Tuesday, July 1, 2014

‘Mad bomber’ to sow terror in Mindanao

From the Manila Times (Jul 1): ‘Mad bomber’ to sow terror in Mindanao

GOVERNMENT forces beefed up security forces in Mindanao following reports that a mad bomber would blow up several local offices here this month.

Ustadz Pendie Colano, chairman of the Selatan State Revolutionary Committee of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), identified the foreign-trained bomber as Abdul Basit Usman, alleged leader of Jemaah Islamiyah. He will reportedly carry out his “mission” together with two Pakistani and two Indonesian nationals.

Colano said the mad bomber would be joined by members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) headed by former Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Commander Ameril Umbrakato.

A BIFF insider who requested anonymity said Basit and his four companions have long planned blowing up several government offices since the Ramadan in 2012. They had to postpone their plans because of heavy government security.

He added that a number of MILF followers under the leadership of MILF Chairman Ibrahim Murad Al Haj would help Basit carry out his plans this month.

Region 12 Central Mindanao Philippine National Police Chief (PNP) Chief Superintendent Lester Camba, Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, and General Santos City) regional police director, could not be reached for comment. Even General Santos City Police Senior Superintendent Froilan Quidilla refused to comment on the matter.

Colano said the previous series of bomb explosions in Maguindanao were the handiwork of Basit since no one else would dare plant explosives in nearby military installations.

“This holy month of Rama–dan is the time Basit and his four companions from Pakistan and Indonesia would strike. This will give the Muslim rebels and communists insurgents the opportunity to sow widespread fear and panic in various parts of Mindanao,” according to a reliable informant.

Government soldiers carrying machine guns mounted on military trucks have been sent to several areas in Maguindanao and in various military detachments in North Cotabato, Cotabato City, South Cotabato and Soccsksargen in preparation for rebel attacks.

Marines have also been deployed at private and government power installations like the National Power Corporation, Globe Telecom and Smart Communications as well as other potential targets of Basit’s group.

Checkpoints have also been established in all possible entry and exit points of the rebels, especially in the provinces of Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, Sarangani and General Santos City.


Japan military changes pacifist stance

Posted to the Manila Times (Jul 1): Japan military changes pacifist stance

TOKYO: Japan on Tuesday loosened the bonds on its powerful military, proclaiming the right to go into battle in defense of allies, in a highly controversial shift in the nation’s pacifist stance.

After months of political horsetrading and browbeating of opponents, conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his cabinet had formally endorsed a reinterpretation of rules that have banned the use of armed force except in very narrowly-defined circumstances.

“I will protect Japanese people’s lives and peaceful existence. As the prime minister, I have this grave responsibility. With this determination, the cabinet approved the basic policy for national security,” Abe told a press conference.

“There is a misunderstanding that Japan will be involved in war in an effort to defend a foreign country. But this is impossible. It will be strictly a defensive measure to defend our people,” he added.

Abe has faced down wide–spread public opposition to the move, which climaxed at the weekend when a middle-aged man attempted suicide by setting himself on fire.

While the move to allow so-called “collective self-defense” needs parliamentary approval, the control of both chambers that Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party enjoys renders this a formality.

Abe had originally planned to change Article 9 of the US-imposed constitution, which was adopted after World War II and renounces “the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.”

But unable to muster the two-thirds majority he needed in both houses and unlikely to get an endorsement from the public in the required referendum, he changed tack, using what opponents say is sleight of hand to alter what the clause means.

Supporters say the reinterpretation is necessary because of the worsening security situation in East Asia, where an ever more confident China is pushing its territorial claims and an erratic North Korea is threatening stability.

Under the new definition, Japanese troops will be able to come to the aid of allies—primarily the US—if they come under attack from a common enemy, even if Japan is not the object of the attack.

Examples pushed by the Abe camp have included a missile attack by North Korea on US forces in Guam; they say the shift would allow Japanese troops to shoot down the missile as it passes overhead, something presently not allowed.

Horror of war

 China has warned against the move, saying it opens the door to remilitarization of a country that is not sufficiently penitent for its actions in World War II.

Just ahead of the announcement Beijing said Japan was guilty of “stirring up troubles on historical issues.”

“It’s only natural for us to wonder if Japan is going to change its path of peaceful development that it has long pursued after the Second World War,” said a foreign ministry spokesman.

The Japanese administration rebuts this, saying the change will allow it to promote a notion which it has dubbed “proactive pacifism.”

