Thursday, April 3, 2014

Army Kills 2 NPAs Treats Wounded Rebel

From the Negros Daily Bulletin (Apr 4): Army Kills 2 NPAs Treats Wounded Rebel

Soldiers of the 79th Infantry Battalion extended medical assistance to a New People’s Army (NPA) squad leader who was wounded and captured during yesterday morning’s encounter in Pamplona, Negros Oriental.

The soldiers also took care of the remains of two other rebels who died during that encounter with government troops 7:30 yesterday morning in Sitio Makasakasa, Brgy. Balayong in Pamplona.

1Lt Ronnie Sarmiento, 79th IB’s acting civil military operations officer said the wounded NPA, Jessie Dacaldacal alias Jukol/RC/Aiza, a squad leader of the NPA operating in Sta. Catalina and boundaries of Pamplona, was left behind by their comrades, together with the two still unidentified NPAs who died during the clash.

"The troops captured Dacaldacal and found out he had wounds on his neck and chest, so they applied first aid to prevent loss of blood while waiting for the ambulance. He was then brought to a hospital in Dumaguete City for immediate treatment," he said.

Lt. Col. Harold Anthony F. Pascua, Acting Commanding Officer of the 79th IB, said the situation in the area is already peaceful.

"Peace and order in Brgy. Balayong in Pamplona and adjacent barangays is back to normal. Our troops are still there to secure the communities against the rebels. The troops continue their pursuit operations and we will ensure that standard operating procedure will be observed as far as the captured NPA," Pascua said.

Major General Aurelio Baladad, 3rd Infantry Division commander, said "We condole and extend our deepest sympathy to the families of the slain NPA members. It was tragic that they have taken arms against the peace-loving people of Negros despite that they were given the chance to lay down their arms peacefully. There is another way to push their cause but not through violence."

Brigadier General Francisco M. Patrimonio, Commander of 302nd Brigade meanwhile stressed that the insurgency situation in the province is very manageable and the rebel’s activity is confined in the hinterland barangays.

"The NPA in Negros Oriental is already insignificant. The province is now moving out of the communist affectation as manifested by the desire of the people to once and for all move their province towards development. In fact, Negros Oriental will be formally declared as ‘Conflict Manageable and Development Ready’ province on April 25, 2014," Patrimonio disclosed.* (Edith B. Colmo)

* * *
MEANWHILE, in a statement, the Army said forces under 79th IB based in Siaton, Negros Oriental neutralized the remnant forces of the lawless armed elements when they figured in that encounter with the NPA in Pamplona, Negros Oriental yesterday.

"Government forces under 1Lt. Tumamao received reports from the civilians regarding the presence of lawless armed elements, so they responded immediately. While conducting security patrol around 6:30 a.m. in the area, the troops confirmed the report from the residents and were able to locate the lawless armed elements. Being extra cautious of the safety and security of the civilians, the troops surrounded the location of the NPA and ensured that no one will be caught in between when the hostile situation arises," the statement said.

Baladad meanwhile stressed, "We will continue our efforts and work even more together with the LGUs, other government agencies, NGOs and the local communities in pursuing our goal for this province to become an insurgency-free Negros Oriental."

"We reiterate our call to those who continue with the protracted warfare to peacefully lay down their arms and abandon the armed struggle. With the IPSP Bayanihan, the main issues in our society are now being addressed. Let us foster this culture which has made significant progress in our thrust to end the insurgency for the sake of peace and development," Baladad added.

Members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) are now conducting investigation in the encounter site while troops of 79IB are in close communication with the barangay officials to ensure the safety and security of the residents in the area. Likewise, coordination is being made with the local officials for the assistance that will be extended for the decent burial of the slain NPA members.

Rebels in NegOr insignificant: Army

From the Visayan Daily Star (Apr 4): Rebels in NegOr insignificant: Army

The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division has declared the New People’s Army in Negros Oriental “insignificant”, after the continuing surrender of their members, and with others apprehended or killed in gunbattles.

Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, 3rd Infantry Division commander, yesterday said that Negros Oriental is now moving out of the communist affectation as manifested by the desire of the people to, once and for all, move their province towards development.

The Komiteng Rehiyonal Sentral Bisayas has reportedly moved out from Negros Oriental and the number of its members continues to dwindle. This is due to sustained military pressure on them by the 302nd Infantry Brigade, that is working with the provincial government, and other sectors, through Oplan Bayanihan in the development of insurgency-affected communities, he said.

The AFP Central Command in the Visayas had said earlier that they are moving towards the turnover of peace security to the local governments of Negros Oriental.

Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, 302nd Infantry Brigade commander, said yesterday that Negros Oriental will be formally declared a “Conflict Manageable and Development Ready” province on April 25.

The military estimates KRSB remnants in southeast Negros Oriental at less than 20.

Since last year, 11 NPA members have abandoned the armed struggle and five others were apprehended, with 18 firearms, 12 rifle grenades and an improvised explosive device either surrendered or recovered, in encounters, military records show.

Two more rebels died yesterday, while another one was captured in an encounter with the 79th Infantry Battalion soldiers in Brgy. Balayong, Pamplona, Negros Oriental.

The supervision of the remnants of the South East Front SDG has reportedly been transferred from KRSB to KR-Negros.

2 NPAs slain, 1 injured in Pamplona encounter

From the Visayan Daily Star (Apr 4): 2 NPAs slain, 1 injured in Pamplona encounter

Two suspected members of the New People’s Army were killed, and one was wounded in an encounter with troopers of the 79th Infantry (Masaligan) Battalion of the Philippine Army in Sitio Makasakasa, Barangay Balayong in Pamplona town, Negros Oriental, at around 7:30 a.m. yesterday.

The 79th IB identified the fatalities only as “Ka Andoy” and “Ka Jury”, and the seriously wounded as Jessie Dacaldacal, squad leader of the NPAs operating in Sta. Catalina and the boundaries of Pamplona, Negros Oriental.

Their two other companions were able to evade arrest, but are believed to be wounded due to the presence of bloodstains in the encounter site, the military also said.

Brigadier General Francisco Patrimonio, commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade, said the encounter was the result of reports from civilians and residents about the presence of armed men asking for food and supplies in the sitio.

A section of the Charlie Company of the 79th IB, headed by 2Lt John Tumamao, was sent to the area to negotiate for the surrender of five armed men who were reportedly inside the house of Felix Rabor.

Instead, the NPA combatants fired at the soldiers, who returned fire.

Recovered at the encounter site were four armalite rifles with grenade launchers, and one armalite rifle with an attached M203 tube, subversive documents with high intelligence value, and personal belongings, the military said.

Scene of the crime operatives were dispatched to the area after the encounter.

Commission on Human Rights field officer Jess CaƱete was also present to investigate and to determine if laws of engagements were followed during the firefight.

Dacaldacal was brought to the provincial hospital by a military ambulance on orders of Patrimonio, who also coordinated with the Pamplona government for assistance in providing decent burial for the two slain rebels.

Patrimonio said he considers the capture of Dacaldacal and the deaths of two others a big blow to the NPA. It will cause demoralization, he added, and urged other rebels to surrender as the government is willing to extend livelihood and cash assistance for them to start their new lives decently and peacefully.

Lt. Col Harold Pascua, commander of the 79th IB, meanwhile denied reports that four of his soldiers were killed during the encounter.

