Friday, April 18, 2014

37 leftist rebels yield to govt in S. Philippines

From the Gobal Times (Apr 18): 37 leftist rebels yield to govt in S. Philippines

Over 30 alleged members of the leftist rebel group of New People's Army (NPA) have surrendered to government troops in Southern Philippines on Friday, the military said.

At least 37 members of the NPA's Armed Propaganda Unit, People's Militia and the tribal Solid Mass Organization (MASSO) turned themselves in to the Philippine Army's 26th Infantry Battalion in Talacogon, a town in Mindanao's Agusan del Sur province around 8 a. m., Captain Christian Uy, the spokesperson for the army's 4th Infantry Division, said in a statement to Xinhua.

Uy said the surrenderors included an NPA squad leader who also handed over an Ingram sub-machine pistol. The other former rebels also surrendered 36 various firearms and improvised explosives.

"The reason of their surrender is a realization that their cooperation with the NPAs brought them no benefits but only made them suffer," said Uy. "The NPAs exploited them by using them as work force in constructing their bases, manning their communal farms and in manufacturing and laying of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device)," he added.

He said in the last six months, the army's 4th ID has facilitated and received the surrender of 144 rebel fighters and an equal number of weapons.
The 4,000-strong NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is fighting a leftist insurgency in 60 Philippine provinces since 1969.

MILF: Signing the Bangsamoro Basic Law

Editorial posted to the MILF Website (Apr 18): Signing the Bangsamoro Basic Law

April 16-22, 2014 : The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) has submitted a partial but formally adopted portion of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) proposal to the Office of the President last April 14.
This is in line with the instruction of President Benigno Aquino III to the commissioners during their call on him on January 30 that the first submission needs not to be full text of the proposal. A complete BBL proposal will be submitted after the Holy Week, bearing the signatures of the commissioners.

A signing ceremony is scheduled on April 20 at the BTC Office in Cotabato City.  Among the guests who are invited to the occasion were Cardinal Orlando Quevedo, Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles, GPH chief negotiator Miriam Ferrer-Coronel, Bishop Colin Bagaforo, Cotabato City Mayor Japal “Jojo” Guiani Jr., Mayor Ramon Piang of North Upi, Mayor Abdullah Campong of South Upi, selected members of the MILF Central Committee, government and MILF ceasefire committees, and members of the International Monitoring Team (IMT). Members of the media were also invited to cover the signing ceremony.

Comes signing day, all the 15 commissioners are expected to sign the BBL without reservations. As a matter of fact, one lady commissioner, a nominee of the government, requested that every commissioner will be given a copy for posterity’s sake. The BTC agreed but the copy will not be given to the commissioners until at a later date when full disclosure of the BBL will not compromise its smooth deliberation in Congress. Besides, an engagement with the government in this regard is required.

Affixing one’s signature to a historic document is truly historic. It is an episode of a lifetime that only few people are called and given such a rare opportunity.  In the same vein, not signing such a historic document is also historic in the reverse.

The decision to sign the proposed BBL by every commissioner was a collective will of the BTC during its plenary session last April 13.  There was no dissenting voice, except an earlier one expressed by BTC Chair Mohagher Iqbal for his preference for just affixing the initials of the commissioners in the proposed BBL. But he was alone in such view; no one sees it as the right course of action. Thus, he has to bow down to the will of the majority.

However, if by chance, any commissioner decides not to affix his/her signature to the proposed BBL, such is within the purview of his or her right. No one can question that. But one thing sure is that he or she has to explain why he or she did not sign.  History will judge his or her decision. But in the immediate, the negative decision will surely make the spoilers happy; they will feast on this even if the decision was based on reasons personally well-thought-out.

Better this early, every BTC commissioner must examine his or her conscience whether what side to vote: positively or negatively --- and it is the right thing.

MILF: MinHuDI, other groups hold peace advocacy in two towns of Sultan Kudarat

Posted to the MILF Website (Apr 18): MinHuDI, other groups hold peace advocacy in two towns of Sultan Kudarat

The MinHuDI, a non-government organization and other groups advocating peace in Mindanao conducted peace advocacy on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) last April 12 and 13, 2014 at Sitio Mantisao, Barangay Bual, Isulan, Sultan Kudarat Province.
The program was supported by the Daguma Committee on Information and the Municipal Political Committee of Kulaman through the facilitation of the Peace Advocacy Program Committee (PAPC).

