Monday, January 6, 2014

'Group was trying to TAKE OVER Sabah'

From the Malaysia Chronicle (Jan 7): 'Group was trying to TAKE OVER Sabah'

THE  group of 30 persons charged with  offences linked to last year's Lahad Datu armed incursion were trying to wrest control of Sabah, said  Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail.

He told the High Court, in the prosecution's opening statement, that the prosecution would prove this by tendering evidence showing that witnesses were involved in negotiations with members of the terrorist group that took place in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu, last year.

"The latter (members of terrorist group) expressed their intention to claim the state of Sabah," he said at the hearing before judge Steven Chung Hian Guan at Central Prison in Kepayan, near here yesterday.

Gani said after negotiations failed, the members of the terrorist group resorted to force and violence to challenge the government's authority by attacking Malaysian security forces patrolling the nearby area.

"The force and violence spread throughout the area, causing nine members of the Malaysian security forces to be brutally attacked and killed in Kampung Simunul, Semporna, and in some other areas in Lahad Datu, in Sabah.

"Fourteen members of the Malaysian security forces were injured as well," he said, adding that the prosecution would not only rely on oral and documentary evidence against the accused but also on confessions made by some of the accused persons.

Twenty two of the accused were charged with waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and being members of a terrorist group.

Jamalul Kiram III's nephew, Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram, was among those charged.

Others facing both charges were Abd Hadi Mawan, Abdul Majil Jubin, Rijmal Salleh, Saidili Jaharul, Dani Ismail, Pabblo Alie, Mohamad Ali Ahmad, Basil Samiul, Rizman Gulan, and Totoh Hismullah.

Also charged with waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong were Atik Hussin Abu Bakar, Basad Manuel, Masir Aidin, Ismail Yasin, Anwar Salib Akhmad, Binhar Salib Akhmad, Virgilio Nemar Patulada alias Mohammad Alam Patulada, Salib Akhmad Emali, Al Wazir Osman@Abdul, Tani Lahad Dahi and Julham Rashid.
They were also charged with being members of a terrorist group with Aiman Radie, Lin Mad Salleh, Holland Kalbi and Timhar Hadir.

A local woman, Norhaida Ibnahi, and two men, Kadir Uyung and Lating Tiong, were charged with harbouring a group of terrorists, while Salib Ahmad faced an additional charge of recruiting for the group.

Gani is assisted by deputy public prosecutors Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar, Abdul Wahab Mohamad, Ishak Mohd Yusoff, Anati Kisahi, and Cheng Heng Kher.

The accused are represented by a team of lawyers led by Datuk N. Sivananthan.
The first prosecution witness, Senior Assistant Commissioner Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun, 57, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) Security and Public Order Division director, told the court the sight of 79 people armed with weapons caught his attention in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu, early last year.

Some of them had rifles, one had a pistol, and many of them carried with them "barongs" or parang.

The armed group, consisting of men and women, were dressed in military fatigues with many types of emblems, he said, describing what he and Sabah Special Branch deputy chief Assistant Commissioner Zulkifli Abd Aziz saw when they drove into the village to negotiate with Agbimuddin Kiram, the brother of the late Jamalul Kiram III, on Feb 15 last year.

"Three of the men were holding M16 (assault rifles) while another man was armed with a .45 calibre pistol on his waist.

"Almost all of them were also armed with barong slung across their torso or on waistbands," he said during examination-in-chief by Abdul Gani.

He said they, accompanied by three other policemen, entered the village between 10.45am and 11am that day, bringing rice and other necessities as requested by Agbimuddin.

He said he met Agbimuddin and was introduced by Zulkefli as Sergeant Major Haji Rashid.

He said after the introduction, he helped carry supplies from the vehicle to the kitchen of the house, where he met other members with whom he conversed in simple English and Bahasa Melayu and shared cigarettes with them.

He said that he overheard snippets of conversation between Zulkifli and Agbimuddin.

"Agbimuddin was saying that they would not leave the area as long as his brother, Sultan Ismail Kiram, did not come there personally and order them to leave," he said.

Abdul Rashid said they spent about an hour there before leaving at 12pm. Zulkifli told them they would return the next day.

"He (Zulkifli) also asked for permission from Agbimuddin to take pictures with them."
With a smile, Gani asked whether he also posed for the cameraman, to which Abdul Rashid said he did.

This elicited laughter from security personnel, lawyers, court officials and members of the media present in court.

The witness explained that this was all done as part of "ground appreciation" (reconnaissance) for future operations against the group of intruders.
He said this involved examination of the terrain, strength of the enemy, weapons carried by them and any other information that would assist the carrying out of future operations.

He said when he returned to Kampung Tanduo the following day, he counted 63 gunmen, different to those who had been present the previous day, and they were also armed.

Most of them carried a machette like on the previous day (Feb 15) and one had two grenade launchers hanging on his chest.

He also saw M16 rifles, Garand rifles, four Colt .45 pistols, a revolver and a carbine.
Hearing continues today.

Sulu invasion: Court hears testimonies in prison

From the Free Malaysia Times (Jan 7): Sulu invasion: Court hears testimonies in prison

The prosecution’s first witness said that he did not take part in the negotiations with the leader of the intruders, Datu Agbimuddin Kiram.

 KOTA KINABALU: A High Court trial involving three Malaysians and 27 Filipino terrorists charged with waging war against the Yang DiPertuan Agung and activities related to terrorism in Sabah early last year opened yesterday at the Sabah Prisons Department.

The prosecution’s first witness, former deputy director of the Internal Security and Public Order Department (Special Operations Command) Bukit Aman, Abdul Rashid Harun, told the court he noticed a difference in the number of ‘intruders’ in Kampung Tanduo, Lahad Datu, when he entered the village twice on different dates.

“The majority of them were different from the ones I saw the day before. But, they were all wearing the same type of uniform with camouflage prints and they were armed,” he said.

Not only was there a drop in the number of intruders, there were new faces compared to the ones he saw and met on his first visit, he added.

Abdul Rashid, who is now the director of the Security and Public Order Division of the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) in Lahad Datu, said that on the first day of his visit on Feb 15, he was disguised as a police personnel with the rank of sergeant major.

Abdul Rashid said he did not take part in the negotiations between ACP Zulkifli Abd Aziz, who was the deputy chief of Special Branch 1 in Sabah, and leader of the intruders, Datu Agbimuddin Kiram.

He said the purpose of his joining the visit to Kampung Tanduo was to conduct ‘ground appreciation’ to gather information on the intruders, including evaluating the enemies’ strength and the weapons they had.

Earlier, the prosecution amended the date of all the charges from Feb 9 to Feb 12 last year.

Of the 30 individuals being jointly tried for various offences in relation to terrorism activities in Sabah between Feb 12 and April 10,  twenty- two, including two Malaysian men, are charged with being members of a terrorist group, punishable with life imprisonment, a fine and a death penalty.

Of the 22, one faces two additional charges of recruiting members of a terrorist group and harbouring persons knowing that they were members of a terrorist group.

Of the remaining eight, five are accused of being members of a terrorist group; one of them, the sole woman of the 30 and a Malaysian citizen, is charged with harbouring persons knowing they were members of a terrorist group, while two are charged with attempting to harbour persons knowing they were members of a terrorist group. The rest are Filipino nationals.