But that will not entail involvement in military adventures overseas, such as in Afghanistan.

“There will be no change at all in our principle not to allow the dispatch of forces abroad,” Abe said.


MILF: Editorial -- Opportunity knocks only once

Editorial posted to the MILF Website (Jul 1): Opportunity knocks only once

Opportunity knocks on your doorsteps only once,” a famous adage always says. Do we believe in this?  We don’t know for others, but for us we do believe.
An opportunity is like running water in the river which will never return if you let it go. An opportunity that already knocked at you will never again knock same as the way it is. If it will knock again, it will be different.

Most of the time, the same opportunity will never come back. If it will and is the same as is, then you must be one of the luckiest persons. But we all know that life is not only about luck. According to some experts, luck is only 10% of success. That means, 90% of success depends on people.

The greatest opportunity for the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) to settle the right to self-determination struggle of the Bangsamoro people is after they signed the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) in March this year. This agreement is an honest compromise between independence that the MILF always desires and government preference for token autonomy as in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). We do not know of any other framework agreement or any time in the future that this rare chance of a breakthrough will avail itself: most likely not in the lifetime of the current leadership of the MILF nor within the term of office of the next president sitting in the Palace.

If the two Parties do not grab this opportunity or if they fail by their own making, the future might change dramatically, not in the liking of the MILF, because it has already adopted a policy of staying engaged in the path of peace. But there are other armed groups or even the enviers who feast on the failure of the peace efforts.

But even without wanting to wash their “dirty linen” in the open, people’s minds are already wandering to suspect the comments made by the Office of the President (OP) especially its legal team on the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) crafted by the MILF-led Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) as causing the delay. 

We do not want to confirm or deny this suspicion. The government and MILF have not opened much on this. The reason is not only for modesty sake, we are sure, but more importantly, it is the only right course of action.

Be this as it may, but what is threatening in this particular instance is the tightening timeline. The two parties have agreed to submit the BBL--- an agreed version, we believe --- to Congress on July 28 in time for the State-of-the-Nation Address (SONA) of President Benigno Aquino III. In a negotiation, even a disagreement on a single verb or word takes hours for the Parties to settle. How much more for a thick document such as the BBL?

Let us just hope for the best and pray that they overcome their differences. After all, they have no other option except to agree.


MILF: FSD, UNYPAD conduct campaign on UXOs risk education at combat zone areas

From the MILF Website (Jul 1): FSD, UNYPAD conduct campaign on UXOs risk education at combat zone areas

The Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD) in partnership with the United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) Sulu provincial chapter conducted an education awareness campaign on the risk of Mines and Unexploded Ordnance or UXOs at Barangay Kaunayan, Patikul, Sulu on June 21, 2014.
The activity was facilitated by Mr. Carradine M. Abdulpatta, FSD facilitator, and a member of UNYPAD Sulu provincial chapter.

Jun Muha, Sulu Provincial Chairman Chapter of UNYPAD said, “Through proper coordination with barangay officials, community leaders and other stakeholders in the community, this activity was made possible.”

Mrs. Sitti Iyna Tani, Barangay Chairwoman of Kaunayan said, “Perhaps it is just a coincidence that while we are holding this activity, there is a military operations going on in nearby barangays.”

“We actually heard loud explosions from military artilleries but we still managed to conduct the activity,” Chairwoman Tani pointed out.

According to Mr. Muha, there are 17 women, 21 men and 13 Children participated in the awareness campaign. Patikul is known as Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) stronghold.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have conducted several surgical military operations in this area to run after ASG members resulting to deaths and wounding of some members of both sides and displacements of civilians.

In a separate development, Mr Ammier Dodo, advocacy officer of the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) reported that during the fierce firefight between government troops and ASG members on June 21 at Buhanginan, Patikul, there were massive displacement of 70 families from Barangay Kantitap, 200 families from Barangay Kabantukas, and 270 families from Barangay Kanagi.

“So far only the DSWD distributed relief assistance to the IDPs,” Mr Dodo said.

“But those were not enough for their needs,” he said.  “They still need more assistance such as food, clothing, medicines and temporary shelters from other humanitarian organizations”, Mr Dodo pointed out.

According to Mr. Dodo, “Barangay Kanagi is the nearest community to a Philippine Marines camp and the villagers are restricted to go out a kilometer away from its perimeter radius to avoid any untoward incident,” he disclosed.

