Saturday, January 11, 2014

US renews travel warning over Sulu, parts of Mindanao

From GMA News (Jan 11): US renews travel warning over Sulu, parts of Mindanao

The United States on Saturday renewed its travel warning to parts of Mindanao, citing the continued threat of insurgency and terrorism there.

In its travel warning dated Jan. 10, the US State Department particularly warned against travel to Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago.

"US citizens should continue to defer non-essential travel to the Sulu Archipelago, due to the high threat of kidnapping of international travelers and violence linked to insurgency and terrorism there," it said.

It also said US citizens should continue to "exercise extreme caution" if traveling to Mindanao.

The State Department noted that in 2013, "separatist and terrorist" groups intensified activities and confrontations with Philippine security forces.
Such groups engaged in bombings, attacks on civilians and political leaders, and battles with security forces, it added.

Last September, followers of Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari tried to occupy parts of Zamboanga City, and were repelled after nearly a month.

On the other hand, the State Department said the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Front (BIFF) was active in the Cotabato City area, and in the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, and Sultan Kudarat.

The BIFF is a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which is engaged in peace efforts with the government.

The State Department said the US Embassy in Manila has imposed a strict restriction on "all but the most essential travel to Mindanao."

As such, it said Embassy employees must receive special authorization from Embassy security officials to travel to any part of Mindanao and Sulu, including urban centers.

Meanwhile, the US State Department said it remains concerned about what it called the continuing threat of terrorist actions and violence against US citizens and interests throughout the world.

"We encourage all US citizens in the Philippines to enroll with the Department of State's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or at the US Embassy in Manila," it said.

Gov’t troops, NPA clash anew in Northern Mindanao

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Jan 11): Gov’t troops, NPA clash anew in Northern Mindanao

SIX persons died while 12 others were injured in two recent separate encounters between the military and New People’s Army (NPA) in San Luis in Agusan del Sur, a statement from the New People's Army claimed Friday.

Allan Juanito, spokesman of the NPA’ North Central Mindanao Regional Command, said the casualties and wounded belong the military’s 26th Infantry Battalion based in San Luis.

“The NPA suffered no casualties,” he added.

“On January 9 at around 2:00 am in Km. 5 barangay Balit, San Luis, six were killed and seven were wounded among another column of 26th IB troops when an NPA team harassed their truck while on their way to the battalion headquarters in Talacogon. The enemy platoon vehicle was negotiating a rough road when Red fighters fired at the rear side of the vehicle.”

No casualties

But in a text message sent to this paper Friday afternoon, Captain Christian Uy, spokesman of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division, denied the NPA's claim and said only seven law enforcers were wounded.

“Nine were wounded in the troops: seven enlisted military personnel, one police officer, and a member of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Active Auxiliary (CAA),” Uy said.

Juanito said the NPA fighters belonging to the Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur sub-regional command launched two offensives against the troops of the 26IB on January 8 and 9, as the "military operations continue despite the suspension of military operations (Somo).”

The Somo, Juanito said, is supposed to end January 15.

Uy said the arresting team was on its way back to the 26IB camp after serving the warrant of arrest of a certain Nelson Lugpatan Campos for murder at sitio Kipuyag, barangay San Pedro, in San Luis, when they were fired upon by the guerrillas.

Uy said around seven NPA fighters engaged the government soldiers in a firefight that lasted around 45 minutes, “before the guerillas fled the area.”

The Maoist fighters accused the military for violating the temporary ceasefire.

Juanito said the military operations continue in San Luis, Agusan del Sur; San Fernando and Impasug-ong in Bukidnon; and Gingoog, Claveria and Binuangan in Misamis Oriental.

The NPA, the military wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), accused the 26IB for lying.

“(But) in reality, their combat operations in the barrios of San Luis started on January 2, 11:00 p.m. A hundred and ten troops were mobilized simultaneously for the operations, wherein a column of 68 troops entered barangay San Pedro. Another column of 42 entered Km. 21, barangay Don Alejandro, San Luis.”

The guerillas said for a week the military scoured the forested and interior areas hunting the NPA down. “And their search turned out to be for nothing,” Juanito said.
Juanito added the NPA fighters pursued the troops instead as they headed back to their base.

“On January 8, around 11:35 AM, an NPA team harassed a column of the 26IB climbing a steep bank in Mahaba River, going toward Km. 27, Side 2, barangay Mahayahay, San Luis. Five were wounded among the troops, including their guide, a certain ‘Biane,’ a CAFGU member allegedly known for his extortion activities on small-scale loggers in San Luis.

Photo: Weekend Visitor (US Ambassador Goldberg)

From the Manila Standard Today (Jan 12): Photo: Weekend Visitor

US Ambassador Philip Goldberg visits the Philippine Military Academy’s Learning Center which houses the West Point Shelf and other materials in Baguio City. As guest of honor of PMA, Goldberg is escorted by Vice Admiral Edgar Abogado, PMA superintendent. DAVID LEPROZO JR.

China insists on fishery rules

From the Manila Standard Today (Jan 12): China insists on fishery rules

In its bid to deflect criticisms from foreign countries, including the United States, following a recent ruling that requires foreign fishermen to seek permission before fishing in the South China Sea, Beijing said it was normal for a coastal state like China to formulate regulations to “safeguard legitimate rights of its fishermen.”

In a statement released by its Chinese foreign ministry in Manila, spokesperson Hua Chunying said that in coastal states like China, the regulations were aimed to preserve, use and manage their fishery resources.

“China is a coastal state, it is regular and routine practice that coastal provinces formulate local regulations in accordance with national laws to preserve, use and manage fishery resources,” she said.

Hua also clarified that the measure has been adopted since 1993 and was amended for the first time in 2008.

