Monday, December 23, 2013

Army’s 8th IB conducts youth leadership summit for ‘Bayanihan para sa Kapayapaan’

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 19): Army’s 8th IB conducts youth leadership summit for ‘Bayanihan para sa Kapayapaan’

Some 60 youth leaders from the different barangays of Impasugong town participated in the three-day Youth Leadership Summit (YLS).

Lt. Col. Romualdo Raymund B. Landingin, commanding officer of the army’s 8th Infantry Battalion (8th IB) said the first youth summit aims to develop youths’ leadership potential and become channels for peace-building.

“We acknowledge that there remain complex issues on peace and security that need to be addressed. However, a purely military solution is not enough to fully solve them. Efforts to achieve genuine peace must therefore be supported by all,” he said.

Anchored on the theme “Empowering the youth, Building the nation,” the summit is an essential part of the army’s “Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan (working together for peace).”

Lt. Norman Tagros, spokesman of the army’s 8th IB, meanwhile, said the summit focused on three aspects namely ‘The Awakening Module,’ which seeks to achieve an understanding of oneself and others; ‘Nurturing Module,’ which centered on educating the youth on their role in the family; and ‘Empowering Module’ that enhances the leadership potentials of participants by introducing the principles and models of leadership, interpersonal communication skills, and anger and conflict management.

The speakers also shared the different government programs so that youth participants will be inspired on how they can become active partners in peace and progress, Tagros said.

“After the summit, participants are believed to be actively participating in ‘Bayanihan’ activities such as community activities involvement, environmental protection, and anti-illegal drugs advocacy, among others,” he said.

MILF holds capability development seminar in Lanao del Sur

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 23): MILF holds capability development seminar in Lanao del Sur

In an effort to give primacy to the Mindanao peace process, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Ranaw Region Bangsamoro Homeland conducted a two-day capability development seminar with its members and various constituencies in the province.

The capability development seminar on good governance and updates on the GPH-MILF peace process, with the theme “Aiming Towards Excellence in the Emerging Bangsamoro,” was held from December 22 to 23 at Noramis Function Hall, this city.

The two-day activity aimed to discuss with our constituencies the different agreements reached by the government and MILF particularly on the three annexes of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro, said MILF Central Committee Second Vice Chairman Alim Ali Solaiman.

He said there is a need to educate them on the completed annexes because some are still confused if the annexes are separate from the Framework Agreement itself.

Lectures during the two-day activity include the Islamic concept of peace, good governance, difference between presidential and parliamentary form of government, gains of the GPH-MILF peace process, and the annexes on the transitional arrangements and modalities, wealth sharing, and power sharing, among others.

Solaiman said they also wanted to consult their constituents on the normalization and update them on the policing matters.

The members of the Independent Commission on Policing (ICP), he said, recently held a consultation meeting with MILF commanders.

The ICP was tasked by the GPH and MILF peace panels to conduct studies and produce recommendations on the appropriate policing for the Bangsamoro entity.

Meanwhile, Solaiman expressed appreciation to President Benigno S. Aquino III for his sincerity in achieving lasting peace and progress in Mindanao.

He also gave assurance that the MILF is committed and sincere in the peace process.

With regards to the normalization process, Solaiman hopes that the government and the MILF can work together for the control of firearms and the disbandment of private armies or other armed groups in the area.

Abducted teacher calls superior

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Dec 23): Abducted teacher calls superior

A PUBLIC school teacher who was abducted by gunmen off shore Zamboanga City last week called her immediate superior, saying she is in good condition.

Cathy May Casipong, 23, was seized by at least 10 unidentified gunmen around 3 p.m. last Wednesday in the vicinity of Sitio Paraitan in the village of Limaong.

City Division of Schools officer-in-charge Superintendent Pedro Melchor Natividad on Monday said Casipong called her immediate superior last Friday and said not to worry about her.

Natividad said there were no demands made by the abductors and that Casipong’s teacher-in-charge failed to talk to any of the captors.

Casipong and four others were aboard a motorized banca on the way home to Limaong to the village of Vitali when the suspects aboard two motorized bancas appeared and seized her.

Casipong is one of the four teachers assigned in Sibogtok Primary School in the island village of Limaong.

The whereabouts of the victim was not immediately known until Friday when she called her immediate superior, Natividad said.

MILF: Editorial -- UN recognition

Editorial posted to the MILF Website (Dec 24): UN recognition

United Nations’ recognition has never been a one-shot deal; it comes only in trickles, which are so tiny that before any of it is secured, one has to count countless efforts, time, and resources.
Anyone who thinks of getting this recognition so easily is not in the right frame of mind. Or he or she is dreaming.

Exceptions, however, are those cases that have the direct or active backing of the Big 5 in the UN namely, United States, Russia, China, France, and the United Kingdom. Even then, this is not an assured certainty. There are many cases in the past where the resolutions of the Security Council of the UN, backed up by some members of the Big 5, say Russia or US, were vetoed by other members thereof.

The accolade UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon extended to the GPH-MILF peace talks was more directed at President Benigno Aquino III for his sincere efforts to settle the Bangsamoro Question peacefully. The MILF is not a direct recipient of the praise. It has no qualm about this and accepts it as the real thing.

Ban Ki-Moon told media during a press conference: “I commend the Philippine government effort to promote peace and democracy and inclusive growth. In this context, I congratulate the Philippine government of progress in the Mindanao peace process particularly the agreement reached between parties in December,” Ban said at a joint news conference with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario.

“I hope a final agreement will be reached soon,” he also said.

However, the MILF feels so assuaged by the praises and lift made by the UN Secretary General. Even without stating, it means that GPH-MILF peace negotiation is in the direct radar screen of the UN. It gives the parties, not only moral support, but also more reasons to move forward quicker and finish the process soon; and more importantly, for the parties to comply faithfully with their part of the bargain. Any infraction, especially major one, will put the guilty party at a very difficult situation. It will not only be shaming and blaming that might befall to it but a more proactive “proper leverage” will be in the offing. This can come in many forms.

155 soldiers get free housing

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 24): 155 soldiers get free housing
Some 155 enlisted troopers from the Nueva Ecija-based 7th Infantry Division were given free housing units in the Army's “Kalinga sa Kawal Off-Base Housing Project” located at Sitio Pinaltakan, Barangay Caballero, Palayan City Monday.

The project is under the Philippine Army Housing Office.

The housing certificates were personally handed to the soldier-beneficiaries by Army vice commander Major Gen. Romulo M. Cabantac Jr.

“Having one’s own house to call home is everyone’s aspiration. Our men and women in the Philippine Army share the same dream. Our activity fulfills this great dream of our soldiers," Cabantac said.

“I want to congratulate the soldiers who were awarded these houses. I am glad that as we celebrate Christmas, 155 of our fellow soldiers and their families will have their own houses they call their own," he said.

CPP/Ang Bayan: 71st IB, isinakdal sa pagpaslang sa 8-taong gulang na si Roque Antivo

From the Dec 21 edition of Ang Bayan posted to the CPP Website (Dec 21): 71st IB, isinakdal sa pagpaslang sa 8-taong gulang na si Roque Antivo (71st IB charged in the murder of 8-year-old Roque Antivo)

Isinakdal ng Demokratikong Gubyernong Bayan sa Compostela Valley ang mga upisyal at tauhan ng 71st IB kaugnay sa pagpatay kay Roque Antivo at bigong pagpatay kina Jefrey Hernan at Earl Jhun Antivo noong Abril 3, 2013 sa Barangay Anitapan, Mabini.

[The Democratic Government in Compostela Valley accused the officials and staff of the 71st IB with regard to the murder Roque Antivo and the attempted murder of Jefrey Hernan and Earl Jhun Antivo on April 3, 2013 in Barangay Anitapan, Mabini.]

