Thursday, June 12, 2014

MILF: Moro Professionals organize association

Posted to the MILF Website (Jun 13): Moro Professionals organize association

Some Moro Professionals with participation of the religious sector organized on June 8, 2014, the Bangsamoro Professionals Association in the Philippines (BPAP) and took their oath before Dr. Dammang Bantala, President of the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC) at Em Manor Hotel, Cotabato City.
Elected officers were, Dr. Abed Ayunan, President; Uz. Nhorul-am Abdullah, Vice President; Bai Fatima Adza, Secretary; Dr. Fatima Kanakan, Treasurer; Norhaida Sangacala, Assistant Treasurer; Jose Villacorta. Auditor; James Tayuan, PRO; Dr. Norodin Salam, Business Manager.

In his message, Dr. Abed Ayunan, the President-Elect, encouraged every Bangsamoro professional to utilize his/her skills for the development of Bangsamoro now that the CAB was signed.

He added that, “The Association envisions of becoming internationally recognized organization”.

Mrs. Estrella Babano, BOT member, stressed that BPAP expands the horizon of the association by reaching out to the new breed of Bangsamoro professionals who will help propel the Bangsamoro towards a progressive region.

We shall be pro-active in the Bangsamoro homeland as it is very timely with the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, Babano emphasized.

The establishment of the Bangsamoro Professionals Association can further intensify solidarity and support of stakeholders for Bangsamoro.

Bai Fatima Adza argued against negative notions and misconceptions on the traits of Bangsamoro leaders as she presented the vision, mission and objectives of the association.

Dr. Bantala, enunciated that it is high time to prove the integrity of the Bangsamoro. Through this organization, we can now unveil, prove our worth and strength that Bangsamoros’ distinctions deserve the right to empower and pleased as trusts begotten them, he said.

“Let us hold hand together and reach out”, Babano said as she encouraged the Bangsamoro professionals to unite and support the signed CAB.  Numerous organizations emerged in the past but later on collapsed but we the BPAP officers cannot afford to fail, if Allah’s will, she stressed.

Babano speaking on behalf of the organization pledged their full support to the signed CAB. She stressed their commitment to a pro-active approach to Bangsamoro development.

“We have to keep abreast our education or else we will be left behind”, Babano said referring on Moro’s simply contended of attaining a 4-year degree. She added that “By continuing a graduate or post graduate program can help transform the Bangsamoro Region into a more competitive region”.

“As professionals you have so much accountability and responsibility as you accept today your official functions”, Babano stressed. She said that more often, organizations are functional only at the onset and no more.

Ustadz Nhorul-Am Abdullah, BPAP Vice President, gave strong emphasis on the core values practiced by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) contained in the Hadith.

Ustadz Abdulkadir Abdullah, BPAP Spiritual Adviser, asked members to utilize consultative approach as no organization succeeds in the absence of democratic approach based on Islamic perspective.

MILF: CSO’s, NGO’s hold RTD, form Coalition for meaningful elections

Posted to the MILF Website (Jun 12): CSO’s, NGO’s hold RTD, form Coalition for meaningful elections

Some leaders of Cotabato City-based civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) held round table discussions (RTD) at the Cotabato City State Polytechnic College (CCSPC), Cotabato City last June 6, 2014 that resulted to the formation of a coalition that will facilitate meaningful, fair and fraud-free elections.
Named ‘Bangsamoro Coalition for Meaningful Election (BCOME)’ as suggested by Mahdie Amella, Executive Director of the Mindanao Action for Peace and Development Initiatives, Inc.(MAPAD), the group will serve as guardian against fraud and other illegal acts during elections. Initially, the BCOME will focus its monitoring activities on Cotabato City, during local or national elections. The 2016 elections which will include the election of pioneering members of the Bangsamoro Parliamant shall be the starting point of BCOME’s activities that include safeguarding of ballots as one way of ensuring that there shall be fair, just and clean elections.

The Cotabato City Coalition for Change (4Cs) organized last year (2013) before the mid-term elections has been tasked to convene the Coalition for meetings and planning, among other activities, since it is already knowledgeable, with wide experience on election-related matters.  
The 4Cs is composed of six organizations such as United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD), Mindanao Action for Peace and Development (MAPAD) Initiatives, Moro Women Development and Cultural Center (MoWDeCC), Kabalikat Civicom, SEED Foundation and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Cotabato City.

During the previous political exercise in Cotabato City, the 4Cs engaged in election-related activities in partnership with the security sector and Commission on Elections (COMELEC) to minimize election-related violence.

According to Anwar Saluwang, Director of the Development Management Center (DMC) of the UNYPAD, the 4Cs was already introduced to the City Mayor’s office during the proclamation of the 37 winning barangay chairmen in Cotabato City last election.

Saluwang said, in that occasion the 4Cs was afforded warm recognition’ by the Office of Cotabato City Mayor Japal ‘Jojo’ Guiani, Jr.

“Mayor Guiani really appreciated the efforts of the 4Cs in the last election,” Saluwang said.

Dr. Norodin Salam, a professor at CCSPC, said “The coalition may hold more meetings in the days to come”.

Salam suggested that “The coalition must conduct strategic planning so that it will have clear directions and well-planned activities.”

He also suggested that BCOME “must strengthen and strategize effective facilitations of activities to ensure mass registration not only by Muslims and IPs but also non-Muslims in Cotabato City.”

Dr. Mohammadtaha Pendaliday, CCSPC Vice President for Administration encouraged coalition leaders to share their utmost capacity – involving both physical and material resources.

“If Bangsamoro government goes nowhere, I am worried about the future of our children”, Pendaliday said.

“We must support the GPH-MILF talks because I cannot imagine the consequences if the peace efforts of both parties fail. This is our time to do our best in supporting the peace process,” he said.

The meeting was attended by various organizations and individuals such as UNYPAD, MAPAD, COCICAGCI, ABAI and some CCSPC faculty members.’s-ngo’s-hold-rtd-form-coalition-for-meaningful-elections

Zero-insurgency achievable for NegOr: Army commander

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 12): Zero-insurgency achievable for NegOr: Army commander

The newly-installed commander of the Philippine Army's 302 nd Infantry Brigade based in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, said yesterday that it is not impossible for the Armed Forces to attain a zero-insurgency status in the province.

Col. Allan Martin also said it has always been the aspiration of government forces to attain a zero-armed group in Negros Oriental. He admitted that could be very difficult, but if Bohol was able to do it, then Negros Oriental could also do the same, he claimed.

Martin assumed as 302 nd Brigade commander yesterday in a change of command ceremony, presided over by Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division based in Jamindan, Capiz.

Some say a zero-armed group status is not achievable, but Martin said he believes it is, and he will try his best to match the accomplishments of his predecessor, Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio, adding that the Brigade has done so much under his leadership. Martin said he will continue the projects of Patrimonio, perhaps, in a different manner or approach, but he hopes that Oriental Negrenses will continue to support their efforts and that of other government agencies in achieving peace and prosperity in the province.

Baladad lauded and thanked Patrimonio for the many accomplishments the Army units had earned under the Brigade during his more than two years of command.

He challenged Martin to pursue the activities of the Brigade in its quest for peace and development in Negros Oriental.

The New People's Army, the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines/National Democratic Front, has reportedly dwindled in numbers, particularly of its armed members, in Negros Oriental, Army sources have claimed.

Patrimonio thanked the troops, civilian officials, civic groups and non-government organizations, for their untiring and full support to the Brigade's programs and projects.

Patrimonio, a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class '82 and mistah of Baladad, will be assigned as the latter's deputy division commander at the 3ID.

Present at the turnover of command in Camp Leon Kilat, Tanjay City, were Vice Gov. Mark Macias, local officials, heads of government agencies and offices, partners in various sectors, the media, and officials of the Army's various units in Negros Island.

