Friday, June 20, 2014

Abducted fish breeder abducted in Sabah brought to Abu Sayyaf stronghold – report

From GMA News (Jun 21): Abducted fish breeder abducted in Sabah brought to Abu Sayyaf stronghold – report

Suspected Filipino gunmen who abducted a Filipino worker and a Malaysian fish breeder from Sabah last June 16 have contacted the wife of the fish breeder but have so far not demanded ransom, a Malaysian news site reported Friday.

Malaysia's The Star Online cited sources who said the gunmen contacted the wife of fish breeder Chan Pek Nyen on Wednesday, and informed her they were holding him.

"She was also given the chance to talk to him briefly, it was learned from informed sources yesterday. The sources said no ransom demand was made during the call," the report said.

It added its "informed sources" believe Chan was "unharmed" and was brought to a hideout of the Abu Sayyaf bandit group in Jolo.

On the other hand, there was no word on the Filipino fish farm worker identified only as Maslan, 20.

The report noted kidnap-for-ransom groups in Tawi-Tawi had been linked to recent kidnappings in Sabah’s east coast.

It said the groups would “sell” the abducted victims to Abu Sayyaf groups, which then "negotiate" with the victims' kin and release them unharmed.

Abu Sayyaf bandits are believed to be holding Chinese Yang Zai Lin, 34, who was snatched by suspected Filipino gunmen from the Wonderful Terrace Fish Farm in Lahad Datu waters on May 6.

Last April 2, gunmen abducted Filipina resort worker Marcelita Dayawan and Chinese tourist Gao Huayun from a floating resort. The two women were released May 30.

Cops zero in on accomplice of kidnap-for-ransom gang

From The Star Online (Jun 21): Cops zero in on accomplice of kidnap-for-ransom gang

KOTA KINABALU: A suspected accomplice of the kidnap-for-ransom group has been detained by the Philippines police.

Tawi Tawi police chief Colonel Joey Salido said the suspect from the Sitangkai area was detained on suspicion of being part of the group on Tuesday but was released due to lack of conclusive evidence.

“We believe that the suspect who lives at our border islands was in cahoots with the kidnap-for-ransom gang. We took his picture and fingerprints before he was released on Thursday,” Col Salido said when contacted by The Star yesterday.

The latest efforts by the Philippines to track down cross-border kidnap groups follow the abduction of 32-year-old fish farm operator Chan Sai Chuin and a Filipino farm worker Maslan, 20, on Monday.
However, Col Salido said checks by the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines in Sitangkai and Sibutu islands close to the border of Sabah’s Semporna had failed to locate the gunmen and their hostages.

On Wednesday, sources in Sabah said Chan’s wife Chin Pek Nyen, 42, had received a call from the gunmen informing her that they were holding her husband and she was allowed to talk to him briefly.

Initial indication by the sources was that there was no immediate demand for ransom. Yesterday, however, it was rumoured that they had made a RM12mil demand to his family for his freedom.

Senior Sabah police and the Eastern Sabah Security Command could not be reached to verify this.

Initial demands for ransom are usually high before negotiators move in to work out an agreeable and realistic price.

The sources had earlier told The Star that they believe Chan was unharmed and was now in the notorious Abu Sayyaf hideouts in Jolo after they sneaked into the area within 48 hours of the kidnapping.

It still cannot be ascertained if Maslan is with them as he was believed to have escaped by jumping off the gunmen’s boat following the kidnapping at the fish farm in waters off Kg Sapang about 60km from Lahad Datu.

The kidnap-for-ransom group normally sells its hostages to different Abu Sayyaf groups who then negotiate with their families for their release. Most kidnap victims are usually released unharmed.

An Abu Sayyaf group is still holding a Chinese national Yang Zai Lin, 34, who was snatched by Filipino gunmen from the Wonderful Terrace Fish Farm in Lahad Datu waters on May 6.

Abu Sayyaf captive reports seeing 2 foreign hostages

From ABS-CBN (Jun 21): Abu Sayyaf captive reports seeing 2 foreign hostages

A foreman currently being held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf was able to call his relatives and confirmed that at least two foreigners were among the present captives of the bandits.

Remegio Lingayan, 50, managed to call his wife Analiza on Thursday afternoon, saying the Abu Sayyaf has five hostages, including him and two others who look like foreigners.

Mrs. Lingayan said her husband told her that the two foreign-looking captives were being kept away from the other hostages.

She appealed to President Aquino to help them get her husband back.

Mrs. Lingayan said her husband was reportedly wounded while her brother-in-law Joselito Gonzales was killed during the encounter between the Marines and the militants in Patikul, Sulu on Thursday.

Authorities earlier reported that the Abu Sayyaf was holding captive European bird watchers Elwold Horn and Lorenzo Vinceguerre who were snatched in Tawi-Tawi in February 2012.

Two Germans, Stefan Viktor Okonek, 71, and his female companion, Herike Diesen, 55, who were initially reported missing while sailing on their yacht near Rio Tubbataha off Puerto Prinsesa City in Palawan last April, were also reportedly being held captive by the Abu Sayyaf in Patikul.

Aside from the four Europeans, the Abu Sayyaf is also holding separately two Malaysian hostages it seized from Sabah, Malaysia last May.

But Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, chief of the Western Mindanao Command who visited Sulu to assess military operations there, said there were no sightings of the hostages during the encounter in Patikul.

But he confirmed reports that the hostages were being held by different factions of the Abu Sayyaf.

Guerrero said there was also no confirmation on the ground that one of the hostages was killed.

During the offensive, at least seven Marines, including a junior officer, were killed while 24 others were wounded. At least 10 Abu Sayyaf bandits were also killed.

Abu Sayyaf beheads kidnapped Filipino

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Jun 21): Abu Sayyaf beheads kidnapped Filipino

Abu Sayyaf militants beheaded one of their Filipino hostages who was wounded during a clash with government soldiers in the southern Philippines, reports said Friday.

Troops pursuing the militants have recovered the severed head of Remegio Lingayan in the town of Indanan in Sulu province. Lingayan was kidnapped along with his brother-in-law Joselito Gonzales - both natives of Zamboanga City - on June 4 while working on a construction project in the province

Quoting a military report, the Anadolu Agency, said Lingayan was hit by bullets when soldiers and policemen tried to rescue him during the fighting. The militants could not provide medication to Lingayan so they decided to behead him.  The report can be accessed on this URL

The fate of Gonzales is unknown.

There were no official report from either the police or military about the beheading of Lingayan, but the fighting had killed and wounded at least 40 soldiers and militants.

Seven soldiers and at least 10 Abu Sayyaf fighters were killed in the clashes that also wounded two dozen troops, according to the statement of the military’s Western Mindanao Command headquarters in Zamboanga City.

The militants, whose group is tied to al-Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiya, recently demanded P7 million from the poor families of the two victims and threatened to decapitate them if ransom is not paid.

The Abu Sayyaf is also holding several foreigners kidnapped in Tawi-Tawi province and Sabah in Malaysia and brought to Sulu, where government officials and residents have repeatedly denounced and condemned the atrocities of the militant group.

PA to get 27,000 brand new M-4 automatic rifles next month

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 21): PA to get 27,000 brand new M-4 automatic rifles next month
The Philippine Army (PA) announced that the first batch of its brand-new M-4 automatic rifles will be delivered this July 19.

This was confirmed by Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, PA spokesperson, in a message to the PNA.

