Sunday, December 1, 2013

Armed men shoot dead 3 civilians in Bukidnon

From InterAksyon (Dec 1): Armed men shoot dead 3 civilians in Bukidnon

The military on Sunday said armed men believed to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA) killed three civilians Sunday morning in Sitio San Abel, Barangay Liarayon, Talakag, Bukidnon.

An initial incident report from the Army’s 4th Infantry Division said the incident happened at around 3 a.m. when armed men barged into the house of a certain Eddie Gawahan.

“After several minutes, a volume of gunfire was heard in the vicinity which resulted in the death of three civilians. After which, the perpetrators withdrew toward the upper portion of Sitio Kaulayanan, Barangay Basak in Lantapan, Bukidnon,” the military said.

Responding government troops recovered the bodies of the dead civilians bathed in their own blood several meters away from Gawahan.

The police have yet to release its official report and the identities of the victims.

The MNLF Chairman and its delegations acknowledged the invitation from the OIC to attend the 40th OIC-Conference of Foreign Ministers Session this December 2013, InshaAllah!

Posted to the Facebook page of Nur Misuari (Dec 1): The MNLF Chairman and its delegations acknowledged the invitation from the OIC to attend the 40th OIC-Conference of Foreign Ministers Session this December 2013, InshaAllah!

In spite of all the FITNAH of the KUFR and the JAMAATUL MUNAFIQUN, the GENUINE MNLF, under the leadership of Professor Dr. Nur P. Misuari, is still recognized by the OIC and its 57 Member States as the "sole legitimate representative" of t...he Bangsamoro People and/or Nation.

An invitation to the 40th OIC-CFM Anuual Session this December 2013 was sent to H.E. Professor Dr. Nur P. Misuari from OIC Secretary General H.E. Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.
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Deveraturda to assume AFP WesCom post

From ABS-CBN (Dec 1): Deveraturda to assume AFP WesCom post

Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda will finally sit as the new commander of the Armed Forces Western Command on Wednesday.

Deveraturda was supposed to assume the position on November 8 but the ceremony was indefinitely postponed following the landfall of super typhoon Yolanda.

As then commander of the Cebu-based AFP Central Command, he headed the military’s disaster response and relief operations in Tacloban City and other areas devastated by Yolanda.

“It (situation) is slowly on the road to recovery so the AFP leadership saw it necessary to already continue with the turnovers, so that these new commanders can already start working in their new positions,” AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said.

Zagala is also referring to Maj. Gen. John Bonafos who will replace Deveraturda in Centcom. Bonafos is the outgoing commander of the elite Army Special Operations Command.

Zagala said Deveraturda’s transfer to Wescom is relevant since it has jurisdiction over Palawan and the disputed West Philippine Sea.

“Western Command is our frontier…It always been a traditional assignment for Naval and Air Force officers. We need the expertise of Gen. Deveraturda because he is a seasoned Air Force pilot with many hours clocked in,” he said.

Deveraturda, formerly 2nd Air Division commander and AFP deputy chief of staff for plans, is “well set" to take over the position of Western Command chief and "watch over our interest in the Kalayaan Island Group,” Zagala added.

Defense set to acquire P700-M howitzers, ammunitions

From ABS-CBN (Dec 1): Defense set to acquire P700-M howitzers, ammunitions

The Department of National Defense (DND) has announced the public bidding for the purchase of P700 million worth of howitzers and ammunitions.

Assistant Defense Secretary and DND-Bids and Awards Committee chairman Efren Fernandez said the acquisition of 12 units of 155mm Towed Howitzer has an approved budget of P438.6 million.

The other project, which has a budget of P303.8 million, requires the purchase of 5,990 rounds of ammunition for 25mm gun, 43,578 rounds of ammunition for 40mm gun, and 4,500 rounds of ammunition for 105mm gun and explosives.

He said the acquisitions will be for the use of the 80,000-strong Philippine Army, which is at the forefront of addressing internal threats.