He added that a pursuit operation was ongoing to capture the two other wounded rebels.

The result of the latest encounter helped boost the recommendation of Patrimonio to declare Negros Oriental as "conflict manageable and development ready" province by April 25, he said.

Patrimonio added that recent encounters in Bahian, Tanjay City and in Balayong Pamplona are indications that the NPAs are on the run, and that the Army has permanently occupied their guerilla base in Sta. Catalina.

They (rebels) were forced to go out to other areas where they have no hold to establish their mass base. But unfortunately for them, their presence was reported by residents because the area is not their comfort zone, he added.

Kidnappings, violence erupt in Mindanao, a week after GPH-MILF sign peace deal

From the Zamboanga Today (Apr 3): Kidnappings, violence erupt in Mindanao, a week after GPH-MILF sign peace deal

Kidnappings and violence erupted in different parts of the Autonomous Region in Muslim  Mindanao (ARMM) and Zamboanga Peninsula on Tuesday a week after the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The military and police had to augment security forces to thwart any alleged attacks or destabilization plot by a Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction loyal to its founding chairman Nur Misuari, Abu Sayyaf bandits and communist rebels.

In Barangay (Village) Poblacion, Siocon Municipality, Zamboanga del Norte, more or less four gunmen abducted a son of the owner of Petron gasoline station at around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Abducted was Michael Kho, who was taken by his captors on board a sportage colored maroon to a remote area of Barangay Latabon, also of Siocon town.

Police said the armed men broke into gasoline station and and forcibly took undetermined amount of cash money and while fleeing they also took Kho with them.

In Tawi-Tawi, a deputy education official was shot to death by an unidentified gunman at past 4 p.m. Tuesday outside the Department of Education (DepEd) office in the province.

Killed was Nihma Lakian Unda, an Assistant Schools Division Superintendent of the Department of Education (DepEd) in ARMM.

Few hours after, a powerful explosion rocked the city of Lamitan in Basilan Province, but no casualties were reported.

The explosion went off at around 7:20 p.m. at the residential compound of Rose Tauto at Imam Uto Street in Sitio Tinambakan, Barangay Maganda.

Policemen responded to the area and recovered pieces of fragmantation grenade at the crime scene.

Police and military officials remain mum on media question if the series of violence and kidnappings are indignation acts of MNLF-Misuari faction and Abu Sayyaf group who oppose the peace deal between the government and the MILF.

The three separate incidents occurred two days after the kidnapping of a school principal in Sumisip town in Basilan believed to be by the extremist Abu Sayyaf group under Juhaiber Alhamsirul aka Abu Kik.

Kidnappers are demanding a P1 million ransom payment in exchange for the safe release of Manggal school principal Benita Latonio.

Misuari: Video: [Just Released] The return of the "Lion Sheikh of Sulu" Ustadz Khaber Malik, explaining the TAWHEED, the purpose of life...

Posted to the Facebook page of Nur Misuari (Apr 1): Video: [Just Released] The return of the "Lion Sheikh of Sulu" Ustadz Khaber Malik, explaining the TAWHEED, the purpose of life...

May Allah rewards his Juhood in Jihad and Da'awah...Ameen Ya Rabb!

More lectures coming, inshaAllah, direct from true Ulama of our times, from his Mobile Madrasa in the Jungle of Sulu...

courtesy : AhlussanMedia — at Jolo,Sulu Philippines.

[Video: TAWHEED | The Purpose of Life | Shaykh Khabir Malik Hafidhahullah]

Tawheed in Arabic means attributing Oneness to Allaah and describing Him as being One and Unique, with no partner or peer in His Essence and Attributes.
With regard to the shar'i definition of Tawheed, it means believing in Allaah alone as God and Lord and attributing to Him alone all the attributes of Lordship and divinity.

It may be defined as follows: Believing that Allaah is One with no partner or associate in His Lordship (ruboobiyyah), divinity (uloohiyyah) or names and attributes (al-asma' wa'l-sifaat).

This word (Tawheed) and its derivatives are used with this meaning in the Qur'aan and Sunnah. For example:

Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

"Say (O Muhammad): He is Allaah, (the) One [Ahad].

2. Allaah‑us‑Samad [Allaah — the Self‑Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, (He neither eats nor drinks)].

3. He begets not, nor was He begotten.

4. And there is none co‑equal or comparable unto Him"

[al-Ikhlaas 112:1-3]

"And your Ilaah (God) is One Ilaah [ilaahun waahidun] (God — Allaah), Laa Ilaaha illa Huwa (there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful"[al-Baqarah 2:163]

"Surely, disbelievers are those who said: 'Allaah is the third of the three (in a Trinity).' But there is no Ilaah (god) (none who has the right to be worshipped) but One Ilaah [ilaahun waahidun] (God —Allaah). And if they cease not from what they say, verily, a painful torment will befall on the disbelievers among them"[al-Maa'idah 5:73]

CPP/NPA: Liderato ng 3rd IDPA, Maj. Ray Tiongson, sirang plaka

NPA propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Mar 30): Liderato ng 3rd IDPA, Maj. Ray Tiongson, sirang plaka
Jurie Guerrero
NPA Central Panay Front Operations Command (Jose Percival Estocada Command)
Katulad sa sirang plaka ang liderato ng 3rd Infantry Division, Philippine Army sa pahayag nito sa pamamagitan ng kanyang tagapagsalita na si Maj. Ray Tiongson na humihina na ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan dahil marami umanong mga kasapi ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) ang sumuko. Mahigit tatlong taon nang paulit-ulit na deklarasyong ito ng militar sa layong maipakita na nagtatagumpay ang Oplan Bayanihan at patuloy na makakuha ng lumalaking pondo ang militar.

Nitong Marso 29, 2014 kasabay ng anibersaryo ng BHB, ihinarap ng militar sa midya ang umano’y dalawang kasapi ng BHB sa ilalim ng Central Front-Panay na mga bagong sumuko. Wala nang maisipan pang mapaniniwalaang propaganda si Maj. Ray Tiongson kundi ang gasgas nang linya sa pagpakilala ng mga “recycled surrenderees” para patunayang humihina na ang rebolusyonaryong armadong kilusan. Ang mahalaga ay makaagaw ng atensyon ng mass media sa araw ng anibersaryo ng BHB.

Kahit ilang beses pang ulit-ulitin ni Maj. Ray Tiongson ang kanyang pahayag, hindi maitatago ang katotohanang patuloy na nabibigo ang Oplan Bayanihan sa layuning nitong mapahina ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan partikular sa Central Panay. Sa kabila ng walang awat na maigting na operasyon sa mahigit nang tatlong taon namantine ng larangang gerilya sa Central Panay ang kanyang laking kumpanyang armadong pwersa at patuloy na nagpupunyaging mapalakas ang inisyatiba at kakayahang maglunsad ng mga aksyong militar habang patuloy na pinapalawak at pinalalakas ang baseng masa nito. Ang apat na sunud-sunod na mga operasyong harasment laban sa mga detatsment ng PA-CAA nitong buwan ng Marso ay patunay na nakabawi ito ng inisyatiba.