“The current version is the second amendment, which aims to strengthen the efforts to protect, reproduce, explore and rationally utilize fishery resources, to safeguard the legitimate rights of fishermen, to ensure quality and safety of aquatic products, to promote sustainable development of fishery industry and to protect fishery resources and eco-environment,” Hua said.

The United States, the Philippines and Vietnam during the week released separate statements denouncing the latest move from China, which requires foreign vessels to seek a permit from Chinese regional authorities in Hainan before entering the South China Sea.

On Friday, the Philippines requested China to clarify the new fisheries law issued by the Hainan Provincial People’s Congress.

“We are gravely concerned by this new regulation,” Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said on Friday.

“It is a gross violation of international law, particularly UNCLOS, and is contrary to the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” Hernandez said.

The Vietnamese government on the other hand, rejected the new regulations, describing them as “illegal and invalid”.

Vietnam Foreign Ministry spokesman Luong Thanh Nghi said in a statement that china’s move “further complicates the situation in the East Sea”.

Nghi also urged its northern neighbor to rectify its wrongdoing and make “practical contributions” to maintain peace and stability in the region.

The United States department spokeswoman Jen Psaki likewise slammed China’s regulation saying that the passage of these restrictions on other countries’ fishing activities in disputed portions of the South China Sea is a “provocative and potentially dangerous act”.

But Chinese embassy to Manila spokesman Zhang Hua suggested to their detractors to look into China’s Fisheries Law and past versions of the measure to see the legitimacy of the said regulations.

Zhang also strongly expressed “dissatisfaction” over Psaki’s remarks.

“I expressed China’s position yesterday [Friday]. We are dissatisfied with and opposed to the remarks made by the the US,” Hua said in a daily press conference, the transcript of which was released by the Chinese embassy.

She said that the regulation over the disputed seas was formulated in accordance with relevant internaitonal law.

“China is a coastal country as well as a continental one, with a long coastline and numerous islands and reffs. In accordance with relevant international law, common international practice and domestic laws, the Chinese government has the right and obligation to manage the living and non-living resources on relevant islands and reefs and in relevant waters,” Hua explained.

She said that the fishery laws and regulations of China have been properly enforced over the past 30 years, without causing any tension.

She also said the statement showed that the US government either “lacks common sense” or has “ulterior motives”.

“If someone insists on accusing the technical amendment to a local fishery regulation that hs been implementeed for years as a threat to regional peace and stability, he or she either lacks common sense or is of ulterior motives,” Hua said.

Solon says China taunting PH with military might

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jan 10): Solon says China taunting PH with military might

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO
A congressman from Cagayan de Oro said that China has been using its militray prowess to intimidate the Philippines following the issuance of a Chinese rule prohibiting non-Chinese fishermen from fishing in the West Philipppine Sea (South China Sea).

Representative Rufus Rodriguez said that the additional vessels acquired by the Philippine Coast Guard do not deter the mighty Asian nation from imposing its presence on the waters that the Philippines and China dispute.

“No matter what, we are limited with our resources to buy materials like more patrol vessels and military vessels, what we acquired were coast guard cutters,” Rodriguez said in an interview with Inquirer Radio 990AM Friday afternoon. “This is very small compared to China, they have an aircraft carrier and they will buy three more.”

According to Rodriguez, China continues to intrude into the operations of Filipino fishermen in the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which gives the country a 200-mile area from the shoreline where local fishermen can freely operate.

China claims, through its nine-dash line which is a demarcation line for their claims on the parts of the West Philppine Sea, would include Philippine seas overlapping the EEZ and a direct violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which gave the Philippines sovereignty over the 200-mile area.

He said that China sent an aircraft carrier together with two destroyers and two frigates to roam around the EEZ and nearly collided with the USS Cowpens, an American cruiser that came from Tacloban after conducting relief efforts in the area.

Rodriguez added that credible defense is relative to the problem in the current situation of the Philippines which has the largest Asian nation as its opponent in sea territtory.

“Credible defense is always relative and relative to where our problem is and the problem is the West Philippine Sea and the neighbor giving us a problem is China,” Rodriguez said. “And you know China and the Philippines have that disparity (in military power), you can’t have that credible defense.”

US boosting PH maritime defense vs ‘provocative’ China–envoy

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jan 11): US boosting PH maritime defense vs ‘provocative’ China–envoy
The United States is helping improve the Philippines’ maritime defense capability now that the American government has described as “dangerous” a new Chinese fishing law in disputed Asian waters, US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said here on Saturday.

Brushing aside another query about the resumption of American military bases in the Philippines to address a “provocative” China, Goldberg said what has been put on the table is “a framework agreement on enhanced rotational presence which would involve a greater cooperation between our two militaries.”

This framework, which was proposed to the Philippines in August last year, would increase American naval presence in contested sea lanes to keep these waters free for commerce and navigation, according to the Philippines’ defense department.

“Our two militaries have deep, long-standing, historical relationships and what we are talking about doing is not about the 20th century and the bases, but about the 21st century and the kind of cooperation we can have to work together as we confront 21st century problems,” Goldberg told reporters after he was honored by the Philippine Military Academy here.

“Don’t dwell on the past but think about what the future holds,” he said. “That’s what we are trying to do regionally.”

China had declared that all fishing vessels venturing into areas it considered part of Chinese territory must secure its permission. The West Philippine Sea, the name Manila uses for that part of the South China Sea it considered part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, is among the  areas China now wants to control.

“The announcement by the Chinese is a provocative action, one that is again… a unilateral decision as opposed to a consensual one that is [reached by] discussion with other goverments in the region and in the Pacific area,” Goldberg said. “We don’t consider this a welcome step. It is not consistent with those principles we have articulated of free navigation in the air, free navigation in the seas.”