Meantime, the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) according to Mr. Muha were still in dire need of assistance especially during this month of Ramadan. “For the moment, it is really hard for them to return to their normal life due to that incident,” Mr. Muha said.


CPP: The Filipino people are not amused by King Aquino’s spectacle

Propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 30): The Filipino people are not amused by King Aquino’s spectacle

Communist Party of the Philippines
Pork Barrel King Benigno Aquino III is putting up a public spectacle to entertain the people and draw away attention from his own culpability in the entire bureaucrat capitalist scam to rob the people.

Over the past ten days, King Aquino has effected the incarceration of two senators—Ramon Revilla Jr and Jinggoy Estrada—and their cohorts accused of pocketing kickbacks from pork barrel funds amounting to hundreds of millions of pesos. Another accused senator is set to be arrested in the next few days. To the great displeasure of the Filipino people, King Aquino has extended ruling-class courtesy to his fellow bureaucrat capitalists, in having the two arrested senators confined in comfortable dormitory-like rooms. Similar elite courtesy is expected to be extended to the elderly Enrile.

The arrest and detention of the politicians accused in the pork barrel scam were carried out by the Aquino regime soon after the involvement in the pork barrel scam of its key officials, namely Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, was exposed; and disclosures that Aquino himself had close personal relations with accused pork barrel queen Janet Lim-Napoles.

Since March, the Aquino regime has been conducting negotiations with Napoles in order to have her stand as witness against the anti-Aquino politicians involved in the pork barrel scam. Its self-serving aim is to draw attention away from the involvement of Aquino and his officials in the pork barrel system of disbursing funds to preferred politicians.

Last June 12, at least 10,000 people marched through the streets of Metro Manila demanding the complete abolition of the pork barrel system. They demanded that King Aquino be made liable for the corrupt system of disbursing public funds under the Disbursement Acceleration Fund (DAP)—the presidential pork barrel—which Aquino disbursed to senators in his effort to ensure votes for the conviction and removal of former Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona.

King Aquino’s men have downplayed the significance of the June 12 demonstration. They ignore the fact that many of the prime movers of the large anti-pork barrel demonstrations of last year are now openly expressing discontent over the perpetuation of the pork barrel system under the Aquino regime. An increasingly broad segment of the Philippine middle class is becoming disenchanted amid worsening corruption in large government contracts being granted to big oligarchs supportive of the ruling Aquino clique. They continue to swell the ranks of the toiling masses who long have seen through the illusion of Aquino’s “matwid na daan”.

Aquino’s yellow army of media and public relations specialists has become wary of the rising tide of anti-Aquino protests, especially the participation of the middle class in street actions. Hoping to preempt the mounting anti-Aquino protests, Malacañang orchestrated the filing of plunder charges against senators Revilla and Estrada and their arrest and detention.
However, the Filipino people are not amused at the public spectacle being whipped up by Malacañang, knowing well that the pork barrel system remains in full operation under the direct control of King Aquino.

Numerous groups have questioned the constitutionality of King Aquino’s DAP pork barrel before the Supreme Court. It earlier promptly issued a populist decision against the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF). Several months have already passed since. They Filipino people are increasingly becoming impatient over the failure of the Supreme Court to issue a decision on the DAP.

With Aquino’s appointee at the helm, the Supreme Court is expected to declare the DAP constitutional. To decide otherwise would to make Aquino vulnerable to impeachment. It is clearly wary of the people’s dissatisfaction over such prospects. It has been recently bared that Aquino’s appointees at the Supreme Court leaked a draft of its decision on the DAP to the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in order to measure public reaction to its decision. More than anything else, the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the DAP will be a political decision that seeks to serve the stability of the ruling Aquino regime.

The Filipino people are incensed that the 2015 budget submitted by Malacañang which is lined up with pork barrel funds. As has been the practice under the PDAF, Aquino’s budget department has asked congressmen and senators to list down projects which they would endorse. As before, Malacañang is set to allot P200 million for every senator and P70 million for every congressman.

King Aquino’s 2015 budget also implements the so-called Bottom-Up-Budgeting (BUB) system, devised by Aquino, in order to dangle pork barrel-type funds to local government units. It is reported that as much as P20 billion will be allotted for to such pork barrel funds to ensure the loyalty of local government officials.