Police nab RPA leader, kagawad in gun raids

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 12): Police nab RPA leader, kagawad in gun raids

Despite the ongoing peace talks, a district leader of Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade was arrested yesterday by the police for alleged illegal possession of firearms in Brgy. 2, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
A barangay kagawad and another person were also apprehended by the police in simultaneous operations in Brgy. Nataban, also in San Carlos City, Senior Inspector Mark Anthony Darroca, deputy police chief, said.
The raids, which were joint efforts of the Regional Special Operations Group of Police Regional Office 6, 6 th Special Action Battalion, Criminal Investigation Detection Group and its Civilian Informant Service, NOPPO Special Operations Group and the local police, were covered by search warrants issued by San Carlos Regional Trial Court Judge Kathrine Go.
Darroca said the raid at the house of Marlon de los Santos yielded an M-16 assault rifle, a carbine and a .45 caliber pistol, with magazines of assorted ammunition.
De los Santos used to be the RPA-ABB commander in the 1 st district of Negros Occidental. He is now the secretary of the KAPATIRAN para sa Progresong Panlipunan (Brotherhood for Social Progress), which used to be the RPA-ABB.
Darroca identified the two other arrested suspects as Kagawad Jose Tom Ramas and Mario Ramas Sr.
He said the raid on their residences in Brgy. Nataban, San Carlos City, also yielded a Colt .45 caliber pistol with a magazine containing nine ammunition, as well as a Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver and 27 rounds of 5.56 mm bullets.
Darroca said the arrested suspects failed to present documents, allowing them to possess the firearms.
Senior Inspector Joel Cambi, RSOG deputychief, said in an interview with Aksyon Radyo, that the simultaneous raids were an offshoot of an order issued by Chief Supt. Josephus Angan, regional police director of Western Visayas,for them to intensify the campaign against the proliferation of loose firearms.
There were reports that the KAPATIRAN (Brotherhood for Social Progress) leadership protested the arrest of de los Santos, who is the secretary general of the group.
As part of the peace agreement, the name of the RPA-ABB was changed to Kapatiran as part of the compliance with the provisions of the peace agreement they had signed with the government in year 2000.
The peace agreement aimed to transform the RPA-ABB into a civilian, socio- economic organization; and to mainstream its members into their communities, provide them with livelihood and employment, and move them towards disarmament and the dismantling of their military structure.
Members of the defunct RPA-ABB still possess more than 400 guns and explosives in Negros,Panay and other areas of Mindanao and Luzon, records of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process show.

Vietnam tells China to remove oil rig

From the Manila Standard Today (Jun 12): Vietnam tells China to remove oil rig

Vietnam has hit back against China at UN headquarters in New York, ordering Beijing to withdraw an oil rig and stop “interfering” with maritime safety in an ongoing territorial row.

The Vietnamese mission asked its position paper to be circulated to the General Assembly after China sought support at the United Nations on Monday.

Hanoi and Beijing are embroiled in a bitter war of words, trading accusations over maritime confrontations near an oil rig that China moved into contested waters near the Paracel Islands.

Vietnam demanded that China withdraw the oil rig, “escort vessels from Vietnam’s maritime zones and stop all activities that are interfering with maritime safety and security, and affecting regional peace and security,” said the document.

The Vietnamese government called on China to “promptly commence government-level negotiations” on sovereignty over the contested waters.

In its document sent to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, China alleged that Vietnam rammed Chinese vessels more than 1,400 times near oil drilling operations in the South China Sea.

Tensions over the oil rig sparked violent anti-Chinese riots in Vietnam last month. Beijing says four Chinese citizens died, while Vietnam says there were three Chinese fatalities.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea, even waters approaching the coasts of its neighbors, and has become increasingly assertive in staking those claims.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Taiwan have competing claims to parts of the sea.

3 soldiers killed, 6 hurt in NPA landmine attack in Northern Samar

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): 3 soldiers killed, 6 hurt in NPA landmine attack in Northern Samar
Three soldiers were killed and six others wounded after the New People's Army (NPA) detonated a landmine in Barangay Bugtosan, Las Navas town, Northern Samar last June 10.

Reports forwarded Friday by Major Amado Gutierrez, 8th Infantry Division spokesperson, said all the casualties are from the 34th Infantry Battalion.

He added that the landmine attack took place 11: 20 a.m.

The blast was only 700 meters away from populated area. The soldiers were on security operations when waylaid by the NPAs.

After the explosion, a 25-minute firefight ensued until the NPAs withdrew.

Identities of the government casualties were withheld for the meantime as their families are still being notified.

Recovered from the scene of the encounter were five improvised explosive device, five electrical blasting caps, 1,500 meters electrical wire and two back packs.

Gutierrez said this latest landmine attack is a clear violation of Part III, Article 3, No. 15 of Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) that specifically prohibits the use of landmine.

The government and the national democratic front (NDF) which represents the communist party of the Philippines and the new people’s army signed CARHRIHL on March 16, 1998.

Landmine not only posed danger to military personnel, but more so, it endangers the lives of innocent civilians who regularly and unwittingly pass by the road where landmines are planted such as the landmine blast that occurred in Brgy Bugtosan Las Navas, Northern Samar which was only around 700 meters from the populace.

The NPA action of using landmines runs contrary to the provision of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction; otherwise known as Ottawa Treaty.

It was signed and ratified by 161 United Nation’s member states and bound themselves not to use anti-personnel mines and not to develop, produce, otherwise acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly, anti-personnel mines as cited in Article 1, Number 1a and Number 1b of the treaty.

Australia backs Japan’s defense shift

From the Manila Standard Todah (Jun 12): Australia backs Japan’s defense shift

Australia on Thursday backed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s drive to expand the use of Japan’s military, hailing it as a “more normal defence posture”, a day after Tokyo and Canberra stepped up ties.

Shinzo Abe is pushing to reinterpret Japan’s strict pacifist constitution to allow its well-equipped armed forces to fight in defence of an ally, something currently barred.

But he faces opposition at home from those attached to the decades-old constitutional ideal, as well as criticism from China, which accuses him of seeking to remilitarise Japan.

“Australia can see great benefits to our country and to our region, should Japan continue to play a greater constructive role in global and regional peace and security,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in Tokyo.

“We certainly support Japan working towards a more normal defence posture to help it play a greater global and regional role,” she told a news conference.

Referring to military cooperation in past peace-keeping operations in countries including Iraq and South Sudan, Bishop said: “any decision by Japan to exercise that right to collective self-defence would only help our cooperation grow stronger.”

The comments came hours after Bishop, together with Defence Minister David Johnston, met with their respective opposite numbers in Japan Fumio Kishida and Itsunori Onodera and agreed to step up their alliance.

The remaking and strengthening of relations is part of a wider regional pattern as countries warily eye China’s growing assertiveness, including in rows that have flared badly with Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.

Johnston said Thursday that security and defence cooperation is “very, very important to Australia. In fact it is the central pillar of our bilateral relationship.”

But he brushed off suggestions that Australia, Japan and the United States are looking to control the Asia Pacific region, saying humanitarian and disaster relief operations were the ultimate aim of collaborations.

Photo: Air defense

From the Manila Standard Today (Jun 13): Photo: Air defense

Visitors view an S-211 fighter plane on display Mall of Asia in Pasay City on June 12, 2014 as part of the 67th Anniversary of Philippine Air Force. DANNY PATA

No terror threat in MM; ASG suspects in Palawan

From the Manila Standard Today (Jun 13): No terror threat in MM; ASG suspects in Palawan

The government’s top spook said there is no terrorist threat in Metro Manila following the arrest of Khair Mundos, a leader and key financier of the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group who carries a $500,000 US government bounty on his head.

But a military officer said  the ASG remains active in southern provinces and is zeroing in on their prospective target in Balabac town of Palawan.

National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia said  the arrest of Mundos  should not send a negative message to the international community. “On the contrary, this is an accomplishment of our intelligence community and the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Garcia said.

“We checked and double-checked if he was planning any attacks in Metro Manila and we found no threat. He was simply lying low here in the capital after escaping pursuit in Mindanao,” he added.

Mundos was arrested Wednesday morning at his hideout in Barangay San Isidro, Parañaque City.

Garcia said the AFP is now re-tracing the previous hideouts of Mundos before he came to Manila.

Ten  other ASG suspects were monitored in Palawan, according to the military officer.

The suspects could be out to abduct businessmen in Palawan, the officer said.

The Marines were doing the operations, said the officer.

Earlier, Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Maj. Gen. Eduardo Ano said the intelligence unit of the Philippine Army spent several months tracking down Mundos.

Mundos’ arrest was covered by a warrant for multiple murder and frustrated murder issued by the Regional Trial Court 12 Branch 17 in Kidapawan City.

Recovered from Mundos’ possession were several ATM cards believed to have been used in the remittance of foreign funding for the ASG’s operations in Basilan and Sulu.

Mundos also yielded a cellular phone with several SIM cards when seized by authorities.

The US State Department’s Rewards for Justice website describes Mundos as a “key leader and financier of the ASG, which has carried out deadly bomb attacks and kidnappings, targeting foreigners and Christians.”