The Team headed by Norodin P. Dimaokom, Exective Director of MinHuDI and at the same time Program Coordinator of PAPC; and Director Allan Dading of the Daguma Committee on Information with two invited speakers and 8 other members of the team reached the venue on board motorcycles. The team jumped off from Isulan at exactly 1:00 pm on April 12 and reached Sitio Dungguan Barangay Kabulnan, Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat at around 4:30 pm. The trip to the venue was hard and stressful but equipped with faith and determination we just ignored all that we felt.

The team stayed at Sitio Dungguan for the night program. Executive Director Moidjoddin Talusob of Kalilintad Development Foundation, Inc. (KDFI) shared his experienced to the 120 participants in attendance and told them how lucky he was because he has the opportunity to communicate with the Moros and non-Moros in the locality. Public viewing on the signing of the FAB and CAB was the highlight of the evening program that ended at 10:30.

From Dungguan, the team trekked towards Daguma Mountain Range and reached Sitio Mantisao, Bual, Isulan, the venue proper in the morning of April 13. Kolaman Municipal Chair Mohamad Sagadan together with local residents welcomed the team warmly. The participants were composed of IP’s, Muslims, and Christians with a total number of 176 excluding those unable to register in the secretariat.

Ustadz Badrudin “Green Valley” Lugioman emphasized the term “IN LOVE” in his words of wisdom, as he stated that we need to be “in love” with Jihad or the Moro people’s struggle for peace and self-determination. The love for jihad should be internalized and one shall not shy away from it. It is Allah who commanded the Muslims to “fight when Islam is in danger” but also “work for peace when one asked for it.”

Professor Esmail ‘Mike’ Abdula, BLMI Training Officer and member of the BLMI Steering Committee elucidated well on the Annex on Wealth Sharing and Normalization. During the open forum, Kabulnan Barangay Councilor Daniel Fabeniana asked a very interesting question, “How can we be included in the Bangsamoro Government?” The question coming from s settler caught the audience by surprise and chanted Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar! He also asked, “How can we request for peace advocacy like this?”, Romie added.

‘If you and your constituents in this locality desire to be included in the Bangsamoro, you should make a petition 2 months before the plebiscite and we can have peace advocacy in your place anytime you wish. Kahit bukas pwede”, Professor Abdula answered.

Before the closing program, Datu Patian Bandala, the Manobo Chieftain in the area, gave his message. “Muslims and IP’s are heirs of Tambunaway and Mamalu. We are thankful to be called as Bangsamoro. We are in full support to the peace process’’, Bandala said.

In the closing remarks of Director Norodin Dimaokom, he thanked the Kulaman Political Committee, BIAF 106TH Base Command, PPF, and different line agencies for their cooperation and participation that led to the successful realization of advocacy program.

BIFM: Continuing the jihad fi sabilillah planted by shahid sheik salamat hashim....

Posted to the Facebook page of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement (BIFM) (Apr 18): Continuing the jihad fi sabilillah planted by shahid sheik salamat hashim....

Sheikh ameril umra kato.
-the founder of BIFM(bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movements)and his infantry BIFF(bangsamoro islamic freedom fighters).

Continuing the jihad fi sabilillah planted by shahid sheik salamat hashim....
Shahid sheikh salamat hashim say:
"if i will not achieve the freedom during my lifetime,their will be a continues confrantation war betweeen the bangsamoro people and gov't of the philippines".

We need the 5 FREEDOM:

-Freedom of religion
-Freedom of governance
-Freedom of thinking
-Freedom of speech
-Freedom of territory

the PEACE and DEVELOPMENT is good for us bangsamoro if we commit the FREEDOM's.


Victory or Marthydom!!!
Victory or marthyrdom

President appoints Moro woman as NCMF Head

From the Manila Bulletin (Apr 18): President appoints Moro woman as NCMF Head

President Benigno S. Aquino III appointed on April 16 a Moro woman as new secretary/chief executive officer of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF).

