Sunday, May 19, 2013

MILF: Bangsamoro Transition Commission approves internal rules

From ABS-CBN (May 20): MILF: Bangsamoro Transition Commission approves internal rules

Following a three-day "Consensus Building Workshop" in Tagaytay City, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) approved its internal rules, including its organizational structure and calendar of activities.

The BTC is the body tasked to draft the basic law for the new Bangsamoro political entity.

The workshop is the third gathering of the BTC, and tackled consensus points on the functions of the Transition Commission as the drafter of the Bangsamoro Basic law, a body that can propose Constitutional amendments to the Philippine Congress, and as a clearinghouse for development efforts in Muslim Mindanao.

According to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, as part of the workshop, the BTC selected two deputy chairmen, a floor leader, and chairpersons of committees.

"Elected two deputies of the chairman of the BTC were Commissioners Robert Maulana Alonto, a member of the MILF Negotiating panel and Akmad Sakkam, a diplomat who served as former ambassador to Iraq, Bahrain, and Bangladesh; and elected floor leader was Commissioner Johaira Wahab," the MILF said on its website Sunday evening.

It added the commissioners who were selected to chair committees were:

- Asani Tammang (Basic rights, culture, social justice, and indigenous peoples’ matters)
- Johaira Wahab (Transitory provisions, amendments, revisions and miscellaneous matters)
- Robert Alonto (Political autonomy)
- Raissa Jajurie (Fiscal autonomy)
- Hussein Munoz (Justice and security matters).

Also, a coordinating committee will be composed of the chairmen of the other committees will be chaired ex-officio by the BTC chairman.

The BTC also approved its seal, organizational structure, and calendar of activities.

Participants also discussed the need to engage various stakeholders, including the Philippine Congress, to ensure inclusiveness and wider consultations.

BTC chairman and MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal opened the workshop last Thursday, May 16.

PHL officials hint at info-sharing with Taiwan on probe of May 9 incident

From GMA News (May 20): PHL officials hint at info-sharing with Taiwan on probe of May 9 incident

Philippine officials on Monday hinted at a possible cooperation of sorts between Philippine and Taiwanese investigators looking into an encounter in disputed waters where a Taiwanese fisherman was shot dead last May 9.
Manila Economic and Cultural Office head Amadeo Perez Jr. said he was contacted Sunday by Taiwan Foreign Minister David Lin on a possible cooperation in the investigation, but declined to comment further.
But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima still ruled out a joint investigation, although she said she is open to a sharing of information.
"Kahapon tumawag sa akin ang Minister ng Foreign Affairs, si David Lin. May mga sinabi sa akin. Pinaabot ko sa nakakataas sa atin. 'Yan lang ang masasabi ko. Hindi ako makapagsalita diyan at masyadong delikado ang issue na 'yan," Perez said in an interview on dzBB radio.
When asked if the tone of the talks was positive, he said, "Siguro. Ganoon ang sagot ko, siguro po."
In a separate interview on dzBB, de Lima said a joint investigation between the Philippines and Taiwan is still out of the question, unless she is overridden by higher-ups.
"Hindi advisable magkaroon ng joint probe. Masalimuot na usapin 'yan because it touches on issues of sovereignty. May foreign entity na pakikialaman tayo sa ating investigation kasi may sarili tayong justice system," she said.
"Out of the question unless I'm overruled by a higher authority. Sa level ko hindi kami papayag ng joint probe," she added.
"Kung parehong nagko-conduct ng investigation, at some point, pwede mag-share ng findings," she said.
She also said there is no problem with a Taiwanese team "observing" the Philippine investigation, although she said the probe is near completion.
But she said the Philippines wants to convince Taiwanese authorities to allow the National Bureau of Investigation to inspect the Taiwanese fishing boat fired at in the May 9 incident.
Taipei claims consensus on 'parallel' probe
On Sunday, Taiwan claimed to have reached a consensus with the Philippines on a possible parallel investigation of the fatal shooting of a Taiwanese fisherman last May 9.
Foreign Affairs Minister David Lin claimed both sides will soon work out how to proceed with the matter, according to a report on Taipei Times on Monday.
“With the consensus, both sides will determine an agenda and items of cooperation for their investigations on the principle of reciprocity to facilitate the uncovering of the truth and subsequent punishment of those responsible,” Lin said.
Lin said both sides agreed to arrange for the other side to hold fact-finding trips, and showed willingness to cooperate with each other in their individual investigations.
Investigators from both sides will hold a “parallel investigation” instead of a “joint investigation,” he added.
Killed in the encounter was Hung Shih-cheng, 65. His death prompted Taiwan to freeze the hiring of Filipino workers and issue a travel alert discouraging travel to the Philippines.
The Taipei Times report quoted the foreign ministry as saying both sides will allow prosecutors from the other side to “interrogate witnesses” and look into evidence.
It added Taiwan will send a delegation to the Philippines once both sides finalize details on how to cooperate with their investigations.
But as this developed, Taiwan's justice ministry publicized "evidence" that it claimed showed the death of Hung was intentional.
Its supposed evidence included a bullet recovered from the boat with Hung’s blood on it, photos showing fatal bullet wounds on Hung’s neck, and photos of the bullet holes on the fishing vessel.
The ministry claimed the recorder’s data shows the boat was within Taiwan’s exclusive economic zone when the encounter occurred.

Army, rebels clash in Camarines Sur town

From ABS-CBN (May 19): Army, rebels clash in Camarines Sur town

Rebels and forces of the Philippine Army clashed in Sitio Bariiw, Barangay Tabgon in Caramoan, Camarines Sur on Saturday morning.

According to a report from the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, their team just came from a town event in Barangay Bahay when several armed men stationed at the nearby cemetery opened fire at them.

The firefight supposedly lasted for over 10 minutes until the rebels took off.

Authorities said the rebels were led by a certain Marcus Villareal, more known as Yuri to Camarines Sur locals.

No one from the 9th Infantry Division got badly injured from the incident but the Philippine National Police (PNP) already alerted the doctors and nurses in various hospitals for rebels who will possible seek help from them.

The PNP has also set up check points and blocking forces around the Caramoan town to stop the rebels from escaping the area.

MILF wants 10 ARMM areas for Bangsamoro region

From ABS-CBN (May 20): MILF wants 10 ARMM areas for Bangsamoro region

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) wants 10 areas in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) in the proposed Bangsamoro region.

In a statement, the office of Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras identified the areas as communities in Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Zamboanga Sibugay, South Cotabato, Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte, and Maguindanao.

The MILF’s project management team identified 10 areas where caravans to start in June and end in November should run, the statement added.

The government caravans will hold medical missions, scholarship grants, and livelihood support of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro in these areas.

Almendras said the upcoming provincial caravans of the Sajahatra Bangsamoro program were discussed during a two-day workshop with the MILF in Davao City on May 9 and 10.

The Sajahatra Bangsamoro program is President Aquino’s concrete socio-economic peace initiative launched in February 2013 following the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in October 2012.

Sajahatra Bangsamoro, an Arabic-Melayu Bahasa derivative meaning Peace Bangsamoro, is Aquino’s concrete peace initiative and assistance for the MILF communities.

Almendras called on fellow government officials to personally commit to the program to provide services to beneficiaries.

“It touches the lives of real people,” he said.

Almendras heads the government’s Task Force for Bangsamoro Development.
Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said: “What we’re doing here is breaking barriers. The government panel cannot do this without the MILF. We are only as strong as our partnership.

“In doing the Sajahatra, the government and the MILF are focusing on our shared aspirations for the Bangsamoro so that the Moro youth will have brighter prospects for their future.

“For this program, even as government provides the services, it is the partnership between the two parties that is at the heart of the Sajahatra.”

NPA admits slay of 3, denies Yap goons tag

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 20): NPA admits slay of 3, denies Yap goons tag

The Roselyn Pelle Command of the Northern Negros Guerilla Front of the New People’s Army yesterday claimed responsibility for the killing of three persons in northern Negros Occidental whom it tagged as “counter-revolutionary”.

It also denied allegations that NPA fighters are goons of Escalante Mayor Melecio Yap Jr.

