Monday, December 9, 2013

CPP: CPP condemns Aquino suppression of victims in calamity-stricken areas

From the CPP Website (Dec 9): CPP condemns Aquino suppression of victims in calamity-stricken areas

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Communist Party of the Philippines
 
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns the Aquino regime and its armed forces for carrying-out the policy of suppression against the peasants, farm-workers, fisherfolk, indigeneous people and other toiling masses sectors in the calamity-stricken areas in a desperate attempt to quell the people’s disgust against the criminal negligence of the ruling regime.

“The heightened use of military and police suppression by the Aquino regime is an indication of the failure of the reactionary government to rapidly deliver relief and emergency supply in the face of grave calamities and its utter incompetence in undertaking rehabilitation,” said the CPP.

“As the Filipino people join in marking tomorrow the 65th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, they stand up in protest against the Aquino regime and its Oplan Bayanihan campaign of suppression, which has resulted in rampant violations of human rights, especially against the downtrodden sectors in urban poor communities, in the countryside, mountainous areas and coastal areas,” said the CPP.

“Despite claiming to uphold human rights as against the previous notoriously brutal military campaign plans of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) such as the Oplan Bantay Laya I & II, Oplan Bayanihan has proven itself to be no different in terms of widespread violations of human rights, victimizing civilians, children, women, elderly people, in the reactionary regime’s vain campaign to put an end to the people’s mass struggles and revolutionary armed resistance.”

“It is extremely reprehensive that the Aquino regime and the AFP have unleashed a brutal campaign of suppression against the victims of typhoon Pablo in Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental over the past year,” pointed out the CPP. “This policy of suppression against the disaster victims is now being replicated in the Yolanda-devastated areas in the Visayas.”

“The Aquino regime’s callousness is clearly evidenced by its refusal to heed the demand of the people in the areas devastated by the November 8 supertyphoon Yolanda (Haiyan) to declare a ceasefire reciprocal to the declaration issued by the central leadership of the CPP and command of the NPA,” pointed out the CPP.

“Instead of training their attention to the urgent need for delivering emergency supplies and carrying out rehabilitation through consultation and mobilization of the people, the AFP is instead, busy with continuing suppression activities, after carrying out relief supply delivery operations in the cities and near the main highways where they get media coverage,” said the CPP.

“But away from the cameras, the ground troops of the AFP, especially the 8th and 3rd Infantry Divisions, operating in the Eastern Visayas, Panay, Negros, Cebu and Bohol islands are mostly busy with suppression activities in the rural and mountainous areas.”

“Aquino has resorted to the use of armed suppression in order to quell the people in the areas of socio-economic devastation where the reactionary Aquino regime has largely failed to provide sufficient supply to assist the people in their efforts to revive economic activity,” pointed out the CPP.

http://www.philippinerevolution.net/statements/20131209_cpp-condemns-aquino-suppression-of-victims-in-calamity-stricken-areas

CPP/NPA: Isang kasapi ng CAFGU-AFP, sumuko sa Demokratikong Gobyernong Bayan! Pinalaya sa batayang makatao, matapos mangakong tuluyang lilisanin ang CAFGU-AFP at magbabagong buhay na!

Posted  to the CPP Website (Dec 9): Isang kasapi ng CAFGU-AFP, sumuko sa Demokratikong Gobyernong Bayan! Pinalaya sa batayang makatao, matapos mangakong tuluyang lilisanin ang CAFGU-AFP at magbabagong buhay na! (A member of the CAFGU-AFP surrendered to the Democratic People's Government! Released on humanitarian grounds, after promise to eventually leave the CAFGU-AFP and promise to change life!)


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Macario Liwanag (Ka Karyo)
Spokesperson
NPA Rizal Provincial Operations Command (Narciso Antazo Aramil Command)
 
Isang aktibong kasapi ng CAFGU ang sumuko sa demokratikong gobyernong bayan ng lalawigan ng Rizal. Ang nasabing CAFGU ay kasapi ng 3rd Rizal CAA Company.Sumapi siya sa CAFGU sa pangako ng AFP na gaganda ang buhay ng mga sibilyang sasapi ditto at aktibong lalabanan ang CPP-NPA-NDFP. Sumapi siya sa CAFGU noon 2001 at aktibong kasapi nito hanggang sa magpasya siyang pakinggan ang kanyang mga kamag-anak na umalis na sa CAFGU at sumuko sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan upang makapamuhay ng malaya sa piling ng kanyang pamilya sa Rodriguez, Rizal.