The hearing, before Justice Stephen Chung, is aided by a prosecuting team of seven led by Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail, while a total of 10 counsel appeared for the accused, including a team of six led by peninsular-based lawyer N. Sivananthan for 28 of the individuals.

The hearing continues today.

AW-109s to make first shipboard deployment before end of 1Q

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 7): AW-109s to make first shipboard deployment before end of 1Q

The Philippine Navy (PN) on Tuesday announced that the three AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power" helicopters, it has acquired and commissioned last December, will be doing shipboard duties by the end of the first quarter of 2014.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, Navy spokesperson, made this statement as the pilots and flight crews of the helicopters are still undergoing training on how to effectively use the night vision gear, forward looking infrared sensors and cargo hoist.

"The contract with AgustaWestland specifies that all of these trainings are completed by the end of the first quarter," Fabic said.

AgustaWestland personnel are the ones providing the PN with these briefings.

Aside from this, AW-109s pilots are now being trained on how to make deck landings on the two Gregorio Del Pilar frigates in service.

The helicopters are expected to extend the range and surveillance capabilities of the two ships once officially deployed to the fleet.

Also, the maintenance crews are also being taught to properly service the aircraft once aboard the frigates.

Fabic said there are seven pilots assigned per helicopter.

He added that an equivalent number of AW-109 trained co-pilots and crewmen are also available.

"More (pilots and crewmen) are now undergoing training to ensure that the aircraft can be manned at all times," the PN spokesperson earlier said.

At the moment, the Naval Air Group (NAG), the unit tasked to operate and maintain the PN's aerial assets, have more than 50 pilots at its roster.

Prior the arrival of the AW-109s this Dec. 8, the inventory of the NAG consists of one Robinson R-22 helicopter, Blohm B0-105 helicopter, two Islander aircraft and four Cessna light utility planes.

With the arrival of three AW-109s, the number of air assets of the NAG has increased to 11.

NAG pilots, who were trained to fly the AW-109s in Cesto Calende, Italy last year, said the AW-109 is very maneuverable and ideal for shipboard deployment.

Noy has final say on PA leadership — AFP chief

From the Daily Tribune (Jan 7): Noy has final say on PA leadership — AFP chief

The selection process for the next chief of the 80,000-strong Philippine Army (PA) has started, but Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista maintained that President Aquino, who is also the Commander in Chief, has the prerogative to appoint his choice.

“The selection process is ongoing,” Bautista told Camp Aguinaldo reporters during a chance interview yesterday during a turnover of P300,000 cash donations, facilitated by the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) to the ABS-CBN’s Sagip Kapamilya Foundation.

“There are many qualified to be CGPA (commanding general, Philippine Army) and rest assured that the senior leadership is evaluating,” Bautista also said.

Part of the selection process in the AFP is the convening of the Board of Generals which recommends a shortlist of officers to be submitted to the President, through Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.

Incidentally, Nolcom chief Lt. Gen Gregorio Pio Catapang, who was also present during the event, was among the top contenders to the Army post.

The Tribune yesterday reported that Catapang, along with Army 7th Infantry Division (ID) chief Maj. Gen. Hernando Iriberri, is among those being groomed to become commanding general of the 80,000-strong Army.

Both Catapang and Iriberri were described as qualified to succeed incumbent Army chief Lt. Gen. Noel Coballes, who is reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 on Feb. 7.

Bautista, however, was mum on the chances of Catapang, who is his “mistah” from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1981 which is now considered as the ruling PMA class both in the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

On the other hand, Iriberri is a member of the PMA Class of 1983.

Bautista, however, stressed that based on the rules, the President can appoint an officer with the rank of colonel as commanding general of the Army or even as AFP chief.

Military to start second phase of IPSP ‘Bayanihan’

From the Daily Tribune (Jan 7): Military to start second phase of IPSP ‘Bayanihan’

The second phase of the military’s internal peace and security plan (IPSP) “Bayanihan” will start this year with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) expressing optimism that the target end of armed struggle will be met by 2016.

AFP chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said that the 120,000-strong military will start its gradual transition to territorial defense and other mandated tasks this year as part of the second phase of IPSP “Bayanihan” from 2014 to 2016.

“We will complete our targets under ‘Bayanihan’ for the next three years…second half, we will sustain the gains and hopefully before 2016…there will be no more violence, no more conflict, no more armed struggle,” Bautista said.

“2014, we will start the transition…we will initiate already (the transition), gradual transition, handing over to the appropriate agencies of government the peace and security and preparing for our other mandates like territorial defense, even addressing climate change,” he added.

The AFP chief said that the gradual transition is anchored on the modernization program of the AFP.

The IPS “Bayanihan” was launched in 2011 and aimed at rendering the insurgency problem in the country to insignificant level by 2016.

According to Bautista, the military has gained so much against the insurgents during the initial phase of “Bayanihan.” Many provinces previously influenced by communist insurgents were declared areas ready for development after ridding them with the rebels.

“We will sustain the ‘Bayanihan.’ It’s more of an appeal to our people to end all internal conflict because there are more pressing concerns, urgent concerns that we need to address,” said Bautista.

The AFP chief cited the devastation brought about by super typhoon “Yolanda” last November where the military served as first responder during the calamity. He also mentioned the ongoing dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

“We are witness to ‘Yoalnda,’ climate change, we are witness to our problems in the West Philippine Sea and many more which call for us as people to be cohesive, to be focused on problems that we face as a people,” Bautista said.

“So, it is imperative for us to join hands in finally ending internal conflict. We are now in modern times, insurgencies are for Jurassic era,” he added.

Bautista said the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) should now realize that the Filipinos do not want armed struggle.

“I hope they see the writing on the wall that the Filipino people desires peace, prosperity that all of us will enjoy,” he said.

AFP donates P300,000 to Sagip Kapamilya

From the Business Mirror (Jan 6): AFP donates P300,000 to Sagip Kapamilya

THE Armed Forces turned over on Monday more than P300,000 in cash donations that was raised through various charity projects facilitated by the Armed Forces of the Philippines’s (AFP) Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom).
The total amount was handed over to the Sagip Kapamilya Foundation through Tina Monzon-Palma in a ceremony held at Camp Aguinaldo.
The series of fund-raising projects began after the attack on Zamboanga City last September, with the first project being the crafting of furniture out of trees that were uprooted by Typhoon Santi.
Hundreds of uprooted trees ranging from decades-old acacia and mahogany, and other trees like gemelina, were gathered and crafted into dining sets, TV racks, cabinets and other furniture by soldiers of the Nolcom.
The auction of the items was held on December 16 and was met with enthusiasm from the local folks.
Even before the actual selling, all the furniture sets were reserved and sold due to the overwhelming support of the people and different stakeholders who want to help Zamboanga, victims of the Bohol earthquake and Typhoon Yolanda in Samar and Leyte.
A Golf for a Cause and Firing Tournament was also held on December 18. The two tournaments were attended mostly by military personnel and businessmen from Central and Northern Luzon and the National Capital Region, who committed their support for the fund-raising projects for calamity victims.
The Enduro Challenge and Battle of the Bands concert for a cause was held on December 20, which was participated in by different local bands who pledged support for the fund-raising activity.
Sagip Kapamilya was chosen due to the stable partnership of the AFP and ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya Foundation and the long list of joint projects that were undertaken by the two, including school-building.
The partnership on school-building projects was started in 2011 with the then-AFP National Development Support Command and Sagip Kapamilya.
The first school constructed under the partnership was the two-classroom school building at Barangay Yunot, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro, which benefitted the Hanunuo Tribe.
In 2011 alone, Sagip Kapamilya in partnership with the AFP, constructed a total of 124 classrooms nationwide including the 50 classrooms in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan which were constructed after Typhoon Sendong.
In 2012 a total of 86 more classrooms nationwide were constructed under this partnership.