The Roselyn Pelle Command, in a two-page statement signed by its spokesperson Cecil Estrella, admitted to the assassination of PO1 Bejein Tanguan and Joseph Lutrago in Esclanate City on April 1 and militiaman Eduardo Laguna in Toboso in March.

The killing of Lutrago, who was a supporter of defeated Escalante mayoral candidate Santiago Barcelona, was earlier alleged to be politically motivated.

But Estrella said the revolutionary court of the people meted the death penalty on the three as “legitimate military targets” for being active intelligence combat forces of the military.

He also said the NPA fighters are not goons of any politician, and do not allow themselves to be dictated upon by politicians.

It was not Yap who dictated upon the NPA to kill their “counter revolutionary” targets in Escalante, Estrella added.

He also said accusations that Yap is responsible for feeding the NPA is a big insult to the revolutionary movement.

Estrella also scored the Army and police for allegedly using “fake (rebel) surenderees” in their psychological warfare and black propaganda against the NPA.

5 policemen wounded in clash with leftist rebels in Surigao

From the Philippine Star (May 19): 5 policemen wounded in clash with leftist rebels in Surigao

Five policemen were wounded following a clash with leftist rebels in southern Philippines yesterday, officials said today.

Police commandos from the 11th Special Action Force were conducting combat patrol in Sta. Cruz, Tagbina, Surigao del Sur when they encountered some 30 New People's Army guerrillas at 10:30 a.m., according to Martin Gamba, Caraga police regional spokesperson.

A 20-minute fire fight ensued that led to the wounding of five police officers, said Gamba, adding the rebels who have also suffered casualties immediately fled upon the arrival of police reinforcements.

The police official said the wounded were taken to a local hospital for treatment while the pursuit operations against the rebels were launched.

PNP, Army stand in between warring MNLF, MILF forces in North Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (may 19): PNP, Army stand in between warring MNLF, MILF forces in North Cotabato
Police and Army personnel are now standing in between warring Moro rebel groups in a remote village here while top level efforts to address misunderstanding was underway.

Senior Supt. Elias Dandan, Matalam police chief, said both sides agreed to respect the low level agreement that brought about normalcy in the village of Marbel.

"Tension have subsided, both forces agreed to refrain from attacking or issuing provocative statements to each other," Dandan said, referring to forces of the Moro National Liberation Front headed by Datu Dima Ambil, chair of MNLF in North Cotatato and Commander Manjur of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) 108th base command.

While tension have died down and normalcy slowly returning in the affected communities, both sides accused each other of provoking and violating localized truce.

Ambil said the MILF and the government was to hold an advocacy program for Bangsamoro Framework Agreement in Barangay Marbel. The MNLF agreed and supported it with only one request - no firearms from the MILF.

But on the day the activity was to take place, Ambil said MILF forces came in in full battle gear.

The conflict ensued, leaving one MILF killed and hundreds of families displaced.

The affected families are relatives of MNLF and MILF forces in the area.

Tension subsided after the International Monitoring Team and the Army intervened. A localized truce was forged.

But on May 16, MNLF forces attacked the position of Commander Mansur triggering an overnight exchange of bullets and mortars which left two MILF fighter wounded.

Commander Haji Mansur claimed that Ambil's forces assaulted the MILF forces.

Hadji Mansur’s troops on defensive position stood their ground and had repelled the attacking forces the whole morning.

It also accused the military of siding with the MNLF forces, a claim vehemently denied by Colonel Dickson Hermoso, 6th Infntry Division spokesperson.

Dandan also said the government forces did not take sides and maintained its neutrality for the sake of civilians and the future of the peace process.

The MILF is calling the military to remain a buffer force and take actions only when either side start fighting again.

The military insisted to put up their buffer force in between the feuding parties to ensure that no untoward incident would happen while works for peaceful resolutions are underway.

Officials of the joint coordinating committee on the cessation of hostilities have started laying down rules to prevent similar incident in the future.

Both the MNLF and MILF forces stressed that the conflict was not organizational and more of a "misunderstanding" among local forces.

Seven Army Recruitment Exam Centers set for Western Visayas and Negros Oriental

From the Philippine News Agency (May 20): Seven Army Recruitment Exam Centers set for Western Visayas and Negros Oriental

The 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division based in Camp Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz said the Philippine Army is set to conduct recruitment examinations for Officers Candidate Course (OCC), Officer Preparatory Course (OPC) and Candidate Soldier Course (CS) this month.

Maj. Ray C. Tiongson, 3ID Public Affairs Office Division chief, said the Army Recruitment Office-Visayas Team of the Army Personnel Management Center (APMC) composed of one officer and three enlisted personnel headed by Maj. Bernard Zildo S. Fernandez will be conducting the recruitment on the following venues and dates: Negros Oriental State University Main Campus1, Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental- May 20 to 21 May 2013; Kabankalan Gymnasium, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental on May 22; Panaad Stadium West Negros University, Bacolod City-May 23 to May 24; Western Institute of Technology (New Site Campus), Lapaz, Iloilo City – May 25 to May 26; Dadivas Auditorium, CAPSU Main Campus, Roxas City- May 27; 3ID Covered Court, Camp Gen Macario B Peralta, Jamindan, Capiz- May 28 to May 29; and Banga Covered Gym, Banga, Aklan- May 30.

The 3ID spokesperson said those who plan to take the Officer Candidate Course (OCC) must be prepared to undergo one full year of rigorous training in soldiery and leadership.

Upon completion, the candidate will be commissioned by the President as 2nd Lieutenant in the Regular Force. Applicants must be 21 to 24 years old, a Baccalaureate degree holder, single, Filipino citizen and physically and mentally fit.

For the Officer Preparatory Course (OPC), an individual must be ready for the challenges of a 6-month special course of continuing education in leadership and ground warfare tactics prior to active duty field deployment.

Applicants must be 21 to 31 years Baccalaureate degree holder, Single, Filipino citizen, Physically and mentally fit and must be a graduate of the Probationary Officer Training Course with a reserve rank of second lieutenant.

Likewise, Candidate Sol 18-26 years old, High School graduate, must be 5'0 in height and physically and mentally fit.

On the other hand, female applicants should have at least 72 units in college.

Loud blast rocks anew North Cotabato town

From the Philippine News Agency (May 20): Loud blast rocks anew North Cotabato town

A loud blast rocked Poblacion in Kabacan, North Cotabato caused by a projectile of a 40-mm mortar fired from an M203 grenade launcher.

Supt. Leo Ajero, chief of Kabacan PNP, said the blast went off around 7:45 p.m with the projectile landing in front of an agricultural supply store located along Aglipay Street, Poblacion, just a few meters away from University of Southern Mindanao (USM), one of the largest biggest state-owned universities in Central Mindanao.

None was hurt, but the explosion damaged the entrance door of the AgriVet Supply and the cemented road, police said.

Ajero said they have yet to find out the motive and the group behind the recent blast.

Politics and the recent elections in Kabacan is considered one of the angles, police said.

The Sunday blast was the fourth in Kabacan town since the campaign for local elections started.

Last Thursday, a fragmentation grenade landed and exploded on the roof of the Aguinaldo residence along Malvar St., also in Poblacion, that killed a 7-month old baby and injured her mother.

MILF, MNLF clash in N. Cotabato put to calm

From ABS-CBN (May 19): MILF, MNLF clash in N. Cotabato put to calm

Tensions have been eased at Barangay Marbel in Matalam town, North Cotabato after more or less 100 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) forces withdrew from the area with the assistance from government forces Thursday.

Firefights ensued between MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) forces last May 5 and May 15.

In an interview with ABS-CBN News, MNLF Commander Datu Dima Ambel related in detail how the clash began.

He said the MILF wanted to conduct an advocacy on the framework agreement in the area where some MILF communities are also residing. However, it was under the condition that no firearms will be brought in.

Ambel said the MILF violated the agreement.

The fighting has already subsided in the area but it left two MILF forces wounded. The victims were identified as Dong Ambalatan, 33, and Bimbo Naga, 25.

Evacuees who fled their homes due to fear of crossfire are also now returning to their respective houses.