Ibinaba ang sakdal matapos matukoy ng Espesyal na Grupo sa Pag-iimbestiga na “may sapat na batayan upang buuin ang isang hukumang bayan para litisin” sina Lt. Col. Jerry T. Borja ng 71st IB, Col. Angelito de Leon ng 1001st Brigade, Maj. Jake Obligado at GPH Prosecutor Graciano Arafol, Jr. sa “mga krimen sa digma at mga krimen laban sa sangkatauhan at malalalang paglabag sa karapatang-tao at internasyunal na makataong batas.”

Kasama rin sa isinakdal sina Pres. Benigno Aquino III ng GPH, Sec. Voltaire Gazmin ng Department of National Defense, AFP Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista at Gen. Ricardo Rainier Cruz ng Eastern Mindanao Command sa kanilang pagbabalangkas at pagtutupad ng Oplan Bayanihan na tumatarget sa mga sibilyang katulad ni Roque.

Isinadokumento sa imbestigasyon kung papaanong pinaputukan ng mga sundalo ng 71st IB si Roque Antivo, isang 8-taong gulang na bata, at ang panganay niyang kapatid na si Earl Jhun at tiyuhing si Jeffry Hernan habang naglalakad pauwi mula sa kanilang bukid. Kaagad na napatay si Roque, habang nasugatan naman ang kanyang tiyuhin. Malalang trauma naman ang dinanas ng kanyang kapatid.

Napasinungalingan sa imbestigasyon ang sinasabi ng AFP na napatay si Roque at nasugatan si Hernan matapos silang madamay sa isang labanan sa pagitan ng AFP at ng isang yunit ng BHB. Natukoy sa imbestigasyon na mga dalawang oras ang layo ng Front 2 Platoon, ang pinakamalapit na yunit ng BHB. Natukoy din kung papaanong nagsabwatan ang mga pulis, ang piskal at ang AFP para pagtakpan ang kanilang krimen.

Tinukoy din kung papaanong tinangka ni Major Obligado na suhulan ang pamilyang Antivo sa pamamagitan ng pag-aalok ng salapi at pangakong pag-aaral upang hindi siya madiin sa kaso.

[The official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and standpoint on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly. It is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: 10th ID, nagtamo ng 34 kaswalti

From the Dec 21 edition of Ang Bayan posted to the CPP Website (Dec 21): 10th ID, nagtamo ng 34 kaswalti (10th ID suffered 34 casualties)

Nagtamo ng 20 patay at 14 na sugatan ang mga sundalo ng 10th ID ng Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) bunsod ng serye ng mga taktikal na opensibang inilunsad ng mga yunit ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) sa ilalim ng Comval-Davao Gulf Subregional Command mula Nobyembre 18 hanggang Disyembre 6.

[The 10th ID of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) suffered 20 dead and 14 wounded soldiers following a series of tactical offensives launched by units of the New People's Army (NPA) under the Davao Gulf subregional Comval Command from November 18 to December 6.]

Para tabunan ang malaking kahihiyang ito, mismong si Lt. Gen. Rainier Cruz, hepe ng Eastmincom, ang naglubid ng buhangin nang palabasin nitong napatay ng AFP ang apat na Pulang mandirigma sa bayan ng Maco, Compostela Valley.

Sa katunayan, naglunsad ng malupit na mga operasyong militar ang kaaway tulad ng pang-iistraping at pambobomba. Isang sibilyan ang kanilang pinatay at tatlong iba pa ang ikinulong. Malawakang binulabog ang kabuhayan ng daan-daang residente sa mga bayan ng Maco at Maragusan.

Noong Nobyembre 21, nagkasagupa ang tropa ng 71st IB at ang 6th Pulang Bagani Company (Front 27 Operations Command) sa North Davao, New Leyte, sa bayan ng Maco. Bunsod nito, tatlong sundalo ang napatay at tatlong iba pa ang nasugatan.

Desperadong gumanti ang militar, ngunit pawang mga di armado at inosenteng sibilyan ang kanilang nabiktima. Mga alas-10:30 ng umaga, kinanyon ng militar sa pamamagitan ng 105 mm howitzer ang mga sityo ng North Davao at Bunlang, New Leyte. Pagsapit ng alas-4 ng hapon, dalawang MG-520 helikopter ang nagpaulan ng mga bomba sa North Davao at sa kulumpon ng mga barangay sa Masara Lines, Maco. Ang mga pambobomba ay ginawa ng AFP noong Nobyembre 18, 21, 23, Disyembre 4 at Disyembre 6.

Habang nagpapahinga sila sa kanilang kampo sa Barangay Parasanun bandang alas-11 ng gabi, pinasabugan sila ng isang yunit ng BHB ng isang command-detonated explosive (CDX). Napatay ang limang sundalo at nasugatan ang anim na iba pa.

Noong Nobyembre 23, mga alas-8 ng umaga, binulabog ng mga Pulang mandirigma ang kampo ng 71st IB Alpha Company at tatlong sundalo nito ang nasugatan.
Dalawang oras makaraan ito, binomba ng dalawang MG-520 ang mga bukirin sa Barangay Elizalde, Barangay Teresa at Barangay New Barili, pawang sa Maco.
Noong Nobyembre 25, pinasabugan ng BHB ang isang yunit ng 66th IB sa Sityo Camuso, Barangay Parasanun. Apat na sundalo ang napatay.

Naglunsad ng aksyong harasment ang BHB noong Nobyembre 28 laban sa 71st IB sa Sityo Biokadan, Barangay Teresa. Isang sundalo ang napatay. Matapos ito, pwersahang pinalikas ng militar ang mga residente ng nabanggit na lugar.

Noong Disyembre 4, mga alas-8 ng umaga, tinambangan ng 6th Pulang Bagani Company ang 71st IB sa Sityo Lim-aw, Barangay Teresa. Pito ang napatay at lima ang nasugatan sa mga sundalo. Pasado alas-9 ng umaga, binomba ng militar ang Sityo Lim-aw at Sityo Gakub gamit ang 105 mm howitzer. Nabulabog ang kabuhayan ng mga magsasaka bunsod nito.

[The official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and standpoint on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly. It is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: 18 sundalo, napatay sa mga opensiba ng BHB sa Panay

From the Dec 21 edition of Ang Bayan posted to the CPP Website (Dec 21): 18 sundalo, napatay sa mga opensiba ng BHB sa Panay (18 soldiers killed in NPA offensives in Panay)

Labingwalong sundalo ang napatay at di bababa sa pito ang nasugatan nang matagumpay na biguin ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) ang sunud-sunod na mga operasyong militar ng 3rd ID ng Philippine Army sa Panay noong Oktubre.

[Eighteen soldiers were killed and at least seven injured when the New People's Army successfully defeated the Philippine Army 3rd ID in successive military operations in Panay in October.]

Tinambangan ng BHB noong Oktubre 9 ang malaking pwersa ng 61st IB na naglulunsad ng operasyong pagtugis sa mga Pulang mandirigma na umambus sa militar noong Oktubre 7. Nasugatan ang dalawang sundalo nang tambangan sila ng BHB sa Sityo Malangsa, Barangay Abangay, Tapaz, Capiz bandang alas-9 ng umaga.
Samantala, sa katimugang bahagi ng Panay, tatlo ang napatay at dalawa ang nasugatang elemento ng 82nd IB nang maengkwentro nila ang isang yunit ng BHB sa ilalim ng Napoleon Tumagtang Command sa Sityo Tabiac, Barangay Dalije, Miag-ao, Iloilo noong Oktubre 29 ng umaga.

Nang mangyari ang putukan, kaagad na inagaw ng BHB ang inisyatiba sa labanan at nagtamo ng mga kaswalti ang kaaway. Tinabunan lamang ng kaaway ang mga bangkay ng mga sundalo at kinabukasan pa kinuha ang mga ito para isakay sa helikopter.