"Tentative arrival date of the (first) 27,000 units will be on July 19," he added.

The PA acquired 63,000 M-4 automatic rifles to replace its Vietnam-era M-16A rifles.

These new weapons will be immediately issued to line units.

Each M-4 is worth Php38,402.10 each and the entire order is estimated to be worth Php2.4 billion.

The M-4 is a shorter and lighter variant of the M-16A2 assault rifle. It is a gas-operated, magazine-fed, selective fire, shoulder-fired weapon with a telescoping stock and 14.5 inch (370 mm) barrel to ease close quarters combat.

It fires the .223 caliber, or 5.56 mm NATO round.

OIC rejects Bangsamoro peace accord

From the Manila Standard Today (Jun 21): OIC rejects Bangsamoro peace accord

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation ruled as unacceptable the   Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front because it failed to incorporate the Tripoli and Jakarta agreements brokered by the Moro National Liberation Front led by its founding chairman Nur Misuari.

The OIC instead proposed a linkage of the government’s peace pacts with the MILF and the MNLF.

“The support of the rapprochement on both fronts and legal follow up of the implementation of the new agreement and the compliance of the Philippine government to its text and soul is unavoidable if we want Bangsamoro Muslim people in the Philippines to obtain their most basic rights,” OIC secretary-general Iyad Ameen Madani said at the 41st Session of The Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers Session of Exploring Areas of Islamic Cooperation held in Saudi Arabia on June 18.

He said that there was a need to do this because “all factions” of the MNLF opposed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the declared texts of the new pact “do not mention or build explicitly” on the Tripoli and Jakarta Agreements of 1976 and 1997 with the MNLF.

“Being the two conventions which established the position of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation towards that conflict - the General Secretariat has spared no effort to bring the two fronts together,” he said.            

The MILF negotiating panel led by Mohaqer Iqbal attended the conference in Saudi Arabia to personally seek recognition of the CAB from the OIC.

MNLF Spokesman Absalom Cerveza said that aside from the MNLF panel, a faction of the MNLF were also present during the conference. Cerveza said both groups held separate meetings with Madani.

The MNLF side was represented by the Council of 15 led by former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, the government’s recognized MNLF under Chairman Datu Adul Khayr Alonto, Jimmy Labawan, the Bagdadi group from the Zamboanga Peninsula Independent Movement and several others.

Cerveza claimed to have no knowledge of who from the OIC invited the MILF panel at the conference, but said that the Nur Misuari faction of the MNLF was invited to attend the event by Madani himself.

But the OIC, according to Cerveza, did not recognize the government’s MNLF faction after it discovered that it did not have the imprimatur of Misuari, prompting the government’s MNLF faction to walk out of the conference after the meeting with Madani.

“What I learned is that the OIC turned down the MILF’s plea for the OIC to recognize CAB because the OIC wants the synchronization of the MILF and MNLF agreements into one agreement,” Cerveza said.

Cerveza said Iqbal, in a recent International Peace Dialogue sponsored by the Cotabato City Diocese, had refused the synchronization efforts by the OIC since the former claimed that the two agreement “will never meet.”

Cerveza also alleged that the government was pressuring the OIC to recognize the CAB.

Last year, when the MILF was crafting a peace pact with the government, the OIC issued a resolution asking the Aquino administration to implement the MNLF Final Peace Agreement of 1996.

Cerveza said, however, that the OIC wanted “a reunification since the OIC recognizes the sole legitimate leadership of Misuari.”

Kidnap victim in Sulu feared dead

From ABS-CBN (Jun 20): Kidnap victim in Sulu feared dead

A Zamboangueno kidnap victim is feared dead after he was shot during a gunfight between members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the military on Thursday.

Analiza Lingayan, wife of abducted Remigio Lingayan, told ABS-CBN Zamboanga that her husband called her on Thursday night and informed her that he was hurt by a bullet while his companion, 33-year-old Joselito Gonzales, was shot in the chest.

Lingayan, 50, was seen falling down on the ground amid their escape during the firefight. He was never seen again after the incident.

Analiza said the abductors nonetheless were relentless in reminding them of the ransom money due at the end of the month.

She appealed to the kidnappers to release her husband and Gonzales, as they are not capable of raising P3 million as ransom.

Lingayan and Gonzales, residents of Barangay Tumaga, Zamboanga City, were abducted in Maimbung, Sulu two weeks ago. They work as plumbers in a construction company.

According to Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabel Climaco, the condition of the two victims is still being verified.

Climaco, who talked to the victims' families in an undisclosed venue on Thursday, said she has coordinated with the Philippine Marines in Sulu to confirm the reports and to locate their whereabouts.

She also appealed to the kidnappers to release the two, saying that the financial status of their families should also be taken into consideration.

In the houses of the victims' families, a donation box was placed to solicit money to help pay for the ransom.

But according to Analiza, it is impossible for them to raise the amount in only 10 days.

Young military officer slain in Abu clash

Video posted to ABS-CBN/Bandila (Jun 21): Young military officer slain in Abu clash

[Video: Young military officer slain in Abu clash]

Nalagasan ang militar ng isang mahusay na batang opisyal. Kabilang sa napatay sa bakbakan ng militar at Abu Sayyaf sa Patikul, Sulu kahapon ang isang tinyente. At sa kabila ng pagluluksa, ipinagmamalaki ng mga magulang ni 1Lt Roger Flores ang kanyang sakripisyo para sa bayan. - Bandila, June 20, 2014, Biyernes

ASPI: Rebuilding while performing: Military modernisation in the Philippines

From the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (Jun 19): Rebuilding while performing: Military modernisation in the Philippines

Special Report 68 cover

[For a full copy of the Special Report go to the following URL:]

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is engaged in a concerted effort to modernise its military into a service that’s capable of projecting a posture of credible external deterrence. Its overarching goal is to equip the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with the necessary capabilities to protect the territorial integrity of the state, offset evolving foreign defence challenges, and ensure the attainment of Manila’s strategic maritime interests—particularly as they relate to claims in the South China Sea (SCS).

The US, which has a long and established history of security ties with the Philippines, has a vested interest in supporting the GRP’s current defence transformation plans, as this could help to counter Beijing’s assumed intent to exert uncontested sovereignty over the SCS. The paper considers how the US could assist while avoiding force postures that could provoke China.
Moves by the GRP to enhance the Philippines’ external force posture in the SCS also have implications for Australia.
The author considers the argument for the realignment of aid to enable a sharper focus on promoting AFP force projection but gives reasons why this would be unwise.

As Tensions Rise in the South China Sea: The Philippines' Military Modernizes

From The National Interest (Jun 19): As Tensions Rise in the South China Sea: The Philippines' Military Modernizes

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is presently engaged in a concerted effort to modernize its military into a force capable of projecting a posture of credible external deterrence. The overarching goal of that transformation is to equip the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the necessary capabilities to protect the territorial integrity of the state, offset evolving foreign defense challenges, and ensure the attainment of Manila’s strategic maritime interests—particularly as they relate to claims in the South China Sea (SCS). To that end, three central innovations have been emphasized in the short-to-medium term.

First is the establishment of “appropriate strategic response forces,” developed in all branches of the military, to undertake integrated defensive missions and deter potential external threats that could harm the country’s core national security interests.

Second is the creation of an enhanced C4ISR system to support the joint command and control of strategic defense operations and improve situational awareness through the faster collection, structural fusion, analysis and dissemination of shared information.