The military is aiming to defeat the New People’s Army and the Abu Sayyaf on or before the end of the term of President Aquino in July 2016 as provided in the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan.

The projects will be via open competitive bidding as anchored on the Government Procurement Act. Local and foreign bidders are welcome.

The howitzers must be delivered within 360 days from the opening of the letter of credit, while the ammunitions will have to be delivered within 210 to 240 days.

Gov't forces clash with NPA rebels in Bulacan

From ABS-CBN (Dec 1): Gov't forces clash with NPA rebels in Bulacan

Government forces clashed with members of the New People's Army (NPA) who were allegedly extorting food from residents of Dona Remedios town in Bulacan, the military said.

Maj. Emmanuel Garcia, commander of the 1st Civil Relations Group based in Camp Aquino in Tarlac City, said troops from the Army's 48th Infantry Battalion were sent to Sitio Maputi in Barangay Camachin after receiving reports that a number of rebels were allegedly extorting food items from residents of the community and other nearby areas.

The group caught up with the rebels at around 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. A 30-minute firefight ensued thereafter.

“(The platoon) was dispatched to conduct security patrol due to persistent reports of people in the presence of armed men in the locality which resulted to a gun battle,” said Garcia.

The Army recovered an M-14 rifle, a laptop, a portable DVD player, a cellular phone, a transistor radio, a sack of rice, one pack of sardines, two backpacks and subversive documents from the alleged rebels.

No one was reported killed or injured from the government forces. The military believes members of the opposite party were wounded.

A similar clash with NPA rebels happened last January in Barangay Kalakawan, resulting in the death of seven rebels. One of the rebels turned out to be a member of the Morong 43.

Bangsamoro government: ‘Not sovereign’

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Dec 1): Bangsamoro government: ‘Not sovereign’

The replacement of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (Armm) with the Bangsamoro government does not mean that it will become sovereign from the Philippine government, officials said.

The Bangsamoro government is an autonomous political entity intended to replace the Armm. It is the product of the preliminary peace agreement, the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, to achieve peace.

The approval of the preliminary peace agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH) was signed during a peace talk in Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia October last year.

Ryan Rosauro, peace partnership outreach coordinator of GIZ-Civilian peace service of Lanap Peace partnership, said: “The Bangsamoro government will be under the wings of the Philippine state.”

He added the citizenship of the people under the territory of the Bangsamoro government would still be Filipinos.

Bangsamoro Constitution

Advocacy officer of Mindanao peoples’ caucus, Candido Aparece, added the Bangsamoro law would still be subjected to the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

However, he said, the proponents of the Bangsamoro law can propose a bill to revise parts of the Philippine Constitution.

“If the proponents of the Bangsamoro law can spot a defect in the Philippine constitution, it can propose a revision to congress,” said Aparece.

Bangsamoro police

Aparece said the Bangsamoro government would establish its own police force. However, this police force will coordinate with the Philippine National Police at the national level.

Rosauro said during the GIZ-CPS Lanao Peace Partnership Training on Reporting on the Bangsamoro Transition that there should be one Philippine National Police (PNP).

PNP Director General Alan Purisma said in a news article in Philippine Star: “There should be only one PNP. Those who want to become policemen should pass the Napolcom requirements to further promote professionalism in the police force.”

Purisima said his point about having one police force when the PNP was consulted during the ongoing peace negotiations between the MILF and GPH.

Rosauro said there is an independent coalition with international personalities that will study and propose a system and structure to connect the Bangsamoro police with the PNP.

“Countries like Japan and Australia are our model societies in terms of policing,” said Rosauro.

He added the policing structure of the Bangsamoro government is still under consultation with experts.

Aparece added that although it is not a separate state, it is still strong because it is a regional government, which has greater power in comparison with the present Armm.

‘Distinct from Armm’

Aparece told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro that the Bangsamoro government has more genuine political and economic autonomy than the Armm because it has a fiscal autonomy.


“It has a clear power on the sharing of revenues and resources between the Bangsamoro government and the GPH,” said Aparece.

