Friday, June 13, 2014

Paquibato District declared as development ready area

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 13): Paquibato District declared as development ready area

Authorities formally declared Paquibato District in Davap City as a development ready area, in time for the commemoration of the 116th Independence Day at Barangay Paquibato Proper.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte   led the local barangay chairs, members of the Association of Regional Executives of National Agencies 11, the 10th Infantry Division, Eastern Mindanao Command, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, civil society organizations and the residents of Paquibato in signing the manifesto supporting the thrust and commitment for the development of the area.

The manifesto signified the aspiration of the residents for a lasting peace, progress and prosperity.

“In the spirit of the whole of nation-concept, we pledge to provide the services of respective government agencies to reach out to the marginalized families in far-flung communities, complementing the programs and services of the city government of Davao in helping Paquibato District as a development ready community,” the manifesto said.

Lt. General Emmanuel Bautista, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines also lead other military commanders in signing the manifesto while Engr. Mariano Alquiza, president of the ARENA 11, Efren Elbanbuena, regional director of the Philippine Information Agency 11, Retired Brig. General Loreto Rirao, director of the Office of Civil Defense affixed their respective signatures to the manifesto.

Mayor Duterte reiterated his stance that he is the mayor of all regardless of political and ethnic affiliation.

He told the rebels to spare and not to destroy the peace monument in Paquibato which states the prayer and aspiration for peace to rein in the area.

Duterte said that as Filipinos, soldiers and rebels are not really enemies, but might only have differences in principles.

He called on Leoncio Pitao, alias Kumander Parago of the Pulang Bagani Command 1 not to do harassment against the government troops.

“Pick up your fights.  It is not all the time you hurt a soldier or any government functionary, what you get out of it,” Duterte pointed out.

He also told the public that he will not resort to rid of Kumander Parago.

Duterte said he no longer has anyone to talk to on incidents like abduction of soldiers.

“It is not all the time that we arrest you because you are rebels, for what?” he pointed out.

He proposed to the rebels to allow the entry of Malaysian and Thai investors who would venture on palm oil plantation in Paquibato.

Duterte said the investors need 100,000 hectares of land for their operation.

“I am offering this now to the New People’s Army in front of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, it does not mean that you will surrender.  Simply set aside your weapons, talk to the investors by coming up with a joint venture, where you land will be used as plantation at a price you agree on,” he said.

Duterte said, he will ask the President and the military that in the mean time, the rebels and the residents will enjoy the venture in terms of work and income.

Bautista urged everyone to preserve the gains of peace and to reject violence.

He hoped that everyone will cooperate in the realization in the aspiration of Paquibato of residents following the declaration of Paquibato’s readiness to development.

Bautista pledged the determination of the military to defend the peace in Paquibato District.

“We can only achieve this if we help one another.  We need your cooperation,” he told the Paquibato residents.

Bautista also called on the rebels to join in the mainstream society and be one in the realization of peace and development.

Abu Sayyaf member tagged in Lamitan siege captured

From the Philippine Star (Jun 13): Abu Sayyaf member tagged in Lamitan siege captured

A suspected Abu Sayyaf member tagged in the 2001 Lamitan siege was captured by security forces in Lantawan, Basilan, according to police on Friday.

The Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) district office here said Aning Alamsirul alias Raham or Kaiser was arrested by its operatives and elements of the Special Action Force (SAF), Philippine Army and Philippine Air Force intelligence units.

The CIDG said the suspect has a standing warrant of arrest issued by Basilan Judge Danilo Bucoy in connection with his alleged involvement in the Lamitan siege in June 2001.

The Abu Sayyaf Group led by then slain leaders Kahaddy Janjalani and Aldam Tilao alias Abu Sabaya with 20 tourists, including three Americans, in tow raided the hospital compound in Lamitan and took four more nurses and hospital staff as captives.

Alamsirul is undergoing tactical interrogation at the CIDG regional headquarters in the city.

Navy man among terror suspects held

From the Star Online (Jun 14): Navy man among terror suspects held

Anti-terror swoop Counter-terrorism officers preparing to storm the house in Sandakan where the suspects were hiding yesterday.

Anti-terror swoop Counter-terrorism officers preparing to storm the house in Sandakan where the suspects were hiding yesterday.

PETALING JAYA: A Royal Malaysian Navy officer is among three men arrested in Sabah for being part of a militant group planning to undertake suicide bombings and attack missions in Syria and Iraq.

They are linked to rebel groups called the Islamic State of Iraq and Sham (ISIS) in the Middle East and the notorious Al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines.

With the latest arrests by the Counter-Terrorism Unit, 15 members of the group have been detained since April 28 in various parts of the country.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohd Bakri Zinin said the three men aged 29, 30 and 31 were detained in a special operation at a house in Sandakan in the east coast of Sabah yesterday.
“We believe one of the suspects, aged 30, is a senior leader in the local militant group.

“Investigations reveal that the suspect had undergone training at a camp belonging to the Abu Sayyaf in southern Philippines,” he said.

Game over: Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division personnel apprehending the 30-year-old main suspect, believed to be a senior leader of the militant group in Sandakan, Sabah.

Game over: Bukit Aman Special Branch Counter Terrorism Division personnel apprehending the 30-year-old main suspect, believed to be a senior leader of the militant group in Sandakan, Sabah.

Mohd Bakri said the suspect sneaked back into Sabah on June 11 and hid in a house in Sandakan.

“The Navy officer, who was based in Sandakan, is believed to have harboured the suspect along with another man.

“All three are being detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma),” he said.

According to sources, the militants were trained in southern Philippines, had slipped into Sabah and were planning to fly to Syria and Iraq, where the ISIS militant group is carrying out attacks to topple the existing regime.

The sources said the militant group’s game plan was to go to Syria and launch attacks before heading to Iraq for their “end game”.

An officer standing guard over one of the suspects after the raid.

An officer standing guard over one of the suspects after the raid.

“After the attacks, they were planning to launch suicide bombings in Iraq,” the sources said.

They said the 31-year-old Navy officer had helped smuggle in the senior leader from southern Philippines into Sabah on June 11 and also harboured him at a safe house in Sandakan.

“It is alarming that a Navy officer, who knew the suspect was wanted by the police, willingly aided the militant,” said a source.

The source said the 29-year-old suspect, who is the brother of the senior leader, ran a logistics transport company in Sabah.

“Both brothers are pretty much into the same ideology,” he added.

The sources said they believed that other members of the militant group were still being trained in Abu Sayyaf strongholds in Jolo and Basilan.
They said that although 15 militants had been arrested so far, no weapon had been discovered.

The sources said the Counter Terrorism Division was keeping a close watch along the borders of Sabah and other entry points in the country to ensure remnants of the militant group do not make use of Malaysia as a springboard for attacks in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Navy chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar said the arrested naval man held the rank of leading hand, the equivalent of a corporal in the army.

“We don’t condone such activity. This is a police case and we will let them investigate. We will take action after the investigation is completed,” he said.

Pasig court to get custody of Abu financier

From ABS-CBN (Jun 13): Pasig court to get custody of Abu financier

A commander and financier of the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group is set to be remanded today to the custody of the Pasig City court where he is facing multiple murder and frustrated murder charges, an official said yesterday.