The Philippine government also offered P1.2 million for Mundos’ capture.

Terror group trains Moro rebels—AFP

From the Manila Standard Today (Jun 13): Terror group trains Moro rebels—AFP

THE military now has evidence indicating that the Southeast Asian terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah has been training members of the local Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, officials said on Thursday.

Brig. Gen. Edmund Pangilinan, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, said government troops gathered the evidence from the place in Maguindanao where they clashed with BIFF members last Thursday and captured four rebels.

The four rebels were captured as the military also collared Khair Mundos, a leader and key financier of the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group, who carries a bounty of $500,000, at his hideout in Barangay San Isidro, Paranaque City.

The group was apparently in the company of Abdul Basit Usman, a JI-trained member of the Abu Sayyaf Group, for whom the United States government has offered a bounty of $1 million.

Pangilinan said two of rebels captured last Thursday were women who appeared to be wives of Basit while the remaining two men were apparently close aides.

Pangilinan said he recovered evidence bolstered claims that Usman had been training BIFF members in bomb-making and the spate of bombing incidents in Central Mindanao over the past few months was par of JI-BIFF operations.

Usman has been charged with multiple murder and frustrated murder in connection with a bombing in General Santos City on Sept. 21, 2002 that resulted in the death of 15 people dead and more than 50 others wounded.

Soldiers of the First Mechanized Brigade and 45th Infantry Battalion raided Usman’s hideout at around 5:45 a.m. Tuesday when Usman was there. There were reports that he was wounded in the raid, but the military has not independently confirmed the report.

No terrorist threat monitored in Metro Manila – Garcia

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 12): No terrorist threat monitored in Metro Manila – Garcia

The government has not monitored any terrorist threat in Metro Manila despite the arrest of a top official of the Abu Sayyaf Group in the metropolis.

National Security Adviser Cesar Garcia said Khair Mundos was merely hiding in the capital prior to his arrest by authorities.

“This should not send a negative message to the international community. On the contrary, this is an accomplishment of our intelligence community and the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Garcia said.

“We checked and double-checked if he was planning any attacks in Metro Manila and we found no threat. He was simply lying low here in the capital after escaping pursuit in Mindanao,” he added.

Last Wednesday, Mundos, who supposedly facilitated the transfer of funds from the Al-Qaeda network to the Abu Sayyaf Group, was arrested by security forces in his hideout in Parañaque City.

Mundos, who has been on a US government terrorist list for years, faces charges of multiple murders. He was arrested in 2004 but escaped detention in 2007.

The US State Department offered a reward of $500,000 for his capture.

NPA confirms raid on Agusan del Norte mayor's home, killing intel officers, assets in Bicol

From InterAksyon (Jun 13): NPA confirms raid on Agusan del Norte mayor's home, killing intel officers, assets in Bicol

New People's Army partisans ( file by Julius Mariveles)

Communist rebels have confirmed raiding and seizing firearms from the home of Carmen, Agusan del Norte Mayor Ramon Calo and also admitted killing what they described as intelligence officers and assets in the Bicol region.

The Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Sub Regional Command of the New People’s Army said it seized a Baby Armalite, two shotguns, a 9mm pistol, an Ingram machine pistol, ammunition, a laptop computer and two cameras from Calo’s home during the nighttime raid on June 8.

Calo was not at home during the raid, which the rebels said was carried out without a shot fired.

Meanwhile, in the Bicol region, the NPA’s Sorsogon Provincial Operations Command owned responsibility for the separate killings of Army Sergeant Rene Madrona in Barangay Poctol, Bulusan on June 10, and of Police Officer Christopher Escreza in Barcelona town the next day.

The rebels said Madrona and Escreza ran intelligence networks in the two towns.
In Camarines Norte, on the other hand, the NPA said they killed Ruel Brogada, an alleged civilian asset of the Army’s 42nd Infantry Battalion, and militiaman Jimboy Tadeo, both of Barangay Payatan in Goa town.

Aside from acting as a military guide and informer, the rebels accused Brogada of land grabbing. Tadeo, on the other hand, was accused of acting as a guide in a military operation during which civilians were allegedly abused.

AFP: BIFF forges alliance with Jemaah Islamiyah

From the Daily Tribune (Jun 13): AFP: BIFF forges alliance with Jemaah Islamiyah

The military yesterday confirmed links between the al-Qaeda-linked Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) after JI bomb expert Basit Usman, who is among the Philippine and United States list of most wanted terrorists with $1-million reward, was sighted at a BIFF lair in Maguindanao over the weekend.

Col. Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID), said that authorities are now trying to establish whether the JI, the Southeast Asian cell of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist network, is funneling funds to the BIFF.

“We are still checking it and confirming it (if JI is extending funding support to BIFF) but their alliance is already established,” Hermoso said.

The alliance between the BIFF and the JI was confirmed following the sighting of Basit over the weekend at a BIFF lair in Mamasapano town, Maguindanao.

Elements of the Army’s 45th Infantry Battalion (IB) and 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade (MIB) assaulted the BIFF encampment while pursuing the rebels responsible in series of attacks, including bombings, in Maguindanao since June 5 that resulted in the killing of one soldier while three others were wounded.

In pursuing the BIFF, the military stumbled upon the group of Basit, a JI-trained bomb expert, in the area.

“He (Usman) was there but he was not hurt, he managed to run,” Hermoso said.

Hermoso confirmed that Usman was there “making improvised explosive devices” (IEDs).

“We established the connection, that there is alliance between the BIFF and the Jemaah Islamiyah of Basit Usman,” he said.

“The BIFF has been using a lot of IEDs, it’s Basit who is making them,” he added.

During clearing operations at the raided BIFF lair, the military recovered several unexploded IEDs, detonating cords, cellular phones, lap tops, three M16 rifles, an M79 grenade launcher, a Barret sniper rifle, a .60mm mortar with bipod and base plate, seven different brands of motorcycles, a Toyota GRandia van, voluminous documents and military type personal belongings.

Two bodies of slain BIFF men were also recovered from the site.

Four women, one of whom was believed to be a wife of Usman, were also arrested along with seven children.

CPP: CPP expresses solidarity with June 12 anti-corruption rally

Propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 11): CPP expresses solidarity with June 12 anti-corruption rally

Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today expressed solidarity with the organizers of the anti-corruption protest actions scheduled tomorrow that is expected to draw in large numbers of people seeking to hold Benigno Aquino III accountable for widespread corruption under his regime.

The June 12 rally is being organized by the Scrap Pork Network, a broad alliance of organizations and personalities who have been calling for the abolition of both the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Both the PDAF and the DAP have been used by Aquino as leverage to influence senators, congressmen and local government officials to hew to Aquino’s political agenda. The Supreme Court recently declared the PDAF as unconstitutional but has yet to issue a decision on the DAP.

“The CPP and all revolutionary forces fully support the June 12 demonstration against the corrupt Aquino regime. The anti-corruption demonstration is an expression of the Filipino people’s disgust over the Aquino regime’s false claims of ‘good governance’ and ‘righteous path’ while a few big oligarchs and big bureaucrat capitalists wallow in scandalous profits from government contracts and other privileges amid widespread poverty, unemployment and landlessness among the toiling masses of workers and peasants.”

“The Filipino people condemn the corruption of the Aquino regime in the use of pork barrel funds for political patronage, in favoring big oligarchs in awarding government contracts under the Public-Private Partnership Program, in running smuggling and other criminal syndicates and in covering up the culpability of Aquino and his key officials,” pointed out the CPP.

“The Filipino people are increasingly indignant as information regarding the direct involvement of Aquino and his key officials in the pork barrel scam and other cases of corruption are revealed,” said the CPP. “Aquino himself has revealed his close acquaintance with Janet Lim Napoles when he publicized the letter from the pork barrel scam queen marked as having been received by the Malacañang Personal Office, which, according to protocol, only receives personal correspondences to the president.”

“It is propitious that the demonstration against the corruption of the Aquino regime is being held on June 12 which marks the 116th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine national independence,” said the CPP. “It is also appropriate for the Filipino people to raise the banner of patriotism and counter the unprecedented puppetry of the Aquino regime marked by heightened US military presence and interventionism in the country and the drive towards the complete surrender of Philippine national patrimony to foreign big business interests.”

“The Filipino people stand on solid ground in demanding the ouster of the Aquino regime and in calling for the establishment of a provisional transitory council that will be comprised of personalities of repute and integrity from various democratic groups, the bureaucracy, the academe and other sectors,” said the CPP.