Third is the development of a modern, space-based satellite communications network to work alongside improved C4ISR platforms in availing nationwide coverage for Philippine sovereignty surveillance and reconnaissance.

Two factors, in particular, have been instrumental in driving the reform process:

- A more benign domestic security environment due to diminished (though not entirely absent) threats from Communist-inspired insurgency, Moro Muslim ethno-religious separatism and Islamist jihadi terrorism.

- Heightened territorial competitiveness in the SCS, where China has adopted an increasingly forward-leaning posture to enforce its self-proclaimed historic jurisdiction over the disputed Paracel and Spratly Islands, the Scarborough Shoal and Macclesfield Bank.

President Benigno Aquino III has sought to address Beijing’s claims in the SCS by reorienting defense expenditure away from internal to external security. Problematically, his administration’s planned upgrades are unlikely to be enough to credibly deter PRC assertiveness in the short term. And the government has yet to articulate a viable strategy for overcoming the fiscal constraints that a complete re-modeling of the Philippine military would require over the medium term.

One viable solution to that predicament is to revisit current and future procurement plans for advanced aircraft, ship and intelligence capabilities and instead concentrate available national resources on creating an effective land-based system of anti-ship missiles (ASMs). Establishing an integrated network of this sort would be far cheaper than attempting to institute a complete process of defense transformation. It could also be put into service relatively quickly and if properly configured should be able to provide adequate coverage of Manila’s claims in the Spratlys and possibly even the Scarborough Shoal.

The United States has a vested interest in supporting the Philippine government’s current defense transformation plans—not least because it could help to counter Beijing’s assumed intent to exert uncontested sovereignty over the SCS. But actively assisting Manila in procuring advanced aviation, naval and communication platforms in the numbers required to credibly offset China’s own growing military prowess would be both expensive and potentially dangerous in terms of further straining what is already a stressed political relationship between Washington and Beijing. Helping with the establishment of a mobile coastal defense system would be far cheaper and much less contentious. Just as importantly, it would help to engender a capable and self-reliant partner more readily positioned to resist undue pressure from Beijing.

Now that the Philippines has reoriented its defense priorities from internal to external security, should Australia realign its own aid package—which has traditionally prioritized law enforcement capacity building—to a more concerted focus on promoting military force projection? The answer is no, for at least two reasons.

First, the Philippine police and judicial system remains weak, continuing to confront an array of difficulties that include corruption, inefficient case management, intra-agency competition, inadequate investigative skills and intelligence stove piping. Prematurely terminating ongoing Australian initiatives to address those problems would represent a significant waste of resources and could lead to a domestic enforcement void that once again allows internal threat actors to assume prominence.

Second, it could exacerbate tensions with Canberra’s main economic partner—China. Adopting an explicit posture of military support for Philippine claims in the SCS would likely reinforce a perception in Beijing that the current Abbott administration is fully committed to working with Washington in strategically containing the PRC in the Asia-Pacific. At best, that could complicate the consolidation of future economic/trade agreements; at worst, it could encourage China to search for new (non-Australian) sources of energy resources and alternative markets for its exports.

[Peter Chalk is a senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation. This post is a summary of Peter’s latest ASPI Special Report, Rebuilding while performing: military modernization in the Philippines, available for download for free here. This article was originally posted on ASPI’s The Strategist Blog here. ]

AFP, PNP to monitor implementation of OPAPP livelihood assistance

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 20): AFP, PNP to monitor implementation of OPAPP livelihood assistance

The Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) council assigned the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to monitor the implementation of projects provided by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) here.

Complaints of alleged irregularities prompted the body to compose a monitoring team to check on those who just receive financial assistance for micro business but never invested the money for the purpose,  and  who have diverted  the money for  purposes other than the approved proposal.

Governor Jocel Baac directed the military and police to plan out their monitoring activities and report to the council their findings. “We have to check whether government money is being spent for the purpose of uplifting the economic status of former rebels,” he said adding that there is no use for them to join the mainstream society if they are not productive through these economic assistances.

Pastor Luis Ao-as, Chairman of the Kalinga and Apayao Religious Sector Association or KARSA reiterated on the “no dole-out policy” saying government funds should not just be released to beneficiaries and leave it to them without proper supervision and monitoring. This is to ensure that special projects like what OPAPP is giving as a reward on peace gains are implemented and has impact on the lives of the beneficiaries.

 “Beneficiaries of projects should be consulted first, establish partnership and that projects during their implementation stage should be regularly monitored,” Ao-as stressed.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Resurrection Mariano, Commanding Officer of the 17th Infantry Battalion, reported that the primary reasons why insurgency thrives in their area of responsibility are high illiteracy rate, high poverty incidence,  and slow  delivery of  basic services to the hinterlands.

Top NPA leader nabbed in Benguet

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 20): Top NPA leader nabbed in Benguet

A top leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) was arrested in Sitio Tabangaoen, Barangay Balili, La Tinidad, Benguet last June 11.

Supt. Davy Vicente Limmong identified the NPA leader as Corsio Ganima aka “Tribal/Toy-ob”, 55, commanding officer of the NPA’s Kilusang Larangang Guerilla of the Ilocos – Cordillera Region Committee (ICRC) operating in Abra, Mountain Province and Ilocos Sur.

Limmong confirmed that Ganima was one of the most wanted NPA leader in the country and has a P1.8 million reward for this capture.

Ganima was arrested by virtue of warrant of arrest for the crime of six counts of murder issued by Judge Artemeo Marero of Branch 35 Regional Trial Court, Bontoc, Mt. Province. He also faces a rebellion case.

China, US deploy submarines in disputed South China Sea

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 20): China, US deploy submarines in disputed South China Sea

The deployment of submarines by China and the United States in the South China Sea may lead to the escalation of conflict in the disputed waters, a US-based consultancy firm said.

One potential parameter of instability in the East and South China Seas is the additional deployments of submarines by China in the disputed areas, according to simulations conducted by Wikistrat, a consultancy firm for strategic analysis and forecasting.

It noted that earlier this year, China deployed all three of its Type 094 nuclear missile submarines in the South China Sea as part of its naval strategy for nuclear deterrence. The United States responded by sending one of its submarines, the USS North Carolina, to the region to begin patrols and monitor Chinese activity.

According to Wikistrat, this could lead to escalation of conflict as other countries redirect their naval forces and submarines to the South China Sea as well, especially the Philippines and Vietnam which see China’s increased submarine deployments as a response to their own naval modernization efforts, including the latter’s acquisition of the Russian Gepard-class frigate and the Dutch Sigma-class corvette.

Wikistrat’s analysts “war-gamed” the Vietnamese deployment of a Russian-built submarine to the disputed region, both to monitor China’s submarines and ensure it does not keep ramming and sinking Vietnamese fishing vessels.

Based on its simulations, the geostrategic analysis firm said the trend of deploying submarines continues through 2016, partially due to fears of China’s “carrier killer” the DF-21D cruise missile.


“If China responds by deploying its Type 093 submarine to the South China Sea, Japan may be tempted to begin launching a new Soryu-class submarine once a year, increasing the total number to 11 by 2020,” Wikistrat said.

“The spiral dynamic of this proliferation of submarines in the East and South China Seas means countries like the Philippines and Vietnam believe they have little choice but to accelerate their own naval programs for fear of falling behind.”

It pointed out that while Vietnam focuses on expanding its own navy, the Philippines look to other countries involved in territorial disputes with China – specifically Japan and South Korea –to improve its military position.