Another New Year, another AFP chief

Op/Ed piece/column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jan 5): Another New Year, another AFP chief (By )

Let me commend the Philippine Navy’s Civil Military Operations Group headed by Col. Edgar Arevalo for remembering the families of their men stationed on Ayungin Shoal aboard a World War II relic, the BRP Sierra Madre. For our soldiers who serve the nation in the loneliest outpost of the Armed Forces, nothing does more for morale than knowing that their families are cared for and looked after especially during the holiday season when family reunions are an important part of any Christmas celebration.
More than medals or commendations, these gestures of concern and affection contribute significantly to building up loyalty and a greater sense of belonging in the military organization.

Disconcerting news.

Last June, Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz, the commanding general of the Philippine Air Force, hosted a dinner in honor of former chiefs of the PAF and their ladies. It was one of several pre-anniversary activities of the command in preparation for Air Force Day in July.

In one of our private moments before sitting down for dinner, I asked him what was the latest on fighter jet acquisitions for the Air Force in light of presidential pronouncements on the same. His reply was that the PAF was preparing to acquire the Saab Gripen, a multi-role fighter plane manufactured by a Swedish company.

My initial reaction was a combination of delight and skepticism considering that for so many years we had been tied down to what Uncle Sam offered in terms of jet fighters. F-5 Freedom Fighters and the F-8 Crusaders readily come to mind. Still I thought that if we were going to expand our horizons and see what others had to offer, the nation and our Air Force would benefit from the experience of new arrangements and technologies.

The FA-50 that is now the subject of negotiations with South Korea is a lead-in fighter plane manufactured by South Korea’s Korean Aerospace Industries. It is part of a family of advanced jet trainers with limited capabilities and weaponry. The term “lead-in” indicates its primary role: it prepares you for eventual multi-role fighters like the Lockheed F-16. Incidentally, Lockheed is a partner of Korea Aerospace Industries. Do you get the drift?

The Swedish training program does not include lead-in fighters. They rely on simulators along with basic jet trainers that prepare you for the multi-role fighter.

The latest news on the fighter jets indicates that the defense department has recommended to the President a 52-percent down payment of almost P10 billion for a package of 12 FA lead-in fighters. By the way, the department has omitted the full terminology of these jets. They are LIFT aircraft: lead-in fighter trainers.

Let us set aside for a moment aircraft capabilities and training doctrines.
The question that must be answered is: Why are we asking the President to allow a down payment of 52 percent of the entire cost when the law allows only 15 percent, with the balance after delivery of goods? Actually the answer to this query should have been part of the press release. Whenever we operate outside the law, Juan dela Cruz is entitled to know the circumstances that may justify any exception.


In his remarks during the 78th AFP Foundation Anniversary last month, President Aquino vowed to acquire more planes and ships to sustain the modernization program of the military organization. No other president has done more than Mr. Aquino to upgrade the capabilities and equipment of the Armed Forces. But while he has done much in this direction, he has also contributed to the stagnation of the Armed Forces as a professional military organization.

At the start of his presidency, there was a glimmer of hope that he would put an end to the pernicious “revolving door” policy of his predecessor in the appointment of AFP chiefs. However, in January 2012, he vetoed a bill ratified by Congress providing for a fixed term of office for the AFP chief of staff and major service commanders. His action has resulted in maintaining essentially the same record as his predecessor President Gloria Arroyo who had eleven chiefs in her 10 years in office.

* General Bautista retires in July this year; he would have served for 18 months.

I have always believed that the “revolving door” policy on the leadership of key AFP commands has been extremely detrimental to the organization, not only in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, but more so in terms of promoting and enhancing the professionalism of the officer corps. It served the purpose of Mrs. Arroyo to hold the entire officer corps hostage as the scramble for position and favor made it almost impossible to create a sense of loyalty to the institution rather than to an individual.

One of the most respected figures in Philippine management circles is Washington Sycip, founder of Sycip Gorres Velayo and Co. (SGV &Co.) and the Asian Institute of Management (AIM).

Three years ago, Mr. Sycip was the guest speaker at the annual general membership meeting of the PMAAA Inc. He started his speech with a brief statement about his short military career, after which he cautioned: “You may regret having me with you today.” He then proceeded to provide his impressions on one of the issues affecting the AFP: “We who are in the private sector wonder about the rapid changes in the military leadership. In the private sector, we will not have CEOs with one- or two-year terms if we want reforms or proper planning for the future. Is it possible to carry out reforms in an organization as large as the Armed Forces when there is such a rapid change in the leadership?”

My own question: Is the AFP condemned to short-term leadership for the rest of its natural existence?

‘Ka’ Satur of Bayan Muna remains champion of the cause of the poor

From the Business Mirror (Jan 5): ‘Ka’ Satur of Bayan Muna remains champion of the cause of the poor

In Photo: Bayan Muna national President Satur Ocampo wears a yellow Bayan Muna top during an interview with the BusinessMirror at his residence in Quezon City on December 30, 2013 in celebration of Rizal Day.  (Oliver Samson)

AFTER rejoining mainstream society following years of life in the underground and later in jail as a political prisoner, Saturnino Cunanan Ocampo, former spokesman of the National Democratic Front (NDF), chose to push his advocacy in the open over the choice of returning underground to fight in hiding.