Nagpatuloy pa rin sa pagtugis ang kaaway sa mga Pulang mandirigma. Ngunit muli nilang nakasagupa ang BHB noong Oktubre 31. Siyam ang napatay sa mga tropa ng Charlie Company. Pinagtakpan ng 3rd ID sa pamumuno ng kanilang bagong hepe na si Brig. Gen. Aurelio Baladad ang sunud-sunod na mga kabiguang ito sa kamay ng BHB. Pagkaraan ng ilang araw, binomba ng isang helikopter na Huey at dalawang MG-520 helicopter gunship ang kabundukan sa hangganan ng Iloilo at Antique.

Bago pa ito, noong Oktubre 7 ay anim ang napatay at hindi bababa sa tatlo ang nasugatan sa mga tropa ng 61st IB isang ambus sa pampang ng Pan-ay River sa Barangay Nayawan,Tapaz.

[The official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and standpoint on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly. It is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: AFP, sumalakay sa Samar

From the Dec 21 edition of Ang Bayan posted to the CPP Website (Dec 21): AFP, sumalakay sa Samar (AFP raid in Samar)

Walang patid ang pang-aatake ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa mga yunit ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) na nagpapatupad ng mga gawaing pang-ayuda at rehabilitasyon sa Samar, Leyte, Negros at iba pang lugar na sinalanta ng superbagyong Yolanda. Ayon sa pinakahuling ulat, nagkaroon ng engkwentro sa pagitan ng lokal na yunit ng BHB at 87th IB sa Barangay Sto. Niño, Motiong sa Samar nitong Disyembre 17.

[The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has launched endless attacks against the units of the New People's Army (NPA) implementing activities and rehabilitation assistance in Samar, Leyte, Negros and other areas devastated by Typhoon Yolanda. According to recent reports, there was an encounter between the local unit of the NPA and the 87th IB in Barangay Sto. Niño, Motiong Samar on December 17.]

Binatikos ng PKP ang AFP sa pagtatakwil nito sa anim na araw na tigil-putukang idineklara ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas nitong Disyembre 18. Sa halip na tugunan nito ng sariling tigil-putukan ang deklarasyon, mayabang pang naghamon ang AFP na magdeklara ang BHB ng walang taning na tigil-putukan. Idiniin ng PKP na pwede lamang itong mangyari kung ang rehimeng US-Aquino ay papayag na ipagpatuloy ang naunsyaming negosasyong pangkapayapaan sa National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) upang mapag-usapan ang batayan, saklaw at iba pang parametro ng gayong tigil-putukan.

Walang awat ang paglulunsad ng mga opensibong operasyong militar ang AFP sa mga nasalantang lugar kahit nauna nang magdeklara ng unilateral na tigil-putukan ang PKP para mapakilos ang buong pwersa ng BHB at masa para sa gawaing rehabilitasyon.

[The official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and standpoint on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly. It is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: 22 armas, nasamsam ng BHB sa Bukidnon

From the Dec 21 edition of Ang Bayan posted to the CPP Website (Dec 21):  22 armas, nasamsam ng BHB sa Bukidnon (22 firearms seized by the NPA in Bukidnon)

Dalawampu’t dalawang armas ang nasamsam ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) sa dalawang magkahiwalay na taktikal na opensibang inilunsad nitong unang hati ng Disyembre laban sa mga armadong pwersa ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno sa Bukidnon.

[Twenty-two weapons were seized by the New People's Army (NPA) in two separate tactical offensives launched in the first half of December against the armed forces of the reactionary government in Bukidnon]

Reyd sa Kibawe Police Station

 Matagumpay na sinalakay ng mga Pulang mandirigma ng BHB sa ilalim Mt. Apo Subregional Command ang hedkwarters ng Philippine National Police (PNP) sa bayan ng Kibawe noong madaling araw ng Disyembre 12 at nakasamsam ng 13 sandata na may iba’t ibang kalibre. Tumagal nang 17 minuto ang isinagawang reyd.

Ang mga nasamsam na armas ay kinabibilangan ng pitong M16, tatlong kal .45 na pistola at tatlong pistolang 9 mm. Nakakumpiska rin ang BHB ng mga bala, uniporme at radyong VHF.

Sumalakay ang mga Pulang mandirigma ganap na alas-4:50 ng umaga. Nanlaban ang mga pulis pero pagkaraan ng 10-minutong labanan, dalawa sa kanila ang napatay at tatlo ang nasugatan.

Isang oras makalipas salakayin ang Kibawe Municipal Police Headquarters, inambus ng BHB ang reimporsment mula sa Provincial Public Safety Company at 8th IB sa pamamagitan ng pagpapasabog ng command-detonated explosive.

Layunin ng isinagawang mga taktikal na opensiba na makakuha ng kinakailangang mga armas para maparami pa ng BHB ang mga panlabang platun nito at parusahan ang mga tinarget na abusadong yunit-militar at pulisya. Partikular na pinarusahan ang 8th IB dahil sa sapilitan nitong pagrerekluta sa paramilitar na CAFGU at pagtatayo ng mga detatsment ng Philippine Army sa ilang bahagi ng Bukidnon.

Operasyong disarma, iba pang labanan

 Siyam na armas naman ang nakumpiska sa operasyong disarma ng BHB noong Disyembre 1 laban sa isang bandidong grupo sa Sityo San Abel, Barangay Miarayon, Talakag, Bukidnon. Nasamsam ng mga Pulang mandirigma ng Mt. Kitanglad Subregional Command ng BHB ang dalawang karbin, isang ripleng Garand, apat na shotgun, isang kal .45 pistola at improvised machine pistol.

Matagal nang inirereklamo ang bandidong grupong ito dahil sa kanilang pananakot sa mga residente. Bukod sa ilang anti-mamamayang mga gawain, sagadsarin ding mga kontra-rebolusyonaryo ang mga elemento nito na suportado ni Renato Sulatan, ang despotikong mang-aagaw ng lupa na dating bise-alkalde ng Talakag.

Sa iba pang mga pangyayari, isang sundalo ng 58th IB ang napatay nang makasagupa ng naturang yunit-militar ang isang platun ng BHB sa ilalim ng Eastern Misamis Oriental-North Eastern Bukidnon Subregional Command sa Hindangon, Gingoog City noong Nobyembre 26. Walang kaswalti sa panig ng mga Pulang mandirigma.

Inisnayp din ng BHB ang mga elemento ng 8th IB na naglulunsad ng operasyong saywar sa ilalim ng Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD) noong Nobyembre 28 ng umaga sa Barangay Buntongon, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon.

[The official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and standpoint on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly. It is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/NDF: NPA to abide ceasefire starting midnight December 24, slams GPH’s ceasefire violations

Posted to the CPP Website (Dec 23): NPA to abide ceasefire starting midnight December 24, slams GPH’s ceasefire violations
Rubi Del Mundo
NDFP Southern Mindanao Chapter
All New People’s Army units in Southern Mindanao region will strictly comply with the directive of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to cease and desist from carrying out offensive operations against elements of the AFP, the PNP and the paramilitary forces of the GPH starting this midnight December 24 up to December 26 11:59pm and again during the midnight of December 31 up to January 2, 2014. This is to give way for the celebration by the region’s revolutionary forces, underground mass organizations and urban-based forces of the CPP’s 45th year anniversary inside the guerrilla zones and guerrilla bases in the countryside on December 26.

