Saturday, November 23, 2013

Video: Philippine Air Force Support Osprey During Operation Damayan

From DVIDS (Nov 21): Video: Philippine Air Force Support Osprey During Operation Damayan
Philippine Air Force members provide landing support to MV-22B Ospreys at Villamor Air Base during Operation Damayan, Nov. 21. The U.S. Marine Ospreys are part of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 262 (VMM-262), currently assigned to 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, in support of Joint Task Force 505. Produced by Staff Sgt. Joseph Digirolamo. Also available in High Definition.

Video: V-22 Osprey Aboard USS Ashland (LSD-48)

From DVIDS (Nov 22): Video: V-22 Osprey Aboard USS Ashland (LSD-48)
Footage of the V-22 Osprey, first time to ever land and take-off aboard the USS Ashland (LSD-48). Underway in the Leyte Gulf, Philippines.

MILF: CBCS holds consultation-dialogue with Ulama for Bangsamoro Unity and Solidarity

Posted to the MILF Website (Nov 23): CBCS holds consultation-dialogue with Ulama for Bangsamoro Unity and Solidarity

The Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) conducted the “Bangsamoro Leaders Consultation & Dialogue on Bangsamoro Unity and Solidarity” with Ulama (Islamic scholars) coming from different regions of Mindanao. The activity was geared to build the foundation for greater unity, solidarity and cooperation among Moro leaders.
Held early this November in Al Nor Convention Center in Cotabato City, the activity was participated by 35 Ulama and Aleemat.

Ulama, which are religious leaders, enjoy the highest respect in Muslim communities being the source of Islamic knowledge. They also play the crucial role as conciliator, teacher, consultant, and even as development catalyst.

CBCS Admin Officer Ismael Kulat gave inputs on “Mindanao Solidarity Program, The Call for Unity and Solidarity” and tackled the historical basis for Bangsamoro unity and solidarity.

Sheikh Abuhuraira Udasan, the Grand Mufti of the Dar Ul Ifta and Prof. Alzad Sattar, Undersecretary Department of Education in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), discussed the topic “The Emerging Political Realities , the need for Unity & Solidarity in the Bangsamoro.” They also gave recommendations for ways forward.

Abdulbassit Benito, CBCS Project Officer, facilitated the workshop on how the Ulama can help re-echo similar activity in their respective communities. The activity gained appreciation and support from the Muslim religious sector.

CBCS considers unity and solidarity of the Moro leaders to include the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro traditional leaders (Datus/Sultans), and Moro political leaders, as a crucial factor that will help realize the aspiration of the Bangsamoro for real and lasting peace and development.

The consultation has the theme “Laying the Foundation Towards Transition Governance,” and is part of the Mindanao Solidarity Project 2 (MSP2) of the CBCS.

CBCS is an alliance of 29 Moro organizations in Mindanao which has common objective - to attain genuine peace and development in Southern Philippines.

Guiamel M. Alim, CBCS Chair, urged the Ulama to partake in the Bangsamoro unity and solidarity effort because they have the advantage as respected personalities in the Muslim society.

Benito noted that the data gathered from the consultations will be consolidated and submitted to the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, which is tasked to draft the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as stipulated in Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB).

FAB is a working document signed by GPH and MILF negotiating panels in October last year which laid down the foundation for the creation of Bangsamoro Political Entity that will replace the Autonomous Region on Muslim Mindanao which is considered as “failed experiment” by President Aquino.

The two parties are currently dwelling on the FAB Annexes on Normalization and Power-sharing. Thereafter, a comprehensive peace agreement will be signed. The FAB with complete annexes will be the reference in the formulation of BBL.

The BBL need to be put into law by Congress and approved by the Bangsamoro people through a plebiscite. If realized, setting up the Bangsamoro Government which is also autonomous in nature will be the legacy of President Aquino.

The Bangsamoro people have been yearning for good and transparent governance with strong footing on Shariah (Islamic Jurisprudence) to be implemented in its homeland.

MILF: Editorial -- Reality versus illusion

Editorial posted to the MILF Website (Nov 23): Reality versus illusion

Many a person behaves on the basis of distorted senses or illusion believing it is the real thing. The moment he or she decides while on this state will find himself or herself in regrettable odd situation later.
With all humility and respect, we say here that the GRP-MNLF Final Peace Agreement (FPA) of 1996 cannot be asserted any more effectively. There are intervening events that render it relegated. We hope the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) reads the signs on the wall.