Senior Superintendent Roberto Fajardo, head of the National Capital Region (NCR) of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) said it is now up to the Pasig court to determine where Khair Mundos, 50, would be detained.

“There is a big possibility that Mundos would join his Abu Sayyaf colleagues in their detention cell in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. But it is up to the court to decide,” said Fajardo.

Mundos is temporarily detained in the Philippine National Police custodial cell at Camp Crame.

The charges were filed in connection with the raid on the Dos Palmas resort in Palawan in May 2001, wherein 20 hostages were taken.

The Abu Sayyaf killed at least five of the original hostages, including Americans Guillermo Sobero and Martin Burnham. At least 22 Filipino soldiers were killed in attempts to rescue the hostages in the year following the raid, until Burnham’s wife, Gracia, was freed in Mindanao in June 2002.

The case, initially filed in Mindanao, was transferred to the Pasig court.

Mundos – allegedly the financier and middleman in the group’s transactions with the al-Qaeda terror network, was arrested at his brother’s house on Bonifacio street in Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque City Wednesday.

Fajardo said Mundos, who admitted being a former commander of the Abu Sayyaf, allegedly receives money from al-Qaeda to finance the Abu Sayyaf’s terror activities.

Laptop recovered

A laptop computer was recovered by police and military bomb experts who conducted a sweep of the compound where Mundos was arrested.

“The bomb search was negative but a laptop computer was recovered,” Southern Police District director Chief Superintendent Jose Erwin Villacorte told The STAR.

A source said the owner of the house agreed to have the bomb experts search Mundos’ room.

Barangay San Dionisio is located near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1.

Relocation awaits informants?

Mundos carries a $500,000 bounty on his head offered by the United States justice department for his alleged involvement in the Dos Palmas raid.

According to a report by the Voice of America in May last year, the US Reward for Justice program is “prepared to protect informants by relocating them.”

Mundos was arrested in 2004 but his colleagues sprung him from jail in Kidapawan City, Cotabato in 2007.

“Since his escape from jail in 2007, he sought refuge with his relatives in Metro Manila to escape the heat in Mindanao,” Fajardo said.

The CIDG official said Mundos’ arrest came following two months of surveillance.

Hawaii National Guard Mobilized to Rebuild Typhoon-Damaged School in the Philippines

From the Honolulu Civil Beat (Jun 12): Hawaii National Guard Mobilized to Rebuild Typhoon-Damaged School in the Philippines

Guard will join soldiers and airmen from the Guam National Guard to deploy to Tacloban City.

HI-Philippines Recovery Effort

Gov. Neil Abercrombie speaking at the Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu, June 11.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and State Adjutant General Maj. Gen. Darryll Wong today announced plans for the Hawaii National Guard to help rebuild a school in the Philippines damaged by Typhoon Haiyan.
“The people of Hawaii stand with our Filipino brothers and sisters who are still suffering from the after-effects of one of the worst tropical cyclones ever recorded,” Abercrombie said in a press release.  “We’re very grateful to our Guardsmen and women who will be sharing our aloha and kokua with the people of the Philippines.”
By the end of June, soldiers from Guard and soldiers and airmen from the Guam National Guard will begin deploying to Tacloban City to rebuild the Marasbaras National High School.
“Shortly after Typhoon Haiyan, Gov. Abercrombie directed the Hawaii National Guard to develop a recovery mission in the Philippines to help those who had been impacted by the storm,” Wong said in a press release.
Wong continued: “The Governor’s concern was that often recovery efforts lose momentum once activities no longer make the headline news. Based on that guidance, we sought out an engineering project that would help with the long-term recovery, while providing realistic training for our personnel as well as the armed forces of the Philippines.”
The  work includes demolishing and replacing roofing panels and damaged structures, “constructing new roofs, upgrading the electrical system, installing light fixtures and ceiling fans to all three classrooms, and replacing classroom windows and doors.”
The project is expected to be completed in September.
Acting Consul General Roberto Bernardo said in a press release, “On behalf of the Philippine government we thank you very much for the tremendous outpouring of support from the U.S. government, Hawaii and all over the world. Mabuhay."
Haiyan devastated parts of the Philippines in November 2013.

Photo: Battle ready

From the Manila Standard Today (Jun 14): Photo: Battle ready

Troops of 11th Marine battalion cap off their 6 months training in  Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City on June 13, 2014 for their deployment in Zamboanga next week. DANNY PATA

Khair Mundos planned to bomb LRT in 2002—report

From GMA News (Jun 13): Khair Mundos planned to bomb LRT in 2002—report

Wanted Abu Sayyaf commander nabbed in Parañaque

After a seven-year manhunt, Khair Mundos, a top ranking Abu Sayyaf leader who has a $500,000 bounty on the US Most Wanted list, was arrested by PNP-CIDG agents in Barangay San Dionisio, Parañaque City on Wednesday, June 11. Mundos is believed to be a financier of the bandit group. GMA News

Arrested Abu Sayyaf commander Khair Mundos funded at least two aborted bombings targeting public places in Metro Manila in 2002, a military intelligence document has said.
Citing an intelligence report from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), an exclusive report by Ian Cruz aired over GMA News TV's “Balitanghali” said Mundos was part of the plot to bomb the LRT Central Station in Manila over a decade ago.
Mundos also funded an attempt to bomb a Cher Transport Bus in October 2002, the report added.
The GMA News TV report further said that Mundos was behind the bombing of a Golden Highway Transit Bus along EDSA on October 18, 2002.  The attack killed two persons.
Police arrested Mundos on Wednesday in Parañaque City. The Abu Sayyaf leader had a P1.2-million bounty for his arrest. 
AFP spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala earlier said that Mundos' arrest "will greatly affect the operation of Abu Sayyaf Group in terms of financial sourcing."
Mundos was a security guard and an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) before he became part of the Abu Sayyaf in 1999, the exclusive report said.
As a member of the bandit group, Mundos was also tasked to talk to Arab financiers of an attempt to bomb the US Embassy in Manila in 2001, the report added.

Lawmaker optimistic on MNLF-MILF talks

From Business World (Jun 13): Lawmaker optimistic on MNLF-MILF talks

A lawmaker is confident that the dialogue between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) will yield positive results for the advancement of the peace process in Mindanao.

Sulu Representative Tupay T. Loong (1st District), in a telephone interview with BusinessWorld, expressed hope for peace between the two separatist groups so that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) is a lasting one.

“We are hoping that the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) will use their influence so that there will be reconciliation between the MILF and the MNLF,” said Mr. Loong, who is also chairman of the House Committee on Muslim Affairs.

The dialogue, initiated by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), is set to take place Saturday in Saudi Arabia.

The groups will be represented by MNLF Secretary General for Foreign Affairs Abdulbaki Abubakr and MILF Chief Peace Negotiator Mohagher Iqbal.

Meanwhile, MNLF Spokesperson Emmanual Fontanilla said the group is willing to go through with the dialogue but will push for independence of all of Mindanao.

“We are not averse to the idea of a unity talk. However, we insist that the subject will be about the independence [of Mindanao] through peaceful means, under the auspices of the United Nations, through right of self-determination,” Mr. Fontanilla said in a text message.

