Friday, March 7, 2014

NCTC: List of foreign terrorist organizations 2014

Posted to National Counterterrorism Center Website (Jan 14): List of foreign terrorist organizations 2014

Foreign Terrorist Organizations
as of 14 January 2014
Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are foreign organizations that are designated by the Secretary of State in accordance with Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended. FTO designations play a critical role in the fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities. The listed groups appear in chronological order of designation.
Current List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations
  1. Abu Nidal Organization (ANO)
  2. Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)
  3. Aum Shinrikyo (AUM)
  4. Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
  5. Gama’a al-Islamiyya (Islamic Group)
  6. HAMAS
  7. Harakat ul-Mujahidin (HUM)
  8. Hizballah (Party of God)
  9. Kahane Chai (KACH)
  10. Kurdistan Workers' Party (Kongra-Gel, PKK)
  11. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
  12. National Liberation Army (ELN)
  13. Palestine Liberation Front (PLF)
  14. Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)
  15. Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)
  16. PFLP-General Command (PFLP-GC)
  17. Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
  18. Revolutionary Organization 17 November (17N)
  19. Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C)
  20. Shining Path (SL)
  21. Al-Qa’ida (AQ)
  22. Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)
  23. Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA)
  24. United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC)
  25. Jaish-e-Mohammed (JEM)
  26. Lashkar-e Tayyiba (LeT)
  27. Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (AAMB)
  28. Asbat al-Ansar (AAA)
  29. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
  30. Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army (CPP/NPA)
  31. Jemaah Islamiya (JI)
  32. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ)
  33. Ansar al-Islam (AAI)
  34. Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA)
  35. Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG)
  36. Al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI)
  37. Islamic Jihad Group (IJU)
  38. Harakat ul-Jihad-i-Islami/Bangladesh (HUJI-B)
  39. Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP)
  40. Jundallah
  41. Army of Islam (AOI)
  42. Indian Mujahidin (IM)
  43. Jemaah Anshorut Tawhid (JAT)
  44. Abdallah Azzam Brigades (AAB)
  45. Haqqani Network (HQN)
  46. Ansar al-Dine (AAD)
  47. Boko Haram
  48. Ansaru
  49. al-Mulathamun Battalion
  50. Ansar al-Shari'a in Benghazi
  51. Ansar al-Shari'a in Darnah
  52. Ansar al-Shari'a in Tunisia

Another member of NPA surrenders in Northern Samar

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 7): Another member of NPA surrenders in Northern Samar

Before the month of February ended, another member of New People’s Army (NPA) operating in Northern Samar surrendered to the government forces.

A report coming from 8th Infantry Division Public Affair Chief Captain Amado Gutierrez stated that the incident on February 27 was the second in a month that an NPA rebel surrendered to the 34th Infantry Battalion based at Brgy. Tambangan, Gamay, Northern Samar.  It may be recalled that on February 8, 2014, four NPA rebels surrendered to the said Army battalion.

This is an indication that some NPA rebels have been enlightened that progress will not be achieved through armed struggle, Captain Gutierrez said. 

The government is giving an assurance to the NPA rebels the benefits they will receive soon as they surrender and to enjoy peaceful productive life with their families.

With this increasing number of rebel returnees in some towns in Northern Samar, it is possible that Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP’s) will attain the aim to achieve its goal for all towns in this province to be conflict manageable by end of this year.

According to Captain Gutierrez, a certain AKA “ Bobong”, a member of NPA Semi-Legal Team surrendered to the 34th IB and brought along with him is one calibre .45 pistol with one magazine and three live ammunition, one .357 revolver and two fragmentation grenades.

Currently, the rebel returnee is in the custody the 34th Infantry Battalion as his application to avail of the government livelihood program is on process.

Under the AFP Guns for Peace remuneration Program, the former rebel will receive P16, 500.00 for the .45 caliber pistol, P30, 000.00 for the .357 revolver and P1, 000.00 for the two fragmentation grenades that he surrendered.

In addition, the returnee is also entitled to receive P10, 000.00 immediate assistance and P30, 000.00 livelihood assistance from the Provincial Government of Northern Samar under its Local Social Integration Program.

 “The government is sincere in its effort to realize everyone’s aspirations for peace. We assure the NPA rebels that sent us surrender feelers and want to avail of the government’s social integration program that the 34IB’s door is open to assist them in any way we can,”34IB Commanding Officer  Lt Col Rodrigo Ilustrisimo stated.

MILF: Editorial -- Spoilers in the guise of helpers

Editorial posted to the MILF Website (Mar 8): Spoilers in the guise of helpers

March 8-15, 2014 :: All sorts of people from genuine friends of the peace process to outright spoilers are what peace builders have to grapple with as they struggle to conclude the negotiations. 
Sometimes spoilers are dressed in “sheepskin” and pretend to be allies only to expose their real color later after they have already sown virus in the peace efforts. Even the best of allies can also create problem in how they frame their ideas, especially if they insist on them.

But just the same, peace builders have to engage them constructively and strive to win them over or at least neutralize them. There is no other option.

Peace builders have also to understand that before they find the correct idea or unanimity of views, they have to look first for the proverbial needle in the stack of hay. In short, one has to be patient, understanding, and, above all, knows how to manage his or her emotion.

This difficulty is also experienced by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in its main task of crafting the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). In spite of the fact that the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) including the four annexes on power-sharing, wealth-sharing, normalization, transitional arrangement and modalities, and the Addendum on Bangsamoro Waters (all will be signed into one document called Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB)) is the limit of what should be in the BBL, there are still people who cannot toe this line or refuse to understand. Sometimes, they insist on their views.

More seriously, there are those who pretend to help but their real agenda is how to promote their rigid ideological line that tend to create trouble rather than harmony, as well as those who ride on the issues, say, of women and indigenous peoples in order to secure the millions of grants from foreign donors and institutions. 

The BTC welcomes all ideas especially those relevant and useful ones, but with the full understanding that only those that are within the purview of the above-stated documents will find space in the BBL. Even then the BBL cannot be expected to be loaded with all those details that are supposed to be handled by the Bangsamoro parliament during the regular Bangsamoro government.  Otherwise, this parliament is left with no work to do at all.

As previously stated, a good constitution, basic law or organic act, aside from being well-written, must be comprehensive, partly rigid and partly flexible, and suitability. And without saying, it should provide for a bill of rights for the people.

MILF: Parang National High School holds advocacy on Framework Agreement

From the MILF Website (Mar 8): Parang National High School holds advocacy on Framework Agreement

An advocacy on the GPH-MILF Framework Agreement was undertaken by Parang National High School in the Municipality of Parang, Maguindanao  in coordination with the Maguindanao Provincial Information Committee and the MILF Iranun Provincial Committee with the Theme: Understanding the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro and its Annexes.  It was held at the school compound on March 3.