“This, in turn, aggravates Chinese fears of being encircled by states that are friendly to the United States and leads to conflicts in the region being increasingly militarized – heightening the chances for confrontation that could ultimately pull in both superpowers,” said Wikistrat, the world’s first massively multiplayer online consultancy leveraging a global network of subject-matter experts.


South Korean, which has close economic relations with China, has expressed deep concern over the recent “disturbing” actions taken by China in the disputed South China Sea.

“Not just provocative but really serious for you and for us,” South Korean Embassy Minister and Consul General Ming Kyong-Ho told Manila Bulletin in an exclusive interview.

And it is also bad for the environment, Ming added.

“(China’s) reclaiming reefs and building airstrips….building islands on artificial reefs is very disturbing,” he said. “Beautiful reefs are being destroyed with the construction of artificial islands.”

Ming was referring to recent reports that China is planning to expand its military installation in a contentious area in the South China Sea by establishing an artificial island with an airstrip and sea port. The Philippines, which is claiming the area where the artificial island will apparently be established, already lodged another protest over China’s supposed plan since it could prejudice the arbitration case it has filed against China before the United Nations-backed arbitral tribunal.

Still, amid the heated territorial row, Ming insists that South Korea considers both the Philippines and China as close friends.

“We don’t want any trouble among our friends,” he said. “What we want is a very stable South China Sea.”


Ming stressed that South Korea’s basic concern is that “all kinds of trouble with China should be peacefully resolved in accordance with international law.”

“We should follow the code of conduct which should be agreed upon as soon as possible,” he declared. “In the meantime, the DOC (Declaration of a Code of Conduct in South China Sea) should be followed. That’s our common principle.”

South Korea is not a party to the territorial dispute, he said, “but when it infringes on our right, say, freedom of navigation, then we can say (something).”

“Freedom of navigation should be secured,” Ming emphasized.
This was exactly the case when South Korea announced its own Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in response to China establishing the East China Sea ADIZ “because there was an infringement of territory,” Ming explained.

With the Philippines, a claimant to parts of South China Sea, he said South Korea is keen on promoting and strengthening relations in every possible area with the country that includes defense political, economic, and cultural.
“We have a strategic partnership with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asia) as a whole,” Ming noted. “But we don’t have bilateral strategic partnership with any member of ASEAN.”

He disclosed that there were thoughts raised about elevating the bilateral ties of South Korea and the Philippines.

“But there’s no concrete proposal yet, only informal talks about strategic relations.”

An added boost to the efforts to strengthen relations between the two countries is the recent signing of a $420 million contract for Seoul to sell 12 light attack FA-50 fighters to Manila.


Despite escalating tensions in the disputed seas, Premier Li Keqiang said China “naturally loves peace” but will take “resolute measures” to protect regional stability, affirming a dual-track foreign policy of power and peace despite tensions with nations, including Japan and Vietnam.

Li insisted that an urge for expansion was “not in the Chinese DNA” and that a “stable neighboring environment” was necessary for China’s continued economic development.

He was speaking in the City of London financial district on a three-day trip which aims to build trade ties and repair relations strained when British Prime Minister David Cameron met exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in 2012.

“We want to have a stable external environment. The Chinese naturally love peace. Confucius taught us that we should not do to others what we don’t want done to us… this has been imprinted on to the DNA of the nation,” Li said in a speech to foreign policy experts, business leaders and politicians.

“Expansion is not in the Chinese DNA nor can we accept the logic that a strong country is bound to be hegemonic.”

But he added that China would take action “to protect the stability of the region” where necessary.

“For those acts of provoking incidents and undermining peace, China will have to take resolute measures to stop them, to prevent the situation from getting out of control,” he said.

“This is to protect the stability of the region.”

CPP/NDF: Video: NDFP's 10 Proposal for a Concise Agreement for an Immediate Peace

NDF propaganda video just posted to the CPP Website (May 20): Video: NDFP's 10 Proposal for a Concise Agreement for an Immediate Peace

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) proposal for a Concise Agreement for an Immediate Just Peace (CAIJP) to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), be it the incumbent regime or the new one that may arise soon.

The ten points of the peace agreement of the NDFP are as follows:

1. Unite the Filipino people through a broad alliance of patriotic and progressive forces and a clean and honest coalition government for genuine national independence and democracy against any foreign domination or control and against subservience.

2. Empower the toiling masses of workers and peasants by respecting their democratic rights and providing for their significant representation in organs of the coalition government and for assistance to the organizations, programs and projects of the toiling masses.

3. Uphold economic sovereignty, carry out Filipino-owned national industrialization and land reform and oppose imperialist plunder and bureaucratic and military corruption in order to develop the national economy.

4. Cancel the foreign debt and reduce the appropriations for the military and other armed organizations of the GRP in order to provide adequate resources and savings for economic development, improvement of the means of livelihood, the alleviation of poverty, the realization of gender equality, promotion of children's rights and welfare and healthy environment.

5. Promote and support a patriotic, scientific and pro-people culture through the educational system, mass media and mass organizations, cherish the cultural heritage of the Filipino nation and all the ethno-linguistic communities in the country.

6. Recognize the right to self-determination and autonomy of national minorities, ensure proportionate representation in organs of the coalition government and institutions and provide for affirmative action to countervail longrunning discrimination and wrongs.

7. Investigate and try government officials who are liable for treason, corruption and human rights violations.

8. Carry out a truly independent foreign policy for world peace and economic development, oppose imperialist acts of plunder and foreign aggression and intervention, and prevent the basing and stationing of foreign troops and weapons of mass destruction in the country.

9. Maintain normal trade and diplomatic relations with all countries and develop the closest of relations with other ASEAN countries, China, South and North Korea, Japan and Russia, emphasizing equable exchange of goods, acquiring goods for industrialization and guaranteeing energy supply.

10. Inaugurate a truce between the warring forces of the GRP and NDFP for the purpose of alliance and other constructive purposes stated above.

CPP/NDF: Ang paturagas nga panganyon ug pamomba mipugos pagbakwit sa katawhan sa kabukiran sa Bayugan City