CPP/NPA: Hinggil sa Pagparusa Kina Jimboy Tadeo at Ruel “Nongnong” Brogada

NPA propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 11): Hinggil sa Pagparusa Kina Jimboy Tadeo at Ruel “Nongnong” Brogada

Baldomero Archangel
NPA Camarines Sur Front Operations Command (Tomas Pilapil Command)
Ipinatupad ng Tomas Pilapil Command-BHB Partido Area ang magkahiwalay na pagparusa kina Jimboy Tadeo at Ruel “Nongnong” Brogada na parehong residente ng Brgy. Payatan, Goa, Camarines Sur, nitong Hunyo 10 at 11 2014. Ang dalawang nabanggit ay may parehong kasong kontra-rebolusyon at nadisisyunan ng Hukumang Bayan ng parusang kamatayan.

Si Ruel “Nongnong” Brogada ay aktibong sibilyan asset ng 42nd IBPA, giya sa operasyong militar noong 2011 nang ipasailalim ang Brgy. Payatan sa “Peace and Development Team” operation na nagresulta sa pagkakadakip ng ilang sibilyan at tortyur ng mga ito. Hiwalay pa rito ang ilang kaso ng pagpapalayas sa mga magsasaka sa inaangkin nitong lupa. Si Jimboy Tadeo ay aktibong CAFGU na narekrut noong 2011 nang magtayo ng detachment ang Charlie Coy, 22nd IBPA sa Brgy. Lupi, Tinambac, Camarines Sur. Masugid itong nagmamanman sa mga pinaghihinalaang sumusuporta sa rebolusyon at nitong Hunyo 1-3, ay gumiya sa operasyon ng militar sa hangganang bayan ng Goa-Tinambac na nagresulta sa panghahalughog sa ilang bahay at pagkakabugbog sa apat na sibilyan.

Ang pagpapatupad na ito ng TPC-BHB sa mga disisyon ng Hukumang Bayan ay isang proseso ng sistema ng hustisya sa ilalim ng Demokratikong Pamahalaang Bayan. Kaya nananawagan ang TPC-BHB sa lahat ng mamamayan na huwag magpapagamit sa anumang kontra-rebolusyong aktibidad na inilulunsad ng Phil. Army, PNP, at Cafgu. Binibigyang babala din ang sinumang mga nasa Brgy. Council na lihim o lantarang nagrerekrut ng Army o Cafgu sa kanilang ugar. Ilantad at labanan ang kontra-mamamayan, kontra-kapayapaan, at kontra-kaunlarang PDT at Oplan Bayanihan ng rehimeng US-Aquino!

CPP/NPA: Opisyal sa paniktik ng AFP at PNP, patay sa operasyong partisan

NPA propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 11): Opisyal sa paniktik ng AFP at PNP, patay sa operasyong partisan
Samuel Guerrero
NPA Sorsogon Provincial Operations Command (Celso Minguez Command)
NAPATAY sina Sgt. Rene Madrona at PO2 Christopher Escreza sa magkasunod na ispesyal na operasyon ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan nitong Hunyo 10 at 11.

Si Sgt. Madrona ay operatibang paniktik ng Philippine Army na humahawak sa lambat ng mga impormante laban sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa mga barangay ng Bulusan, Sorsogon. Binira siya ng mga Pulang mandirigma malapit sa kanyang tirahan sa Brgy. Poctol, Bulusan bandang alas-8:00 ng gabi nitong Hunyo 10.

Si PO2 Escreza ay intelligence officer ng Philippine National Police na aktibong naglalatag ng kontrarebolusyonaryong lambat paniktik sa mga barangay ng Barcelona, Sorsogon. Napatay siya sa operasyon ng BHB sa poblasyon ng Barcelona bandang alas-4:00 ng hapon nitong Hunyo 11. Nakumpiska sa kanya ang isang pistolang 9 mm.

Ang magkasunod na operasyon ay bahagi ng pinag-iibayong kampanya ng BHB para wasakin ang makinaryang paniktik ng reaksyunaryong militar at pulisya sa probinsya.

CPP/NPA: Mayor sa Carmen, Agusan del Norte, Gidis-armahan sa NPA

NPA propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 10): Mayor sa Carmen, Agusan del Norte, Gidis-armahan sa NPA

Omar Ibarra
Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Sub-Regional Command (Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Sub-Regional Command)

Lima ka armas ang nakumpiska human gireyd sa usa ka yunit sa New People’s Army ubos sa Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur (NPA-WANAS) Sub Regional Command ang balay sa Municipal Mayor sa Carmen, Agusan del Norte niadtong Hunyo 8, 2014 sa gabii.

Nagpakana nga mga sundalo ang mga naka-uniporme nga Pulang manggugubat ug dali ra sila nga nakasulod sa balay ni Mayor Monching Calo. Nadis-armahan dayon ang gwardya niini ayha nasulod ang balay. Nakumpiska sa maong pagreyd ang usa ka Baby M16 Automatic Rifle, duha ka shotgun, usa ka 9mm pistol, usa ka Ingram, mga buhing bala ug mga magazine, usa ka laptop computer ug duha ka camera. Nahitabo ang maong pagreyd samtang atua sa kauluhan ang Mayor. Paspas ug luwas nga nakawithdraw ang mga kauban human sa panghitabo.

Lunod-patay nga kontra-rebolusyonaryo si Mayor Calo. Nagsalig kini dili lang sa kaugalingong mga armas ug mga gwardya, kundili sa mga pwersa sa kapulisan ug reaksyonaryong kasundaluhan usab. Ginareklamo sa katawhan ang maong mayor sa militaristang paghari niini sa ilang lungsod.

Sa laing bahin, duha ka harassment ang napahigayon sa NPA batok sa paramilitar nga grupong Bungkatol Liberation Front (BULIF) didto sa Sitio Reserba, Brgy. Tungao, Butuan City.

Unang giharas sa usa ka tim sa NPA ang maong grupo niadtong Hunyo 2, 2014, sa bandang alas 10:00 sa gabii. Mikabat og pila ka minuto ang sinukliay og bala ayha luwas nga nakawithdraw ang mga Pulang manggugubat. Ginasuta pa ang kaswalidad sa BULIF.

Sa maong lugar gihapon natigayon ang ikaduhang pagharas batok sa BULIF pagkaugma, Hunyo 3, mga bandang alas 7:00 sa gabii. Wala na nakabalos pa ang mga kaaway.

Human sa duha ka harassment, nagpahigayon dayon og operasyong militar sa maong lugar ang kapin 100 ka tropa sa Special Forces ug Scout Rangers. Tataw ang pagpaluyo sa kasundaluhan sa grupong BULIF nga gipanguluhan sa kontra rebolusyonaryong si Datu Eddie Ampiawan alyas Bawang. Nahimo nang dangan sa katawhan ang maong grupo diin pinakaulahing gipatay nila mao si Datu Rolando Ambungan kaniadtong Enero 31.

Dili moundang ang rebolusyonaryong kalihukan, pinaagi sa New People’s Army ug sa mga lokal nga Milisyang Bayan niini hangtud nga dili masumpo ang kabangis sa mga militaristang pulitiko sama ni Mayor Monching Calo, sa mga grupong paramilitar sama sa BULIF, ug sa armadong kusog sa pipila ka nagharing hut-ong nga mao ang AFP ug PNP. Pinaagi lang sa pagbungkag niining bangis nga mga makinarya nga malingkawas ang katawhan gikan sa pagpangdaugdaug ug pagpahimulos sa pipila.

CPP/NDF: Makab-ot ang tinuod nga kalingkawasan sa pagdaug sa demokratikong rebolusyon sa katawhan!

NDF propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 12): Makab-ot ang tinuod nga kalingkawasan sa pagdaug sa demokratikong rebolusyon sa katawhan!
Maria Malaya
NDFP Northeast Mindanao Chapter
Karong Hunyo 12, isaulog sa nasud Pilipinas ang mini nga independensya ubos sa grabe ka-itoy-sa-US nga rehimen ni BS Aquino. IKa-116 ka tuig sukad sa deklarasyon sa independensya nagpabiling walay tinuod nga kaugalingnan ang Pilipinas. Ang tanan miaging rehimeng naghupot sa poder sa panggoberno gisuportahan ug nagtuman sa mga mando sa amo niining imperyalistang US.