Naganap ang kanyang pagsuko noong Nobyembre 24, 2013. Pansamantala siyang bininbin, at inimbistigahan. Lumitaw sa imbestigasyon na ang kanyang mga naging kasalanan sa mamamayan ay bahagi ng kanyang pagtupad sa kanyang tungkulin at mga atas sa kanya ng kanyang mga opisyal sa CAFGU-AFP at hindi magmemerito na parusahan siya ng mabigat ng rebolusyonaryong hukumang bayan.

Ayon sa kanya ay hindi umunlad ang kanyang buhay at lagi lang siyang nasa bingit ng kamatayan sa loob ng halos 12 taong serbisyo niya sa CAFGU-AFP. Sa kanyang saslaysay ay binanggit niya na ang kumikita lang ng malaki ay ang kanilang mga handler/comptroller na mga regular na sundalong kasapi ng 59th Infantry Battalion-PA na kumukurakot sa sahod ng mga kasaping CAFGU na hindi na pumapasok subalit nananatiling nasa payroll. Laging ring delayed ang kanilang sahod ng halos 3 buwan at hindi rin binibigay sa kanila ang kanilang mga benepisyo. Biktima rin sila ng pang-aabuso at pananakit ng mga regular na sundalo na ayon sa kanya ay ginagawa lang silang pambala ng kanyon at pangpain sa mga kasapi ng NPA na kapag nasusugatan o nagkakaso dahil sa pagtupad sa serrbisyo ay iniiwan na lang sa ere o pinapabayaan ng mga opisyal ng AFP. Sa ganitong kalagayan ay pinagpasyahan niyang sumuko sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan at magbagong buhay na.

Matapos maberipika ang mga datos at mapatunayang wala siyang malalang kasong kriminal sa mamamayan at rebolusyonaryong kilusan ay pinagpasyahang palayain. Kapalit ng pagpapalaya sa kanya ay kusang loob siyang nangako na hindi na babalik sa serbisyo sa CAFGU-AFP, hihikayatin sa kanyang mga kamag-anak na umalis na rin sa pagiging CAFGU at aktibong makikipagtulungan sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan laban sa pang-aabuso at panunupil sa mamamayan ng kanyang mga dating kasamahan sa CAFGU at AFP. Pinalaya siya at ibinigay sa kanyang mga kapamilya at kaibigan noong hapon ng Nob. 24, 2013 sa teritoryong saklaw ng sonang gerilya sa lalawigan ng Rizal.

Ang pagsukong ito ng kagawad ng CAFGU sa rebolusyoryong kilusan at ang pagpapalaya sa kanya ay pagpapakita ng patuloy na paglakas ng pampulitikang impluwensya ng CPP-NPA-NDFP sa hanay ng ,ga mamamayan sa lalawigan ng Rizal. Pagpapakita rin ito ng pagiging makatwiran, makatarungan at makatao ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan na laging handang magbigay ng puwang at pagkakakataon sa sinumang kasapi ng CAFGU-AFP-PNP na handang tumalikod sa mersenaryong katangian nito at tapat na maglingkod sa mamamayang Pilipino.

Malinaw ding pinapakita nito ang kabiguan ng rehimeng US-Aquino at ang kanyang OPLAN BAYANIHAN na durugin ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan taliwas sa pinangangalandakan ng mga matataas na opisyal ng AFP-PNP. Sa halip na madurog ay lalong lumalakas ang pampulitikang impluwensya nito. Kaya’t sa mga susunod na araw at buwan ay madaragdagan ang mga kasapi ng CAFGU na susuko, lilipat at tuluyang aalis sa serbisyo upang tapat na maglingkod sa mamamayan kasama o katuwang ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa lalawigan ng Rizal.

MABUHAY ANG BAGONG HUKBONG BAYAN!
MABUHAY ANG PARTIDO KOMUNISTA NG PILIPINAS!
MABUHAY ANG NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES!
MABUHAY ANG SAMBAYANANG PILIPINO!

http://www.philippinerevolution.net/statements/20131209_isang-kasapi-ng-cafgu-afp-sumuko-sa-demokratikong-gobyernong-bayan-pinalaya-sa-batayang-makatao-matapos-mangakong-tuluyang-lilisanin-ang-cafgu-afp-at-magbabagong-buhay-na

Three-pronged fight in Eastern Mindanao

From the Mindanao Examiner blog site (Dec 9): Three-pronged fight in Eastern Mindanao

Communist rebels have strongly denied military reports that it killed four insurgents in the town of Maco in Compostela Valley in southern Philippines.

Daniel Ibarra, a spokesman for the New People's Army, branded the reports attributed to Eastern Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz III as "preposterous."