The program was attended by about 323 graduating students-Class 2014, some 3rd year high school students and their parents. The activity focused mainly on enhancing the awareness of the students about the Framework Agreement and the GPH-MILF peace process. Invited as speaker was Professor Esmael Abdula, the Chairman of the Campaign and Mass Mobilization, Sub Committee on Information, Committee on Information, MILF-CC; and member of the Steering Committee of Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI); Sheik Abdulhadie  Gumander who dealt on the basic rights contained in the FAB and  the Provincial Secretary of the Iranun Provincial  Committee and staff. 

Abdula stressed the need for the Moro youth who are qualified voters to register; participate in the plebiscite; and contribute to the success of the Bangsamoro Region.
Mr. Mocamad Bandar, the school principal expressed his gratitude for the conduct of the advocacy in their school.

The secretary of Iranun Provincial Committee on Information delivered the message of the Iranun provincial chairman and said that, “We were colonize, exploited for centuries, and experience political and economic injustice. Now it high time for us to unite; act collectively to transform our homeland from a devastated region into a peaceful and progressive one”.  He quoted the words of MILF 1st Vice Chairman, “When the FAB was signed on October 15, 2012, the Bangsamoro People, have seen the “light of hope“.  “I call on you teachers who are present here today as well as the students to support the peace process and the FAB”.

MILF: Crafting of development plan for Bangsamoro commences

From the MILF Website (Mar 8): Crafting of development plan for Bangsamoro commences

Last Wednesday, March 5, the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) launched in Davao City the Bangsamoro Development Plan (BDP) which was described in a MindaNews report as “Another milestone achieved for the Mindanao peace process”.  

The BDP is a roadmap for short- and medium-term development strategy for Bangsamoro areas.

The BDP will identify investments and programs to promote inclusive growth, stability, and help create jobs in the Bangsamoro from 2014 until 2020.

The BDA is the development arm of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). It was created under the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development Aspects of the Government of the Philippines-MILF Tripoli Agreement of June 22, 2001. It is in charge of the planning process for the BDP.

Dr. Saffrullah M. Dipatuan, BDA chair, said the Bangsamoro plan will play a crucial role in the establishment and success of the Bangsamoro. He said planning for rehabilitation, recovery and development is being conducted with peace-building among the key objectives.

Through extensive consultations, the BDP will set the strategic direction for the new Bangsamoro government by identifying potential areas for investment, private sector promotion, and cooperation with other regions in the country,” Dipatuan said.

National government oversight and line agencies and the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Regional Planning and Development Office are supporting the planning process for the formulation of the BDP, along with the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society, a network of nongovernment and people’s organizations working in the Bangsamoro areas, said the report by MindaNews..

“The BDP, which will reflect the goals of the Bangsamoro people, the indigenous peoples, and other sectors in Mindanao, will help strengthen the Bangsamoro region to become the anchor and sanctuary of our aspirations of shared prosperity and shared security – not only in the Philippines, but in Asia and across the globe. Its inclusive character affirms this government’s commitment that no one – Muslim, Christian or Lumad – will be left behind,” Presidential Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos Deles said in a statement.

Addressing the launching, Undersecretary Luisito Montalbo, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Executive Director, stressed the need to capture the sentiments of the communities in the drafting of the plan, making sure that the process and final output is as transparent, and more importantly as inclusive as possible.

“The plan needs to make sure no one is left behind,” he said. “The formulation of the BDP is another historic milestone in the peace process between the two parties [government and MILF] that is directly related to the socio economic requirements of the peace process,” Montalbo said.

The planning process for the BDP is funded by a US$540,000 grant from the Mindanao Trust Fund (MTF) administered by the World Bank. Started in 2006, the MTF is a $28 million multi-donor facility that supports economic and social recovery and promotes inclusive and effective governance in conflict-affected areas of Mindanao.

Support for the BDP draws on recent new contributions to the MTF of 8 million Euros from the European Union (EU) and A$1.3 million from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Reflecting on the launch of the BDP planning process, World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi said in a statement that the crafting of the Bangsamoro Development Plan will help strengthen confidence in the on-going peace process.

“This planning process demonstrates how the government and the MILF—with the support of development partners, civil society groups, private sector and other stakeholders— are working together to deliver a tangible dividend to communities from the peace process,” said Konishi.

“The plan will outline strategies to build legitimate institutions to help foster a sense of security among communities, get more children back to school, provide justice and create jobs. This is in line with global lessons on how to successfully address the roots of violent conflict,” he added.

EU Ambassador Guy Ledoux, representing the largest funder of the MTF commented that, “With the successful conclusion of the peace negotiations, the Parties have opened the way for the areas that have been affected by over four decades of conflict to realise their tremendous potential. The Bangsamoro Development Planning process is about paving this way towards economic and social development which requires a vision and a roadmap harnessing all resources and everyone’s commitment. As a long-standing and major development and peace process partner, the European Union will continue to lend its full support to fulfil people’s long-term aspirations as well as immediate needs. This is all about reaping the benefits of peace.”

Co-chaired by the OPAPP and the BDA, the MTF program serves as a mechanism for international development partners to pool resources and coordinate support for peace and development in Mindanao.

In addition to the European Union and Australia, other development partners supporting the MTF are the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade; Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the United States Agency for International Development.

MILF: Sugoda Buayan Provincial Political Committee underwent leadership training

From the MILF Website (Mar 7): Sugoda Buayan Provincial Political Committee underwent leadership training

The Sugoda Buayan Provincial Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front hosted a two-day Leadership Training aimed at strengthening the organization for the effective and efficient implementation of its major programs.
Around 30 Provincial and Municipal Officers participated in the activity recently held at Glan, Sarangani Province.

Volunteers from the Moro civil society organizations served as the resource persons.
During the workshop, the participants identified their strengths and weaknesses and planned how to carry out the programs of the organization considering the external factors that affect their operations.

They also outlined what strategies they shall undertake to speed up all the activities in support to the peace process especially on popularizing the efforts of the GPH and MILF peace panels and other concerned institutions geared towards the establishment of the Bangsamoro political entity.

The duties and functions of the officers were also discussed and the proper writing of report and minutes of the meetings.

The speakers stressed how important it is for the organs of the MILF to be strengthened and capacitated for the efficient services of the Bangsamoro communities.

The participants agreed to continue the capacity-building initiatives in the barangay level.

MILF: YCC-MILF conducts advocacy program on FAB’s Annexes at Lantawan, Basilan

From the MILF Website (Mar 7): YCC-MILF conducts advocacy program on FAB’s Annexes at Lantawan, Basilan

An advocacy program on the four annexes of the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB) was held on March 1 at Atong-Atong, Lantawan, Basilan where about 200 individuals composed of farmers, fishermen, barangay officials, students of madaris and out-of-school youth attended.
The advocacy campaign was organized and spearheaded by the municipal district chairman and officers of Yakan City Committee of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front with the purpose of informing the grass-roots on the salient provisions of the FAB’s four annexes. The municipal district chairman emphasized during his presentation of the program’s overview the importance of knowing the progress in the GPH-MILF Peace Process.

Professor Ahmad Al-Amin, was tasked to explain the features of the four annexes where he was able to concisely clarify the transition process, mechanism and modalities under the Transitional Arrangements; the Intergovernmental Relations, Governance and the delineation of powers under the power sharing and stressed the non-diminution of powers already enjoyed by local government units.