Lubos ang tiwala ng mga Pulang kumander at mandirigma sa ilalim ng Jose Percival Estocada Jr. Command sa Central Panay na makapag-ambag ito sa panawagan ng Komite Sentral ng PKP na “paigtingin ang mga opensiba para maangkin ang ibayong inisyatiba sa pagsulong ng digmang bayan” habang patuloy ding pinamumunuan ang pagbangon ng mamamayan na sinalanta ng superbagyong Yolanda.

Mabuhay ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan!
Mamamayan, magbangon, singilin ang inutil na rehimeng Aquino sa kapabayaan nito sa mga biktima ng superbagyong Yolanda!

CPP: National Sovereignty and Patrimony Week

Propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Apr 3): National Sovereignty and Patrimony Week

Communist Party of the Philippines
In the face of heightening US intervention, increasing presence of US and allied foreign troops, intensifying foreign economic plunder and worsening puppetry of the Aquino regime to the US government, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) calls on the Filipino people and all their patriotic, democratic, progressive and revolutionary forces to launch a widespread campaign to banner the call for national liberation. Let us declare April 22-30 as National Sovereignty and Patrimony Week to jumpstart this intensified propaganda and education campaign to drum up the patriotic demands of the Filipino people.

Let us recall the Filipino people’s heroes in ther struggle for national independence, from Andres Bonifacio to Macli-ing Dulag, from Amado V. Hernandez to Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran, from Ka Bert Olalia to Ka Roger, from Teresa Magbanua to Juvy Capion, and all those who have died upholding national freedom.

The National Sovereignty and Patrimony Week will cover the scheduled swing-by visit of US imperialist chieftain Barack Obama. It will also cover the upcoming anniversary of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). It covers as well as the death anniversary of Macli-ing Dulag and the celebrations of the International Earth Day which underscore the issue of increasing foreign plunder of the country’s unrenewable resources and the resulting worsening state of environmental destruction.

The struggle to uphold national sovereignty and patrimony is set to become one of the Filipino people’s central points of resistance in the rest of the year and in succeeding years as they amplify their demand for the ouster of the current puppet Aquino regime.

This struggle currently involves:

(a) opposing the planned presentation or signing of the Agreement for Enhanced Defense Cooperation which will allow the US to carve military enclaves in the Philippines in order to maintain its permament presence and increase the number of its troops to several thousand;
(b) opposing increasing US military interventionism in providing the puppet regime with military funding and arms support, conducting surveillance operations, providing logistical support and direct participation during combat operations, conducting bombing runs;
© opposing the planned amendment of the 1987 constitution (“chacha” or charter change) which seeks to remove restrictions against foreign ownership of land and business operations in the Philippines;
(d) opposing the neoliberal policies of privatization, deregulation, liberalization and denationalization, especially the Aquino regime’s crony-controlled Public-Private Partnership projects;
(e) opposing the Aquino regime’s priorities that help generate an empty economic bubble of office space, mall and condominium construction but refuse to carry out genuine land reform and national industrialization
Let us vigorously push for the Filipino people’s fight against the US-Aquino regime’s schemes to further subject the country’s patrimony to foreign plunder by amending the 1987 constitution to allow foreign big capitalists to own land and run their wholly- or majority-owned enterprises to the further detriment of local capital; and to allow the US military to establish exclusive enclaves within camps of the local armed forces, carry out interventionism and make use of the Philippines as a base of its aggression in the Asia-Pacific region.

We must set the spotlight on the prevailing grave socio-economic conditions that is a result of US-imposed neoliberal policies which have brought about unprecendented hardships on the people, including the deregulation of the oil industry, the further liberalization of the power industry, the privatization of water services, the use of public funds to augment crony investments in tollways and other infrastructure projects and so on.

We must develop strong national criticism of the Aquino regime and all previous puppet regimes over the past seven decades for their failure to develop a national industrial base and independent economy capable of producing the needs for domestic consumption and production and sustaining employment. We must expose the import-dependent, export-oriented and debt-financed production that oppresses the workers with low wages and the peasants with widespread landgrabbing.

We must condemn the reactionary puppet state for subjecting the country’s national patrimony to foreign plunder, allowing foreign big capitalists to siphon out unrenewable mineral resources; and grab tens of thousands of hectares of land and carve out large tracts into chemical-fed plantations which cause massive soil erosion and the poisoning of rivers and streams.

Like the foreign-owned semi-manufacturing plants in the so-called “economic zones,” the foreign-owned mines and big logging and plantation operations are interested only in exploiting the cheap labor and cheap raw materials in the Philippines. These do not serve to develop local production and fail to generate a substantial number of jobs correspondent to the extent of its super-profits.

We must sharply criticize the Aquino regime for allowing the American and its partner Chinese big banks and finance oligarchs to generate a bubble of office-space and condominium construction and the artificial expansion of the local stock market without expansion in the real economy. Aquino has refused to carry out land reform and national industrialization, dismissing these as “ideologically charged concepts.” We must hold Aquino responsible for the Philippine bubble economy that is bound to burst within or right after his term.

We must aim to reinvigorate the Filipino people’s sense of patriotism and national dignity by carrying out, among others, a sustained campaign to review Philippine history from the nationalist point of view.

Since 2001, the puppet reactionaries and the US imperialists have carried out an all-out ideological offensive to portray US basing and interventionism as a necessary element in the so-called “war against terror.” The aim of the US and its local puppets is to counter the Filipino people’s strong sense of nationalism in opposing US military bases which they demonstrated in massive protests in 1991 demanding the abrogation of the 1946 Military Bases Agreement.

From 2002 onwards, the US will station in Zamboanga City a 600 (later 700) -strong contingent of interventionist troops from the US Pacific Command under the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines (JSOTF-P). The JSOTF-P has since been involved in surveillance, joint trainings, combat operations and bombing runs with the AFP. To cover up and make US basing and interventionism more palatable, this contingent has actively engaged in public relations activities, carrying out token school construction and village electrification projects, making use of loose change from the overflowing funds of the US military.

By the end of the 2000s, the US would become isolated in the conduct of its “war on terror” characterized by widespread abuses of human rights, the continued occupation of and defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under the Obama regime, the US imperialists would come up with new excuses such as “freedom of navigation” and “democratic regime change” to justify the expansion of its military presence and interventionism.

Since 2011, the US-directed Aquino regime has played an important role in the “US pivot” towards Asia to provide the justification for the plan to deploy 60% of its overseas naval forces and 50% of its land-based troops in the Asia Pacific. Aquino received briefing by US officials aboard US warship USS Carl Vinson in May 2011 afterwhich made noise of asserting the Philippine claim over the South China Sea land formations and called for US military support. Henceforth, the Aquino regime will allow more and more US warships to dock in Philippine ports and sail by the disputed territories, effectively provoking China to become more assertive in defining and defending its territories and making incursions into the UN-defined exclusive economic territory of the Philippines.

We must expose, debunk and oppose the claim of the Aquino regime that it is defending Philippine national sovereignty in allowing the US military to maintain its presence in Philippine seas and have restricted access to Philippine facilities in order to confront China’s aggressive assertion of its claim over the South China Sea land formations.

Aquino’s assertion is no different from the justification of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo for welcoming US colonial troops to supposedly fight the Spanish colonialists. The result will not be different: through its military, the US will maintain its power and dominance over the Philippines and make use of the country for its strategic economic and military interests.

We must assert and prove that upholding and defending national sovereignty and national patrimony can only be carried out as an independent act of a country. To claim that one’s country can assert its sovereignty with the help of a superpower is to beg to become a protectorate of that power.