Ambel said they support the peace process and they will not block any peace effort the government and the MILF are pursuing.

However, they will continue to fight back if MILF forces attack their position.

A joint peacekeeping force comprising of the PNP, AFP and a local monitoring force is already in the area.

Gov’t websites secure, official says

From the Philippine Star (May 19): Gov’t websites secure, official says

A government official has assured the public of the security of government websites recently affected by cyber attacks that allegedly originated from Taiwan.

Roy Espiritu, communications head of the Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO), told The STAR yesterday that most websites affected by the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks last week are now up and running.

Espiritu said they are working hard to keep the sites operational, stressing that government portals – especially those that are maintained by ICTO – are secure from possible attacks in the future.

He said they are looking into the possibility of incorporating security measures to beef up the defenses of government websites.

He said they are waiting for funds that would enable them to install features, such as the one incorporated in the Official Gazette website, to mitigate the effects of a DDoS attack.

DDoS attacks are mounted to shut down an Internet site by flooding it with access requests and overload its server handling capabilities. Websites affected by successful DDoS attacks are inaccessible.

The Official Gazette website ( is protected from DDoS attacks by CloudFare, which offers security by checking the integrity of browsers and looking for threat signatures from users who wish to access the site.

DDoS attacks are dependent on the number of people trying to access the website at the same time. Espiritu noted that even the most secure websites could be affected by such attacks.

In 2010, websites of both Visa and MasterCard were affected by a DDoS attack mounted by supporters of whistleblower organization WikiLeaks.

Last week, several Philippine government websites became inaccessible due to an alleged DDoS attack in retaliation over the death of a Taiwanese fisherman supposedly shot by members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on May 9.

Among the sites affected by the attack include those of the Office of the President, Senate, House of Representatives, Commission on Elections, the Philippine National Police, and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

The websites of various departments and other national agencies were also affected and were inaccessible to the public. The incident happened days before the May 13 elections.

Earlier reports added the website of the Department of Science and Technology, the department in which ICTO is an attached agency, was also defaced by alleged Taiwanese hackers.

A random check of the affected sites yesterday showed the website of the Office of the President ( and the Philippine Coast Guard ( remain inaccessible.

The rest of the affected sites are now operational.

Espiritu said they are now working to put the still inaccessible websites back online. He said they have not recorded any incidents of DDoS attacks against government websites this weekend.

Reacting to the release of alleged log-in information of dozens of Philippine government websites, the ICTO official said the list appears to be “bogus” as they have not detected hacking incidents using the said log-in information.

The said list was released via a link posted on the Twitter account of Hacktivist group Anonymous Taiwan.

Earlier, reports from Taiwanese media said similar DDoS attacks, apparently emanating from the Philippines, rendered some of their government’s websites inaccessible.

Photo: 115 and counting (Philippine Navy)

From the Manila Standard Today (May 20): Photo: 115 and counting

115 and counting.

Navy officers rehearse the Fleet Review in preparation for the celebration of the Philippine Navy’s 115th anniversary on Tuesday. Danny Pata

Bangsamoro services caravan ready to roll in Muslim areas

From Malaya (May 20): Bangsamoro services caravan ready to roll in Muslim areas

DEPUTY presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte yesterday said government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front are preparing for the Sajahatra Bangsamoro caravan which aims to provide health, education, and livelihood services in provinces where there is a great concentration of Muslim communities.

Valte, in an interview by Radyo ng Bayan, said the Sajahatra caravans would go around Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Lanao del Norte and Sur, Sulu, Zamboanga Sibugay, North and South Cotabato, Davao Oriental, and Maguindanao from June to November.

She said Cabinet Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, in coordination with concerned agencies and the MILF leaders, have been preparing for the provincial caravans.

The Sajahatra Bangsamoro program is the socio-economic peace initiative that was launched in February by President Aquino at the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute compound in Sultan Kudarat in Maguindanao. It stemmed from the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro that was signed in October 2012.

Last February, the government provided medical services, health insurance, cash for work program, college scholarships and technical-vocational training, educational assistance to madaris (Islamic schools) and private schools, and needs assessment of selected Bangsamoro communities, among others.

Troopers foil NPA attack in Mis. Or.

From Malaya (May 20): Troopers foil NPA attack in Mis. Or.

GOVERNMENT troops preempted what they said was a plan by the New People’s Army rebels to attack a police outpost in Salay town in Misamis Oriental.

Maj. Leo Bongosia, spokesman of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said Army soldiers were deployed to conduct combat operation after receiving intelligence information about the rebel plan.

The soldiers caught up with about 20 rebels in Sitio Tongon, Tingaan village at around 4:20 p.m. Saturday. A 10-minute firefight ensued.

No casualty was reported on either side.

Soldiers recovered at the scene a cal. 45 pistol, a rifle scope, magazines for AK 47, M14 and M16 rifles, assorted ammunition, four cellphones, and documents.

Also found were assorted medicine, cooking paraphernalia, five pairs of rain boots, two pairs of slippers, dry cell batteries, five kilos of rice, and canned goods.

“The military received information on the rebels’ plan to harass a PNP outpost in Barangay Dampil, of same town…Yes, we preempted that,” said Bongosia.

Gov’t, MILF to resume talks in July, says Valte

From the Daily Tribune (May 20): Gov’t, MILF to resume talks in July, says Valte

With a hefty amount of P600 million allocation, the peace process of President Aquino with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is set to roll in July, presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said.

Valte said that Secretary to the Cabinet Rene Almendraz confirmed there would be an scheduled meeting with the MILF in Cotabato City in July to further discuss matters on Bangsamoro Sajahatra project.

“There will be a two-day joint coordinating committee meeting between the government of the Philippines and the MILF in preparation for the provincial caravans of the program,” Valte said.

On April 15, six months after the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) on Oct. 15, 2012 and four months past their supposed yearend 2012 deadline to finish the four annexes that would complete the comprehensive peace agreement, the government (GRP) and the MILF peace panels have signed five documents except the most important: the Annexes on Power-sharing, Wealth-sharing and Normalization.

Within the six-month period, the peace panels signed one Annex – on Transition Arrangements and Modalities; three Terms of References – for the Third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT), the Independent Commission on Policing (ICP), and the Sajahatra Bangsamoro; and a certificate extending the tours of duty of the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) up to March 2014 and the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) until Feb. 14, 2014  “in recognition of their important roles in the peace process, without prejudice to adjustments that may be needed pursuant to developments in the crafting of the Annexes to the FAB.”

In the FAB, Aquino on Dec. 17 issued Executive Order (EO) 120 creating the Transition Commission (TransCom).

But Iqbal on April 3 said that “we cannot proceed to discuss the substantive issues unless the three remaining annexes will be discussed and signed by the parties.”
Both panels had agreed to “meet again after the May 13 Philippine elections” and “exchange notes” between now and their next meeting, through the Malaysian facilitator.

Valte said the caravan which would go around the “identified communities which include Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Sulu, Zamboanga Sibugay, South Cotabato,  Davao Oriental, North Cotabato, Lanao del Norte and Maguindanao.”
She said once the caravan for the Sajahatra project had already started in July, the TransCom works would have to continue until the month of November.

Earlier, Iqbal had complained that the TransCom had no funds to perform their functions in holding meetings, that the Aquino administration had not acted on his letter asking for a P100-million budget.

Budget Secretary Butch Abad said that Iqbal had to submit a summary of list on how they would spend the government money.

Abad explained for Iqbal to understand that there must be government procedures which have to be followed in the disbursement of funds.

A few days before the election, Almendras declared that MalacaƱang had already approved an allocation of not P100 but P600 million instead for the expenses of the Sajahatra project.

Taiwan: Noy flip-flops on joint probe on shooting

From the Daily Tribune (May 20): Taiwan: Noy flip-flops on joint probe on shooting

Taiwan accused yesterday President Aquino of having flip-flopped on a joint investigation into the killing of a Taiwanese fisherman by Philippine coastguards, an incident which has ignited a major diplomatic dispute.

A team of Taiwanese investigators returned to the island Saturday, accusing the Philippine government of failing to honor its agreement to conduct a joint probe and after issuing a report that alleged fisherman Hung Shih-cheng was murdered by the law enforcers.