In terms of oil and gas, Aparece said the sharing between the GPH and Bangsamoro government would be 50/50.

“That sharing is still under review and could be increased in favor of the Bangsamoro government,” he said.

Aparece said these sharing of resources and revenues cannot be found in the Armm.

Political autonomy

“It has more political autonomy because some political powers of the GPH will be transferred to the Bangsamoro government,” said Aparece.

For instance, he said the control of basic social services like education, health, public works and agriculture will be managed by the Bangsamoro government.

However, the national defense, foreign affairs and citizenship will be handled by the GPH.

“During the transition period, the power of the Bangsamoro government over education, among others, will still be shared with the GPH to aid them in governing these agencies,” he said.

He said it is possible that the Bangsamoro government might not manage it fully.

Aparece said the Armm before is just an administrative layer. However, the Bangsamoro government has genuine autonomy because it is a strong regional government.

“The around P13-billion budget of the Armm from the GPH will be granted to the Bangsamoro government in addition to the revenues it can generate,” said Aparece.

He said the Bangsamoro government would be a ministerial government because the people under it will be voting for political parties instead of individuals.

At present, series of consultations will be conducted in areas under the Bangsamoro government to come up with the Bangsamoro law.

The Bangsamoro law will be crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, a special presidential commission under the GPH.

Government to respect pullout of foreign troops bringing aid to Yolanda victims

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1): Government to respect pullout of foreign troops bringing aid to Yolanda victims

While it would have wanted them to stay longer, the Philippine government on Sunday said it will respect the decision of some foreign governments to pull out their troops bringing relief to victims of super typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan).

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said the government has to understand the situation of its neighbors who sent the aid.

“Siyempre ang ating pagnanasa ay hanggang kailangan ang kanilang pagtulong at tanggap naman natin na kailangan pa, ay sana mapalawig pa nila ang kanilang pananatili rito at yung paggawad ng assistance sa atin. Pero nasa pagpapasiya na po nila yan at hindi naman po natin mapipigilan kung kinakailangan talaga nila mag-pullout sa takdang panahon na kanilang inaakala ay makabubuti sa kanilang pangangailangan (Of course if it were up to us, we would want them to stay longer because we still need much aid. But the decision to pull out foreign troops is up to their respective governments and we are in no position to prevent that),” he said over government-run dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

The destruction brought by Yolanda on parts of the Visayas and Southern Luzon last month had triggered an outpouring of support and aid from the international community.

But some foreign governments had already indicated they are pulling out the troops that brought in relief items and services to those affected by Yolanda.

Coloma said that while the Philippine government can seek an extension of the foreign troops’ stay, it has to respect the foreign governments’ stand.

“Maari po natin silang pakiusapan pero dapat din po natin isaalang-alang ang kanilang partikular na katayuan. Yun din pong patakaran ng kanilang bansa sa pag-deploy ng pwersa o tauhan at kagamitan tulad ng ginawa nila, kailangan din naman igalang natin ang pagpapasiya ng mga pamahalaan na nagpadala ng tulong (We must also consider and respect the situation of the foreign governments and their deployment of troops to help bring relief),” the Communications Secretary noted.

Navy choppers to be delivered 2nd week of December

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 1): Navy choppers to be delivered 2nd week of December

The Philippine Navy (PN) on Sunday announced that the three AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power", which greatly improved its maritime domain awareness capabilities, will be delivered by the second week of December.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, Navy spokesperson, said that the helicopters will be delivered this second week.

And after a few days of inspection and flight tests, it will be blessed, he added.

The AW-109s commissioning date will be announced later.

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.

It's 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 others 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, parapublic and military applications by customers in almost 50 countries.

US ‘Yolanda’ response unlikely to stir dispute with China — Angara

From the Daily Tribune (Dec 2): US ‘Yolanda’ response unlikely to stir dispute with China — Angara

The increased presence of American troops as part of the humanitarian aid of the United States government in the rehabilitation efforts in the typhoon-devastated areas would not suffice to stir a renewed tension with China, former Sen Edgardo Angara yesterday said.

