Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Soldiers of 19th IB introduce organic farming technology to Kananga farmers to counter insurgency

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 22): Soldiers of 19th IB introduce organic farming technology to Kananga farmers to counter insurgency

The 19th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army is doing something out of the box. It is fighting poverty to eliminate insurgency.    
Just before the Holy Week, the 19th IB conducted a one-day training on organic farming at its base camp at Barangay Aguiting, Kananga, Leyte.

Lt. Col. Nedy Espulgar, commanding officer of the 19th Infantry Battalion said the training was participated in by some 55 members of the Libertad Farmers Association.

The Libertad Farmers Association , according to Lt. Col. Espulgar, was the first communist-inspired farmers group in Kananga, Leyte organized way back in 1992.

 The New People’s Army established the group purposely to intensify the influence of the communist rebels in all of the 23 barangays of the said town. The group was disintegrated when its key leaders surrendered to 19IB in 2006.

In later part of 2012, 19IB moved to reorganize all groups that were left after the fall of the New People’s Army in Leyte. Libertad Farmers Association was one of the organizations which were officially registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2013, through the effort of 19IB and 802nd Infantry Brigade.

The training was part of the military’s continuing support to established people’s organizations in selected towns in Leyte, which aimed at uplifting the lives of its members.

During said training, the participants learned how to make various types of “contusions”. These are organic extracts made out of plants and other indigenous materials which may be used as plant growth enhancer, pesticide and soil conditioner. Contusions are made up of bacteria created through fermentation process and can also enhance the fertility of the planting area.

While contusions enhance plant growth, land preparation according to lecturer Mayang dela Cruz, is also equally important and is one the fundamental requirements in organic farming method. In organic farming, “double-dig” method is highly recommended when preparing the “plant beds” as it prevent plant roots from stress and improves retention of nutrients needed by plants for several years.

All these organic farming methods and technologies were stirred by Mr. Gil Carandang, the Father of Philippine Organic Farming who mentored the 19IB and its clienteles during the series of workshops on “Sustainable Integrated Organic and Natural Mini Farm Program” sponsored by the Land Bank of the Philippines.

Lt. Col. Espulgar said the military will continue to train and provide available support to all of its established people’s organizations in Leyte. 19IB is also engaging government agencies, Non-Government Organizations and even the private sectors in order to address the needs of its established people’s organizations that away from the communist ideologies.

As of now, the military is supporting 10 people’s organizations namely: Taglawigan Farmers Association, Taglawigan Fisher Folks Association and Catoogan Farmers Association in San Isidro, Leyte; Cabatoan Farmers Association, Airport Farmers Association, Jubay Farmers Association and Sorosimbahan Farmers Association in Calubian, Leyte; Rubas Farm Producers Association and Rubas Farmers and Tourism Developers Association in Jaro, Leyte and Libertad Farmers Association in Kananga, Leyte.

The training was also graced by Hon. Elmer Codilla, the Municipal Mayor of Kananga, Leyte who pledged support to the constituents of Brgy. Libertad; and Mr. Troy Bumagat, proprietor of the Trophy Farm in Kananga, Leyte who also distributed 80 kilograms of organic rice seeds to the association.

The said seeds were accordingly provided by the regional office of the Department of Agriculture. Mr. Bumagat will also be giving high yielding variety of corn seeds to the same farmers association.


MILF: UNYPAD Holds its 5th National Assembly

From the MNLF Website (Apr 23): UNYPAD Holds its 5th National Assembly

PIKIT, North Cotabato – The United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) held its 4-day 5th National Assembly at the Pikit National High School, Pikit North Cotabato hosted by its North Cotabato Provincial Chapter on April 15-18, 2014 participated in by some 350 Bangsamoro youth leaders coming from 20 provincial chapters of the organization established throughout the country.  

The theme of the assembly was “Youth Empowerment Towards Establishment of Bangsamoro.” 

The UNYPAD National Committees and Offices presented their remarkable accomplishment reports in the first evening of the assembly.

Having attentively listened to the reports, Abdulkarim Montok, UNYPAD North Cotabato Provincial Secretary of the Committee on Da’wah and Education, said: “I really was amazed by the accomplishment of each Office and committee because I know that everything was done voluntarily,”

“This is really beyond our expectations because doing things without financial support from funding donors is very challenging one,” he added.

“Among of the highlights of the assembly was the most awaited “State of the Youth Address” (SOYA) of the UNYPAD National President Ustadz Rahib Kudto,” said Baisanie Macabuat, National Chair of the UNYPAD Women Affairs Committee.

Macabuat said that the main contents of the SOYA are the updates on the  organization’s milestones based on its five major  programs and services such as; Organizing, Capability Building, Research and Information, Campaign and Advocacy, and Disaster Action.

“Included in the report was the international exposures of the officers of the organization, which has been very instrumental in the development of the human resources of the UNYPAD, the accomplishment of Development Management Center of the UNYPAD that focused mainly on the development projects implemented in the conflict-affected areas here in Mindanao with support from various donor agencies such as the European Commission, Conciliation Resources (CR) United Nations Development Program (UNDP),  Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, World Food Programme (WFB), Unicef, Save the Children, The Asia Foundation (TAF), Save the Children, CordAid, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), USAid, Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) with the assistance from the Embassy of Japan in the Philippines, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA), among others,” she furthered.

Datuan Magon, Vice President for External Affairs, disclosed that President called on Bangsamoro Youth to continue in consolidating their rank and file, strengthen unity and solidarity, maximize   potentials and prepare themselves for any situations because, sooner or later, they will be carrying social responsibilities.

“Our leaders are about to be done with their responsibility of delivering our struggle for freedom and right-to-self determination. Their struggle is not for themselves but for us (young generation) and for the generation to come, and the worst situation to come, Allah forbids, is when our turn comes we will fail to deliver and discharge our duties and responsibilities as we are not prepared enough, and that will be our leaders’ defeat,” said Magon quoting Kudto in his SOYA.

Magon said that Kudto called on young leaders not to give space to some bad elements that would try to attack the unity and firmness of the Bangsamoro to stand against the wrong-doers and oppressors.  

“Let us also safeguard the gains of the peace process and never let the peace saboteurs sneak them before our eyes,” said Magon quoting President Kudto.

Visitors and guests were invited in the second day of the assembly. Among other visitors were the local government officials of Pikit municipality of the province of North Cotabato, the International Monitoring Team, ForumZFD, Non-Violent Peaceforce Philippines, Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Battalion, and some officers of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Jun Mantawil, Secretariat Chair of the MILF peace panel in its negotiations with the government, was the key note speaker.

“We had a lot of sacrifices in the negotiations before we achieved this Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB),” said Mantawil.

“We hope everybody will support this as it is not for the MILF but it is for all…,” he added.

The Board member of 1st District of North Cotabato, Hon. Dulia Sultan said: “The 1,295 barangays of North Cotabato will support the CAB to finally address the long time sufferings of the Bangsamoro people.

“We have to grab this opportunities for our better future,” she said.