MILF Political Affairs Vice-Chairman Ghazali Jaafar, however, was mum about what definitive and concrete results may come from the brokered dialogue, but he clarified that the MILF still hopes to work with the MNLF.

“We really don’t know what will happen. Ang mahalaga is for our representatives na maipaliwanag yung position ng MILF (What’s important is that our representatives can explain the MILF’s position). Yes, we are expecting that we could work with them [MNLF],” Mr. Jafaar said through telephone.

The Philippine government made some headway in the peace process when it signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the MILF on March 17.

However, Congress has not yet passed the law needed to formalize the creation of a new political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Philippines files protest over alleged reclamation on Hughes Reef

From the Business World (Jun 13): Philippines files protest over alleged reclamation on Hughes Reef

The Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest to the Chinese embassy over its reclamation activities on the Hughes (Kennan) Reef, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Friday.

The DFA said there are supposed reclamation activities of China in five reefs: Johnson South (Mabini), Cuarteron (Calderon), Hughes (Kennan), Gaven (Burgos) and Eldad (Malvar).

“As far as I know on the Mabini [Reef], we have filed [a protest] already. While in Kennan/Hughes, we have filed a protest last week,” DFA Spokesperson Charles C. Jose told reporters in a press briefing.

Mr. Jose said the protest was filed since the reclamation activities on the Hughes Reef were confirmed already, while those in other areas are still to be verified.

The DFA spokesperson added in a text message that the Hughes Reef is “actually two reefs but taken as one.”

In May, the department released a series of photographs that appeared to show large-scale reclamation in stages on a disputed reef in the South China Sea, also known as the West Philippine Sea.

“This series of photographs... from Philippine intelligence sources, shows in stages the extensive reclamation by China on Mabini Reef (Johnson South Reef),” the DFA earlier said in a statement.

The department said that these actions are considered “destabilizing” and violates the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and the international law.

The Philippines said it filed a diplomatic protest against China’s reclamation efforts on the Mabini reef in April, but Beijing rejected it on grounds that the reef is supposedly part of Chinese territory.

Asked on the plans for the supposed reclamation activities in the other areas, Mr. Jose said in a text message: “If reclamation work is confirmed, we’ll also file a protest.”

Malacañang, for its part, said it would not respond to “provocative acts”.

“Well, apparently, they are very aggressive in pursuing their expansion in the West Philippine Sea, and obviously, these steps are designed to advance the theory of their nine-dash line,” Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail F. Valte said at a separate press briefing on Friday.

Ms. Valte added that the Philippines will still choose diplomacy to address the ongoing tensions with China: “We have chosen those tracks: the legal, the political, as well as the diplomatic; and we will stick to that. Again, we will not respond to provocative acts.”

302nd IB reports death of 19 CTs, capture of 44

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 13): 302nd IB reports death
of 19 CTs, capture of 44

The 302nd Infantry Brigade in Tanjay City, Negros Oriental, engaged members of the New People’s Army in 36 encounters, that led to the death of 19 communist terrorists and the capture of 44 CTs, during the command of Brig. Gen. Francisco Patrimonio that lasted more than two years.

The arrests included alleged CPP/NPA leaders Remegio Espina, Nilda Bertolano, a certain Cristituto “alias Onyot”, Felimon Mendrez, Calixto “alias Esok”, Ernesto Tamado, Junie Dacaldacal, Dionesia “alias Elmo”, and Rene Bustamante “alias Pediong”, who were reportedly operating in regions 6 and 7.

Patrimonio turned over the 302nd IB command to Col. Allan Martin Wednesday, and is now the assistant division commander of the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Jamindan, Capiz.

Under his command, the Brigade reported the surrender of 297 regular members of the Yunit Militia, the recovery of 32 high-powered and 60 low-powered firearms, and seizure of 42 communist terrorist camps and harbor sites. The conduct of Bayanihan team activities also resulted in the clearing of 41 insurgent-affected barangays in Negros.

The soldiers also participated in disaster response operations that saved the lives of hundreds of victims during typhoon “Sendong” on Dec. 17, 2011, the 6.9 magnitude earthquake on Feb 6. 2012, and typhoon “Pablo” on Dec. 4, 2012.

The 302nd is a consistent awardee as “Best Brigade”, not only of the 3rd ID but for the entire AFP Central Command.

Patrimonio was cited for the involvement of the Brigade in 273 medical missions that benefitted about 100,000 indigents, in coordination with the provincial government of Negros Oriental.

He received several commendations, including a command plaque “for his untiring efforts and dedication to duty to drastically reduce the number of armed insurgents in the province”, that eventually resulted in the declaration of Negros Oriental a conflict manageable and development ready.

Patrimonio said he is confident that Martin will carry the unit to greater heights, and said a lot more remains to be done for Negros.

Solon wants investigation

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 13): Solon wants investigation
on arrest of RPA leader

An immediate investigation by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process, Armed Forces of the Philippines and National Police on the arrest of a leader of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade and confiscation of firearms from his possession is being sought by Abang Lingkod party-list Rep. Stephen Paduano.
Paduano, a former national commander of the RPA-ABB, said the raid on the house of Marlon de los Santos in San Carlos City, appears to be a violation of the peace agreement between the government and the RPM-P-RPA-ABB.
De los Santos was immediately charged for violation of RA 10591, or the amended law on illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, before the San Carlos City Prosecutor’s Office.
The raid on the house of de los Santos in Brgy. 2, San Carlos City, yielded an M-16 assault rifle, a carbine and a .45 caliber pistol, with magazines of assorted ammunition, police records showed.
De los Santos used to be the RPA-ABB commander in the 1st 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.
Paduano said OPPAP, AFP and PNP should investigate the arrest of de los Santos, to determine if there was politics, or it was an attempt to sabotage the ongoing peace agreement between the RPM-P-RPA-ABB and the government.
Col. Jon Aying, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said there is need for an immediate dialog between the OPPAP, Kapatiran and the PNP to resolve it, as soon as possible.
“We don’t want to jeopardize the peace process,” Aying said stressing that he had noted a lapse of coordination among government agencies.

In an interview with ABS-CBN, Chief Supt. Josephus Angan, regional police director of Western Visayas, justified the arrest of de los Santos and the confiscation of guns from his residence, saying that they followed procedures in conducting the raid.
Angan said that if de los Santos is indeed a member of the RPA-ABB, it is up to him to prove this in court and present documents that the guns taken from him are covered by the profiling.
If they have the documents, it must be presented to the Fiscal’s Office. But I think they failed to present their evidence… what we have will be the search warrant issued by the judge and the result of operations on the illegal items, specifically firearms, that were in his possession, he added.
The Regional Special Operations Group of the Western Visayas police led the simultaneous raids in San Carlos City, that also led to the arrest of Kagawad Jose Tam Ramas and Mario Ramas in Brgy. Nataban, San Carlos City.
A .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 were taken from the houses of the kagawad and Ramas, who are now charged for violation of RA 10591.
The three suspects are still in jail, as of yesterday.

Two reds injured in battle

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 13): Two reds injured in battle

Army soldiers, pursuing suspected New People’s Army rebels responsible for the recent bombing of a sugar mill transloading station, encountered them yesterday, and inflicted injuries on two, in Brgy. Macasilao, Calatrava.