We must be able to gather the united voice of the Filipino people to oppose the Agreement for Enhanced Defense Cooperation being forged by the US and the Aquino governments which will allow the US to circumvent prohibitions in the 1987 constitution against foreign military facilities. Let us generate a strong national demand to abrogate the Mutual Defense Treaty (1956), the Visiting Forces Agreement (1998) and the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (2002).

We must relentlessly oppose US interventionism in the internal affairs of the Philippines. We must expose how the US embassy operates as the center of political power of the reactionary state in the Philippines were policies, laws and programs emanate. We must expose how the US military directs the Philippine military in the conduct of the counterrevolutionary war Oplan Bayanihan, which was patterned after the US Counterinsurgency Guide of 2009.

We must shatter the illusion of a “globalized” world being promoted by the imperialists’ ideological and cultural agencies which seek to erase the national boundaries of the third world countries and subject these to military intervention and economic plunder. We must assert the necessity of achieving national sovereignty and defending the country’s patrimony as the key factors for securing the country’s future as a modern and progressive state amid the global crisis of capitalism.

PA's 5th Infantry Division to welcome new commander Friday

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3): PA's 5th Infantry Division to welcome new commander Friday

CAMP MELCHOR DELA CRUZ, Gamu, Isabela -- Soldiers of Camp Melchor dela Cruz here will welcome their new commanding general in a turnover ceremony to be held inside the camp on Friday morning.

Army 1st Lt. Charmaign Leonero, public affairs chief of 5ID, said the present officer-in-charge of the Army Division, Brig. Gen. Ricardo Jalad, will turn over the command to Major Gen. Benito Antonio T. de Leon.

De Leon is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Dimalupig” Class of 1981 and a former commander of Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) at Camp O’Donnell based at Capas, Tarlac.

The army described De Leon as a “Mindanao veteran” who saw action as battalion commander in the all-out-war of then President Joseph Estrada against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

During the time of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, De Leon was the commander of the 104th Infantry Brigade that implemented the 2009 “Martial Law” order in Maguindanao against the private armies of the Ampatuan clan, who were implicated in the Maguindanao Massacre of 58 people, most of them members of media.

Army accuses NorCot NPAs of collecting protection money

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): Army accuses NorCot NPAs of collecting protection money

The military here said Friday the communist New Peoples Army has forcibly collected more than Php 40 million worth of protection money from farmers, businessmen and even politicians in North Cotabato.

Lt. Colonel Nilo Vinluan, commander of the 57th Infantry Battalion, said the NPA's Front 53 and Front 54 have been collecting revolutionary taxes from multi-national firms least they will be subjected to harassment and bombing or torching of company facilities.

"We have documents to show that they have been collecting protection money from businessmen, ordinary farmers and politicians who have no choices but give away the past two years," Vinluan told reporters.

The 57th IB is operating in the towns of President Roxas, Antipas, Arakan, Makilala, Magpet and Kidapawan City

Among ordinary farmers, Vinluan said NPAs collect five centavos for every kilo of rubber cup lump.

During election campaign period, the NPAs collect permit to campaign fee for politicians to allow them campaign sorties in communities where they have influenced.

“We have reports that they collect bigger amounts from big corporations and rubber farms,” Vinluan said.

North Cotabato is hosting rubber plantations, banana firms and other agricultural corporations.

Local government units in the province are also victims of NPA extortions, Vinluan said.

Mayor Jaime Mahimpit of President Roxas survived an NPA attack last January for refusing to give to the rebels extortion activities.

The rebels were extorting money from the local government units to ensure that the road project in a remote village will be safe.

Vinluan said Mayor Mahimpit refused to give in and came to the village to explain to the rebels that the project was intended for the benefit of villagers who are mostly relatives and supporters of communist movement.

On his way to the remote village, the NPA set off a land mine that slightly hurt the local official and also wounded his four police escorts.

Strengthening PHL-Singapore defense cooperation is key to regional stability --President Aquino

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3): Strengthening PHL-Singapore defense cooperation is key to regional stability --President Aquino

President Benigno S. Aquino III said on Thursday that strengthening defense and security cooperation between the Philippines and Singapore is the key to maintaining stability in the Southeast Asian region.

The President made the statement as he welcomed visiting Singaporean President Tony Tan Keng Yam and his delegation at Malacanang Thursday morning.

In his welcome message, President Aquino expressed excitement in the opportunity to host this year’s Asian Defense and Security Exhibition on July 16 to 18, 2014.

“The Philippines proposed the holding of a Defense Dialogue in order to further strengthen our cooperation,” the President said.

He also enumerated the topics he discussed with President Tan on both countries’ defense and security cooperation, including high-level training, educational and intelligence exchanges.

President Aquino said that the "revival of the Philippines-Singapore Action Plan, as a mechanism for expanding bilateral discussions between our countries" had also been discussed.

“The Action Plan provides a consolidated framework for strengthening our bilateral cooperation, covering expansive areas, including trade and investments, information technology, education, culture, defense, and people-to-people exchanges,” the President said.

“I look forward to the implementation of initiatives in these areas, knowing that it will have a positive impact on relations between the Philippines and Singapore,” he added.

The Singaporean President arrived in Manila on Wednesday afternoon for a four-state visit to the Philippines.

1st ID pursuing lawless elements who abducted trader in Zamboanga del Norte

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3): 1st ID pursuing lawless elements who abducted trader in Zamboanga del Norte

Army soldiers from the Zamboanga del Sur-based 1st Infantry Division are now conducting hot pursuit operations against the lawless elements who abducted a 27-year-old businessman in Barangay Poblacion, Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte Wednesday night.

Capt. Jefferson Mamauag, 1st ID spokesperson, said the incident took place at around 7 p.m. at a Petron gas station in Siocon town.

Mamauag said that the suspects, who were aboard a maroon-colored KIA sports car, suddenly arrived, dragged the victim, Manuel Co, at gunpoint and quickly motored to the direction of Barangay Labaton, also in Siocon town.

2 rebels killed, 1 captured, 5 weapons seized in Negros Oriental encounter

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3): 2 rebels killed, 1 captured, 5 weapons seized in Negros Oriental encounter

Troopers from the 79th Infantry Battalion conducting routine and patrol missions have shot and killed two New People's Army (NPA) fighters, capturing one wounded rebel and seizing five high-powered firearms during an encounter in Sitio Makasakasa, Barangay Balayong, Pamplona town, Negros Oriental Thursday morning.

Lt. Col. Harold Anthony Pascua, 79th Infantry Battalion commander, said the firefight took place around 7:30 a.m.

He added that his men were patrolling the area when they meet five armed rebels, triggering a 20-minute firefight.

Two of the NPAs were quickly killed while the remaining three retreated and ditched their weapons.

Recovered were five M-16 automatic rifle including one with a M-203 grenade launcher.

Pascua added that some personal items of the fleeing rebels were captured.

Pursuit operations resulted in the capture of one ranking wounded NPA leader, whose identity is being withheld, for medical and security reasons.

Only pilots with high jet time to fly F/A-50s

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3): Only pilots with high jet time to fly F/A-50s

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) announced that only pilots with considerable hours in jet time and operations will be trained and assigned to the 12 F/A-50s "Fighting Eagle" which the country will be acquiring from South Korea.