“If you want to support peace, just vote ‘yes’ this coming plebiscite and if you don’t , vote ‘no’ but go out of Mindanao, go to Visayas or Luzon,” Dulia stressed.

Dr Adam Zainudin, Vice President for Administration and Land Development of the Cotabato Foundation College for Science and Technology (CFCST) emphasized the need to equip the young people with knowledge and skills as preparation for facing the challenges of establishing and running the Bangsamoro government.

“In the would be Bangsamoro Government, Economic Development and Sustainability, Cultural Stability, Social Equity, Ecological Development, Technological Development, Political Support, and most importantly, the Satisfaction of our people both Muslims and Christians,” he said.

 “Your soldiers now are different from your Soldiers before. We are now your partners for total peace in Mindanao,” said 7th IB of Philippine Army representative Major Dimasalang Mamayog.

Dr Mohammad S. Yacob, Executive Director of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA),   gave input on the role of youth in the Nation Building. He said that the youth play a very important role in building a nation considering that they are the major segment of the society.

“Review of the Vision, Mission, Goals and Objectives, Programs and Services were among other agenda discussed in the plenary session,” Yusoph Lumambas, UNYPAD Secretary General, disclosed.

“It is a fact that the programs and services and that of the Vision, Mission, Goals and objectives of the organization were formulated before the signing of the CAB. That’s why we need to revisit them for us to see their relevance to the present situation considering that we are now facing the challenges of post-agreement scenario,” he added.

Rehana Ali, UNYPAD MSU Chairwoman, expressed her gratitude, in behalf of the Chapter, to UNYPAD leadership for making them part of the National Assembly.
“For us, it was not just an assembly but a training. Observing how leaders of the organization talk and act in the gathering is a big influence for us as leaders of tomorrow,” she said.

The participants of the assembly are the national officers of the organization and the delegates from National Capital Region, Sulu, Tawi-tawi, Basilan, Zamboanga, Davao Region, Ranaw Region, Bukidnon, Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani General Santos City (SoCSarGen),  and Cotabato City.  Mindanao State University-Maguindanao and General Santos City, University of Southern Mindanao (USM)-Kabacan, and Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC) were among other School-based Chapters of the organization participated in the assembly.


MILF: MILF and MNLF Fighters join in peaceful gathering on CAB

From the MILF Website (Apr 22): MILF and MNLF Fighters join in peaceful gathering on CAB

Groups of fully armed fighters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) gathered peacefully at Sitio Molao, Barangay Pedtad, Kabacan, North Cotabato on April 20, 2014. They have one identical purpose which is erudition of their constituencies on the CAB.  The MILF fighters were led by its Provincial Chairman Datu Kineg Inalang of the MILF Province of Kapalawan.
The MNLF fighters on the other hand were led by its ranking official Datu Mentokan Zunsunga. Other participants were members of the political committees of both Fronts. Bangsamoro civilians also joined the gathering. The led convenor was Ustadz Kanapia Bala, a religious leader of Barangay Pedtad. The two leaders along with political and traditional leaders sat on the presidential table they named as ministerial table consistent with the form of government of the future Bangsamoro. They brotherly mingled with full of warmth and cordiality.

Other guests were traditional and political leaders Datu Efren Mantawil, Datu Rhosman Mamaluba, Datu Masla Mantawil and Datu Manny Pedtamanan. The gathering was festive with thanksgiving banquet or “kanduli” offered for the occasion.  Their faces obviously manifested the feelings of joy reverberating in their hearts as hopes for unity, peace and better future become apparent in the prospects of the CAB.

Community leader Deodatu Makina rendered the welcome address while Datu Makong Mantawil gave the opening remarks.  Both expressed utmost cordiality and brotherly welcome to the crowd. Datu Rhrosman Mamaluba in his inspirational message recalled that once he heard someone saying that, “One day Chairman Inalang will be coming to the place and it did happen with the presence of the Provincial Chairman today”, he said.

Kapalawan MILF Committee on Information Provincial Director Datuan Panolimba expounded on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) giving conspicuous clarity to the four annexes. He said, the Bangsamoro Government is not owned solely by the MILF but also the MNLF as well. In short, it is for all the Bangsamoro people. Provincial MILF Chairman Inalang said: What he said is true he will come to the place some day. Now that he had come, he is released of that obligation. MNLF key official Zunsunga said: Let us be obedient to Almighty Allah when He said: “Fulfil your promise to Me and I will fulfil My promise to you.”  This is a condition precedent to anything we will be expecting as we ask help from the Almighty.

Open forum gave chances to clarifications. Most questions were concentrated on the normalization particularly on the decommissioning aspect. Director Panolimba explained vividly that everyone is assured of his security and that there is no surrender in it. It is only putting the arms beyond use to a neutral third party.


Still no sighting of kidnapped Chinese, Filipina in Sulu

From the Philippine Star (Apr 22): Still no sighting of kidnapped Chinese, Filipina in Sulu

The abducted Chinese tourist and Filipino resort staff reportedly brought by bandits to Sulu province have not been spotted in any area in the southernmost part of Mindanao, a military official said Tuesday.

Capt. Ryan Lacuesta, spokesman of the 2nd Marine Brigade, said that the military have been receiving several information on the supposed whereabouts of Gao Hua Yuan and Filipino Marcelita Dayawan.

“However, these information remained unverified and troops continue the pursuit operation on the ground to determine their presence,” Lacuesta said.

Yuan from Shanghai, China and Dayawan were kidnapped from the Singahmata Reef Resort off Semporna, Sabah last April 2. Authorities said the victims were forced by seven gunmen into a speedboat and brought to Sulu.

There are reports that the kidnappers are members of the dreaded Abu Sayyaf Group.
Lacuesta said that the military is still in the process of filtering the various information on the possible whereabouts of the two victims.

Meanwhile, reports said that the Malaysian authorities already have announced developments in their efforts to safely recover the kidnap victims.


CPP/Ang Bayan: Video: Drive out the fascists from Talaingod!

Propaganda video posted to the CPP Website (Apr 22): Video: Drive out the fascists from Talaingod! ANG BAYAN, 21 April 2014       



Published on Apr 22, 2014
For almost two months now, the AFP has been mounting intense military operations and going on a fascist rampage in a cluster of sub-villages in Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte. Since the first week of March, battalions of troops from the Armed Forces of the Philippines have been sowing terror in this area. The 68th and 60th IB and the 4th Special Forces have been concentrating on eight sub-villages in Palma Gil, spurring more than 1,300 Ata-Manobo tribespeople to flee. They are currently seeking refuge with church people and other concerned groups in Davao City. (with subtitles in English).

CPP/NDF: NDFP-Laguna condemns the illegal arrest and continued detention of Andrea Rosal and her companions!

NDF propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Apr 21): NDFP-Laguna condemns the illegal arrest and continued detention of Andrea Rosal and her companions!