NDF propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 19): Ang paturagas nga panganyon ug pamomba mipugos pagbakwit sa katawhan sa kabukiran sa Bayugan City
Maria Malaya
NDFP Northeast Mindanao Chapter
Ang grabeng kapakyasan sa reaksyonaryong rehimeng US-Aquino nga mahukmanong mapildi ang rebolusyonaryong kalihokan sulod sa unang tungang bahin sa iyang termino mitukmod niini sa desperadong dugang pagpakusog pa sa mga bangis nga operasyon militar sa Caraga.
Sukad niadtong bulan sa Enero ning tuiga nagdugang og 3 ka batalyon sa daang 5 ka batalyon ang AFP sa Caraga ug gilunsad dayon niini ang halos walay hunong nga mga operasyong militar sa tibuok Caraga. Busa, midaghan ang mga kalapasan sa tawhanong katungod sa mga tropa sa reaksyonaryong rehimeng US-Aquino.
Bayanihong misukol ang BHB uban sa halapad nga katawhan sa Rehiyong Northeastern Mindanao nga misangpot sa daghang mga insidente sa panagsangka tali sa mga pwersa sa reaksyonaryong AFP-PNP-CAFGU ug sa rebolusyonaryong Bagong Hukbong Bayan. Gikan sa Enero hangtud karon mokabat na sa 50 ang insidente militar kung diin, 44 niini inisyatiba sa BHB, samtang 6 niini ang inisyatiba sa AFP-PNP-CAFGU. Sa 44 ka taktikal nga opensiba sa BHB sa rehiyong NEMR, 41 niini ang operasyong atritibo (harassment), usa ang anihilatibo (pangpuo) ug 2 ang pag-sanksyon sa mga malapasong plantasyon.
Resulta sa maong mga panagsangka mokabat sa 77 ang total nga kaswalti sa mga armadong pwersa sa reaksyonaryong rehimen kun diin 39 niini ang namatay samtang 38 ang samdon. Sa pikas nga bahin mikabat sa 14 ang total kaswalti sa mga Pulang manggugubat, 7 niini ang bayanihong nakalas samtang 7 usab ang naangol. Dunay mga sibilyan usab nga gipusil sa AFP sa pasangil nga membro sa BHB.
Ang pinakabag-o nga mga insidente mao ang pipila ka panagsangka sa kabukiran sa Bayugan City. Niadtong Hunyo 15 sa kaadlawon misulod ang usa ka kompanya sa 26th IB sa bukiron nga bahin sa Brgy. Ararat, Bayugan City. Sa 6:45 am sa Hunyo 16, gibirahan kini sa tim sa BHB kun diin 2 ka sundalo sa 26th IB ang kaswalti. Pagkasunod adlaw, Hunyo 17, sa udto, ang duha ka huey helicopter sa air force nagdugang og tropa, apan igo lang nakabiya ang helicopter gibirahan na usab sa tim sa BHB ang tropa sa AFP didto sa Purok 4, San Juan, Bayugan City (silingan kini sa Brgy. Ararat) kun diin usa ang nahagba nga sundalo. Kapin usa ka oras human sa insidente, miabot ang 2 ka huey helicopter aron mag-rescue apan wala kini makatugdong dihang gibanatan sa mga sniper sa BHB.
Sa kaadlawon sa Hunyo 18, nagdeploy ang AFP og dugang tropa sa Sityo New Lanao, Brgy. Magkayangkang ug nagmontar og 2 ka 105mm nga kanyon. Apan sa bandang alas 11:00 sa buntag gibirahan na usab sa tim sa BHB ang usa ka kolum sa AFP didto sa Sityo Dalikanan, Mt. Carmel, silingan lang kini sa Brgy. Ararat.
Mipabuto sa ilang 2 ka 105mm nga kanyon ang tropa sa AFP puntirya sa Brgy. Ararat sa 12:30 sa udto aron abogon ang mga BHB sa erya. Wala makontento, gikan sa alas 2:30 hangtud sa alas 3:00 sa hapon duha ka OV-10 Bronco bomber plane ang mihulog og 9 ka bomba ug mipaarak sa 50-kalibre nga machinegun sa Brgy. Ararat ug silinganan nga erya. Sa pasiunang pakisusi, dunay pipila ka balay nga natapsingan ug nadul-an sa bomba ug bala sa 50 kalibre nga machinegun. Usa kini ka desperadong lakang aron abogon ang mga tim sa BHB nga maisogong misukol ug mipahamtang sa mga kaswalti sa mga nag-operasyon tropa sa AFP. Dili tinuod nga kampo sa NPA ang target sa ilang panganyon ug pangbomba.
Kining tinalawan nga panganyon ug pamomba grabeng mihasi sa mga lumulopyo sa Bryg. Ararat ug silinganan nga barangay nga nagpugos kanila pagbakwit. Dugay na ang BHB nag-organisa sa maong kabaryohan, apan wala mamakwit ang katawhan. Dili ang presensya sa BHB maoy hinungdan sa pamakwit sa masa kun di ang grabeng kalisang sa bomba, kanyon ug machinegun.
Kining mga bangis nga operasyong militar sa AFP dinhi sa Caraga, ginalunsad sa AFP dili lang sa kabukiran sa Bayugan City. Dungan-dungan nilang ginalunsad kini sa daghan bahin sa upat ka probinsya sa Caraga kun diin gawas sa paggamit sa mga psywar pinaagi sa RSOT o COPD ug kombat nga operasyon, migamit usab kini sa ilang mga kanyon ug pangbomba nga mga helicopter ug eroplano batok mismo sa katawhan. Kining mga panghuraw nga kahimanang iggugubat hinabang sa ilang amo nga imperyalistang US, apil ang mga drones nga pang surbeylans sa kahanginan.
Nag-awhag kami sa katawhan nga maghiusa ug kusganong i-protesta kining mga bangis nga mga operasyon ug kampanya militar sa reaksyonaryong rehimeng US-Aquino ilabi na kining paturagas nga pangyanyon ug pamomba sa AFP ug pagpamusil sa mga sibilyan sama sa nahitabo sa Tagkiling, Butuan City diin namatay ang usa ka mag-uuma niadtong Abril 27 karon nga tuig.
Nag-awhag usab kami sa mga makikatawhan ug nagpakabanang mga sektor sa relihiyoso, hatungang hut-ong , mga lokal nga opisyales sa pagsuporta sa mga bakwit ug tanang biktima sa paglapas sa tawhanog katungod.
Nag-awhag usab kami sa tanang nagpakabanang sektor, apil ang mga NGO, relihiyosong sektor, hatungang hut-ong ug mass media sa pagtukod og usa ka independenteng pundok nga mo-imbistiga ning pinakabag-ong pagbakwit ug mga kalapasan sa tawhanong katungod nga nahitabo sa kabukiran sa Bayugan City.

Rebel in drug pusher's slay set for prelim conference

From the Sun Star-Davao (Jun 19): Rebel in drug pusher's slay set for prelim conference

AFTER pleading not guilty to the murder of a suspected drug pusher in 2013, one of the accused New People's Army (NPA) members is set to appear before the Regional Trial Court (RTC)-Davao City for the preliminary conference of the case on June 26.

RTC Branch 10 Judge Retrina Fuentes, in her order dated March 30, scheduled the preliminary conference on the murder case against suspected communist rebels, Ricardo Castillote, alias Ka Marvin, alias Marquez; Garry Cloma and another unidentified suspect who were accused of killing Ruel Catigan Pague.

Castillote will be assisted by legal counsel Manuel Quibod while the complainant Rowena Pague, wife of the victim, will be aided by Prosecutor Stella Esparagoza-Camino.

Fuentes also authorized RTC Branch 10 clerk of court lawyer Theresa Baluyut to mark the exhibits during the preliminary conference.

The case stemmed from the complaint of Rowena when she learned of her husband's murder on September 5, 2013 at Purok Orchids, Barangay Tagakpan in Tugbok District.

She cited in her affidavit that she went to the crime scene and saw a note from the suspects that read:

"Font 54 NPA, Gisilutan siya sa sala, 1. multiple murder 2. Dealer ug shabu 3. Holdaper 4. uguban pang kaso, (Font 54 NPA, He is being punished for the sins of multiple murder, shabu dealing, hold-up and other cases.)"

Camino, meanwhile, affirmed the murder charges against the suspect based on the testimony of a minor witness only identified as Andy. Andy told police that he saw the three suspects onboard a motorcycle chasing the victim who was also onboard a motorcycle.

One of the suspects allegedly shot Pague until he lost control of his motorcycle. The suspects then alighted from their vehicle and gunned down the victim before leaving the note. Andy confirmed the identity of the suspects through the rogue gallery of the police.

But while Castillote is currently detained at the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP)-Davao in Ma-a, authorities have yet to arrest the two other suspects.