This was confirmed by Col. Miguel Ernest Okol, Air Force spokesman, who said that military pilots who trained and highly qualified in the SIAI Marchetti S-211 jet trainers were the ones who will be the ones getting the first chance to fly and operate the Mach 1.5 capable F/A-50s.

"And all of these people are relatively junior in rank so that the PAF will be having more time in employing them," Okol said in Filipino.

He earlier said that the pilot pool for the F/A-50s has been finally identified and selected.

The pilot pool includes two instructor pilots, two operational pilots, and two test pilots.

Deployment of these PAF pilots to South Korea for training and familiarization briefing on the F/A-50 will be determined later, Okol said.

Aside from the six pilots selected for testing, operational and instructor positions, another six pilots who have just finished training in the S-211 were selected for line pilot training.

The PAF spokesman said these individuals will undertake F/A-50 simulator training once the senior "Fighting Eagle" pilots have returned to the country.

The Philippines and Korea Aerospace Industries, Ltd (KAI) signed the P18.9 billion deal for 12 units of the F/A-50 last Friday.

Department of National Defense Undersecretary for finance, modernization, installations, and munitions Fernando Manalo said that the first two F/A-50 jet aircraft will be delivered 18 months after the opening of the letter of credit, the next two will be delivered 12 months later and the remaining eight jet planes to be delivered in staggered basis within eight months.

The F/A-50 has a top speed of Mach 1.5 or one and a half times the speed of sound and is capable of being fitted air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles aside from light automatic cannons.

The F/A-50 will act as the country's interim fighter until the Philippines get enough experience of operating fast jet assets and money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter aircraft.

The F/A-50 design is largely derived from the F-16 "Fighting Falcon", and they have many similarities: use of a single engine, speed, size, cost, and the range of weapons.

KAI's previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for the development of the F/A-50.

The aircraft can carry two pilots in tandem seating. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots with good visibility, and has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.

The altitude limit is 14,600 meters (48,000 feet), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.

There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 US gallons), five in the fuselage and two in the wings.

An additional 1,710 liters (452 US gallons) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks.

Trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.

The F/A-50 "Fighting Eagle" uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a full authority digital engine control system jointly developed by General Electric and KAI.

The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.

The aircraft has a maximum speed of Mach 1.4-1.5.

Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner.

Western Mindanao Command naval assets alerted for possible entry of brigands who earlier attacked Sabah resort

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3): Western Mindanao Command naval assets alerted for possible entry of brigands who earlier attacked Sabah resort

The Western Mindanao Command has placed all its naval assets on alert to preempt possible landing attempts by a criminal group who earlier attacked a resort in Semporna, Eastern Sabah and took hostage a Chinese tourist and a Filipino hotel staff.

Capt. Rowena Muyuela, the command's spokesman, said that all naval units were placed on alert to prevent this from happening.

However, she said they still have no information on whether the suspects were Filipinos.

"We are still to receive official reports regarding that," Muyuela stated.

She added that they are also coordinating with the local police to intensify their security arrangements.

Earlier, six unidentified gunmen attacked the resort and took at gunpoint the two and quickly fled aboard their speedboat.

Army conducts first ever GAD

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3): Army conducts first ever GAD

The Philippine Army (PA) through the Gender and Development Section of the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel, OG1, spearheaded the first Senior Leaders' Gender and Development (GAD) Executive Briefing at the HPA Conference Room, in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City Thursday.

Senior and staff officers of the Army participated in the briefing with Hon. Remedios I Rikken, Philippine Commission on Women chair, as the resource person and speaker.

Col. Reynaldo M. Aquino, the Acting Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel, G1, welcomed the participants, saying that the activity is significant to the PA GAD Focal Point System because this is the first time that senior officers of the service has a briefing on GAD since it was integrated in the Army's programs, activities and projects.

"In order to continue on with the momentum, a program on PA-wide Gender mainstreaming was conceptualized and approved by the Commanding General," Aquino said.

As part of the Gender Mainstreaming Program of the Philippine Army, a Dialogue on Gender, Women in Leadership and Empowerment is also being conducted. This activity is participated in by all Army female personnel, both military and civilians alike.

"GAD-related activities had been programmed and implemented in order for PA personnel to understand that GAD concerns everybody; that even if the campaign initially began with women empowerment, the objective is actually people empowerment," Aquino stressed.

In compliance with the government’s program on Gender and Development, the Philippine Army initiated relevant undertakings to make the organization gender responsive.

In October 2010, the Army created the GAD Focal Point Committee and GAD/Female Affairs Section under the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel (G1), PA.

The Army also conducted GAD Orientation seminars in order to increase the organization’s awareness and level of appreciation on GAD, especially on promoting gender responsiveness within the Army.

As of October 2013, there are 1,879 female soldiers in the PA, 527 of whom are officers and 1,352 are enlisted women. There are also 1,158 female civilian employees.

Ranking rebel, wounded, captured in Negros Occidental clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): Ranking rebel, wounded, captured in Negros Occidental clash

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday announced that the wounded rebel, captured during an encounter in Barangay Balayong, Pamplona, Negros Occidental Thursday morning, is a ranking New People's Army (NPA) leader in the province.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP public affairs office chief, identified the captured rebel as Jessie Dacaldacal, Squad Leader of Squad 2 and Vice Commanding Officer of Sentro de Grabidad (SDG) Platoon, Southeast Front, Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros.

Dacaldal was immediately given first aid on the site of the encounter and was brought to Negros Oriental Provincial Hospital in Dumaguete City.

He is now in stable condition after sustaining a gunshot wound on the upper portion of his right chest and a splinter on his neck.

In the 7: 30 a.m. encounter with troopers of the 79th Infantry Battalion, two rebels were killed and five M-16 automatic rifles, including one fitted with an M-203 grenade launcher, were captured shortly after the 20-minute firefight.

"With the encounter, the NPAs continue to show signs of decline due to unceasing pressure from the military, law enforcement, and civilian organizations. Just last month, communist leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and Andrea Rosal, three prominent figures in the communist insurgency, were arrested by government authorities," Zagala stressed.

AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista earlier encouraged more rebels to abandon the armed struggle and be productive members of the mainstream society.

He also urged the communist group to follow the example set by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and to sincerely engage in the peace talks with the government to end the over four decades of violence.

Negros Oriental is targeted for normalization, a state when the local government takes the lead role in peace and security. Out of the 79 NPA-affected provinces, 43 are already normalized.

THE OTHER SIDE | China's position on the territorial disputes with the Philippines

From InterAksyon (Apr 3): THE OTHER SIDE | China's position on the territorial disputes with the Philippines

[By: Zhang Hua (Chinese embassy in the Philippines)]

On March 30, the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs stated that it submitted its Memorial to the Arbitral Tribunal that is hearing the case it brought against China under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in January 2013.

A lot of media friends ask for comments on this issue. In order that China's position is clearly understood, I would like to elaborate on the following issues.

1. The Philippines' initiation of and push for international arbitration has undermined China-Philippines relations.

Under normal circumstances, submission of dispute to international arbitration requires an agreement reached between the two parties concerned. Yet, the Philippine side had failed to notify the Chinese side, not to mention seeking China's consent, before it actually initiated the arbitration. After the Philippine side initiated the arbitration, the Chinese side promptly made its position clear that China does not accept the arbitration. The Philippine side, in disregard of China's position, has insisted on going ahead with the arbitration. What the Philippine side did seriously damaged bilateral relations with China. We find it very hard to understand these moves of the Philippines and we are deeply disturbed by and concerned with the consequence of such moves.