Ang nagpadayon nga kontrol sa Pilipinas sa imperyalistang US makausa pang napamatud-an sa pagsulod sa maki-US nga administrasyong Aquino sa Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Ang EDCA nagpormalisa sa pagbalik sa gipapahawa na kaniadto nga baseng militar sa US dinhi sa Pilipinas. Walay duhaduhang gitraydoran sa gobyernong Aquino ang katawhang Pilipino sa pagsalikway niini sa nasudnong soberanya ug patrimonya aron mapamatud-an ang grabeng pag-ampo niini sa imperyalistang US. Gituman niini ang kagustuhan sa “boss” nga imperyalistang US. Ug giregalo ngadto sa presidente sa US nga si Barack Obama ang kasabutang nagtugot nga iposisyon ang armadong kusog sa US dinhi sa Asya atubang sa kakumpetensyang Tsina. Tungod niini nabutang ang Pilipinas sa peligro, kay target na usab kini sa mga kaaway ug kakumpetensya sa US. Gipirmahan gihapon ang EDCA bisan kung wala nagpasalig ang US nga motabang sa Pilipinas ang pwersang militar niini aron batukan ang pagpangilog sa Tsina sa teritoryo niini. Sama ra kini sa wala pagtabang sa US sa dihang giatake sa Japan ang Pilipinas niadtong ika-duhang gubat pangkalibutan. Dugang pa, giabli sa itoy nga gobyerno ang tanan kampo militar, mga pantalan ug erport sa Pilipinas sa libreng paggamit sa tropang US.

Kining tanan gihimo sa rehimen sa asyenderong si Noynoy Aquino bisan pa man sa kusganong protesta sa bagang katawhan ug mismong mga mamamalaod, mga makinasudnon ug patriyotikong mga Pilipino. Daw buta-bungol ang pinaka-itoy sa US nga gobyernong Aquino sa pagbatok sa katawhan ug pa-traydor niining gipirmahan ang EDCA ug gibalewala ang mga demanda sa ibutyag ang unod sa EDCA. Sa kinatibuk-an, ang pagsulod sa EDCA pagsalikway sa interes sa katawhan, pagtraydor sa soberanya sa Pilipinas, pagpatigbabaw sa interes sa imperyalista ug pagpahugot pa sa kontrol sa imperyalismong US sa nasud.

Ang grabeng pagpakaitoy sa US sa asyenderong si Noynoy Aquino samot pang nagpakita nga ang tinuod nga kagawasan gikan sa langyaw ug imperyalistang kontrol makab-ot lamang sa pagdaug sa Demokratikong Rebolusyon sa Katawhan. Ang kawalay kagawasan ug tinuod nga independensya sa reaksyunaryog gobyerno sa Pilipinas sa Estados Unidos sukwahi sa kahimtang sa mga konsolidadong baseng masa sa rebolusyonaryong kalihukan.

Sa mga erya sa North Eastern Mindanao Region (NEMR) nga anaa ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) naggitib na ang pagtunhay ang tinuod nga kagawasan. Adunay kagawasan ang katawhan sa pag-organisa sa kaugalingon aron matubag ug iduso ang batakang mga katungod ug interes sa mabagang katawhan sa lugar. Pinaagi sa ilang mga rebolusyonaryong organisasyong masa (ROM) ang katawhan maoy nagtakda sa programang pang-ekonomiya, pang-pulitika ug pangkultura sa lugar.

Aduna sila kagawasan sa pag-uma busa naa nay igong pagkaon sa mga pamilya ug maihap na lang ang bata nga malnourish. Nahimo kini pinaagi sa pagpabarug sa ekonomiyan-sarang-sa-kaugalingon ug panggubat (ESKP) nga nag-unang nagseguro sa pagkaon ug nutrisyon ug panginabuhian sa pamilya ug tibuok komunidad. Hugot nga gibabagan usab sa katawhan niini nga mga erya ang imperyalistang mga kompanya nga naghukhuk sa bahandi sa nasud ug nagguba sa kinaiyahan. Pinaagi niini nasugdan na sa pagputol ang mga gaway sa imperyalista ug nagtunhay ang pagsalig sa kaugalingon.

Nagtunhay usab sa mga konsolidadong mga erya ang rebolusyonaryong hustisya ug kahusay nga nag-unang gipundar sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan. Nawala ang mga dunot nga kulturang gipakaylap sa imperyalista. Nawala ang kriminalidad, illegal nga droga, pagpangawat ug prostitusyon sa mga konsolidadong erya sa BHB dinhi sa NEMR. Ginapakaylap ang rebolusyonaryong kultura, adunay kagawasan sa edukasyon ug ginatudlo ang malingkawasnong edukasyon sa kabatan-onan.

Nahimo kining tanan taliwala sa nagkagrabe ug nagkabangis nga operisyong militar nga gilunsad sa nagkadaghang gibansay-sa-imperyalistang US nga armadong kusog sa Pilipinas dinhi sa NEMR. Ang mga naglapas sa tawhanong katungod nga mga say-ops ug malinglahong COPD nga nakabase sa US-COIN sa AFP dili mahimong magpukan sa rebolusyonaryong diwa sa katawhan. Nahigmata na ang katawhan sa kamatuoran, nga interes lamang sa imperyalistang US ang gipanalipdan sa mga mersenaryong tropa sa militar. Nagpahigmata usab kini sa nagkabagang katawhang Pilipino sa nagpatigbabaw nga kamatuorang nagpadayon ang imperyalistang kontrol sa US sa nasud, ug nga sa pagdaug lamang sa DRK matagamtaman ang tinuod nga kaugalingnan sa nasud Pilipinas.

Makigbisog alang sa tinuod nga kalingkawasan!
Sampa sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan!

CPP/NDF: Puspusang isulong ang paglaban sa sistemang pork barrel at paigtingin ang pagpapatalsik kay Aquino!

NDF propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 12): Puspusang isulong ang paglaban sa sistemang pork barrel at paigtingin ang pagpapatalsik kay Aquino!
Maria Roja Banua
NDFP Bicol Chapter
Nakikiisa ang National Democratic Front-Bicol sa pagkilos ng mamamayang Bikolano upang wakasan ang sistemang pork barrel at parusahan ang mga promotor nito sa Malakanyang. Tuluy-tuloy na nagpupunyagi ang libo-libong Bikolano sa maraming panig ng rehiyon upang makisanib sa laban ng milyon-milyong mamamayang pinagnanakawan ng gubyerno ni Noynoy Aquino.

Sa pagtatangkang pahupain ang galit ng sambayanan at pigilan ang kanilang pagmartsa, madaliang sinampahan ng kasong pandarambong ang mga kalaban ni Aquino sa pulitika na naunang nasangkot sa pork barrel scam. Layunin din nitong pagtakpan at ipagtanggol ang mga pork barrel kingpin katulad ng mastermind ng Disbursement Acceleration Program (o pork barrel ng pangulo) na si Budget Secretary Butch Abad, si Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, si Senate President Franklin Drilon, at iba pang mga kaalyado ni Aquino sa Kongreso. Ngunit ang gayong paglilihis ay lalo lamang naglalantad sa krimen ni Aquino sa pakikipagsabwatan sa pagnanakaw sa pondo ng bayan. Hindi lamang hungkag ang bukambibig ni Aquino na “matuwid na daan”. Ang totoo, ginagamit niya ang islogan na ito bilang pantakip sa pagpapahintulot ng tagus-tagusang korapsyon sa ilalim ng kanyang rehimen.

Higit na naging matingkad sa ilalim ng pamumuno ni Aquino ang kabuktutan ng burukrata kapitalismong malaon nang naglulugmok sa bansa sa malubhang krisis. Pinasiklab ng pork barrel scam ang galit ng mamamayan sa sistema ng pagsasamantala ng mga upisyal ng gubyerno sa kanilang mga katungkulan upang magkamal ng kapital para sa kanilang mga sarili, angkan, at mga kasabwat. Sa ilalim ng burukrata kapitalismo, hayagang ibinubuhos ang yaman at mga pribilehiyo ng estado sa pakinabang ng mga pribadong negosyo. Gayundin, ang mga negosyong pang-estado ay itinatayo at pinatatakbo upang magbenepisyo sa mga pribadong kapitalista.