Negros Occidental gears up for conflict management declaration - AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 20): Negros Occidental gears up for conflict management declaration - AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is preparing Negros Occidental for conflict management declaration after Negros Oriental was earlier declared “conflict manageable and development ready.”

Lt. Gen. John Bonafos, chief of AFP Central Command, said they have noted a marked improvement in the peace and development campaign of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade in Negros Occidental in partnership with local government units and multi-sectoral groups.

Being “conflict manageable and development ready” refers to the reduction of the insurgency problem in the province to an insignificant level such that the civilian government will now take the lead in addressing issues and concerns related to it.

Bonafos attended the “Marching for Peace, Serving the Countryside” activity of the Provincial Peace Integration and Development Unit of the Provincial Peace and Order Council in Barangay San Agustin, Isabela Thursday.

The civic action in Isabela town is part of the 12-day activity in five remote villages in the Fifth District.

The one-stop-shop activity in each village caters to the immediate needs of the people and work on long-term needs of depressed communities in tandem with multi-stakeholders, including the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police.

The next stop is in Barangay Biao, Binalbagan on June 21 followed by Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City, June 23, and Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, June 26.

A peace rally will be held at the Himamaylan City Public Plaza on June 26, 6 p.m., to culminate the 12-day activity.

“There is a need for an immediate follow-up to bring the development aspect to the conflict-affected communities,” Bonafos said.

The AFP official said the overwhelming support of the people of Negros Occidental to the military’s peace and development campaign shows that they are already fed up with violence, and want peace to reign in their communities.

Declaring an area “conflict manageable and development ready” indicates state of normalcy, with the insurgency problem already in an insignificant level, Bonafos said.

NPA leader's son caught in crossfire in Ifugao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 20): NPA leader's son caught in crossfire in Ifugao
A suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebel captured by villagers in Aguinaldo, Ifugao last June 4 turned out to be the son of the rebel leader operating in the area.

This was disclosed by the Isabela-based Infantry Division in a statement Friday.

Jonathan Cudal, whose father is believed to be Romeo Cudal, a suspected NPA leader operating in the area, was caught by villagers fleeing from the encounter site.

When turned over to the Army and PNP troops, he said that he was with his father together with the rebels when the firefight happened.

Jonathan also said he visited his father to get his Php 6,000 monthly allowance.

The troopers ensured that the Cudal was not hurt and was checked by a medical doctor.

Cudal was then turned over to local government officials of Alcala, Cagayan and is now safely home.

According to Brig. Gen. Roger Salvador, Commander of 501st Infantry Brigade who is in charge of Army troops in Ifugao and nearby provinces, “Jonathan Cudal, in our opinion, has not committed any crime. Being a son of an NPA leader is not a crime in itself. On the contrary, he can be considered an unfortunate victim of this senseless rebellion.”

Salvador also added that what happened “is an example that this ongoing war should be ended quickly... Even our children are also becoming victims and worst, may even be killed in crossfire. That’s why I am again calling for the NPAs to go back to the fold of the law, to avail of the government’s amnesty program and have a peaceful life not only for their sake but also for their own children.”

American destroyer in CARAT 2014, one of the most capable in the US Navy in PHL June 26

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 20): American destroyer in CARAT 2014, one of the most capable in the US Navy in PHL June 26

The USS Halsey (DDG-97), one of the four American ships participating in CARAT 2014, is one of the most capable surface combatants of the US Navy.

CARAT refers to "Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training" between the Philippine and US Navies. It is slated for June 26 to July 1.

For starters, the USS Halsey is armed with Mark 45 Model 4 5-inch caliber which is capable of engaging any air and surface targets with a high rate of fire (around 120 rounds per minute) ensuring its neutralization.

The American vessel is expected to be in Philippine waters by June 26.

Aside from this, the ship is also equipped with a 20mmm Phalanx CIWS (closed-in weapon system) which is capable of firing 4,500 rounds per minute, literally creating a cloud of lead impossible for any missile, rocket and aircraft to penetrate.

This weapon is located in the ship's stern.

CIWS acts as the ship's last line of defense against threats emanating from the air.

It operate independent from the ship's other weapon systems.

Other armaments of the USS Halsey are two Mark 41 VLS (vertical launching systems) which are capable of firing a mixture of Standard and Tomahawk missiles, anti-submarine rockets and the evolved Sea Sparrow missile.

The two Mark 41 VLS is equivalent to 96 cells (firing tubes).

Adding more punch to the USS Halsey is it's two MH-60R Seahawk LAMPS III which is capable of detecting and destroying submarines.

These aircraft uses sonobouys to locate submarine threats and once determined hostile, it can sink at will using its Mark 46 anti-submarine torpedoes.

The MH-60s has a loiter time of three hours and is capable of conducting aerial and rescue missions.

The USS Halsey is named in honor of Fleet Admiral William Frederick "Bull" Halsey Jr. She was commissioned July 30, 2005 at Naval Air Station North Island, Coronado, California.

The USS Halsey is expected to take part in a gunnery exercise that will take place 39 nautical miles southwest off Sampaloc Point, which is located on the lower tip of Zambales this coming June 29.

House leader seeks use of AFP Engineering Brigades for gov’t reconstruction and rehabilitation projects

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 20): House leader seeks use of AFP Engineering Brigades for gov’t reconstruction and rehabilitation projects

A House leader has called on the Executive Department to utilize the Engineering Brigades of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the reconstruction and rehabilitation projects of the government as a cost-effective approach.

Rep. Rodolfo Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), a former AFP chief of staff, said the costs of reconstruction and rehabilitation of homes and public infrastructures entail billions of pesos, hence approaches to cut these public expenditures should be continuously sought.

“The cost of reconstruction and rehabilitation projects can be greatly reduced if these are done by units of government agencies that have the capability to undertake them as the profits of private contractors, which are necessarily inputted in the costs of these projects, will be taken out of the equation,” said Biazon.

The chairman of the House committee on national defense and security said examples of such units are the Engineering Brigades of the different branches of the AFP.

“These Engineering Brigades of the AFP have the mission to provide general engineering support and contribute to national development programs of the government,” said Biazon.

He called for the mobilization of the AFP Engineering Brigades for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of calamity-devastated homes and public infrastructures through House Resolution 1191.

“For the past several years, the country has continuously experienced both natural and human-induced calamities that have wreaked havoc on the lives of our countrymen and cost damage to homes and public infrastructures,” he said.

PHL, Japan to discuss maritime cooperation, Mindanao peace process

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 20): PHL, Japan to discuss maritime cooperation, Mindanao peace process

President Benigno S. Aquino III and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will discuss maritime cooperation and the Mindanao peace process when the two leaders meet in Japan next week.

Foreign Affairs Asst. Secretary Charles Jose said the West Philippine Sea issue will be likely in their agenda.

“We can see so much developments happening in the South China Sea, East China Sea. So I’m sure they will be sharing views and exchanging views on this issue... It is very important for the President to brief the Japanese side on the arbitration case that we filed against China,” he said in a Palace press briefing.

Jose said President Aquino and Prime Minister Abe will also tackle other areas of cooperation to enhance their countries’ strategic partnership, including humanitarian assistance and disaster response, promotion of trade and investments and people-to-people exchanges.

Japan is a very important friend and partner of the Philippines. We have very vibrant political, economic, and people-to-people exchanges with Japan. As we all know, Japan is one of our only two strategic partners,” he said.