Goldberg did not discuss the status of the framework talks, except to stress that these involved “more trainings, more prepositioning” for the Filipino and American soldiers.

 “The kind of things we do to help the Philippines as it moves toward a credible minimal defense, as it builds up its ability to do maritime security [and] maritime domain awareness,” he said.

Goldberg was given a parade by the PMA cadets. He spent the weekend in the summer capital to host the annual New Year cocktails at the US ambassador’s residence in Camp John Hay.

Earlier in a radio interview, Goldberg said multinational peace forged on consensus was the solution to 21st century problems.

“I think the Philippines has taken a wise decision to handle these matters peacefully, legally, through the legal channels under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and alternatives that the convention offers,” he said.

He said the Philippines also excelled when it tried to “put together a code of conduct as to how countries should operate in the region and to do that together.”

But when countries make decisions on their own, the resulting action may lead to dangerous situations, he said, adding that is “something [that] should be avoided.”

Alleged Misuari finance officer falls

From the Philippine Star (Jan 11): Alleged Misuari finance officer falls

A woman who is allegedly responsible for soliciting funds to finance efforts by Nur Misuari to destabilize efforts to forge a power-sharing agreement between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was arrested in Marikina City yesterday.

Eliza Dingal Viga, who reportedly carries the rank of colonel and functions as a finance officer within the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction led by Misuari, was apprehended together with Arnold “Gadget” del Rosario and Ronald “Rock” Badilla for alleged possession of counterfeit dollars and Malaysian ringgit.

“As part of the MNLF destabilization campaign, the alleged MNLF commanders, headed by Viga, were engaged in the sale and distribution of counterfeit foreign currencies like US dollars and Malaysian ringgit. Proceeds therefrom were then used to fund said campaign,” the National Bureau of Investigation’s Anti-Organized Crime Division said.

Bundles of fake Turkish liras and Iraqi dinar were also confiscated from the three when they were arrested at a residence in Permaline Homes on the strength of a warrant issued by Marikina Regional Trial Court Branch 168 Judge Lorna Cheng.

3 policemen hurt in Sulu mistaken encounter

From the Philippine Star (Jan 12): 3 policemen hurt in Sulu mistaken encounter

Three police officers were wounded in an alleged mistaken encounter with members of the civilian volunteers organization (CVO) yesterday in Luuk town, Sulu.

The police officers led by Sulu police director Senior Superintendent Abraham Orbita were on a convoy when they noticed a group of armed men occupying a former Marine detachment in Barangay Tandu Bato, according to Col. Jose Gabrile Cenabre, head of the Joint Task Force Sulu and 2nd Marine Brigade.

A brief exchange of fire broke out between the policemen and the armed men who turned out to be pro-government volunteers of the municipality.

Cenabre said no one was hurt from the volunteers.

“It was a mistake as the armed men were CVOs. It was unfortunate that they were not immediately recognized,” Cenabre said.

He said Orbita’s men and some Marine personnel were going around the province to settle a clan war when the incident occurred.

The wounded police officers were taken to a military hospital at the Kuta Heneral Teodolfo Bautista in Barangay Busbus, Jolo for treatment.

DND aiming for bigger national ‘spy’ agency

From the Daily Tribune (Jan 12): DND aiming for bigger national ‘spy’ agency

The Department of National Defense (DND) is planning to create a new intelligence agency which will eventually replace the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

This was revealed by ISAFP head Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año who said that the proposal is still undergoing study as the planning guidance issued by DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin aims to create a bigger intelligence organization.

He also dismissed talks that ISAFP will be abolished.

“It’s just that the intelligence unit of the AFP will be part now of the whole defense department,” he further said, noting that the new spy agency will be like that of the US Defense Intelligence Agency.

Año pointed out that nothing is final as of the moment as the plan is still undergoing review.

“Not within 2014, probably that will be (by) 2015... But of course, we are always trying to change the organization for the better, it’s the dynamics of the organization,” he said.

The proposal to abolish ISAFP was made a research paper written by Jesuit Father Romeo Intengan of the Center for Strategic Studies.

Intengan’s recommendation was subsequently endorsed two months ago by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, a reported longtime friend of Intengan, reports said.

Gonzales’ proposal was for the ISAFP’s duties to be transferred to either the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency or the National Security Adviser.

Off-duty CAFGU shot dead by NPA

From the Catanduanes Tribune (Jan 10): Off-duty CAFGU shot dead by NPA

A member of the Civilian Armed Auxiliary (CAA) company of the Philippine Army in Catanduanes was shot dead by the New People’s Army while working off-duty as an abaca stripper in San Miguel town last Jan. 3.

The 83rd Infantry Battalion based at Lictin, San Andres identified the victim as Dominic Samonte, 23, single and a resident of Obi, Caramoran who was assigned at the Iyao detachment of the 22nd Infantry Battalion’s “E” Company.

During the periodic 15-day break from his duties at Iyao, Samonte was making a living by stripping abaca fiber at the Lundayog farm in sitio Tucao, barangay Juan M. Alberto, San Miguel when he was forcibly taken by an undetermined number of communist guerrillas under Ka James at 11 A.M. and shot in the head and the different parts of his body.

Catanduanes PNP provincial director Senior Superintendent Eduardo Chavez said that barangay officials brought the body to the San Miguel police station. It was later transported to the Eastern Bicol Medical Center for post-mortem examination.

The Army disclosed that intelligence operatives organized two sections for possible deployment for combat operations. The headquarters likewise coordinated with the company commanding officer to facilitate the burial of the militiaman and the release of benefits to his family.