At the prime of his life—at 74 years of age—Ocampo  said he does not regret the life he tread and is still convinced the four-decade armed conflict will continue as he said Malacañang continues to show no interest in the resumption of the peace process. He expressed hope that President Aquino’s successor will pay attention to the stalled peace talks and decisively start addressing the roots of insurgency.  Otherwise, it will just go on.
Even if today’s Left will fail, the future will give birth to individuals who are likely to take up arms as well, as long as social injustice and discrimination, which are more felt by no one else than the grassroots, Ka Satur told the BusinessMirror.
This discrimination became evident to him at an early age, as a school kid. He excelled in his class but a classmate, who is the child of a school principal, usually received the better marks.
At such a young age, Ka Satur was already convinced that the well-to-do is favored in school, community and society as a whole.
Ocampo was raised on a farm in Santa Rita, Pampanga, at a time when his parents were still landless. A tenant-farmer, his father tilled about 8 hectares of land to keep the family up.
He was taught farm work and engaged early in the two-crop-a-year rice production, planting vegetables in between. He recalled earning 25 centavos for each delivery of vendors’ vegetables from farm to market.
After graduating from high school, Ka Satur dreamed of becoming a physician, but his parents’ financial capacity could not afford to send him to medical school. He was admitted, instead, to the Philippine College of Commerce (PCC), now the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), where he attended night school, working in the day. Here, he edited the school paper, the same role he assumed back in high school.
Ka Satur was already an activist when he started editing PCC’s campus paper in 1958. He later became a business writer for a national newspaper while attending school. He did not finish Journalism, though.
In the early 1960s, Ka Satur had networked with the Student Cultural Association of the University of the Philippines (SCAUP), meeting future Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison, UP Professor Emeritus Francisco Nemenzo, former UP College of Mass Communications Dean Luis V. Teodoro and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who was the group’s authority when it came to the US bases issue. In 1964 they established Kabataang MaKabayan (KM or Patriotic Youth).
During the time, he was writing for the same newspaper, injecting his politics into his stories. At one point, before martial law, when KM was playing a significant role in mass actions, his editor complained to the paper’s management about a series of articles Ocampo submitted, touching on the organization.
Fortunately, his hands-on publisher Chino Roces, who would later pledge a monthly support to KM, had his stories toned down and published. He clarified he did not violate any ethics in journalism, and writes based on facts, noting that his activities as a KM member should not disqualify him from writing.
Ka Satur was first arrested and jailed for a night after joining the picket at Manila Hotel in 1967, condemning the Vietnam War during a summit of heads of states who were called by US President Lyndon Johnson. The following day, for the first time in his life, he saw his own photo in the newspaper where he wrote for as well as in other periodicals.
When the writ of habeas corpus was suspended in August 1971, Ka Satur went underground, following the arrest of KM leaders. He resigned from the newspaper as a regular staff, but retained connection as a correspondent up to the time Marcos shut it down.
When martial law was declared, he went deeper underground, he said. It led his group to establish the NDF. On January 14, 1976, he was arrested and jailed for nine years, seven years at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.
While on pass, issued by then-Defense Minister Juan Ponce Enrile, he escaped from his escorts to the National Press Club (NPC) national convention where he was invited in May 1985 after the press regained relative freedom.
Following the fall of Marcos, President Corazon Aquino called for peace talks, with Ka Satur as chief negotiator for the NDF. But when peace negotiations collapsed due to the Mendiola Massacre on January 22, 1987, killing 13 farmers, he went back underground.
The peace negotiation was sabotaged by one of Aquino’s Cabinet secretaries and a military general, Ka Satur said.
He was re-arrested together with his wife, Carolina Malay, in 1989.  Three years later, a year after his wife was released, he was freed. Neither was found guilty of any crime.
In 2001 he was elected to Congress where he served for nine straight years as Bayan Muna (BM) party-list representative.  BM is a political group repre4senting the marginalized sectors of Philippine society.  During the 14th Congress, he authored Republic Act (RA) 9745 or the Anti-Torture Act of 2009. It was signed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2009, 23 years after the government ratified the Convention Against Torture.
Ka Satur also authored RA 10350, or the Anti-Enforced Disappearances Act of 2012, signed by President Aquino in December of the same year. He also authored and fought for the anti-political-dynasty bill for nine years, which until now remains a bill. He is also the original author of the Freedom of Information bill that still has to gain the support of both chambers.
Since 2001, after his election to Congress, he has been pushing to abolish pork barrel. When the Napoles scam erupted, MaKabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (MaKabayan) party-list representatives filled a bill calling to do away with it. After his unsuccessful bid for a Senate seat in 2010, he joined the efforts of MaKabayan to monitor and back its party-list representatives’ legislative agenda.
Ka Satur currently heads BM and the MaKabayan, a gathering of several party-list organizations, and pushes his human-rights advocacy with Karapatan, a militant group established to protect and advance human rights.
Ka Satur is currently pushing the government to immediately form the compensation board and assume its role as required by RA 10368, or the Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013, signed by President Aquino on February 25, 2013.
RA 10368 will award P10 billion as indemnification to about 10,000 human-rights victims.
Peace talks should resume on fundamental issues at the national level, which include reforms on economic policies and the Constitution, Ka Satur said. The issues NDF pushes in the peace negotiations are the roots of insurgency. While peace talks are suspended, armed conflict may continue, he said.

NPA protracted struggle is ‘utter madness,’ ‘criminal act’

Letter to the editor in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jan 5): NPA protracted struggle is ‘utter madness,’ ‘criminal act’
I felt dismayed seeing the picture of Jorge Madlos in the Inquirer (Across the Nation, 12/31/13), more so after I read the accompanying article on the celebration by the underground Communist Party of the Philippines of its 45th anniversary. Madlos claimed many “victories” of his revolutionary struggle in Mindanao: zero or minimal criminal cases in the area under his control, like rape and theft, gambling and even the use of illegal drugs.

He admitted though that achieving the strategic stalemate of the people’s war is still quite far away. The revolutionary struggle is a protracted struggle, according to the Maoist ideology.

My question is: how protracted is that struggle? Until the dictatorship of the proletariat is established? That is an illusion, nonsense. The revolutionary struggle of the New People’s Army is utter madness; it is a criminal act because of the numerous innocent victims it has made among civilians and even among the police and military forces.

I used to be a close friend and ally of Madlos and the National Democratic Front, but that was during the martial law years. I believed that time that the only way to get rid of the dictator Marcos was through armed struggle and active nonviolence in the cities.

But after Edsa in 1986, I was confronted in Agusan with the horrible Antongalon massacre in which, as the Inquirer rightly said that time, the revolution devoured its own children: 48 activists from the countryside, among them two active parish workers of our parish in San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, were murdered. This prompted me to leave the priesthood and marry the wife of one of those parish workers and adopt their six children.

All this happened on the direct command of Madlos and the indirect orders of Jose Ma. Sison. Both Madlos and Sison (who is now hiding in Holland) should be investigated by a truth commission our government must set up in order that they can answer for the crimes they have committed against the Filipino people. This is what has happened in other countries which were afflicted by a revolutionary struggle, like those in South America and Ireland.

Madlos has the guts to say about President Aquino: “Aquino must be ousted and prosecuted,” without specifying the offenses the President should be prosecuted for. Shame on Madlos!

—ARNOLD VAN VUGT, O.Carm associate, Cagayan de Oro City

AFP gradually boosting territorial defense

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jan 6): AFP gradually boosting territorial defense

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
The military is in “gradual transition” of its operations to territorial defense this 2014.

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff General Emmanuel Bautista, however, emphasized that they will continue to address internal security threats even it starts its transition to territorial defense.

“We will continue to address- it’s part of our mandate- internal security issues until appropriate agencies of government are capable,” he told reporters on Monday.

By 2016, the military targets the completion of its anti-insurgency Internal Peace Security Plan Bayanihan. This campaign is a multi-sectoral approach in ending insurgency problem in the country that is anchored on “winning the peace.”

“We will sustain Bayanihan, [but also we] appeal to our people that internal conflicts be put to an end because there are more pressing concerns, urgent concerns that we need to address. We are witness to Yolanda, climate change. We are witness to our problems in the West Philippine Sea and many more,” he added.

Communist rebels are estimated to be around 4,000.

As for the military’s territorial defense, where the Philippines faces external conflict with China, Bautista also highlighted its “peaceful” approach but is also prepared for other scenarios.

“We would like to resolve conflicts in the most peaceful manner, it applies internally and also externally. We will continue to pursue that national policy, without saying that we will not prepare for any contingencies and we will do that. We will prepare for any contingencies that is why we have the modernization program,” he said.

Bautista is set to retire in July, but assured that military campaigns will continue.

“Whoever is in command we follow the template of our strategic direction. That is already set…We will just sustain them whoever is in the leadership,” he said.

BIFF member gunned down in Pikit clash

From the Philippine Star (Jan 6): BIFF member gunned down in Pikit clash

Soldiers gunned down a member of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF)  in another encounter past 4 p.m. Sunday in Paidu Pulangi District in Pikit town in the province.