Col. Jon Aying, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said the gunbattle started after soldiers of the 62nd Infantry Battalion responded to reports from civilians about the presence of about 10 suspected NPA rebels in the place.
The running gunbattle, that lasted for 20 minutes, led to the injuries of two fleeing rebels, who were hit in the back and shoulder, Aying, said, citing reports of civilians.
A magazine of an M-14 assault rifle loaded with ammunition was recovered at the encounter site, while traces of bloodstains were seen at the withdrawal routes of the rebels, Aying added.
No casualty was reported on the government side.
Lt. Col. Rommel Cordova, 62IB commander, said they were able to locate the NPA group responsible for the bombing of the transloading station owned by the Lopez Sugar Corp. in Brgy. Mabini, Escalante City, the damage from which was placed at about P14 million.
Cordova said they have alerted their medical team to treat injured rebels who may come down to surrender and seek medical help.
Major Gen. Aurelio Baladad,3ID commander, reminded troops to maintain their professionalism and strictly follow the rule of law, and observe respect for human rights, as they pursue the fleeing rebels

CPP/NDF: Atol sa “Adlaw sa Kaugalingnan”, ang katawhang Pilipino kinahanglang subling magpadayag sa iyang baruganan alang sa nasudnong demokratikong rebolusyon nga dunay sosyalistang perspektiba, kini ang bugtong dalan sa tinuod nga kaugalingnan

NDF propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 12): Atol sa “Adlaw sa Kaugalingnan”, ang katawhang Pilipino kinahanglang subling magpadayag sa iyang baruganan alang sa nasudnong demokratikong rebolusyon nga dunay sosyalistang perspektiba, kini ang bugtong dalan sa tinuod nga kaugalingnan

Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris)
NDFP Mindanao Chapter
Sulod sa mga dekada, ang nangagi ug pagkakarong reaksyonaryong kagamhanan sa Pilipinas mipahamtang sa Katawhang Pilipino nga dawaton sa hingpit nga ang atong nasud gawasnon na sa kontrol sa bisan unsa nga gamhanang nasud. Sa tinuoray, usa kini ka pinakadakung bakak nga matag karon-ug-unya pugos nga ginapatulon sa sa mga nagharing hut-ong nga agalong yutaan ug komprador ug sa imperyalistang US ngadto sa masang Pilipino.

Dili kami mahimong kabahin sa usa ka kasaulogan, nga mituis sa kasaysayan sa Rebolusyonaryong pakigbisog sa katawhang Pilipino pinaagi sa padayong paghatag sa pasidungog sa imperyalistang US ug sa iyang pwersa sa Pasipiko ug Asia isip mga tig-palingkawas sa Pilipino ug mihatag kanato sa mini nga kaugalingnan.

Ang kaugalingnan dili mahimong ihatag o ideklara sa usa ka langyaw nga nasud ngadto sa usa ka nasud; maangkon lang kini pinaagi sa pakigbisog sa usa ka katawhan. Busa, ang katawhang Pilipino kinahanglang mopadayon sa pagsalmot ug pagpursige sa rebolusyonaryong pakigbisog batok sa imperyalista ug lokal nga nagharing hut-ong, mopatuman sa tinuod nga repormang agraryo ug nasudnong industriyalisasyon ug madaugong motukod sa tinuod nga sosyalistang katilingban. Niini lang nga paagi makab-ot ang tinuod nga kaugalingnan.

Ang pagdeklara sa Kaugalingnan sa Hunyo 12, 1898, nahimong possible lang pinaagi sa mabayanihong rebolusyon sa katawhan batok sa paghari sa Espanyol, apan ang maong kadungganan way kaulaw nga gisakmit sa imperyalistang US pinaagi sa pagpailalom sa proteksyon niini ang itoy nga republika ni Aguinaldo ug mipadayon sa pag-ataki sa mga rebolusyonaryong Pilipino, ilabi na batok niadtong mipadayon sa pakigbisog alang sa tinuod nga kaugalingnan.

Dihang gigamit sa imperyalistang US ang pyudalismo isip ekonomikanhong base, ang gisangpotan nga semi-pyudal nga ekonomiya minodnod sa katawhan sa lawom nga lapok sa kaulipnan ug pagpahimulos, nga nag-unang nagsandig sa uhaw sa subrang ginansya nga mga multi-national nga mina, agri-plantasyon ug ubang dagkung korporasyon, nga nag-una kining gipanag-iyahan sa US.

Ang ekonomikanhong kaulipnan nagkahulogan usab sa pulitikanhong kaulipnan. Makita atol sa pagbisita ni Obama sa Pilipinas , ang rehimeng Aquino, tukma sa iyang pagka-itoy sa kagustohan sa iyang imperyalistang amo nga mugnaon ang usa ka Trans-Pacific Partnership, mideklara sa implementasyon sa Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement o EDCA, usa kini ka makiusa kabahin nga kasabutan nga dayag nga nagsabotahi sa atong soberenya ug patrimonya.

Bisan sa unsang pangulipas sa reaskyonaryong gobyerno, ang EDCA, mitransporma sa tibuok Pilipinhong kapuloan ngadto sa usa ka dakung base militar sa US nga gamiton sa walay limita sa gidaghanon sa mga tropang US ( idugang kini sa naa na sa Mindanao ug ubang parte sa nasud) apil dinhi ang mga barko ug eroplanong iggugubat nga seguradong dunay nukleyar nga katakus.

Pinaagi sa pasangil nga panalipdan ang Pilipinas batok sa pag-okupar sa Tsina sa West Philippines Sea, ang EDCA nagtugot sa pagbalhin sa pwersa militar sa US alang sa posibleng panagsangka batok sa Tsina ginamit ang daghang mga lokasyon sa Pilipinas isip panukaran sa iyang estratihiya nga Asia Pivot, ilabi na niining panahona nga ang pinansyal nga krisis sa US paspas nga nagkasamot ug ang “debt bubble” duol na mobuto.

Ang US ug ang iyang lokal nga mga itoy buot lang nga maseguro ang padayong ekonomikanhong monopolyo pinaagi sa kaulipnan sa dugay nang nag-antus nga katawhan ug pugngan sila nga dili makalunsad sa nasudnong demokratikong rebolusyon. Mao nga ang pwersa militar sa US uban sa iyang mga lokal nga kaanib, ang AFP ug PNP, nangandam usab nga moataki batok sa mga lokal nga rebolusyonaryong kalihokan ginamit ang mga modernong hinagibang pangkombat ug surbeylans, partikular ang mga UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) o drones.

Ang deklarasyon sa reaksyonaryong gobyerno sa adlaw sa kaugalingnan walay pulos kun di usa ka panglingla. Inay ipakawalay bili ang kahulogan sa “adalw sa kaugalingnan pinaagi sa pagpabaha sa mga gagmayng bandera sa kadalanan, ang NDFP nanawagan sa tibuok rebolusyonaryong pwersa ug sa nasud Pilipinas sa subling pagpalig-on sa baruganan niini nga isulong ang kadaugan sa nasudnon-demokratikong rebolusyon ug kab-oton ang sosyalismo.