Aquino’s adamant defense of the DAP, the PDAF-like allocations and BUB system in the 2015 budget show that he indeed is the Pork Barrel King. The Filipino people must continue to take hold of the initiative. They must not allow the Aquino regime to simply hoist one spectacle after another. They must wage all out political struggle by relentlessly opposing the DAP and the pork barrel system and exposing widespread corruption. Indeed, the Filipino people stand on solid ground in fighting to oust the Aquino regime.


CPP/NDF-KM: Labanan ang Pagtaas ng Matrikula sa UP! Ibasura ang STS! Tutulan ang Kumersiyalisasyon ng Edukasyon

NDF/KM propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jul 1): Labanan ang Pagtaas ng Matrikula sa UP! Ibasura ang STS! Tutulan ang Kumersiyalisasyon ng Edukasyon

Ma. Laya Guerrero
KM National Executive Committee
Mariing kinukundena ng Kabataang Makabayan ang pagtataksil ng gobyerno ni Aquino sa karapatan ng kabataan na magkaroon ng de-kalidad at abot-kayang edukasyon sa bansa. Ipinatupad ni Aquino at ng pamunuan ng UP ang mas mashol at kontra-estudyantent patakarang Socialized Tuition Scheme na nagtaas ng matrikula sa pamantasan sa P1,500 kada yunit.

Ang pagtaas ng matrikula sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at iba pang State Colleges and Universities (SUCs) sa bansa ay tulak ng mga neoliberal na patakaran sa edukasyon. Ang pamamayagpag ng STS, kasama ang iba pang patakaran tulad ng Academic Calendar Shift at K to 12 ay dapat suriin bilang bungkos na atake ng neoliberal na opensiba sa edukasyon at gayundin, atake sa oryentasyon ng kabataan bilang pwersa ng pagbabago at pag-asa ng bayan.

Mito ng Sosyalisasyon

Unang ipinatupad noong 1989, kasabay ng STFAP ang naging pagtaas ng matrikula sa pamantasan mula sa P40 kada yunit tungo sa P300 kada yunit. At noong 2007, sa pagpapalit ng braketing ng diskwento sa matrikula, itinaas naman ang matrikula mula sa P300 tungo sa P1, 000 kada yunit.

Marso 2012, nang mapabalita ang pagpapakamatay ng isang freshman mula sa UP Manila, puspusang nalantad ng mga pagkilos ng mga estudyante ang malawak na disgusto laban sa bulok na patakaran ng STFAP. Malinaw ang mga panawagan ng mga estudyante na ibasura na ang STFAP dahil bigo itong gawing demokratiko ang akses sa edukasyon ng mga kabataan.

Ngunit, sa halip na dinggin ang makatarungang panawagan na ito, tusong nireporma ang STFAP tungo sa STS na nagtaas sa matrikula sa Unibersidad mula P1, 000 tungo sa P1,500 kada yunit.

Ang patarakan ng STS ay nagpapakalat ng maling ideya hinggil sa “sosyalisasyon.” Pilit nitong pinaniniwala ang estudyante at mamamayan na makatarungan ang distribusyon, o pagkakahati-hati o apropriasyon sang-ayon sa kakayanang magbayad ng matrikula. Ang sosyalisasyon sa ilalim ng STS ay postura lamang, ang aktwal na programa ay mas sistematikong huthutan ng pera ang mamamayan, mas pumiga ng kita mula sa kanila (pumalo sa P1.2BN ang kinita na ng UP mula sa pagtataas ng matrikula at iba pang bayarin sa mga nagdaang taon), at lalo pang pasahulin ang sistema ng kumersyalisasyon ng edukasyon sa bansa.

Malinaw na ang STFAP at ang STS ay pagtatabing lamang sa hangarin na itaas ang matrikula at iba pang bayarin sa pamantasan. Higit dito, binibigyang-matwid ng patakarang ito, ang patuloy at papasidhing kumersyalisasyon ng edukasyon. Hangga’t nakakapamayani ang kumersyalisasyon, patuloy na titindi ang pagtataas ng matrikula at pagpapabaya ng estado sa sektor ng edukasyon.

Kontra-Estudyanteng Student Code, Inaprubahan ng mga Rehente

Kapwa kailangang labanan ang kontra-estudyanteng student code na inaprubahan ng Board of Regents ng pamantasan noong ika-30 ng Hunyo.
Nilalaman ng student code na ito ang batayang mga paglabag sa karapatang mag-organisa, magpahayag at magprotesta. Ilang taon na din nanawagan at lumalaban ang mga Iskolar ng Bayan na ibasura ang student code na ito. Lubhang tuso at mapanganib ang mga probisyon na nagbabawal sa “breach of peace.” Sinasaklaw nito ang simpleng pagbabawal sa pag-iingay hanggang sa pagbabawal sa mga protesta at pagkilos sa loob ng pamantasan. Sa gayon, ito ay bulnerable sa abuso ng administrasyon at maaaring abusuhin para busalan ang mga estudyante, lalo pa’t kung nagpapahayag ang mga ito ng mga pananaw na kritikal sa lipunan.