Of course, we are not saying there are no good elements of this agreement. Certainly, there are several. This is the reason that it is almost a certainty that the GPH-MILF Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) would contain a provision paying tribute to these gains of the Bangsamoro people contained in GRP-MNLF FPA. Surely, the essence of some of these provisions will reappear in the CPA.

Besides and more importantly, all the agreements signed by the MNLF from 1976 onward are part of the cumulative achievements of the Bangsamoro struggle for self-determination. They are not in vain; they will be cast as part of this long and glorious history.

It is now time for all those who still genuinely believe in unity, solidarity, and the inclusiveness of the struggle to rally directly or indirectly behind the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) as the real key to solving the Bangsamoro Question, short of independence. Modesty aside, the FAB contains all the good elements of the GRP-MNLF FPA and still added many more ingredients to make the Bangsamoro really self-governing, while remaining effectively as part of the larger Philippine state. Powers and wealth are clearly shared and defined, the essence of real asymmetrical relationship. The establishment of the provisional government sought for decades by the MNLF will be realized with the setting up of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) in 2015, God willing!

 What more do we want. Only an agreement on independence can surpass the FAB. The four Annexes, two of which are currently discussed, will make it more defining and concrete. We have all the gain – and nothing to lose—with the FAB. Therefore, all what is needed is for everybody to come to terms and re-embraced as brothers as one people, one struggle, and one destiny.

Taiwan plots rescue of likely Abu hostage

From the Daily Tribune (Nov 24): Taiwan plots rescue of likely Abu hostage

Taiwan believed one of its nationals taken hostage last week while having a vacation in Malaysia is now in Mindanao and had drawn up a plan to resolve the abduction, Taipei Times said in an article.

“There is an integrated effort and everything has been properly planned for,” the newspaper quoted Taiwanese Minister of National Defense Yen Ming as saying.

Yen declined to give further information on the plan insisting that the government is “keeping a low profile” on the rescue effort for the safety of Chang An-wei, a 58-year-old businesswoman based in Shanghai.

Taiwan said it has been working with Malaysian and Philippine authorities to secure Chang’s safe return since she disappeared from the Malaysian resort island of Pom Pom, off the east coast of Sabah, following a Nov. 15 attack that left her male companion Hsu Li-min dead.

Malaysia’s English-language daily the Star also indicated that Malaysian police have obtained a recording of a conversation with the gunmen responsible for the abduction of Chang.

“We are quite sure that she is safe,” Malaysian Inspector-General of Police Kalid Abu Bakar was quoted as saying last Thursday. “Our officers are in Manila to discuss matters with the Philippine authorities. We have also involved the Taiwan representative in the Philippines,” Abu Bakar said.

Taiwan’s Minister of the Interior Lee Hong-yuan had said that Chang was taken to the Philippines unharmed by the attackers.

Lee also revealed that a telephone call believed to be from her captors mentioned a payment of ransom. Taipei Times said Lee’s revelation has led to a swirl of media speculation in Taiwan and Malaysia, including estimates on the amount of money demanded.

Criminal Investigation Bureau officials yesterday called for an end to the speculation, which they fear may endanger the safety of the hostage and hamper the investigation.
Abu Bakar also urged the media not to reveal details of the victim’s family to protect her safety.

Sabah Police commissioner Hamza Taib was said to have met with the victim’s brother, Chang Ta-kung, and assured him that Malaysian law enforcement is doing all it can to help locate her.

The Star reported that they likely took her to the Philippine island of Tawi Tawi and then to Jolo Island, often called the country’s kidnapping capital.

Malaysian police earlier said Al-Qaeda linked terror group the Abu Sayyaf was believed to be behind the killing of the Taiwanese tourist and the kidnapping of Chang.

The unidentified gunmen shot dead Li-Min Hsu, 57, and kidnapped Chang, 56, on Pom Pom Island, a popular scuba diving location in the eastern state of Sabah on Borneo island.

The incident — in a remote part that was rocked earlier this year by a bloody Philippine militant incursion — has underlined continued threats in the region despite a Malaysian security clampdown.

Abu Bakar said the Islamist extremist group Abu Sayyaf was suspected to be behind the attack. “We believe the terrorists were able to slip in because there has been a big mobilisation of resources of the Philippine armed forces from the country’s south to the north to help out in relief work for victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan,” he was quoted by national news agency Bernama as saying.