Professor Al-Amin also told the mixed participants composed of Yakan, Sama and Tao Sugs that under the Wealth-Sharing and Revenue Generation Annex the so-called block grant is different from the Internal Revenue Allocation (IRA) already provided by the national government to local government units.

Professor Al-amin, clarified that the term decommissioning as provided for under the annex on Normalization does not mean surrendering MILF firearms but putting them beyond through a decommissioning body.

In his closing remarks, the head of the Farmers’ Sector of the Yakan City Committee said that every Bangsamoro shall enjoy the benefits of a strong and wider autonomous Bangsamoro Region. A learned Muslim who was among the organizers said that, “Under Bangsamoro, no one shall be left out”.’s-annexes-at-lantawan-basilan

MILF: IMT’s exit call on MILF’s 2nd Vice Chairman drew thousands in Camp Bushra

From the MILF Website (Mar 6): IMT’s exit call on MILF’s 2nd Vice Chairman drew thousands in Camp Bushra

Camp Bushra Somiorang, Butig, Lanao del Sur, 28 February 2014. The exit call of the 8th Mission of the International Monitoring Team (IMT-8) headed by MGen Dato’ Fadzil bin Mokhtar on Alim Ali Solaiman, 2nd Vice Chairman of the Central Committee, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), drew an estimated crowd of not less than ten thousand MILF members, supporters and sympathizers at the hallowed ground of Alim Abdulazis Mimbantas Memorial Center, Camp Bushra Somiorang, Butig, Lanao del Sur
This area, which is popularly known as the Satellite Office because of the presence of a satellite office of the MILF Peace Panel, serves as an administrative sub-camp of Camp Bushra where the top leadership of the MILF in the Ranaw Region receives local and foreign dignitaries and visitors.

The 8th Mission of the IMT arrived in Cotabato City last March 2013 and will be completing its one-year tour of duty in March 14, 2014. From its original number of 60 members, the IMT-8 will be replaced by its successor, the IMT-9, comprising of only 36 members. The reduced number of the team comprising the IMT-9 underscores the significant success of IMT’s monitoring and peacekeeping mission since it started its work in 2002.

The IMT is composed of both military and civilian contingents from Malaysia, as the leading contingent, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan and Europe. Libya was part of the original countries contributing to the IMT. The International Monitoring Team is a product of the Security Aspect of the GPH-MILF Tripoli Agreement on Peace of 22 June 2001 and is mandated to monitor the status of the ceasefire agreement between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF.

The province of Lanao del Sur was in a festive mood as main streets were teeming with streamers, tarpaulins, native flags and flaglets welcoming the visiting IMT members. A military honor was rendered by the 103rd Base Command of the BIAF-MILF in honor of the visitors that was followed by a military exhibition drill and a courtesy call on the 2nd Vice Chairman of the MILF Central Committee.

During the reception, Alim Ali Solaiman expressed the unending gratitude of the MILF and the Bangsamoro people for the unwavering support and unselfish sacrifices of the IMT members who have chosen to leave the comfort of their own homes and native countries in order to support the joint effort of the Philippine government and the MILF to give a chance to a meaningful and sustainable peace by way of a political settlement of the armed conflict in Mindanao.

“I am saddened, on one hand, by the fact that our brothers in the IMT-8 are finally leaving us. But I am also happy, on the other hand, to say that this team is the most lucky because it is during their tour of duty that the historic Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its four annexes were signed,” Alim Ali Solaiman said.

In his response message, MGen Dato’ Fadzil bin Mokhtar became very emotional and was not able to hold his tears. “I’m sorry that I became very emotional because I realized the untold sufferings and sacrifices you’ve gone through for several decades before reaching the present stage of your struggle for freedom and self-determination. We are very happy and proud that we became part of your struggle and even in our own small ways, we were able to contribute to the attainment of genuine peace that will hopefully lead to prosperity and development in the upcoming Bangsamoro political entity,” the IMT Head of Mission said.

He further said: “The prospect of peace and development is within reach. I hope that the officers and men of the BIAF will continue to demonstrate their sincerity and commitment to honor the agreements between the GPH and MILF peace panels. The signing of the agreement is meaningless if this is not translated into action. There are huge challenges ahead, but no challenge is large enough that you cannot overcome. I hope to return in 2016 and I am eager to see the Bangsamoro in a better situation under a new prosperous Bangsamoro government.”

The historic occasion was highlighted by the awarding of certificates of commendation, recognition and appreciation and the giving of tokens to all deserving members of the visiting IMT.

The IMT exit call was preceded few hours by a courtesy call of some officers of AFP’s 103rd Brigade assigned in Kampo Ranaw, Marawi City headed by Col. Macasero on MILF’s 2nd Vice Chairman and the officers of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces in the Northeastern and Northwestern Mindanao Fronts.’s-exit-call-on-milf’s-2nd-vice-chairman-drew-thousands-in-camp-bushra

Int'l peace observers ending tour of duty March 14, to be replaced by smaller team

From GMA News (Mar 8): Int'l peace observers ending tour of duty March 14, to be replaced by smaller team

An international team monitoring the ceasefire between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front is leaving after completing its one-year tour of duty next week.

The 60-member International Monitoring Team 8 (IMT-8) will be replaced by a 36-member IMT-9, the MILF said on its website on March 6.

"The reduced number of the team comprising the IMT-9 underscores the significant success of IMT’s monitoring and peacekeeping mission since it started its work in 2002," the MILF said.

Last Feb. 28, IMT-8 members were feted at the MILF's camp in Lanao del Sur province. Heading the IMT-8 in its exit call at Camp Bushra Somiorang in Butig, Lanao del Sur last Feb. 28 was Maj. Gen. Dato’ Fadzil bin Mokhtar.

“I am saddened, on one hand, by the fact that our brothers in the IMT-8 are finally leaving us. But I am also happy... to say that this team is the most lucky because it is during their tour of duty that the historic Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and its four annexes were signed,” MILF central committee second vice chairman Alim Ali Solaiman said.

The IMT has military and civilian contingents from Malaysia as the leading contingent, Brunei, Indonesia, Japan and Europe.

In his response message, Maj. Gen. Dato’ Fadzil bin Mokhtar became emotional but said the IMT is "very happy and proud that we became part of your struggle and even in our own small ways, we were able to contribute to the attainment of genuine peace that will hopefully lead to prosperity and development in the upcoming Bangsamoro political entity.”

‘5 Neg. Or. Brgys insurgency-free’

From the Visayan Daily Star (Mar 8): ‘5 Neg. Or. Brgys insurgency-free’

Five barangays of Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, have been officially cleared of insurgency, the Philippine Army’s 302nd Infantry Brigade, based in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, said.

Barangays Tacpao, Bulado, Calamba, Hilaitan and Basak, all of Guihulngan, were declared the “insurgent-free and development-ready”, in a recommendation from the Area Clearing Evaluation and Validation Board Thursday, Capt. Cresenciano Gargar of the 302nd Brigade said.