2. Why does China not accept the arbitration?

First, China is committed to resolving its disputes with the Philippines through bilateral negotiations.

China and the Philippines have between them territorial and maritime disputes. And it is just natural that disputes might exist between neighbors. What is important is how to resolve the disputes.

In both international law and international practices, direct negotiation between countries concerned is the most common and preferred way to resolve such disputes. Negotiations may well take time, but agreement reached through negotiations is acceptable to both parties, and is hence the most equitable and durable. International justice or arbitration is one way of settling international disputes, but it does not offer a solution to all problems. In reality, there have been quite a number of cases where international judicial or arbitral bodies passed a ruling, but relevant issues still remained unresolved.

It is advisable to note that to resolve disputes over territory and maritime rights and interests through negotiations by the sovereign states directly concerned is an important consensus contained in the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea signed by China and all ASEAN countries, the Philippines included. Now that the document is signed, all parties should honor their commitment. Moreover, China and the Philippines also have reached explicit consensus at the bilateral level on settling disputes through negotiations. In the joint statement on the issue of Nansha Islands released in August 1995, China and the Philippines agreed that "a gradual and progressive process of cooperation shall be adopted with a view to eventually negotiating a settlement of bilateral disputes". In the Joint Statement Between China and the Philippines on the Framework of Bilateral Cooperation in the 21st Century issued in May 2000, the two sides agreed "to promote a peaceful settlement of disputes through bilateral friendly consultations and negotiations in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea". In September 2011, China and the Philippines issued a joint statement, in which leaders of the two countries "reiterated their commitment to addressing the disputes through peaceful dialogue."

China has had rich practices in successfully settling boundary, territorial and maritime disputes through negotiations. China's 14 land neighbors all have vastly different national conditions. On the basis of respecting historical facts and international law and in the spirit of equality and mutual understanding, China has conducted peaceful and friendly negotiations and consultations with these countries and settled most of the boundary and territorial issues in an equitable and reasonable way. China has so far successfully solved the boundary issues with 12 of its land neighbors, and delineated and demarcated 20,000 kilometers of boundary, which accounts for 90% of China's total land boundary with neighbors. China's position and practices are the same concerning maritime disputes, which came up at a relatively later time. In 2000, China and Vietnam equitably delineated the maritime boundary in the Beibu Gulf and, along with it, signed the Agreement on Fishery Cooperation in the Beibu Gulf. We see no reason why China should abandon such successful practices that it has upheld for long.

Second, China's refusal to accept the arbitration is an exercise of its right under international law.

According to international law, China has every right not to accept the arbitration initiated by the Philippines. This is also in conformity with international practice.

The Philippines' initiation of arbitration is based on the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. However, the framework of the Convention is not applicable to all maritime issues. First, the disputes between China and the Philippines are principally territorial disputes over islands, which are not covered by the Convention. Second, according to the Convention, in case of disputes over territory, maritime delineation and historic title or rights, a signatory to the Convention may refuse to accept the jurisdiction of any international justice or arbitration as long as it makes a declaration. So far, 34 countries have made such declarations based on this provision. China made its declaration back in 2006. So why can't China exercise its lawful right?

In international practice, when their major national interests or positions are involved, many countries have taken the position of not accepting the jurisdiction nor enforcing the rulings of related international litigation or arbitration. Among them are both big countries like the United States and small and medium-sized countries. This is a commonplace practice.

To accuse China of disobeying international law on the ground that it has not accepted the arbitration is an act of applying "double standards". This is not fair to the Chinese side. And it does not conform to the true spirit of international rule of law. In fact, and much to the contrary, China's refusal to accept the arbitration submitted by the Philippine side is an act truly in keeping with the law.

Third, a resort to arbitration does not meet people's expectations for friendship in both China and the Philippines.

Territorial and maritime disputes are not the entirety of the China-Philippines relationship. The underlying trend of this relationship remains good-neighborliness and friendship. China-Philippines friendship has a long and profound history and enjoys strong and extensive public support. It also meets the practical need for both countries to pursue common development. For the Chinese people, to avoid lawsuit is part of the Chinese culture and tradition. And the Philippine people also value friendship and good faith. We see every reason for both sides to sit down and resolve problems through negotiations instead of taking the issue to court.

3. It is China's sincere wish that the disputes between China and the Philippines will be settled through bilateral negotiations.

China has long exercised sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. After the Second World War, China recovered the Nansha Islands occupied by Japanese aggressors in 1946 and took a series of steps to confirm and reaffirm its sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. At that time, the Philippines, an independent country already, made no objection to China's moves. It was only after oil reserves were discovered in the 1970s in the waters surrounding the Nansha Islands that the Philippines began to claim sovereignty over these islands and sent troops to occupy some of the islands and reefs. The Chinese side has for many times made diplomatic representations with the Philippine side over its behavior and demanded that the Philippines stop infringing upon China's sovereignty and jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, acting in the larger interest of China-Philippines relations and peace and stability in Southeast Asia, and proceeding from China's consistent approach in handling such issues, China has adhered to resolving its disputes with the Philippines through negotiations. Starting from the 1970s, the two sides have exchanged views many times on relevant disputes and made some positive progress. In 1988, in his meeting with then Philippine President Corazon Aquino, Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping put forward the constructive approach of pursuing "joint development " in handling the disputes, which received positive response from the Philippine leader. The two sides have also made some headway in this respect and carried out some maritime cooperation, which was widely welcomed and applauded internationally.

To put the negotiations and consultations between China and the Philippines on a more institutional basis, China officially proposed to the Philippine side establishment of a "regular consultation mechanism on maritime issues" in 2010. The Philippine side indicated that it would study the proposal, but has since given no reply. In 2012, China proposed that the "CBM Working Group" established in 1999 be restarted, but has not received any response from the Philippine side. The Chinese side has found it very hard to understand why the Philippine side should unilaterally shut the door to negotiations and consultations.

I would like to emphasize that China's stance of neither accepting nor participating in the arbitration does not change and will not change. Forcing the arbitration is not conducive to the settlement of the disputes on the South China Sea between China and the Philippines, it will not change the fact that China has sovereignty over the Nansha Islands, nor will it shake China's will and resolve to safeguard its national sovereignty. We hope that the Philippine side will correct its mistake and come back to the right track of resolving the disputes through bilateral negotiations.

4. China's Basic Position on the Issue of the South China Sea

The core of the South China Sea issue rests with the territorial disputes on islands and reefs, and overlapping claims on maritime rights and interests in waters of the South China Sea, which are caused by the illegal occupation of some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands by some coastal countries. Formed in the long historic course, China's sovereignty and relevant rights in the South China Sea have solid historic and legal basis, and have been upheld by successive Chinese governments.

The basic guidelines for China's neighboring diplomacy is to build good-neighborly relations with and bringing harmony, security and prosperity to neighboring countries, and concentrate on the concept of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness. This conforms to the traditional Chinese culture, and is the strategic option of China. As a coastal country of the South China Sea, China has always been a staunch force for maintaining peace, stability and promoting cooperation and development. China is the last country that hopes to see any turbulence in its neighborhood, including in the South China Sea, which does not meet the common aspiration and interests of all parties including ASEAN countries.