Sa esensiya nilalayon ng student code na supilin ang mga batayang karapatan ng mga estudyante para di-umano disiplinahin ang mga ito. Pero sa aktwal, ito ay pagkitil at pagwawalang-bahala sa batayang karapatan na napagwagian sa mga makasaysayang sagupaan, tulad na lamang noong dekada ’70 na nagluwal sa MND-LFS Accord kung saan kinilala ng estado ang batayang karapatan ng mga estudyante sa organisasyon, publikasyon, konseho, atbp. Ang pakikibaka na ito ay kinilala kahit ng mga reaksiyunaryong institustyon at itinatak sa mga pahina ng Konstitusyon ng bansa at pandaigdigang kasunduan kahit ng United Nations.

Isabuhay ang Diwa’t Esensiya ng Pagiging Iskolar ng Bayan

Ang pagtatayo at pagkalinga sa pampublikong paaralan at pamantasan sa bansa ay katumbas ng pagtitiyak ng pwersa ng bayan na may pagtatangi sa pagtatayo ng mga pambansang industriya, maglilinang sa pambansang kultura, magtataguyod ng ekonomiyang malaya’t nakakatindig-sa-sarili.

Ang patuloy na pag-abandona ng estado sa sektor ng edukasyon ay buod ng kanyang pagpapabaya sa kinabukasan ng bayan. Ang patuloy na pagpapatupad ng neoliberal na patakaran ay nagtutulak din ng denasyunalisasyon, lalo na sa hanay ng kabataan.

Plano pa ngayon ng rehimeng US-Aquino ang mas laganap na pagpapabaya, pagsasara, pagiging financially independent ng maraming SUCs sa bansa sa ilalim ng programa nitong Road Map for Public Higher Education Reform o RPHER. Kaakibat nito ang pagpwersa sa maraming kabataan na mag-aply sa mga Student Financial Assistance Programs (STuFAPs) ng CHED para di-umano ay makatamasa ng edukasyon sa kolehiyo.

Ginagawa nitong pansarili ang interes sa edukasyon, sa halip na kolektibo at pambansang interes. Tinutulak nito ang mga kabataan na magkumpetisyon para sa kani-kanilang akses sa edukasyon upang mabulag ang mga ito sa katotohanan ng pagpapabaya ng estado. Sa huli, masasaid ang politikal na kamalayan ng kabataan na kalingain ang kanyang sariling bayan, at sa halip, magtrabaho para sa pansariling kasaganaan at kaginhawaan.

Ibinabalik natin ang batayang oryentasyon ng kabataan bilang isang sandatang pinapanday para maging armas ng pagbabagong-panlipunan. Sa gitna ng mga atakeng ito, dapat magkaisa ang kabataan at direktang tunggaliin ang mga patakarang ito. Dapat yanigin ng mga dumadagundong na hakbang ng pagkakaisa ang estado para kilalanin ang pwersa ng kabataan. Dapat mapagpasyang suuingin ang mga welgang pangkampus at mga walk-out para ipamalas ang malawak na disgusto ng kabataan, isanib sa iba’t ibang isyu ng mamamayan at ilundo sa ika-apat na SONA ni Aquino. Dapat puspusang ilantad ang arogansiya at kapabayaan ni Aquino sa kabataan at mamamayan, at gawin itong bala para kitilin ang bulok at naghaharing sistema.


CPP/NDF-KM: Ikasa ang malawak at masidhing paglaban sa 830% pagtaas ng matrikula sa PUP; Ibasura ang neoliberal na patakaran ng Rehimeng US-Aquino sa edukasyon

NDF/KM propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jul 1): Ikasa ang malawak at masidhing paglaban sa 830% pagtaas ng matrikula sa PUP; Ibasura ang neoliberal na patakaran ng Rehimeng US-Aquino sa edukasyon

Ma. Laya Guerrero
KM National Executive Committee
Naglalagablab sa galit ang mga Iskolar ng Bayan ng Politeknikong Unibersidad ng Pilipinas matapos matuklasan ang panukala ng pamunuan ng pamantasan na itaas ang matrikula sa P100 kada yunit mula P12 kada yunit. Hindi pa kasama ang miscellaneous fees na aabot sa P3, 000 at iba pang bayarin tuwing enrollment na aabot sa P555. Sumatotal, huhuthot ng halos P5, 655 ang PUP sa bawat estudyante na may kabuuang 21 yunit kada semestre.