The ACEV Board, composed of representatives from the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, and the Guihulngan City government, that evaluated the barangays, declared them “cleared” from insurgents, after they passed the parameters prescribed by the Joint Letter Directive of the AFP and PNP, Gargar added in a press release.

The directive based on the Guidelines in Evaluating the Implementation of Internal Security Operation Campaign Plan against the Communist Terrorist Movement, that was approved on October 13, 2008.

The ACEV reports of the five barangays were issued and signed by members of the ACEV Board at the TESDA Hall, in Guihulngan City Thursday.

These barangays have previously been “infested” with NPA members and that hampered the government’s development efforts in said areas, Gargar said.

He added that barangay residents were the common targets of the alleged extortion and liquidation activities of the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army.

But the active and untiring support of the LGUs for the efforts of the Bayanihan Teams of 11th Infantry (Lapulapu) Battalion deployed in these barangays finally brought positive changes to the community, he said. Some expressed apprehension and fear but many of the residents support the initiatives of the government and the military to prevent the entry of insurgents in their barangay.

Col. Christopher Estella, 302nd Brigade deputy commander, and chairman of the ACEV, reportedly said that peace and development are always (like) two sides of a coin. As barangays are cleared from NPA influence , expect that development will always follow. However, these barangays will continue to face serious challenges if these issues are not properly addressed with the right approaches, he added.

The military has repeatedly stressed that the LGU is  very essential to the sustainability of government development efforts, especially after a barangay has been cleared of insurgency.

Glicerio Bulado, council member of Hilaitan, Guihulngan, was also reportedly said that frequent visitation of the local government, especially in the remote sitios of my barangay, will surely gain the support of the populace who will reject the ideas of violence or armed struggle.

Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, 302nd Brigade commander, said “more barangays in Negros Oriental will be declared insurgent-free as the military continues its Bayanihan operations in the provinces where the insurgents are continuously diminishing.

“We are optimistic that the province will eventually be free this year. This vision, if realized, will attract more investors and business opportunities, hence, more jobs and development for the people of Negros Oriental”, he added.

4 former NPA members get financial aid

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 6): 4  former NPA members get financial aid

Four former members of the  New People’s Army recently received financial assistance from the provincial government  through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO).

According to Joseline Niwane, head of the PSWDO, each received a P10,000 cash as initial financial assistance to start a new life in mainstream  society.

She  said their office can also provide assistance like counseling, financial, temporary shelter if needed and referrals to other agencies who could provide help to them.

The rebel returnees surrendered to government troops and officials last December 2013.

Meanwhile, Police Superintendent Manuel Uminyad Sr, chief of the  Ifugao Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory and Forensic Unit,  has  some recommendations help solve the insurgency problem:

These  include:  
1) Address the cause of insurgency in the grassroots level like strengthening community relations with them showing sincerity and concern toward their problems especially on poverty;
2) Observe respect for Human Rights;)
3) Do not be interested in the firearms of the rebels but their hearts and mind because the firearms belong to the movement  and they will not allow the firearms to be returned to the government and hinders the desire of the rebels to return to the folds of the law;
4) Be God-Fearing and spread the gospel of God by doing good deeds, display self-discipline;
5) Strengthen the Criminal Justice System by giving more teeth to the law;
6) Conduct government propaganda tactics by adopting pro-active measures like the prevention of crimes and maintenance of peace and order to thwart the plans of some people to join  the criminal or rebel groups and;
7) Create employment opportunities by offering jobs to the jobless and increase the salaries and allowances of government employees to attract the rebels, criminals and syndicates to stop their nefarious activities and join the government through amnesty and reconciliation programs.

Uminyad said he wants  to be assigned in combat operation so that he can help solve the insurgency problem in the province.

P5,000 aid offer to blast victims won’t ‘exonerate’ NPA rebels—military

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Mar 7): P5,000 aid offer to blast victims won’t ‘exonerate’ NPA rebels—military
While the New People’s Army issued an apology and offered financial aid to the civilians who were victims of their landmine blast here, for the military it seemed not enough.

“Is it enough to exonerate for the crime they did?” Colonel Roderick Parayno, chief of the military’s human rights office, told reporters here on Friday, referring to the financial aid.

But he did not discourage the victims to accept the P5,000 worth of financial assistance offered by the communist guerrillas.

A landmine blast over the weekend injured 17 soldiers and civilians here. A convoy of ambulances that was set to rescue wounded soldiers were hit by a bomb set off by the communist rebels.

On Wednesday, the NPA issued an apology, saying they failed to distinguish the ambulances from the military trucks. They also offered financial compensation to the victims.

“We understand that and we are not telling them not to take the assistance. We welcome any form of assistance,” Parayno said.

“But if that is the system–  I make a crime and I will pay you then we’re even, I don’t think we are in that level. Our country follows a due process,” he said.

Suspected NPA mass grave found in Abra

From the Manila Times (Mar 8): Suspected NPA mass grave found in Abra

Troopers from the Army’s 41st Infantry Battalion, local police and officials unearthed a suspected New People’s Army (NPA) mass grave in Sitio Sucao, Barangay Dominglay, Licuan-Baay town, Abra on Friday afternoon.

1st Lt. Rowena Abayon, 5th Infantry Division spokesperson, said the mass grave was discovered at around 4:30 p.m. between Barangays Mugao and Dominglay and believed to contain the remains of the missing Freddie Giliw, 30; Rogelio Giliw, 68; and Eddie Giliw, 35, all residents of the locality.

Abayon said the victims were last seen alive with 15 NPA fighters last March 1.

She added that Freddie Giliw was a former NPA rebel who surrendered last March 23, 2011. The other two missing persons were his father and brother.

Lt. Col. Danilo Domingo, 41st Infantry Battalion commander, said that they are currently tracing the whereabouts of the victims’ family so that the remains could be given a decent burial.

PH upgrading naval base

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 8): PH upgrading naval base

Palawan Navy Facility Getting P500-M Facelift To Become Home Of Military Ships

The Philippines is to upgrade a navy base facing disputed West Philippines Sea to serve the extra ships being acquired to protect its territory, the military said Thursday.

Navy spokesman Lieutenant Commander Gregory Fabic said the military would build a P500-million ($11.2 million) port at Ulugan Bay, the Philippine military base in Palawan that is nearest to the Spratly Islands.

“We have an ongoing capability upgrade there to house large vessels of the Philippine Navy, including the upcoming large vessels,” said Fabic.

President Benigno Aquino is set to visit the base on May 20, the 116th anniversary of the Philippine Navy, to launch the upgrading, Fabic added. On that date, the Philippine Navy said it is planning to hold its 116th anniversary in that base.

The base on the west coast of Palawan island is the headquarters of naval forces guarding the waters on the west of the archipelago.

Fabic said the Philippine Navy has existing facilities at the Ulugan Bay, but it needs upgrade to become the home of large naval ships.

“So the intention is to showcase the upgrade of that naval station,” he added.