“The decision to send the investigators to Manila came only after the Philippine government had agreed to let us to do so,” deputy justice minister Chen Ming-tang told reporters.

He said the country’s de facto ambassador Antonio Basilio had agreed to such a move in Taipei on Wednesday, but Basilio’s country had now wavered on the proposal.
Chen said a joint inquiry was the only way to establish the truth about the May 9 fatal shooting of Hung, a 65-year-old crewman on the fishing boat.

“While our investigators can provide them with evidence they have collected, Filipino investigators can come to Taiwan to gather evidence, including talking to the other witnesses on board the fishing boat at the time of the shooting,” the deputy minister said.

The Coast Guard said the fishing vessel intruded into Philippine waters and tried to ram its own patrol boat.

Chen denied any intrusion, citing a voyage data recorder on the fishing boat.

Taiwan rejected Manila’s apology and slapped sanctions on the Philippines, including a ban on the hiring of new workers, recalling its own envoy and staging a drill in waters off the northern Philippines.

It is angry at the government’s description of the death as “unintended”. Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou has termed the killing “cold-blooded murder”, referring to more than 50 bullet holes in the fishing boat.

Amadeo Perez, a personal envoy from Aquino was forced to return home Thursday after Taipei rejected the apology he conveyed from the president.

Taipei has repeatedly pressed Manila to issue a formal government apology, to compensate the fisherman’s family and to apprehend the killer.

Ma instructed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice to continue negotiating with the Philippines for a joint investigation, a Taipeh Times report said.

“President Ma believes that the incident requires both sides to cooperate with each other on the investigation pragmatically, and only by doing so can the truth be revealed,” the publication quoted Presidential Office spokesman Lee Chia-fei as saying after the conclusion of a meeting on national security that Ma had attended.

A Taiwanese investigative team returned from Manila yesterday after making little headway in its probe. The delegation — consisting of prosecutors and officials from the justice and foreign ministries, and Taiwan’s Fisheries Agency — had arrived in Manila on Thursday.

They tried to work with Philippine government officials to set up a joint investigation into the incident, but failed to reach a consensus.

After the Taiwanese team returned yesterday without having made any progress, Ma called for the continuation of talks between the two nations, saying that the incident was an opportunity for Taiwan and the Philippines to implement the mutual legal assistance agreement they signed earlier this year.

Lee said that Ma had asked the foreign and justice ministries to seek a consensus with Manila based on the principle of reciprocity.

She stressed that the negotiations had not failed and said the government’s investigation team would continue its efforts to find the truth when the Philippines is “ready.”

Yesterday’s national security meeting was the third one held since last week.

Earlier yesterday, at a news conference at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport held shortly after the delegation’s return, Chen Wen-chi, head of the Ministry of Justice’s Department of International and Cross-Strait Legal Affairs, said the delegation had made some progress on initiating a judicial investigation with the Philippine Department of Justice, but that further negotiations were needed, according to Taipeh Times.

In addition, citing the navigational record of the Kuang Ta Hsing No. 28, Chen said that the incident had occurred while the boat was in Taiwan’s exclusive economic zone and that it had not entered the Philippines’ territorial waters.

Taiwanese investigators’ findings contradict the Philippines’ claims that the shots were fired in self-defense after the Taiwanese boat tried to ram it, she added.

CPP/NDF: People's war in the Philippines, peace negotiations & “terrorist” listing

Posted to the CPP Website (May 16): People's war in the Philippines, peace negotiations & “terrorist” listing

Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman
Communist Party of the Philippines

By Professor Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairman, Communist Party of the Philippines
Chief Political Consultant, NDFP Negotiating Panel

Lecture at the University of Groningen, 16 May 2013

First of all, I wish to thank the Studentenvereniging voor Internationale Betrekkingen (SIB), or the Dutch United Nations Student Association (DUNSA), for inviting me to lecture on the revolutionary armed struggle being carried out by the New People’s Army (NPA) under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
I am honored and privileged to be invited because your association has high prestige and is well known to feature as guest lecturers high officials of the United Nations, the European Union and the Netherlands, including prime ministers, cabinet officials, members of parliaments, senior administrators, high military commanders, outstanding professors and journalists.

I propose to discuss tonight the character and status of the people’s war in the Philippines, in relation to the social crisis and the policies of the Manila government, also in relation to the long running peace negotiations between the Manila government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and further in relation to the issue of including the CPP, NPA and the chief political consultant of the NDFP (myself) in the so-called terrorist list of the EU.

Character of the People’s War

Since its founding on 26 December 1968, the Communist Party of the Philippines has analyzed Philippine society and described it as semicolonial and semifeudal. The US formally ended its colonial rule over the Philippines and granted it nominal independence in 1946. However, it has retained indirect rule through the subservient local ruling classes of big compradors and landlords. These two classes have maintained the semifeudal, agrarian and underdeveloped character of the Philippine social economy.

In confronting the ruling system of big compradors and landlords under US monopoly capitalism, the CPP has put forward a Program of People’s Democratic Revolution. The principal aims of this program are the following: to struggle for full national independence, to empower the working people, to realize democracy both in the sense of upholding civil and political rights and liberating the peasantry from feudal and semi-feudal captivity, to promote a national, scientific and mass culture and to foster international solidarity and world peace against imperialism.

The motive forces of the revolution are the working class, the peasantry, the urban petty bourgeoisie and the middle bourgeoisie. The leading class is the working class through the CPP as its advanced detachment. The main force is the peasantry which is the majority class. The urban petty bourgeoisie is still a revolutionary class but no longer the leading class, in the shift from the global era of bourgeois-democratic revolution to that of modern imperialism and proletarian revolution. Even as it has a reactionary fear of the masses, the middle bourgeoisie is a positive patriotic force at best interested in national independence and economic development.

It is the position of the CPP that the exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords, as already proven in Philippine history, will never give up their power and wealth voluntarily. With US military support, they use their state power (army, police, prisons, courts, legislature and bureaucracy) to suppress the people’s national and democratic demands.

Thus, the CPP has set the line of achieving the people’s democratic revolution through the politico-military strategic line of protracted people’s war. This line entails developing in stages the people’s army and other revolutionary forces in the countryside over a long period of time in order to accumulate armed and political strength until they gain the capability to launch a nationwide general offensive and completely seize political power from the reactionary ruling classes.

For this purpose, the CPP has deployed its cadres in the countryside since early 1969 in order to build the New People’s Army (NPA) and the peasant movement, to carry out the revolutionary armed struggle and genuine land reform; and develop the mass base by organizing all possible forms of voluntary people’s association (for workers, peasants, women, youth, cultural activists, children, and so on), building the local CPP branches and establishing organs of political power in order to replace the political instruments of the exploiting classes.

The countryside offers the wide ground and rough terrain for the NPA to maneuver against the superior armed strength of the enemy and grow in stages by adopting the policy of strategic defense while carrying out tactical offensives against the forces of the enemy that are on the strategic offensive. The enemy forces are strategically superior to the NPA, at the ratio of 10 to 1, but through tactical offensives the NPA can gain superiority over the enemy forces, at the ratio of 10 to 1. Concentrated units of the NPA can pick the specific time and place to wipe out by surprise a specific part of the enemy force.

At the present stage, the NPA is waging intensive and extensive guerrilla warfare on the basis of an ever widening and deepening mass base. It uses the strategy and tactics of concentration, dispersal and shifting, as the need arises for achieving certain objectives. It concentrates a superior amount of force to wipe out an enemy unit. It wages only the battles that it can win. It disperses its units to conduct mass work and create more fighting units. It shifts its forces whenever it needs to evade a superior enemy force and gain a more advantageous position. It trades space for time and avoids battles that it cannot win. Most important of all, it enjoys the inexhaustible support of the masses and thus succeeds in keeping the enemy blind and deaf.

The CPP and the NPA envision a probability course of developing the people’s war in three strategic stages. At the first stage, the NPA is on the strategic defensive as the enemy is on the strategic offensive. At the second, the two warring armies are in a state of relative equilibrium and are in the strategic stalemate.At the third, the NPA is on the strategic offensive and the enemy is on the strategic defensive. The NPA accumulates strength as it wins battles and weakens the enemy forces and achieves the shift in the strategic balance of forces; and advance from one stage to another by launching the tactical offensives by guerrilla forces and eventually by regular mobile forces.