"There is no truth to the preposterous claim made by Eastern Mindanao Command Commander Lt. Gen. Rainier G. Cruz, III that in their Bayanihan, they have prevailed against the NPA by killing 4 New People's Army guerillas in Maco town, Compostela Valley. The enemy has pursued its atrocious military operations in separate incidents of strafing and bombing that left a civilian dead, the detention of three others, and the dislocation of hundreds more in Maragusan and Maco towns since November 18 up to December 6."

"While hiding its savage deeds against the masses, the AFP is engaging in a futile attempt to reverse the real score in the battlefield. In contrast to the AFP's indiscriminate aerial bombing and strafing that did not distinguish combatants from civilians, the NPA triggered command detonated explosives, harassed and ambushed legitimate targets from enemy units in four separate punitive actions over the last three weeks. The AFP suffered a total of 34 casualties, with 20 killed and 14 wounded after NPA units under the Comval Davao Gulf Sub-regional Command launched a series of tactical offensives meant to punish the fascist 71st Infantry Battalion, 66th IB, and Division Reconnaissance Company all under the 10th ID-Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP," Ibarra said in a statement sent to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

Ibarra also provided a list of all civilians and peasants allegedly branded as rebels by the military and eventually killed by troops in Compostela Valley.

"Indeed, the blatant cover-up and a host of human rights abuses in the last few weeks manifested the AFP's character as harbinger of injustice and implementer of the hideous policy of neutralization under the Oplan Bayanihan. The masses can only rely in the revolutionary justice, time and again , dispensed by the NPA through its punitive actions against legitimate targets in the AFP and the US-Aquino regime," he said.

The human rights group Karapatan also lambasted and accused the military of murdering innocent civilians and human rights violations in areas covered by the Eastern Mindanao Command.

Hanimay Suazo, Secretary-General of  Karapatan, said the government's anti-insurgency campaign's Oplan Bayanihan breeds gross human rights violations, extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, aside from militarization.

"These killings continue because the President (Benigno Aquino) permits his armed forces to do it," she said, citing the alleged murder by the military of Pedro Tinga, a Mansaka tribal council member, in the village of Malamudao in Maco town this month. She accused the 71st Infantry Battalion as behind the killing of Tinga.

But Captain Alberto Caber, public affairs chief of the Eastern Mindanao Command, strongly denied all Ibarra and Suazo's allegations and branded them as a "propaganda."

"Ang recruits naman talaga ng NPA ay sibilyan, kahit sino at lalo na ang mga magsasaka, bata, matanda at basta magagamit nila. Pinapagulo lang ng Karapatan ang bayan natin, binubulag nila ang mga mamamayan sa katotohanan. Ang Karapatan ang siyang tagapagtanggol ng NPA. Malinaw na nakikinabang ang Karapatan sa extortion actiovities ng NPA," Caber said.

Cruz also denied the accusations and praised civilians in Compostela Valley and other areas covered by the Eastern Mindanao Command for supporting the military and police and the government's efforts in bringing peace and development to the province through Bayanihan.

"Kami ay lubos na nagpapasalamat sa mga residente sa kaniolang regular na pagre-reportsa kasundaluhan at pulis sa presensya ng mga NPA sa kanilang lugar. Sa ating Bayanihan, tayo ay magtatagumpay laban sa extortion activities ng NPA. Ako ay nananawagan sa mga rebeldeng binulag ng maling paniniwala na bumalok sa ating pamahalaan at mag bagong buhay kasama ang inyong mga mahal na pamilya, anak, kapatid at magulang at kaakibat ninyo kami sa pagbabagong buhay," he said.

"At sa mga nagpipilit naman sa marahas na pamamaraan, hangga't meron Republika ng Pilipinas, ang military operations ay hindi titigil laban sa NPA sa pagtatanggol sa demokrasya at kaligtasan ng bawa't isang mamamayan. Mandato ng AFP at PNP na pangalagaan ang mamamayang Pilipino. Inuulit namin na sana ay bumalik na kayo sa ating lipunan at makiisa sa hinahangad na kapayapaan para sa kaayusan ng ating bayan," Cruz added.

The NPA has been fighting for decades for the establishment of a separate state in the country.

http://mindanaoexaminer.blogspot.com/2013/12/three-pronged-fight-in-eastern-mindanao.html

CPP: Video -- Ang Bayan -- Labanan ang dagdag-pahirap sa mga biktima ng bagyong Yolanda

Posted to the PRWC blog site (Dec 7): Video: Ang Bayan--Labanan ang dagdag-pahirap sa mga biktima ng bagyong Yolanda (Fight against the extra burden on the victims of typhoon Yolanda)

[Video: Labanan ang dagdag-pahirap sa mga biktima ng bagyong Yolanda...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gwW2p7xsyc]

Isang buwan matapos hagupitin ng superbagyong Yolanda ang malaking bahagi ng Kabisayaan, hindi pa rin naiibsan ang paghihirap ng mga biktima ng sakuna. Bagkus, ibayo pang pasakit at pahirap ang kanilang haharapin sa patuloy na kriminal na pagpapabaya sa kanila ng rehimeng Aquino at pagsasamantala sa kanilang abang kalagayan sa kapakinabangan ng dayuhan at lokal na malalaking kapitalista at panginoong maylupa.