The Navy has acquired two refurbished American Coast Guard frigates in the past two years, and they now lead patrols in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Aside from two Hamilton-Class Cutter BRP Gregorio del Pilar and BRP Ramon Alcaraz, the Philippine government is planning to buy two large frigates as part of the external defense capability upgrade.

Last January, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista announced the navy wants to acquire up to six more to guard the country’s long coastline effectively.

Currently, Fabic said the Navy has no facilities that could house large ships. In most cases, those ships would just dock near commercial ports.

Fabic said the move to hold the Navy anniversary at the Ulugan Bay is not meant to provoke China and other claimant-countries in the Spratylys.

In recent years, the Philippines has been locked in an increasingly tense standoff with China involving disputed reefs and islands in the Spratlys and other areas of the West Philippine Sea.

Under a program designed to improve the capability of one of Asia’s weakest military forces, the Philippines has been acquiring naval vessels to create what the government described as a “credible deterrent” to protect its territorial integrity.

In 2012, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar confronted Chinese ships on Scarborough Shoal, a small outcrop just off the coast of Zamables.

The Chinese eventually gained control of the outcrop after Manila backed down.

However, the Manila government sought UN arbitration to settle the dispute, a move rejected by China.

Last month, the Philippines lodged a protest after the Chinese Coast Guard allegedly attacked Filipino fishermen off the shoal with water cannon on January 27. Beijing rejected the protest.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, including waters near the coasts of its neighbors.

Higher allowance for soldiers, police sought

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 8): Higher allowance for soldiers, police sought

Military officials-turned-party-list lawmakers are seeking to increase the daily subsistence allowance of the personnel, officers and cadets of the military and police forces to provide them and their families with ” decent living”.

In filing House Joint Resolution 11, Magdalo Party-list Reps. Ashley Acedillo and Gary Alejano sought to hike the daily subsistence allowance being received by military and police forces from P90 to P150.

Those who will benefit from the proposal are all officers, enlisted personnel, candidate soldiers, probationary second lieutenants, Cadets and Civilian Active Auxiliaries (CAA) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and of all commissioned and non-commissioned personnel of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police (PNP), Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) cadets.

Acedillo and Alejano lamented that current subsistence allowance per day is meager and cannot support the subsistence of the family of soldiers and police personnel.
Citing the National Statistics Office (NSO) report, they said the monthly cost of living for a family of five should be at least P13,200 per month in order to recoup a decent living.

“It is high time that we recognize and honor the very vital role played by our soldiers and policemen by looking after their welfare and providing them with decent and adequate compensation as well as reasonable and standard benefits,” Acedillo, a vice chairman of the House Committee on Globalization and WTO, said.

Alejano, vice chairman of the Committee on National Defense and Security, said the government should take steps in promoting professionalism among police and military men by providing them adequate remuneration and benefits.

He said the proposed increase shall be charged against the savings of the Department of National Defense (DND), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the current year or the Miscellaneous Personnel Benefits Fund, or both.

Under the joint resolution, which is now pending at the House committee on appropriations, the national government shall appropriate annually and include it in the General Appropriations Act (GAA).

Abu Sayyaf releases public school teacher

From Malaya (Mar 7): Abu Sayyaf releases public school teacher

THE Abu Sayyaf group released an elementary school teacher yesterday morning, or 17 hours after they had snatched the victim in Patikul town in Sulu.
Capt. Ryan Lacuesta, civil military operations officer of the 2nd Marine Brigade, said negotiations led to the release of lrashid Jahang, a teacher from the Tagbili Elementary School in Patikul town.
Jahang was seized by at least 11 Abu Sayyaf men around 4 p.m. Wednesday in barangay Liang, also in Patikul town. The kidnappers, led by one Aljini Mundoc alias Ninok Sapari intercepted Jahang while he was on his way to Jolo town aboard a motorcycle.
Lacuesta said Jahang was freed around 9 a.m. yesterday in barangay Kaday Mampallam in Patikul.
Lacuesta said Jahang’s relatives and local government officials negotiated with the Abu Sayyaf through the relatives of the abductors. “The relatives of the victim know the captors,” he said.
Asked if ransom was paid for the freedom of Jahang, Lacuesta said, “We have no concrete information about that.”
The bandit group is holding a number of hostages in the province, including a couple – both employees of the water district in Jolo town in Sulu who were seized at gunpoint last March 3 in Jolo.
The other kidnap victims in the custody of the group in Sulu are wildlife photographers Dutchman Elwold Horn and Swiss Lorenzo Vinciguerra, who were snatched in Panglima Sugala town in Tawi-tawi in February 2012.
In Basilan Wednesday, security forces arrested an Abu Sayyaf member involved in the 2001 Dos Palmas kidnappings.
Arrested was Kudairik Abdulla alias Abu Saad/Buboy, brother of Bong Abdulla who was among those killed in the 2005 siege at the Metro Manila Rehabilitation Center in Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan.
Reports said Kudairik is a son of Abu Sayyaf member Nasirun Abdulla who is a classmate of Khair Mundos, a finance officer of the Abu Sayyaf arrested in 2004 but escaped from the Kidapawan Provincial Jail in 2007.
Mundos also has a $ 500,000 bounty on his head.
Police said Rudairik is married to the niece of Abu Sayyaf leader Radullan Sahiron who was killed in 2008.
Rudairik was captured by the combined government operatives after serving an arrest warrant on him in his lair in Lampinigan Island in Isabela City at around 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Navy sets ‘show of force’ to mark 116th foundation

From Malaya (Mar 7): Navy sets ‘show of force’ to mark 116th foundation

THE Navy is marking its 116th foundation anniversary in front of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) where the disputed Spratly Islands is situated. President Aquino is expected to grace the ceremony.
Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Gerald Fabic said the Navy anniversary on May 20 is being held at headquarters of the Naval Forces West in Ulugan Bay in Puerto Princesa City to “showcase the upgrade of the naval station, of the Naval Forces West headquarters.”
Fabic said the military earmarked P500 million for the development of the Navy facility. “It’s programmed for capability upgrade so it can house large vessels, including the SSV (strategic sealift vessels) and two new frigates,” he also said.
The Department of National Defense is in the process of acquiring two SSVs and two frigates through public bidding. The SSV and frigate projects have an approved budget of P4 billion and P18 billion, respectively.
Last year, the celebration of the Navy’s 115th foundation anniversary was held at the headquarters of the Navy Sea Systems Command in Fort San Felipe in Cavite City, where Navy officials showcased the capability of their shipyard.
“This time, we are holding it in Palawan,” said Fabic, adding the claimants of the Spratly Islands should not treat the celebration as a form of agitation. The oil and minerals rich Spratly Islands is being claimed in part or in whole by the Philippines, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Brunei.
“They shouldn’t (be agitated) because, first of all, we already have existing facilities there. It (Ulugan Bay) serves as the headquarters of the Naval Forces West and its programmed for a P500-million development,” he said.
Two Hamilton-class cutters acquired from the United States are known to operate in the West Philippine Sea. The two ships also cover the northern part of the country, where the Scarborough Shoal (claimed by Philippines and China) is situated.
President Aquino is expected to attend the anniversary celebration as guest of honor and speaker. “Traditionally, it’s the commander-in-chief who gets invited during the anniversary of major services,” Fabic said.
China announced a 12.2 percent increase its defense budget for this year. It said the budget, now at $132 billion, will be used to beef up its coastal and air defense and develop more hi-tech weapons.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma said the Philippines is undaunted and assured the public that government will continue to defend its territory.
Coloma said the Aquino government’s focus is on social services, particularly human and economic development and poverty reduction. 
“A nation’s budget reflects its government priorities. As for our own, our highest priority is human development, poverty reduction and social protection. That is why the biggest slice of our P2.7-trillion 2014 budget is P843 billion for this sector. This represents a 20 percent increase over 2013. We are not daunted by other countries’ defense spending. We are determined to continue protecting our national territory while being focused on our economic development priorities,” he said.
The Philippines is preparing a formal pleading regarding China’s claim over several territories in the South China Sea, which would be submitted by the end of this month.