The people’s democratic revolution is basically completed upon the nationwide seizure of political power. The socialist revolution immediately starts, with the working class through its advance detachment continuing to lead the Philippine revolution, with the people’s army as the main component of state power and with the commanding heights of the economy nationalized, even as transitory bourgeois democratic reforms are carried out in harmony with the main process of socializing the ownership of the industrial means of production and realizing agricultural cooperation and mechanization.

Status of the People’s War

On the basis of reports published by the CPP and NPA (which you may check from, we can inform ourselves on the status of the people’s war or strength of the NPA in terms of armed struggle, land reform and mass base building. We can also inform ourselves about the plan of the CPP and NPA to advance from the stage of strategic defensive to that of strategic stalemate by fulfilling both the political and military requirements.

The NPA is now operating in more than 110 guerrilla fronts, each with a total force ranging in size from an over-sized platoon to a company and with a territory roughly equivalent to a congressional district of at least five municipalities. The guerrilla fronts cover substantial parts of 70 provinces out of the total 81 Philippine provinces. The number of full-time Red fighters with high-powered rifles is moving towards the level of 10,000. They are also augmented by tens of thousands of volunteers in the people’s militia and in the hundreds of thousands of self-defense units of the mass organizations in the countryside.

The psywar experts of the reactionary government and its military are engaged in deception when they claim that the NPA had 25,000 Red fighters in the mid-1980s but now has only 4000 to 5000. The 1985 Plenum of the CC of the CPP assessed the NPA strength at 5,600 Red fighters with high-powered rifles. This rose to 6100 Red fighters in 1986. The people’s militia and self-defense units were not as well organized and well-trained as now. The NPA was undermined by grave Left opportunist errors, which would become the target of the Second Great Rectification Movement launched by the CPP in 1992.

The CPP, NPA and the peasant movement have carried out on a wide scale the minimum land reform program, involving the reduction of land rent, elimination of usury or excessive interest rates, raising the wages of farm workers, improving the prices of farm products and promoting agricultural production and sideline occupations through rudimentary cooperation. The maximum land reform program of confiscating and equitably distributing the land to the tillers for free is being carried out at an accelerated pace over more areas, depending on the strength and capability of the NPA and mass base.

To make more land available for land reform and to save the environment, the NPA is dismantling enterprises owned by foreign corporations and bureaucrat comprador-landlords, especially those that have grabbed the land from the peasants and indigenous peoples. These are export-oriented enterprises, including mining, logging and plantations. The NPA also takes action against biofuel production enterprises that take away land from food production; against expansive tourist facilities and against sheer real estate speculation.

The mass base of the CPP, NPA and other revolutionary forces runs into millions of people. It has been realized by building the mass organizations of workers, peasants, women, youth, cultural activists and children, the organs of political power from the village level to higher levels and the local Party branches. The organs of political power are led by the CPP and are assisted by working committees and by the mass organizations. Programs and mass campaigns are undertaken to promote mass organizing, mass education, land reform, production, disaster relief and rehabilitation, health care, local security and self-defense, settlement of disputes and cultural activities.

The revolutionary forces and people have attained such strength that they are aiming to advance from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate and are working hard to fulfill the political and military requirements. The CPP membership is now beyond 100,000 and is expanding towards the goal of 250,000 in both urban and rural areas. The CPP is developing more Party cadres in the course of mass work and expanding Party membership. The NPA seeks to increase its Red fighters to 25,000 and its guerrilla fronts to 180. The organs of political power and the mass organizations are strengthening themselves and seek to cover more people by the millions through direct organizing and by united front work.

The ruling system in the Philippines is extremely outdated and is in chronic crisis, despite the urban gloss effected by neoliberal economic policy through conspicuous consumption, luxury imports and high rise buildings financed by foreign borrowing and remittances of overseas contract workers. The chronic crisis of the domestic ruling system is now exacerbated by the bankruptcy of the neoliberal policy regime and the ever worsening crisis of global capitalism.

The ruling system has perpetuated feudal and semifeudal exploitation and prevented genuine land reform and national industrialization. It is tied to the production of raw materials and semi-manufactures. Thus it suffers chronic trade and budgetary deficits. It is sinking in a morass of public debt due to excessive local and foreign borrowing. The remittances of overseas contract workers are used to fund consumption spending and luxury imports by the exploiting classes. They are bound to decrease as the export of cheap labor is being countered by political turmoil in the Middle East and deepening recession in the imperialist countries.

In the wake of the worsening economic and financial crisis, the Aquino regime is being assisted by US agencies and public relations firms in touting itself as the “new tiger” in East Asia. It misrepresents as healthy economic growth the inflow of “hot money” or portfolio investments in the stock market. Manufacturing and agriculture have declined. The reassembly and reexport of electronic goods have plummeted since 2008. Business call centers, private construction and mining are the favored enterprises. The regime shuns Filipino-owned industrial development.

The broad masses of the people are made to suffer an ever rising rate of unemployment, reduced incomes, soaring prices of basic goods and services and deterioration of the social infrastructure. The so-called anti-poverty programs of doleouts like the Consditional Cash Transfer and PAMANA have become devices of bureaucratic and military corruption and vote-buying in elections. Social discontent is widespread and sharpening among the toiling masses of workers and peasants and even among the middle social strata.

The false statistics of economic progress and rigged poll survey results of mass satisfaction are the object of public derision and contempt for the current regime and the ruling system. The recently-held elections are a brazen process of excluding patriotic and progressive leaders of the toiling masses and favoring clans and dynasties of big compradors and landlords. The economic and social crisis is generating conditions favorable to the people’s war.

The US-directed Aquino regime is aptly described by the CPP as a fanatic of neoliberalism. It has no social conscience and is anti-worker and anti-peasant. It does not offer any solution to the basic social and economic problems, now being rapidly aggravated by the crisis. It is obsessed with assuring the foreign banks and corporations and the local big compradors with the opportunities to make superprofits.
It overestimates its ability to use the bureaucracy, the military, the reactionary mass media and the imperialist -funded NGOs to obfuscate the raging social issues. It is preoccupied with seeking political monopoly by mass deception and electoral manipulation and using military force under the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan to suppress the revolutionary movement of the people. Of recent, it has announced in the mass media the end of the peace negotiations with the NDFP, without giving the latter any formal notice of termination.

GRP-NDFP Peace Negotiations

Despite the determination of the revolutionary forces and the people to carry out the people’s democratic revolution through people’s war, they are open to the possibility of resolving the armed conflict through peace negotiations. The Central Committee of the CPP and National Council of the NDFP have created and authorized the NDFP Negotiating Panel to negotiate with the panel representing Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in the time of the Ramos regime and thereafter.

The NDFP carries forward the general line of struggle for national independence and democracy through the peace negotiations. It is the same line carried forward by the revolutionary forces and people in the course of armed revolution. It offers to the current enemy government the opportunity to change course and forge a truce and alliance with the NDFP for the purpose of confronting US imperialism and the worst of reactionaries and solving the basic problems of the people.

The GRP can only discredit itself by refusing to address the roots of the civil war and to enter into agreements on basic social, economic and political reforms. By persevering in the general line of people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war, the revolutionary forces and the people prevent the GRP from prettifying itself, from using the peace negotiations to confuse their ranks and from obtaining their capitulation and pacification.

In engaging in peace negotiations, the NDFP is guided by the fact that the revolutionary forces and people have a democratic government of their own in the form of the local organs of political power under the leadership of the CPP as the ruling party and such a government governs a population that runs into millions. It has a disciplined people’s army under an effective national command and a territory of over 100,000 square kilometers or 30 per cent of total Philippine territory. In fact, the CPP cadres and NPA fighters can move freely in more than 90 per cent of this national territory.