Malupit at walang malasakit ang gubyernong Aquino sa mga nasalanta. Talamak ang…

http://theprwcblogs.blogspot.com/2013/12/video-ang-bayan-7-december-2013.html

Militant group lambasts Noy gov’t for gross human rights violations

From the Daily Tribune (Dec 9): Militant group lambasts Noy gov’t for gross human rights violations

Human rights group Karapatan yesterday assailed the administration of President Aquino for its gross human rights violations in the past three years, saying it will join other militants groups to commemorate the International Human Rights Day tomorrow with protest actions.

“The events that unfolded during the last half of the year had intensified such anger and discontent. It was not just the human rights victims crying for justice who pour into the streets, but a multitude of disappointed, dissatisfied, distrusting people from all walks of life,” the group said in a press statement.

Karapatan added that the people were enraged over the magnitude and impudence of corruption as divulged in the P10-billion pork barrel scandal, and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

“People were enraged with the negligence and apathy of the Aquino government over the plight of the victims of disasters, while the whole world were shaken and concerned,” it added.

The group also disclosed that Aquino is accountable for the 152 extra-judicial killings and 168 frustrated killings, 18 enforced disappearances, 358 illegal arrests and detentions on trumped up charges, tortures and other gross human rights violations, in his term, affecting a great number of the peasantry, indigenous people and urban poor dwellers.

“We hold Aquino accountable for the deepening poverty and intensifying oppression of the Filipino people. His public-private partnership program has rendered many poor and neglected sectors homeless and all the more deprived of social services. The people are increasingly suffering with the high rate of unemployment and the soaring prices of basic goods and commodities,” Karapatan stated.

“We also hold Aquino accountable for his gross negligence during disasters, such as that of typhoons ‘Pablo’ and ‘Yolanda’ that exacerbated the sufferings and anguish of the victims. While stocks of rice and relief goods rot in government warehouses, people are starving and dying, as he plays the blame game and later goes ‘selfie,’” the group pointed out.

The Karapatan also emphasized the frequency of US military exercises in the country and the continuing presence of American troops and war armaments revive the defunct US military bases. “The Aquino government is hatching an agreement to legalize their continuing and increased presence in the country. Furthermore, his ultimate puppetry manifests as he parrots US’ interest and sentiments in world forums,” it added.

The group also highlighted Aquino’s solution to the Zamboanga crisis and his blunder in handling the Sabah issue that have resulted to rights abuses and deaths of many of Moro peoples, as well as the surrender of our legal claim to Sabah.

“We hold Aquino accountable for his inaction. After a long and tedious battle by victims and their relatives for the enactment of the bills on enforced disappearance and martial law victims’ recognition and reparation, Aquino, wanting to impress on his posturing for human rights, finally signed the bills into law. However, his masquerade is uncovered by his inaction to implement the laws. Enforced disappearances still happen with brazenness and impunity boosted by the existence of the Order of Battle that the law has provided against. The Claims Board which will implement the indemnification law has not been constituted by Aquino 10 months after its signing,” the group said.

The group believes that Aquino’s bubble of “tuwid na daan” has burst and his so-called spell over the people, stemming from the reputation of his roots, has gone.

“We believe Aquino, too, must go. After all, popularity is not a license or a test to truly serve the people. And, the system he is dying to save is moribund and desperately needs a change,” the group averred.

http://www.tribune.net.ph/nation/militant-group-lambasts-noy-gov-t-for-gross-human-rights-violations

MILF seizes ex-vice mayor, 10 others in Lanao

From ABS-CBN (Dec 8): MILF seizes ex-vice mayor, 10 others in Lanao

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) seized 11 suspected criminals in the town of Balo-i in Lanao del Norte on Thursday night.

Bangsamoro Development Agency director James Macaraya said it was MILF chieftain Abdulrahman Macapaar, also known as "Commander Bravo," who ordered the capture of former Balo-i Vice Mayor Abdullah Abas, former barangay chairman Salongga Pakuti, Hadji Daud, Cadayunan barangay chairman Atoy Arumpac, Bulawan Cotongan, Abdullah Arumpac, Pani Makel, Colo Lupe, Afghay Moliya and one alias "Bulalai."