The incident was preceded by last week’s series of firefights between BIFF bandits and Army combatants in the same area, leaving nine rebels dead and two soldiers wounded.

Captain Tony Bulao, spokesman of the Army’s 602nd Brigade, said the latest encounter in Paidu Pulangi was triggered by an attempt by BIFF bandits to surround a farming enclave in the area.

Responding members of the Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion managed to drive the bandits away after engaging them in an hour-long running gunbattle.

Barangay officials said the bandits that arrived at the farming village carrying assault rifles and shoulder-fire anti-tank rockets were supposed to mulct “protection money” from local farmers.

Private engineering firms and officials of the National Irrigation Administration engaged in the Malitubog-Maridagao irrigation project in the province had earlier complained of attempts by the BIFF to collect some P3-million worth of monthly protection from them.

Bulao said the 602nd Brigade will embark on a tactical operation against the BIFF if the latter's forces in the province do not stop from harassing the private contractors and the NIA personnel.

BIFF extorts from NIA project in Cotabato town – Army

From the Manila Bulletin (Jan 6): BIFF extorts from NIA project in Cotabato town – Army

The Army in North Cotabato has accused a rebel group of extorting some P3 million from the contractor of a multi-billion irrigation dam project located along the Rio Grande de Mindanao.

Lt. Antonio Bulao, spokesman for the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade, identified the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM), a breakaway group from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), as behind the extortion activities of a project in Carmen, North Cotabato being implemented by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) in Central Mindanao (Region 12).

Bulao said the rebels have demanded pullout of the NIA project as this will allegedly affect their movement, especially along the Liguasan marsh and in the Pulangi River, the country’s second largest river.

Despite threats, the NIA-12 is bent on pursuing the completion of the Malitubog-Maridagao (Mal-Mar) irrigation project, which is now on its second phase, Bulao said.

Since last year, the Army has been providing security to the area. “In fact, the Army in North Cotabato has put up Task Force Mal-Mar to ensure the construction would not be hampered by threats from BIFF and other rebel groups operating in the area,” the spokesman said. The attacks, however, continued.

The soldiers deployed in the Mal-Mar project were again “challenged” by the BIFF rebels last December 31 until January 2 this year, he said.

One of the soldiers under the 602nd Brigade was wounded during the encounters but the BIFF, reports reaching Bulao said, lost nine of their members after two days of armed fighting and mortar shelling.

“We were told nine persons, all members of the BIFF, were buried one after the other in the area after we conducted mortar shelling and other military actions against the group,” said Bulao.

Sulu Sultanate offers ‘win-win solution’ in Sabah row

From the Manila Times (Jan 6): Sulu Sultanate offers ‘win-win solution’ in Sabah row

The Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo on Monday offered the Malaysia government what it said is a “win-win solution” to resolve the territorial dispute over Sabah.

Sultan Esmail Kiram 2nd said the Sultanate is considering the proprietary aspect of the conflict.

Kiram said Malaysia must recognize the Sultanate’s ownership of Sabah and in turn, it will not withdraw Sabah from the Federation of Malaysia.

“Malaysia is Muslim, the Sultanate is Muslim, the problem can be discussed between Muslims. If Malaysia wins, the Sultanate wins,” the sultan said.

Sultanate’s secretary general Abraham Idjirani said the proprietary aspect has two issues: sovereignty and ownership.

He said the sultan’s solution indicates that sovereignty over Sabah remains with the Malaysian government.

Other options being considered by the Sultanate is the filing of cases before an International Court of Justice (ICJ) and a London court.

John Castriciones, one of the Sultanate’s legal counsels, said they are also looking at filing a case with a London court.

Castriciones said the British turned over North Borneo or Sabah to Malaysian federation in 1963.

He said the case aims to stop Malaysia from using funds, properties, assets sourced from Sabah.

The Sultanate earlier expressed willingness to negotiate with the Malaysian government to solve the dispute over Sabah.

Kiram said he has approved the recommendation of the Advisory Council of the Sultanate to push for a peaceful and civilized resolution of the Sabah claim.

He directed the chairman of the council to create a negotiating panel preparatory to the formal negotiation of the territorial dispute between the Sultanate of Sulu and the Federation of Malaysia.

The membership of the panel will be announced by the Sultanate on the next few days.

NPA rebel strength in fade out, says AFP

From the Manila Times (Jan 6): NPA rebel strength in fade out, says AFP

THE leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) claimed that the communist New People’s Army (NPA) has failed in its plan to regain back its Marcos-era strength of 25,000 fighters through massive recruitment process, particularly among the youth.

AFP chief of staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista on Monday said that the failure of the NPA to meet its target force was largely due to the people’s rejection of violence and in part to the sustained implementation of the Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) Bayanihan, the government’s new anti-insurgency strategy.

“Their five-year plan ended in 2013, their objective is 25,000 [fighters], what have they achieved? They have not achieved anything,” he said.

“It simply means that the Filipinos, the masses, have rejected violence or armed struggle, I hope they see the writing on the wall that the Filipino people desires peace [and] prosperity,” he added.

According to Bautista, NPAs have been effectively neutralized in many areas where they used to operate and were now concentrated in the Mindanao region.

Starting this year, he added, the AFP would start its gradual transition toward territorial defense and would turn over the maintenance of peace and security in insurgency-free declared areas to the police and the local governments.

Maj. Gen. Pio Catapang, chief, Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) claimed that the NPA is a spent force and have no more capability to reverse the trend of the country becoming peaceful and ready for further development.

Asked if the NPA strength is less than 4,000, Catapang said: “I’d like to believe that the NPA capability is very much reduced, largely because the Filipinos have rejected conflicts.”

Catapang pointed out that the people have already suffered 45 years of conflict with the NPAs and it would be too much of a burden if it would further continue.

He expressed confidence that the AFP will achieve its target under the IPSP Bayanihan to make the NPA “irrelevant” by 2016.

Military records showed that 25 of the 81provinces nationwide had already been declared insurgency-free since it implemented the IPSP Bayanihan.

It is also claimed that NPA strength has dwindled to 4,043, from a peak of 24,430 during the 80s.

But the NPA, through the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), counted that it has grown in strength thus forcing the AFP to stretch its forces to the limit, making the military incapable of launching sustained simultaneous attacks.

Army claims ESTOCA control

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jan 6): Army claims ESTOCA control

Col. Jon Aying, 303rdInfantry Brigade commander, said yesterday th
at they were able to take control “tactically” of the ESTOCA (Escalante-Toboso-Calatrava) areas, that now has a negligible presence of armed New People’s Army rebels.

Aying said this was accomplished through the employment of the “whole province approach” strategy in addressing peace and development concerns.

The ESTOCA areas have been the focus of the Philippine Army in more than six months in 2013 for their “winning the peace” campaign, in tandem with multi-sectoral groups, through the Provincial Peace Integration Development Unit, a sub-committee of the Provincial Peace and Order Council chaired by Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.

Aying, however, said residents are still susceptible to the return of the NPA, who managed to establish influence among them in the past several years, although they have cleared almost all NPA influenced-barangays in the ESTOCA areas of armed rebels, with Army Bayanihan Teams immersed with the populace, to help improve their lives.