Dapat puspusang mag-ambag ang mamamayang Bikolano upang isulong at palakasin ang kilusan laban sa sistemang pork barrel, kabilang na ang pagbasura sa pinakamalaki at kinasusuklamang pork barrel ng pangulo na Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). Dapat patalsikin at isakdal ang Pork Barrel King bilang pinuno ng kanyang rehimen sa pagnanakaw sa kinabukasan ng mamamayan. Magiging makabuluhan ang paghikayat ng malawak na hanay ng mga aping uri at sektor sa mga patriyotikong elemento sa panig ng 9th ID at PNP-Bicol. Katulad sa nakaraang pagpapatalsik sa mga kinamuhiang rehimen, ang pagsuporta ng militar at pulisya sa makatarungang hangarin ng mamamayan ay magpapalakas sa pag-aalsa ng laban sa rehimeng Aquino.

Titiyakin ng itatayong Konseho ng Pambansang Pagkakaisa na ang papalit na sibilyang rehimen ay may moral na katayuan upang tanganan ang pamumuno sa isang gubyernong tunay na magsisilbi sa interes ng mamamayan. Isang hakbang ito sa unti-unting pagsulong ng mamamayang Pilipino sa pagtatatag ng isang gubyernong tunay malaya sa korapsyon, at may pananagutan sa mamamayan.

DND denies army modernization link to China aggression

From Business World (Jun 12): DND denies army modernization link to China aggression

THE DEPARTMENT of National Defense (DND) said the modernization of the country’s air and naval assets is not a specific response to the movements of China, which has shown increasingly aggressive measures in disputed waters west of the Philippines.

DND Public Affairs chief Arsenio R. Andolong said the department is merely focusing on the improvement of the capability of the Philippine Air Force and Navy, which currently lack mission essential equipment.

“This has nothing to do with countering China. Our thrust is really modernizing our Air Force and Navy because that is where we are lacking,” Mr. Andolong said in the vernacular during an interview.

This year, most of the big-ticket projects of the DND involves procurement of aviation and sea vessels as opposed to acquiring land military assets such as armored tanks and assault vehicles.

Included here are the purchase of two anti-submarine helicopters, eight amphibious assault vehicles, two long range patrol aircraft, and six close-air support aircraft with a total budget of P16.4 billion.

There was also a P23.7-billion deal for the purchase for 12 FA-50s lead-in trainer fighter jets, and eight combat utility helicopters last March. These will be delivered on a staggered basis until 2017.

Mr. Andolong said only two high endurance cutters, or naval vessels, which can handle multiple missions in any weather, patrol the country’s rough seas.

These are the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16) and the BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15).

He also cited the geographical features of the country as the practical explanation why it is more prudent to acquire naval and aircraft than bulky, heavily armored steel tanks.

“The Philippines is archipelagic, not like Europe where the land mass is contiguous. Also, our forces could get stuck in the jungles if we focus on using heavy tanks,” Mr. Andolong said in Filipino.

The DND official clarified, however, that the military is not neglecting its land forces, which will also be receiving considerable upgrades in the near future.

“We have projects for land assets but they are not big-ticket items. For example, we will be procuring armored infantry vehicles that have special turrets using digital aiming and targeting systems,” the official said in Filipino.

The country’s armed forces has a modernization fund of more than P85 billion, which is set to last until 2017.

Meanwhile, The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) do not see China’s movements in the seas west of the Philippines as a threat to the territories of the proposed Bangsamoro Region.

MILF Political Affairs Vice-Chair Ghazali Jaafar said that Chinese incursions in the disputed waters will not jeopardize those places that they are vying for autonomy. “No, it isn’t [a threat to the Bangsamoro Region,]” Mr. Jaafar told BusinessWorld in a telephone interview.

Likewise, MNLF Spokesperson Atty. Emmanuel C. Fontanilla echoed Mr. Jaafar’s sentiments, saying Bangsamoro territories are not compromised due to China’s increasing territorial assertions.

“I don’t think so. It’s not a threat,” Mr. Fontanilla said in the vernacular in a telephone interview.

The nine-dashed line claim of China encompasses the whole of the China sea including waters in the overlapping economic zones of several countries including Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines and Vietnam.

These includes the much disputed Paracel and Spratly Islands, which security experts fear may become military flash points in the future.

Territorial waters of the proposed core territory of the Bangsamoro Region is approximately 400 miles away from the borders of China’s nine-dashed claim, roughly four times the distance between Metro Manila and the Province of Batangas.

Meanwhile, Mr. Fontanilla said that diplomacy is the best probable solution to end the rift between the Philippines and China, one that should be done through bilateral talks.

“The Philippines and China should have one-on-one talks. The United States shouldn’t intervene anymore so things would be clearer,” Mr. Fontanilla said in Filipino.

Mr. Jaafar, on the other hand, suggested a multilateral approach to the situation, elevating the dispute to international bodies that can help settle things.

“What should be done to neutralize tensions is through diplomatic means. It could be done through one-on-one talks, though it may be difficult if there’s no one to broker the peace agreement. The issue can be elevated to the [Southeast Asian] level and if that fails, to the United Nations,” Mr. Jaafar said in Filipino.

Last week, Malacañang assured the public that the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, which has yet to be submitted to Congress, is still on track to be approved by yearend despite the delays in the submission.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin S. Lacierda said although the draft bill is still under Executive review, President Benigno S. C. Aquino III will certify the bill urgent to Congress to hasten its passage.

“The Bangsamoro Basic Law is still being evaluated and studied by the Office of the President together with the Chief Presidential Legal Counsel. It would be certified by the President upon submission,” Mr. Lacierda said then.

Malacañang earlier said it was hoping to submit the draft Bangsamoro bill to the House of Representatives when Congress resumed sessions on May 5 to keep up with its indicative timetable approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law by end of 2014.

The plebiscite in the areas covered by the Bangsamoro is expected in 2015, while the conduct of elections for officials that will regularly administer the Bangsamoro political entity is expected to be done simultaneous with the 2016 national elections.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law will formalize the creation of the new Bangsamoro political entity that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The creation of a new autonomous region is part of a peace process to end decades of fighting that has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the region.

The draft law, which was crafted by the 15-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), was based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed between the government and the MILF last March 27.

The BTC submitted the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law to Malacañang early last May.

The MILF expects the Bangsamoro Basic Law to be passed before the President steps down in 2016, but the MNLF thinks otherwise.

Mr. Jaafar has said that the MILF remains hopeful that the proposed law will pass the scrutiny of Congress, and will be ratified before the start of the next presidential term.

Meanwhile, Mr. Fontanilla believes the opposite, citing that amendments to the Philippine Constitution must be made before the peace deal is signed into law.

“As a lawyer, I think it will not pass because it is against the Constitution,” Mr. Fontanilla said earlier.

24 former rebels get livelihood assistance from government

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 12): 24 former rebels get livelihood assistance from government

Twenty-four former rebels have received livelihood assistance from the Provincial Capitol, Matti, Digos City, Davao Del Sur last June 9.

In a statement forwarded by 39th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Apollo Jun Lamaton Thursday, the ex-rebel fighters were given a total of P1.560 million by Davao Del Sur Gov. Claude P. Bautista.

The assistance was made possible through the joint effort of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process (OPAPP), Davao Del Sur provincial government and the 39th Infantry Battalion.

Lamaton said the livelihood assistance is under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the OPAPP which aims to encourage NPA rebels to lay down their arms and return to the fold of the law.

Likewise, the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office facilitated their enrollment with the PHILHEALTH program of the government.

“We encourage all NPA rebels to take advantage of the government’s integration program. It will provide you an opportunity to return back to your families and communities and together we shall solve our problems the peaceful way," Lamaton concluded.

2 NPA rebels injured in northern Negros encounter - Army

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 12): 2 NPA rebels injured in northern Negros encounter - Army

Two suspected rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA) were injured in a gunbattle at Barangay Hilub-ang, Calatrava, Negros Occidental on Thursday morning.

Major Rey Tiongson, 3rd Infantry Division spokesman, said the firefight between soldiers of the 62nd Infantry Battalion and about 10 communist rebels lasted for some 20 minutes.

Tiongson said the two wounded rebels were able to retreat along with their comrades.

After the encounter, government troopers recovered a magazine of M14 assault rifle loaded with ammunition.

Traces of bloodstain were seen on the rebel withdrawal routes, Tiongson said.

The encounter took place as the 62nd IB soldiers pursued the NPA rebels responsible for the bombing of Lopez Sugar Corp.’s transloading station in Barangay Mabini, Escalante City on June 8.

Lt. Col. Rommel Cordova, commander of 62nd IB, said the NPA group is likely responsible for the arson and damage of sugar milling equipment.

“We will ensure that justice will be served upon these lawless elements, Cordova added.

