Sunday, July 28, 2013

IEP: Ummah Updates (Jul 28)

Posted to the Islamic Emirate Of The Philippines (IEP) Facebook page (Jul ): Ummah Updates

Butilin, Datu Piang
Maguindanao, Philippines
July 28, 2013

Last night around 7:30-8:00 pm, one of the bridge on the way to Datu Piang was destroyed with an IED (Improvice Explosive Device) planted by the BIFF Mujahideen. It was badly damaged that light and heavy vehicles were not allow to pass.

Just this morning around 9:00 am four Simba Tanks from Brgy. Salbo going to Datu Saudi Ampatuan Municipality were targeted and hit by an IED (Improvice Explosive Device) planted by BIFF Mujahideen.

MILF: Sajahatra Bangsamoro staff in SouthMin facilitate enrolment of beneficiaries to PhilHealth

Posted to the MILF Website (Jul 28): Sajahatra Bangsamoro staff in SouthMin facilitate enrolment of beneficiaries to PhilHealth

The staff of Sajahatra Bangsamoro Program - Regional Project Management Team (RPMT) in Southern Mindanao (SouthMin) facilitated the orientation and enrolment of target beneficiaries from the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and Sarangani to Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
The orientation was held early this July at Barangay Koronadal Proper in Tupi and Barangay Lampare in Banga in South Cotabato Province. In Sarangani Province, the activity was held in Barangay Sapu Masla, in Malapatan town. Similar activity was conducted in Palimbang Sultan Kudarat on July 18, 2013.   
Leah Nawa, RPMT Field Operation Officer on Health Project, briefed the beneficiaries on the benefit packages of PhilHealth and the process on how to avail those benefits.

She said that the amount of PhilHealth subsidy varies according to the kind and gravity of ailments. Nawa added that those who already availed the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) are disqualified since 4Ps also sponsors PhilHealth premiums.

After the orientations, the staff facilitated the distribution of PhilHealth Member Registration Form and guided the beneficiaries on how to fill-up the document.

Other team members, which were led by Mohamad Hamdan Macabangin, Sajahatra Bangsamoro Project Coordinator in SouthMin, oriented the audiences on education and livelihood component projects under the Sajahatra.

Sajahatra Bangsamoro targets to enroll 500 beneficiaries from SouthMin in PhilHealth program.

Implemented by representatives from the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),Sajahatra Bangsamoro, aims to uplift the health, education and livelihood conditions of Bangsamoro communities which includes the Indigenous People (IP)and Christians living therein.

MILF: LGUs in Sarangani Province support BDA development projects

Posted to the MILF Website (Jul 28): LGUs in Sarangani Province support BDA development projects

Officials of the Local Government Units of three towns in Sarangani Province have expressed support to the implementation of development projects of Bangsamoro Development Agency in the province.
Mayors George Max Perret of Maitum and Anecito P. Lopez, Jr. of Maasim, Sarangani Province, said their respective will be behind the implementation of respective projects.

Malapatan Municipal Planning and Development Coordinator Engr. Fatima Suib said “the municipal government will provide the required counterpart for the successful project implementation”. LGUs of Maitum and Maasim also ready to give its share for the project as stipulated in the Memorandum of Agreement signed by BDA and the LGUs.

“We will be at your back in the course of project implementation,” Lopez told BDA-Southern Mindanao (SouthMin) Regional Manager Mohalikin D. Piang during the courtesy call on July 17, 2013.

Lopez and Perret recently assumed office after winning the mayoralty race in May 2013 elections.

Suib offered to facilitate business management training and assist in the accreditation of the People’s Organization to the Sangguniang Bayan of Malapatan.

Perret is grateful for the BDA for the project and hopes that its intervention will help his constituents a lot.

Lopez said his door is open anytime for whatever needed assistance for the projects.

At present, the Barangay Community Volunteers (BCVs) do the packaging of the proposed sub-projects with the facilitation of the BDA staff and technical assistance of Municipal Technical Team (MTT).

The BCVs have undergone series of capability-building trainings facilitated by BDA staff.

Among the proposed sub-projects are: water system, post-harvest facilities, fishing equipments, rice retail and goat-raising.  

The BCVs came up with the proposed sub-projects after the stringent process of consultation with the respective members of communities in adherence with the Community Driven Development (CDD) mechanism adopted by BDA.

The BCVs will soon be transformed into People’s Organization and be registered with the Department of Labor and Employment.

The POs will implement community sub-projects funded by the World Bank administered Mindanao Trust Fund-Reconstruction and Development Program (MTFRDP) under the 4th Program Partnership Agreement coursed through the BDA.

The proposed sub-projects are aimed to help provide the basic needs and support the economic activities of target communities.

MTFRDP is a multi-donor trust fund supported by the following: Australian Aid for International Development, New Zealand Aid for International Development, Canada International Development Agency, Sweden International Development Agency, United States Aid for International Development, European Union and The World Bank.

MILF: Aleosan PNP arrests four Moro civilians

Posted to the MILF Website (Jul 29): Aleosan PNP arrests four Moro civilians

The detachment commander of the 40th Infantry Battalion’s detachment at Sitio Tubak, Pagangan, Aleosan, Cotabato   of the Philippine Army, Cpl. Yussof Pasandalan, was ambushed by  unidentified assailant/s on July 22 at 10am while he was onboard his motorbike from their detachment heading towards Pikit town in Cotabato.
A Police report says that the victim sustained multiple gunshot wounds on his body and rushed to Amado Doctors Hospital, Midsayap, Cotabato where he perished later.
The report that reached says that, immediately after the shooting incident, the police on duty during that day at the Aleosan Municipal Police Station and elements of 40th IB responded to the crime site and seized four innocent civilians in Sitio Tubak, Barangay Pagangan, Aleosan, Cotabato.

When asked about the incident, the four civilians, Shadam “Mama” Patadadon, Patadon Norodin, Musanip Patadon and Musa Adal said that, “They were busy cutting trees in a place more or less 1 kilometer away from the site where the incident happened and not at the ambush site.

On July 24, some Media men, Civil Society Group and Human Rights Watchdog headed by Mindanao Human Rights Action Center (MinHRAC) visited the Aleosan Municipal Police Station in Aleosan, Cotabato to conduct (fact-finding) investigation in relation to the case of the four arrested civilians.
In an interview with Patadon Norodin, 80 and the father of Shadam Patadon, he said that, “At 6:30 in the morning they went to area to cut tress as their source of livelihood together with Musa and son, Shadam, and then at around 10am, suddenly received a message from his nephew that they heard a rapid gun fire near their homes.”

Upon knowing this report, Patadon Norodin, returned back to their village to verify the incident.

He said that a group of military has searched houses in their village including their houses without any search warrant.