The last encounter in northern Negros took place September last year in the boundary of Sagay and Toboso, and claimed the life of a suspected NPA leader, the capture of three others, and the recovery of nine high-powered firearms, that included M-14, M-14 and AK 47 assault rifles, military records showed.

The rebels reportedly fled towards the hinterlands of San Carlos City and its boundary with Calatrava.

Aying said he is optimistic about erasing the influence of the NPA over the ESTOCA residents within three months, with the help of the multi-sectoral groups, that will include local government units, non-government and people’ organizations, private and Church sectors, and others, now closely working with them.

The Army Bayanihan Teams are now deployed in 20 hinterland barangays of ESTOCA areas.

Military records also show that the number of rebel returnees in Negros Occidental, majority of whom used to be operating in northern Negros, have gone up to 97 since 2011.

On their ongoing campaign in southern Negros, Aying said the 47th Infantry Battalion is trying to prevent the expansion of rebel influence over the populace.

However, the Armando Sumayang Command in Southern Negros claimed victories against the government troops, as they managed to recover several high-powered firearms from slain Army soldiers during an encounter on May last year in Sipalay City.

The central Negros area is under the operational control of the 11th Infantry Battalion, supervised by the 302nd Infantry Brigade.

MILF: Moros and non-Moros in Lanao Norte stress the need to resolve ‘rido’ under Bangsamoro

Posted to the MILF Website (Jan 6): Moros and non-Moros in Lanao Norte stress the need to resolve ‘rido’ under Bangsamoro

The ambush of former Mayor Abdul Malik Manamparan of Nunungan town in Lanao del Norte while returning home from a campaign sortie during last year’s mid-term elections that killed 12 people and wounding 8 is  one of the country’s worst poll-related violence incidents in 2013.
The incident was still fresh in the minds of Lanao del Norte residents when they were asked how they would want the future Bangsamoro government to matter in their lives, whether they became its constituents or not.

In a public consultation on the Bangsamoro Basic Law last month, Moro and non-Moro people alike said the new autonomous entity should address the lingering problem of rido or family feud in many of the communities in the province. “Rido” as locally known among Maranaos and Maguindanaons is also prevalent in other provinces of ARMM as well as in the province of North Cotabato.

In a report by journalist Ryan Rosauro of the Philippine Daily Inquirer on January 4, he said that, “The meetings, in 13 clusters and conducted by the Lanao Peace Partnership on behalf of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission with the support from the GIZ Civil Peace Service, solicited grass-roots ideas that should be part of the charter of the Bangsamoro government. These attracted over a thousand people in 21 of the 22 towns and in 44 barangays of Iligan City”.

Rosauro quoted Gimaidee Ann Cadotdot of Pailig Academy for Grassroots Democracy who said that, “rido was the most common concern that cropped up during the consultations, even surpassing the issue of poverty”.

Based on discussions of the community experiences, the unresolved enmities weighed down economic development efforts.  The participants in the consultation stressed that because of rido, many croplands had been left idle, as farmers are forced to evacuate. They didn’t feel they were safe from being targets of revenge attacks by feuding groups. To avoid further conflict warring families were resulting to selling their valuable lands and other properties to raise funds for blood money.

They stressed that much of the rido-related violent incidents had occurred in their communities, especially those in centers of trading activities.  

While rido or its equivalent has been observed in other parts of the country, academician Abhoud Syed Lingga of the Institute for Bangsamoro Studies and member of the MILF Peace Panel said it was more pronounced in Moro communities, Rosauro quoted him saying.

Rido is related to the Moro people’s deep sense of personal pride and honor, what is referred to in Maranao and Maguindanaon as “maratabat.” If this sense of honor is violated, parties can engage in fits of violence to assuage the psychological hurt, said Rosauro in his report..

A 2005 study commissioned by the Asia Foundation showed that a feud could start even from minor matters. Those that turn bloody and protracted arise from disputes over land and political rivalry.

Rarely are the cases related to litigations in civil courts, which are still culturally alien to many ordinary Moros.

Rather, these trigger a cycle of vengeful attacks that stop only when settled, usually by traditional leaders wielding influence over the protagonists.

Asked to suggest measures to deal with rido, the participants in the public consultation meetings from communities where the presence of Moro rebels is strong, hoped the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) would rein in its forces from joining revenge attacks.

Most MILF forces, they observed, had a hard time keeping distance from the rido of relatives. Another suggestion was to expand the coverage of the Shari’ah justice system to include criminal cases.

According to former Moro rebel leader Lacsamana Mutia, prescribing degrees of punishment under a justice system consistent with their cultural moorings would serve as deterrents to Muslim Bangsamoro constituents from committing acts of violence against other persons.

Still another idea was to build the capacity of governance structures—from the barangay up—to undertake dialogues. If the parties are brought into a dialogue to thresh out differences, rido may be arrested, the participants said.

The future Bangsamoro political entity is expected to feature “a plural system for the administration of justice,” as characterized by the government’s chief negotiator, Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, in peace talks with the MILF. Ferrer is a political science professor of the University of the Philippines.‘rido’-under-bangsamoro

CPP/NDF: Oplan Bayanihan kag Negros first policy ni Maranon, gutom, dislokasyon ang bungahon!

Posted to the CPP Website (Jan 6): Oplan Bayanihan kag Negros first policy ni Maranon, gutom, dislokasyon ang bungahon!

Frank Fernandez
NDFP Negros Island Chapter
Ang National Democratic Front – Negros kag mga alyadong organisasyon, nagatamyaw sa pumuluyong Negrosanon sg isa ka mapanghilway kag makahalangkat nga bag-ong tuig!

Kadungan man, nagasaludo ang NDF-Negros sa mga kadre kag katapu sg Partido Komunista sg Pilipinas – Marxismo Leninismo Maoismo (PKP-MLM)sa maduagon kg mabungahon nga pagselebrar sg ika 45 nga Anibersaryo sa liwat nga pagkatukod sini.

Liwat naton ginbalikan ang aton mga inagihan sa 2013, ginpunpon ang mga leksyon kg nagkonsolida. Aton man ginpasidunggan ang mga pinalangga nga mga kaupod kag masa nga nangin martir sa pagsulong sg aton pungsodnon demokratikong rebolusyon.

Ang tuig 2013 nangin tuman ka makahalangkat nga tuig para sa rebolusyonaryong kahublagan sa bilog Pilipinas. Ini ang tuig nga gintalana sg mersenaryong tropa sg Armed Forecs of the Philippines (AFP) kag sg ila amo nga US-Aquino nga Rehimen 2, nga pahinaon tubtob wasakon ang bilog rebong hublag paagi sa ila OPlan Bayanihan nga may whole of nation approach strategy.

Apang katulad sg nag-agi nga mga operation plan sg reaksyonaryong gobyerno, napaslawan lamang ini kag labi pa gani nagsindi ini sa kainit sg balatyagon sg pumuluyong Pilipino agud ipadayon ang paghimakas nga maangkon ang matuod nga repormang agraryo kg pungsodnon nga industriyallisasyon kadungan sg pagkahilway sa gapos sg pagkaulipon sa mga dumuluong monopolyong kapitalista, agalon mayduta kg dalagkung komprador burgesya.