In area of economic cooperation, Jose said Japan is the country’s number one trading partner, largest source of official development assistance (ODA), third largest source of approved investments, and third largest source of tourists.

”And in terms of people-to-people exchanges, we are very vibrant also; scholarships and trainings are being offered by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency), for example. So I think they have a lot of matters that could be discussed during this bilateral meeting,” he said.

Jose said the meeting is an opportunity for the two leaders to exchange views on recent regional developments and to discuss areas of cooperation to enhance our strategic partnership.

They will hold a summit meeting over lunch at Japan prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo during President Aquino’s one-day working trip to Japan on June 24.

After their meeting, President Aquino will deliver the keynote address at the Consolidation for Peace for Mindanao Conference in Hiroshima, organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Research and Education for Peace of the University Saints Malaysia.

”He will be delivering the keynote address in the Bangsamoro conference. As we all know, the Philippine government, especially the President, attaches very much importance to this CAB (Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro) and he will have a chance to—as a follow up action on the CAB,” Jose said.

The Chief Executive will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, Presidential Management Staff head Secretary Julia Abad and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles.

After speaking in Hiroshima, President Aquino will return home to Manila.

The President will visit Japan upon the invitation of Prime Minister Abe.

Bid opening, submission for DND anti-submarine helicopter project re-set for July 15

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 20: Bid opening, submission for DND anti-submarine helicopter project re-set for July 15

The Department of National Defense (DND) announced that bid opening and submission for its Php5.4 billion anti-submarine helicopter project has been re-set for July 15.

This is three weeks later than the scheduled June 24 activity.

The DND supplemental bid bulletin, which was signed by Undersecretary Natalio Ecarma, did not give the reason for the reschedule of bidding.

The bid opening and submission will be at held at the BAC (bidding awards committee) conference room, basement right wing, DND building, Camp General Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Bids will be opened in the presence of the bidder's representatives who choose to attend.

First stage bidding for the program was earlier slated for June 17 before being rescheduled for June 24.

Money for the two ASW helicopters will be sourced from Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Trust Fund.

Acquisition of the two ASW helicopters is under the Medium Term Development Capability Plan for 2013 to 2017.

The contract includes munition, mission essential equipment, and integrated logistic support.

Winning bidders must be able to deliver the aircraft within 730 calendar days.

The Philippine Navy earlier announced that it is looking at the possibility of acquiring the AW-159 "Wildcat" as its ASW helicopters.

The Navy is in the market for two ASW helicopters.

This is part of the country's Medium Term Defense Acquisition List for the next four years.

The ASW choppers will be assigned to the BRP Gregorio Del Pilar (PF-15) and BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF-16).

The AW-159 (previously called the Future Lynx and Lynx Wildcat) is an improved version of the Westland Super Lynx military helicopter.

The AW-159 will serve in the battlefield utility, search and rescue and anti-surface warfare roles.

The helicopter has been ordered for the Royal Navy and British Army.

It is to enter service with the British Army in 2014 and with the Royal Navy in 2015.

It has a crew of two, has a maximum speed of 291 km/h (181 mph), range of 777 km (483 miles), ferry range of 963 km (598 miles) and an endurance of one and a-half hours (fours hours and 30 minutes if fitted with auxiliary fuel)

The AW-159 is fitted with forward firing CRV7 rockets and machine guns, pintle mounted machine gun, Sea Skua missiles and Sting-Ray torpedoes and depth charges.

The acquisition process for these ASW helicopters is expected to go on full gear once the PN completes its five AW-109 order deal from AgustaWestland by the third quarter of 2014.

All PAF assets to be up and flying for disaster relief

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 20): All PAF assets to be up and flying for disaster relief

All flyable assets of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), which can be used for disaster relief, will be up and flying should another major typhoon or calamity strike the country.

This was the assurance given by PAF commander Lt. Gen. Jeffrey F. Delgado.

"We can provide the necessary assets that we need (for disaster relief) especially our C-130s (Hercules cargo aircraft) and the UH-1H 'Huey' helicopters (and) the (W-3A 'Sokol') utility helicopters, we would like to (assure the public) that they will be ready in times of disasters," he added.

And to ensure the availability of these planes, Delgado said that the PAF is constantly checking on their maintenance status and existing spare parts to determine if they are update and current.

Delgado also said a review is being conducted to determine whether PAF units dedicated for disaster response need to be reinforced with additional equipment and personnel.

Police say ranking Cordillera rebel captured

From InterAksyon (Jun 20): Police say ranking Cordillera rebel captured

The Cordillera police said Friday they had arrested a ranking officer of the New People's Army with a P1.8 million bounty on his head.

Superintendent Davy Vicente Limmong, spokesman of the Cordillera regional police office, said Corsio Ganima y Ebeng, alias “Tribal” and “Toy-ob,” 55, was captured in Tabangaoen, Balili, La Trinidad, Benguet Wednesday by a team from the Regional Intelligence Unit, the Intelligence Division of the Mt. Province police, and the local police office.

Ganima, a native of Lacmaan, Besao, Mt. Province, allegedly commanded the Kilusang Larangang Gerilya, the NPA guerrilla front operating on the tri-boundary of Abra, Mt. Province, and Iloco Sur since early this year.

Limmong said Ganima is facing six counts of murder before Judge Artemeo B. Marero of Regional Trial Court Branch 35 in Bontoc and another case for rebellion before Judge Manuel B. Bragado of RTC Branch 35, also in Bontoc.

Philippines seeks speedy UN ruling on sea dispute with China

From InterAksyon (Jun 20): Philippines seeks speedy UN ruling on sea dispute with China

Aerial view of Pagasa Island, with rooftops and air strip. Picture taken November 23, 2012. (Abi Kwok,

The Philippines said Thursday it would ask a UN tribunal to speed up its appeal to declare China's expansive claims to the South China Sea invalid.

A formal request would be filed seeking a resolution on the case within the year or early 2015, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said.

"We are consulting our legal team to present a request to the tribunal if it can hasten its process earlier, rather than later," Jose told Agence France-Presse.

China claims most of the South China Sea, including waters near the shores of its neighbors, which has led to escalating territorial disputes.

President Benigno Aquino's spokesman Herminio Coloma also confirmed Thursday that the Philippines would repair an airstrip on Thitu island, one of the disputed Spratly islands occupied by Philippine troops in the South China Sea.

"We have funds. We will finish repairs within the year," Coloma said in a statement.

Anticipating opposition from other claimants to the area, he quoted Department of Defense spokesman Peter Paul Galvez as saying "China's reaction will always be unfavorable".

The island, called Pagasa (Hope) by the Philippines, has hosted a small town as well as an airstrip used for civilian and military flights. However in recent years the airstrip has been allowed to deteriorate.

DFA spokesman Jose said repair and maintenance work would take place "for the safety of our people there".

Coloma stressed that the airstrip had been there for years and its repair did not violate the "Declaration of Conduct" signed by most of the claimants including China and the Philippines in 2002.

The non-binding declaration effectively called on all parties to refrain from building new structures in the disputed area until the claims are settled.

New land reclamation by China was a contravention of the declaration, the statement said.

In recent months, the Philippines filed protests after it monitored reclamations in a number of outcrops that are within its exclusive economic zone but occupied by China.

On one, Johnson South Reef, the Philippines said the Chinese appeared to be reclaiming land that may be turned into an airstrip.

Apart from the Philippines, China also has overlapping South China Sea claims with Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam, as well as with rival Taiwan.