A reliable source told a slightly different story to the Tribune and claimed that Samonte had a common-law wife in Kuripdas (as the village is commonly referred to), with whom he had quarrelled at Iyao prior to the incident. The woman allegedly went back to her family and Samonte followed to try to win her back.

However, the source alleged, someone in the woman’s family had links to the NPA and probably tipped them off. The communist rebels were waiting by the time Samonte arrived and shot him 13 times.

Meanwhile, a day after the CAFGU’s killing, government troops unearthed a cache of improvised explosive devices buried in barangay Hicming, Virac.

Responding to a report regarding buried or planted IEDs at Purok 1 of the village, soldiers from “B” and “C” companies of the 83rd IB led by 1Lt. Clavel proceeded to the site and recovered two IEDs weighing more or less five kilos.

The team extracted the devices, often used by the NPA to ambush passing Army and police vehicles, and handled them with care to avoid accidental explosion.

The team later conducted an information drive in the barangay to enlighten residents regarding the planting of the explosives by the communist guerrillas, which could have led to loss of lives and damage to property.

The aswangs of the CIA

From the Sun Star-Bacolod (Jan 10): The aswangs of the CIA

COMMONLY known fact: most Filipinos are superstitious. Little-known fact: the CIA was in the Philippines during the 50’s fighting against the Hukbalahap. What do these two things have in common? Keep reading.

Anyone who calls himself a Filipino knows what an aswang is. It’s a generic term for monster, and everyone knows a guy who knows a guy who has a friend who knows a guy that was “victimized” by an aswang. Ghost stories range from being followed home by an aswang late at night or seeing one peeping out at you from the bathroom window just before it shape shifts into a bat and flies away. It’s generally believed that the sole intention of an aswang is to cause you harm in any way that it can.

Most of the time they’re after your blood, but certain types of aswang, such as the manananggal prefer to suck human fetuses out of the wombs of pregnant mothers. The aswang legend has been around since before the Spanish came here. Spanish chroniclers noted that the locals feared the aswang possibly more than they did the Spaniards. This was because the Filipino is, by nature, very superstitious – a trait which was used to the advantage of the United States’ clandestine service.

 You might remember the Hukbalahap (Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapon) as a guerilla movement that fought alongside US and Philippine Commonwealth forces against the Japanese during World War II. After the war, they were repurposed as the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines and renamed the “Hukbong Mapalaya ng Bayan.” They believed that then-president Manuel Roxas was a collaborator and sought to oust him from power.

The 1950s America was more paranoid of the so-called “Red Menace” than today’s America is paranoid about Islamist terrorist attacks, and just like modern America, the US government vowed to stamp out its enemy wherever it was found. Funding and aid was hurled at any government that was fighting against a Communist insurgency, and the Philippines was no exception. President Truman sent over military advisors and shipped crates of military equipment – some of which are still in use today. Also, lurking in the shadows, CIA spooks were sent into the jungle to face the Huk rebels hands-on.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. The CIA realized that the Filipinos were extremely superstitious people, and they planned to use that against the Huks. Enter Major General Edward Lansdale – this CIA operative who held a rank in the US Air Force had been in the Philippines for about two years prior to the anti-Huk campaign.

Ostensibly, he was here to help the Philippines rebuild its intelligence service and to help the large numbers of POWs left over from the war. But according to American historian Sterling Seagrave, his actual purpose in this country was to shuttle millions of dollars’ worth of Japanese gold out of the country and into the waiting arms of American banks. In any case – his mission changed when the Huks were declared enemies of the state.

Now, Lansdale was well known for his unorthodox psychological warfare. There was this certain mountain stronghold that the Huks had taken in Luzon, and the Philippine Army was having a hard time taking it back. The CIA gladly offered their assistance – secretly, of course. Lansdale’s first act was to spread rumors around surrounding villages that the mountain was haunted and loaded with aswang. Terrifying to some, sure, but not terrifying enough to make the Huks want to leave. For that – he organized fake vampire attacks.

Yes, that’s right – fake vampire attacks. But it wasn’t fake blood and Hollywood makeup. Lansdale would target small Huk patrols up on the mountain and have his people silently ambush them. They would stab them in the neck twice to make it look like a vampire attack and then drain them of all their blood. After that, they would be put back on the trail for their comrades to find. Soon enough, the Huk abandoned their position on the hill, and that little covert act was the source of more horrific ghost stories for generations to come.

3 BIFF rebels killed, 2 hurt in N. Cotabato clash: military

From ABS-CBN (Jan 11): 3 BIFF rebels killed, 2 hurt in N. Cotabato clash: military

Three members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were killed while two others were wounded in an encounter with government troops in Sitio Mapagkaya, Barangay Paidupulangi in Pikit, North Cotabato Friday afternoon.

According to 602nd Brigade spokesperson Captain Antonio Bulao, they already have the names of the casualties but these still need to be verified before they could be released to the media.

"Hindi pa muna natin pwedeng pangalanan kasi may mga proseso pa tayong gagawin," he said.

BIFF spokesperson Abu Missry Mama, however, strongly denied the military's statement and said only one member was wounded and no one was killed.

"Hindi totoo yan, isa lang ang nasugatan sa amin, aaminin naman namin kung meron," Mama said.

Mama added that according to their intelligence report, five soldiers were killed in the firefight.

"Ganyan kalakas ang intelligence namin, lima ang namatay sa mga sundalo," he said.

But the military denied this.

The skirmishes between the BIFF and government troops started before the New Year's Eve.