The record-breaking typhoon, which hit the Philippines eight days ago has left thousands dead and affected millions.

2 killed as soldiers, leftist rebels clash in Surigao

From the Philippine Star (Nov 24): 2 killed as soldiers, leftist rebels clash in Surigao

Two people were killed as government troops clashed with leftist rebels in the southern part of the country over the weekend, the military said today.

A soldier and a suspected New People's Army (NPA) insurgent died after a 25-minute encounter at Alipao village, Alegria, in Surigao del Norte province around 12:20 p.m. Saturday, Alberto Caber, spokesperson of the military's Eastern Mindanao Command, said.

Caber told Xinhua in a text message that Philippine army soldiers were conducting security patrol when they chanced upon an undetermined number of NPA guerrillas led by alias Oto of Front 16, sparking a fierce firefight.

"Recovered from the slain NPA were two unexploded improvised explosive devices (IEDs)," said Caber, adding security operations in the area was continuing.

Lieutenant General Ricardo Rainier Cruz III, East Mindanao Command commander, reminded military field commanders to be vigilant in their joint operations with Philippine National Police, as the leftist NPA has intensified its atrocities against troops and civilians in the region.

CDO town tightens security vs NPAs

From the Philippine Star (Nov 24): CDO town tightens security vs NPAs

The provincial police office in Misamis Oriental has stepped up  security measures in the town of Villanueva following reports that the New People’s Army (NPA) plans to attack four business establishments in the municipality.

Aside from police visibility, checkpoints and nighttime patrols, the local police reviewed the security plans of the establishments, according to Senior Inspector Rogelio Labor Jr.

Labor said they are coordinating with the Philippine Army in monitoring areas in Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon that might be used as entry points of the rebels.

He said these measures were prompted by a recent rebel attack on a piggery farm in Bukidnon and at Del Monte farm in Camp Phillips.

“We cannot confirm however if the reported threats come from the NPA or bandits,” Labor said as he confirmed that the Philippine Sinter, Steag State Power, Coca Cola, and Iligan Alloy had received letters “from the NPA” asking for donations amounting from P1 million to P5 million.

For his part, Villanueva Mayor Julio Uy said he was unaware of the reported threat.

Rebel, Army trooper killed in Surigao Del Norte clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 24): Rebel, Army trooper killed in Surigao Del Norte clash

A New People's Army (NPA) fighter was killed along with a government trooper following an encounter in Barangay Alipao, Alegria town,Surigao Del Norte Saturday afternoon.

Capt. Alberto Caber, Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson, said that their troopers were on routine security patrol when they met the rebel force around 12:20 p.m.

In the 25-minute clash, a rebel fighter was killed while a trooper died.

Recovered from the slain rebel were two improvised explosive devices.

Caber said that pursuit operations are still ongoing against the rebel force which are believed to be under the NPA's Front 16.

NPA rebels execute farmer suspected of being military asset

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 24): NPA rebels execute farmer suspected of being military asset

Suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels executed a coconut farmer in Barangay Pood, Guinobatan, Albay, Sunday morning.

A report reaching Chief Supt. Victor P. Deona, Bicol regional director, identified the victim as Crispin Ordina, 53, married and resident of the village.

The report said Ordina was making copra in his farm at about 10:00 a.m. when the rebels arrived and forcibly took him.

The rebels took the victim some 20 meters away from his place of work and shot him on his head and body, killing him instantly, it added.

The gunshots were heard by Ordina’s relatives who immediately rushed to the place of killing and saw the victim sprawled on the ground.

The report said the suspects casually walked away.

It added that the NPA guerrillas suspected Ordina to be a military and police asset in their place who gave information on their activities.

The relatives, however, denied the accusation and claimed that Ordina was just an ordinary coconut farmer.

DND plans to buy 2 more C-130

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 24): DND plans to buy 2 more C-130

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Voltaire Gazmin has announced that plans are afoot to acquire two more Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" cargo planes for the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

He added that this acquisition is part of the DND efforts to upgrade and make the PAF more capable in its various missions which includes disaster relief.

The C-130s is now the aerial work horse of the government in its ongoing relief missions in the "Yolanda" battered provinces of the Visayas Region.

The PAF currently operates three C-130s in its fleet.