“A moment later, the Police came and one of them asked me, where I was during the shooting? Who were my companions? I politely said we’re in the area where we were cutting tress for our livelihood together with my son, Shadam and our chainsaw operator Musa,” Norodin elaborated in the vernacular.

He also disclosed that the Police asked him about name of individuals who have been left home.

“The police asked me many questions until they invited us to the police station for further investigation”, he said. 

“We were onboard a mobile car en route to Aleosan Police Station while the group of soldiers rode with military vehicle accompanied us but they stopped at the road junction crossing [entering municipal hall of] Aleosan,” Norodin added.

The Police detained the innocent civilians in 1345H in the afternoon of 22nd of July at the Aleosan Police Station.

Asked about his feeling on the allegation of the arresting officers, Norodin lamented: “We are deeply hurt. How come that the supposed to be ‘protectors’ of the helpless civilians are the ones who arrested us without any evidence”.

“There is no reason for us to be arrested as we did not attempt to escape or run away”, he added.

Hamsa Landayan, Shadam’s first cousin, said: “The police have promised us to free them in that day, July 22, and they will bring them back home”.

“Because they are an authority, we trusted their words, that’s why we left the police station in the late afternoon, but only to find out, all those words were just strategies for us to leave them and pursue their plan to produce fabricated evidences for our innocent relatives be put at jail”, he added.

“On the 23rd of July, the three civilians including Patadon Norodin were released by the Aleosan Police Officers, however, Shadam Patadon was still detained (without any charge or case filed against him) and continuously interrogated”, Landayan further said.

“They are clear human rights violation committed by the security sector. Justice should be accorded to the victims. Shadam was not able to observe fasting for 3 days”, Landayan said emotionally.

Shadam disclosed that there was a woman who forced him to admit the crime that he has never done.

The Aleosan Police has travelled Shadam from Aleosan to Kidapawan City and vice versa.

“I have no good food to eat here at the detention cell, that’s why I couldn’t fast… I vomited three times while we were on our way to Kidapawan,” he said in a vernacular.
On Wednesday, Shadam was brought again to the Hall of Justice in Kidapawan City for an inquest while members of Human Rights Watchdog and media were around to witness the proceedings. The family of Shadam waited for almost a day to determine if the police was to file a case or not but no concrete information given to them.

The para-legal team of MinHRAC told the Shadam family that, “If no case is filed by the arresting officers, your family can file an “Arbitrary detention case” against the Aleosan Police.”

At around 3pm, Shadam’s lawyer arrived and asked the arresting police SPO4 Herberto B. Paculang, SPO4 Jessie C. Albay and SPO2 Russel O. Calibayan, all are members of PNP in Aleosan, and the Provincial Prosecutor of the result of the inquest.

And quickly, the signed document of the Provincial Prosecutor was handed over by one of the arresting officers to the family of Shadam. No further details are available to determine the fate of the arrested civilians whether they were release or not.

Marine soldier dies while trying to defuse bomb

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 28): Marine soldier dies while trying to defuse bomb
A marine soldier was killed while two others were hurt in an accidental bomb explosion in Panglima Estino town in Sulu on Saturday night.

Colonel Jose Johriel Cenabre, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said the victims were trying to defuse an improvised explosive device when the blast happened.

Cenabre said the bomb was placed outside the house of a village official and that the soldiers were there to defuse it.

“While conducting recovery and disposal, it went off,” Cenabre said.

He identified the slain marine soldier as Staff Sergeant Jessie Sebala.

Wounded were Technical Sergeant Froctuso Cajote Jr. and Staff Sergeant Albert Tannong.

MNLF warns of war

From the Manila Times (Jul 28): MNLF warns of war

Whether or not there is a final peace agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), war could break out in Mindanao because of wrangling among large armed groups, including the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

 Ustadz Pendi Colano, chairman of the Central Mindanao’s MNLF sub-wing Selatan State Revolutionary Committee, said his group will not relinquish their territories in Central Mindanao composed of at least seven municipalities even if the government and the MILF sign a peace agreement.

On the other hand, Colano said the MILF has been massing forces, even recruiting young boys aged 14 to 16, to prepare for a massive strike in case the talks collapse.

Either way, the government has no other choice but to prepare for hostilities, because the MNLF considers the Framework Agreement as a “tool for war” and not a solution to the Mindanao conflict, he said.

Quoting MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari, Colano said that President Benigno Aquino 3rd disrespected the peace efforts of the administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos with the MNLF.

“President Aquino’s action to put an end to the 1996 peace accord is a kind of a divide-and-rule tactics which is tantamount to the declaration of war on the MNLF, and we have no option but to declare independence in Mindanao,” he said.

Colano said Misuari had told his men that the agreement Aquino made with the MILF is a gross violation to the peace accord which was signed by the Philippine government and the MNLF in 1996.

“How can it [peace pact] be successful when President Aquino said in his [State of the Nation Address] that it would not be easy to resolve piece by piece the sensitive matters pertaining to the issue of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement, and surely Aquino could not finish such signing of the agreement with the MILF,” Colano said.

While admitting that the peace that Aquino wants to achieve is a “noble intention,” the MNLF leader said it was a huge mistake for the government to abandon the provisions of the September 2, 1996 peace accord.

“If the Aquino administration fears the MILF’s threat against distorting the peace process, the more that Aquino should respect the larger forces of the MNLF which can call for war if the September 2, 1996 peace agreement will not be fulfilled. We can potentially declare war [even] against the MILF anytime we want if Aquino would continue to ignore our side,” Colano told The Manila Times.

Colano said the MNLF is “at all times ready for war” if the government and the MILF come to an agreement without considering the claims of the MNLF.


The MNLF, according to him, is determined to stop the signing of the agreement with the MILF “at all cost.”

“We were hoping that Aquino could help us realize our long-sought dream of accomplishing the 1996 peace deal but we sensed that there is no signal from this present administration toward that end. We are truly and indeed ready for war anytime at all cost just to stop the signing of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement,” Colano said.

He lamented that the peace pact with the MNLF was ignored by the administrations of former presidents Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo.

Colano said that the MILF’s claim of having control over several towns in Maguindanao and nearby provinces was a lie because “the MNLF occupies vast areas in Maguindanao” which are being encroached by the MILF, resulting in previous deadly clashes.

The 1996 agreement gives the MNLF control over Kauran, Dinaig, Shariff Aguak, Ampatuan, Liguasan Marsh, Lutayan, Buluan, Datu Paglas and many other municipalities in Maguindanao.

Colano said the MILF territories only include the towns of Bumbaran, Darussalam and Boldon.

He admitted that there is a brewing war between the MILF and MNLF over territorial control.

Recently, some indigenous and Muslim leaders were killed in a clash between the two groups.

The MNLF is said to control half of Central Mindanao, but the MILF wants to take over these areas on the pretext that the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement is about to be approved.

But an MNLF field commander who goes by the name of Sabiwang warned of heavy resistance from MNLF forces in these places.