CPP/Ang Bayan: Video - End Aquino’s corrupt, puppet and brutal rule

Propaganda video posted to the PRWC blog site (Jan 7): Video: End Aquino’s corrupt, puppet and brutal rule

Ang Bayan
7 January 2014

Ever since Benigno Aquino III was exposed as the Pork Barrel King and his criminal negligence of the people’s welfare bared in the face of successive disasters last year, the Filipino people’s demand for an end to his corrupt, puppet and brutal reign has gained strength and breadth.

The Filipino people are thoroughly fed up with three years of Aquino’s lies about his so-called clean governance and delivery of public services to the people. Gross corruption is as brazen as ever, especially in the form of favors given by the Aquino government to big businessmen for project contracts.

CPP/NPA Panay: Video - Magabangon ang Pumuluyo

Posted to the PRWC blog site (Jan 10): Video: Magabangon ang Pumuluyo

NPA Panay
Jan 10, 2014

We will lead the rehabilitation of those who have been devastated by typhoon Yolanda! This is the main content of the program drafted by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Panay for the year in the face of the massive loss of livelihood caused by supertyphoon Yolanda's onslaught in the island and other parts of the Visayas.

MMD: Video - Mujahedin in Sulu, Philippines

From the Moro Muslim Defenders Facebook page (Jan 10): Video: Mujahedin in Sulu, Philippines

Allahu Akbar!

Misuari: Photo - Asslamu Alaikum Jamaat Bangsa Moro!

Posted to the Nur Misuari Facebook page (Jan 10): Photo: Asslamu Alaikum Jamaat Bangsa Moro!

Our struggle fiii sabillillah, continues, InshaAllah!

from your:
makasi malasa ha Bangsa niya... — in Jambangan, Philippines.

CPP/NDF: NDFP hosts celebration of Prof. Sison’s 55 years of service to the Filipino People

Propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jan 9): NDFP hosts celebration of Prof. Sison’s 55 years of service to the Filipino People

NDFP International Information Office
The international office of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) is set to celebrate Prof. Jose Maria Sison’s 55 years of service to the Filipino people’s struggle for national and social liberation, and his 75th birthday, with a cultural event on Sunday, 09 February 2014, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Luis G. Jalandoni, the NDFP Chief International Representative and Chairperson of the NDFP Negotiating Panel holding peace talks with the Manila government, will deliver the keynote speech for the event. A video collage of the tribute song, Pulang Saludo, Ka Joma (“Red Salute, Comrade Joma”), depicting Prof. Sison’s contributions to and role in the people´s revolutionary struggle, will be played in his honor.

Requests for messages have been sent out to parties, organizations and personages in various fields of endeavor. The messages received shall be distributed, and some read out, during the event. All the messages will be published on his website and in a commemorative pamphlet.

The cultural numbers will include poems of Prof. Sison which have become lyrics of songs. Some of the poems in his latest book of poems, The Guerrilla Is Like a Poet, will be recited. The poems Cry for Justice and Struggle for Justice, first delivered by Prof. Sison at the Open Source Tribunal on 23 November 2013, will be chanted and danced. The cultural numbers will be performed under the auspices of the Linangan Art and Culture Network and the Diruta Consort.

A 15-minute video highlighting Prof. Sison’s personal and revolutionary background will be screened – his political persecution even while abroad and legal victories in landmark cases; and his lectures and speeches on global and Philippines issues as a teacher, as Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, as Chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, and as Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP in peace negotiations with the Manila government.

A proposal to set up and raise funds for a People’s International Research and Study Center (PIRSC) will be presented. A special feature of the Center will be the study of Prof. Sison´s works and having him as special instructor for groups of activists from various countries. After this will be the launching of Prof. Sison’s latest available books under the five-part series Continuing the Philippine Revolution. Other books of his will be offered for sale. He will be ready to sign the copies of the books sold.

Prof. Sison has served the Filipino people in their revolutionary struggle for national liberation and democracy since 1959 when he emerged as a student leader in the University of the Philippines. While teaching at this university from 1959 to 1962, he promoted the patriotic and progressive youth movement on a national scale. He founded the youth organization Kabataang Makabayan (KM, Patriotic Youth) in 1964 and became its first Chairman.

He became the Vice President for Research and Education of the Lapiang Manggagawa (LM, Workers’ Party) and gave refresher courses to veteran worker and peasant cadres in 1963 and 1964. He was elected General Secretary of the Socialist Party of the Philippines in 1965, and also General Secretary of the united front organization, Movement for the Advancement of Nationalism in 1966. He was the most outstanding activist in carrying forward the anti-imperialist and anti-feudal movement in the 1960s.

Further on, he became the Founding Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines, reestablished under the theoretical guidance of Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought in 1968. Together with his comrades, he founded the New People’s Army in 1969 and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in 1973.

He fought the Marcos fascist dictatorship. He was captured in 1977 and continued to oppose the dictatorship even while he was in detention. He was tortured and kept in solitary confinement in most years of his detention. He was released soon after the fall of the Marcos ruling clique in 1986. He rejoined the faculty of the University of Philippines and delivered a series of lectures on the main thesis that, despite the fall of Marcos, the Philippines remained semicolonial and semifeudal, and still needed a new democratic revolution.

He left the Philippines on 31 August 1986 for a global lecture tour. The military pressured President Corazon Aquino to cancel his passport, in a futile attempt to force his return to the Philippines in 1988. He sought political asylum in The Netherlands. The US and Manila governments persisted in using the Dutch government to persecute him by denying him asylum, despite being recognized as a political refugee by the Dutch courts, and by subjecting him to terrorist blacklisting and detention on false murder charges. He won his legal cases against the terrorist blacklisting and the false murder charges.

He has been the Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP in peace negotiations with the Manila government since 1990. He co-founded the International League of Peoples’ Struggle in 2001 and has been Chairperson of its International Coordinating Committee since 2004.