While the entire Southern Mindanao NPA regional territory pledges to abide with the CPP’s ceasefire, GPH security forces have not complied with its own ceasefire declaration. The GPH’s ceasefire is falsely packaged as more considerate due to its longer timeframe while unfairly scoffing at NPA’s declaration as inadequate and perfunctory. Reports from the field, however, reveal the GPH’s truce as illusory, treacherous and dangerous:

Prior to the GPH’s December 21 ceasefire, elements of the 67th Infantry Batallion already stationed its APC (armored personnel carrier) and two canyons in Spur 2, Brgy. Ngan, Compostela town on December 19, and since then, maintained in active mode its “peace and development teams” in Compostela, Trento, Cateel and Boston towns. Checkpoints are also being put up by the 71st IB in the barangays of Masara and Elizalde in Maco town, and Andili and Limbo in Mawab town. Last night at 7pm, December 22, elements of the 84th Infantry Battalion arrived in Marahan, Marilog district, Davao City and moved to Brgy. Ladayon in Arakan town, North Cotabato enroute to Mt. Sinaka.

These instances of forward deployment of the 10th Infantry Division-AFP units are duplicitous and offensive maneuvers in guerrilla territories. Reports of additional enemy deployment and enemy offensive actions from the field cannot be referred to as merely routine movements or cannot be dismissed as part of the GPH’s blanket declaration of “maintaining their defensive readiness in the protection of our people.”

These actions are provocative and raise the risk of armed engagements with the NPA. All NPA fighting units and the people’s militia are thus enjoined to be ever vigilant against hostile actions of enemy armed forces—from encroachment, surveillance to blatant operations— and should remain on active defensive mode, until they are forced to engage with the enemy in self-defense if the latter continues its offensive operations.

Thus, it is misleading for the GPH and the AFP to brand the NPA’s short ceasefire as merely token. In fact, the US-Aquino regime has no business claiming as peace harbingers by demanding for a longer ceasefire from the NPA when its own security forces continue its bloody rampage in the countryside and the cities against suspected revolutionaries, ordinary media men, and progressive leaders. This is the same regime that uses indiscriminately aerial bombardment by enemy helicopters to neutralize civilian communities like what happened in Maco, Maragusan towns in Compostela Valley and in Arakan, North Cotabato in the couple of weeks. It has no business demanding for a truce from the NDF when it is unable to comply with previously agreed agreements with the NDF. More importantly, the GPH cannot insist on a longer ceasefire when it can hardly lift a finger for the resumption of peace negotiations with the NDF.

Indeed, the GPH ceasefire declaration is as an exercise in futility, empty to the core. It is not only unreliable, its premise that it is in keeping with the Aquino regime’s “rebuilding” and “healing” efforts in Yolanda-ravaged Visayas region is, likewise, a badly written script. As proven in our own experience with Typhoon Pablo, the GPH will pursue its corruption-laden disaster and rehabilitation work with the fascist AFP at its helm, and will only utilize the current long ceasefire as an occasion to abuse the masses, pursue counter-revolutionary operations and stifle the movement of the populace.

CPP/NDF: Papanagutin ang rehimeng US-Aquino sa sunud-sunod na dagok sa mamamayan

Posted to the CPP Website (Dec 23): Papanagutin ang rehimeng US-Aquino sa sunud-sunod na dagok sa mamamayan [Hold the US-Aquino regime (accountable for) successive shocks (inflicted on) the people]


Patnubay De Guia
NDFP Southern Tagalog Chapter

Mariing kinukundina ng National Democratic Front-Southern Tagalog (NDF-ST) ang sunod-sunod na pagpataw ng pagtaas ng bayarin sa kuryente, pamasahe sa MRT-LRT at LPG. Di pa man nakakabangon ang sambayanan mula sa guho ng nagdaang kalamidad, panibagong delubyo ang hatid ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno ni Aquino sa sunud-sunod na pagtaas ng bayarin sa kuryente, LPG at pamasahe sa MRT at LRT.

[The National Democratic Front-Southern Tagalog (NDF-ST) strongly condemns the consecutive imposition of increases in electricity bills, MRT-LRT fares and LPG. As the people are recovering from the ruins of the recent disaster, (they must suffer) another deluge brought about by the reactionary Aquino government that successively increased electricity bills, the LPG ​​and MRT and LRT fares.]

Inutil ang reaksyunaryong gubyerno na ibsan ang mga suliranin ng mamamayan. Bagkus, ngayong panahon ng kapaskuhan, mga dagdag na pasanin ang regalo ng rehimeng US-Aquino II sa taumbayan.

Pinakamataas sa kasaysayan ang dagdag-singil sa kuryente na P4.15 bawat kilowatt hour (kWh) simula sa buwan ng Disyembre. Idinadahilan pa ng Meralco na hindi maiiwasan ang mga pagtaas dahil mas mahal ang gagamiting panggatong ng mga plantang pinagkukunan nila ng kuryente dulot ng sabay-sabay umanong pansamantalang pagsasara o maintenance shutdown ng mga planta ng Malampaya natural gas.

Sa harap ng mainit na usapin, naging tagapagsalita ng Meralco ang Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). Lubusang ipinagtatanggol ni ERC Commissioner Josefina Asirit at ng Malakanyan ang karapatan ng Meralco na magtaas ng generation cost kahit walang permiso mula sa ERC. Inaprubahan din ng ERC ang dagdag-singil sa kuryente ng Meralco na hinati-hati sa tatlong bayaran. Lubos na pahirap sa mamamayan ang dagdag-singil na P2.41 bawat kWh sa Disyembre 2013, P1.21 bawat kWh sa Pebrero 2014 at P0.53 bawat kWh sa Marso 2014. Kung nagkukonsumo ang isang pamilya ng 200 kWh may dagdag-singil ito na P482 sa kabuuang babayaran, P723 dagdag-singil para sa 300 kWh, at nasa P1,000 para sa 400 kWh.

Isang insulto sa kahirapan na nararanasan ng masang anakpawis ang kawalan ng mapagpasyang aksyon ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno. Sangkot mismo sa katiwalian ang ERC na ahensyang dapat sana’y nag-iimbestiga sa mga iregularidad at sabwatan ng malalaking kumpanya ng enerhiya. Katunayan, isa si ERC Chairman Zenaida Ducut sa mga kinasuhang upisyal na may direktang kaugnayan sa pork barrel scam.

Inutil ang Department of Energy (DOE) na pigilin ang pagsirit ng presyo ng LPG ngayong buwan ng Disyembre. Magbabayad ang mamamayan ng dagdag P14.30 bawat kilogram o P157 dagdag-singil sa bawat tangke. Kung susumahin, aabutin ng P900 ang bawat 11-kg tangke mula sa dating presyo na P680-P790. Sampal sa naghihikahos na mamamayan nang maliitin ni DOE Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla ang mga pagtaas na ito. Sa halip na imbestigahan ang mga pagtaas kinatwiran ni Petilla na mas mataas pa nga ang presyo ng LPG noong Marso 2012 na umabot sa halos P1,000.

Labis na pahirap ito sa ordinayong mamamayan na naghihikahos na itawid ang kanilang pangunahing pangangailangan sa araw-araw. Ibayong pagdurusa rin ang hatid nito sa mga biktima ng superbagyong Yolanda na magpahanggang sa ngayon ay di pa alam kung paano muling bubuuin ang kanilang buhay. Sa panahong hindi pa naghihilom ang sugat na iniwan ng superbagyong Yolanda sa mamamayang Pilipino, panibagong delubyo ang hatid ng kriminal na pagpapabaya at mulat na pakikipagsabwatan ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno sa kartel ng malalaking dayuhang kumpanya at lokal na naghaharing-uri.