“Resistance forces of the MNLF refused to accept the claimed territories of the MILF in Maguindanao for it seriously cannot be settled by just a mere peace agreement which could even result in war between forces of the so called Bangsamoro people,” Sabiwang said.

“MILF forces want to occupy the MNLF occupied area in Maguindanao. It will escalate into a serious war,” Sabiwang said.


Misuari was reportedly piqued when Aquino sent a letter to the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General requesting a closure to the tripartite review of the 1996 accord.

“The intention of President Aquino requesting the OIC for the closure of GRP-MNLF peace accord is the worst move he made because this is the kind of action declaring war against the MNLF and he is not really sincere to the peace process,” Colano added.

He stressed that once the MNLF has declared independence, it should be taken to mean as a declaration of war against the government.

“Is this an act of achieving the long lasting peace in Mindanao that President Aquino wants or he just wants to make another history of war against the MNLF?” Colano said.

Misuari had warned that pursuing the closure of the MNLF peace accord will compel them to seek full independence. He said the OIC Secretary General has furnished his office a copy of the explanatory note submitted by Malacañang dated March 21, requesting the OIC for the closure.

The explanatory note urged the OIC to acknowledge that Misuari is “no longer the sole representative of the Bangsamoro,” and that it has to deal with the situation by tapping a more pluralistic representation.

The MNLF chairman also hit Aquino for turning his back on the promise of his mother—the late President Corazon Aquino—to provide an MNLF-led homeland to Filipino Muslims.

“His agreement with the MILF is a total betrayal of his mother’s promise to us after we help her catapult into the presidency. He was a witness to that as a young boy when we held a series of meetings with his mother and Butch Aquino,” Misuari said.


 MNLF officials also claimed that the MILF had not stopped recruiting more men ever since the start of the peace negotiations during the time of Arroyo.

Colano said the MILF recruited minors as fighters.

This was confirmed by Sajid Akmad, 14, who is under training along with 25 other teenagers from the cities of Marawi and Iligan.

Akmad, who stands 5 feet and hails from Marawi, used to sell pirated DVDs to earn a living.

Akmad said he was recruited by a top MILF commander and was trained for three months.

Recruitment is more aggressive in the Maguindanao, Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte, Jolo and Sulu provinces, Colano said.

He said the recruitment only proves that MILF will wage war if the talks fail and the agreement is not signed.

Gov’t clarifies MNLF deal; Misuari vows to secede

From the Manila Standard Today (Jul 29): Gov’t clarifies MNLF deal; Misuari vows to secede

The Aquino administration on Sunday said it does not intend to abrogate the 1996 final peace agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front amid reports that the group headed by Nur Misuari would declare independence for Mindanao.

Presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles said what the government seeks is the termination of the tripartite review mechanism brokered by the Organization of Islamic Conference.

“The government has conveyed its assurances that in the case of the closure of the Tripartite Implementation Review Process, the government will continue to engage relevant parties of the MNLF, through the existing mechanism, to find a just and comprehensive political solution for the issue of the southern Philippines,” said Deles who met with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa last week to discuss the closure of the review mechanism.

“From the start, what the government proposed to complete was the review process, not the closure of the peace process nor the abrogation of the 1996 final peace agreement,” Deles added.

MNLF peace panel chief Absalom Cerveza said Misuari said his group would declare independence during an assembly of members in Jolo, Sulu.

Misuari alleged that the planned abrogation of the 1996 peace agreement with the MNLF was to accommodate the future comprehensive peace agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“After the government’s refusal to talk peace with the MNLF and with the abrogation of the 1996 peace accord, we have no other option but to declare independence of Mindanao,” Cerveza said.

The MNLF, Cerveza said, has two courses of action: file a petition with the United Nations of the colonization of Mindanao or to use force and attack.

“We will know in the coming days [which action it will take]. Much will depend on the reaction of the government,” Cerveza said.

Upon learning of the OIC’s notification of the closure of the peace accord, Misuari seemed satisfied because he could do whatever he wants to, said Cerveza, who talked to Misuari in his house in San Roque, Zamboanga del Sur Wednesday.

“The government didn’t want to talk with us (MNLF) anymore so we will go back to where we started in 1969 when we declared for Mindanao independence,” Cerveza said.

Deles, however, was quick to point out that Indonesia — head of the OIC Committee of the Eight that brokered the 1996 peace agreement — will be the first to oppose any extra-legal means to undermine the territorial integrity of the Philippines.

“Minister Natalegawa was categorical in stating that Indonesia opposes any attempt to jeopardize the territorial integrity of the Philippines and that any such move falls outside the ambit of the agreed upon Tripartite Review Process.”

Misuari cited an explanatory note sent by the Palace to the OIC seeking the group’s acknowledgement that the MNLF is “no longer the sole representative of the Bangsamoro.”

As this developed, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Undersecretary Jose Lorena warned the public against “malicious” text messages saying that the MNLF would declare independence.

“We urge the public to be critical against false information. We also call for sobriety as our government, both national and local, are carefully handling the peace and security in Mindanao,” he said.

“It is best to seek out information from reliable sources and understand the context before making conclusions. We rely on the public to guard the process.”

Despite the threat to declare independence, Cerveza said, Misuari told his lieutenants to stay calm and not engage in any military confrontation with the government.

“We don’t like to start a war. All the armed components of the MNLF were ordered to stay in a defensive position in case of an attack,” Cerveza said.

Sulu ‘volunteers’ plan Sabah incursions

From the Manila Standard Today (Jul 29): Sulu ‘volunteers’ plan Sabah incursions

The Sulu Sultanate on Sunday  said  it is sending more “volunteer” fighters to Sabah from Mindanao to reassert its territorial claim over it and to protect the Filipinos there who are being rounded up by Malaysian police.

Abraham Idjirani, spokesman of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III, said groups of Bangsa Suluk volunteers were preparing to sail to Sabah and join the 1,600-strong Royal Security Forces of the sultanate led by Kiram’s brother, Raja Muda Agbimuddin Kiram.

“They will be going to Sabah because of the un-Islamic rounding up of innocent civilians by the Malaysian security forces,” Idjirani said from Kiram’s residence in Taguig City.

“They feel it is their patriotic duty to protect their countrymen there and to show the world that Sabah is their homeland.”

Asked how many fighters were sailing to Sabah, Idjirani said they had no idea yet but the fighters would be going there quietly in waves or groups to elude the Malaysian and Philippine naval cordons.

Once in Sabah, they would be consolidating forces and communicating with Agbimuddin, who remains in Sabah since sailing there with 200 men in February.

“They are now driven by their belief that Malaysia does not own Sabah,” Idjirani said.

He said the volunteers would come from Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Basilan and Zamboanga.