Proceeding from the overall interests of safeguarding regional peace, stability and prosperity, and on the basis of respecting historic facts and international laws, the Chinese side has always adhered to resolving relevant disputes with sovereign states directly concerned, including the Philippines, through consultations and negotiations. This has been the consistent position of the Chinese side, and conforms to the consensus that China and ASEAN countries reached in the DOC.

In September 2013, China and ASEAN countries held the Sixth Senior Officials' Meeting and Ninth Joint Working Group Meeting on the Implementation of the DOC in China. All parties exchanged views on the full and effective implementation of the DOC and enhancement of maritime cooperation. Consultations on the COC were also held under the framework of implementing the DOC. The Tenth Joint Working Group Meeting on the implementation of the DOC recently held in Singapore by China and ASEAN countries scored progress in the COC consultation process. This is in sharp contrast with the consistent provocations on the South China Sea issue by the Philippine side, and fully reflects the utmost good-will and sincerity of the Chinese side's continuous commitment to peace and stability in the South China Sea.

5. The Nature of China-Philippines Disputes in the South China Sea

China has ample historic and legal basis for its sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. China was the first to discover, name, develop and operate on the Nansha Islands. It is also the first country that exercised and has been exercising sovereign jurisdiction over the islands, which has been long recognized by the international community including the Philippines. China resolutely safeguards national territorial sovereignty, sovereign rights and interests, and remains committed to maintaining regional peace and stability.

The Philippines' territory was determined by a series of international treaties, including the Treaty of Peace between the United States and Spain in 1898, the Treaty between the United States and Spain for Cession of Outlying Islands of the Philippines in 1900 and the Convention between the United States and Great Britain Delimiting the Boundary between the Philippine Archipelago and the State of North Borneo. All these documents state that the border line of the western part of the territory of the Philippines is 118° East in longitude. China's Nansha Islands and the Huangyan Island of the Zhongsha Islands do not lie within the boundary of territory delimited by any of the above treaties or conventions. Moreover, the 1935 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, the Treaty of General Relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America in 1946, the Mutual Defense Treaty between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America in 1951, the Republic Act No. 3046, an act to define the Baselines of the Territorial Sea of the Philippines in 1961, the Republic Act No. 5446, an act to amend Section One of Republic Act No. 3046 in 1968 reiterated the legal effect of the above three treaties or conventions and reaffirmed the scope of the Philippine territory.

In a long period of time after the WWII, there were no such South China Sea disputes between China and the Philippines, and the Philippine side never raised objection to the Chinese government's exercise of sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. Before the 1970s, there were neither legal documents nor speeches by national leaders of the Philippine side that mentioned that the Nansha Islands lie within the scope of the Philippine territory.

At the beginning of the 1970s, the Philippine side started to make territorial claims on certain islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands. In violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms governing international relations, the Philippine side conducted military operations four times respectively in 1970, 1971, 1978 and 1980, and illegally occupied 8 Chinese islands and reefs, namely: Mahuan Dao/Nanshan Island, Feixin Dao/Flat Island, Zhongye Dao/Thitu Island, Beizi Dao/Northeast Cay, Nanyao Dao/Loaita Island, Xiyue Dao/West York Island, Shuanghuang Shazhou/Loaita Nan and Siling Jiao/Commodore Reef. The territorial disputes between China and the Philippines over certain islands and reefs of Nansha Islands thus came into being. This is the most fundamental and direct cause of relevant disputes in the South China Sea between the two countries. The Chinese side has always been firmly against the illegally infringement and occupation by the Philippine side, and has solemnly demanded the Philippine side over and again to withdraw all its personnel and facilities from China's islands and reefs.

On 11 June 1978, then Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos issued Presidential Decree No. 1596, which announced major parts of Nansha Islands as Kalayaan Islands Group of the Philippines in an attempt to provide legal basis for its illegal claims and put approximately 65,000 square kilometers of waters adjacent to Nansha Islands under the Philippines' claims. In April 2012, the Philippine warship harassed the Chinese fishing boats and fishermen conducting regular operation by force, and inflicted severe inhuman treatment on the Chinese fishermen. The Chinese side has made resolute reaction against that.

The Philippine side willfully initiated the arbitration under UNCLOS, regardless of China's legal rights as a party to the UNCLOS, and ignoring the fact that the essence of the disputes between China and the Philippines is the territorial disputes caused by Philippines' illegal occupation of the islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands. The Philippines' arbitration proceeding completely confuses right and wrong, distorts the fact and diverts attentions. The aim of its move is to cover up the illegal nature of Philippines' infringement and provocative behavior by the "Abuse of Process" against China, and to defraud the international community of its sympathy and support. Recently, by submitting the memorial to the arbitral tribunal, the Philippine side has launched a "Media Campaign" to smear the Chinese side by playing up the South China Sea issue and the arbitration proceeding. All these willful acts exposed the real motive of the Philippines' pushing for the arbitration proceeding.

The real purpose of the Philippine side's attack on the South China Sea dashed lines is to attempt to deny China's sovereignty over Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters, and cover up the illegality of the Philippines' occupation of some islands and reefs of China's Nansha Islands, which the Chinese side will never accept. No matter how the Philippine memorial is packaged, the direct cause of the disputes between China and the Philippines is the latter's illegal occupation of some of China's islands and reefs in the South China Sea. At the heart of the matter are the disputes between the two sides on the sovereignty over islands and reefs. The most effective approach is to resolve the disputes through friendly consultations and negotiations.

China has never thought of taking the Philippine territory. It is actually the Philippines that occupies China's islands and reefs. Some people believe that these islands and reefs are closer to the Philippines, and therefore they belong to the Philippines. This has no basis in international law. Geographical proximity has never been a criterion that determines the ownership of territory. Many countries in the world possess territories far away from their mainland or closer to other countries. All countries, big or small, should abide by the rules and stick to the truth.

As for what has happened in the South China Sea in recent years, all were provoked by the Philippines. Take the 2012 incident at Huangyan Island as an example, the Philippines harassed unarmed Chinese fishermen with a Navy ship around China's Huangyan Island, and forced them to take off clothes and stand exposed under the scorching sun. Do you think it is China that bullies the Philippines? Another example is the Ren'ai Reef. A Philippine navy ship was "grounded" off the reef in 1999, over which the Chinese side has never stopped making representations. Initially, the Philippines stated that the ship was "grounded" due to "technical malfunction", and promised to tow it away. However, 15 years have passed, instead of carrying out its promise, the Philippines is now trying to transport rebar and cement in order to build facilities on the reef. The Chinese side certainly cannot just sit idly by.

6. The Consensus between China and the Philippines on the South China Sea Issue

As early as in the 1980s, the Chinese side proposed "shelving disputes and seeking joint development" to the Philippine side, which reflects China's sincerity and good faith and its adherence to international laws and practices. It has gained wide approval of the international community. However, the Philippine side did not take it seriously, nor make any positive responses.