In all his years abroad, Prof. Sison has consistently followed events and developments in his country and worldwide. And he has acted on various issues by attending conferences, conducting research, and delivering lectures and speeches to university audiences, labor organizations, conferences of parties, and others. His cultural activities include participation in major poetry festivals. He has written several volumes of books.

CPP/NPA CMROC: 6 killed, 12 wounded 26th IB troops in NPA harassment operations in San Luis, Agusan del Sur

Propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jan 9): 6 killed, 12 wounded 26th IB troops in NPA harassment operations in San Luis, Agusan del Sur

Alan Juanito
NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Operations Command (Julito Tiro Command)
A week before the scheduled end of the Suspension of Military Operations (SOMO) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines this January 15, the New People’s Army under the Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Sub-Regional Command launched two offensive actions against operating troops of the 26th Infantry Battalion in San Luis, Agusan Sur on January 8 and 9. Six were killed and 12 were wounded among the reactionary soldiers in the two incidents while the NPA suffered no casualties.

Despite the AFP’s SOMO, military operations continue relentlessly in San Luis, Agusan Sur, San Fernando and Impasug-on in Bukidnon, and Gingoog, Claveria and Binuangan in Misamis Oriental.

In San Luis, particularly, where the open celebration for the 45th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines last December 26 was held, where thousands of masses, allies and media people took part of the celebration, the 26th IB immediately put up a checkpoint near their Battalion Headquarters in Talacogon. For more than two weeks now, the checkpoint has been a nuisance to local citizens in preparations for the New Year festivities, as well as to their freedom of movement.

Maj. Canacero of the 26th IB lies when he tells the public that their troops were merely assisting the PNP in serving out a warrant of arrest to a certain criminal suspect in Kipuyag, Brgy. San Pedro, San Luis. In reality, their combat operations in the barrios of San Luis started on January 2, 11:00 PM. A hundred and ten troops were mobilized simultaneously for the operation, wherein a column of 68 troops entered Brgy. San Pedro. Another column of 42 entered Km. 21, Brgy. Don Alejandrom, San Luis. For about a week, they have scoured forested and interior vicinity hunting the NPA down.

And their search turned out to be for nothing. The subjects of their pursuit swiftly pursued them on their way back to base. January 8, around 11:35 AM, an NPA team harassed a column of the 26th IB climbing a steep bank in Mahaba River, going towards Km. 27, Side 2, Brgy. Mahayahay, San Luis. Five were wounded among the fascist troops, including their guide, Biane, a CAFGU member infamous for his extortion activities on small-scale loggers in San Luis.

January 9, around 2:00 AM, in Km. 5, Brgy. Balit, San Luis, six were killed and seven were wounded among another column of 26th IB troops when an NPA team harassed their 6×6 truck while on their way to Battalion Headquarters in Talacogon. The enemy platoon vehicle was negotiating a rough road when Red fighters fired at the rear side of the vehicle.

At the onset of year 2014, the initial offensive actions of the NPA show that all units in North Central Mindanao Region are prepared to face the relentless assault of the reactionary AFP and all counterrevolutionary forces.

CPP/NDF Mindanao: The AFP’s unilateral somo — a complete farce

Propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jan 11): The AFP’s unilateral somo — a complete farce

Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris)
NDFP Mindanao Chapter
In yet another record-breaking attempt to deceive the revolutionary movement and the people, the US-Aquino regime’s AFP has declared a Suspension of Offensive Military Operations (SOMO) from 21 December 2013 to 15 January 2014 that, so far, has turned out to be a total sham.

Clearly, the objectives of the SOMO have been intended: 1) to prevent the successful celebration across the country of the 45th anniversary of the re-establishment of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP-MLM) on Dec. 26; 2) to dupe the NPA into lowering its guard so that it can take advantage of it and attack NPA units or arrest revolutionary cadres, including NDFP peace consultants as it did in their past SOMO declarations; 3) to provoke the NPA to engage in fire fight within the 6-day period of the NPA’s Christmas and New Year unilateral ceasefire and attempt to isolate the NPA by way of its propaganda advantage in the media; and, 4) to project political and moral ascendancy over and against the much shorter unilateral ceasefire of the NPA.

The 45th CPP anniversary celebrations on December 26 have been marred by countless provocative AFP violations, such as setting up checkpoints at strategic entry and exit points that led towards places they suspected to be the site for the celebrations. The NPA units, however, together with the masses, allies and media persons daringly and creatively have managed to elude AFP surveillance and successfully held the 45th anniversary celebrations in different parts of Mindanao.

In one incident, the 26th IB’s spot checkpoint in Talacogon, Agusan del Sur has held and harassed the media men and other visitors coming from the celebration, and released them only after certain personnel from the media have trained their camera onto the AFP soldiers manning the checkpoint.
Subsequently, from January 2 to 8, 2014, in violation of the AFP’s own ceasefire, the 26th IB PA has launched a three-column military operation against the NPA unit that hosted the 45th CPP anniversary celebration, covering several barangays and communities within the vicinity of the anniversary site, including forestal hinterland communities as far as 30 km inland along the Agusan river banks.

The NPA units have fought back by deploying several sniper and harassment teams. As a result, at 11:35 AM of Jan 8, one NPA team caught up with a platoon column of the 26th IB as it crossed the steep banks of Mahaba Creek, Brgy. Mahayahay, San Luis, Agusan del sur, wounding five 26th IB soldiers. Then at 2:00 AM the next day, the second AFP column was ambush-harassed in Km. 5, Brgy. Balit, San Luis, Agusan del Sur by another NPA team, killing 6 soldiers and wounding 7 more, including a CAFGU member. Yet Maj. Canacero of the 26th IB has had the gall to claim that they were not launching offensive military operations during the period covered by their declared SOMO, and worse, denied they suffered fatalities.