“I think it’s a welcome event (the presence of US troops in the country) because in this instance on typhoon “Yolanda,” they showed that they’re a dependable and reliable ally in terms of humanitarian aid,” he told dzBB radio in an interview.

While Japan, another Philippine ally which is also engaged in a territorial dispute with China, Angara said Tokyo has ample defense forces which it can easily mobilize if the need arises although its laws prohibit it from engaging in war or any armed conflict with other countries.

“We only have fourth-hand warships acquired from the US. So we’re really lacking in that aspect, logistics. Our defense really is to depend on our allies in issues such as territorial conflict.

“So it’s important to have the backing of the US government and its military defense that has been responsible in restoring peace for the past four decades in the Pacific region. The reason the Asia-Pacific region prospered was because of the umbrella of security and peace courtesy of the US government, so that’s needed especially now that the Philippines is becoming an economic power. We need security and peace to achieve that,” he said.

Angara admitted that the Philippines has no capability to wage war.

“What we only want is for our rights to be respected or follow what the law says, the rule of law, that should also be done in our international relations.”

Even the Japanese and South Korean governments are also relying on the power and projection of the US government as part of their leverage in waging war with other countries.

But despite the unresolved issues with China over territorial claims, Angara dismissed the possibility of the matter resulting to armed fight with the Chinese government.

“In this time and circumstance I don’t think that will happen because unlike in the past when there’s no restraining hand such as the United Nations (UN), there’s no interlocking trade and investment interests for each country. That’s what can prevent the eruption of war, the interlocking interests and UN international mechanism,” he said.

Angara has organized a roundtable discussion on the maritime disputes in Southeast Asia through his Angara Center for Law and Economics slated this month.

While he will be delivering the keynote speech, a number of resource speakers have been invited and one of them, Shen Dingli of Fudan University in Shanghai who expressed belief that it’s still not too late to work out some compromise among all claimants, China included.

Muslim groups urge MILF, MNLF to unite

From the Mindanao Examiner blog site (Dec 1): Muslim groups urge MILF, MNLF to unite

Muslims groups here have called on two Moro fronts to unify their efforts in advancing the interests of the Bangsamoro people.

“[The unity between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)] is very important. This is to facilitate discussions in the peace process,” Ali T. Yacub, president of a Muslim group called Golden Crescent.

Yacub, who is also one of the conveners of the Interreligious Solidarity Movement for Peace in this city, said there is a need for the two fronts to come into terms and address their differences.

Both fronts have been at odds for years due to ideology differences and to some extend the issue of Moro ethnolinguistic division. The MNLF has huge followers in Western Mindanao, while the MILF controls the mainland Mindanao.

Unity of purpose is the emphasis not the movement,” said Alih Sakaluran Aiyub, of the Darul Ifta of the Philippines.

The Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has earlier created a Bangsamoro Coordination Forum as one of the solutions to unite the two Moro fronts in Mindanao to solve their difference in the ideologies.

Earlier, Prof. Ekemelddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the 57-nation OIC, has said the two Moro fronts should unite since the peace processes of the MILF and MNLF “revolve around the same problem and the same territory. The process of coordination between the two fronts has become of utmost necessity.”

Several international groups have earlier noted that the divisions between Moro groups in Mindanao weakens and undercuts the efforts to establish a strong and unified Bangsamoro identity, and clear shared goals.

Other Muslim groups here have also noted that before any efforts to unify the two Moro fronts, the MNLF itself should be unified.

Years after the signing of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the Ramos government and the MNLF, the organization has broken into several factions due to the leadership issues.

Datu Randy Karon, an MNLF leader based in Central Mindanao, said there are efforts to resolve the internal conflict within the MNLF.

He said dialogues have started among key senior leaders of the MNLF in unifying its efforts to move the peace process forward.

The senior leaders came from the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi, and mainland provinces of Maguindanao, and Davao areas.