Gregorio Asedillo (Ka Roger)
NDFP Laguna National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Laguna (National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Laguna)
The NDFP-LAGUNA and the entire revolutionary movement in the province of Laguna condemns in the strongest possible terms the illegal arrest and continued detention of the Andrea Rosal, the eldest daughter of the late Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal. Andrea Rosal together with her companion Mr. Rafael de Guzman and Barangay Captain Ruben Gatchalian were illegally arrested last March 27, 2014 in Barangay 169, Caloocan City by the combined forces of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) and the National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Organized Crime Division (NBI-AOCD).

Andrea was in Caloocan City to visit her ob-gyn for a medical check up when she was illegally arrested on a trumped up charges of kidnapping and murder. She is 8 months pregnant and due for delivery within this month. She needs constant medical attention and should be brought to a medical facility instead of being in a detention cell.

The AFP arrested Andrea as a payback for their failure to catch her beloved father and mother alive. What the AFP failed to do to her parents, they seek to accomplish by arresting Andrea. This is the second illegal arrest done by the AFP to Andrea Rosal. She was abducted by the AFP Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM), then headed by Gen. Galido, when she was 5 years old to force his father to surrender. It was only after the continued protest of her grandmother and Ka Roger through the media that AFP was forced to release her. This is also the second arrest of Andrea under an Aquino Regime. She was first arrested last 1989 during the term of Cory Aquino Regime when she was still a child. This time, she is arrested again by the regime of Noynoy Aquino, the brutal son of Cory Aquino. What the mother failed, the fascist son wants to accomplish by arresting an innocent pregnant woman on a trumped of charges.

Andrea is innocent of the charges filed against her by the fascist Aquino Government. For the past 31 years, she lived the life of an ordinary woman avoiding the limelight so as not to give the AFP the chance to use her as bait to arrest her parents and be used by AFP as propaganda against the revolutionary movement. She was never involved in any case of murder and kidnapping. Her only crime is that of being the eldest daughter of the former CPP-NPA spokesperson Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal whom the AFP hated so much for representing effectively the revolutionary cause. Her continued detention is a clear violation of her rights as a woman.

The claim of the AFP that she is the secretary of the Komiteng Larangang Gerilya-Sub-Regional Military Area in Southern Tagalog is a malicious lie and baseless accusation done to justify her arrest and continuous detention. We were informed by concerned citizens and from friends among local government officials in Laguna before she was arrested that the military was circulating pictures of Andrea Rosal urging the residents of Laguna to inform the AFP-PNP of her whereabouts and dangling a reward money for her arrest. The AFP has a habit of arresting individuals and tagging them as ranking leader of the CPP-NPA and collecting reward money for their arrest. They did this to Mr. Rolly Panesa and his wife before. They did it again now, to Andrea Rosal and Rafael de Guzman.

The illegal arrest and continued detention of Andrea Rosal and Rafael de Guzman is a clear violation of human rights and international humanitarian law. It is also a violation of United Nation Declaration for the protection of women and children of which the Philippine government is a signatory. Andrea needs an ob-gyn and not military interrogators to attend to her needs as a pregnant woman.

We challenge the Aquino regime to respect the human rights of Andrea Rosal and Rafael de Guzman. He must order the immediate release of Andrea for her to deliver her first child in a medical facility and be taken care of ob-gyn of her own choice. We are also calling on the advocates of woman’s rights and advocates of human rights to condemn the arrest and work for Andrea’s release and her companion. The continued detention of Andrea is an attack against her as a person and as a woman.





CPP/NPA: CBC-NPA-Laguna, mariing kinondena ang patuloy na pagpiit kay Andrea Rosal at Rafael De Guzman! Maglulunsad ng mga taktikal na opensiba laban sa AFP-PNP-NBI!

NPA propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Apr 22): CBC-NPA-Laguna, mariing kinondena ang patuloy na pagpiit kay Andrea Rosal at Rafael De Guzman! Maglulunsad ng mga taktikal na opensiba laban sa AFP-PNP-NBI!

Magdalena Kalayaan
NPA Laguna Provincial Operations Command (Cesar Batralo Command)
Mariing kinukondena ng mga pulang kumander at mandirigma sa ilalim ng Cesar Batralo Command (CBC-NPA-LAGUNA) kabilang na ang mga milisyang bayan sa patuloy na pagpiit kay Andrea Rosal, ang panganay na anak na babae ng yumaong dating tagapagsalita ng CPP-NPA na si Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal, at kay Rafael de Guzman. Sila ay iligal na inaresto ng magkasanib na pwersa ng Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) at ng National Bureau of Investigation Anti-Organized Crime Division (NBI-AOCD) noong Marso 27, 2014 sa Barangay 169, Lungsod ng Kalookan.

Si Andrea ay pumunta sa Lungsod ng Kalookan upang magpatingin sa kanyang doktor nang siya ay inaresto dahilan sa gawa-gawang kaso ng pagpatay at pagkidnap. Siya ay siyam na buwan nang buntis at malapit nang manganak anumang oras mula ngayon. Kasama niyang inaresto si G. Rafael de Guzman na walang anumang kasalanan maliban sa pagsama kay Andrea sa pagpunta sa klinika ng doctor na magpapaanak sa kanya. Si Rafael, isang binata, ay residente ng Lungsod ng Calamba, Laguna.

Inaresto ng AFP si Andrea upang makabawi sa kabiguan nilang mahuli ang kanyang mga rebolusyonaryong magulang na sina Ka Roger at si Ka Solly. Ito ang pangalawang pagkuha ng AFP kay Andrea. Nauna siyang dinukot ng AFP Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM), na dating pinamunuan ni Heneral Galido, noong siya ay 5 taong gulang pa lamang upang pasukuin ang kanyang ama na si Ka Roger. Naobliga ang AFP na palayain siya dahil sa walang tigil na protesta ng kanyang lola at ni Ka Roger sa pamamagitan ng media. Ito rin ang pangalawang pagbinbin sa kanya sa ilalim ng rehimeng Aquino. Una siyang kinuha noong 1989 sa panahon ng paghahari ng rehimeng Cory Aquino noong siya ay bata pa. Matapos ang halos 25 taon ay muli siyang inaresto ngayon sa ilalim ng isa pang Aquino, sa paghahari ng rehimeng Nonoy Aquino, ang tuta ng Kano, korap at brutal na anak na matandang binata ni Cory Aquino. Nabigo ang nanay niya na hulihin ng buhay si Ka Roger at asawang si Ka Solly. Ngayon ay sinikap ng anak niyang si Noynoy Aquino na gamitin sa propaganda laban sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang angkan ni Ka Roger sa pamamagitan ng iligal na pag-aresto at pagkulong sa isang inosenteng babaeng buntis na anak ni Ka Roger.

Walang katotohanan ang akusasyon ng AFP-PNP-NBI kay Andrea at sa kanyang kasama. Gawa-gawa ng AFP ang ikinaso kay Andrea na pagpatay at pagkidnap. Sa nakaraang 31 taon ay namuhay si Andrea bilang isang ordainaryong kababaihan na umiiwas na matukoy na siya ay anak nina Ka Roger at Ka Solly upang hindi mabigyan ng pagkakataon ang AFP na makuha siya at magamit para pasukuin ang kanyang mga magulang at magamit siya ng AFP para sa propaganda laban sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan. Kailanman ay hindi siya nasangkot sa pagpatay at pagkidnap ng sinumang indibidwal. Ang tanging kasalanan niya, kung maituturing man na kasalanan, ay ang maging panganay na anak ni Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal na kinamumuhian ng AFP-PNP dahil sa epektibo nitong pagtataguyod sa reboluyonaryong adhikain at sa paglalantad sa mga paglabag sa karapatang pantao at abusong militar.