Makab-ot lang nato ang tinuod nga kaugalingnan kun, pinaagi sa malungtarong gubat sa katawhan, mabugto na ang control ug maniubra sa imperyalistang US ug iyang mga itoy, hingpit nga mawagtang ang pyudalismo ug libreng maapod-apod ang kayutaan sa mga mag-uuma, matukod ang nasudnong industriya ug mahuptan ang tinuod nga pulitikanhong gahum sa dinaugdaug ug pinahimuslang mga hut-ong.

Subay sa kasamtangang kahimtang karon, ang konkretong ug hinanali nga expression sa atong pakigbisog alang sa tinuod nga kaugalingnan mao pagpalagpot sa gahum sa itoy nga kagamhanan – ang reaksyonaryong rehimeng US-Aquino.


CPP: CPP hits AFP for fake mass surrenders

Propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 13): CPP hits AFP for fake mass surrenders

Communist Party of the Philippines
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today lambasted the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for orchestrating fake mass surrender ceremonies and fabricating figures to conjure the illusion that the AFP is winning the war against the New People’s Army (NPA), especially in Mindanao.

Yesterday, the AFP spokesperson claimed that 100 members of the NPA have surrendered since the arrest and detention of CPP leaders and NDFP peace consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria last March 22.

“The AFP’s claims are completely baseless,” said the CPP. “The surrender ceremonies being conducted by the AFP leadership over the past several months are all a hoax.”

“As before, officials of the AFP have been organizing fake surrender ceremonies and recycling old weapons in order to pocket the millions of pesos allotted by the Aquino regime for rewards,” added the CPP.

“Contrary to the AFP’s lies, young people from the peasantry, workers and other toiling classes, as well as from the students and rank-and-file ordinary employees, continue to line up to join the NPA across the country in their aspiration to put an end to the oppressive and exploitative ruling system,” pointed out the CPP.

“The continuing unjust detention of the Tiamzons and other peace consultants demonstrates clearly the Aquino regime’s continuing failure to address the Filipino people’s basic national and democratic demands through peace negotiations, and further underscores the justness and necessity of waging revolutionary armed struggle.”

The CPP pointed out that all NPA units across the country continue to launch big and small tactical offensives. News of NPA tactical offensives continue to be published daily in the CPP’s website."

Sayyaf-trained Malaysian militant, 2 others arrested in Sabah

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Jun 13): Sayyaf-trained Malaysian militant, 2 others arrested in Sabah

Three Malaysian nationals, one of them trained by the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiya in the southern Philippines, had been arrested in Sandakan town in the Malaysian eastern state of Sabah, reports said on Friday.

Malaysian authorities did not release the names of the three men, but one of them is a naval personnel and the other is a civilian who were said to have aided the entry of the militant to Sabah through the southern Filipino province of Tawi-Tawi.

The men were arrested during an anti-terrorism operation, the second in Sandakan since April where authorities also arrested 11 other militants.

It was not immediately known how Malaysia was able to track down the militants in Sabah, but it earlier foiled a terror plot which was supposed to be carried out in targets in India.

In the Philippines, the police said it heightened patrol at sea in the southern part of the region as part of a measure to strengthen security in area.

Senior Superintendent Rollen Arino, commander of the regional maritime police force, the efforts are aimed at securing the coastline and the sea against lawless elements and to ensure the safety not only of the region, but the citizens as well, especially those sea travelers.

“We have heightened security and double our patrol to ensure the safety of the region and the people against lawless elements,” he told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

He also appealed to the public to help authorities fight lawlessness by providing information to the police and military.

North Cotabato security threats discussed in peace and order council meeting

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): North Cotabato security threats discussed in peace and order council meeting

Police and military authorities are focusing their crime prevention campaign on the threats posed by the New People's Army, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, drug syndicates and robbers of motorcycles.

Senior Inspector Ramel Hojilla, spokersperson of the North Cotabato police provincial office, admitted Friday that such groups continue to pose security threat in North Cotabato.

The issue on crimes was discussed during the North Cotabato Peace and Order Council meeting held at the provincial capitol here Wednesday.

Hojilla said Kidapawan City remained to have the highest number of crime incidents followed by the towns of Midsayap, Kabacan and Makilala.

Kidapawan City ranked No. 1 in robbery cases with 21 cases since January followed by Makilala and Kabacan with nine cases each.

The Kidapawan City police office also recorded 51 cases of robbery, Kabacan with 24 cases came in second and Midsayap with 14 came in third.

On motorcycle theft, Midsayap had nine reported cases, eight in Kabacan and seven in Kidapawan City.

The North Cotabato police also recorded cattle rustling cases in Kidapawan City and in the towns of Tulunan and Makilala.

On crime against life, Kidapawan City and Kabacan had eight incidents of shooting while Midsayap had four shooting incidents.

While Kidapawan City, North Cotabato’s capital, had most number of crime incidents, it also ranked first in arrests made.

According to Hojilla, at least 11 most wanted persons were arrested, followed by Midsayap with five and Makilala with four.

On the campaign against loose firearms, Kidapawan City reported four persons with unlicensed guns and unauthorized carrying of weapons were arrested thre in Aleosan, two each in the towns of Libungan, Midsayap, Arakan and Kabacan.

Hojilla said of 16 persons arrested for gun possession, seven have been charged in court while others were freed for presenting licensed and permit to carry firearms.

Two major incidents blamed by police to the communist guerillas and a long standing land dispute were among the focus of attention of the province’s security officials.

On May 20, police in President Roxas, North Cotabato foiled an attempt by communist rebels to over-run the police station.

Policemen, led by Senior Inspector Bernabe Rubio, traded shots with attacking rebels which resulted in the death of three guerillas on the spot, including an NPA commander.

The NPAs also conducted harassment in other towns like Arakan, Matalam, Tulunan and Makilala, including bombing attempts on Army positions.

Senior Supt. Danilo Perlata, North Cotabato police director, told PPOC chair North Cotabato Gov. Emmulou Mendoza, that aside from NPAs and BIFF, the land conflict in Sitio Nazareth, Barangay Amas, Kidapawan City remained a problem to be dealt with utmost care.

At least a dozen civilians from both sides claiming ownership of a government farm lot have been killed. Peralta said a ceasefire is in place right now in the village but civilians are yet to return home.

The armed conflict in Sitio Nazareth had already displaced about 400 individuals since early this week.

DILG-Sarangani assists 379 former rebels thru CLIP

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): DILG-Sarangani assists 379 former rebels thru CLIP

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Sarangani Province has assisted a total of 379 former rebels in the last three years through the national government’s flagship Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).

Flor Limpin Jr., DILG-Sarangani provincial director, said a total of 66 former rebels from the area were given livelihood cash assistance from 2011 to 2013 by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) through its national CLIP, which is formerly known as the Social Integration Program (SIP).

He said the recipients, who were mostly former members of the New People’s Army, received assistance ranging from Php 5,000 to Php 50,000 each depending on their category.

The provincial government of Sarangani, in close coordination with the DILG, has extended livelihood cash assistance to 167 other former rebels amounting to Php 835,000, he said.

Limpin said these rebels were among those who were not served under OPAPP’s SIP.

The official said the local government is currently processing the release of some Php 730,000 worth of livelihood cash assistance to 146 more former rebels.