Katumbas ito ng pagtataboy ng PUP sa mga anak ng maralitang magsasaka at manggagawa na halos igapang na ang pag-aaral ng kani-kanilang anak, sa panahon na hindi maampat ang pagtaas ng presyo ng batayang bilihin tulad na lamang ng pagkain, habang nakapako sa di-nakabubuhay ang sahod.
Sa isang sulat na pirmado mismo ng presidente ng pamantasan, iginigiit nito sa BOR ang standardization (o pagkakapare-pareho) ng halaga ng matrikula sa mga sumusunod na programa:
  1. Baccalaureate Program: P3, 000 kada semestre;
  2. Associate Program: P1, 500 kada semestre
  3. 3-Year Diploma Program: P250/yunit (hindi pa kasali ang miscellaneous fees)
Kasama rin sa mungkahing maaprubahan ng Board of Regents- ang pinakamataas na kapulungang nagpapasya sa mga polisiya ng pamantasan- ang 830% pagtaas ng matrikula sa mga sumusunod na kampus: Cabigo (Nueva Ecija), Calauan (Laguna), General Luna (Quezon), Pulilan (Bulacan), San Juan City, San Pedro (Laguna), Sta. Maria (Bulacan), at Sta. Rosa (Laguna). Mula sa P12/yunit ang mga estudyante sa mga kampus na ito, kapag naaprubahan, ay magbabayad na ng P100/yunit simula sa susunod na akademikong taon.

Sa kasalukuyan may 4 na mga kampus sa ilalim ng PUP na naniningil nang labis sa P12 kada yunit. Sa Binan, Laguna halimbawa, umaabot ang matrikula sa katakut-takot na halaga ng P5, 000 kada semestre. Sa Bansund, Mindoro Oriental naman, aabot sa P2, 500 kada semestre ang matrikula. Habang ang Parañaque at Sabayan, Mindoro Occidental kampus naman ay naningil ng P1,500 kada estudyante, kada semestre.

Nais di-umano ng pamunuan ng PUP nag awing pare-pareho ang sinisingil na matrikula sa lahat ng pamantasan. May bentahe sa ilang kampus, ngunit mas mapanalasa sa mas marami. Malinaw na ang pakanang standardization na ito ay pagtataas ng matrikula.

Ang mungkahing pagtataas ng matrikula ay kaakibat ng iba pang bayarin tulad na lamang ng SIS fee, PE Uniform fee, at bungkos ng miscellaneous fees na layong paghuthutan ang mga estudyante.

Ang pagkakanlong ni Aquino sa isang kumersyalisadong tipo ng edukasyon ay nagbibigay-katwiran sa di mapatid na lubid ng mga bayarin sa mga pamantasan.

Agad na umalingawngaw ang panawagan para sa protesta sa loob ng PUP at maging sa social networking sites. Ilang mga estudyante ang nagpahayag na handa silang lumaban para panatilihing P12/yunit ang matrikula sa pamantasan.

Agad naman na-depensiba ang pamunuan ng PUP, at naglabas ng pahayag na hindi itataas ang matrikula, sa katunayan, ay ibaba ito sa nasabing mga kampus na labis ang singil sa P12/yunit.

Ngunit hindi ito sapat para maapula ang galit ng mga estudyante. Tuloy ang protesta ng mga Iskolar ng Bayan! Pangunahin para tiyakin na hindi masisilat sa kabataan ang abot-kayang edukasyon na ilang-ulit na nilaban sa mga makasaysayang protesta, ngunit, lalo’t higit para sa malawak na hanay ng kabataang Pilipino na patuloy na nakikibaka laban sa kumersyalisadong tipo ng edukasyon.