In all hypocrisy, AFP officials have claimed that RSOT/COPD operations are on-going to “keep the peace and promote development” in many barrios when in truth these are nothing but psy-war operations meant to harass community-folk, identify local activists, destroy the revolutionary unity among the people, conduct surveillance operations, forcibly extract information of military value, conduct security combat patrol, and set the stage for more intensive brutal combat operations. These RSOT/COPD operations completely violate the spirit and letter of the CAHRHIL and international protocols as evidenced by its armed troops’ occupation of civilian residence, barangay and community schools, health and day care centres. They also introduce the corrupting cultural influence such as use of illicit drugs, impregnate women in the locality, gambling, and others.

The AFP TRIAD concept of operations, composed of intelligence, RSOT/COPD and combat operations, have continued to be in full swing without let up since November last year until at present, even during their own SOMO, in many areas in Mindanao. For instance in Bukidnon, several hundreds of AFP troops have been deployed for offensive operations in the hinterland communities of Brgy. Jagpa, Impasug-ong (six 6X6 trucks of fully armed soldiers); Sitio Ulayanon, Calabugao (3 6X6 truckloads); Sitio Pilot, Calabugao, where 25 soldiers occupied the barrio day-care center and the local elementary school; Brgy Bulonay (25 soldiers); Sitio Namnam (2 columns); as well as in barrios in San Fernando, Quezon, and Malabalay City. The same are also on-going in the interior barangays of Claveria, Binuangan and Gingoog City, all of Misamis Oriental.

Similar offensive AFP operations have also been going on in some far flung barangays and communities in the provinces of Southern, Northeastern, Far Southern and Western Mindanao Regions. Violating their own SOMO had been the trademark of AFP SOMOs in the past years.

These offensive AFP operations have also been designed to provoke the NPA to a fire fight during the period covered by the NPA ceasefire, and charge the latter of ceasefire violations. This has always been their intention as was shown when the NPA unit launched a punitive action on the very day of the 45th CPP anniversary celebrations against operating troops of the 8th IB. In direct violation of CARHRHIL and international conventions, these troops occupied the health and day-care centres of Sitio Ulayanon in Calabugao, impose resource control to prevent the local masses together with NPA units from having their own celebrations.

The AFP has falsely claimed moral and political ascendancy with regard to their 21-day ceasefire juxtaposed to the NPA’s 6-day ceasefire. In truth, however, the declaration of the AFP SOMO is purely a deception and there has never been a real suspension of AFP offensive operations on the ground. On the other hand, the ceasefire declaration of the NPA is intended to allow people to freely and safely celebrate the yuletide season; it has never been declared as a reciprocation of an expectedly fake AFP SOMO.
We laud NPA units who have heroically defended themselves and the masses from the treachery of the AFP’s so-called SOMO.

Police convoy ambushed in Southern Philippines

From the Mindanao Examiner blog site (Jan 11): Police convoy ambushed in Southern Philippines

Gunmen on Saturday ambushed a convoy of policemen and wounding 3 officers in the southern Filipino province of Sulu.

The policemen, headed by Senior Superintendent Abraham Orbita, the provincial commander, were travelling in Tanduh Bato village in Luuk town when they came under attack. The ambush sparked a 45-minute gunbattle, according to officials contacted by the Mindanao Examiner.

Orbita’s group was on a patrol and had inspected the wharf in Luuk when the attack occurred, but officials cannot say who were behind the ambush or its motive.

The fighting stopped after the ambushers fled even before police reinforcement could arrive. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the attack.

In May 2009, the police commander of Sulu, Senior Superintendent Julasirim Kasim and three of his aides and a brother, were killed in an ambushed staged by Abu Sayyaf group in Maimbung town.

Kasim had been in the front line in battling the Abu Sayyaf.

The Abu Sayyaf, which means “Bearer of the sword,” has been linked by authorities to the al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya and is blamed on the spate of bombings in the southern Philippines.

Remains of Revolutionary Gen. Juan Cailles re-interred at Libingan ng mga Bayani

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 11): Remains of Revolutionary Gen. Juan Cailles re-interred at Libingan ng mga Bayani

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) led Saturday the transfer and re-interment of the remains of a former military commander who served during the Philippine Revolution against Spain and the Philippine-American War.

The re-interment of Gen. Juan Cailles took place at about 11 a.m. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (Heroes' Cemetery) in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City -- at the area where the remains of other generals like him were also buried.

According to NHCP, the decision to transfer Cailles' remains from his original resting place -- also found at the Libingan ng mga Bayani, specifically in the World War II Veterans area -- was made in consideration of his great role and contribution as Filipino military commander during two important episodes in the campaign for Philippine independence.

Although Cailles was born in the Philippines, he was not considered a true-blooded Filipino since his father was a Frenchman while her mother was an Indian national.

“However, the mere fact that he had functioned as one of the true Filipinos serving the country during that time, NHCP decided to accord to him the honor of being buried and given full military honors done with other Filipino generals that is rightfully fitted for him,” Carminda Arevalo, NHCP deputy executive director, told the Philippines News Agency during necrological services for Cailles held Friday evening.

Cailles was born in Nasugbu, Batangas on Nov. 10, 1871.His parents were Hippolyte Cailles, from Lyon, France, and María Caupama, from Kerala, India. He was the sixth among seven children.

He graduated from the Escuela Normal, then ran by the Jesuits in Manila and now called Ateneo De Manila University.

He became a teacher and taught for five years in the public schools of Amaya, Tanza and Rosario, Cavite.