Secretary Teresita Q. Deles, head of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), confirmed to Manila Bulletin the appoinment of Bai Yasmin Busran-Lao as NCMF secretary.

“She has been appointed and has taken her oath,” said Deles, referring to Busran-Lao, in a text message. She added that no other new NCMF appointment was released yet.

The new NCMF head said the President signed her appointment on April 16 as secretary/CEO for two years and commissioner for four years.‎ Busran-Lao replaced Secretary Mehol K. Sadain, whose two-year term ended last month.

White House makes economics focus of Asia trip

From the Manila Bulletin (Apr 19): White House makes economics focus of Asia trip

The White House is focusing President Barack Obama’s upcoming Asia-Pacific trip on the economic benefits of closer ties to the region, but regional security concerns are likely to be pushed higher on the president’s agenda because of the tense situation between Russia and Ukraine.

Japan and South Korea, two of the four countries Obama will visit next week, are eyeing the fluid developments in Eastern Europe through the lens of their own sea and air disputes with China, and North Korean provocations. The leaders of Japan and South Korea, both close U.S. allies, will want Obama’s reassurance that the U.S. will back them up.

Obama also doesn’t have much to offer his hosts and he is not expected to make any major announcements while traveling.

That’s partly because negotiations continue indefinitely on a Pacific-wide, free-trade deal among the U.S. and 11 other countries, including Japan.

Disputes over access to markets, agriculture and automobiles have become sticking points in talks between the U.S. and Japan, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters on Friday.

The administration long had wanted those talks to conclude by the end of last year.

“The president’s trip is an important opportunity to underscore our continued focus on the Asia-Pacific region,” Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, said Friday. “President Obama has pursued a strategy of rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region, given its stature as the world’s largest emerging region.”

Half of all growth outside the United States over the next five years is expected to come from Asia, Rice said, adding that the region also includes several important U.S. allies, developing democracies and emerging powers.

“So we increasingly see our top priorities as tied to Asia, whether it’s accessing new markets or promoting exports or protecting our security interests and promoting our core values,” Rice said.

Obama’s eight-day trip, which begins Tuesday, makes up for a visit that was planned for last fall but ultimately was canceled because Obama would have had to leave the country during the partial shutdown of the U.S. government that October. The cancellation raised fresh doubts about the U.S. commitment to the region.

The first stop is Japan, followed by South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Japan and Malaysia are welcoming Obama on official state visits that will include fancy dinners as well as time with the emperor of Japan and Malaysia’s king.

Obama will be the first president to visit Malaysia since Lyndon B. Johnson went there in October 1966.

En route to Japan, Obama has scheduled a stop in Oso, Washington, to survey damage from a massive mudslide last month that killed 39 people. Obama also plans to meet with victims, emergency responders and recovery workers.

Families in site of govt, NPA clash get aid

From the Philippine Star (Apr 18): Families in site of govt, NPA clash get aid

More than a hundred families benefited from the outreach mission of the provincial government on Wednesday for villagers dislocated by recent attacks by the New People’s Army in the hinterland Magpet town in the province.

Workers dispatched by the office of North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou TaliƱo-Mendoza had distributed food provisions to the evacuees from Magpet’s Barangays Barangay Manobisa and Amabel, scenes of recent hostilities between government forces and the New People’s Army.

The relief mission was a joint initiative of Mendoza’s office, the inter-agency provincial disaster risk reduction and management operations center, and the provincial social welfare office.

The 107 families that received food supplies were forced to abandon their villagers and relocate to safer areas due to persistent attacks by NPAs that mulct money from farmers and rig roadside bombs along farmer-to-market roads to intimidate and force them into shelling out excessive revolutionary taxes.

Magpet Mayor Florenito Gonzaga, chairman of the municipal peace and order council, said the tension in the two barangays have started to wane, but the evacuees are reluctant to return to their villages fearing the rebels would return anytime and harass them again.

“I am very grateful for the help extended by the provincial government to my constituents in Manobisa and Amabel who are in dire need of assistance because of the miserable situation they are in,” the town mayor said.