Pinanday ang mga Iskolar ng Bayan ng PUP ng mga aral ng kilusang demokratiko simula pa dekada ’70. Sila rin mismo ay nakapagpamalas ng mapagpasyang pagsagupa sa balaking itaas ng 2000% ang matrikula noong 2010. Dumulo ang galit at disgusto ng mga estudyante sa pagsusunog ng mga sira-sirang silya at iba pang bulok na pasilidad ng pamantasan, dahil sawang-sawa na sila sa kapabayaan ng gobyerno sa kabataan. Kinasuhan ang mga lokal na lider estudyante noon, pero hindi ito naging hadlang para lalong sumidhi ang mga protesta hanggang sa ganap na pagtatagumpay nito.

Malinaw na dahil sa matalas na aplikasyon ng linyang masa, nabuklod ang mga estudyante sa iisang panawagan, at iisang disenyo ng paglaban. Kasabay nito, ang libo-libong bilang ng estudyante na napapabatiran ng matalas na pagsusuri laban sa pamamayagpag ng neoliberal na patakaran sa edukasyon. Mahusay ang pamumuno ng mga lider ayon sa ikid ng sitwasyon at maagap na nakikipagkaisa sa malawak na hanay ng estudyante. Nagdisenyo rin ng iba’t ibang mukha at anda-andanang pagpapakilos para mamulat ang marami lalo na ang napanghuhuling bahagi ng populasyon ng estudyante.

Sa pagsisindi sa serye ng protesta ngayong araw, muling hinahamon ang kabataan at Iskolar ng Bayan na matalinong pamunuan ang laban na ito. Ang mahigpit na pagtangan sa linyang masa at estilo ng paggawa na nakaugat sa masa ay pundamental sa inaasam na pananagumpay.

Ang pagsabak sa laban at ganap na pananagumpay ay isang hakbang pasulong sa magiging ambag ng kilusang kabataan at estudyante sa nagpapatuloy at sumisidhing paglaban, paglalantad at pagtatakwil kay Aquino. Malaking ambag ito sa pagsisindi ng dumadagundong na mga kilos-protesta sa lansangan sa batayan ng kataksilan ni Aquino sa kabataan at bayan, sa pananatili nito bilang tapat na tuta ng Imperyalistang Estados Unidos.


NDF hits Paduano as solon

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jul 1): NDF hits Paduano as solon

The National Democratic Front- Negros slammed the installation of Stephen Paduano, who is also known as Carapali Lualhati, as a representative of what it claims is the bogus Abang Lingkod partylist- group to the House of Representatives.

NDF spokesperson Frank Fernandez, in a statement sent to the Visayan DAILY STAR, expressed dismay that the Commission on Election and the Supreme Court utterly neglected valid reasons and evidence of the petitioners proving that Abang Lingkod is a bogus party-list, and its not representing any marginalized sector.
Paduano, who used to be the national commander of the RPA-ABB, yesterday brushed aside the accusations of the NDF-Negros, and maintained that Abang-Lingkod represents farmers and fisherfolk, which obtained 260,215 votes during the May 2012 elections.
Fernandez also linked Paduano to the series of killings of peasant leaders in Negros, including Edwin Bargamento, Pedro Trabajador, among others, while other RPA-ABB leaders were also linked to the murder of Kabankalan Regional Trial Court Judge Henry Arles in Ilog, and that of Romeo Capalla in Iloilo.
He added that they are also part of the much-dreaded “death squad” allegedly of the Philippine Army believed responsible for the abduction of Perseus Geagoni, Felicidad Katalbas, Roberto Marapo and Amir Borris, apparently referring to the RPA-ABB.
These are just a few of the cases filed before the People’s Revolutionary Court against the RPA and Paduano, Fernandez also said.
In their quest for justice, the victims and family of the victims, submitted these cases for investigation before Congress. However, as if to add insult to injury, Paduano was installed as a representative of Abang Lingkod, the NDF-Negros spokesman said.
The people and the revolutionary movement in Negros, as well as in other regions will never forget the outrageous crimes of Stephen Paduano against the CPP-NPA, Fernandez added.

US not behind South China Sea row, China told

Posted to the Philippine Star (Jun 30): US not behind South China Sea row, China told

The speculation that the United States wants to stir trouble for China over the latter's territorial disputes with neighbors is merely a "conspiracy theory," a former ranking US security official said in Beijing.

Stephen Hadley, who served as national security adviser under the Obama and Bush administrations, said that the US is not attempting to hold back China's dominance in the East and Southeast Asian region through US allies such as the Philippines and Japan.

"Many Chinese see behind every dispute or challenge from one of its neighbors an American plot to create trouble for China," Hadley said last week in a speech at the World Peace Summit in Beijing. "Like most conspiracy theories, this one has little basis in fact."