He said the DILG presently leads the release of the livelihood assistance to former rebels in the area in coordination with the OPAPP and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, which acts as the secretariat.

CLIP reintegrates former rebels into the social mainstream and uplifts their socio-economic conditions to enable them to become active partners in the local development.

The program also seeks to contribute towards the achievement of the goal of permanent peaceful closure of all armed conflicts with non-state armed groups.

The program’s protocol covers validation and authentication, immediate assistance, psychological intervention, resettlement and integration.

Suspect in 2008 GenSan grenade attack nabbed in Sarangani

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): Suspect in 2008 GenSan grenade attack nabbed in Sarangani

Police operatives in Sarangani Province have arrested the alleged principal suspect in the New Year's Eve grenade explosion at the oval plaza here in 2008 that injured 26 people, a police official said on Friday.

Senior Supt. Emmanuel Peralta, Sarangani police director, identified the suspect as Suab Mindeng Mudsul, 23, a resident of the coastal municipality of Glan in Sarangani.

He said the suspect was nabbed at his home on Thursday by joint police operatives based on a warrant of arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court here in August 2009.

“He was positively identified (by witnesses) as the one who hurled the grenade,” Peralta said.

Police had filed multiple frustrated charges against Suab and his brother Omar in connection with the grenade explosion on December 31, 2008 at a portion of the oval plaza here.

The explosion at around 9:10 p.m. occurred at a crowded portion of the plaza where several stalls selling pyrotechnics were situated.

Among those injured were two police officers who were then patrolling the area, which is the main venue of the city's annual Christmas or Paskohan sa Gensan festivities.

Authorities initially tagged renegade Moro rebels as behind the attack but Peralta said they are still verifying whether the suspect is connected to any organized group.

He refused to speculate on the possible motive of the attack saying their personnel have yet to complete their investigation on the suspect.

Peralta said they are currently tracking down the whereabouts of Mudsul's brother in coordination with the city police office and the Police Regional Office 12's intelligence and investigation division.

“Rest assured that our operatives will not stop until all these criminal elements, especially those tagged in gruesome incidents, are captured and eventually jailed,” he added.

Army denounces Norther Samar's landmine blast that killed soldiers

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): Army denounces Norther Samar's landmine blast that killed soldiers

The Philippine Army denounced the New People's Army's (NPA) use of landmines in combat following a blast this week that killed three soldiers and wounded eight others in an outskirt of Las Navas, Northern Samar.

Major Amado C. Gutierrez, spokesman of the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division, said the rebel's act is a clear violation of the 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 (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) signed CARHRIHL on March 16, 1998.

"Landmine not only poses 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," Gutierrez said in a statement.

On June 10, a landmine planted by NPA exploded in Bugtosan village, just 700 meters away from a residential area in the upland village of Bugtosa in Las Navas town.

Rebels planted mines to hinder troop movements of the 34th Infantry Battalion based in Tambangan village, Palapag, Northern Samar. They are deployed in the area for counter insurgency drive.

"Following the explosion is a 25-minute firefight until the armed rebels withdrew," Gutierrez added.

Those who died on the spot were Private Lino Mahinay, Private First Class Jaype Yulas, and Private First Class Albert Abolencia.

Wounded were Private First Class Jay Arabening, Private First Class Dexter Quilates, Lt. Marco Abante, Cpl. Ronnie Balastas, Private Gerry Culaban, Private First Class Danmar Ching, Private First Class Marlon Urbano, and Private First Class Buenaventura Raygon. They are now being treated at Camp Vicente Lukban Station Hospital in Northern Samar.

Near the blast site, government troops recovered five improvised explosive devices, five electrical blasting caps, long electrical wire and two backpacks.

Two years ago, government troops discovered a landmine factory in Paranas, Samar. Soldiers recovered improvised landmines, a machine for landmine production, blasting caps with detonating cords.

Last week, Army troops reported two separate encounters with bands of rebels in the towns of Las Navas and Lope de Vega in Northern Samar. The clash wounded two soldiers. It resulted in seizure of several firearms and discovery of 32-bunkers encampments site with kitchens and a mess hall.

Northern Samar, one of the economically-depressed provinces in the country, has been the Philippine Army's priority for counter-insurgency operation in Eastern Visayas.

40 gov’t agencies hold successful 'Serbisyo Caravan' in Davao's NPA lair

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): 40 gov’t agencies hold successful 'Serbisyo Caravan' in Davao's NPA lair

The celebration of Independence Day was made more significant in this far-flung New People’s Army (NPA) stronghold as 40 city and national government agencies pooled resources for a “Serbisyo Caravan” spearheaded by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, Philippine Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista and the Association of Regional Executives of National Agencies (ARENA) XI.

Hundreds of residents from 13 villages of Paquibato District, a known NPA stronghold, trooped to barangay Paquibato Proper, to avail of the services offered by the government such as the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO), City Agriculturist Office, City Veterinarian’s Office and the regional offices of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Justice (DoJ), the National Statistics Office (NSO), National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), among others.

During the whole day affair, the DSWD distributed 20 assistive devices to people with disabilities and 8,000 food packs amounting to P2 million; 100 assorted seedlings plus farm implements from the Department of Agriculture (DA); 5,000 Tilapia fingerlings from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR); abaca plantlets from the Fiber Industry Development Authority and the 196 land titles from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).

The other agencies like the Public Attorney’s Office and Regional State Prosecutor provided advice on human trafficking and barangay justice system, among others.

Wilma Piyal, a 36-year old widow with seven children was happy to have her quad cane. Piyal, whose husband died last year, said her cane would help her do house work more easily especially that she has to take care of her two children with disabilities. She is a beneficiary of the DSWD’s Pantawid Pamilya program, which only covers three barangays in Paquibato with 206 total beneficiaries.

Issues were raised by the village leaders of the 13 barangays and the IP communities during the consultation activity.

Foremost were the improvement of road networks, construction of bridges, improvement of farm-to-market roads and the long-overdue ancestral domain sustainable development plan to help the areas jumpstart development efforts.

The village leaders said improved road networks and bridges interconnecting all barangays of Paquibato and to other neighboring villages of other districts would spur development in the area.

The 13 villages of Paquibato Proper, Mapula, Lumiad, Colosas, Panalum, Pandaitan, Malabog, Salapawan, Tapak, Fatima, Sumimao, Paradise Embak and Mabuhay are the areas in the city’s second district left behind in terms of development due to strong presence of the communist rebels.

Barangay captain Joseph Escobidal of Paquibato Proper expressed gratitude because it was the first time that all regional government agencies visited Paquibato.

Ruben Labawan, the Ata Tribal leader of the Paquibato ancestral domain, was hoping that the national government could help in the funding and speedy completion of their Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP).

Labawan said they lack support to work on their sustainable development plan, thus they anchored their programs and projects from the barangay development plan for the meantime.

DPWH XI Regional director Mariano Alquiza, who is the president of ARENA XI, said Paquibato was identified as the area where to hold their “Serbisyo Caravan” based on their needs assessment or criteria such as: it is a conflict-affected area and the poverty rate is high.

ARENA is an aggrupation of regional executives in Davao region aiming to bring government services closer to the people.