2 NDFP peace consultants barred from visiting Tiamzons

From the Philippine Star (Apr 18): 2 NDFP peace consultants barred from visiting Tiamzons

Two of the peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines were barred from visiting communist leaders Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria-Tiamzon inside the Philippine National Police Custodial Center in Camp Crame, Quezon City.

In a joint press statement, NDFP peace consultants Randall Echanis and Rafael Baylosis said they waited from 9 a.m. till past noon last Apr. 15 but were not allowed to see or speak with the Tiamzon couple.

The PNP did not even bother to offer an explanation why they were not allowed to talk with their co-consultants in the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Government of the Philippines, the two said.

"As co-peace consultants of the Tiamzon couple in the GPH-NDFP peace talks, we are lawfully, politically and morally entitled to undertake consultations with other NDFP consultants and the reactionary government of President Benigno Aquino III has no right to prevent us from exercising our duty as peace consultants," the two NDFP peace consultants said.

"We categorically condemn to the highest order this latest political escapade of the GPH and the ruling criminal political syndicate in Malacanang that systematically obstructs the NDFP consultants from exercising their duties and obligations as parties to the peace negotiations and the reactionary state in Manila has no option but to discard this anti-peace talk policy," they said in the statement.

Echanis and Baylosis, two of the regular consultants of the NDFP in the peace negotiations with the GPH since 1990 are also co-chairpersons of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms or CASER—the second substantive agenda of the peace negotiations between the GPH and the NDFP.

"The supposed visit was meant to update and consult the Tiamzons on the CASER draft and other concerns relevant to peace talks.

"...the Aquino government and the Philippine military will practically do everything, anything to sabotage or kill the peace negotiations. The GPH and its military strategists are preventing the NDFP consultants from performing their duties and obligations to facilitate the peace negotiations," the NDFP consultants said.

The two NDFP consultants reminded President Aquino that the peace negotiations between the GPH and NDFP are not solely confined to scheduled formal talks across the negotiating table.

They said these also involve other continuing phases such as consultation, research, study, education, information, advocacy, back channeling, exploratory activities, informal and formal talks.

The NDFP peace consultants stressed that absence, suspensions or impasses in formal peace talks do not mean the whole peace negotiations or processes are automatically absent, suspended or terminated.

Investigators still clueless on Tacurong bombing attempt

From the Philippine Star (Apr 18): Investigators still clueless on Tacurong bombing attempt

Authorities  have yet to find a lead on the suspects who attempted to set off an improvised explosive device last Tuesday inside a bus parked at the public terminal here.

Supt. Junny Buenacosa, chief of the city police, said investigators, with the help of Army intelligence operatives, are still trying to determine the identity of the two men that left the IED inside a unit of the Rural Transit Bus.

The IED, fashioned from a live 60 MM mortar round rigged with a battery-operated blasting device attached to a mobile phone and placed in a box, was first noticed by two passengers who reported it to the police in the area.

Responding Army bomb disposal experts immediately deactivated the IED and dispose it off before it could explode.

Buenacosa said an extortion gang preying on bus companies operating in Tacurong City and surrounding provinces could be behind the bombing attempt.

"But that's only an initial theory. Let's give investigators enough time to do their work," he said.

Units of the Rural Transit Bus ply the Tacurong-North Cotabato-Bukidnon-Cagayan de Oro route.

“These extortionists are known for bombing buses and commercial establishments that refuse to give out `protection money’ on a regular basis,” Buenacosa said.

He said he has deployed more policemen at the Tacurong City public terminal after the incident.

18 Abu Sayyafs killed in Basilan clashes, military says

From ABS-CBN (Apr 18): 18 Abu Sayyafs killed in Basilan clashes, military says

The military is insisting that no less than 18 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group were killed in the latest clashes in the island-province of Basilan.

Col. Tiny Perez, commanding officer of the 18th Infantry Battalion, said the military was prepared in conducting the operation, which resulted in the alleged Abu Sayyaf members suffering a large casualty count.

Perez's statement, however, runs counter to information received by the local government unit of Tipo-Tipo.

Tipo-Tipo Mayor Tong Istarul said based on information reaching his office, there were initially 2 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group who were killed and another one was wounded. The third one later died.

Perez also explained why 2 government troopers were killed and 28 other were soldiers wounded in the clashes.