Malisyoso at isang malaking kasinungalingan ang akusasyon ng AFP na si Andrea ay Kalihim ng Komiteng Larangang Gerilya-Sub-Regional Military Area sa Timog Katagalugan. Naglulubid ng ganitong kasinungalingan ang AFP upang bigyang katwiran ang kanilang iligal na pag-aresto at patuloy ng pagkulong kay Andrea at sa kanyang kasama. Ang totoo ay ang kanyang mga magulang na si Ka Roger at Ka Solly ang naging mga Opisyal ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas at Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa lalawigan ng Laguna noong sila ay nabubuhay pa.

Bago pa ang pagkaaresto sa kanya ay ipinaabot sa amin ng mga nagmamalasakit na mamamayan at mga kaibigan sa hanay ng mga opisyales ng lokal na pamahalaan ng lalawigan ng Laguna na ipinapaikot at ipinapaskel ng mga pwersa ng AFP-PNP ang larawan ni Andrea Rosal at kinukumbinsi sila na magbigay ng impormasyon para mahuli ang anak ni Ka Roger kapalit ng malaking halaga bilang pabuya sa kanyang pagkaaresto. Patunay ito na matagal nang iniinteres ng AFP na mahuli si Andrea dahil siya ay anak ni Ka Roger na matagal na kumilos at naglingkod sa mamamayan ng Laguna bilang rebolusyonaryo. Masamang ugali na rin ng AFP ang mag-aresto ng walang kasalanan at akusahan na mataas na lider ng CPP-NPA upang makolekta ang reward money. Ginawa nila ito kay G. Rolly Panesa na inakusahan nilang mataas na lider ng CPP-NPA sa Timog Katagalugan. Muli nila itong ginawa ngayon kina Andrea Rosal at Rafael de Guzman upang maibulsa ng matataas na opisyal ng AFP ang pera na ginawa nila bilang pabuya sa pag-aresto sa dalawa.''

Ang iligal na pag-aresto at patuloy na pagbinbin sa buntis na si Andrea at kasama niyang si Rafael ay isang malinaw na paglabag sa karapatang pantao at internasyunal na makataong batas. Malinaw din na paglabag ito sa sariling batas ng reaksyunaryong gobeyerno hinggil sa karahasan laban sa kababaihan at bata (Violence Against Women and Children). Paglabag din ito sa Deklarasyon ng United Nation para sa proteksyon ng kababaihan at kabataan kung saan ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas ay isa sa mga lumagda.

Hinahamon namin ang Rehimeng Aquino na igalang ang karapatang pantao nina Andrea Rosal at Rafael de Guzman. Dapat niyang atasan ang AFP na kagyat na palayain si Andrea para malayang manganak saanmang lugar na naisin niya sa tulong ng kanyang piniling doktor. Nananawagan din kami sa mga tagapagtaguyod ng karapatan ng kababaihan at karapatang pantao na patuloy na kondenahin ang pag-aresto at patuloy na kumilos para mapalaya si Andrea at ang kanyang kasama.

Upang mabigyan ng katarungan ang paglabag sa karapatang pantao nina Andrea at Rafael at iba pang bilanggong pulitikal gayundin at mabigyang katarungan ang pang-aapi at panunupil ng rehimeng Aquino sa mamamayan, lahat ng yunit ng CBC-NPA-LAGUNA kabilang na ang mga yunit partisano at milisyang bayan ay maglulunsad ng taktikal na opensiba laban sa mga yunit ng AFP-PNP-NBI. Target din ng taktikal na opensiba ang sumisira sa kalikasan at mga mangangamkam ng lupa. Kailangang pagbayarin ng mahal ang mga pwersa ng reaksyunayong rehimeng Aquino at kanyang mga alipores sa kanilang lansakang paglabag sa karapatang pantao, pagsira sa kalikasan at lansakang paglabag sa karapatan ng mamamayang Pilipino.





CPP/Ang Bayan: Drive out the fascists from Talaingod!

Editorial from Ang Bayan posted to the CPP Website (Apr 22): Drive out the fascists from Talaingod!

CPP Ang Bayan
For almost two months now, the AFP has been mounting intense military operations and going on a fascist rampage in a cluster of sub-villages in Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte. Since the first week of March, battalions of troops from the Armed Forces of the Philippines have been sowing terror in this area. The 68th and 60th IB and the 4th Special Forces have been concentrating on eight sub-villages in Palma Gil, spurring more than 1,300 Ata-Manobo tribespeople to flee. They are currently seeking refuge with church people and other concerned groups in Davao City.
The Ata-Manobo decided to evacuate because staying in their communities would have meant suffering hunger and repression amid the rampant militarization. For weeks, they have been prevented by soldiers from going to their farms, saying these were owned by the New People’s Army (NPA). Their schools have also been branded as “NPA schools.” The soldiers have turned the schools into barracks and destroyed a number of farms. Many Lumad leaders and tribespeople have been harassed and subjected to interrogation, including children, women and the elderly. Some have been forcibly used as guides in military operations. On March 20, the area was bombarded by AFP airplanes and two helicopters for more than an hour.
The Ata-Manobo have taken a stand. They have decided not to allow the soldiers to suppress them, occupy their communities, destroy the farms they had worked hard to build and violate their schools. They clandestinely but organizedly fled their sub-villages to go to the plains to expose to the public how the AFP has been wantonly abusing their rights. They declared that they would not return for as long as their safety could not be guaranteed from the marauding fascist military. And this could only happen if the AFP pulls out of their communities.
In cahoots with the military, the mayor of Talaingod tried to bribe the evacuees by offering them relief goods if they would return to a “safer area” in Palma Gil. But the Lumad firmly refused this attempt to herd them into a hamlet and allow military operations in their sub-villages. They had only one demand: the pullout of the fascist soldiers and a stop to the massive militarization of their communities.
The Lumad also bared the real reason behind the current military operation—to pave the way for the entry of large-scale mining into the heart of the Ata-Manobo’s ancestral land. The mining companies’ target is Pantaron Range, one of the few remaining dense forestlands along the Davao del Norte-Bukidnon-Davao City and Agusan provinces boundary.
The sub-villages being scoured by the soldiers lie at the gateway to these resource-rich forests. Since 2008, several mining companies had already filed applications to explore the area. But their attempts have all been thwarted because of the Ata-Manobo’s heroic struggle and the f‪ierce opposition of their allies.
Meanwhile, the people strengthened their unity in order to overcome their neglect by the reactionary government. Three calamities had hit them—a massive rat infestation that destroyed their crops, and disasters resulting from typhoons Pablo and Crising. Just as other hinterland villages had experienced, not a single drop of aid came from the local and national government of the reactionary state. They thus took the initiative to develop production, build their own schools and launch health and other campaigns, with the help of progressive organizations and institutions.
Fascist military troops are now mounting vicious attacks on the area because for the reactionaries, it is a terrible nightmare for genuine people’s power to emerge and for the minority peoples to benefit from the fruit of the land. The eradication of hunger and ignorance among the the Lumad masses likewise brings grim forebodings to the reactionaries. For the reactionaries, the minority masses must remain in a state of wretchedness and disunity so they could easily be bribed by money, terrorized and suppressed and deprived of the natural resources found in their ancestral lands.
The intense militarization of Talaingod and the Ata-Manobo’s fierce resistance bring to the fore the sharp contradictions between two opposing forces. On one end is the fascist AFP, that serves as the instrument of the reactionary state and its imperialist, big bourgeois comprador and big landlord cohorts in suppressing the people. On the other are the Ata-Manobo and other oppressed and exploited people who are waging fierce resistance and desirous of thoroughgoing social change.
The Communist Party of the Philippines urgently calls on all the people to declare their loathing for, and oppose, the fascist violence being unleashed by the reactionary Aquino regime in Talaingod, whose only objective is to suppress the Ata-Manobo and cede their ancestral land to plundering mining and logging companies.
The AFP’s fascist onslaught in Talaingod mirrors the fascist rampage in other resource-rich areas being coveted by the reactionaries. This fact must be tirelessly exposed and resisted.
In the face of the fascist attacks in Talaingod and many other areas, it is very timely to forward the burning issues of destructive foreign mining, the displacement of the minority and peasant masses and the destruction of their livelihoods. These are the issues that lie at the core of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), the second substantive agenda in the peace negotiations. Also among the issues under CASER are the pathetic state of health care, the widespread demolitions amid the lack of programs for decent housing and other crucial social concerns. The Aquino regime has been thwarting talks on the CASER because these would only shed a garish light on the reactionary state’s criminal negligence of the people’s social welfare. Only the strength of a unified people who love justice and peace can push the regime to resume negotiations.
The Party and all the revolutionary forces and masses hail the Ata-Manobo’s courage and firmness of principle as they resist militarization and determinedly drive out the fascist AFP from their ancestral land. They likewise salute all other people waging intense struggle against militarization in their communities. In consonance with their struggle, the New People’s Army will go all-out in implementing the revolutionary policy of thwarting and expelling all those who plunderer the nation’s natural resources, destroy the environment, seize lands and trample on the rights of the oppressed and exploited masses.