DND to acquire 12 155mm howitzers

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): DND to acquire 12 155mm howitzers

In a bid to increase the firepower and combat capability of the military, the Department of National Defense (DND) announced that it is acquiring 12 units of towed 155 howitzers for P438,620,000.

This includes 240 rounds of 155mm HE (high explosive) and integrated logistic support.

Interested bidders must have completed a similar project within the last 10 years and must be the manufacturers of the guns themselves.

Bid opening is at Dec. 5 at the DND Bidding and Awards Committee Conference Room, Right Wing, Basement, DND Building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The guns must be used by at least two military establishments.

Talks for possible acquisition of 3rd Hamilton-class cutter still ongoing, says PN

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Talks for possible acquisition of 3rd Hamilton-class cutter still ongoing, says PN

Philippine Navy flag officer-in-charge Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano has said that talks and discussions for the possible acquisition of a third Hamilton-class cutter is still ongoing.

"This is still in the process of contention; we are still determining the operational requirements that are seen and at the same time also determining what are the necessary resources that are available to fund this requirement," he added.

The PN has acquired two Hamilton-class cutters and is using these vessels to patrol and guard the country's vast maritime territories.

The latest acquisition, the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16), was commissioned last Friday.

"The decision to acquire these ships is part of an overall plan of the PN to boost its capabilities and be more efficient," Alano said.

PN to be a more capable force with the arrival of AW-109s

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): PN to be a more capable force with the arrival of AW-109s

With the Philippine Navy scheduled to take delivery of three AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power" helicopters it ordered by December, PN flag officer-in-charge Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano has said he expects the naval service to be a more capable force.

He added that the helicopters will be deployed aboard the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) and will greatly increase the monitoring and maritime domain awareness capabilities of the two ships.

"This will extend the surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities of our ships, making them ideal vessels to protect the country's vast territorial waters," Alano stressed.

The PN's AW-109 helicopter deal is worth P1.33 billion.

The AW-109 "Power" is a three-ton class, eight-seat helicopter powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW206C engines.

The spacious cabin is designed to be fitted with a number of modular equipment packages for quick and easy conversion between roles.

The aircraft’s safety features include a fully separated fuel system, dual hydraulic boost system, dual electrical systems and redundant lubrication and cooling systems for the main transmission and engines.

The AW-109 has established itself as the world’s best selling light-twin helicopter for maritime missions.

Its superior speed, capacity and productivity combined with reliability and ease of maintenance make it the most cost-effective maritime helicopter in its class.

For shipboard operations, the aircraft has a reinforced-wheeled landing gear and deck mooring points as well as extensive corrosion protection measures.

The ability to operate from small ships in high sea state enables the AW-109 to perform its mission when many other helicopters would be confined to the ship’s hangar.

Over 550 AW-109 "Power" and AW-109 light utility helicopters have been ordered for commercial, para-public and military applications by customers in almost 50 countries.

Japan sends military vessel, 1,180 volunteers to help in 'Yolanda' rehab efforts

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 23): Japan sends military vessel, 1,180 volunteers to help in 'Yolanda' rehab efforts

The Japanese government, which has weathered its share of natural calamities, has sent a joint task force with 1,180 volunteers to help in the relief and reconstruction effort in areas devastated by super typhoon 'Yolanda'.

A military vessel from Japan arrived Friday morning in Tacloban, carrying the volunteers, relief goods and heavy equipment.

Two more vessels are on their way to Tacloban, said Commander Takashi Inoue, deputy director for public affairs of Japan’s Maritime Self-Defense.

He said the 1,180 volunteers, including doctors and engineers, will help in the “Operation Sangkay,” a joint effort of the Japan Disaster Relief and Self-Defense Force. Sangkay means “friend” in Waray.

Lt. General Roy Deveraturda, commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Central Command based in Camp Lapu-Lapu, Barangay Lahug, Cebu City, said the help from Japan will speed up rehabilitation efforts in the typhoon-ravaged areas.

“Just like all the other help extended to us, we are grateful for Japan’s contribution as it will help a lot in the speedy recovery of the affected areas,” he told reporters.

He said he met Friday Rear Admiral Hisanori Sato, commander of the joint task force, at the Mactan Benito Ebuen Air Base.

Deveraturda said the National Government is preparing for the reconstruction phase in Tacloban and other hard-hit areas.