Malaking dagok sa mamamayan ng Metro Manila ang pagtataas ng pamasahe sa MRT at LRT na ilan sa mga pangunahing pampublikong transportasyon. Minamadali ng Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) ang pormulang tinatawag nitong “11+1” kung saan sisingilin ang bawat pasahero ng P11 at dagdag na P1 sa bawat kilometro na lalakbayin. Sa pormulang ito ang pamasahe sa MRT-3 mula North Ave hanggang Taft Ave ay magiging P28 mula sa kasalukuyang P15. Magiging P30 ang dating P20 na pamasahe sa LRT-1 mula Roosevelt hanggang Baclaran at P25 mula P15 ang pamasahe sa LRT-2 mula Recto hanggang Santolan.

Hindi na kayang maghugas kamay pa ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno sa papel nito sa pagdurusa ng mamamayan. Nilalangaw na ang sumasadsad na popularidad ni Aquino dahil sa lantaran nitong pagsusulong ng antimamamayan at maka-imperyalistang polisiya na sagad na pahirap sa mamamayan. Ang mga pagtaas ng presyo at bayarin ng mga pangunahing produkto at serbisyo ay sistematikong nakapaloob sa mga programa ng liberalisasyon, deregulasyon at pribatisasyon na ipinapangalandakan ng rehimeng US-Aquino II. Hinuhulma ng reaksyunaryong gubyero ang ekonomya ng Pilipinas para itaguyod ang paghahari ng US. Tahasang ipinatutupad ni Aquino ang mga polisya at programa ng General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade-World Trade Organization (GATT-WTO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), at World Bank (WB), sukdulang mangahulugan ng kapinsalaan ng mamamayang Pilipino.

Nananawagan ang NDF-ST na palawakin at palakasin ang paglaban ng mamamayan sa mapanupil, korap at sagadsaring tuta ng US na rehimeng Aquino. Walang malinis na intensyon ang rehimeng upang tulungan at iangat ang kalagayan ng masang anakpawis. Bagkus, nasa mismong kalikasan ng lipunan na itinataguyod ng rehimeng papet ang pagsangkalan sa interes ng mamamayan para sa makitid na pakinabang ng iilan. Ganap nang nahubad ang maskara ng rehimeng US-Aquino II na bulok, antimamamayan at antidemokratikong kalikasan. Walang aasahang tunay na pagbabago ang masa ng sambayanan sa isang lipunang nakagapos sa kumpas ng imperyalismong US kundi mas matinding pahirap at pasakit.

Lalo lamang pinahihinog ng lumalalang krisis panlipunan ang kundisyon sa pagsusulong ng rebolusyon. Walang ibang alternatiba ang sambayanan kundi magkaisang ibagsak ang lipunang malakolonyal at malapyudal na nagsadlak sa sambayanang Pilipino sa sumpa ng kahirapan. Ang demokratikong rebolusyong bayan lamang ang may kumprehensibo at progresibong patakarang panlipunan na magpapalaya sa buong bayan mula sa dominasyon sa ekonomya ng imperyalismong US, malaking kumprador at panginoong maylupa. Ito ang may programang tutubos at maghahatid ng kasaganaan at kaunlaran para sa lahat sa ilalim ng isang klima ng kapayapaan, kalayaan at katarungang panlipunan.

Dumadagundong sa buong kapuluan ang hinaing ng mamamayan para sa pagbabago. Lulubusin at hahawanin ng tagumpay ng demokratikong rebolusyon ng bayan ang dantaong kahilingan ng mamamayan para sa katarungang panlipunang—isang kaayusang magwawakas sa lahat ng uri makauring pagsasamantala at pang-aapi. At sa abo ng luma at lipas nang sistemang malakolonyal at malapyudal, itatayo ang isang malaya at progresibong bansang Pilipinas.

Word war between AFP, NPA on amid truce

From the Philippine Star (Dec 23): Word war between AFP, NPA on amid truce

The holiday truce between the government and the communist rebels did not  stop them from engaging in a word war or calling each other names.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista is challenging the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to a debate after the latter described his proposal for a “ceasefire forever” as “moronic.”

“As Gen. Bautista said, if they (CPP) want, let’s have a public debate to determine who the real moron is,” Armed Forces spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. said in an interview Monday.

"The CPP-NPA (New People’s Army)-NDF (National Democratic Front) are deceiving the Filipino people on this matter,” he added.

When asked if Bautista was offended by the CPP’s statement, Tutaan said: “Actually the Chief of Staff is not offended by it. He is concerned because this just goes to show that the CPP-NPA-NDF is not really sincere in having  a lasting peace.”

The government has declared a holiday ceasefire with communist rebels that took effect last Dec. 20 and will last until Jan. 15.

Before that, the CPP approved a shorter truce to be implemented from Dec. 24 to 26 and from Dec. 31 to Jan. 2.

Bautista said the rebels’ truce is too short and that he prefers to have a ceasefire that lasts forever.

The CPP, however, said Bautista’s proposal is “moronic” and could lead to abuses, environmental destruction and land-grabbing.

“To declare a ceasefire ‘to last forever’ will only bring forth an eternal hell of military abuses, land grabbing and environmental destruction,” CPP said in a statement.

The group said Bautista’s remarks reflect the military’s “inability to understand the deep-seated reasons behind the Filipino people’s armed resistance.”

Tutaan scored the rebels for their refusal to abandon the armed struggle.

“Instead of name-calling, why can’t the CPP-NPA explain to the people why it cannot have a prolonged ceasefire when it is already a fact that (there is) a very big public clamor to end armed conflict,” Tutaan said.

“The people clamor for peace. The people clamor for the end of armed conflict or violence. The people clamor for end of the burning of construction materials due to extortion activities. That’s the reason why the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) would want to have a prolonged peace,” he added.

BLMI conducts consultations at Kabacan, North Cotabato

From the MILF Website (Dec 23): BLMI conducts consultations at Kabacan, North Cotabato

The Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) conducted a two - day consultations with a title, “MILF Consultation on Promoting Public Participation on the Peace Process” held on December 11-12, 2013 at Barangay Magatos, Kabacan, North Cotabato, Bangsamoro, Philippines.
More than one hundred participants who came from the different sectoral groups of Bangsamoro in North Cotabato, Political Committees and Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces were present during the said activity.

Mike Abdula, Member of the BLMI Steering Committee explained the role of the agency in helping the MILF leadership to strengthen the awareness and participation of the entire Bangsamoro Homeland on the peace process.

In addition, the head of the Secretariat of the MILF Central Committee on Information encouraged the participants to actively participate during the consultation workshop and open forum hence the main reason of the consultation is for the MILF Central Committee to know the real sentiments as well as to give clear answers to the queries of the Bangsamoro regarding the peace process.

On his statement on the overview of the activity, the director of information in North Cotabato emphasized that his fellow Bangsamoro in the province are fortunate to be part of the very promising advocacy of BLMI that is promoting public participation on the peace process.

During the workshops, the participants were able to determine and discuss their understanding on government, territory, basic rights, Security and Shari’ah; terms that are vital in the peace process.

Furthermore, all the groups were given a chance to express their fears, issues and concerns, as well as their recommendations on the on-going GRP-MILF peace negotiations.

On his message, BLMI Executive Director Ustadz Mahmod Ahmad stressed the importance of sharing Aqueeda Islamia to every Bangsamoro. He emphasized that every Bangsamoro has a great role in order that genuine peace and unity will reign in the Bangsamoro homeland.

The facilitation of the two-day activity was spearheaded by the BLMI working force; Ustadz Mahmod Ahmad, Kris T. Yano, Mike Abdula, etc.  Other BLMI support Staff and members of information committee also extended their services during the workshops.