3rd Infantry Division joins entire nation in celebrating 116th Independence Day

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 12): 3rd Infantry Division joins entire nation in celebrating 116th Independence Day
The Capiz-based 3rd Infantry Division joins the rest of the nation in the celebration of the Philippines' 116th Independence Day.

Major Ray Tiongson, the unit's spokesperson, said the 3rd Infantry Division officers and enlisted personnel will do their best to live and follow this year's theme, “Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago”.

"(This theme)surely hits every soldier’s heart as the Army here in Western Visayas continues to emulate the courage and perseverance of our forefathers in attaining our independence," he added.

Tiongson stated that in face of any challenge and adversity, the 3rd Infantry Division remains committed to exercise its sworn duties to serve the Visayan people and secure the land.

"It is likewise fully optimistic that by working together in the spirit of 'Bayanihan', we will be triumphant in attaining just and lasting peace in this region," he concluded.

President Aquino leads commemoration of 116th Philippine Independence Day

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 12): President Aquino leads commemoration of 116th Philippine Independence Day

President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday led the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites held at the Plaza Quince Martires in this province to commemorate the 116th Philippine Independence Day.

Plaza Quince Martires was chosen by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), with the President’s approval, as the venue for this year’s Independence Day celebration to honor the 15 Martyrs of Bicol whose travails helped ignite the revolution in 1896.

Taking off from the Independence Day theme of “Pagsunod sa Yapak ng mga Dakilang Pilipino, Tungo sa Malawakan at Permanenteng Pagbabago," President Aquino paid tribute to the country’s martyred heroes, who sacrificed their lives to free the Filipinos from the oppression of Spanish conquerors, leading to the proclamation of the country’s independence and the declaration of the First Philippine Republic.

“Ngayong Araw ng Kalayaan, sama-sama po tayong nagbibigay-pugay sa mga bayaning ipinaglaban ang tama. Gamitin natin silang inspirasyon sa patuloy nating paglalakbay sa daang matuwid,” President Aquino said before hundreds of Nagueños who gathered at the plaza.

“Isapuso natin ang iniwan nilang aral: ang malasakit sa ating kapwa ang maghahatid sa atin sa mga inaasam natin bilang isang lahi. Sa ganitong paraan lamang po natin masasabing tunay tayong karapat-dapat sa kanilang mga sakripisyo; sa ganitong paraan lamang po natin maitataguyod ang isang Pilipinas na ganap na makatarungan at malaya.”

President Aquino was joined by NHCP chairperson Maria Serena Diokno, Naga City Mayor John Bongat, Camarines Sur Representative Maria Leonor Robredo, National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Emmanuel Bautista, and other local and military officials during his activities here.

Representative Robredo, for her part, thanked President Aquino for choosing to be in Naga City to celebrate this year’s Independence Day and for acknowledging the sacrifices rendered by their forefathers.

“Ikinagagalak po namin, Mahal naming Pangulo, ang inyong kapasiyahan na dito sa aming lungsod ipagdiwang ang 116 na araw ng kasarinlan. Ikinalulugod po namin na matapos ang mahabang panahon, nabigyan din ng kaukulang pagpapahalaga ang mga pamana at papel na ginampanan ng mga tinitingala naming mga bayani. Mula ngayon, hindi na lamang sila mga martir ng Bicol, mga bayani rin sila ng buong Pilipinas,” she said in her message.

Apart from the flag-raising and wreath-laying rites in Camarines Sur, other Independence Day-related activities were simultaneously held at the Rizal Park in Manila, Emilio Aguinaldo Shrine in Cavite, Barasoain Church in Bulacan, Pinaglabanan Memorial Shrine in San Juan City, Bonifacio Monument in Caloocan City, Mausoleo de los Veteranos de la Revolucion at the North Cemetery in Manila, and the Pamintuan House in Angeles City.

President Aquino was also slated to meet with members of the diplomatic community for the traditional Vin d’Honneur at Malacañang Palace to celebrate the occasion.

AFP attributes NPA mass surrender to capture of Tiamzon couple

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 12): AFP attributes NPA mass surrender to capture of Tiamzon couple
With more and more New People's Army (NPA) fighters surrendering nationwide, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala on Thursday attributes the decline of the rebels to the capture of Benito and Wilma Tiamzon in Cebu last March 22.

Benito is the chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army while his wife, Wilma, is the secretary general of the movement.

As of this writing, around 100 rebels have surrendered peacefully to military authorities shortly after the arrest of the couple.

Most of the surrenderees are from Mindanao.

"That's our assessment so far, the reason why many rebels have surrendered so far is attributable to the capture of the two," Zagala said in Filipino.

He added that they are expecting more NPAs to quit the movement once they realize that peaceful means can be use in seeking societal reform.

"Well what we hope that these surrender will cascade for more surrenderees, this will encourage them to use peaceful solution (in seeking reform) than armed means," the AFP public affairs office chief stressed.

He added that the AFP is more than willing to accept these rebel fighters and return them to mainstream society.

ASG bomb expert sighted in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 12): ASG bomb expert sighted in Maguindanao

Troopers from the Maguidanao-based 6th Infantry Division have sighted Abu Sayyaf bomb expert Abdul Basit Usman during operations in Shariff Aguak town last Tuesday.

However, soldiers failed to hit the latter as the brigand made a hasty escape on, said Col. Dickson Hermoso, 6th Infantry Division spokesman, on Thursday.

He added that Usman was making improvised explosive devices (IEDs) when surprised by the military.

Hermoso stated that they are looking into the possibility that the ASG bomb expert was helping Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) make its own IEDs.

"We have establish a connection as Basit has existing alliances with the BIFF and the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI). And lately, we have been recovering a lot of IEDs in our area," he said in Filipino.

Hermoso said they are still determining whether the BIFF is getting funding from the JI aside from help in making its IEDs.

The 6th Infantry Division spokesman said the BIFF uses IEDs in their extortion bids in the area.

Basit was arrested earlier in 2006 but managed to escape.

US authorities has placed a bounty of US$ 1 million on the former's head.

Army launches 'Project A-TRIP for Gold 2014'

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 12): Army launches 'Project A-TRIP for Gold 2014'

The Philippine Army (PA) will launch the Project "A-TRIP for Gold 2014" on Friday.

It will be held at the Philippine Army Officers' Club House, Fort Andres Bonifacio, with Armed Forces of the Philippines' chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista, as the guest of honor and speaker.

The project was conceptualized by the Army Governance and Strategic Management Office (AGSMO) of the PA to serve as an umbrella project that will facilitate the accomplishment of the Army’s hallmarks in preparation for its bid to institutionalize the Performance Governance System (PGS) in the whole organization, and to achieve the Gold Governance Trailblazer Seal.

The PA adopted the PGS principle in developing the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR) which aims to transform the Army into a more capable, responsive, reliable, and professional organization committed to its mandate.

Three years after its implementation in 2010, the PA earned the PGS Proficient Status and Silver Governance Trailblazer Seal during the Public Governance Forum last March 2013.

By September 2014, the Philippine Army is expected to earn the Institutionalized Status in the PGS Pathway and receive the Gold Governance Trailblazer Seal.

This development indicates that the Philippine Army is on the right track in realizing the ATR goals and vision.

Meanwhile, the day-long activity carries the theme "Good Governance: It's the Army Way of Life".

Various units and offices of the Philippine Army will be awarded the Army Governance Pathway (AGP) Plaques of Recognition for garnering the highest points in the implementation of the ATR.

Among the units and offices of the Philippine Army who will receive the AGP Plaques of Recognition are the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans and Programs, OG5; Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, OG7; Office of the Army Internal Auditor; 3rd Infantry Division; 9th Infantry Division; 801st Infantry Brigade; 901st Infantry Brigade; 902nd Infantry Brigade; and 903rd Infantry Brigade.

Exhibit booths of the different AGP awardees will be set up to showcase their office and unit’s governance and strategy management best practices and other vital information materials leading to their successful feat.

The launching of the Army Governance and Strategy Management Handbook and the demonstration of the Performance Scorecard Management Information System will also be held during the said event.

The Philippine Army Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board (PA MSAB) Regular Meeting headed by Dr. Jesus P. Estanislao will also coincide with the day-long activity.

Military confirms Basit Usman manufacturing bombs in Maguindanao

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 12): Military confirms Basit Usman manufacturing bombs in Maguindanao

After military forces raided a Jemaah Islamiyah encampment in Maguindanao and spotted Basit Usman, a military official said Thursday said that the alleged terrorist was making bombs for Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Colonel Dickson Hermoso, spokesman of the 6th Infantry Division, said that Usman managed to flee the area unscathed.