“Our leaders told us that these Bangsa Suluks have been itching to go to Sabah because they are angry over the Malaysians’ treatment of the Filipino residents of Sabah,” Idjirani said.

He said  some of the Sabah-bound volunteers would be armed, with many of them experienced in battle, although they would not be going to Sabah to wage war.

“It has been our stance in Sabah to attack only when attacked,” Idjirani said.

“This is very clear to them. Sultan Kiram does not want any more bloodshed, and he is saying to use force only to defend themselves.”

Idjirani said the Sulu Sultanate had given up hopes that the Aquino administration would help them.

Violence erupted in Sabah on March 1 when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak ordered an all-out military offensive to flush out the Sulu fighters who were initially holed up in Lahad Datu.

Subsequent clashes resulted in the death of 68 sultanate fighters and 10 Malaysian policemen and soldiers, although the sultanate claimed its men had killed more Malaysian commandos than what the Malaysian government had publicly announced.

Twenty-nine Filipinos, including Kiram’s nephew, are facing trial for terrorism-related charges filed against them before a Malaysian High Court for their alleged participation in the Sabah intrusion early this year. At least eight more have already been convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Malaysian authorities detained 50 Filipino residents of Sabah early this month in connection with an alleged threat by an armed group reportedly associated with the Sulu Sultanate to stage retaliatory attacks on Tambunan district.

Sabah police commissioner Hamza Taib said the rounding up of the suspects was part of an ongoing investigation into a July 3 letter sent to the Tambunan District Office by the so-called “militant Commandos” threatening to raid Tambunan, a farming valley in the interior of Sabah.

Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan a waste of people’s money - Karapatan

Posted to the Samar News (Jul 13): Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan a waste of people’s money - Karapatan

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) should immediately stop the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan. The Aquino government is wasting the nation’s coffers in pursuing Oplan Bayanihan that has resulted in numerous human rights violations and continuing impunity.”

Thus said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, in reaction to the statement of AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista on the failure of the counter-insurgency program’s targets. The Aquino administration announced in May 2013 that it has allocated $1.8 billion, or roughly P73 billion, for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) modernization program.

“With Oplan Bayanihan, people’s taxes are used to kill the likes of Cristina Jose, instead of helping victims like her to rise from the onslaught of typhoons or displacement from their lands and livelihood because of transnational mining corporations and logging,” Palabay said. Jose, leader of the typhoon victims’ organization Barug Katawhan (People, stand up!) in Mindanao, was killed in March this year, after receiving threats from the military for leading people’s actions in the area.

Karapatan said the AFP’s so-called ‘peace and development’ projects in disaster-stricken areas as in the case of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental only resulted to threats, harassment and intimidation, and even extrajudicial killing like what happened to Jose.

“The Aquino government’s ‘peace and development’ concept that the AFP is working at is ‘peace and development’ for foreign and local big business interests – the transnational mining corporations and agri-business plantations; the interests of the landlords like the Aquinos and the interests of powerful politicians,” Palabay added.

The killing of Cristina Jose, Karapatan stressed, is an example of the government’s attitude on the poor people who were displaced by logging and mining companies and tagged by the government as ‘enemies’ for opposing big business interests. Jose exemplifies the “poor who are vulnerable to disasters because of environmental degradation that was a result of the plunder of the country’s resources by big business; those who were victims of government discrimination and neglect, bureaucratic red tape, inefficiency and corruption in providing assistance to victims of calamities and disasters, using the communist bogey as an excuse. Jose represents the victims of government’s human rights violations, those who were killed, disappeared, arrested and tortured for asserting their rights.”

“Cristina Jose is one of the 142 victims of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino regime. The members of her community are among the more than 31,000 victims of threat, harassment and intimidation by the military,” said Palabay. The terror of Oplan Bayanihan is manifested not only in extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances but also in the cases of forced evacuation (with more than 30,000 victims), indiscriminate firing (with more than 7,000 victims), and the use of schools, medical, religious and other public places for military purpose (with more than 27,000 victims).

“Gen. Bautista’s statement that they will ‘intensify efforts in second semester to sustain the campaign to win peace for people’ is an alarm bell for the people to brace themselves for more human rights violations. If the Aquino government is truly pursuing peace, it should go back to the negotiating table with the NDFP and MILF, sincerely tackle the roots of unpeace and work for its resolution,” ended Palabay.

On July 19-21, more than 200 peace advocates and human rights defenders from all over the world are attending the International Conference for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines. The said gathering will look into the Aquino government’s human rights record and peace, in the context of global and national crises, the US’s Asian pivot and the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan.

BRP Ramon Alcaraz to leave Guam Sunday afternoon

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): BRP Ramon Alcaraz to leave Guam Sunday afternoon

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), the country's second Hamilton-class cutter in service, will leave Naval Base Guam Sunday afternoon for the last leg of its voyage to the Philippines.

"BRP Ramon Alcaraz will begin final voyage to the Philippines when it departs Guam Naval Base at 4 p.m. on Sunday, 28 July 2013," the Philippine Embassy in Washington said in its Twitter account.

The distance from Guam to the Philippines is 1,534 miles or 2, 469 kilometers.

The Filipino frigate had been docked at Pier X-Ray in Guam, following a 10-day voyage across the Pacific Ocean from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The vessel's officers and crew received a welcome upon arrival at Guam Naval Base 8:30 a.m. Saturday

Acting Guam Governor Ray Tenorio led the welcome for Capt. Ernesto Baldovino and the Alcaraz's crew

For his part, Baldovino expressed "deepest gratitude" to the Filipino community.

Philippine Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic earlier said the vessel is due to arrive at Subic Aug. 4, with President Benigno Aquino III expected to take part in the welcome.

He said the vessel will be commissioned in October and may be deployed to protect the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

Rebel killed, two Army troopers hurt in Northern Samar encounter

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Rebel killed, two Army troopers hurt in Northern Samar encounter

A New People's Army (NPA) fighter was killed while two members of the 34th Infantry Battalion was wounded following a 45-minute firefight in Barangay Rombang, Laoang town, Northern Samar Saturday morning.

Capt. Amado Gutierrez, 8th Infantry Division spokesperson, said their 34th Infantry Battalion was deployed in the area after reports reached them that the rebels were extorting food and money from the residents.

During the issuing firefight, a NPA fighter was killed and two government troopers, Pfc. Ambel G. Cabanjen and Cpl. Allan H. Virtudazo, were wounded.

Gutierrez said the rebels fled after seeing one of their number killed, leaving behind two M-16 automatic rifles, two improvised explosive devices and six backpacks containing personal items.

He added that the wounded soldiers are now in stable condition.

Major Gen. Gerardo T. Layug, 8th Infantry Division commander, lauded the troops for their efforts in serving and securing the people of Barangay Rombang from NPA extortion attempts.