ARENA XI’s “Serbisyo Caravan” started in 2011 but it has been serving areas outside of the regional center.

On the other hand, 10th Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Ariel B. Bernardo said security and development is a shared responsibility.

He said the military has been present in the area for many years and aimed to facilitate bringing government service as its contribution to the total development of the community.

The “Serbisyo Caravan” concluded with the unveiling of the peace monument and the signing of the Manifesto of Commitment and Support to the Development of Paquibato District by Mayor Duterte and General Bautista.

Duterte to meet NDF leadership; urges rebels to lay down arms

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): Duterte to meet NDF leadership; urges rebels to lay down arms

PAQUIBATO PROPER, Davao City -- Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will meet with the leadership of the National Democratic Front (NDF) to talk peace.

The mayor will also open a deal on the multi-million offer of the Malaysian investors to develop an oil palm industry with members of the New People’s Army (NPA) as partners.

At the same time, the mayor urged rebels to lay down their firearms or simply hide them somewhere if they want to keep them to pave the way for a business joint venture. He said this will be an opportunity for everybody – the rebels and the populace of Paquibato who have longed for economic development in the area.

Duterte has been helping the Malaysian investors scout for 1,000 hectares of land to be developed as oil palm plantation. The mayor and the Malaysian group have eyed Paquibato’s vast idle land as good location. The Malaysians and Thais are looking for 50,000 hectares of land in Mindanao.

Duterte, who chose to spend the 116th Independence Day with the heads of government functionaries and the military in the known NPA stronghold, stressed the NPA and the military cannot engage in war all their lifetime and government cannot all the time arrest them or NPA abduct soldiers and government leaders.

“What for? All other countries have developed, but we have continued to be poor,” Duterte said, even challenging to raise their hands who are the NPAs in the crowd during the program. None did, but Duterte said he knows they (NPA) are just around.

According to the mayor, Paquibato have remained poor because no investors dared to put their money in due to presence of rebels plus the imposition of “revolutionary taxes”.

Duterte said he would meet with NDF leaders first and possibly for Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Chair Jose Maria Sison.

Of course, Duterte said he would also talk the proposal to President Benigno Aquino III and the military to ask for support and pave the way for a best business deal. Under the deal, Duterte said the Malaysian firm has committed to develop the area, provide the seedlings and buy the product. The CPP/NDF/NPA can manage and provide the labor component.

"I never intervene. I will only facilitate," Duterte said.

But he said part of their earnings will also go to the government in the form of taxes.

Duterte informally offered the proposal to the NPA in the presence of military officials led by Armed Forces Chief of Staff Emmanuel Bautista during the program for the signing of the Manifesto of Commitment and Support to the Development of Paquibato District.

PHL marks 69th anniversary of Bessang Pass victory on Saturday

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): PHL marks 69th anniversary of Bessang Pass victory on Saturday

Little is known on the historical importance of the glorious battle at Bessang Pass in Cervantes, Ilocos Sur, but it is the biggest victory scored by Filipino guerrillas against the Japanese during World War II that hastened the surrender of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, known as the “Tiger of Malaya”.

On Saturday, the town of Cervantes, Ilocos Sur will be center of celebration of the 69th anniversary of the victory at Bessang Pass.

Retired Lt. Gen. Ernesto G. Carolina, administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO), is expected to grace the occasion to honor the fallen heroes of Bessang Pass.

Few surviving Bessang Pass guerrillas are now in the late 80s or mid 90s like retired Brig. Gen. Arnulfo D. Banez, Alejando Puguon, Raymundo G. Gadgad, Belino W. Alumno, Jose F. Tadifa, Cdr. Ricardo B. Madayag, Jose M. Martinez and Gregorio Hufano.

Former Defense Secretary Fortunato U. Abat, who at a tender age of 15, then joined the guerrilla movement and was assigned in the town of Kiangan near Bessang Pass during the war where Yamashita surrendered to Filipino guerrillas.

Sad to say, Gen. Narcise, the commander of Company “L” that waved the Philippine flag when they conquered Bessang Pass, died last May 12. He was 94.

To correct historical facts, Yamashita surrendered to guerrilla forces before his formal surrender to the Americans in Baguio on Sept. 2, 1945.

The epic battle at Bessang Pass on June 14, 1945 was the defining moment of the Filipino guerrilla fighters in crushing the once formidable Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines in World War II.

Bessang Pass, a mountain fortress in northern Philippines, fell into the hands of the Filipino guerrillas after a bloody fighting that lasted almost six months from January 1 to June 14, 1945.

It was an all-Filipino guerrillas, who fought the ground battle at Bessang Pass with the Americans providing the air support and artillery fire.

It was a sweet victory for the resistance fighters who surrendered to the Japanese forces when Bataan fell on April 9, 1942, but not after putting up a gallant stand for four months that delayed the timetable of the Imperil Army of conquering the Philippines in a blitzkrieg-like offensive.

The Filipino and American soldiers who fought in Bataan showed their tenacity in warding off repeated searing attacks by the invading Japanese forces.

It was in Bessang Pass, the last stronghold of the Japanese invaders, that Filipino guerrillas again displayed their raw courage in mortal combat that earned the praise of Gen. Douglas MacArthur and other top military American officials.

Bessang Pass is part of the town of Cervantes, Ilocos Sur more than 250 kilometers north of Manila.Following the fall of Bataan, the Japanese converted Bessang Pass into a virtual impregnable mountain fortress in the “sky” because of its natural obstacles. Its panoramic view of the lowlands makes Bessang Pass a strategic stronghold in northern Philippines. Its triangular-shaped natural barrier makes it unique.

Potential attackers had to contend with the tortuous terrain in the so-called Villaverde Trail and Balete Pass up north where they can be easily spotted by Japanese outposts strewed along strategic pathways before reaching Bessang Pass.

But in spite of being a heavily fortified mountain, Bessang Pass became the Waterloo of Gen. Yamashita, the commander of Japanese troops in the Philippines. The Japanese’s debacle at Bessang Pass not only forced Yamashita, who was hiding in nearby Kiangan area to raise the white flag hastily, but also nipped the last straw of Japanese military might in the Philippines.

Filipino guerrillas with the help of the Americans, especially during the waning days of the war exacted a sweet revenge against the Japanese during the historic battle of Bessang Pass. It took almost half a year to capture the fortress. One crucial advantage the Filipino guerrillas was that they had mastered the terrain around the battle area, compensating the shortfall of weapons and other logistics.

It was the unit of Col. Russel Volckman, commander of the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines (USIFP-NL), mostly composed of Filipino guerrillas and a group of Americans, bore the brunt in the battle of Bessang Pass, tagged as one of the bloodiest fighting during the Pacific War.

The secret landing of an American submarine USS Gar carrying tons of weapons and ammunition for Filipino and American guerrillas in the latter part of 1944 re-ignited the dream of the ragtag underground forces to assault Bessang Pass.

The offensive fell on the hands of the 15th, the 66th, the 121st Battalions and the Provisional Infantry Regiments whose men saw extensive actions in Bataan and Corregidor.