History of resistance in Talaingod

The Ata-Manobo have been waging resistance against those who have been seizing and destroying their ancestral land for the past 20 years.
In November 1993, twenty-five of the tribe’s datus gathered to declare a pangayaw or tribal war against logging giant C. Alcantara and Sons Inc. or CASI (formerly Alsons). CASI has a 20-hectare logging concession encompassing a huge portion of the Ata-Manobo’s ancestral land in Davao del Norte. It acquired the concession on the strength of an Integrated Forest Management Agreement (IFMA) after its old timber license for the same area expired. The datus wanted to put a stop decisively to the denudation of their forest.
They formed the Salugpungan ‘Ta Igkanugon (Unity for the Defense of Ancestral Land) led by Datu Guibang Apoga and held dialogues with CASI and its puppet local government to set boundaries on the IFMA’s coverage. CASI refused. It was after this that military attacks on anti-IFMA areas began.
In February 1994, three truckloads of soldiers from the 64th IB swooped down on Talaingod ostensibly to rid the area of the New People’s Army. They burned down houses, stole crops and slaughtered the farm animals of Ata-Manobo who were opposed to the IFMA. The brutal military operations led more than 500 Lumad to flee towards the towns centers of Davao del Norte and seek sanctuary in the churches. Meanwhile, Datu Guibang stayed in the mountains to defend the land.
Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte brokered the forging of a Memorandum of Agreement between Salugpungan and CASI calling for limits to the IFMA’s coverage and the pullout of the military troops. After this, the evacuees returned to their respective communities.
After a month, however, CASI lumbered in with equipment and military escorts to operate in areas beyond the agreed boundaries. Datu Guibang and his group decided to launch the pangayaw.
Bringing with them their indigenous weapons, they warned CASI’s guards. But the latter merely laughed at them. After their third warning was ignored, the Ata-Manobo attacked, killing and wounding a number of the guards.
Arrest warrants were issued for the 25 Salugpungan datus. Datu Guibang retreated and went into hiding in the forests, but the Ata-Manobo still look up to him as their leader in their struggle against those who want to seize their ancestral land. Meanwhile, armed Ata-Manobo have been launching sporadic attacks against the military that has been protecting CASI.
The Ata-Manobo’s courage in confronting the massive militarization being launched to facilitate the entry of mining companies into their ancestral land is a continuation of their heroic history of resistance.

CPP: Expose the “humanitarian” pretense of US military intervention—CPP

Anti-US propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Apr 22): Expose the “humanitarian” pretense of US military intervention—CPP

Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounced the US military and the Philippine armed forces for invoking the terms “humanitarian mission” and “disaster response” in carrying out its activities in Legazpi City, Albay, saying it was a pretense to camouflage heightening US interventionist military operations in the Philippines.

Around 2,500 US troops will be arriving in the Philippines for the 30th Balikatan exercises scheduled on May 5-16. Various military exercises will be conducted in Pampanga, Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Albay, Palawan, Leyte and other sites.

Yesterday, at least 200 US troops were deployed in Legazpi City to conduct “humanitarian activities” in preparation for the Balikatan exercises. According to press statements by the AFP, the US soldiers repaired a classroom and conducted medical, dental and veterinary services.

“These so-called humanitarian activities conducted by the US military in Albay yesterday are nothing but publicity stunts to make the upcoming large-scale deployment of US troops for military operations and exercises more palatable to the Filipino people,” pointed out the CPP.

“Repairing a classroom and providing medical services are mere tokens involving a few thousand dollars in the context of tens of millions of dollars set to be spent for livefire operations, combat maneuvers, flying drones, intelligence gathering and building facilities to accommodate the growing number of US troops being stationed in the Philippines,” said the CPP.

“The Balikatan series is a front for carrying out large-scale military intervention in the Philippines,” said the CPP. “With it, large numbers of US combat troops, naval warships, military helicopters and jet fighters are able to freely sail and fly within Philippine sovereign waters and airspace. US nuclear-capable warships are also able to freely enter Philippine waters, even if such is prohibited under the 1987 Philippine constitution,” added the CPP.

“Through the Balikatan exercises, the US military is able to further strengthen its doctrinal and operational influence over the Philippine military. It is able to set the direction of the so-called modernization program of the Philippine armed forces which to a large part is comprised of discounted purchases of obsolete US weaponry and war materiĆ©l,” said the CPP.