High-ranking Abu Sayyaf member dies evading arrest in Sulu

From GMA News (Dec 23): High-ranking Abu Sayyaf member dies evading arrest in Sulu

A high-ranking member of the al Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf Group was killed while evading arrest in Sulu on Monday, police said.
The Sulu Provincial Police Office said a composite police team, acting on an arrest warrant issued by Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 46, managed to track Fraser Hajan to Sitio Luwas, Barangay Nunukan in Parang town.
The team consisted of members of the 52nd Special Action Company and provincial police.
"Subject resisted arrest and fired his pistol against operatives," police said. Hajan was wounded and was brought to a hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. 
Recovered from Hajan were a .45 caliber pistol, 14 rounds of .45 caliber ammunition, 44 rounds of 5.56 caliber ammunition, a spy cam, cellphone, and documents from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), among others.
Hajan is believed to have been involved in the 2000 kidnapping of American Jeffrey Schilling, who was accused of being a CIA agent.
Schilling was rescued by the military after a brief encounter with his kidnappers on April 12, 2001 in Luuk, Sulu.
The Abu Sayyaf is a loosely-organized bandit group of Islamic fundamentalists that has links with the al Qaeda terrorist network.

It has been blamed for the kidnapping and beheading of foreigners and locals and attacks against civilians. 
The Abu Sayyaf was founded in the early 1990s by Abdurrajak Janjalani, a former member of the MNLF who had trained in Afghanistan.

AFP urges disgruntled members to use grievance system over medal mess

From the Daily Tribune (Dec 24): AFP urges disgruntled members to use grievance system over medal mess

The Armed Forces of the Philippines yesterday urged its members questioning some of the AFP Day awardees, who were involved in the calibrated response against the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Nur Misuari faction in Zamboanga City, to use the military grievance system instead of going to the media to air their concerns.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP-Public Affairs Office chief, lashed out at the AFP members quoted by The Tribune questioning the Distinguish Conduct Star (DCS) awards given to some officers supposedly not involved in actual combat during the 21-day siege, for airing their concerns to the media without using the internal mechanism.

“They should use our internal grievance mechanism... now, if the mechanism does not work or they were not satisfied with the facts, they can file their complaints,” said Zagala.

“Any AFP personnel who have complaints — whether regarding assignments, awards and anything that involves yourself and the organization, we encourage first they use the grievance system in order for us to correct rather than complaining outside first,” Zagala added.

Zagala also expressed belief that those questioning the awardees could have not the right facts.

“They made their perceptions without knowing the facts...they made sweeping statements,” he said.

The AFP official maintained that the awards given by the AFP went through the process.

“They (all awardees) were recommended by the division...and were deliberated by the board,” Zagala said.

Zagala told The Tribune that as of press time yesterday no one formally questioned the awards.

“No one use the grievance system. If you wish to question certain awards, you can go to the board,” he said.

The AFP leadership cited more than 2,000 personnel for their involvement in the military’s calibrated response against the MNLF-Nur Misuari faction in Zamboanga City from Sept. 9 to Sept. 29. The operation resulted in the safe rescue of 195 hostages and the killing of more than 200 MNLF fighters.

The Tribune on Friday and Saturday came out with stories, quoting military sources, questioning the awarding of DCS, the second highest military combat award next to the coveted Medal for Valor, to some officers supposedly were not involved in the actual combat in Zamboanga City.

The awarding of DCS and other military recognitions were among the highlights of the 78th founding anniversary celebration of the AFP last Friday.

The Tribune sources particularly questioned the awarding of DCS to the officers, whom they claimed, were not even in the frontline during the 21-day siege.

Fishermen’s group scores DOJ silence on construction of US mini-naval base

From the Business Mirror (Dec 23): Fishermen’s group scores DOJ silence on construction of US mini-naval base

THE Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) on Sunday chided Justice Secretary Leila de Lima for her silence on the reported construction of a mini-naval base for US troops in Palawan.
De Lima had been asked by the group to look into the plan of the Armed Forces to build a base on Oyster Bay more than three months ago.
Pamalakaya Vice Chairman Salvador France said de Lima has not come up with a response to the group’s letter dated October 7 that was received by her office on the same day.
The Department of National Defense has announced that a total of five bidders have been declared eligible to bid for two projects to upgrade the Navy’s detachment on Oyster Bay, which is facing the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
The plan to construct a mini-naval base is expected to enhance the external defense capability of the Armed Forces at the West Philippine Sea, particularly in the Spratly Group of Islands, which is being disputed by the Philippines and China.
The mini-naval base project in Oyster Bay is part of the US agenda to increase its military presence in the Philippines on rotational basis, France said.
“It is designed to host warships of Washington not only to check the disturbing presence of Chinese military on West Philippine Sea but to preserve the military hegemony of the US in East Asia and the Pacific in the name of military program known as US Pivot in Asia,” France added.
In seeking a Department of Justice investigation on the mini-naval base project for US troops on Oyster Bay, Pamalakaya cited the 1987 Philippine Constitution, which strictly prohibits foreign military bases in the country.
Pamalakaya also added that the impact of Oyster Bay naval base project to the livelihood of fishermen and the marine environment is “far reaching, extremely dangerous and totally catastrophic.”
The group said Oyster Bay is well recognized by the international community as a very rich area in marine biodiversity and any plan to alter or change the nature of the bay will have adverse impact on the livelihood of the fishermen in the area.

AFP chief challenges Reds to a debate

From ABS-CBN (Dec 23): AFP chief challenges Reds to a debate

Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista challenged the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to a public debate to find out the "real moron."

This, after the communists tagged as "moronic" an earlier statement of Bautista that they should have declared a ceasefire that "lasts forever."

Last Wednesday, the CPP said it would declare a Christmas ceasefire that would cover Dec. 24, 25, 26, 31, Jan. 1 and 2. Last year, the rebels’ truce was from Dec. 20 to Jan. 15.

For its part, the government announced a ceasefire or Suspension of Offensive Military Operation (SOMO) from Dec. 21 up to Jan. 15. The government truce is shorter compared to last year, which started Dec. 16 and lasted up to Jan. 15.

"General Bautista said if they (CPP) want, let’s have a public debate to determine who the real moron is. They should answer why they do not want a prolonged ceasefire or prolonged cessation of hostilities," AFP spokesman Maj. Gen. Domingo Tutaan said.

He said Bautista is not offended by the term used by the Reds.

"He (Bautista) is concerned because this just goes to show that the CPP-NPA-NDF is not really sincere in having a just a lasting peace," Tutaan said.

Bautista was the first to push the idea of the military’s internal peace and security plan called Bayanihan.

No Christmas at home for soldiers

From the Visayan Daily Star (Dec 23): No Christmas at home for soldiers

While others are celebrating Christmas Day with their families, members of the Philippine Army, are in the field and combat zones to protect the state and its people.

They may not be with you to celebrate Christmas Day or New Year's eve, because of their mandate to maintain peace and order, but their thoughts are always with you”, Major Gen. Aurelio Baladad, 3 rd Infantry Division commander said, in his Christmas message, to the families of 3ID soldiers.

Baladad lauded the 3ID soldiers involved in the relief and rescue operations in the typhoon Yolanda aftermath, and whose families are also typhoon victims.

The 3ID soldiers are stationed in Negros and Panay islands.

While he may not personally reach all soldiers, especially those stationed in isolated military outposts, Baladad said he hopes that his message through the media will reach them. He also expressed his gratitude to them for the sacrifices they make to protect the people from lawlessness.

With all the challenges, Baladad said, “ We should celebrate Christmas day in the spirit of unity”.

With the suspension of military operations by government and communist rebel group, the Philippine Army in Western Visayas is hopeful that it will be a peaceful yuletide celebrations.

While most families will celebrate the yuletide season being together, soldiers out in the field also intend to be part of yearly family bonding activity – thanks to the Internet and other forms of social media.

Barring signal problems, soldier-fathers can now communicate with their families through Skype video call, or cellular phone.