The MILF released one of the suspects, Jay Sacal, a Suwertres operator.

Sacal said he was released because, as a Christian, he can’t be tried in under the Shariah court.

Macaraya said residents of Balo-i wanted the arrest of the suspects who were allegedly involved in robbery, kidnapping, illegal gambling, drug trafficking and murder.

Three suspects were brought to an MILF camp in Wato Balindong, Lanao del Sur, while others were released after paying a certain amount of fine.

Balo-i municipal administrator Elias Ali said that while they are not against the MILF in enforcing its own laws, the group should still coordinate with the local government about its operations, so that the civilians will not be scared.

Meanwhile, government senior military adviser Major General Leo Cresente Ferrer asked the MILF to follow the rule of law and strictly adhere to the ceasefire agreement while the peace process is still ongoing.

"We ask the MILF leadership to rein in their forces in the spirit of the positive strides of the peace process both sides [government and MILF] have steadfastly worked on for so many years. A fruitful conclusion would benefit not just the Bangsamoro people but the rest of the people in Mindanao," he said in a press release from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP).

The statement cited a military report from the ground that said MILF members under Abdul Macalunto of the 102nd Base Command led the group in the operation in Balo-I.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles earlier appealed to the MILF to respect the ceasefire, after MILF members abducted and later freed the police chief of Marawi City, Supt. Christopher Panapan.

"At this point in time when we are in the last stage of the negotiations towards the completion of a comprehensive agreement, the MILF must be able to prove that they have control over their forces, so that together we can protect our communities and achieve the much deserved peace and development in the region," Deles said after the Marawi incident was resolved peacefully.

As of Saturday, the government and the MILF peace panels are still locked on the negotiation on the annexes about power sharing and normalization in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

The two sides earlier this year signed the Annexes on transitional arrangement and modalities, revenue generation and wealth Sharing.

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/regions/12/08/13/milf-seizes-ex-vice-mayor-10-others-lanao

PH, Japan to discuss possible defense pact

From Rappler (Dec 9): PH, Japan to discuss possible defense pact

President Benigno Aquino III is leaving for Japan for the ASEAN-Japan commemorative summit scheduled December 12-15, where the two countries will discuss a possible defense treaty.

He is sending Vice President Jejomar Binay to South Africa for the December 15 funeral of South African statesman Nelson Mandela.
 
Aquino said he is open to a possible defense treaty with Japan in the wake of growing tension in the West Philippines Sea (South China Sea).
 
Japanese defense minister Itsunori Onodera on Saturday, December 7, told reporters in Manila they are looking at a "framework agreement" to be able to deploy troops faster in situations like Yolanda. (READ: After Yolanda, Japan wants deal with PH to 'deploy troops faster')
 
"We are certainly open to discussions.... May I remind everybody, there are only two strategic partners for the Philippines – that is, the United States of America and Japan. I don’t recall a defense treaty with Japan. I do recall a defense treaty with America," Aquino said on Monday.
 
"So will that be part of the talks? Siyempre (Of course), anything that creates tension and instability is a concern for all. Everybody should be focused on maintaining a stable region so that we have the necessary milieu for expanding economies to the benefit of all our peoples," he added.
 
In his visit to Manila, Onodera highlighted the need for a peaceful resolution of the regional conflict as various countries expressed concern over China's Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which it established over Japan-controlled islands in the East China Sea. (READ: Japan defense minister back in PH to discuss regional tension)
 
The US is the only treaty ally of the Phiilppines. The two countries are negotiating a military-to-military agreement to allow increased rotational presence of US troops in the Philippines and give them more access to military bases.
 
Japan also vowed to help the Philippines defend its terrority. (READ: PH 'closely coordinating with allies' amid tensions)
 
Meanwhile Binay is leaving Monday night, December 9, to bring the President's letter of condolences for the bereaved family of Mandela.
 
“I will leave tonight to extend our sympathies to the people of South Africa on the passing of their revered leader, former President Nelson Mandela. The government and the people of the Philippines stand with them at this hour of their great loss,” Binay said in a statement.
 
A number of political leaders, former world leaders, global figures, and celebrities will be attending the state funeral for the African nation's first black president.
 
Additional aid
 
Aquino will also seek more aid when he meets with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, more than a month after Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) killed thousands and left millions homeless.

The two leaders are expected to witness the signing of "exchanges of notes", including a post-disaster standby loan worth about 10 billion yen ($100 million), Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said Monday.

"During the meeting the two leaders will discuss cooperation on disaster management and reconstruction in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan," Hernandez said.