Their experience in combat proved to be an asset during the final assault of Bessang Pass which was defended by the elite units of the Japanese Imperial Forces such as the 73rd Tora Division, the 79th Brigade and the 357th Battalion under the command of Lt. Gen. Yoshibaru Osaki. They were the main Japanese blocking forces that collided head-on with the guerrilla offensive that attacked the stronghold of Gen. Yamashita.

The start of the offensive was in January 1945 and its momentum was sustained the following months. As planned, the guerrillas simultaneously attacked the towns of Cervantes and Tagudin in Ilocos Sur and other areas up north, and the province of Abra where there was heavy concentration of Japanese troops who had moved from Manila after the enemy was routed by US and Philippine forces. US warplanes provided the air cover while American artillery bases fired their howitzers at Japanese forces stationed around Bessang Pass and blasted them to kingdom come.

One of the units that figured prominently in the fighting was Company “L” of Capt. Narcise. The company overran a Japanese garrison in the village of Bitalag. For Capt. Narcise, it was a significant victory. His group repeated this feat when Company L recaptured the town of Cervantes on March 13, 1945. Cervantes, a strategic area, was under Japanese occupation since December 1941.

But soon after, Capt. Narcise’s unit found itself in a dilemma as it was under artillery fire by the Japanese. Reinforcement was sent to the beleaguered unit but the bombardment continued forcing the guerrillas to retreat.

In the later part of March 1945, the Filipino guerrillas sustained their offensive that lasted till the fourth week of May of the same year. It was during this period that the guerrillas had a hard time battling the Japanese who fought ferociously spearheaded by the famed 73rd Infantry, the 19th Division and the 357th Infantry. It was a hell of a fight as both sides try to outsmart each other. Intense fighting at the west of Bessang Pass lasted for more than a month with the 121st Infantry at the forefront.

It was towards the end of April 1945 that the guerrillas reached the strategic Lower Cadsu Ridge. It was during this crucial time of the war that the guerrillas had finally gotten the badly needed artillery fire support from the First Field Artillery Battalion, United States Armed Forces in the Philippines - Northern Luzon. It was a dramatic turn of event in the fighting, steadily tilting in favor to the advancing Filipino guerrilla fighters which finally conquered the once impregnable mountain fortress occupied by the Japanese Imperial Forces for over three years.

The victory at Bessang Pass redeemed our defeat in Bataan and Corregidor.

Professionalization of ranks also an AFP objective -- Gen. Bautista

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): Professionalization of ranks also an AFP objective -- Gen. Bautista

With the modernization of the military now in full swing, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista on Friday said that efforts are also ongoing to ensure the professionalization of all its ranks.

"(Modernization) is a two-way track, one is for developing our military capabilities and the other one is concerned on the professionalization of our ranks," he said in Filipino.

Bautista stressed that professionalization covers not only the competence and efficiency of the military but also good governance, doing what is right, of being non-partisan, and being good adherence to human rights, international humanitarian law and rule of law.

At the moment, the Army is doing this through the Army Transformation Roadmap.

The AFP chief said that this direction is also being undertaken now by the Navy and the Air Force.

"That (ATR) is a very big program for the Army and the AFP. (The challenge) is cascading it downward to the individual soldiers. A score card will be followed for the entire Army so that from the commanding general and down the line, everyone can feel that he is part of ATR," Bautista stressed.

He added that the same process will also be followed in the modernization, citing that every frontline soldier will be given a new rifle and force protection equipment.

"We want to institutionalize this (ATR), not just of the leadership but of the entire AFP. That is the only way we can ensure that this will be carried on to the future," Bautista pointed out.

He made this statement after noting that he is scheduled to retire this coming July 18.

"(And) with the institutionalization of the transformation and our Internal Peace and Security Plan 'Bayanihan', I'm very confident that there would a continuity of strategy of policy within the Armed Forces," he added.

Bautista declined to comment on who will be his successor, adding that appointment of a new AFP chief is the prerogative of the President, Secretary of Defense and the Board of Generals.

10th Infantry Division inks anti-human trafficking MOA with cops, NGO

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): 10th Infantry Division inks anti-human trafficking MOA with cops, NGO

The Davao City-based 10th Infantry Division, Philippine National Police Region XI and Global Impact Philippines Foundation inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) on anti-human trafficking Friday morning.

Signing in behalf of the military unit was Major Gen. Ariel B. Bernardo, PNP Region XI representative Aaron N. Aquino and non-government organization (NGO)'s founding director Amy Muranko-Gahan.

This took place at the Felix Apolinario Naval Station in Panacan, Davao City around 8 a.m.

Under the MOA, both the PPN Regional Office XI and 10th Infantry Division, will conduct through its units, community awareness drives about human trafficking, to promote reporting of suspicious activities concerning human trafficking through a smart phone application “Freedom! Philippines”, and to provide support in case building against would-be perpetrators.

Global Impact is responsible in providing human expertise and technological support to the activities through its capacity, experience, and its partnership with US-based Orphan Secure Organization.

The MOA signing marks another milestone in convergence of private and public entities to fight social ills, in this case -- human trafficking, a human phenomenon said to affect some 27 million people globally.

“This is in further strengthening of our commitment against any form of human rights violation and human exploitation,” Bernardo concluded.

PHL to check on report on China's occupation of 2 other reefs in West Philippine Sea

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): PHL to check on report on China's occupation of 2 other reefs in West Philippine Sea

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte on Friday said that the report on the alleged occupation of China of two other reefs in the West Philippine Sea will be checked.

It was reported that aside from the three reefs previously mentioned by President Benigno S. Aquino III, namely Mabini, Calderon and Gaven, there are two other reefs allegedly being occupied by China.

In a press conference in Malacanang, Valte said, "That I will have to check with our military. I also...I am aware of the reports...The President did mention, pretty recently, about movements that have been monitored in Calderon --- Calderon Reef."

However, she said, she is not quite certain about the other two (reefs) that have been mentioned, "but we will check with the military."

On the activities of China in those reefs, Valte said that apparently they are very aggressive in pursuing their expansion in the West Philippine Sea and, obviously, these steps are designed to advance the theory of their "nine-dash line".

Valte pointed out that the Philippines has chosen the legal, the political, as well as the diplomatic route.

"We will stick to that. Again, we will not respond to provocative acts," she added.

US, Japan, Philippines militaries slate civic action in Tacloban City and Palo, Leyte

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 13): US, Japan, Philippines militaries slate civic action in Tacloban City and Palo, Leyte

A multinational civic action will take place in Tacloban City and Palo, Leyte with the United States and Japanese Forces together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) doing engineering works as well as medical and dental missions starting Monday.

The Pacific Partnership 2014 will see the kickoff of the construction of several infrastructures damaged by typhoon "Yolanda" (Haiyan) in two of the worst-hit local government units (LGUs) in Eastern Visayas.

These include the groundbreaking of a four-classroom and science building to be constructed at the San Fernando Central School and reconstruction of the outpatient building of the Tacloban City Hospital.

They will also break the ground for the construction of a two-classroom building at the Castilla Elementary School in Palo town.

Major Amado C. Gutierrez, spokesman of the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division (8ID) of the Philippine Army, said Friday that their engineering unit will be actively participating in the construction activities.

Their medical and dental action units will also join their counterparts in conducting civic action programs.;postID=2308775620207577841