“He was there, unfortunately, we were not able to shoot him, and he fled unwounded,” Hermoso said.

On Tuesday, government troops captured four rebels, two men and two women, one of whom turned out to be Usman’s wife.

Hermoso said that the military has established the connection that JI and the BIFF had forged an alliance with the southeast Asian terror group supporting the Islamic rebels in the manufacture of improvised explosive devices.

“We have established the connection that JI and BIFF has an alliance,” Hermoso said. “The BIFF uses many IEDs, and Basit is the one who makes it.

As a member of both the JI and the Abu Sayyaf, Usman has established such notoriety that the United States Department labels him as a “bomb-making” expert and has a $1-million bounty on his head.

Hermoso said that they are still looking for the possibility that the JI is funding the BIFF .

“We are still checking that possibility, though we are sure that the two groups have an alliance,” Hermoso said.

US proposes South China Sea provocation freeze

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 12): US proposes South China Sea provocation freeze

A US official proposed Wednesday that China and Southeast Asian nations call a moratorium on actions seen as provocative in a bid to cool tensions in the South China Sea.

Danny Russel, the top US diplomat on East Asia, said he made the suggestion as “food for thought” and not as a formal proposal as he met regional counterparts in Myanmar to prepare for a regional summit later this year.

“The claimant states themselves could identify the kind of behavior that they each find provocative when others do it, and offer to put a voluntary freeze on those sorts of actions on the condition that all the other claimants would agree to do so similarly,” Russel, an assistant secretary of state, told reporters on a conference call.

“So for example, would they be willing to make a pledge as simple as not to occupy any of the land features in the South China Sea that are currently unoccupied?”

The United States has pushed for years for a code of conduct to lay out rules to prevent the escalation of incidents in the South China Sea, an economically vital waterway in which China has overlapping claims with several other nations.

But Russel acknowledged that tensions have been “going up quickly” in the sea. Riots erupted in Vietnam last month in anger against China’s deployment of an oil rig in contested waters.

The Philippines, a US ally, has also seen increasingly tense tussles with China over control of islets and reefs in the sea.

Russel said that the Chinese delegation at the talks in Myanmar offered a “spirited and vigorous defense” of its position, but voiced hope that Beijing understood that other nations’ statements were “offered not in the spirit of condemnation, but in the spirit of compromise.”

President Barack Obama is expected to travel to Myanmar in November for the East Asia Summit on his second visit to the country formerly known as Burma, a onetime Western pariah which has embraced democratic reforms.

Secretary of State John Kerry is likely to visit Myanmar in August in preparatory meetings for the meetings, which also include a summit of the ASEAN bloc of Southeast Asian nations.

Bayan Muna: Edca won’t help PH stand up vs China

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 12): Bayan Muna: Edca won’t help PH stand up vs China

Independence Day Rally Kalaw St

The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca) will not help the Philippines stand up against the aggressiveness of China, a militant group reiterated on Thursday.

“We should stand on our own feet and get the support of all countries who respect our sovereignty, not just the US and not through the return of US troops,” Former Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Teddy Casiño told reporters.

“Edca will only worsen the situation and escalate the possibility of conflict in the region,” he said.

Militant groups marched to the US Embassy Thursday to commemorate Philippine Independence Day and to protest the Edca.

Edca was signed by the Philippines and US last April 2014 paving for the increased rotational presence of US troops that will be stationed in “agreed locations” throughout the country.

The agreement is widely regarded as a deterrent to China’s aggressive territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. said that Edca allows US troops to stay indefinitely because of its provision allowing automatic renewal after an initial period of 10 years.

He said the agreement “grossly undermines” Philippine Independence.

The protesters were blocked by police in front of the National Library of the Philippines in Manila where they held their program.

Japan slams China over close encounter of jets

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 12): Japan slams China over close encounter of jets

Japan lodged a diplomatic protest with Beijing on Wednesday after Chinese military jets flew near Japanese military aircraft over the East China Sea, an official said.

Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said two Chinese SU27 fighters approached as close as 30 meters (100 feet) to Japanese aircraft on Wednesday morning. He said the Chinese planes posed a danger to the Japanese aircraft and a serious incident could have occurred.

He said the Japanese planes were on a regular surveillance mission in international airspace, and that Japan would continue to defend its territory.

Calls to the Chinese defense ministry’s press office rang unanswered.

The two countries have increased patrols by ships and military planes to press their conflicting territorial claims in the East China Sea. They had a similar incident on May 24.

Tensions between the two Asian rivals worsened in recent years over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. Japan controls the islands but China also claims them.

Japanese fighter jets were scrambled in response to foreign aircraft 810 times last year, more than half of them Chinese, according to a recent Defense Ministry report.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday all states should ensure they respect the safety of aircraft in flight.

“Any attempt to interfere with freedom of overflight in international airspace raises regional tensions and increases the risk of miscalculation, confrontation and unintended incidents,” she told reporters.

China land reclamation may soon cover 3 more sites, seen as tool for 'supremacy'– report

From InterAksyon (Jun 12): China land reclamation may soon cover 3 more sites, seen as tool for 'supremacy'– report

China’s ongoing land reclamation in five reefs in the disputed Spratly Islands is widely seen by the Philippine Government as preparation for more land reclamation operations, this time in three areas closer to the Philippines.

And, per the latest separate assessment by local and foreign experts, China will use oil exploration and reclamation to project its supremacy in the region, as a proxy for its navy which is still not yet fully equipped "to overcome the logistical challenges" like distance in asserting its will.

A confidential Malacanang report detailed the land reclamation activities of China in five areas, namely, at Johnson South (Mabini) Reef, Cuarteron (Calderon) Reef, Hughes (Kennan) Reef, Gaven (Burgos) Reef and Eldad (Malvar) Reef.

The report noted China has focused its land reclamation operations in areas which are “farther” from the Philippine mainland. No such activities were monitored in three other areas - Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef, Subi (Zamora) Reef and Mischief (Panganiban) Reef - where China had built military garrisons and communications facilities.

The report, however, does not rule out the possibility of China doing land reclamation in these three areas once the work is done in the first five reefs.

Reclamation, oil exploration to project supremacy

The assessment by both local and international observers is that the expansion of China’s existing garrisons in these areas is part of Beijing’s ongoing efforts to impose its supremacy over the area.

The Malacanang report estimates Beijing will likely start land reclamation work at Fiery Cross Reef and Subi Reef first. China has built a formidable garrison at Fiery Cross Reef, where some 200 Chinese troops are stationed and which contains air and surface search radars as well as satellite data transmission facilities. The Fiery Cross Reef garrison also has helicopter landing pads and a wharf.

The Fiery Cross Reef garrison is heavily armed with naval guns and is considered as China’s main headquarters within the Philippines’ Kalayaan Island Group.

The Chinese garrison in Subi Reef also has around 200 troops stationed, as well as helicopter landing pads.

Senior Aquino Administration officials noted, however, China may hold off from any activity at Mischief Reef due to its proximity to the Philippines. Officials said Beijing expects Manila to adopt a more aggressive diplomatic stance and attract more international attention should there be any land reclamation activity at Mischief Reef.

The Philippines and China already had several clashes over Mischief Reef. From several octagonal structures on stilts that first drew Manila’s uproar in 1995, China now has at least four building complexes in Mischief Reef, and over a hundred soldiers guarding the communications facilities, docks and landing pad.

The geopolitical analysis website Stratfor pointed out China is using the strategy of oil exploration activities and land reclamation activities to enforce its claim over the disputed Spratlys and Paracel Islands.

 In its recent paper on rising tensions between China and Vietnam over the Paracel Islands, Stratfor said Beijing’s use of oil exploration activities is one example of how “it is firming up its presence and gradually eroding other claimants’ ability to challenge its supremacy.”

Stratfor says Beijing will continue to push its boundaries using this strategy as it still has to build up its navy’s logistical capability. “China’s navy is not good enough to overcome the logistical challenges such distances present, so its ability to project its dominance throughout the maritime sphere is limited,” Stratfor said.

According to Stratfor, Beijing will continue with its three-step strategy:

1. Use the nine – dash line as a historical justification for its continued operations in disputed waters;
2. Enforce its claim in “tactically advantageous areas where it has an actual presence,” such as the Paracels and Scarborough Shoal;
3. Continue to develop its military and technological capability to carefully push its maritime boundaries farther “without antagonizing all of its neighbors at once.”