Yolanda slashed through the central Philippines on November 8, making it the strongest ever recorded typhoon to make landfall.

Tidal surges triggered by Yolanda wiped out entire coastal communities. In its latest report Monday, the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said the death toll had climbed to 5,924, with more than 1,700 others known to be missing.

Nearly 4 million people were also displaced, and getting aid to those affected by the disaster remains a challenge, officials and survivors say.

Post-typhoon rehabilitation is also expected to be among the regional issues on the table.

Last week, the United Nations' refugee agency launched a fresh appeal for emergency aid from international donors, saying it needed $19.2 million, more than double the $8.2 million it had raised so far.

The Philippine government said it had received total foreign pledges of up to $484 million. Of that total, only $12.13 million has so far been received.

http://www.rappler.com/nation/45580-aquino-japan-binay-mandela-funeral

Philippine peace panel head Miriam Ferrer statement at the closing of the 42nd Formal Exploratory Talks in KL

Posted to the Mindanao Examiner blog site (Dec 9): Philippine peace panel head Miriam Ferrer statement at the closing of the 42nd Formal Exploratory Talks in KL

TODAY THE ANNEX ON POWER SHARING IS BORN.

It has 4 major parts; 3,807 words; a set of principles of intergovernmental relations; a section that provides a level of detail on the structure of government of the future BMG; and three lists of powers, 9 reserved to Central Government, 14 concurrent or joint powers of the Central Government and the Bangsamoro Government, and 58 exclusive or devolved powers to the Bangsamoro, not to mention 4 items relating to jurisdiction in a section on “Other Matters”.

Such a laborious document as this Powersharing Annex is consistent with the fact that this Annex has many mothers and fathers. Certainly it was not a result of immaculate conception (which is celebrated today in the Catholic world).

There are of course the negotiating panels and their principals and the constituents behind them. On the GPH side, one would trace its lineage to the President certainly and the different Cabinet secretaries in all the Cabinet clusters (security, justice and peace; good governance and anticorruption; economic development and finance; human development and poverty reduction; environment and climate change adaptation), including the Office of the Executive Secretary and the Office of the Presidential Counsel for Legal Concerns, and especially the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, down to their undersecretaries, assistant secretaries, heads of special offices, bureaus and agencies; to the different CSOs that have kept watch with their respective advocacies. We have talked to and consulted with all of them.

After the labor pains, we have heaved our big, collective sigh of relief. After all, we carried this draft in our wombs (although the men here do not exactly have this facility) for 16 months. It was a mere zygote when the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Powersharing was convened for the first time. This was in our 30th Round of Formal Exploratory Talks that was held in August 2012. The GPH Panel was then chaired by now Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, and I was then assigned the adviser of the TWG.

Since then, TWG chairship moved from former panel member Upi Mayor Ramon Piang to Undersecretary Jose Luis Martin “Chito” Gascon. TWG members have included OPAPP Usec Jose Lorena and Secrtary Mehol Sadain of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos. All throughout the process, the only other surviving original member of the Panel (other than myself) under the administration of President Benigno Aquino III, former secretary Senen Bacani, provided the anchor, supported by the next oldest member of this panel (in terms of length of time in this panel) Usec Yasmin Busran Lao.

In between we have met with and even brought over consultants from the Departments of Transportation and Communication, National Defense, DILG, DOJ and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resource. We were ably supported by our legal staff, Atty Armi Bayot from the Office of the Solicitor General and Atty Anna Tarhata Basman, and before that, by the former head of the legal team, Atty Johaira Wahab. Technical support was provided by our secretariat headed by Iona Jalijali.

Aside from the parents, aunts and uncles, this rather difficult pregnancy was accompanied by its many godparents (ninong and ninang) – the third party to this process, Malaysian Facilitator Tengku Ghafar and the members of the ICG, all of whom contributed immensely at one point in time during the long wait for the birthing of the Annex. We thank them and especially the ICG members who survived this round – Emma Leslie of Conciliation Resources, Ali Saleem of the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue, and Ahmet Do─čan of the Government of Turkey, also the most handsome member of the ICG.

Now this newborn baby will have to be introduced to the world. We expect that a good number out there would be eager to see it, scrutinize its different parts and get to know about it more. We of course tried our damnedest best to ensure that it will be a healthy baby, with all the parts in the right places, with the complete sets of toes and fingers, and not an unnecessary piece less or more.

In all, it will represent all the good intentions, wise counsel, and difficult sacrifices all the parents had to make in order to bring a healthy baby in this world. In its genes, the shape of the future Bangsamoro political entity is encoded. But we know that all these will have to be translated into the Bangsamoro Basic Law – one that will put in place a strong, viable autonomous governance for the Bangsamoro in Mindanao, and connect with its siblings and cousins who came before and will come after.