“The unrelenting peace and security efforts and dedication of your soldiers to ensure that communities are always insulated from harm and violence manifest their commitment to service,” he added.

Army brigade teams up with Rotary for nature, humanity

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Army brigade teams up with Rotary for nature, humanity

In support to the governments’ trust to protect and preserve the environment, the 601st Infantry (Unifier) Brigade under the able leadership of Col. Edmundo Pangilinan hosted the tree planting activity in partnership with the Rotary Club International of Tacurong City and Systems Technology Incorporated (STI) College on Friday.

The activity was a joint project of the military and the Rotary Club of Tacurong City as part of its environmental awareness and protection campaign in the face of global warming.

Theme of this year's activity was "For nature and humanity: Tree Planting” was also in support to the Annual Tree Planting/Tree Growing Day of the City Government of Tacurong.

Tree planting is also part of the Tacurong City program geared towards combating the effects of global warming and climate change.

Miguel Lopez, Rotary president, said his group will continue to engage other groups and organizations in promoting environmental protection programs such as tree planting and greening program.

The group decided to have the tree planting activity at the back of the Army brigade headquarters because it was located up a hill and overlooking the city that needs to have trees since it was idle for years.

A total of 200 seedlings of Narra and mahogany were planted at the back portion of the 61st CMO Company Barracks which was also participated by selected students of Bachelor of Science in Office Administration of STI-Tacurong City.

BIFF bombs but failed to destroy Maguindanao bridge

From the Philippine News Agency  (Jul 28): BIFF bombs but failed to destroy Maguindanao bridge

Suspected members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters attempted anew to destroy a vital bridge on Saturday night in Datu Piang town in Maguindanao, the military here said.

The 10-meter bridge in Barangay Magaslong sustained minor cracks but remained intact, according to Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division.

Hermoso said residents living near the bridge pointed at two BIFF bandit leaders, identified as Abu Sumaya and Montaser, as the ones who planted the improvised device fashioned from two 60 mm mortars which went off at about 9 p.m.

The same group had bombed last month Magaslong bridge which is few hundred meters from the bridge the BIFF tried to destroy Saturday night.

Hermoso said cellphone-detonated IED did not cause major damage to the bridge.

Hermoso added guerillas wanted the disable the bridge to prevent military hardware from going to Datu Piang and Shariff Saydona Mustapha towns that the BIFF had been harassing since last month.

“Once the bridge is disabled, we will have a hard time bringing our agricultural products to other parts of Maguindanao,” Sumail Kasim, a farmer from Datu Piang’s agriculture area.

Hermoso said the Army withheld its offensive against the bandit groups in deference to the observance of fasting month.

“Very unfortunate that the BIFF continues to harass Army detachments which may result to military operations that would disrupt the fasting month,” Hermoso said.

According to James Mlok, chief of the second district engineering office in Maguindanao, the two bridges remained passable to light vehicles, even to military six by six trucks.

Mlok could only appeal to guerillas to spare major bridges as it has nothing to do with their ideological struggle.

“I’m appealing to armed men to refrain from destroying government infrastructures built to make the lives of Moro people convenient,” he said after inspecting the bridge Sunday morning.

“Our brother and sister Muslims who will suffer and become inconvenient if roads and bridges are damaged,” he said.

The bombing of the bridge in Datu Piang was preceded by a mortar shelling by suspected BIFF guerillas on detachments of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade in Shariff Saydona Mustapha town, also in Maguindanao, which is part of the guerillas’ offensive against government forces aimed at disrupting the Mindanao peace process.

Four ranking CPP/NPA surrenderees undergoing process of availing gov’t benefits

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Four ranking CPP/NPA surrenderees undergoing process of availing gov’t benefits 

The four ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) who raised the white flag on Saturday before army troopers are now in the custody of the 3rd Infantry (Spearhead) Division (3ID) based at its headquarters in Camp Macario Peralta in Jamindan, Capiz.

Maj. Rey Tiongson, 3ID spokesman, named the rebel-returnees as Ka Hasim, vice-commander of Igabon Platoon Central Front Committee and his wife, Ka Inday who was the medical officer of the group; Ka Tirso, a political aide of Hasim, and Ka Allan, a squad leader.

The four rebel returnees are natives of Jaminda, Capiz. Tiongson said the four are currently going through the process of availing government benefits granted to rebel returnees under the Balik Baril program.

The four ranking rebel officials surrendered to the army soldiers belonging to the 3ID's 61st Infantry Battalion in Calinog, Iloilo on Saturday.

With their surrender, they brought with them firearms which they handed over to the army soldiers that include a fragmentation grenade, a .38 caliber revolver with six live ammunitions and .357 caliber revolver loaded with three live ammos in its chamber.

Army chief in Western Visayas backs localized peace talks with NPA

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Army chief in Western Visayas backs localized peace talks with NPA

The chief of the Philippine Army in Western Visayas has expressed support to the localized peace talks with the New People’s Army (NPA) being pushed by his predecessor and Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.

Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, newly-installed commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said that the peace process undertaken by the government with the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) is one form of localized peace talks.

“We are for it,” said Baladad, who was in Negros Island to visit the Army troops over the weekend.

Former 3rd ID chief, Maj. Gen. Jose Mabanta, had also been calling for localized peace talks with the NPA in the region during his term.

Baladad said he is optimistic that localized peace talks even with the NPA can work out.

This can be attained if “all of us will work together,” he said, adding that “the problem as far as insurgency is concerned is multi-faceted.”

What people can see is just the tip of the problem, he added.

“What is visible is just the armed group of the NPA but the problem is not just the armed component of the NPA rebels,” Baladad said.

He pointed out the insurgency problem has social, economic and political dimensions and all these have to be considered because these compose 70 percent of the problem.

Japan unveils plans to provide patrol ships, new ODA package to the Philippines

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 28): Japan unveils plans to provide patrol ships, new ODA package to the Philippines

Visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe unveiled a plan at a meeting Saturday with Philippine President Benigno Aquino to provide Manila with 10 coast guard patrol ships through a yen loan to help it counter an increasingly assertive China.

In a bid to help achieve peace on Mindanao, where the Philippines' largest Muslim rebel group is in conflict with the government, Abe also spelled out a new package of official development assistance aimed at building schools and clinics, and developing personnel for an autonomous political entity to be established.

"Relations between Japan and the Philippines are rooted in their long-term friendly history and exchanges," Abe told a joint news conference with Aquino after their summit in Manila, pledging to further strengthen bilateral ties through new Japanese assistance.

Woman NPA leader, tagged one of Most Wanted, arrested in Digos City

From InterAksyon (Jul 28): Woman NPA leader, tagged one of Most Wanted, arrested in Digos City

A suspected New People’s Army leader, tagged by security forces as one of the most wanted NPA leaders in the country, was arrested 5am Sunday by joint elements of the AFP, PNP and CIDG at the Old Terminal in Barangay Zone 3, Digos City.