Under international law, the people’s democratic government of workers and peasants and the reactionary government of the big compradors and landlords are co-belligerents in a civil war, with US military and other forms of intervention on the side of the reactionary government. To assert the existence and integrity of the revolutionary government, the NDFP promulgated on July 5, 1996 its Unilateral Declaration of Undertaking to Apply the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and Protocol I of 1977 and deposited this on July 6, 1996 with the Swiss Federal Council.

It has manifested its determination to wage people’s war under international law and to negotiate peace under the same. In fact, the GRP and NDFP have succeeded in forging the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) of 1998 under the principles and standards of the International Bill of Rights (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the UN Convention on Civil and Political Rights, and so on) and the International Humanitarian Law (the Geneva Conventions and related conventions).

In 1986, soon after the fall of the fascist dictator Marcos, the GRP and NDFP agreed to hold ceasefire talks in Manila and to forge a 60-day ceasefire agreement which would lead to a further agreement on the substantive agenda of peace negotiations. The ceasefire agreement, which was mutually signed in November 1986, was broken by the massacre of peasant demonstrators and their urban supporters by presidential guards in front of the presidential palace on January 22, 1987. GRP President Aquino protected the officers responsible for the massacre.. On March 25, 1987, she formally “unsheathed the sword of war” against the revolutionary forces and people and ordered a vicious campaign of military suppression called Lambat Bitag.

But in 1989 she became worried about the consequences of natural disasters, the social disaster of her own making and continuing coup threats. She sent Rep. Jose V. Yap as her emissary to me as CPP founding chairman in Amsterdam in order to offer peace negotiations between the GRP and NDFP. I welcomed the offer despite the earlier cancellation of my Philippine passport on September 16, 1988.

The NDFP gave to Yap an aide memoire for GRP President Aquino stressing that peace negotiations should not be held in the Philippines because of serious dangers to the NDFP, as proven in the ceasefire talks and agreement in 1986-87. The NDFP agreed to engage in peace negotiations if held abroad, with the facilitation by a host government. But then defense secretary Ramos kept on obstructing the possibility of peace negotiations until he himself became GRP president in 1992 and sent back Yap to the NDFP officials in The Netherlands to conduct exploratory talks.

The GRP and the NDFP promulgated on September 1, 1992 The Hague Joint Declaration as the framework agreement for the peace negotiations between them, with the Dutch government as facilitator. The agreement stipulates that the aim of the peace negotiations is to lay the basis for a just and lasting peace by addressing the roots of the armed conflict and forging comprehensive agreements on social, economic and political reforms. It also stipulates that no side shall impose on the other any precondition that negates the character and purpose of peace negotiations.

It lays down the substantive agenda for making the following four comprehensive agreements: respect for human rights and international humanitarian law, social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces. It requires the sequential formation of Reciprocal Working Committees to draft the tentative comprehensive agreements to be finalized by the negotiating panels and to be ultimately approved by the principals of the negotiating parties.

However, further exploratory talks were interrupted by the GRP’s unilateral act of forming the National Unification Commission (NUC) for GRP-managed fake localized peace negotiations. After the NUC was dissolved, the GRP and NDFP made further major agreements in 1995 to strengthen the peace process, such as the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) on for the negotiators, consultants and related personnel on both sides, the Ground Rules for Meetings of the Negotiating Panels, and the Joint Agreement on the Formation, Sequence and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees.

The GRP and the NDFP negotiating panels held the opening of formal peace negotiations in Brussels, Belgium in 1995, with the Belgian government as facilitator. The negotiations were interrupted for more than a year because of the failure of the GRP to release from prison NDFP consultant Sotero Llamas in accordance with the JASIG. The GRP and NDFP negotiating panels cooperated in persuading GRP president Ramos to override the objection of the defense secretary to the release of Llamas.

They resumed negotiations upon the release of Llamas in 1996. They succeeded in finallzing and signing the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) on March 16, 1998. The NDFP principal, the chairman of the NDFP National Council, signed and approved it promptly on April 10, 1998. But the GRP President Ramos failed to approve it before the end of his term of office in the same year. GRP President Estrada approved it on August 7, 1998. But he would unilaterally find cause to terminate the JASIG and in effect the peace negotiations in May 1999.

“Terrorist” Listing and Other Obstacles

After the Estrada regime fell in January 2001, as a result of massive protests against corruption, the Arroyo regime agreed with the NDFP to resume the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, to reaffirm all previous agreements, to operationalize the Joint Monitoring Committee under CARHRIHL and to have the Royal Norwegian Government as facilitator of the peace negotiations. But in June 2001, it suddenly decided to paralyze the peace negotiations and pursue a brutal policy of all-out military suppression against the revolutionary movement.

It announced Oplan Bantay Laya as its counterrevolutionary military campaign plan aligned with the so-called US war on terror. When GRP President Arroyo visited the US in November 2001, she requested the US to designate the CPP, NPA and the NDFP chief political consultant as “foreign terrorists”. House Speaker De Venecia, together with other high GRP officials, came to The Netherlands towards the end of November to meet the NDFP negotiators and consultants. He told them that the US would designate the CPP, NPA and myself as “terrorists” unless the NDFP signed a “final peace accord”, which required the dismantling of the NPA and surrender of arms.
The NDFP refused to be blackmailed and insisted that the peace negotiations should proceed if the GRP showed respect for and compliance with JASIG with regard to the illegal arrest and detention of NDFP consultants. The US acted to designate the CPP and NPA “terrorists” on August 9, 2002 and myself on August 12, 2002. Within 24 hours, the Dutch government listed me as “terrorist”, froze my bank account , deprived me of all the social benefits granted to me as asylum seeker and even required me to reimburse pension payments previously made to me. I took the legal action of demanding from the Dutch government the basis for my being listed as “terrorist”.

The most that the Dutch authorities could show me was a press clipping of somebody else’s article from Ang Bayan, the CPP publication, in which the US is condemned and warned as an interventionist military force in Philippine affairs. Then the Dutch government repealed its “terrorist” listing of me only to become the prime movant in the Council of the European Union (EU) for the inclusion of my name in the “terrorist” blacklist of the European Union on October 28, 2002. Thus, I proceeded for many years to wage the legal action for the removal of my name from the EU blacklist. In the meantime, the inclusion of my name in the EU “terrorist” list served to undermine and paralyze the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, despite previous EU Parliament resolutions endorsing and supporting these.

Ultimately, the European Court of Justice made a judgment in my favor on 30 September 2009. This became final on 10 December 2009 in the absence of appeal by the losing side. It ruled conclusively that my fundamental rights had been violated by my being listed a “terrorist” and subjected to sanctions without being charged with any specific terrorist crime. The fundamental rights violated included the following: the right to be informed of the charge if any, the right to be presumed innocent, the right to legal counsel and the right to judicial relief.

Since the “terrorist” listing of the CPP, NPA and myself in 2002, the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations have been paralyzed. The NDFP took the position that the foreign governments that blacklisted the CPP, NPA and myself as “terrorists” had no right to intervene in Philippine affairs and make judgments over Philippine entities and their alleged acts within Philippine territory. The NDFP proposed to the GRP to make a joint statement simply declaring that no foreign government had such right. But the craven puppet reaction of the GRP was to assert the “sovereign right” of the US and other foreign governments to intervene in Philippine affairs.

In 2004 the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels met in Oslo and issued a joint communique in which the two negotiating parties and the RNG as third party facilitator committed themselves to exert joint and separate efforts to seek the removal of the names of CPP, NPA and myself from the “terrorist” blacklist. As soon as the GRP panel returned to the Philippines, the presidential adviser on the peace process issued a statement that foreign governments had the “sovereign right” to make judgments over Philippine entities and acts.

When in August 2005 the NDFP demanded GRP compliance with the JASIG and the Oslo joint communique, the GRP decided to “suspend” indefinitely the JASIG even as this agreement provides that either one or both negotiating parties have only two choices: either respect the effectivity of the JASIG or terminate the entire agreement. The practical effect of the “suspension” was the complete paralysis, if not yet complete death of the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

Since 2005 the Arroyo regime had made representations to the Dutch government for my arrest on false charges of murder. In August 2007 the Dutch police arrested me and raided the information office of the NDFP and six residences of NDFP negotiating panelists, consultants and staffers. They took away papers and digital copies of documents related to the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations.