There remain many challenges ahead. We know that and we are ready for that even as we remain focused on the immediate task on hand, which is to finish once and for all the Annex on Normalization and an addendum on Bangsamoro Waters and put in place the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro. These will be our new year’s gift to each other.

Thank you.

http://mindanaoexaminer.blogspot.com/2013/12/philippine-peace-panel-head-miriam.html

Misuari still in Sulu -- AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 9): Misuari still in Sulu -- AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday announced Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chair Nur Misuari is still in Sulu.

This is according to the latest information gathered by the military, AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said.

He made this statement after reports claimed that Misuari will attend the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) meeting in Conakry, Republic of New Guinea this Dec. 9 to 11.

Zagala declined to comment on the question whether the OIC should hand Misuari to the Philippines as the latter is considered a fugitive regarding his part in the September Zamboanga City siege.

But he clarified that a arrest warrant is already out for the MNLF founding chair.

"If he is really innocent as he claims, then he should surrender and answer to all the charges against him," the AFP public affairs office chief.

He added that the military is willing to assist the PNP in serving out this arrest warrant.

"Of course the lead in the arrest of Nur Misuari is the Philippine National Police but of course the AFP being the partner of the PNP, we will make available all personnel and assets to help them and that this is still ongoing and I think we should wait further on what will happen next," Zagala added.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=1&sid=&nid=1&rid=595150

AFP lauds power sharing agreement deal signed by GPH, MILF

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 9): AFP lauds power sharing agreement deal signed by GPH, MILF
 
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has lauded the Sunday signing of the power sharing agreement between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Government of the Philippines (GPH).

"It is a welcome development towards the peace initiatives of the government and for the AFP also because this will bring one part of our internal security operation closure at the MILF. We can now concentrate on other matters such as territorial defense and, which is very relevant, the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief which we need to also focus on ever changing climate that we're having," AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala said.

He also hoped the following disarmament talks and other issues would threshed out successfully.

"(Everyone is) hoping for a peaceful resolution of our decades old internal security problem and I believe that everyone here has already have a taste since 2012 a life of peace in the area and that this life of peace may continue further with the finality of the peace agreement with the MILF and we are optimistic that all those who have tasted life of peace will want this to continue," the AFP public affairs office chief added.

The crucial power sharing annex signed in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday had been considered highly contentious, with MILF seeking greater authority over a proposed autonomous region in the south which will cover Muslim-dominated regions of the mainly-Catholic archipelago.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=1&sid=&nid=1&rid=595176

PDEA recognizes AFP counterparts in campaign vs illegal drugs

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 9): PDEA recognizes AFP counterparts in campaign vs illegal drugs

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) on Monday recognized the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as one of the agency’s valuable partners in its campaign against illegal drugs.

In a statement, Undersecretary Arturo G. Cacdac, Jr., PDEA Director General, cited the AFP’s support in the successful conduct of widescale marijuana eradication operations in the tri-boundaries of La Union, Benguet, and Kalinga, in the apprehension of target-listed drug personalities and confiscation of several firearms and ammunition during the implementation of search warrants in Zamboanga Del Sur and Maguindanao.

“The support of our counterparts from the Armed Forces of the Philippines contributed to the overall operational accomplishment of the agency and exemplifies a commitment of meaningful public service. Our combined dedications in performing our duties reflect great credit to our units,” Cacdac said.

PDEA agents and AFP counterparts in the successful conduct of marijuana eradications in La Union, Benguet and Kalinga resulted in the confiscation of 906,895 pieces of fully grown plants, 263,820 pieces of marijuana seedlings, 79 kilos of dried marijuana leaves, 49 kilos of stalks, 85.9 kilos of seeds, and 14 marijuana bricks with an overall estimated market value of P202,847,662.40.

Cacdac said that early this year, joint elements of PDEA and AFP arrested a member of Abas Drug Group in Maguindanao during the implementation of a search warrant which also resulted in the confiscation of one .45 caliber pistol, one Ingram machine pistol, firearms magazines and several ammunition, and 21.72 grams of shabu.

Also this year, joint elements of PDEA and the AFP arrested a priority target-listed drug personality in Zamboanga Del Sur which led to the seizure of one .45 caliber pistol, two magazines with 22 pieces of ammunition, and 2.83 grams of shabu.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=1&sid=&nid=1&rid=595111

Govt chief negotiator: There’s enough mechanism to solve problems on the ground

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 9): Govt chief negotiator: There’s enough mechanism to solve problems on the ground

There are enough mechanisms on the ground to avoid hostilities while the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front thresh out the remaining annex of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by both sides last year, the government chief negotiator said on Monday.