Troopers guarding West Philippine Sea get Christmas gifts from OFWs

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 23): Troopers guarding West Philippine Sea get Christmas gifts from OFWs

Overseas Filipino workers have forwarded boxes of Christmas items to soldiers guarding the West Philippine Sea.

Dubbed as the "Saludo Package", the Christmas packages contain canned goods, news magazines, DVDs, toiletries and even cigarettes.

Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, 7th Civil Relations Group (CRG) commander, was among those who spearheaded the collection of gifts for the soldiers.

He said that he started the "Saludo Package" project in 2012 through his Facebook friends.

“My FB friends had always expressed their intent to provide support for the soldiers who are in the frontlines. Having experienced the hard life in the distant posts, I was motivated to gather all these donations and send them to the soldiers in the field,” Cabunoc stressed.

The recent donations were forwarded to the Marine unit which has operational control over the troopers deployed in the nine reefs and islets claimed by the Philippines.

The 7th CRG intends to send at least one box of assorted goods to every territory that is guarded by the soldiers.

Sometime in August 2013, Cabunoc used his FB account to float the idea of sending Christmas gifts for the military personnel stationed to protect the Philippine territories in the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG).

He said that Filipinos from all corners of the globe promptly replied to send their pledges.

“We received donations from OFWs who are working in the US, Germany, Australia, Japan and the Middle East. This is on top of the donations sent by Manila-based Pinoys who also wanted to show their appreciation for the service of our soldiers,” Cabunoc said.

Initially, three "balikbayan" boxes were sent for soldiers guarding Ayungin shoal and Rizal reef. Another box intended for Lawak reef is now gradually filled with assorted goods.

Kent Flores a Japan-based OFW from Iloilo is one of the donors.

He said that he wanted to make the soldiers happy during Christmas.

“Gusto ko lang na magpasalamat sa ating mga sundalo na taos-pusong nagsisilbi sa ating bayan. Kahit sa ganitong pamamaraan ay maipakita ko sa kanila na kinikilala namin ang kanilang kabayanihan (I want to thank our soldiers and give something in return for their heroism),” said Flores upon his arrival at NAIA barely a week ago.

Priscilla Sheppard of Australia also sent donations through a courier service which would be arriving after Christmas.

“Please let the soldiers know that a friend from Down Under appreciates their service,” said Sheppard in her FB message.

Meanwhile, Georgio Dano of New York, sent cash donation intended to buy provisions. He said that he will convince more people to support the project.

“I will forward the story to some officer friends of mine in the United States Navy. I've always been helping the Armed Forces here and abroad,” said Dano, a native of Cebu City, in his FB message.

Cabunoc said that aside from the "Saludo Package", he has also started the "Equip a Soldier" program this year.Five soldiers from the Army Scout Ranger, Philippine Marine Corps and the Philippine Air Force had received US made tactical boots that can last longer during foot patrols in the rugged terrain of the country.

Army welcomes newly promoted generals

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 23): Army welcomes newly promoted generals

Philippine Army (PA) personnel led by Lt. Gen. Noel A. Coballes witnessed the donning of ranks of four newly-promoted generals during the flag raising ceremony at Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City Monday morning.

Donned with their second stars were Major Generals Ricardo R. Visaya and Yerson E. Depayso.

Visaya is the commander of the 4th Infantry Division and a member of Philippine Military Academy Class (PMA) of 1983; while Depayso is the head of the 9th Infantry Division, Philippine Army and belongs to PMA Class of 1981.

Given their first stars were Brig. Gens. Reynaldo G. Mutiangpili, commander of the 52nd Engineering Brigade and Henry G. Sabarre, Commander of the 703rd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio P. Catapang, Northern Luzon Command chief and a member of PMA Class of 1981 received his third star.

Also, among those promoted were Major Gens. Gamaliel S. Cruz, deputy chief of staff for logistics, OJ4; Domingo J Tutaan, AFP spokesperson; Rodelio V. Santos, commander, 2nd Infantry Division; Oscar P. Lopez, Chief, AFP Resource Management Office; and Felicito Virgilio M. Trinidad, commander, 1st Infantry Division.

Receiving their first stars, on the other hand, were Brig. Gens. Teodorico D. Raqueño, commander, Communication Electronics and Information Service, AFP; Victor V Bayani, Chief, office of the legislative affairs, General Headquarters (GHQ); Ronald N. Albano, adjutant general, Office of The Adjutant General, GHQ; Rodolfo D. Santiago, assistant deputy chief of staff for Civil Military Operations, OJ7; and Rafael C. Valencia, Commander 802nd Brigade, 8th Infantry Division.

AFP tells CPP-NPA: Explain refusal to go on prolonged ceasefire

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 23): AFP tells CPP-NPA: Explain refusal to go on prolonged ceasefire

Instead of calling Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista proposal to go on prolonged ceasefire during the Yuletide Season moronic, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA) should give pertinent reasons to the public why it refuses to do so.

But AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan on Monday said he does not expect the rebels to honor this call as doing so would cut down their extortion activities.

"The NPA is there if there is extortion, the NPA is there if there is other criminal activities," he added.

"They would be losing a lot of money if they would do that," the AFP spokesperson stressed.

Tutaan also scored the NPA's decision to only go on a four-day ceasefire for the Christmas holidays as the Philippines celebrates the longest Christmas Season in the world.

"The CPP-NPA has said that in declaring (a four-day) ceasefire is in keeping with the Filipino tradition of observing the holiday season but the (Philippines) celebration of the Yuletide is pretty long and considered to be longest in the world," he added.

The AFP spokesperson also dismisses the CPP-NPA's claims that by laying down their arms, the masses will have no one to defend them against oppression.

"Where were they (NPA) during the (height of Supertyphoon 'Yolanda' in Nov. 8 in Eastern Visayas and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in the Central Visayas). They were not there. They were only present when there are extortion and criminal activities," Tutaan stressed.

He added that the military, whom the rebels always accused of being anti-poor, were always in the frontlines helping the people recover from the ill-effects of these natural disasters.

Tutaan also called NPA claims that muzzling their guns will mean the surrender of the peace.

"They are (the ones) who is disrupting peace actually, so given the reasons by the CPP-NPA of not declaring a prolonged ceasefire, specifically for four days only who is now the moron, people (nationwide) clamor for peace, the people clamor for the end of armed conflict or violence, the people clamor for end of burning of construction materials due to extortion activities so that is the reason why the AFP would want to have a prolonged peace," the AFP spokesperson concluded.

ASG leader killed in Sulu operation

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 23): ASG leader killed in Sulu operation

A senior Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) leader who tried to resist arrest in Sitio Luwas, Barangay Nuknukan, Parang town, was killed in a shootout on Monday with operatives of the Sulu Provincial Police.

The slain ASG leader was identified as Fraser Hajan.

The encounter between authorities and the ASG leader took place around 1:15 a.m.

Police were out to arrest the suspect based on the two arrest warrants issued by Pasig City Regional Trial Court Branch 46 Presiding Judge Erlinda Uy.

Hajan is wanted for several counts of kidnapping and other crimes.

Instead of cooperating with authorities, the suspect fired at the arresting police, prompting the latter to retaliate and resulted in the wounding of Hajan, who later died while being rushed at a local hospital.

Recovered from the suspect was a .45 caliber pistol, two magazines with 14 rounds of ammunition, a Nokia RM-55 cellphone, spy camera, four hearing aids and suspected Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) documents.

New soldiers receive firearms from gov't

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 23): New soldiers receive firearms from gov't

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City -– The local government here has entrusted firearms to 93 newly accepted private soldiers in a ceremonial turnover last week, the military said today, Monday.

Capt. Christian Uy, spokesperson of the Army’s Public Affairs Division here, said that the local government unit was represented by provincial board member Grace Acain of Misamis Oriental.

He said that Acain handed over the firearms to newly accepted members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with a rank of private as a symbol that the military was created to secure the local government unit.