One after the other, the Dutch District Court of The Hague and the Appellate Court dismissed the false charge of murder against me in 2007 and eventually the Dutch National Prosecution Service dropped its investigation. The Dutch police returned most of the hard and digital copies of the documents they seized. But they did not return one disk containing the most important code and the four related disks were returned but had been corrupted or damaged. These five disks contained the codes for encrypting and decrypting the photos and information deposited in a safety box in a Dutch bank for the benefit of the NDFP consultants, security officers and staffers involved in the GRP-NFP peace negotiations in accordance with JASIG.

After the current Aquino regime replaced the Arroyo regime in June 2010,the GRP and NDFP agreed to meet and resume their negotiations. The GRP recomposed its negotiating panel for the purpose in November 2010. But unfortunately it appointed as presidential adviser on the peace process the same Arroyo factotum, Teresita Deles, who had sabotaged the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations since 2004.

The NDFP negotiating panel and the newly-composed GRP negotiating panel met and issued a joint statement in Oslo in February 2011. The latter panel joined the reaffirmation of all previous agreements in the GRP-NDFP but maliciously insisted on inserting the clause that it had qualifications for signing and that the The Hague Joint Declaration was a “document of perpetual division”, thus attacking the framework agreement which had validated and made possible the peace negotiations.

Despite the negative position of the GRP negotiating panel, the NDFP chief political consultant reiterated to the GRP principal the long standing NDFP offer to the GRP since 2005 for an immediate truce and alliance on the basis of a general statement of common intent to realize full national independence, democracy, social justice and economic development through genuine land reform and national industrialization.
The offer had been made to answer effectively the constant GRP demand for indefinite ceasefire to effect the capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary forces and people. The NDFP chief political consultant averred that the truce and alliance offered by NDFP could be negotiated on a special track, while the regular track would proceed in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration and subsequent agreements.

The GRP boasts that it has no obligation to comply with the JASIG and insists that detained NDFP consultants can seek release only by going through the legal processes of the reactionary government, notwithstanding the falsity of the charges of common crimes which the Arroyo regime had fabricated in its so-called legal offensive of filing false charges of common crimes to tie down and persecute targeted opponents. It would be discovered later on that the Arroyo regime and the Dutch government had connived in using the Dutch prosecution and police to disable the codes for decrypting the photos and information on the JASIG-protected consultants.

The GRP used the aforesaid discovery as further pretext to refuse compliance with the JASIG on the release of detained NDFP consultants even on humanitarian grounds. It also refused to allow the reconstruction of the list of the documents that could not be retrieved due to the destroyed codes. After three years of negotiations between the Aquino regime and the NDFP, not a single NDFP consultant has been released in compliance with the JASIG. And yet the regime has maliciously spread the lie in the mass media that the NDFP negotiates with the GRP only to have the NDFP consultants released and returned to the battlefield.

In June 2012 when the GRP and NDFP negotiating panels met in Oslo again. The most that could be agreed upon was a short paragraph, stating that “meaningful discussions shall continue on the issues raised by the two sides”, without reference to the substantive agenda in the The Hague Joint Declaration and the Joint Agreement on the Formation, Sequence and Operationalization of the Reciprocal Working Committees. This short-paragraph agreement is now being interpreted by the Aquino regime as the end of the peace negotiations on the regular track.

After a series of meetings between the NDFP chief political consultant, the GPH presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas and RNG Ambassador Ture Lundh, the GRP and NDFP delegations met in February 2013 supposedly to prepare on the special track for a meeting between the GRP president and the CPP founding chairman in a historic meeting in Hanoi similar to that between the former and the MILF chairman in Tokyo in 2011. The NDFP submitted a draft communique for such meeting and an elaboration of its initial draft Declaration for National Unity and Just Peace, providing for truce and cooperation.

The GRP delegation practically killed the special track by demanding that the truce be in the form of indefinite unilateral and simultaneous ceasefires within the legal framework of the reactionary government and without any kind of substantive agreement mutually beneficial to the two sides and the people. The NDFP delegation expressed the view that such demand made the special track unnecessary and that the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations be resumed to do the work on the substantive agenda stipulated by The Hague Joint Declaration.

In the meantime, the US-Aquino regime continues to engage in state terrorism. This involves the gross and systematic violations of human rights under Oplan Bayanihan, now in the process of surpassing those under Oplan Bantay Laya during the US-Arroyo regime. It does so in contravention of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) by illegally arresting and indefinitely detaining, torturing and murdering persons associated with the NDFP and involved in the peace negotiations and refusing to investigate and in effect condoning cases of violations of the JASIG.

On a far larger scale, violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHIL) include the abduction, indefinite detention, torture and murder of social activists and suspected revolutionaries on false accusations of common crimes, indiscriminate military attacks on entire communities of the urban poor, the peasants and indigenous people, forced mass evacuations and evictions from land and homes.

Prospects of People’s War and Peace Negotiations

Through its presidential adviser on the peace process, its negotiating panel chairman and its presidential spokesman, the Aquino regime has publicly announced that it shall no longer go into any formal talks with the NDFP in both the regular and special tracks of the peace negotiations. It has also announced that it has already informed the Royal Norwegian government (RNG) that it has terminated its peace negotiations with the NDFP. But upon inquiry by the NDFP Negotiating Panel, the RNG denied ever having received any notice of termination.
At the same time, the Aquino regime has announced taking a “new approach”. This refers to the end of the peace negotiations, the escalation of the brutal military campaigns and psychological warfare under the US-designed Oplan Bayanihan. The psywar campaigns have been going on for sometime. It involves faking localized negotiations and fabricating mass surrenders and doling out a part of the graft-ridden Conditional Cash Transfer and PAMANA funds, while most funds are misappropriated and end up in the pockets of the corrupt bureaucrats and military officers.

The US-Aquino regime is hell bent on using brute military in a futile attempt to destroy the revolutionary forces and the people represented by the NDFP. In the process, it will continue to commit gross and systematic violations of human rights.
The violations of civil and political rights include abductions or forced disappearances, illegal arrests and indefinite detention, false charges of common crimes against social activists, torture, extrajudicial killings, massacres and indiscriminate attacks on communities by bombings, strafing and artillery fire. The violations of economic, social and cultural rights include forced mass evacuations, destruction of employment and livelihood, grabbing of the land for the benefit of the foreign corporations and bureaucrat comprador-landlords, ethnocide against the indigenous people, wanton plunder of the natural resources and destruction of the environment.

Under the leadership of the CPP, the NPA is determined and prepared to fight the escalating counterrevolutionary violence and to carry out the plan to advance from the strategic defensive to the strategic stalemate. We are going to see the intensification of the civil war between the reactionary government of the big compradors and landlords; and the revolutionary government of the workers and peasants. The worsening crisis of the ruling system, the consequent suffering of the people and the absence of peace negotiations make the ground ever more fertile for the spread and intensification of the people’s war.

Because of the extreme anti-national and anti-democratic character of the US-Aquino regime, there is no indication whatsoever that it shall soon agree to resume the peace negotiations and respond positively to the clamor of the advocates of just peace and human rights for the resumption of the peace negotiations. The NDFP still expects that upon the worsening of the crisis of the ruling system and the rise of the people’s revolutionary strength, the possibility will grow that the US-Aquino regime or the succeeding regime will seek the resumption of peace negotiations.

CPP/NPA: 4 killed and 5 wounded on the side of the 17th IB in another NPA ambush

Posted to the CPP Website (May 16): 4 killed and 5 wounded on the side of the 17th IB in another NPA ambush

Tipon Gil-ayab
NPA Kalinga Provincial Operations Command (Lejo Cawilan Command)

At 5 o’clock yesterday morning, another ambush was successfully staged by Red fighters from the Marcial Daggay Front (MDF) along the road and near the Ayaya Waiting Shed in Sitio Sidog, Barangay Limos, Pinukpuk, Kalinga.