CPP: CPP regrets injury of civilian medical personnel in March 2 NPA ambush; denounces AFP for concealing ambulances in military convoy

Propaganda statement posed to the CPP Website (Mar 7): CPP regrets injury of civilian medical personnel in March 2 NPA ambush; denounces AFP for concealing ambulances in military convoy

Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) deeply regretted the wounding of four civilian medical personnel belonging to the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (PDRRMC) who were accidentally injured in an ambush carried out by a unit of the New People’s Army at 7 pm last March 2, in Barangay Managa, Bansalan, Davao del Sur. At the same time, the CPP denounced the AFP’s 39th Infantry Battalion for concealing the ambulance and endangering the lives of the civilian medical personnel.

According to initial reports by the NPA field unit, the Red fighters who carried out the ambush detonated an explosive against a convoy of two 6×6 military trucks. They succeeded in hitting the second truck but shrapnel inadvertently hit a trailing ambulance. The NPA unit reported that the Red fighters failed to distinguish the ambulance as it did not blare its sirens and turned off its lights.

The CPP acknowledges the corrective steps taken by the New People’s Army Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command (NPA-SMR-ROC). “It is just for the NPA to shoulder the expenses to be incurred by the injured personnel of the PDRRMC as an immediate remedial measure. Succeeding investigations to be carried out will determine whether disciplinary action will be meted out and what resolutions the NPA should adopt to prevent such mistakes in the future.”

“The CPP and the NPA reaffirm the provisions of the Geneva Conventions which accord respect and protection under all circumstances to personnel exclusively performing medical duties,” said the CPP.

“We must, however, denounce the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for deliberately endangering the lives of civilian medical personnel when officers of the 39th Infantry Battalion concealed the presence of the ambulances by ordering that the sirens and lights turned off as they traveled with a convoy of military trucks.

“International humanitarian law requires that medical personnel who are to exclusively perform medical duties, whether civilian or military, must display distinctive and discernible emblems, making them identifiable even from a distance,” pointed out the CPP. The Red fighters of the NPA recognize the emblem of the red cross or red crescent on a white background as the universal emblem of medical personnel.

“The officers of the 39th IB who ordered that the ambulance turn off its siren and lights must be held responsible for endangering the lives of the medical personnel on board,” said the CPP. “Such orders made the ambulance indistinguishable from the military trucks it was travelling with and exposed it to unncessary hostile action.”

Military recover P100,000 cash, firearms in raid of NPA hideout in NorCot town

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 7): Military recover P100,000 cash, firearms in raid of NPA hideout in NorCot town
Soldiers belonging to the Army’s 57th Infantry Battalion (IB) raided Thursday a safe house of communist rebels in President Roxas, North Cotabato.

Lt. Col. Nilo Vinluan, 57th IB commander, said the raid occurred in an ensuing encounter with the New People’s Army (NPA) insurgents in Barangay New Cebu around 3:45 p.m. following confirmation of the rebels’ presence in the area.

The rebels, who were caught off guarded, withdrew to a nearby forest area.

Recovered from the rebels’ safe house were various firearms to include a .45-caliber and .22-caliber pistols, subversive documents, a Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) 2013 payroll and cash amounting to P100, 000.

Vinluan stressed the recovered money forms part of the P2.1-million seized by the rebels in October last year after ambushing a military convoy in Tulunan town.

Eight government troopers were killed in same incident.

Vinluan also disclosed that homemade bomb components such as batteries, trigger devices, mobile phones and remote controls were recovered in the rebels’ hideout.

A laptop and printer believed used by the rebels in their propaganda campaign in North Cotabato were also found.

Vinluan declined to divulge the identity of the owner of the NPA safe house pending ongoing investigation.

Another NPA rebel surrenders to Army battalion

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 7): Another NPA rebel surrenders to Army battalion

Another self-confessed member of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has voluntarily surrendered to the 79th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in Siaton, Negros Oriental.

This is the second NPA rebel to have surrendered to the 79th IB since its recently appointed OIC battalion commander, Lt. Col. Harold Anthony Pascua, assumed office last February 10.

Diego (not his real name), who claims to be a member of Squad 3 of the Sentro De Grabidad Platoon of the NPA’s South East Front-Komiteng Rehiyon Negros turned himself in to government troops on Thursday, said Lt. Col. Pascua.

The said NPA unit is operating in the areas of Pamplona, San Jose and boundaries of Sta Catalina and Siaton, Negros Oriental.

“Diego”, 22, told the Philippine Army that he voluntarily surrendered to clear his name and go back to mainstream society. He further said he wants to live a peaceful and normal life with his family, free from fear and danger.

He went on to say that he left the underground organization “due to internal conflict wherein he lost interest and trust”.

Pascua has attributed the recent surrenders of self-proclaimed NPA members to the continuous military operations conducted by the battalion.

Last February 21, another 22-year old male from Pamplona, Negros Oriental also surrendered to the 79th IB for the very same reasons as that of “Diego”.

Lt. Col. Pascua disclosed a dwindling number of members of the NPA’s SDG-SEF-KRN, adding that hopefully more rebels will return to the fold of the law soon.

He encouraged members of the NPA to lay down their arms and solve the internal conflict with the government peacefully and avail of the Local Social Integration Program which is offered by the local government of Negros Oriental.

PMA denies early release of graduates list

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 7): PMA denies early release of graduates list

The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) denies Friday it has released the list of names of its 2014 graduates 'Siklab Diwa' class.

The list will be released and announced on Monday in the presentation of Top 10 graduates of the academy.

In an interview , PMA Public Information Officer Major Lynnete Agnes Flores, clarified that the PMA website ( was hacked this week and a fake list of graduates was posted on it.

She said that such list was not authorized by the PMA and that they are now conducting an investigation on how and who would have hacked the PMA website and posted the fake list several days before the graduation rites on March 16.

“That was not an official list, not even a leak, because the academy does not release a list in alphabetical order,” Flores said.