He said the Abu Sayyaf had the advantage of being on a defensive stance. "Mahirap kasi kapag ikaw ang nasa offensive, mahirap talagang makuha ang posisyon nila."

Istarul said the people of Tipo-Tipo are fed up with fighting in their community.

"It would seem that a bloody firefight like this happens every other two years," Istarul said. "Since 1973, marami na ang namatay diyan."

He asked the military to re-establish a detachment in Sitio Kurellem, the site of the latest encounter.

He said a few years ago, the group of Abu Sayyaf commander Puruji Indama left the area after the military established a detachment in the said place.

However, the detachment was pulled out, which resulted in Puruji's group returning to Kurellem.

Perez said two battalions were recently pulled out from Basilan. As a result, the military had to spread out its forces thinly across the province.

Perez and Istarul both confirmed that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) helped the government troops in the operation against the lawless group.

They said only some members of the MILF who had relatives with the ASG participated in the latest clashes.

Four members of the MILF were reportedly killed in the incident.

The clashes forced over 300 families to flee their homes. They are now temporarily staying with relatives in Tipo-Tipo.

The evacuees have been given relief goods by officials of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, as well as the national government.

Meanwhile, the local government urged the Moro National Liberation Front and the MILF to help guard the private contractors involved in the concreting of the Basilan Circumferential Road.

Istarul said Abu Sayyaf members have been trying to extort money from the contractors.

"Since these roads will be built leading to the communities of the MNLF and the MILF, they should also help in protecting the contractors and the heavy equipment," he said.

Improvised bomb found in Cagayan de Oro-bound bus

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 18): Improvised bomb found in Cagayan de Oro-bound bus

Civilians, police and military authorities prevented what could have been a bloody Holy Week here with the recovery of an improvised explosive device Tuesday, police said today.

Supt. Junny Buenacosa, Tacurong City police chief, said Army and police bomb experts responded to a bomb call after passengers found the IED inside a Rural Transit Bus.

Bomb experts said the IED was fashioned from a 60 mm mortar attached to an old cellular phone and placed in a cardboard box. It was discovered by two passengers who noticed of the unattended box inside the bus that plies the Tacurong City-Cagayan de Oro City route.

The unidentified bus conductor took the box and threw it to a vacant lot near the bus terminal and alerted the police.

Buenacosa said the planting of the IED could be the handiwork of extortion gangs preying on public buses just like in the past.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing attempt.

Buenacosa lauded the pubic for its active participation in preventing violence in public transport systems in Tacurong City.

The bus firm had been subjected to various bomb attacks in the bus after its owners rejected extortion demand from armed groups.

DND to acquire P2.5-B worth of amphibious assault vehicles for PN

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 18): DND to acquire P2.5-B worth of amphibious assault vehicles for PN

The Department of National Defense (DND) has announced that it will be allocating P2.5 billion to acquire eight amphibious assault vehicles for the Philippine Navy.

The money will be sourced from the Revised Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program, DND Bidding and Awards committee vice chair Efren Fernandez said.

Interested bidders must have completed a similar project within the last 10 years, he added.

Bid documents are available for purchase this coming April 21, with the pre-bid conference slated for April 29 at the DND Bidding and Awards Committee Conference Room, basement right wing, DND Building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Bid opening is on May 15, Fernandez said.

Winning bidders must be capable of delivering the vehicles within 910 calendar days after the opening of the letter of credit.

Imam killed in Zamboanga City

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Apr 18): Imam killed in Zamboanga City

A Muslim religious leader was found dead – his neck slashed – three days after the victim had been invited to lead a thanksgiving prayer on a village in Zamboanga City in southern Philippines, police said Friday.

Police said the body of the 70-year old Imam Alibangsa Summan is already decomposing when it was discovered at Zone 5 in the village of Cawit.

It said Summan, who lived in the village of Sitio Lawingan in Labuan village, was invited to lead the thanksgiving prayer in the village of Recodo on April 14, but he never returned home until his body was found.

Police said it is investigating the murder. Initial investigation said the victim received a call from his cell phone telling him to go Recodo village to lead the prayers. No other details were provided by the police on the case.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the killing of the imam.