Confirmed by the unit command of the MDF and seen by civilians nearby, killed were four (4) fascist soldiers and five (5) other troopers were wounded. But insiders from the AFP’s 5thInfantry Division confirm that from the initial four (4) killed and five (5) wounded, three (3) more died from among those wounded bringing the figures to eight (8) killed and two (2) wounded . The casualties were all from the newly transferred and retrained 17th IB. To save face, Lt. Col. Alvin V. Flores, the Commanding Officer of the 17th IB, whose HQ is based at Kapanikian, Camalog, Pinukpuk, told to print and broadcast media that only 3 of their troops were wounded.

This is the second ambush the NPA-Kalinga launched this month. The first was carried out by the NPA unit from the Abraham Bannawagan Front (ABF) at Sitio Patiging, Barangay Bagumbayan, Tabuk at 9:30 in the morning of May 9 where two (2) soldiers died and six (6) were injured from the 17th IB, and with 1 M16 rifle seized by the people’s army. There was no NPA casualty on the 2 tactical offensives.

These tactical offensives of the NPA are directed against elements of the fascist AFP-PNP-CAFGU, especially when they embark on intelligence, combat and “peace and development” team (PDT) operations to impose the oppressive authority of the reactionary government on the people, even to the extent of trampling on the people’s democratic and civil rights. Wherever and whenever these operations of the enemy occur, the NPA does its best to take military actions against these fascist troops to protect the interests and defend the democratic rights of the oppressed and exploited masses. These tactical offensives of the NPA were not meant to disrupt the reactionary electoral process but are part of regular military actions. These also serves as punitive actions due to continuing terror undertaken by the fascist AFP and its minions against the people, especially during the election period. The AFP-PNP-CAFGU terror and sabotage operations are meant to discourage the populace from voting for candidates and parties who support the people’s demands, even as they serve as security personnel of candidates who have been active in buying the people’s votes, and to ensure the victory of the anti-people candidates in order to strengthen the oppressive and exploitative pillars of the ruling reactionary system.

To downplay the NPA successful tactical offensives in the span of just 5 days, the AFP commanders proclaimed hilariously to the media that said ambushes were undertaken because “NPA candidates and party lists” lost in the recent elections. This is clearly red-baiting to harass and malign progressive party lists and candidates, a significant number of whom lost because of the intensified terror and sabotage operations by the reactionary armed forces of the ruling classes that terrorized the voting populace. Through fraud and the use of “guns, goons and gold”, the reactionary AFP-PNP-CAFGU and the diehard anti-people politicians were in cahoots in manipulating the recent sham election in order to consolidate the ruling system and deodorize the Aquino regime, the present puppet of US imperialism. They systematically removed and destroyed the campaign paraphernalia of the progressive party lists and candidates; and they vilified and blamed the latter for military actions undertaken by the NPA.

In reality, the recent sham election is just part of the OPlan Bayanihan of the fascist AFP. In essence, both are, anti-people and anti-democratic, anti-development and anti-peace. OPLan Bayanihan and the recent May 13 Elections serve to perpetuate the oppressive and exploitative semi-colonial and semi-feudal system of Philippine society, which is ruled by the big landlords and compradors under the dictate of US imperialism. Both mirror the true image of the reactionary US-Aquino regime, the head of the ruling state of big compradors and landlords. Under the present regime, exploitation of the Filipino workers and peasants is intensified, and the national patrimony and sovereignty of the Filipino people and the ancestral lands and the rich natural resources of the national minorities continue to be under the control of the landlord-compradors and bureaucrat officials who implement the economic and political policies and the military programs of US imperialism in the whole country. And such would only result to the ever worsening human rights violations, poverty and hunger of the suffering majority of the masses.

Under the fascist AFP’s OPlan Bayanihan, the PDT operations continue to trample on the people’s rights. These are, in fact, a violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) that has been turned into a mockery by the US-Aquino regime. The peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP has long been stalled as the only desire of the reactionary Aquino regime, its fascist AFP and its US imperialist master is the capitulation of the revolutionary movement. They are persistently luring the CPP-NPA and the NDFP into a trap by promoting localized peace talks in order to weaken and defeat the revolutionary forces.

There is no sign at all for the US-Aquino regime to open up towards fundamental changes in Philippine society. This only proves the correctness of the national-democratic revolution through people’s war as the only right path to liberate the Filipino people. We, therefore, call on all the democratic classes and sectors of Philippine society to send their sons and daughters to join the NPA. And let us launch more tactical offensives to contribute to the advance of the people’s war to the strategic stalemate and to final victory.

Chinese harassment at Kalayaan continues, mayor, residents say

From the Business Mirror (May 19): Chinese harassment at Kalayaan continues, mayor, residents say

THE Armed Forces has not taken any action to protect the officials and residents of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) town in Palawan despite reports about harassments by Chinese who allgedly continue to intrude and patrol inside their territory.
“We have no statement as of now pending verification of the report, and while waiting for an official action by the government,” the Armed Forces spokesman, Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr., said in a text message.
Since reports of the renewed intrusion of Chinese ships into the KIG was reported almost two weeks ago, the military has implemented a news blackout on the issue, despite persistent reports of Chinese ships harassing residents on Pagasa Island.
Sanay na kami sa pangha-harass nila [China]. Hindi naman kami sinasaktan, wala naman silang ginagawa sa amin. Puro pagpapabida lang ang ginagawa. Maski sa Pagasa Island may dumadaan silang barko…regular ang patrol nila…. Hindi ko lang masigurado kung Coast Guard ba nila [China] iyon o ano, madilim e,” said re-elected KIG Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon.
Pagasa Island is the center of political government of the KIG, which has a civilian population of less than 400, not to include the soldiers deployed on the place.
Reportedly, a flotilla of more or less 30 Chinese ships escorted by Chinese Navy patrol ships entered and  allegedly unloaded construction materials on nearby Ayungin Reef that is also being claimed by the Philippines.
Bito-onon confirmed this report from fishermen who allegedly saw the activity of the Chinese but he has no way to verify it.
“Yes, and we’re deeply concerned by such reports,” he said.
On May 15, at around 12:30 a.m., two suspected Chinese patrol ships harassed the ship with Bito-onon and 146 other passengers and crew members on board that was sailing to Balabac from Pagasa.
Tulog ako e. Naikwento na lang ng mga kasama ko ito. Hinabol daw kami about an hour until we passed by Ayungin where a big unidentified boat is anchored. At close range wala daw makitang numero. Ang lakas kasi ng spotlight nila. From Ayungin we headed for Balabac, nag-turn lang kami doon [Ayungin Reef]. Wala naman silang ginawa sa amin, except sinundan lang kami,” said Bito-onon.

PMA Class ’82 member eyed for military intelligence post

From the Business Mirror (May 19): PMA Class ’82 member eyed for military intelligence post

A MEMBER of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1982, Brig. Gen. Roberto Detablan Domines, has been recommended by the Board of Generals (BOG) to the position of Armed Forces deputy chief of staff for intelligence (J-2).
Domines is now the deputy commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry “Kaugnay” Division based in Fort Ramon Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.
Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, Armed Fores chief of staff, presided over the BOG conference that pepared the short-list of candidates for the top military intelligence post.
If the BOG recommendation were approved by President Aquino, Domines will take over the post vacated on Saturday by Maj. Gen. Francisco Cruz Jr. (PMA 1979), who retired upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56.
Military personnel are retired at the age of 56, or 30 years after graduation from PMA, whichever is later.
Domines was the commander of the 1001 Infantry Brigade based in Mindanao from October 2010 to October 2012. He led the 78th Infantry Battalion also based in Mindanao from June 1999 to July 2001.
Senior officers who worked with Domines in the field regard him as a “talented officer” and “team player.”
Meanwhile, there are reports that Brig. Gen. Hernando Iriberri will be taking command of the 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division (4ID) which is currently led by Brig. Gen. Ricardo Visaya as acting commander.
Iriberri is former senior military assistant and spokesman for Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin. He was also Gazmin’s spokesman when the latter was Army commander.
Senior officers who spoke in condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak on the matter said Iriberri is Gazmin’s personal choice to become the commander of the 4ID.
“Ever since he became defense secretary [Gazmin], all senior offices appointed to that position [4ID commander] were his own personal choice,” a source said.