Uy said the soldiers should use their firearms to protect the civilian community and the rights of the people as part of the mandate of the AFP.

The AFP core duty is to protect the Filipino people and safeguard the national integrity ad sovereignty while the Philippine Army trains forces for combat operations in order to maintain a stable peace and order condition of the community, Uy added.

Brig. Gen. Ricardo R. Visaya, commander of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, also reminded the new soldiers to observe the highest form of discipline at all times.

“We are not here wearing this uniform because we are born to be soldiers but because we chose to be one,” Visaya said.

(YEARENDER) Philippine Army: One of the first responders in 'Yolanda' disaster

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 18): (YEARENDER) Philippine Army: One of the first responders in 'Yolanda' disaster

Aside from its usual national security role, the Philippine Army was among the first responders or agencies that gave prompt assistance to the people of Tacloban City, Leyte and other parts of the Visayas who were severely affected by the onslaught of super typhoon "Yolanda" last Nov. 8.

According to Capt. Anthony Bacus, Army spokesperson, the PA deployed 155 military vehicles and 4,000 soldiers to render humanitarian assistance and disaster response efforts in Tacloban and other typhoon-affected areas.

He said that major units coming from the 10th and 4th Infantry Divisions based in Mindanao sent battalions of carpenter-soldiers to help rebuild schools, hospitals and other government buildings severely damaged by the super typhoon.

Bacus added that water search and rescue (WASAR)– capable and collapsed structure search and rescue (CSSR)– capable teams from the 525th Engineering Battalion were also deployed to Tacloban.

Troopers from the 48th Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division; 80th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Infantry Division and the 1st Special Forces Battalion were also sent as augmentation forces.

The PA spokesperson said that medical teams from the Army General Hospital had also been deployed, as well as two squads from the Civil Military Operations with their loud speakers and communication electronics and information assets.

Aside from these units, a Philippine Army Relief Center was established at the PA Wellness Center (Army Gym in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City) with Civic-Military Operations Group as the unit responsible for the collection and repacking of relief items.

Besides the humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, the PA also conducted "Operation Linis/Coastal Clean-Up" and tree planting activities with full multi-sectoral participation.

Aside from humanitarian missions, the PA also demonstrated its capability of defending the country against aggression when it repelled rouge Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) fighters who attacked and occupied parts of Zamboanga City last September.

Fifteen Army soldiers, including three officers, died while defending and liberating Zamboanga City from this unprovoked assault.

"Though the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the PA in particular, successfully performed its mandate, it had to bear the loss caused by the death of these brave warriors. After almost three weeks of fighting, the rogue MNLF fighters under Nur Misuari surrendered. The calibrated response done by the Army to protect the non-combatants which further led to the rescue of 195 hostages was considered as one of the most successful rescue missions in (its) history," Bacus said.

During the year 2013, Army engineers also completed various infrastructure and development projects in different parts of the country.

"Both Headquarters Philippine Army and major subordinate units also continued to pursue various environmental protection operations as a regular part of their current missions. There were also tree planting activities, anti-illegal logging efforts, anti-illegal fishing drives, and environmental protection projects," Bacus stressed.

A number of bilateral activities were facilitated since January, notable of which were the conduct of the United States-Philippines "Balikatan 2013," Planning Conferences/Site Surveys/Meetings/Visits for the AFP-hosted 16th Malaysian-Philippine Military Cooperation Working Group, and Training Activity Land Malaysia-Philippines.

PA personnel were also deployed in different mission areas either as part of the United Nations Peacekeeping contingent or as UN peacekeeping staff and military observers at UN outposts in Ivory Coast, East Timor, Haiti, India/Pakistan, Liberia, South Sudan and Syria.

On Nov. 29, the PA sent off the 7th Philippine Contingent to Golan Heights composed of 336 Army personnel.

With the conduct of successful operations, the Army was able to weaken and decrease the manpower of the New People's Army (NPA) to an estimated 4,000 in 2012.

To date, 29 provinces were declared free from communist influence, with three more provinces to be turned over to the local government units within the year.

Army units also isolated the Abu Sayyaf Group’s (ASG) area of operation. Its armed strength also declined with the confiscation of many firearms of the bandit group.

There was also a decrease in violent activities perpetrated by the ASG because of the intensified conduct of military operations by government forces.

Meanwhile, the signing of the Framework Agreement of the Bangsamoro is considered as one of the major breakthroughs for the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF) peace panels after 15 years of negotiating peace.

AW-109s also capable of 'interdiction' missions

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 22): AW-109s also capable of 'interdiction' missions

Aside from its regular surveillance and patrol capabilities, the Philippine Navy (PN)'s newly-acquired AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power" helicopters are also capable of carrying out interdiction missions against suspicious looking craft entering the country's territorial waters.

"Once it detects a suspicious contact, our AW-109s can fly over the target and inspect it. Or it can call its mother ship and request for a RHIB (rigid-hull inflatable boat) to conduct a board-and-search operation," Navy spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic said in Filipino.

He added that the AW-109s can do this mission even at night-time thanks to its FLIR and night vision equipment.

FLIR means forward looking infrared.

It uses an imaging technology that senses infrared radiation.

The sensors installed in forward-looking infrared cameras—as well as those of other thermal imaging cameras—use detection of infrared radiation, typically emitted from a heat source (thermal radiation), to create a "picture" assembled for video output.

Another two AW-109s are expected to arrive during the first quarter of 2014.

The AW-109 "Power" helicopter 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 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, parapublic and military applications by customers in almost 50 countries.

Meet the drones that helped in the Zambo siege

From Rappler (Dec 23): Meet the drones that helped in the Zambo siege

ARMY DRONES: Raptor and Knight Falcon. Army photo

ARMY DRONES: Raptor and Knight Falcon. Army photo

Meet Raptor and Knight Falcon. They're the military's eyes in the sky and they helped government forces in their bloody standoff with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in September.

The Philippine Army displayed last week in Camp Aguinaldo the 2 Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), a public admission that it has been using drones in its operations.
Army spokesperson Captain Anthony Bacus said they started developing the drones in 2012 thanks to a funding of P2.5 million. It's part of the Army's capability upgrade under the Army Transformation Roadmap, according to Army spokesperson Captain Anthony Bacus.
"The UAS had been instrumental in the successful conduct of operations against the rogue MNLF rebels in Zamboanga City last September that led to the surrender and arrest of several MNLF fighters under Nur Misuari," said Bacus.
They will be also be useful in humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations.
"The Army came up with this UAS to boost our capability, especially in this aspect. We are able to get video footage without risking the life of an individual," said Bacus.
The Army's first drone, called Raptor, costs P150,000. The second drone, called Knight Falcon, costs P300,000.
Drones provide real-time imagery intelligence and video feed from a particular area with a range of 3 km to 7 km and can extend up to 50 km, said Bacus.
Bacus said the drones can last one to 3 hours. "We are able to get necessary information from enemy camps," he said.
Bacus said they are now developing a 3rd drone, an enhanced version of the Raptor and Knight Falcon.
Not for attacks?
The Department of National Defense also recently invited bidders who can supply the miiltary with 6 sets of drones. (READ: PH military to acquire drones)
It is among 4 items in the P684-million contract for the Marine Forces Imagery and Targeting Support System (MITSS) Acquisition Project for the Philippines Marine Corps.

Drones have become controversial largely because of allegations the US has deployed its own in Philippine territory and used them to attack terrorists. A New York Times story last year said the US drones dropped bombs in Mindanao in 2006.

But Philippine officials have emphasized that US drones have been used in the past for intelligence and surveillance purposes in joint operations. (READ: What drones? PH not Afghanistan - US officer)

President Benigno Aquino III himself has said a drone strike may violate the Constitution.