In the teleconference from Malaysia with Palace reporters, chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said that the government always keeps in touch with their counterparts whenever there are problems arising on the ground.

One example is the attacks committed by the MILF in Lanao and Marawi City, she said.

Ferrer said that as both parties craft a permanent peace pact in Mindanao there are stumbling blocks that may arise along the way.

“We have always said that the road ahead is going to be rough and these are the kinds of problems that we know we will be encountering along the way, but, I think what is important is that we have the mechanisms to be able to address things that we are able to extract that kind of accountability and discipline that is expected of everyone as … committed to the negotiated settlement,” she said.

For instance, during the incidents in Lanao and Marawi City, Ferrer said they held two executive sessions with their counterpart in the MILF.

That set off the process of immediately contacting respective ceasefire committees, contacting the commanders that were involved in the incidents and making sure that the remedial steps are undertaken, she said.

The process led to the immediate release of the police chief in Marawi City and in another incident the release of abducted civilians, Ferrer said.

The government and the MILF recently signed the agreement on power-sharing annex and gear up to thresh out the normalization annex. Both sides target to sign the comprehensive agreement next year.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=1&sid=&nid=1&rid=595242

Army camp conducts blood letting, earns 34k cc blood from soldier donors

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 9): Army camp conducts blood letting, earns 34k cc blood from soldier donors

CAMP MELCHOR DELA CRUZ, GAMU, ISABELA -- The 5th Infantry Division, Philippine Army (5ID-PA) based in Gamu town has earned 34 thousand cubic centimeters blood from its donor soldiers in a bloodletting activity conducted over the weekend.

Sergeant Clifford Soriano, civil military operations battalion official, said the bloodletting activity is part of the upcoming 78th founding anniversary of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The AFP founding anniversary is annually celebrated every 21st of December which is usually attended by the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

Soriano said soldiers from the different infantry brigades and battalions under the 5th Infantry Division were asked to donate blood to be given to the needy soldier patients and to civilians in its area of operations.

The area of operations of the army division covers Cagayan Valley, Ilocos and Cordillera regions.

Aside from the tree planting activity, the soldiers also conducted a tree planting activity inside the camp as part of contribution to the government’s national greening program.

The army division camp expects that the 34k cc volume of blood will be added as other army units are still conducting bloodletting activity in their respective places of assignments.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=2&sid=&nid=2&rid=595157

Aquino sees faster peace negotiation with MILF

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 9): Aquino sees faster peace negotiation with MILF

President Benigno S. Aquino III said he expects the peace negotiations to speed up now that the government and the Moro Islamic Liberations Front signed the agreement on power-sharing annex.

During his attendance to the 80th Founding Anniversary of the Department of Labor and Employment in Quezon City Monday, the President said in an interview that although both sides signed the Framework Agreement last year, they have a huge task in hammering out the details of the annexes which will take time.

Asked if the government and MILF negotiators remain on track in establishing Bangsamoro government by 2016, the President said: “Lahat tayo gusto nating mas maaga mapirmahan ito pero hindi nga ganoon kadali, reason of itong timeframe.”

“Palagay ko ma-a-accelerate ang process para naman makaupo na sila by 2015, after the enactment of the enabling law.”

The President said that after power-sharing, negotiators must iron out normalization, the last hurdle in the talks.

“Medyo hindi ganoon kasimple iyon dahil talagang dito lalabas iyong buong pagtitiwala o ide-demonstrate nito ang buong pagtitiwala ng lahat,” the President said.

Normalization includes MILF fighters going back to folds of the law as well as safeguarding their weapons, he said noting that the issue is contentious since it involves complete trust to the Philippine government by the MILF.

In a press briefing, government chief negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer said in a teleconference from Malaysia that they intend to meet in January to complete the annex on normalization as well as the addendum, which is the timeline.

In the meantime however, the Transition Commission is going on with their meetings in the next few weeks.

Ferrer also said that the committee on wealth-sharing has been working on the text for the draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law following the signing of the wealth-sharing annex this year.

Negotiators have to work double time given the previous delays, Ferrer said. She added however that they are still working on the same timeline which is to establish the Bangsamoro government and hold the first elections in 2016.

Both panels target to sign the comprehensive agreement by January, she said.

In October last year, the government and the MILF signed the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro aimed at ending decades-long conflict in Mindanao that resulted to a huge number of casualties and instability in the region.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/index.php?idn=&sid=&nid=&rid=595240