The fake list included the name of Cadet First Class Aldrin Jeff Cudia, who is on indefinite leave for violating the PMA Honor Code.

Cudia’s case is still pending in the PMA Honor Committee.

Cudia has filed honor violation charges against fellow cadets composing the Honor Committee who voted to dismiss him from PMA.

Cudia is supposed to graduate salutatorian of the 223 strong-Siklab Diwa Class where President Benigno Aquino III is the guest of honor and speaker.

Soldier hurt in another NPA landmine attack in Davao City

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 7): Soldier hurt in another NPA landmine attack in Davao City

An Army soldier was wounded in another New People's Army (NPA) landmine attack Friday afternoon, this time in Paquibato District, Davao City, the military reported.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief, said the incident took place at around 12:30 p.m.

He added that the wounded soldier, whose name was withheld temporarily, is from the Philippine Army's 69th Infantry Battalion.

He added the soldier was aboard a KM-450 truck which was hit by shrapnel of the NPA landmine.

A five-minute firefight followed the explosion after which the rebels quickly fled, Zagala added.

"The AFP reiterates its condemnation of the NPA's rampant use of improvised explosive device as landmine to ambush government troops as this is prohibited by the International Humanitarian Law. Landmines have a high potency of hurting innocent civilians like when the NPAs attacked a convoy of ambulance units last March 2, wounding six civilians," Zagala stressed.

Meanwhile, one NPA leader was arrested at 11:45 a.m. Friday for robbery and murder by joint military and police elements in Davao City.

He was identified as Roberto Castillote, also known as "Markis" and "Marvin," commanding officer of SDG Front 54 under the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee.

Castillote is currently detained in Davao City Police Office.

PA CMOG, TFI concludes first ever teaching collaboration effort

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 7): PA CMOG, TFI concludes first ever teaching collaboration effort

The Philippine Army Civil-Military Operations Group (PA CMOG) and the Don Bosco supervised Tuloy Foundation Incorporated (TFI) formally concluded their first ever teaching collaboration Friday.

The four pilot classes, composed of 149 students, have received lessons on values focusing on nationalism, love of country, discipline and patriotism from their “kuyas and ates”-in uniform, who facilitated the lessons and led team-building activities for the School Year 2013-2014.

These sessions were held at Tuloy sa Don Bosco Street Children Village in Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

Under the Pinoy Batang Bayani (PBB) Program, Army soldiers who had undergone formal training in teaching, teach former street children who are now under the care of the TFI.

The TFI accepts poor, orphaned and abandoned youth, homeless children, and children at risk in their living environment, and teaches them values to enable them to cope up with the outside world, thereby becoming productive members of the society.

Rocky Evangelista, TFI president, praised the unique partnership between the Foundation and the Army represented by CMOG commander Col. Arnulfo Marcelo Burgos Jr.

Meanwhile, the PA through the CMOG will continue to support TFI’s endeavors and the government as well, by making sure that these children would neither be potential problems of the society nor targets of recruitment by the NPAs and other lawless groups.

This would be done by instilling in them the Filipino values of service and love of country—always emphasizing that like the proclaimed heroes, they too could become Pinoy Batang Bayani.

The collaboration between CMO Group and TFI continues as preparations are being made for the opening of SY 2014-2015 on June.

President Aquino honors PSG in its 28th Founding Anniversary

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 7): President Aquino honors PSG in its 28th Founding Anniversary

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Friday afternoon honored members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) as it celebrated its 28th Founding Anniversary.

During the event held at the PSG Complex in Malacanang, the President mentioned how the PSG has evolved through time from once being called the Presidential Security Command (PSC).

President Aquino said that the PSC used to have about 15,000 to 20,000 members, while the PSG only had 1,000 to 2,000 members.

He mentioned how the PSG have been with him in each place he went to, including the time he visited each of the places affected by disasters.

“Sa mga pagkakataong ito, kadamay ko ang PSG sa lahat ng oras na tayong naglilingkod sa taong bayan,” President Aquino said.

“Kung nasaan ang pangangailangan ng ating mga 'boss', naroon tayo at magkakasamang naglilingkod,” he added. “Talagang hindi biro ang trabaho ng inyong hanay.”

The President further said that he never felt alone on his journey towards the "straight path" because he knew that the PSG remained to be dedicated to protect not just him and his family, but the institution as a whole.

“Sa kahit anumang pagkakataon...ay kailangan niyong tumutok sa sinumpaan niyong tungkulin sa taong bayan, ang bantayan hindi lamang seguridad ko at ng aking pamilya, kundi ang buong institusyon na ating pinaglilingkuran,” he said.

President Aquino thanked PSG members who were devoted, professional and tireless in their dedication to serve and made a special mention to PSG group commander Commodore Raul Ubando for his leadership.

He said that he treated all of them as colleagues or family with him through thick and thin, rather than his personnel or staff.

“Tama lang naman na kayong nagmamalasakit sa bayan, ay siya namang handugan ng malasakit ng bayan,” President Aquino said.

The President further urged PSG members to work harder until retirement.

“Sa pagbaba ko as puwesto bilang Pangulo (sa 2016), buo ang loob ko na nariyan pa rin kayo sa aking tabi, kasama ko kayong titindig at taas-noong lilingon sa bansa at sasabihing ibang-iba na ang Pilipinas kesa sa dati nating dinatnan,” he said.

After his speech, the PSG offered the President a small memento: A replica of the Presidential convoy.

3rd ID opens doors for prospective officer candidates

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 8): 3rd ID opens doors for prospective officer candidates
Individuals residing in the Western Visayas and wishing to become military officers are urged to undertake qualification exams which will make their dream a reality.

3rd Infantry Division spokesperson Major Ray Tiongson said the Philippine Army Recruitment Center Office for Visayas, of the Army Personnel Management Center, will facilitate the Philippine Army Aptitude Test Battery (PAATB), Army Qualifying Exam (AQE) and Special Written Exam (SWE) to qualified applicants for Officer Candidate Course (OCC) and Officer Preparatory Course (OPC).

Schedule of examinations are the following: March 10 at the Conference Room, 3rd Floor of the Office of the Congressman for Lone District, Iloilo City; March 12 at San Lorenzo Event Center, Colegio Dela Purisima Concepcion, Arnaldo Boulevard Campus; while on March 13 in Northwestern Visayan College Gym in Kalibo, Aklan.

Tiongson said persons qualified for this series of tests are natural born Filipino citizen, single, college graduates (four to five year degrees courses), has a score of 100 or more on the PAATB, at least 5 feet in height, no pending case in civil and military courts and is physically, mentally and psychologically fit.

Age requirement for OCC is 21 to 24 years old while for those in the OPC must be 21 but no more than 31 years old upon the date of call to active duty.

Tiongson said the OCC is a one-year course which prepares a candidate mentally, physically, and emotionally to become an army officer.

Upon graduation, the individual will be commissioned as an Army 2nd lieutenant into the Regular Force, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

If one is already an Army 2nd lieutenant in the Reserve Force, AFP and on inactive status, s/he must be a graduate of probationary officer training course (POTC) and the six-month OPC prepares one for active duty in the Regular Force, AFP.