During the 1896 Revolution, he took part in many encounters with the Spaniards, particularly in engagements that resulted in the deaths of his superior officers like Generals Candido Tria Tirona, Edilberto Evangelista and Crispulo Aguinaldo. The braveness he showed during such battles caused his rapid promotion.

In the Battle of Mabitac in Laguna province on Sept. 17, 1900, Cailles’ troops out-maneuvered and routed a strong American contingent led by one Col. Cheetham.

Cailles allowed Cheetham to recover from the field the bodies of eight slain American soldiers, together with all their personal belongings.

After serving as acting chief of operations in the First Military Zone of Manila during the Philippine-American War, Cailles was appointed by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo as military governor of Laguna and half of Tayabas (now Quezon) province.

The capture of Aguinaldo in Palanan, Isabela on March 23, 1901 convinced Cailles that the war was lost, and so he surrendered to the Americans on June 20 of the same year.

He served as governor of Laguna from 1901 to 1910, and also from 1916 to 1925.

After his second term, he was appointed representative of the Mountain Province in the Philippine Legislature in 1925 and reappointed in 1928.

In 1931, Cailles was again elected governor of Laguna, and reelected in 1934.

It was during his term as governor that the Sakdal uprising flared up on May 2, 1935, in Santa Rosa and Cabuyao, Laguna.

The revolt was suppressed through his firm administration and revolutionary experience.

Cailles had a role too in the capture of Teodoro Asedillio, the "Terror of the Sierra Madre."

He died on June 28, 1951 due to a heart attack.

Meanwhile, Lorenza Cailles, one of his 14 children, said, “We feel proud and grateful that finally he will be in the generals' resting place where he rightfully belongs.”

The 83-year-old Lorenza was interviewed by this writer during the necrological rites and tribute held at the mortuary place of Libingan ng mga Bayani Friday evening after his remains were dug from his former resting place.

Also present during the ceremonies were Laguna Gov. Jeorge E.R. Ejercito Estregan, representatives from NHCP, some French and Indian nationals, Cailles children and descendants, among others.

Fire hits ISAFP compound

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 11): Fire hits ISAFP compound

Fire believed caused by faulty electrical wiring gutted one of the offices inside the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) compound in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City Friday afternoon.

The ISAFP compound is located near the Office of the Civil Defense building.

The fire broke out at around 5:25 p.m. at the ISAFP message center. It was extinguished by 6:10 p.m., Military Police commander Lt. Col. Edgardo Batenga said.

No one was injured in the fire which badly damaged the office's ceiling.

Batenga said that some of the documents in the message center were damaged by water from the firefighters' hoses.

Investigation is still ongoing to determine the cause of the fire.

AW-109 pilots now undergoing FLIR, NVG training

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 11): AW-109 pilots now undergoing FLIR, NVG training

The pilots and aircrew of the three AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power" helicopters delivered and commissioned last December are now undergoing training on the proper usage and deployment of the forward-looking infrared (FLIR) and night vision equipment (NVG) which are installed in the aircraft.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, Navy spokesperson, said the training, being conducted by technical representatives of AgustaWestland, started in late December and will continue until the end of March.

"With its FLIR, the AW-109s have a more enhanced search-and-rescue capability than any of our existing aircraft. Also, it is fitted with a night vision gear, making it very ideal to conduct missions during nighttime," Fabic said earlier.

FLIR 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.

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.

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

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

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

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

Plans to supplant ISAFP under study

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 11): Plans to supplant ISAFP under study

The Department of National Defense (DND) is planning to create a new intelligence agency which will eventually replace the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

This was revealed by ISAFP head Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año who said that the proposal is still undergoing study as the planning guidance issued by DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin aims to create a bigger intelligence organization.

He also dismissed talks that ISAFP will be abolished.

"It's just that the intelligence unit of the AFP will be part now of the whole defense department," he further said, noting that the new spy agency will be like that of the US Defense Intelligence Agency.

Año pointed out that nothing is final as of the moment as the plan is still undergoing review.

"Not within 2014, probably that will be (by) 2015... But of course, we are always trying to change the organization for the better, it's the dynamics of the organization," he said.

137 newly-enlisted soldiers get firearms

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 11): 137 newly-enlisted soldiers get firearms

The Philippine Army’s First “Tabak” Infantry Division held an Entrustment of Firearms ceremony as the command issued service firearms to the newly-enlisted 137 soldiers.

The ceremony was held Saturday at the Tabak gymnasium at Camp Major Cesar Sang-an that houses the headquarters of the First Infantry Division in Barangay Upper Pulacan, Labangan, this province.

First Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Felicito Virgilio Trinidad said the ceremony was participated in by the following: Mayor Maria Fe Pitogo, Josefina town, this province; Salong Sunggod, regional director of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP); Fr. Miguel Cahanap, parish priest of Molave, this province; Pastor Jerry Carbajosa Jr., head of this city’s All the World Outreach Church; Nestor Carbonera, executive director of Xavier Agricultural Extension in Ipil, Zamboanga Sibugay; Dr. Helen Bulawin, Tabak Elementary School principal; and, Leah Agonoy, Tabak Defense Press Corps president.

Trinidad said they were tasked to entrust the firearms to the newly-enlisted soldiers. The firearms were handed over to them and they were the ones who turn it over to the soldiers coupled with advises on their responsibility in handling the guns as soldier.

Trinidad said the ceremony is aimed to instill service-oriented attitude to the soldiers.

The ceremony was witnessed by some members of the family of the newly-enlisted soldiers who also provided moral advice to them during the occasion.

The newly-enlisted soldiers, all with the rank of private, composed of the six-month Candidate Soldier Course Class 318-2013 that graduated last Dec. 16.