Reds: Balikatan exercises a clear desecration of RP’s sovereignty

From the Daily Tribune (Apr 22): Reds: Balikatan exercises a clear desecration of RP’s sovereignty

The first phase of the annual Philippine-United States Balikatan exercises kicked off yesterday in Legazpi City with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) branding such activities as clear desecration of the country’s sovereignty.

In a statement issued by Florante Orobia, spokesman of the NPA-Santos Binamera Command operating in Albay, the CPP-NPA scored the holding of the Balikatan 2014 in the province.

“This is a clear desecration of the sovereignty and integrity of the country, anti-people and deceitful,” Orobia said.

“The Balikatan exercises under the guise of humanitarian civic assistance to be held in Albay is serving the US military and will not bring development to the people of Albay,” he further said.

The US Embassy, in a statement, announced that the first phase of the RP-US Balikatan 2014 started yesterday with preliminary work on community infrastructure projects in Legazpi City.

During Balikatan 2014, Philippine and US military will conduct humanitarian civic assistance projects throughout Legazpi City, the US Embassy said.

“Military medical personnel will offer free medical, dental and veterinary care. Military engineers will construct and repair schools and other community infrastructure in selected communities,” it added.

Lt. Annaleah Cazcarro, co-director of the Combined Joint Information Bureau of RP-US Balikatan 2014, said that formal opening ceremony is set on May 5 in Camp Aguinaldo.

The joint exercises will last up to May 16.

Around 200 US and Filipino troops are involved in the preliminary work in Legazpi City where repairs will be done on Manubag Elementary School.
Cazcarro said that this year’s exercise, the 30th iteration of the bilateral training, will focus on maritime security, humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR), and humanitarian civic assistance (HCA).

Approximately 3,000 US servicemen and 2,500 Filipino troops will be participating in this year’s Balikatan. Among the air assets to be utilized by the US during the exercises are C-130, FA-18, CH-53, P3 Orion and various helicopters.

Meanwhile, militant groups viewed the same as the communist rebels, saying the annual joint military exercises is a direct military intervention in the country and rabid puppetry of the Aquino government to the US.

This was the strong statement of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), stating the conduct of the Balikatan is under the guise of so-called humanitarian assistance.

But in reality, the group said the US is engaging in direct military intervention in the country. Rafael Mariano, KMP chairman, said the yearly Balikatan exercises clearly show how the US directly aids in the local military’s counter-insurgency operations, increasing militarization and human rights abuses in the countryside.

The farmers leader also said that the so-called joint military exercises also reveal the Aquino government’s continuing puppetry to the US.

“The US-RP Balikatan 2014 also shows that Aquino’s rabid puppetry has surpassed succeeding regimes since the Filipino people’s collective rejection of the US bases in 1991,” Mariano said, noting that “the military access agreement to be signed by Aquino and US President Obama during his visit to  Manila next week forms part of the US’ strategic military plan in the Asia-Pacific region.”

The KMP called on the Filipino people to oppose the Balikatan exercises and the so-called military access agreement to be signed next week.


Filipinos like the US even more than Americans do – Pew Research

From Rappler (Apr 22): Filipinos like the US even more than Americans do – Pew Research

Data from the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project show Filipino respondents have positive views on the US, Americans, and US Presidents – even better than Americans themselves

The Philippines likes the United States of America a lot.

And we mean, a lot.

Data from the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project show a higher percentage of Filipinos surveyed – 85% to be exact – having a more "favorable" view of the American people. Americans come second in the survey, with 84% saying they have a "favorable" view of themselves.

The survey directive went: "Please tell me if you have a very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable or very unfavorable opinion of Americans."

It doesn't stop there. Overall, the Philippines also had the most "favorable" view of the US, at 85% percent. Americans themselves did not figure in the top 3 countries with a "favorable" view of the US, lagging behind the Philippines, Israel and Ghana.

The data comes from the 2013 incarnation of the Global Attitudes Project on "attitudes towards the US."

Watch this report below.
[Video: Filipinos like the US even more than Americans -- Pew Research

Good news for Obama

Most Filipinos surveyed seem to think the US puts a premium on the interest of the Philippines when it comes to international policy. Around 85% of Filipinos described the US' consideration of the Philippine interest to be a "great deal/fair amount."

The same Philippine respondents also admitted that the US had a "great deal/fair amount" of influence "on the way things are going in [the Philippines]."

The Pew Research Center's data also brought good news, in time for US President Barack Obama's visit to the Philippines: 84% of Filipinos said they had "confidence" in the US president. The survey included confidence in former president George W. Bush.

In contrast, only 57% of Americans surveyed said they had confidence in their own president. Germany expressed the most confidence in the US leadership, with the Philippines coming in second, followed by France, Kenya and Canada. (READ: Defense top agenda of Obama visit to PH)

The Philippines was also among the Top 3 countries that expressed the highest approval of Obama's international policies. In answer to the question, "Do you approve or disapprove of international policies of [Obama]?" 88% of Germans answered "approve," followed by 81% of respondents from France and 76% of respondents from the Philippines.

US as partner

74% of Filipinos surveyed, meanwhile, expressed confidence that China "will never replace the US as the world's leading superpower."

Coming in second was Japan, with 72% confident that China will not be able to take over the US. Both the Philippines and Japan look to the US as an ally in territorial disputes with China.

Not surprisingly, 81% of Filipinos surveyed saw the US as a "partner" of the Philippines. (READ: Obama on mission to quiet Asia skeptics)

In the entire survey, Filipino respondents only really showed disapproval over the US' use of drones "to target extremists in countries such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia." Data showed 52% of Filipino respondents said they "disapprove" of the policy.

The survey, however, did not include the Philippines in several 2013 survey questions such as:
  • Which of the following phrases comes closer to your view? It's good that American ideas and customs are spreading here, OR it's bad that American ideas and customs are spreading here.
  • And which of these comes closer to your view? I like American ideas about democracy, OR I dislike American ideas about democracy.
  • Which comes closer to describing your view? I like American ways of doing business, OR I dislike American ways of doing business.
  • Which is closer to describing your view? I like American music, movies and television, OR I dislike American music, movies and television.
  • And which comes closer to describing your view? I admire the United States for its technological and scientific advances, OR I do not admire the United States for its technological and scientific advances.
According to Pew Research, "over 325,000 interviews in 60 countries have been conducted" to create the Global Attitudes database.


Ex-military comptroller wants forfeiture case dismissed

From Rappler (Apr 22): Ex-military comptroller wants forfeiture case dismissed

Retired military comptroller Jacinto Ligot seeks for the dismissal of a forfeiture case filed against him and his family before the Sandiganbayan, arguing they are facing a similar case earlier filed against them

DISMISS IT. Retired military comptroller Jacinto Ligot wants a forfeiture case against him and his family dismissed. File photo from Newsbreak

DISMISS IT. Retired military comptroller Jacinto Ligot wants a forfeiture case against him and his family dismissed. File photo from Newsbreak

Retired military comptroller Jacinto Ligot asked the Sandiganbayan to dismiss the forfeiture case filed against him and his family by the Office of the Ombudsman, arguing they are facing a similar case earlier filed against them.