“We have provided for the first part, the survival. We have food, water and medicines. While we are sustaining that, we are also thinking about what should be the next phase. The objective is to restore 100 percent normalcy in typhoon-affected areas,” he said.

Deveraturda said the Japanese volunteers will be stationed in Tacloban but their operation may extend to other areas like Samar.

He said the contingent from Japan has “substantial capability” and will help restore power lines and rebuild important infrastructure, like hospitals and airports.

“The outpouring of support is overwhelming,” he said.

Abducted gov't exec's family appeals for his safe release

From the Philippine Star (Nov 23): Abducted gov't exec's family appeals for his safe release

The Abu Sayyaf group holding captive the Sulu provincial treasurer has yet to contact his family, prompting them to appeal for the safe release of the victim, according to security official.

Maj. Franco Alano, spokesman of Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said government forces in Sulu continue to investigate the motive of the abduction of Jess Cabelin, 60, provincial treasurer in the evening  of Nov. 18  in his sleeping quarters near the provincial capitol at Barangay Bangkal, Patikul town.

“Until now the wife of Cabelin disclosed they have not yet been  contacted  by the kidnappers and they have no idea what is the demand of the group that is keeping the victim,” Alano said.

Alano said that they suspect that the motive of the abduction could be to demand ransom money.

The Joint Task Force Sulu and the 2nd Marine Brigade identified the kidnappers of Cabelin as Abu Sayyaf sub-leaders Hatib Sawadjaan and Julli Ikit, whose group was responsible for the spate of kidnappings in Sulu.

The group was still holding captive a telecommunication technician and a security escort early this month in Patikul.

The other victims, who remained in captivity of the Abu Sayyaf group, include three foreigners, and two Filipino independent film makers.

Freedom after a month in captivity

From the Manila Bulletin (Nov 23): Freedom after a month in captivity

After being held hostage for one month somewhere in the mountainous boundary of Agusan del Sur and Compostela Valley (ComVal), the kidnapped barangay (village) officials finally gained their freedom after they were released Friday evening at the Bega area of Laak in ComVal.

The released officials were identified as village chieftain Lito I. Andalique, and village councilmen Balaba I. Andalique, Marvin S. Bantuasan, and Crisanto M. Piodos, and Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) member Pepe Subla, all of Barangay Sabud in Loreto town, Agusan del Sur.

These village officials were abducted last October 24 by alleged members of the guerrilla-Front Committee 34 of the CPP-NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) – just five days before the conduct of the Barangay Elections.

One of the abducted officials, identified as Maria Gina V. Bantuasan, was released on the same day of abduction, said Loreto Mayor Dario E. Otaza.

Otaza said the victims were released to the members of the Provincial and Municipal Crisis Management Committee at 6 p.m. at the Bega area.

He also said that the victims were released without any ransom.

“Thank God that they were released without any untoward incident,” said Otaza.
On Saturday morning, the released hostages were reunited with their respective families at the residence of Otaza.

They will be placed under medical checkup, and on Monday, they will be sworn into office as winners in the recent October 28 Barangay Elections in their area, added Otaza.

It can be recalled that the freed officials were abducted when some 40 heavily armed NPA’s swooped down on a newly established satellite peace and development team patrol base of the Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion while the troops were conducting emersion in a remote village in Loreto town. A soldier, identified as Pfc. Joe-Gil Cabillo of that same unit, was wounded during the attack.

Army intel against NPA cited

From the Manila Bulletin (Nov 23): Army intel against NPA cited

For undercover military work against enemies of the state, soldiers from 24th Infantry Battalion  led by Captain Ramon C. Rayala, Jr. and 1Lt. Wilson H. Usman, Jr. were commended the other day for successful intelligence operations against remnants of  the New People’s Army (NPA) in the Tarlac-Zambales area.

The Philippine Army (PA) cited the operations waged by the 24th Infantry Battalion, under Lt. Col. Gilamr Galicia, for resulting in the seizure of two M-16 rifles; assorted military items; communication equipment; and subversive documents from the NPA in Barangay Pinagrealan, Candelaria, Zambales.

Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) commander, said: “Your remarkable achievements bespeaks well of your adherence to what is expected of a Soldier as specified in my Command guidance ‘Kawal ay Disiplinado, Bawal Abusado Dapat Asintado’ that resulted in ‘zero’ collateral damage and casualty on our troops and civilians in the community.”

