party, with the termination taking effect 30 days from receipt of such notice. The GPH has not issued any such notice, whether to the NDFP or the RNG, and unilaterally terminated the talks only through irresponsible statements to the media.

In ending the talks, the US-Aquino regime wants to nullify important agreements painstakingly forged by the NDFP and previous governments of the Republic of the Philippines in the past 20 years or so. Among these critical agreements are The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, the JASIG of 1995 and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) of 1998.

Since Aquino came to power, he has relentlessly violated these agreements. Although there was formal recognition of The Hague Joint Declaration as the foundation for the talks, it was held in contempt by the GPH as a document of “perpetual division.” The GPH has violated the JASIG in arresting and detaining NDFP consultants. Despite its “peace and human rights” rhetoric repeated ad nauseam, it has relentlessly been violating the provisions of the CARHRIHL.

The revolutionary forces must assert the continuing validity of these agreements. They must continue to demand that the Aquino regime release the detained NDFP consultants on the basis of the JASIG and all political detainees on the basis of the CARHRIHL. They must likewise assert the correctness of The Hague Joint Declaration as the foundation and framework for attaining a just and lasting peace founded on unity on the principles of national sovereignty, social justice and democracy.

By unilaterally ending the peace negotiations with the NDFP, the US-Aquino regime has stymied the talks on socio-economic reforms. As early as 1998, upon the conclusion of the first agenda on human rights, the NDFP submitted its first draft on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms. But the GPH, including the US-Aquino regime, has not submitted a reply since then.

Instead of subjecting the draft to negotiation and debate, the US-Aquino regime has mocked it in the media, claiming that its contents are passé. In fact, it is the regime’s program of “foreign debt- and investment-driven development” that is worn-out, having been implemented for more than half a century on the orders of the US and the IMF-World Bank.

In reality, the US-Aquino regime has chosen to unilaterally terminate its talks with the NDFP to eliminate all obstacles to its enforcement of economic programs and policies favorable to big foreign and local businessmen. Aquino wants to continue paving the way for the entry of foreign corporations to plunder the Philippines’ mineral resources, continue pegging and pulling down workers’ wages to entice foreign investors and go on giving foreign monopolies free rein to raise oil prices and control public infrastructure and services.

Since Aquino came to power, he has not shown an iota of interest in using the peace talks as an instrument to confront and resolve the issues that lie at the roots of the raging civil war in the Philippines. Even during the first discussions, it had become clear that all he wanted was to use the peace negotiations to convince the revolutionary forces to have their hands tied by agreeing to an indefinite ceasefire.

The US-Aquino regime’s very shallow concept of the peace talks reared its ugly head when GPH negotiators said that the talks are useless if the war continues. Three years after the US-Aquino regime failed to entrap the NDFP into agreeing to a ceasefire of indefinite duration, the peace talks lost their usefulness to Aquino. In terminating the talks, Aquino is turning a deaf ear to the people’s cry to address the issues that are at the roots of the intensifying civil war in the Philippines.

As designed by the US government in the “Counter-insurgency Guide of 2009,” for Aquino, the peace negotiations are merely an extension of the Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression being waged by his armed forces. Aquino has given his fascist troops free rein to intensify their attacks against the people.

Violations of human rights and of the rights of children, and soldiers’ crimes against women can be expected to intensify. Intensifying militarization in the countryside will further lead to killings, illegal arrests, torture, violations of domicile, theft, and food and economic blockades, among others.

It is the CPP and the entire revolutionary movement’s general policy to remain open to peace negotiations with any reactionary government that is ready to talk seriously, respect past agreements, comply with its obligations and address the roots of the armed conflict to attain a just and lasting peace.

The CPP calls on all sectors interested in resolving the roots of the civil war to unite and assail Aquino’s unilateral termination of the peace talks with the NDFP. They must demand the resumption of formal talks, the release of imprisoned NDFP peace talks consultants and the continuation of talks on socio-economic reforms.

In this regard, the tasks of the NPA and people’s militia to intensify the people’s war, launch tactical offensives against the enemy armed forces and defend the people’s interests are further underscored.

Soldier killed by NPA in Negros Oriental

From the Philippine News Agency (May 13): Soldier killed by NPA in Negros Oriental

One soldier died and another one was injured in an encounter between the military and suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels on Monday, May 13 in Negros Oriental.

The clash occurred at 11 am in barangay San Francisco, Santa Catalina, said Col Francisco Patrimonio, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander.

He added that the slain soldier was shot in the head, and two rebels were probably injured, but this last information could not be independently verified.

According to Patrimonio, the guerrillas are suspected of having killed five soldiers in a May 5 attack near Sipalay City and destroying properties belonging to Philex Mining Corporation in Negros Oriental.

Clash between rebels, army troopers in Negros Oriental not election-related - AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (May 14): Clash between rebels, army troopers in Negros Oriental not election-related - AFP

The encounter between army troopers and some 30 armed members of New People’s Army (NPA) in Sitio Bungabong, Brgy Milagrosa, Sta. Catalina town in Negros Oriental was not election-related.

This was according to the statement Monday night of 302nd Infantry Brigade Commander Col. Francisco M. Patrimonio of Philippine Army.

Patrimonio explained that the 11:00 a.m. encounter on election day happened while the Army’s 79th IB led by 1Lt. Alexander Robillos were on combat operations.

Patrimonio said the armed rebels belonged to the NPA’s Southeast Front, Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros.

“The encounter was not an election related incident. The Brigade’s concept of security operations for the election includes complementary combat operation against the local terrorists to prevent them from taking advantage to conduct atrocities against military or civilian targets or vital installations,” Patrimonio said.

The 15-minute firefight killed Pfc. Aris L. De Emoy and wounded Pfc. Anastacio A. Aloba in his left foot.

The casualty was extracted from the encounter site via helicopter at around 4:30 pm.

Troops from the ground confirmed that two NPAs were hit and were carried by their comrades during their withdrawal, he said.

But Patrimonio said the fatalities from the rebel’s side were based on the bloodstains found by pursuing troops in the encounter site.

The troops were able to recover one homemade airgun, 115 rounds of 5.56mm M16A1 ammunition, 95 rounds of 7.62mm M14 ammunition and 1 bloodstained jungle pack.

Meanwhile, the casting of votes at the said barangay was successfully conducted as the government forces heightened its security operation to protect the voters at the polling places.

Pursuit operation is ongoing as more troops were deployed and helicopters from the Philippine Air Force were placed on standby on alert to support the ongoing combat operations.

The latest firefight followed a previous encounter that transpired two days ago between the troops of 79th IB led by Cpl. Ysrael Yosures with more or less seven NPAs at adjacent Sitio Maglangit in the same barangay.

No casualties were reported during the previous encounter. However, the government troops recovered various NPA paraphernalia.

14 “MNLF members” nabbed in Manila

From the Philippine News Agency (May 14): 14 “MNLF members” nabbed in Manila (Update)

There was a commotion at the R. Almario Elementary School in Tondo, Manila after the voters scampered for safety due to the presence of alleged armed men Monday afternoon.

Fourteen members of the Moro National Liberation Front were arrested by the Manila Police District contingent in the area.

Seized from the 14 suspects were four cal. 45 handguns.

However, the MPD clarified that there was no shooting incident, but rather, the suspects did not resist arrest.

Four of the 14 suspects told the police their handguns are only meant for their own personal safety because they are members of the MNLF.

The suspects added that they only went inside the school premises to fetch their colleagues as they are about to travel back to Mindanao.