The forfeiture case, filed in June 2013, seeks the return of P55.6 million of alleged ill-acquired wealth by the Ligots.

But in a memorandum submitted to the court on Monday, April 21, Ligot said the case should be dismissed because it split the cause of action, after it had already filed a forfeiture case in 2005.

The 2005 case was filed against Ligot, his wife, children, sister, and brother-in-law, while the 2013 case names the same defendants – only replacing Ligot's sister with a cousin of Ligot's wife, Gilda Y. Alfonso-Velasquez.

The earlier case, seeking for the return of P135.3 million, is still pending in the court's Fourth Division.

Ligot and his family said the grave error should allow for the dismissal of the latter case.

Additionally, the memorandum said the second case violates the rule against forum shopping, explaining that a similar case covering the same bank accounts has already been filed by the Anti-Money Laundering Council at a municipal trial court.

In the latest case, the government is seeking the confiscation of the proceeds of 7 investment accounts with the Armed Forces and Police Savings and Loan Association Inc. (AFPSLAI).

These accounts are in the names of Ligot, his wife, and children, with a combined value of P1.2 million.

Also eyed by government prosecutors for confiscation are bank deposits with Equitable PCI Bank (BDO), Bank of the Philippine Islands, Land Bank of the Philippines, United Overseas Bank-Philippines, Metrobank, and Citicorp Financial Services and Insurance Brokerage Phil. Inc (CFSI).

Based on figures obtained by investigators, the CFSI account is under the name of Velasquez and holds the sum of P52.525 million, although the Ombudsman claims it is owned by Ligot's immediate family.

Ligot, his wife and children are accused of amassing P700-million in ill-gotten wealth from the coffers of the military. Ligot retired as comptroller of the Armed Forces in 2004, but the year before he left the military service, he declared a net worth of only P3,248,003.


Bangsamoro accord will not create Islamic state in Mindanao

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Apr 22): Bangsamoro accord will not create Islamic state in Mindanao

Government peace panel member Senen Bacani has allayed fears of residents in Wao town that the envisioned Bangsamoro government will lead to the establishment of an Islamic state in Mindanao and that Christians would lose their lands to Muslims once the new region is in place.

“The Bangsamoro will be part of the Philippines, it will not separate from the Philippines. Bangsamoro officials will report to the President of the Philippines. The laws of the Philippines will apply to the Bangsamoro,” he said.

Bacani was here Monday for a public forum on the Bangsamoro attended by an estimated 3,000 residents, including those from the nearby town of Bumbaran, also in Lanao del Sur.

“The envisioned Bangsamoro government will not become an Islamic state but a secular one with a working democracy where everyone will continue to enjoy [for example] freedom of religion and freedom of expression. Walang mawawalang rights and privileges natin bilang mamamayan ng Pilipinas dito sa Bangsamoro...including vested property rights” he stressed.

The public forum was held to update people here on the developments in the peace process between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Islamic state issue was raised through the streamers displayed in the town plaza, the venue of the dialogue. Christians also raised concern that they would lose their lands to Muslims once the Bangsamoro is in place.

Wao town is composed of at least 80 percent Christians with a minority Muslim population.

Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong III graced the forum and rallied the residents to support the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the final peace deal between the government and the MILF.

“Ginagawa lahat ng national government ang makakabuti para sa lahat ng Filipino, Muslim man o Kristiyano kasama na ang katutubo,” he said.

Bacani reiterated that the GPH peace panel signed the CAB with their MILF counterpart clearly following the instruction of President Benigno Aquino III that it must be within the parameters of the Constitution.

Also present to listen to the sentiments of the residents were Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) members Pedrito Eisma and Said Sheik. The two also took turns explaining that the CAB dos not seek the establishment of an Islamic state in Mindanao and that the constituents will continue to enjoy their rights under the Bangsamoro government.

Mayor Elvino Balicao Jr. led the list of local government officials attending the forum.

Benigna Rosal Aguirre, a leader of a Catholic women’s organization here, thanked Bacani and the BTC commissioners for coming and clarifying the disinformation spreading in the locality.

“There’s nothing to fear in the Bangsamoro. It’s good they came here. I’m enlightened now because it’s clear we will continue to enjoy our rights such as religious freedom and that we will continue to own our lands,” she said at the sidelines.

Bacani stressed that land ownership will be respected under the new Bangsamoro region.


Situation in Cagayan town now normal - Northern Luzon Command chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22): Situation in Cagayan town now normal - Northern Luzon Command chief

Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang on Tuesday said that the situation in Gonzaga town, Cagayan has already normalized despite Monday's flag-raising ceremony attack by gunmen, wearing camouflage uniforms, that resulted in the death of Mayor Carlito Pentecostes, Jr.

"We want to inform the public that the situation here in Gonzaga has normalized in as much as we (now) have a new municipal mayor installed by way of succession (Vice Mayor Rene Salvanera). We witnessed the oath taking," he added.

The Northern Luzon Command chief stated that the Gonzaga municipal building has now re-opened along with other business establishments.

Catapang said that pursuit operations against the perpetrators are still ongoing.

He added that they already have deployed two companies from the 21st Infantry Battalion (about 150 men) to help in the ongoing pursuit operations.

Catapang also stated that tracking operations have proven difficult due to the mountainous terrain.


Police readying robbery, murder charges vs. Gonzaga town mayor assassins

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22): Police readying robbery, murder charges vs. Gonzaga town mayor assassins

The Cagayan police are readying the filing of robbery and murder charges against 30 suspected New People’s Army rebels involved the killing of Gonzaga town mayor Carlito Pentecostes on Monday.

Police Senior Supt. Gregorio Lim, Cagayan provincial police director, said he has ordered an “intensified probe” into the incident, and as such would lead to the immediate resolution of the case and the immediate capture of the culprits.

Reports said mayor Pentecostes was about to deliver his speech during the flag ceremony at the town hall grounds when four men wearing camouflage green uniforms approached the mayor and shot him several times, causing his instant death.

The other heavily-armed men wearing PNP and Army camouflage uniforms with black berets also accosted and the policemen present and captured their firearms during the flag-raising ceremony.

Reports also said that the suspected rebels flagged down the Gonzaga patrol car and at gun point, directed the police operatives to drop on the ground, tied their hands and thereafter took their service firearms.

After the attack, the suspects ransacked the second floor of the town hall and scurried away with a several valuables and cash, taking with them the PNP patrol car, an L-300 van, a blue Elf truck, and a multi-cab service vehicle of the water district and fled towards Barangay Isca, also of Gonzaga municipality.


Palace: EDC still undergoing inter-agency review from both PHL and US sides

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 21): Palace: EDC still undergoing inter-agency review from both PHL and US sides

Malacanang said on Monday the proposed Enhanced Defense Cooperation (EDC) agreement between the Philippines and the United States is currently undergoing an inter-agency vetting.

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said that because of this, it is not likely that the EDC would be signed in time for US President Barack Obama’s visit to the Philippines next week.