Ang Philippine Development Plan (PDP) o Public Private Partnership Program ni Aquino kag ang Negros First Policy sg agalon mayduta nga Gobernador nga si Alfredo Maranon, Jr. nagpabilin nga wala’y pulos kag sa baylo labi pa nga nagapalala sa kawad-on sg duta nga pangabuhian.
Ang mga proyekto sa idalum sg Negros First Policy ni Maranon katulad sg pagpadamu sg karnero kg baka, pagpatanom sg yellow corn, dibersipikasyon sa gamit sg tubo halin sa kalamay padulong sa ethanol kg iban pa nga produkto, pagpatanom sg kahoy para sa reporestasyon, pagtugot sg plantasyon sg oil palm, rubber tree, pinya, ilabe na ang indi pagpamatuk sa dumuluong nga mapangwasak nga minahan sa kabukiran kg kabaybayonan.

Bangud sini nga mga proyekto, linibo ka mangunguma s Himamaylan City, Kabankalan City, Murcia, La Castellana, Candoni kag Sipalay, ang madislokar ang pangabuhian kag mawad-an sg kaseguruhan sa pagkaon ang bilog pumuluyo. Imbes tamnan sg humay, mais, utanon, kararuton kag iban pa, ang duta tamnan sg mga pangkomersyal nga produkto nga nagasabat sa kinahanglanon sg mga kapitalistang inbestor sa Pilipinas katulad sg Dole, Del Monte, Rain Forest Corporation, mining, kag iban pa.

Engrande kag grandiosong psywar nga operasyon kadungan ang operasyon combat ang ginahimo sg AFP sa Negros, nga ginaupdan sg Simbahan, mga rebisyunistang traidor, lokal nga gobyerno, mga despotikong agalon mayduta – dalagkung komprador burgesya.

Nagaarangkada man si Maranon sa pagpadayaw sg “kalinong kag kauswagan” idalum sa OPlan Bayanihan sg mersenaryong tropa sg 303rd Bgde sa Isla nga ginapamunuan sg berdugong si Jon Aying, agud hatagan proteksyon ang mga kapitalistang investor, dalagkung kompraddor burgesya kg mga aglon mayduta sa Negros. Humalin pa sg 2007 nga ginhimo prayoridad sa kontra-insurhensya nga kampanya militar sg mga reaksyonaryong rehimen ang Negros.

Apang sa sulod man sina nga mga tinuig, nagpabilin nga malig-on, pursigido kg ara sa posturang opensiba militar ang rebolusyonaryong hublag, rason nga sa baylo maghuyang kag mawasak ini, labi pa nga nagsulong ang rebolusyon sa Pilipinas sa ubay sg Partido Komunista sg Pilipinas.

Wala epek sa pumuluyo ang magasto nga programa sg AFP kg ni Maranon nga Provincial Peace Integration Development Unit (ProvIDU). Nakahibalo ang pumuluyo nga ini nga programa para lamang patalangon kg intuon ang pumuluyo sa matuod nga solusyon sa pigos kg mahimuslanon nga kahimtangan. Indi malipod sa pumuluyo nga ang kalinong, katawhayan kg kauswagan maangkon lamang kun masolbar ang problema sa duta, kulang nga sweldo kg benepisyo, kakulang sg husto nga palamugnan kg puluy-an, kag iban pa.

Sa ProvIDU nga programa sg AFP, ila man ginpadayaw ang pagdamu sg mga “rebel surrenderees” kag nagadaku man kuno ang ayuda diri sg gobyerno kag ang panawagan sa local nga peacetalks. Ini nga mga pahambog nga istorya, pasulit-sulit na lamang kg halos nagapamungol na ang pumuluyo.

Kalabanan sg ila ginapakilala nga mga “surrenderees” mga madugay na nagpahuway o ginpagwa sa NPA bangud iindi makauyat sa salsalon nga disiplina sg Pulang Hukbo kag ang iiban indi makaagwanta sa sakripisyo kg kabudlayan. May mga masa nga ginsiling sg 303rd mga surenderees. Apang ang matuod, sila mga pumuluyo nga nagtambong sa ginpatawag nga asembleya o medical mission sg AFP sa baryo. Sila ang ginpapirma sa attendance sheet kg gindeklarar na dayon surenderees. Tuman gid kabutigon sg militar sa Negros!

Sa pihak nga bahin, isa na ka “certified traditional politician” (TRAPO) si Stephen Paduano a.k.a. Carapali Lualhati, National Commander sg Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA). Dugang naman sa listahan sg mga manugtaghol sg US-Aquino nga Rehimen. Time and again, ginpamatud-an sg mga rebisyunistang traidor ang pagkabangkarote kg kolaborasyunista nga linya nila. Isa na sila karon sa tigtaghol sg reaksyonaryong gobyerno kg mersenaryong militar batuk sa rebong hublag. Kabahin naman sila sa tigtib-ong sa kontra-pumuluyo nga programa kg proyekto sg reaksyonaryong gobyerno. Total naman ang ila pagsurender para makaangkon sg pondo nga gatasan nila Carapali paagi ssa proyekto nga ginhatag sg Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPPAP), halimbawa ang P36 milyones nga proyekto sa Brgy. Locotan, Kabankalan City, idalum sg PAMANA-CIDDS nga component nga proyekto sg Oplan Bayanihan.
Lubos man ginapakamalaut ang aktibong partisipasyon sg pila ka mga kaparian sa Church –Military – Police Advisory Group (CMPAG) batuk sa rebong hublag. Kabahin sila sa black propaganda machinery sg AFP agud patalangon ang pumuluyo sa matuod nga kahimtangan kag ang solusyon nga rebolusyon. Instrumento sila sa pagpalayas sa rebong hublag sa lugar paagi sa ila peke nga “sona sg kalinong”. Ila ginapunggan ang paghimakas sg pumuluyo batuk sa pagpang-agaw duta sg mga minahan kg plantasyon sg oil palm kg rubber tree.

Maathag paslaw gihapon ang ila pagtinguha batuk sa rebong hublag. Gani, si Patrimonio sg 302nd Bgde ang naghangyo na nga i-extend pa ang ila pagprayoridad sa Negros sulod sg bisan na lang 6 ka bulan bangud wala pa nila nalab-ot ang ila katuyuan nga wasakon ang hublag sa Negros.

Bisan ano pa nga mga padayaw kag pahambog sg reaksyonaryong gobyerno kag militar, magabaskog kag magasulong na lang gid ang pungsodnon demokratikong rebolusyon tubtob sa kadalaga-an. Ginapalig-on ini sg ideolohiya sg MLM kag ginapanday sa matutom nga pagpakig-away sg masa batuk sa mahimuslan on kag mapiguson nga sistemang mala-kolonyal kag malapyudal.

PA plans to build 'Lego' type homes for soldiers

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 6): PA plans to build 'Lego' type homes for soldiers

In a bid to provide more decent housing for its officers and enlisted personnel, the Philippine Army on Monday announced that it is looking at the possibility of constructing "Lego" type housing for its active duty personnel.

Capt. Anthony Bacus, Army spokesperson, said this construction technology was initially adopted by Malaysia.

Materials for this type of dwelling, which measures 52 square meters and features two bedrooms and two bathrooms, consist of styrofoam, fiberglass, steel bars and cement, Bacus added.

The houses are designed to withstand the conventional setting of a tropical country like the Philippines.

Bacus said that PA's housing project is called "Bahay ng Kawal Ko: A Housing Vision for the Philippine Army."

A prototype of this model house unit was blessed at the PA headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Monday morning.