The suspect was identified as Maria Loyda Tuzo Magpatoc alias Gwen, and alleged to be the Front Secretary of the Far South Mindanao Regional (FSMR) Committee.

Magpatoc is responsible for a series of criminal activities like murder, extortion and kidnapping in the areas of SocSarGen and parts of Davao del Sur, North Cotabato and  Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, according to the military’s easter Mindanao Command.

Magpatoc was arrested by virtue of several warrants of arrest for cases ranging from murder, robbery, homicide and damage to property.

EastMinCom data said Magpatoc in early 2000 also became the Front Secretary of North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) which also covers the areas of Surigao and Agusan. She is also an alleged member of the Executive Committee of Komisyon Mindanao or Mindanao Commission, the main party organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines in Mindanao.

The arrest of Magpatoc is the result not only of the continuous intelligence operations of various law enforcement agencies but also from the reports of the communities to the 10th Infantry Division’s (10th ID) Peace and Development Teams under Maj General Ariel B Bernardo, the Division Commander, according to an EastMinCom statement.

Meanwhile, Lt General Ricardo Rainier G Cruz III, commander of the EastMinCom said, “Magpatoc will be accorded fair trial before the court for the crimes she committed. This is how our justice system works in the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Magpatoc as the overall leader of FSMR  and previously with NEMRC could be held liable under RA 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide and other crimes against humanity under provisions on the Responsibility of the Superior of a non-state insurgent organization on all the atrocities/violations committed.”

“The 39th Infantry Battalion under 1002nd Brigade, 10th ID is providing the requirements of Magpatoc while the Davao del Sur Police Provincial Office through its Children and Women’s desk is assisting her needs while under custody”, Cruz added.

The PNP is also processing the documents of Magpatoc for the subsequent inquest to the court where she is alleged to have committed the crime.

PH's second warship now in Guam - DFA

From InterAksyon (Jul 28): PH's second warship now in Guam - DFA


The Philippines’ second warship, BRP Ramon Alcaraz, arrived safely Saturday morning at the Guam Naval Base from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii after 10 days of sailing in the Pacific Ocean, the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a news release.

The newly acquired Hamilton-class cutter of the Philippine Navy will be docked at the naval base from July 27 to 28 for refueling and restocking, and is scheduled to depart for Manila at 4 p.m. today, July 28.

The DFA did not say when the warship will arrive in the Philippines.

BRP Ramon Alcaraz, a 115-meter decommissioned US Coast Guard ship that the Philippines acquired last year, was acquired amid tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

The warship, which underwent $15.5-million (P620-million) refitting and refurbishment and sea trials in May, is expected to boost capabilities of the Philippine Navy in patrolling the country's waters.

The weather high-endurance cutter had served as the US Coast Guard’s USCGC Dallas for four decades before it was turned over to the Philippine Navy under the Excess Defense Article Military Assistance Program of the United States.

The crew of BRP Alcaraz effectively maneuvered to bring the ship to the dockside of Pier “X-ray” at exactly 9 a.m. to the delight and excitement of the waiting crowd, the DFA said.

As soon as the ship was properly berthed, BRP Alcaraz’s Commanding Officer, Capt. Ernesto O. Baldovino, together with the other officers and crew, alighted and made a formation at the pier’s side to meet the welcoming crowd.

The 88 officers and crew of the BRP Ramon Alcaraz were warmly greeted by the officers and staff of the Philippine Consulate General in Guam led by Consul General Bayani V. Mangibin, Filipino Community of Guam (FCG) president Roy S. Adonay, and other members of the Filipino-American community.

Also present to meet Capt. Baldovino and his crew were Vice Speaker Benjamin J. F. Cruz and Senator Tina Rose Muna Barnes, Legislative Secretary/Majority Whip, of the 32nd Guam Legislature, Capt. John Ward, Commander of the Naval Base Guam, Col. David B. Riano, and Capt. Kenneth Ola of the Guam National Guard.

Senator Barnes expressed the warm Hafa Adai greetings on behalf of the government of Guam, and presented Captain Baldovino a Certificate of Appreciation from the 32nd Guam Legislature sponsored by Senator Dennis Rodriguez Jr.

After the short welcome ceremonies, Capt. Baldovino invited Consul General Mangibin and the other officials to board the BRP Alcaraz for a short briefing at the war room and a tour of the ship.

Nur’s Bangsamoro independence threat ‘misinformation’ — Malacañang

From the Daily Tribune (Jul 29): Nur’s Bangsamoro independence threat ‘misinformation’ — Malacañang

Malacañang branded yesterday as misinformation the threat of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari to declare an independent Bangsamoro Republic with its own Constitution as a result of what Misuari said were efforts of the government to abrogate the 1996 Final Peace Agreement (FPA) signed between the government and the MNLF.

Presidential deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said the Aquino ad-ministration will leave to the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) the manner that the government will address Misuari’s threat.

“We’ll leave that to OPAPP, but as we have mentioned, OPAPP Secretary (Teresita) Deles went to Indonesia to speak to the Foreign Minister because they were the head of the monitoring team, if I am not mistaken. So, anyway, we have some concerns,” she said.

“What the OPAPP was saying is that, after almost six years of tripartite review, the joint review process has already established the consensus points and the joint mechanisms between the MNLF representatives and the ARMM regional government,” Valte added.

She said Deles made clear that what the government had proposed was the completion of the review process and not the closure of the peace process or the abrogation of the 1996 FPA.

Valte reiterated the warning of the OPAPP staff to be observant on the alleged “misinformation” circulating in some provinces of Mindanao which she said contained unsubstantiated facts about the peace process.

OPAPP undersecretary Jose Lorena warned the public against malicious text messages last Saturday which he said are circulating false information that aim to sow fear and derail the peace process.

“We urge the public to be critical against false information. We also call for sobriety as our government, both national and local, are carefully handling the peace and security in Mindanao. It is best to seek out information from reliable sources and understand the context before making conclusions,” he added. “We rely on the public to guard the process,” Lorena said.

Lorena said the text messages stated that MNLF members are set to hold a gathering and declare independence in reaction to the government efforts to end the 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, in a text advisory through the Philippine Information Agency Region IX, advised her constituents “to be careful in forwarding text messages from unverified sources as some unscrupulous individuals are circulating false information to cause undue alarm to the general public.”

Climaco assured that the Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the local government are exerting all efforts to maintain normalcy, peace, and security in the city.

“No curfew has been imposed. Classes remain normal in all levels in the City,” Climaco said.

Deles, in a statement, clarified the status of the Tripartite Implementation Review of the GPH-MNLF 1996 Final Peace Agreement.

Deles explained that while the government’s position is that “it was time to bring the tripartite review process to a proper completion,” the “government will continue to engage relevant parties of the MNLF, through the existing mechanism, to find a just and comprehensive political solution for the issue of the Southern Philippines”.