Manila lodged an appeal in March with the UN tribunal to rule the claims illegal, but China has resolutely refused to participate in the proceedings.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario separately said a speedier ruling was necessary "because the situation is getting worse by the day in the South China Sea".

"So we hope to be able to get the arbitration in place, that will be the goal line for all of us," he told reporters.

"Hopefully since China is not participating perhaps we can get a quicker resolution from the tribunal," said del Rosario.

Del Rosario has said he backs a US proposal for a fresh regional dialogue for a freeze on actions that could provoke tensions in the South China Sea amid fears that Beijing has increasingly become aggressive in staking its claims.

China sends four oil rigs to South China Sea amid regional tensions

From InterAksyon (Jun 20): China sends four oil rigs to South China Sea amid regional tensions

China has sent four more oil rigs into the South China Sea in a sign that Beijing is stepping up its exploration for oil and gas in the tense region, less than two months after it positioned a giant drilling platform in waters claimed by Vietnam.

The announcement comes at a time when many countries in Asia are nervous at Beijing's increasing assertiveness in the potentially energy-rich waters, where sovereignty over countless islands and reefs is in dispute.

Coordinates posted on the website of China's Maritime Safety Administration showed the Nanhai number 2 and 5 rigs had been deployed roughly between China's southern Guangdong province and the Pratas Islands, which are occupied by Taiwan. The Nanhai 4 rig was towed to waters close to the Chinese coast.

Earlier this week, the maritime body gave coordinates for a fourth rig, the Nanhai 9, which would be positioned just outside Vietnam's exclusive economic zone by Friday.

Wang Ching-hsiu, deputy director of Taiwan's Land Administration Department, said Taipei claimed an exclusive economic zone around the Pratas Islands, but declined to comment on the rig deployments.

China, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province and claims about 90 percent of the South China Sea, said the rigs were in waters close to Guangdong province and Hainan island.

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

"For these normal activities there is no need for over-reading or to make any particular links," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told a daily briefing in Beijing. "Please don't worry, there won't be any problem."

All four rigs are listed as being operated by China Oilfield Services Ltd (COSL), the oil service arm of state-run China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) Group, according to COSL's 2013 annual report.

Gunmen seize teacher, husband in Lanao Norte

From MindaNews (Jun 20): Gunmen seize teacher, husband in Lanao Norte

Suspected kidnappers abducted on Wednesday a public school teacher and her husband in Pantao Ragat, Lanao del Norte, a military official disclosed.

Abducted were Ashlaine Pangadir and her husband, Zacaria, residents of Sitio Pagalongan, Barangay Sandor, Baloi, Lanao del Norte.

Pangadir is a teacher at Pantao Ragat Central Elementary School.
Capt. Franco Suelto, 1st Infantry Division public affairs officer-in-charge, said the victims were seized by a group of gunmen aboard a Tamaraw FX around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday in Barangay Poblacion, Pantao Ragat.

Suelto said the armed men forced the victims to board the vehicle and sped off in the direction of Baloi town.

He said that one of the suspects, Madid Umbra alias Mactan was arrested around 9:45 a.m. Thursday in Barangay Lumindong, Pantao Ragat.

The Army official said Umbra was later found to be facing a string of criminal charges.

Suelto said Umbra has a standing warrant of arrest for multiple murder with attempted frustrated murder and double attempted murder issued on March 18, 2002 by a Court in Iligan City.

He said residents saw the suspect loitering in the area where the couple was seized for almost three days before the incident.

MNLF solido pa rin kay Nur Misuari

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jun 20): MNLF solido pa rin kay Nur Misuari (MNLF still solid for Misuari)

Si MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim and MNLF chairman Muslimin Sema kasama ang iba pang mga lider ng OIC sa Jeddah, Saudi Arabia nitong Hunyo 18, 2014 sa larawang ito na inilabas ng Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. 

Hindi kinikilala ng Moro National Liberation Front sa ilalim ni fugitive leader Nur Misuari ang faction ni dating Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema na siyang tumatayong chairman ng MNLF.

Maging ang self-proclaimed MNLF chairman na si Abul Khayr Alonto na biglang lumitaw sa kasagsagan ng peace talks ng pamahalaang Aquino sa Moro Islamic Liberation Front ay hindi rin kinikilala ng grupo ni Misuari na hanggang ngayon ay siyang tumatayong pinuno ng karamihan sa mga miyembro ng MNLF sa Basilan, Sulu at Tawi-Tawi, gayin rin sa ibang bahagi ng Mindanao.

Si Sema ay kasama sa pagpupulong ng Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at ng pamahalaang Aquino at Moro Islamic Liberation Front sa pangunguna ng lider nitong si Murad Ebrahim nitong Hunyo 18 sa Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Ngunit mistulang namamangka naman sa dalawang ilog ang pamahalaang Aquino dahil pareho nitong kinikilala ang pamunuan ni Sema at Alonto.

Ginagamit rin diumano ng Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process sa ilalim ni Sec. Teresita Deles si Alonto upang buwagin ang impluwensya ni Misuari sa hanay ng MNLF. Maging ang mga ibang lider ng MNLF na dating kasama ni Misuari ay ginagamit rin ng pamahalaan upang tuluyang alisin sa Misuari sa pagiisip ng ibang mga commanders ng dating rebeldeng grupo.

“Wala kaming kinikilalang iba kundi si Chairman Misuari bilang lider ng MNLF. Hindi si Sema o si Alonto at si Maas (Nur Misuari) pa rin ang sinusunod ng lahat ng MNLF,” ani ng isang tagasunod ni MNLF commander Khair Ajibun, na kilalang loyalist ni Misuari sa Sulu province.

Nais naman ng OIC na pag-isahin ang MNLF at MILF upang mapagtibay ang peace agreement ng pamahalaan sa dalawang grupo. Nabatid pa sa OIC na kinontra diumano ng lahat ng paksyon ng MNLF ang Bangsamoro peace agreement ng pamahalaang Aquino sa MILF na nilagdaan nitong Marso dahil sa September 1996 peace deal ng pamahalaan sa MNLF.

“Another conflict area is southern Philippines where the Bangsamoro Muslim people are still struggling to prove their identity and confirm their history and rights. In the light of the agreement signed recently between Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Philippine government under the auspices of Malaysia in the presence and witness of some Member States, and opposed by all factions of Moro National Liberation Front, and the fact that the declared texts of the new agreement do not mention or build explicitly on Tripoli and Jakarta Agreements of 1976 and 1997 respectively - being the two conventions which establish the position of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation towards that conflict - the General Secretariat has spared no effort to bring the two fronts together.”

“They actually met a few days ago and reached a memorandum of understanding which we hope will be the basis for bridging the gap between them and establishing a united national front that follows up the implementation of the new agreement and links it to the previous agreements overlooked by the Philippine government. In this context, the support of the rapprochement of both fronts and legal follow up of the implementation of the new agreement and the compliance of the Philippine government to its text and soul is unavoidable if we want Bangsamoro Muslim people in the Philippines to obtain their most basic rights,” wika pa ni OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani sa pulong ng Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers.

Si Misuari ay nagtatago pa rin matapos na lumusob sa Zamboanga City noon nakaraang Setyembre ang mga miyembro nito at nagtagal ng halos tatlong lingo ang sagupaan na kung saan ay halos 400 ang nasawi at sugatan. Mahigit sa 120,000 rin ang apektado ng labanan dito.