Adopted by Malaysia for its housing program for the urban poor, this unit can be constructed fast with a timetable of only 30 days, Bacus said.

He added that the house can be constructed by even non-skilled laborers and with only a few teams of supervisors. Hence, expenses are minimized compared to that of the traditional building construction being done.

Skilled laborers are not needed because the materials being used are already built in smaller blocks or figures, and all that is left to do is put or assemble it layer by layer, just like a "Lego" game.

Should this building technology be adopted by the PA, this type of housing unit will greatly boost the Army's efforts to provide low-cost housing to its personnel.

With this "Lego type" houses, soldiers and their families can enjoy a decent and secured living at a much lower prices, Bacus stressed.

2014 marks beginning of AFP's gradual transition to territorial defense

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 6): 2014 marks beginning of AFP's gradual transition to territorial defense

As the military expedites its modernization efforts, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista on Monday announced that 2014 is the year AFP begins its gradual transition to territorial defense.

This was highlighted by the series of acquisitions in 2013 which boosted the capabilities of the military to protect the country from internal and external threats.

"Bayanihan" plans for 2010 to 2013 calls for the turnover of internal security missions to the Philippine National Police.

However, Bautista said that the shift is being hampered by the military in fighting the remaining pockets of insurgency in the country.

"I think this hinders (our progress)," he added.

But despite this, Bautista stressed that the AFP will sustain its "Bayanihan" strategy to fully end all the internal conflicts.

"Its more of an appeal to our people (to) end all internal conflicts because there are more pressing concerns, urgent concerns that we need to address, we are witness to 'Yolanda', climate change, we are witness to our problems in the West Philippine Sea and many more which calls for us as a people to be cohesive, to be focused on problems that we face as a people, so it is imperative for all of us to join hands in finally ending our internal conflict," the AFP chief stressed.

Bautista declined to comment on the exact numbers of New People's Army (NPA) fighters left but stressed that these have very reduced capabilities.

These cadres are operating in Compostela Valley, Masbate, and parts of Bicol.

Norway FM to visit PHL Jan 7-9

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 6): Norway FM to visit PHL Jan 7-9

Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende will be in the Philippines from January 7 to 9 to hold talks with Philippine officials on bilateral concerns that include the stalled peace negotiations it is brokering between the Philippine government and communist rebels.

The visit, Brende’s first as Foreign Minister, is aimed at "finding new ways of expanding areas for cooperation in the fields of trade, investments and maritime cooperation," Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said.

In his meeting with Philippine counterpart Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, Hernandez said Brende will discuss Norway’s participation in the country’s recovery from super typhoon Yolanda, which wrought massive destruction in the Visayas region and killed more than 6,000.

Hernandez said Brende will visit Tacloban and Basey in Samar province to see first-hand the Norwegian humanitarian operations and assistance to victims in calamity stricken areas.

He will also meet Presidential Adviser on Peace Process Teresita Deles to discuss Norway’s current role as third country facilitator for peace talks with the communist groups and its participation in the International Monitoring Team in Mindanao.

The Maoist insurgent movement, whose membership ballooned to more than 26,000 in the mid-1980s, has dwindled to 5,000 armed members, according to military estimates.

A final peace agreement is expected to end more than 40 years of armed communist rebellion in the Philippines.Norway is the Philippines’ 61st export market in 2012 and Norwegian investments are mostly in maritime and power sectors.

Norwegian ship owners employ more than 20,000 Filipino seafarers.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Norway were established in 1948.

At least 17,400 Filipinos are working in Norway, employed mostly as nurses, nursing aides, caregivers, engineers and housekeepers.

PHL-U.S. talks on Tubbataha compensation suspended pending SC resolution

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 6): PHL-U.S. talks on Tubbataha compensation suspended pending SC resolution

Negotiations for compensation by the United States to the Philippines for the damage caused by a U.S. warship on internationally-famous Tubbataha Reef off Palawan province has been put on hold pending a final decision by the Supreme Court, the Department of Foreign Affairs said on Monday.

Talks were suspended after environmentalists and militant groups filed a complaint against the U.S. before the high court when minesweeper USS Guardian ran aground the reef in January last year, damaging over 4,000 square meters of the coral outcrop.

Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said there was “progress” in the talks, but Manila and Washington agreed to suspend negotiations until the Supreme Court issues a decision.

“There were commitments on the part of the U.S. to make compensation but further discussion on this were held off because of the case filed with the Supreme Court,” Hernandez said in a press briefing.

Washington has offered compensation to the Philippine government for the damage caused by the U.S. vessel, which has been estimated to cost around P 100 million.

“There has been progress in the discussion between the Philippines and U.S. on the issue of compensation for the damage caused by the USS Guardian on Tubattaha Reef.

However, certain parties filed a case before the SC relating to the issue. As there is pending SC case, we would like to refrain from making further comment,” Hernandez said.

AFP chief confident that successor will follow his strategic direction

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 6): AFP chief confident that successor will follow his strategic direction

Despite his impending retirement this coming July, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista on Monday expressed confidence that his successor will follow the strategic direction laid about by "Bayanihan" and Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR).

"The AFP's strategy direction is already set in 'Bayanihan' and the ATR and whoever is in command (is obliged) to follow (the) template," he said.

"Bayahihan" refers to the civic-military action being undertaken by the AFP in a bid to resolve the insurgency issues in the country.

The former uses the community development approach to deny rebel fighters a base in which to operate.

It was started in 2010 and expected to be completed in 2016.

For the first three years, the military focused on eliminating rebel "cadres" through development initiatives to allow its forces by 2014 to shift gradually to territorial defense.

This focus will be allowed by the ongoing modernization program of the three major services.

ATR, on the other hand, is the plan to modernize and professionalize the officers and ranks of the Philippine Army by 2020.

Bautista earlier expressed confidence that the AFP will prevail on any challenges that may occur during the year.

"The year 2014 will bring new promises, transformation, and more challenges. But no matter what challenge we confront, I remain confident that we can prevail. We just need to stay together, work together, and remain cohesive as 'One AFP'. For in the face of any challenge, the cohesiveness of the entire AFP will always be our best assurance," he emphasized.

Bautista also took this opportunity to extend his greetings and best wishes to the men and women of the AFP.

"The year 2013 has been another time of distinguished service to our nation in fulfillment of our mandate as protector of the people and the State. We achieved great successes in winning just and lasting peace through the Internal Peace and Security Plan 'Bayanihan', and in our transformation efforts through the AFP Transformation Roadmap. Likewise, we were also confronted with great challenges that tested our strength and resolve. But through our collective effort, we were able to meet these challenges; and our nation emerged more peaceful, and more secure," he pointed out.

Bautista also reminded officers and enlisted personnel of the AFP remain faithful to their organization.

"May we continue to take pride in the uniform that we wear, and in the patriotic duty that we perform as protectors of the people and the State. Guided by our core values of honor, service, and patriotism; and through the spirit of 'Bayanihan', may we further inspire our countrymen to help us in the fulfillment of our dream of giving the next generations a more peaceful and prosperous Philippines," the AFP chief stressed.

"And in fulfillment of our constitutional mandate, let us strengthen our resolve to put all armed struggles to a responsible end so that we may finally focus on more pressing national security issues such as territorial defense and climate change. All these in the attainment of just and lasting peace for our nation, and towards becoming a world-class armed forces that is a source of national pride," Bautista concluded.