Applicants shall bring the following at the examinations center: college diploma, transcript of records, birth certificate (NSO authenticated), valid identification card, Pencil Number 2, ball pen and a long folder.

Attire is white t-shirt, pants and rubber shoes.

Pay and benefits for officers include: Pay and allowances (monthly gross) for Officer Candidate -- P29,007 and 2nd lieutenant (call to active duty) -- P32,668.

Insurance and healthcare benefits, billeting and housing privileges, job security, leadership and other skills trainings, opportunity for career advancement based on performance, opportunities for post graduate studies both within the country and abroad and an opportunity to lead in the Philippine Army.

PN, DepEd sign cooperation deal on naval application pool

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 8): PN, DepEd sign cooperation deal on naval application pool

In a bid to further strengthen its ranks, the Philippine Navy (PN) and Department of Education (DepEd) signed a memorandum of cooperation which seeks to create a pool of talented high school graduates interested in pursuing a career in the naval services.

The memorandum was signed by PN flag-officer-in-charge Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano and DepEd Secretary Armin A. Luistro.

In the agreement, the DepEd agreed that the PN through Philippine Fleet and Naval Sea Systems Command (NSSC) shall assist in the instruction of career pathways subjects of senior high school students on Sangley Point National High School (SPNHS) situated inside Naval Base Heracleo Alano in Cavite City.

SPNHS shall implement the modeling program of DepEd which is the Senior High School (Grades 11 and 12) dubbed as “Security and Peacekeeping Academy” of the K to 12 Curriculum with the Philippine Fleet and NSSC as a service provider.

The DepEd and PN recognize the advantage of the new curriculum towards a quality and accessible education for all and the fulfillment of the mission and goals of each institution.

“By coming up with this memorandum of cooperation, we see the possibility for a source of recruitment for our enlisted personnel, especially one that is already molded having the necessary component of leadership and technical skills required by the PN. This becomes valuable to the Philippine Navy as technical skill is a vital component of armed service like ours,” Alano said.

“We are very proud and honored to be the first defense organization to have a partnership with the DepEd and we look forward to continue and further this engagement with them," the PN chief concluded.

Landmine attack victim wants NPA to apologize on TV

From Rappler (Mar 7): Landmine attack victim wants NPA to apologize on TV

HURT CIVILIAN. Arnel Valleroso, 42, a disaster management responder who was hurt in communist guerilla's landline attack in Davao del Sur, is not satisfied with statement apology. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler
HURT CIVILIAN. Arnel Valleroso, 42, a disaster management responder who was hurt in communist guerilla's landline attack in Davao del Sur, is not satisfied with statement apology. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

A civilian victim of the landmine attack staged by the New People's Army (NPA) in Davao Del Sur is not satisfied with the statement of apology by the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

"I want a TV apology," said Arnel Valleroso, 42, a responder for the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (PDRRMC) who was among the 5 civilians hurt in the landmine attack.

"I want the spokesperson to apologize on TV so that the message is clear. Why did they do that to us? They signed an agreement that they will not hurt civilians," he said on Friday, March 7.

Valleroso was aboard a PDRRMC ambulance, the worst hit among 3 ambulances hit by NPA landmines in Davao Del Sur. Shrapnels hit his neck.

[Video: Landmine attack victim wants NPA to apologize on TV

The 2 other vehicles were a Red Cross ambulance and a military ambulance that were on their way to assist soldiers earlier hit by landmines on Sunday, March 2.

NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command apologized on Thursday saying it committed a lapse in judgment.

Rhoderick Parayno of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Human Rights Office said: "It is shocking. This is a clear violation of the international humanitarian law. We have the law RA 9851. It specifies the protection of civilians." (READ: Landmines: A poor man's weapon)

The Commission on Human Rights and the Office of the Presidential Adviser for the Peace Process (OPAPP) have also condemned the attack.

MNLF leader in stable condition after road mishap

From Rappler (Mar 7): MNLF leader in stable condition after road mishap

ROAD MISHAP. Moro National Liberation Front leader Muslim Sema met an accident Friday, March 7, 2014. Photo by Rappler

ROAD MISHAP. Moro National Liberation Front leader Muslim Sema met an accident Friday, March 7, 2014. Photo by Rappler

Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader and former Cotabato City mayor Muslimin Sema is now in stable condition after his van hit a trailer truck while traversing a curve along a national highway in Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Maguindanao.

Police said Sema hit his head but is now in stable condition.

He was airlifted to Davao City right after the incident, said his brother Romeo Sema, who is also the secretary general of the MNLF central committee.

Sema was on his way to Cotabato from General Santos City when the accident happened.

One of his escorts, Bandon Ampatuan – who was with him in the van – died. Two other escorts, identified as Nords Dimasangkay and Samad Tasil, were wounded but in stable condition.

Midtimbang police chief Jun Olis said police are exploring two possible angles behind the incident.

Initial investigation shows the tire of the truck that hit Sema's van may have exploded. Police are also determining whether or not the truck driver fell asleep while driving, causing the accident.

The driver of the truck, Antonio de Lara, is in police custody.

Sema is the chairman of the Executive Council of 15, an MNLF faction. The MNLF signed a peace agreement with the government in 1996.

Philippine Navy to develop 'swarm tactics' for multi-purpose assault crafts

From InterAksyon (Mar 8): Philippine Navy to develop 'swarm tactics' for multi-purpose assault crafts

A brand new MPAC (Multi Purpose Attack Craft) is unveiled during the Philippine Navy's 40th anniversary. (Aja Guzman/

The Philippine Navy (PN) has announced that "swarm tactics" are being developed for its MPAC (multi-purpose assault craft) force.

The term 'swarm tactics" refers to speedy and coordinated attacks against larger naval ships, Philippine Fleet spokesperson Lt. (j.g.) Rommel Rodriquez said.

Having several small ships attack and concentrate on one large target will also have the benefit of dividing the enemy vessel's defensive firepower.

In layman's terms, this means that three to five MPACs will gang-up on one large target with the aim of severely damaging or sinking it.

"Plans are now underway to develop 'swarm tactics' for our MPAC force. These craft are ideal for this purpose as they are fast and maneuverable and can be fitted with heavy weapons," Rodriquez said.

According to him, such a concept is not alien to the PN as it traces its roots to motor torpedo boat force which played a key role in resisting the Japanese invasion in World War II.

At the moment, the PN operates six to eight MPACs, with bidding now ongoing for three more which are missile-armed.

These ships are 16.5 meters long, 4.76 meters wide and has a draft of one meter and a top speed of 45 knots. Each cost around P90 million and has a range of 300 nautical miles.

The hull is made of high-quality aluminum and is crewed by one officer and four enlisted personnel.

It is capable of carrying 16 fully-equipped troopers or two tons of cargo.

The MPAC is capable of operating in territorial waters up to "Sea State 3" (slight waves) without any system degradation. It is armed with one .50 caliber and two 7.62mm machine guns.