Catapang said the success of intelligence operation last November 18was a manifestation of commander’s efforts in dedicating the support to our government to track, monitor, hunt down and engage the enemy.

STRONG PROTEST | Japan says it 'can never accept' air defense zone set up by China

From InterAksyon (Nov 23): STRONG PROTEST | Japan says it 'can never accept' air defense zone set up by China

Reuters file photo of Senkaku Islands

Japan on Saturday lodged a strong protest with China after Beijing announced it was setting up an "air defense identification zone" over the East China Sea that includes disputed islands, the foreign ministry said.

Junichi Ihara, who heads the Japanese foreign ministry's Asian and Oceanian affairs bureau, made the protest by phone to Han Zhiqiang, minister at the Chinese Embassy in Japan, the ministry said in a statement.

He said Japan could "never accept the zone set up by China" as it includes the Tokyo-controlled Senkaku islands, the statement said.

China also claims the islands, calling them Diaoyu.

Ihara also told the Chinese side that such move by Beijing would "escalate" current bilateral tensions over the islands, branding it "very dangerous".

Japan's vice foreign minister Akitaka Saiki plans to summon Chinese ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua as early as possible on Monday and state Japan's position on the matter, Kyodo News reported.

Along with the creation of the zone in the East China Sea, the Chinese defense ministry released a set of aircraft identification rules that must be followed by all planes entering the area, under penalty of intervention by the military.

Aircraft are expected to provide their flight plan, clearly mark their nationality, and maintain two-way radio communication allowing them to "respond in a timely and accurate manner to the identification inquiries" from Chinese authorities.

Sino-Japanese relations have remained at a low-ebb for more than a year as a result of the bitter territorial row, which was revived when Japan nationalized three of the archipelago's five islands in September 2012.

CPP: Extension of ceasefire in Yolanda-devasted areas

From the CPP Website (Nov 23): Extension of ceasefire in Yolanda-devasted areas

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines hereby announces a one-month extension of the earlier ceasefire declaration issued to commands of the New People’s Army (NPA) and units of the people’s militias operating in the areas devastated by the November 8 supertyphoon Yolanda (international name Haiyan).

The ceasefire declaration, which practically commenced on 8 November 2013, and was originally set to expire on 2359 hours of 24 November will now remain in effect up to 2359 hours of 24 December.

This ceasefire declaration covers the following regional commands of the NPA:

Eastern Visayas Regional Command
Panay Regional Command
Central Visayas Regional Command
Negros Island Command
The ceasefire declaration is being extended by another month in view of the extent and gravity of the devastation of the supertyphoon that has been made worse by the gross negligence and inutility of the ruling Aquino regime. This will allow all committees of the people’s democratic government, respective commands of the NPA and units of the people’s militias in the devastated areas to continue with rehabilitation efforts.

Revolutionary forces in the area are currently busy in facilitating the distribution of relief supply from various people’s organizations and media outfits. They are engaged in the reconstruction of homes, as well as in the mobilization of people in efforts to resume production and wage mass struggles. Disaster victims are being organized in order to assert their demand for reforms to address their urgent needs. The demand of the peasant masses for land reform and of the fisherfolk for fisheries reform have become particularly urgent in the devastated areas.

Revolutionary forces in Luzon and Mindanao have carried out efforts to generate funds and supplies for the victims of the recent disaster. They are in close coordination with media and people’s organizations which are busy extending assistance to the devastated areas.

Respective units of the NPA and the people’s militias shall remain in active defense mode within the period of effectivity of this declaration. They shall exert all-out effort to assist the masses but will exercise great caution to remain invisible to the enemy and avoid vulnerabilities. They should maintain a heightened sense of alertness against the hostile acts and encroachments of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in areas within the scope of authority of the people’s democratic government.

This is in view of the fact that despite the widespread sufferings and hardships brought about by the recent disaster, the Aquino regime and the AFP have refused to relent in their offensive military operations and campaigns of suppression being carried out under the Oplan Bayanihan war against the people. The AFP has deployed several specialized units for transportation into Eastern Visayas. This is, however, a token effort considering the fact that it has 10,000 soldiers under the command of the 8th Infantry Division which remain focused on carrying out “counterinsurgency” operations within the region and continue to be on an offensive rampage. The Aquino regime has virtually garrisoned Tacloban City and placed it under military rule.