Deles said that “after almost six years of tripartite review, a joint review process had already established consensus points and some joint mechanisms and actions particularly between MNLF representatives and the ARMM regional government.”

“From the start, what the GPH proposed to complete was the review process, not the closure of the peace process nor the abrogation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement,” Deles said.

Since 2007, the GPH had been engaged in conversations with the MNLF on the review of the implementation of the 1996 FPA.

Not a peace negotiation, the review process is being facilitated by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, specifically its Peace Committee for the Southern Philippines (OIC-PCSP) which is headed by Indonesia, she said.

Indonesia as facilitator to the review process, through Minister for Foreign Affairs Marty Natalegawa, advised the Philippine government to continue to exercise patience even in the face of provocation as he reiterated Indonesia’s support for the peace process in Mindanao.

Deles said Natalegawa held the view that the review process had reached a critical juncture both in terms of it substance and its process.

Natalegawa said to Deles that, for Indonesia, there is every interest to be able to say that the process has been completed and that everyone is on board.

“He said it is important to ensure that the process does not provide any opportunity for ‘spoilers’ to intervene,” Deles said.

Natalegawa further noted that the efforts of GPH should be propagated and understood.

Natalegawa said that, if needed, Indonesia would be willing to assist the GPH in explaining the current situation to members of the OIC-PCSP, starting with those who are also members of ASEAN.

Clueless gov’t security forces on heightened alert after CdO blast

From the Daily Tribune (Jul 29): Clueless gov’t security forces on heightened alert after CdO blast

Police and military forces in Cagayan de Oro City remained on heightened alert after Friday’s deadly bombing at a bistro that left six persons dead and 48 others wounded as the Aquino government yesterday admitted that there were no clues yet to the culprits.

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II said investigators were recon-structing the bomb site to gather more clues on the attack in the capital of Misamiz Oriental, a relatively peaceful city in Mindanao, where various rebel groups and armed gangs operate.

“We are doing everything (to determine the suspects). We have placed the police in Mindanao, the intelligence community and the army on heightened alert to prevent a similar attack,” Roxas said over dzBB radio.

Investigators have yet to determine the explosive used in the attack, which hit a bistro packed with at least 100 persons. Most were doctors and pharmaceutical representatives who had just attended a national convention at a nearby hotel.

Forty-eight others were wounded in the blast, police said.

Contrary to earlier reports, Roxas said investigators had not found shrapnel or metal fragments at the blast site, which would have indicated an explosive device made from a mortar bomb.

“According to the doctors who did the autopsy report, there were no shrapnel that can be attributed to a grenade explosion,” he added.

“It is also not an IED (improvised explosive device) made from mortar or artillery shell,” Roxas stressed.

Ordnance experts have found wires and a battery that could have been used as a trigger but not much else.

Roxas’ statement suggested the attack may not have been the work of Muslim militants who operate in other parts of the Mindanao and are known to use mortar bombs rigged to a timing device.

Asked whether investigators were looking at any specific group behind the blast and what the motive could be, he said: “If it’s business rivalry, fighting over land, or terrorism we could not say yet until we know all the facts and details.”

Cagayan de Oro is a bustling city that has been relatively unscathed by a decades-old Muslim and communist insurgency that have plagued parts of Mindanao.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the country’s largest Muslim insurgent force, yesterday said it had no forces operating near Cagayan de Oro and condemned the attack as un-Islamic.

The MILF, which is negotiating a peace deal with Manila, was also willing to help track down the perpetrators if asked by the government, said the group’s vice chairman for political affairs Ghazali Jaafar.

“We have an existing agreement to help each other out in interdicting criminal elements,” Jaafar told Agence France Presse.

Gov’t to reactivate Subic as military base — Gazmin

From the Daily Tribune (Jul 29): Gov’t to reactivate Subic as military base — Gazmin

The Department of National Defense (DND) has unveiled a plan to recommission the former US naval base on Subic Bay for Philippine military use which appears to reciprocate the US government’s plan for the rotational presence of its personnel in the country.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the government plans to transfer air and naval forces to Subic Bay as soon as relocation funds are available amid negotiations with the United States on a proposal to position US military equipment and rotate military forces in the country while avoiding the contentious issue of re-establishing permanent bases.

The country has a small navy and air force and relies heavily on support from the United States, a close ally, to modernize its military and upgrade its capabilities. Part of this relationship has involved regular short-term visits by American military forces for joint training, humanitarian work and disaster response.

Gazmin said the plan to reactivate Subic as a military base is meant for “the protection of the West Philippine Sea” which is how the government calls the South China Sea. Subic Bay is a natural deep harbor that can accommodate large warships, he said referring to two used Hamilton-class cutters acquired from the United States Coast Guard that are now the Philippine Navy’s flagships.

Gazmin said the naval fleet base at Sangley Point in Cavite province has a shallower harbor.

Subic’s international airport has been underutilized since U.S. courier giant FedEx transferred its lucrative regional hub from Subic to China in 2009, officials said.
The Philippines plans to grant visiting U.S. forces, ships and aircraft temporary access to more of its military camps to allow for a larger number of joint military exercises than are currently staged each year under an.

A larger U.S. presence could be used for disaster response and serve as a deterrent to what Philippine officials say have been recent aggressive intrusions by China into its territorials waters.

The Philippines has backed Washington’s efforts to reassert its military presence in Asia as a counterweight to China’s rise.

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), the country’s second Hamilton-class cutter in service, will leave Naval Base Guam Sunday afternoon for the last leg of its voyage to the Philippines.

“BRP Ramon Alcaraz will begin final voyage to the Philippines when it departs Guam Naval Base at 4 p.m. on Sunday, 28 July 2013,” the Philippine Embassy in Washington said.

The distance from Guam to the Philippines is 1,534 miles or 2,?469 kilometers.
The Filipino frigate had been docked at Pier X-Ray in Guam, following a 10-day voyage across the Pacific Ocean from Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

Philippine Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic earlier said the vessel is due to arrive at Subic Aug. 4, with President Aquino expected to take part in the welcome. He said the vessel will be commissioned in October and may be deployed to protect the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

The arrangement under negotiation seeks to allow American forces to visit for longer periods and be stationed on Philippine military bases.

Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, the head of the Pacific Command, said the United States was looking for access that would enable it to help the Philippines in its defense as well as to aid in responding to disasters as he reiterated stated American policy that it would not reopen bases in the Philippines.

The United States maintained large military bases in the Philippines for nearly a century to counter imperial Japan’s expansion before World War II and, later, to ensure a regional presence in the cold war.

But in 1992, the last American base in the country closed after street protests against what some saw as a painful reminder of decades of American rule, and a decision by the Senate to discontinue the US bases agreement.