“Noong huli tayong nagbigay ng update, ang sinabi ng Philippine panel ay it’s (EDC) undergoing inter-agency vetting from both sides (The last time we gave an update, the Philippine panel said that it’s still undergoing inter-agency vetting from both sides),” Coloma said in a Palace media briefing.

He further said that the agreement is to have an implementation of aspects wherein specific agencies of the government will play a role.

"There are implementing aspects that affect agencies of government across the executive department and we will have to get their sign off before we agree on the final draft of the agreement," he added.

Coloma also said that President Obama’s visit is not at all linked to the signing of the EDC, so there is “really no deadline or pressure” on getting it signed immediately.

“Ang mahalaga sa lahat, kung ano man ang magiging laman nitong kasunduang ito ay dapat na naaayon sa pambansang interes ng Pilipinas (What is most important is that whatever is contained in this agreement will be according to the national interest of the Philippines),” he said.

As for President Obama’s state-visit itinerary, Coloma said its details have yet to be released by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).


(Update) Members of PNP-SAF, RMG join hunt vs killers of Gonzaga town mayor

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22): (Update) Members of PNP-SAF, RMG join hunt vs killers of Gonzaga town mayor

Members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (PNP-SAF), together with the Regional Mobile Group and Army units are now conducting hot pursuit operations against the gunmen who shot and killed Gonzaga town mayor Carlito Pentecostes Jr. during flag-raising ceremonies Monday morning.

This was revealed by Major Emmanuel Garcia, 1st Civil Relations Group commander, in a message to the PNA.

He also clarified that only Pentecostes was killed in the attack perpetuated by camouflage clad men around 7:30 a.m.

Return fire from security forces present in the flag-raising ceremony eventually drove off the gunmen who fled using two vans and a commandeered police vehicle.

"Soldiers from the 502nd infantry Brigade are coordinating closely with the PNP for appropriate action while CAFGU detachments were directed to conduct checkpoints operations," Garcia concluded.


Assorted American, Filipino planes to participate in 'Balikatan 2014'

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22): Assorted American, Filipino planes to participate in 'Balikatan 2014'

An assortment of American and Filipino military aircraft will be joining in this year's "Balikatan 2014" exercises which is slated to begin this May 5 to 16.

The American air contingent will consist of the venerable Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" cargo aircraft, McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 "Hornet" jet fighter, Sikorsky CH-53 "Sea Stallion" combat utility helicopter, Bell Ah-1 "Cobra" attack helicopter, Bell UH-1H "Huey", Lockheed P-3 "Orion" maritime and anti-submarine plane, Sikorsky H-60 and Fairchild Republic A-10 "Thunderbolt" anti-tank plane.

On the Philippine side, the Rockwell OV-10 "Bronco" aircraft, C-130 cargo plane, "Huey" helicopter, McDonnell Douglas MG-520 "Defender" attack helicopter, Marchetti SF-260 ground attack plane and the SIAI-Marchetti AS-211 jet trainer will be flying during the aerial phase of the military maneuvers.

These planes will be based at Clark Field, Pampanga for the duration of Balikatan 2014.


PAF chief stepping down this Friday

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22): PAF chief stepping down this Friday

Philippine Air Force (PAF) commander Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino Dela Cruz will be stepping down this Friday, five days earlier than his scheduled retirement day on April 30.

He will be leaving the service after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 56 years old.

This was confirmed Tuesday by Col. Miguel Ernesto Okol, PAF spokesperson.

Retirement ceremony for Dela Cruz will be held at the Fernando Air Base, Lipa City, Batangas.

Okol said that this will be done upon the request of Dela Cruz as this is the military facility where he started his Air Force career.

He added that President Benigno S. Aquino III will be the guest-of-honor in the PAF chief's retirement ceremony.

Okol stated that the availability of the Chief Executive was what prompted Dela Cruz to retire five days earlier.

"The President's schedule was Malacanang directed," the PAF spokesperson stressed.

Okol said that a ceremonial fly-by will be held during the retirement ceremony.

He also declined to comment on who will succeed Dela Cruz at the helm of the PAF, adding that it is the prerogative of the President to appoint a replacement for the retiring PAF chief.


Navy chief to retire April 30

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22): Navy chief to retire April 30

Philippine Navy (PN) flag-officer-in-charge Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano will be retiring on April 30, a day earlier than his scheduled retirement date of May 1.

This was confirmed by Navy spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic Tuesday.

Retirement and change-of-command ceremonies will take place at the Naval Base Heracleo Alano in Cavite City, the headquarters of the Philippine Fleet and the biggest PN facility.

Fabic said that expected guest-of-honor will be President Benigno S. Aquino III.

He said Alano decided to move his retirement date a day earlier so that the Chief Executive can attend the event.

Fabic said they have no idea yet who will succeed the outgoing PN chief.


PN spokesman: NRDC planning to design, construct own ships

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22): PN spokesman: NRDC planning to design, construct own ships

In line with the military's self-sufficiency initiatives, the Naval Research and Development Center (NRDC) has announced that its Project "Kuyog" is looking at the possibility of designing and building modern warships for the Philippine Navy.

Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, PN spokesperson, said this program also aims to understand and study different systems integrated in the naval platforms under the Defense Acquisition System projects.

"It also involves the study of composite or other types of materials for vessel construction," he added.

"The end state is to absorb technology in order to equip the organization with its own capability of designing and constructing its own vessels," Fabic pointed out.

He said that Project "Kuyog" is one of the five priority projects of the NRDC.

The other four programs are the sonar equipment creation capability under Project "Ilalim" (literally meaning underwater), radars under Project "Itaas" and the way ahead Project of NRDC, the satellite project under Project "Tuktuk" (surveillance), and Project "Putok" (explosives) for creation of modern munitions.

PN flag-officer-in-charge Vice Admiral Jose Luis Alano said that these projects are primarily designed to support the Active Archipelagic Defense Strategy which focuses mainly on the enhancement of maritime situational awareness and maritime operations.

These projects, when successfully pursued and executed through the partnership from the triad members, will mark a distinctive level of significance to the ideal of raising the PN’s level of research and development through the absorption of new technologies.


Our position on WPS has not changed --Palace official

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 22): Our position on WPS has not changed --Palace official

The government is determined to stand by the rule of law in its claim on parts of the West Philippine Sea(WPS)(South China Sea), a Malacanang official said Tuesday.

“Legally, we file the case before the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said in a Palace media briefing.

“What we wish to emphasize is that we have always abided by a rules-based regime in coming up with a resolution to the South China Sea,” he added.

Lacierda raised the issue in reaction to reports that Code of Conduct in the West Philippine Sea will be the main agenda of the China-ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting on Tuesday which is being held in Thailand.

He said that the draft Code of Conduct has been previously given already to the Chinese.

“It has been given to the Chinese for the review,” the Malacanang official said.

“We certainly would hope that the Code of Conduct would move forward in order to lay clearly the base or rules on the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea,” he added.

He also said that Malacanang maintained that the resolution to the South China Sea cannot be “just bilateral”.

“Because you have a number of neighboring countries disputing waters in the South China Sea, and therefore, the resolution should be multilateral,” Lacierda said.