In Panay and Negros, the 3rd Infantry Division adamantly carries out offensive military operations in complete disregard for the recent devastation. As a result of the relentless offensive operations of the forces of the 3rd ID, two successive armed encounters erupted between a local NPA unit carrying out rehabilitation efforts and a platoon of the 47th IB on offensive operations in Barangay Magbalyo, Kabankalan City last 16 November, resulting in the wounding of an AFP soldier.

While maintaining a high degree of alertness against the offensive operations of the AFP, the NPA and the organized peasant masses must heighten efforts to wage revolutionary mass struggles to advance the democratic cause of the people in the face of the disaster and grave economic hardships.

The CPP leadership rejects the MalacaƱang proposal for a nationwide ceasefire of indefinite duration. The CPP ceasefire declaration is localized and has a definite period of effectivity with the aim of addressing the urgent need of extending emergency services to the people and carrying out rehabilitation efforts.

A ceasefire of longer duration and nationwide scope can be carried out only on the basis of fundamental socio-economic and political reforms. Otherwise, such a ceasefire will be of no benefit to the people and will only be taken advantage of by the most reactionary and fascist elements to push for the pacification and surrender of the people’s revolutionary forces.

If MalacaƱang is really serious in its proposal, then it should immediately end its unilateral suspension of peace negotiations and resume talks with the duly authorized panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and forge agreements on the basis, parameters and mechanics of such a ceasefire.

CPP/NDF: PKM-NDF calls for intensified land occupation to rebuild, expand revolutionary mass base in typhoon-hit areas

Posted to the CPP Website (Nov 24): PKM-NDF calls for intensified land occupation to rebuild, expand revolutionary mass base in typhoon-hit areas
Andres Agtalon
Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid

The Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid (PKM), a revolutionary peasant organization allied with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) today called on all its organizations in typhoon Yolanda-devastated areas to launch intensified land occupation and contribute to the immediate rehabilitation, recovery, and expansion of the revolutionary mass base.

PKM spokesperson Andres Agtalon said that “super typhoon Yolanda’s aftermath not only paralyzed the reactionary government but the big landlords themselves.”

“Farmers cannot rely on big landlords to help out in rebuilding their lives and agriculture in typhoon-devastated areas. The PKM led by revolutionary government committees together with the New People’s Army can seize the initiative and launch intensified land occupation for the immediate rehabilitation, recovery, and expansion of the revolutionary mass base,” says Agtalon.

“The occupation of vast lands is just in the face of the Aquino regime’s ineptitude and incompetence in helping out the survivors and victims of the typhoon,” Agtalon added.

At the same time, Agtalon said, “the PKM and the NPA should frustrate all efforts by the landlord Aquino regime to perpetuate big landlords’ control over the lands occupied by revolutionary peasants.”

“The Aquino regime and its cohorts’ maneuvers to return the lands to big landlords, and to local and foreign agribusinesses, must be confronted with militant mass struggles,” Agtalon said.

'Gunmen still in Tawi Tawi island'

From the Star Online (Nov 23): 'Gunmen still in Tawi Tawi island'

KOTA KINABALU: Philippine security officials believe that a group of gunmen holding abducted Taiwanese tourist Chang An Wei are still holed up in one of the smaller islands around the southern Tawi Tawi province.

Philippines National Police Sulu provincial chief Supt Abraham Orbita said inclement sea conditions were preventing the gunmen in bringing the 58-year-old Chang to Jolo island, the stronghold of the Abu Sayyaf terror group.

“At the moment the sea currents are simply too strong for a safe crossing by boat,” he told The Star yesterday.

He said police officials had been on the lookout for Chang since her abduction from a chalet at the Pom Pom Island Resort, off Semporna in Sabah’s east coast on Nov 15.

“We have not received any report of their arrival in Jolo as yet. It is likely they are still at one of the smaller islands in Tawi Tawi.”

Philippines military Sulu Task Force commander Brig Gen Jose Joriel Cenabre had also said that the abductors were likely to be kidnap-for-ransom criminals who intended to turn over their victim to one of the several Abu Sayyaf groups based in Jolo.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Defence Minister Yen Ming was quoted by Central News Agency as saying that Taiwan already had a unified plan to rescue Chang.

He had said that Taiwan could not simply send troops to the Philippines for that purpose as the abduction was an international case.