There was clear consensus of solving disputes through bilateral negotiations between the Chinese and the Philippine sides. It is stated in the Joint Statement-PRC-RP Consultations on the South China Sea and on Other Areas of Cooperation in August 1995 that a gradual and progressive process of cooperation shall be adopted in a view to eventually negotiating a settlement of the bilateral disputes, and disputes shall be settled by the countries directly concerned. The Joint Statement between China and the Philippines on the Framework of Bilateral Cooperation in the Twenty-First Century in May 2000 states that the two sides "agreed to promote a peaceful settlement of disputes through bilateral friendly consultations and negotiations in accordance with universally-recognized principles of international laws, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The leaders of the two countries reiterated to address the disputes through peaceful dialogue in the Joint Statement in September 2011.

In 2002, China and the ASEAN countries including the Philippines signed the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC), and the Section 4 stipulates that the parties concerned undertake to resolve their territorial and jurisdictional disputes by peaceful means, without resorting to the threat or use of force, through friendly consultations and negotiations by sovereign states directly concerned, in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

With the active facilitation by the Chinese side, China and the Philippines exchanged views on relevant disputes, and made some progress. In September 2004, with the approval of both governments and witnessed by the two heads of states, China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Philippine National Oil Company signed the Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking in Certain Areas in the South China Sea, which was expanded into China-Philippines-Vietnam trilateral agreement in March 2005. In order to further institutionalize relevant negotiations and consultations between China and the Philippines, the Chinese side officially proposed to the Philippine side to set up a Regular Consultation Mechanism on Maritime Issues. However, the Chinese side has not received any reply from the Philippine side until today. After the Philippine side provoked the Huangyan Island incident, the Chinese side took measures safeguarding sovereignty. The Chinese side then suggested again to restart China-Philippines Consultation Mechanism for Confidence-Building Measures. So far, there has been no reply from the Philippine side. At a time when bilateral peaceful means to settle the disputes are yet to be further explored, the Philippine side shut the door for bilateral negotiations on the excuse that they have exhausted other peaceful means and the arbitration is the only option.

7. The Issue of Huangyan Island (Scarborough Shoal)

The Huangyan Island is China's inherent territory. The Philippines once clearly stated that the island is not within its territory. First, a series of international treaties defining the domain of the Philippine territory provide that the Huangyan Island is outside the territory of the Philippines. The then Philippine ambassador to Germany explicitly stated in 1990 in his letter to German radio amateurs that the Huangyan Island is not within the territory of the Philippines. The documents issued in 1994 by the Philippine National Mapping and Resources Authority as well as the Philippine Amateur Radio Association all confirmed that the Huangyan Island is outside the Philippine territorial boundary. The Philippine official map issued in 2011 also marked the Huangyan Island outside the Philippine territorial border limits.

It is absolutely justified for the Chinese side to enforce the law in its own territory and waters. The Chinese side never bullies other countries, but we stick to the principle of "not to attack unless attacked." If certain countries are tolerated to create new territorial disputes in the 21st century, would there be any rules in the world? We urge the Philippine side to stop any provocative action at the waters off Huangyan Island, so as to avoid undermining peace and tranquility of the waters.

8. The Issue of Ren'ai Reef (Second Thomas Shoal)

In 1999, a Philippine Navy vessel illegally "grounded" off the Ren'ai reef of China's Nansha Islands under the pretext of "stranding." The Chinese side has been repeatedly making representations to the Philippine side, urging the latter to tow away the ship. The Philippine side claimed that they did not tow away the ship due to "lack of spare parts." The Philippine side stated that it had no plan to build facilities on the reef, and it was not prone to provocation. Since 2003, the Chinese side has repeatedly made representations to the Philippine side, and the Philippine side claimed that as a signatory to the DOC, it would not and was not willing to become the first one to violate the DOC, and that the Philippine side had not built any construction on the reef, and posed no threats to any parties.

However, the Philippine side has not yet towed away the vessel. To make matters worse, the Philippine side has kept taking actions in an attempt to build facilities on the reef. Recently, the Chinese government vessels on routine patrol in waters off the Nansha Islands found again that the Philippine side, under the cover of re-provision to the "grounded" vessel, sent ships to transport rebar and cement in order to reinforce the facilities on the reef. There is no way for the Chinese side to accept this.

The statement released by the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines on March 14 openly stated that the vessel "grounded" 15 years ago was actually meant to occupy the reef, which proves that the Philippine side has been lying for 15 years. The sitting Philippine government was not the one 15 years ago, but as a country, the Philippines is obliged to honor its commitment. A public denial of its own promise will make it lose credibility to the international community. Recently, the Philippine side has been playing up the issue of Ren'ai Reef, playing cards of sympathy everywhere, and including the issue into the so-called international arbitration, with an aim to gather sympathy and trust of the international community and legalize its occupation of the Ren'ai Reef. The Chinese side is steadfast in defending its territorial sovereignty and maritime interests and rights. The Philippines' plot is doomed to failure.

9. Freedom and Safety of Navigation

For a long time, there has been no such a problem of freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea. Freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea has not been affected by disputes of Nansha Islands, nor will there be any problem in the future. The South China Sea is the main sea lane for China's trade and transportation of imported energy. To ensure freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea is equally important for China. The Chinese government has always maintained that the freedom of navigation of all countries in the South China Sea should be safeguarded, and has actively participated in the maritime safety cooperation in this region. The actions taken by China in safeguarding its sovereignty and maritime interests in the South China Sea do not affect other countries' freedom of navigation and overflight, which are conducted in accordance with the international law. It is with ulterior motive to play up the concept of "freedom of navigation in the South China Sea." It is neither in favor of peace and stability of the region, nor conducive to efforts of defending freedom and safety of navigation.

China has the right to establish Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which is not related to and should not be linked to disputes on territorial sovereignty, maritime rights and interests, and bilateral relations. Whether to establish ADIZ or not depends on the threats to air safety and the degree of such threats. All aspects should be comprehensively taken into consideration, so this is a complicated and systematic project. The present situation in the South China Sea is generally stable. China and ASEAN countries are committed to implementing the DOC in a comprehensive and effective manner, and safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea. Relevant differences and disputes should be properly resolved through negotiations and consultations by countries directly concerned.

10. China is Committed to a South China Sea of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation

For a long time, the Chinese side has stayed committed to implementing the DOC together with parties concerned to safeguard peace and stability of the South China Sea, to resolve relevant disputes through negotiations and consultations with parties directly concerned, and has been upholding the proposition of "shelving disputes and seeking joint development". China has proposed a series of measures that aim to promote maritime cooperation. In November 2011, the Chinese side set up the China-ASEAN maritime cooperation fund with RMB 3 billion, in view of promoting maritime cooperation between China and ASEAN countries in the fields of environmental protection on the sea, maritime science and techono1gy, maritime connectivity, safety of navigation and rescue, as well as combating transnational crimes, and etc. In May 2013, China and relevant ASEAN countries announced the initiative of the establishment of China-ASEAN maritime emergency rescue hotline. China and relevant ASEAN countries are in close communication on the approach to properly handle the South China Sea issue. Positive progress has been achieved in maritime issue consultations and mutually beneficial cooperation. So long as all parties earnestly implement relevant consensus, adhere to consultations and negotiations, promote practical maritime cooperation and joint development, the South China Sea will become a sea of peace, friendship and cooperation.
[NOTE: The author is the spokesperson of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in the Republic of the Philippines. is posting this position paper, which was sent to media Thursday, to present the other side in the continuing dispute between the Philippines and China over the West Philippine Sea and help explain the issue.]