The government had reiterated that no new American bases will be put up in the country and said any new agreement would be in line with the Constitution. He said the discussions with the United States involved the use of “rotational” forces.

The New York Times had quoted James Hardy, Asia-Pacific editor for IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly, saying a likely model for the use of such forces in the Philippines was the Joint Special Operations Task Force Philippines, a contingent of about 500 members of the United States military who come from various branches.

The task force, which focuses on counterterrorism, has been based on a Philippine military base in Mindanao since 2002 in a facility that is officially considered temporary.

The United States has also used its former naval base in Subic Bay for ship visits.
Subic Bay is a special economic zone catering to private investors. Last year a subsidiary of the United States defense contractor Huntington Ingalls Industries set up operation for the stated purpose of servicing United States Navy ships, suggesting to some that the American presence in the area would grow.

Hardy said the American military’s use of Subic and the rotational presence model used in the southern Philippines were both indications of what an American presence in the Philippines might look like.

NDFP-Mindanao condemns latest CDO bombing

Posted to the CPP Website (Jul 27): NDFP-Mindanao condemns latest CDO bombing

Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris)
NDFP Mindanao Chapter
The NDFP-Mindanao extends it sympathy to the families and friends of the victims of the latest bombing incident at the Rosario Arcade, Limketkai Mall in Cagayan de Oro City, and condemns in the strongest possible terms this dastardly act that killed six, including provincial board member RoldanLagbas, and injured 37 others.

 This was an act designed to foment sheer animosity and chaos, spreading further terror in Mindanao. We especially raise our strongest condemnation because such terrorist act targeted innocent civilians, which, for the revolutionary movement, must be brought to an end.

After the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and even before the Aquino III’s SONA, there has never been peace in Mindanao, which, even until recently, has only been punctuated by the almost daily occurrence of violence in both Moro and non-Moro areas.

Clearly, Aquino III’s braggadocio has completely misled the people into believing that a prelude to lasting peace has already been achieved in Moro areas in Mindanao. In fact, the appalling manifestation of un-peace is now occurring even in relatively peaceful areas like Cagayan de Oro City.

The failure of past and present ruling classes and reactionary regimes to address the root causes of the armed conflict both in non-Moro and Moro areas in Mindanao is the main cause why peace in Mindanao has remained elusive these past decades.

The people cannot rely on the US-Aquino regime to protect their lives and livelihoods, thus it is imperative, now more than ever, to unite to protect themselves and struggle against such forms of senseless terrorism.

Army battalion begins retraining in Zamboanga Sur

From the Mindanao Examiner blog  (Jul 27): Army battalion begins retraining in Zamboanga Sur

Brig. Gen. Felicito Virgilio Trinidad speaks before members of the 32nd Infantry Battalion at the 1st Infantry Division headquarters in Zamboanga del Sur's Labangan town.

The Philippine Army’s 1st Infantry Division has formally opened a two-month reorganizational training for members of the 32nd Infantry Battalion in Labangan town in Zamboanga del Sur province.

Capt. Jefferson Somera, the division spokesman, quoted Lt. Col. Alex Rillera, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Education and Training, as saying that the retraining is part of the “Implementation Plan Pagsasanay Alfa.”

The training aims to develop the combat skills and knowledge of the soldiers.

“We will also refurbish their mobility equipment and at the same time strengthen their operational readiness towards excellent mission accomplishment,” Rillera said.

Brig. Gen. Felicito Virgilio Trinidad, Jr, the acting division commander, commended the accomplishments of the battalion, under Lt. Col. Johnson Jemar Aseron, in its long years of deployment in the province.

In welcoming the troops, he said: “Our core competencies, as soldiers, are fighting wars and battles, because that is what we are trained for. And we need to hone that competency so that we are always on the upper hand to protect our people and defend the integrity and sovereignty of our country against threats.”

Trinidad also emphasized the objectives of the organizational training which he summed at under the acronym “TRAIN” or Total Unit Readiness, Responsiveness or Responsibility, as a unit and as individual soldier, Acquisition of knowledge and skills, Imbibe the culture of professionalism, discipline and excellence, and Nurture the spirit of service and people oriented individual soldier and unit.

The battalion had its last retraining in 1998 and since then, it became one of the best units in the Philippine Army. The unit successful internal peace and security initiatives significantly contributed to the improved socio-economic development in the island of Basilan for the past four years, Trinidad said.

Top communist rebel leader captured in Southern Philippines

From the Mindanao Examiner blog (Jul 28): Top communist rebel leader captured in Southern Philippines

Photos show captured communist rebel leader Maria Loyda Tuzo Magpatoc

A top communist rebel leader in the southern Philippines has been captured in a raid Sunday by security forces in Digos City, officials said.

Officials said Maria Loyda Tuzo Magpatoc, the Front Secretary of the Far South Mindanao Regional Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines, was tracked down in her hideout following a long intelligence operation.

Magpatoc heads the operations of the New People’s Army in Mindanao.

Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, head of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command, said Magpatoc is one of the most wanted rebel leader in the country.

“Magpatoc will be accorded with fair trial before the court for the crimes she committed. This is how our justice system works,” Cruz said.

He said Magpatoc is responsible for the series of murders, extortion and kidnappings in Mindanao, mostly in the provinces South Cotabato, Sarangani, Davao del Sur, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, including General Santos City.

Cruz said security forces were armed with several arrest warrants against Magpatoc when soldiers and police commandos swooped down on her hideout.

In an intelligence report passed on by the army to The Manila Times, it said that Magpatoc also was the former Front Secretary of North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee early on 2000 and her operations covered the areas of Surigao and Agusan provinces.

She is also a member of the Executive Committee of Mindanao Commission, the main party organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the region.

Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, commander of the 10th Infantry Division, also praised the arrest of Magpatoc and said her capture was the result not only of the continuous intelligence operations from various law enforcement agencies, but also from intelligence information provided by the communities.

“We urged the rebels and their leaders to surrender peacefully and join us in peace and development efforts instead of fighting a senseless war,” he said.

There was no immediate statement from either the CPP or the NPA which has been fighting for decades for the establishment of a separate state in the country.

Security forces clash with bandits in Zamboanga Sibugay

From the Mindanao Examiner blog (Jul 28): Security forces clash with bandits in Zamboanga Sibugay

Government forces clashed Sunday with a group of bandits while trying to arrest them in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga Sibugay, officials said.

Soldiers and policemen engaged in a firefight with the group of Amisain Unding in the village of Sisay in Tungawan town. The fighting lasted over 5 minutes, but officials said there were no casualties from both sides.

Unding’s group managed to escape and left behind assorted munitions, identification cards and a .38-caliber revolver, according to Chief Inspector Ariel Huesca, a regional police spokesman.

He said security forces were hunting down Unding and his followers Langga Aukusa, Jomar Aukusa, Kasim Unding and others gunmen who are wanted for murders and arson.