Hadley said that the US, despite its influential presence in the region, cannot sway smaller claimant countries over the East China and South China Seas but it has been urging all involved parties to resolve the disputes peacefully.

"China has many neighboring countries and it is only to be expected that disputes will arise with many of them in the ordinary course. It is the way of nations," he said.

Hadley, who serves as chairman of the US Institute of Peace, also denied typical Chinese notions that the US is threatened by China's rise as a global power due Washington's shift of focus to Asia.

The US is also prepared to play "a role on a par" with China on the world stage and has expressed support for China's entry into the World Trade Organization and the expansion of the G-7 to the G-20 to include China, Hadley said.

American investment, moreover, is pouring into China as a sign of confidence.

The US, however, expects China's growing military capabilities to help defend open sea lanes such as the South China Sea, but is hesitant given China's perceived opposing motives.

"This can be of significant benefit to the United States by allowing China to share some of the responsibility that has up until now largely fallen on the U.S. Navy," Hadley said.

"But the United States and China’s neighbors will want to see greater transparency about China’s naval capabilities to give them confidence that sea-lane protection is indeed the purpose of its naval expansion," he added.

The staggering increase in China's military budget and assets in recent years have alarmed the US and its allies in the region seeing its possible intention to drive out US forces in the Pacific.

Hadley said China's naval expansion "will give rise to great suspicion and concern not only among the American people" but among Southeast Asian nations.

"[China's neighbors[ are reassured by US naval presence," Hadley said.


US exec tells Beijing: Neighbors sense irony in your word

Posted to the Philippine Star (Jul 1): US exec tells Beijing: Neighbors sense irony in your word

Former United States National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley. AP/Charles Dharapak

Filipinos, Vietnamese and other neighbors of China as well as Americans perceive an inconsistency between the regional power's statements and its actions in the disputed waters, a former ranking US security official said.

Stephen Hadley, who served as National Security Adviser under the Bush and Obama administrations, said in Beijing that while China's leadership declares equal security for all and peace in the South China and East China Seas, nearby states hear the words as doublespeak.

"Rather than acting on the basis of a 21st century 'new model' of relations and 'win-win' outcomes, your neigbors tend to see these actions as based more on the 19th century notions of stronger states enhancing their security at the expense of their neighbors, and seeking zero-sum' outcomes favoring the stronger state," Hadley said in a speech at the World Peace Forum last week.

Hadley was referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping's "new model" in foreign policy that preaches common security for both major countries and smaller ones.

Also read: US not behind South China Sea row, China told

"But particularly in the last six months, from an American perspective, China has taken actions that seem inconsistent with this approach," he said.

"Rather than 'common security, equality security and respecting the security of each and every country,' China has taken actions that its neighbors view as directly threatening their own security," Hadley added.

An example of the irony that Hadley cited was the recent incident involving Philippine vessels that were blocked by Chinese coast guard ships from resupplying to soldiers stationed in the disputed Second Thoma (Ayungin) Shoal for the first time in 15 years.

Hadley also said that the the international community frowned upon China's declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone in the East China Sea late last year "without any prior consultation, with only 30 minutes advance notice, and accompanied by threats" against those refusing to comply.

The unilateral deployment of deep-sea oil drilling rig into waters near the disputed Paracel Islands irked Vietnam, while the Philippines also opposed China's reclamation work in maritime zones it claims part of its territory, the official said.

"The problem is that taken altogether, these steps raise questions in the minds of Americans and your neighbors: Is China sincere about wanting to achieve a 'new model' of relations between states?" Hadley asked.

The former presidential adviser, however, did not step beyond diplomacy and said he understands that China has its own reasons for its actions.

He admitted that the United States is also perceived in China as hypocritical in its complaints over cyberspying and as emboldening its allies in the Pacific such as the Manila to confront Beijing.

"So where do we go from here?" Hadley asked.

Related: US exec cites Philippine-Indonesia pact as guide for China

He urged high-level talks, which he called "strategic conversations," between China and the US to establish a common understanding on how they both "see the world and their respective roles in it."

"It should focus on how the two nations can best respond to those trends to enhance the prosperity and security of their respective peoples," Hadley said.


Aquino: New Phl fighter jets to boost territorial defense

From the Philippine Star (Jul 1): Aquino: New Phl fighter jets to boost territorial defense

The Philippines will be acquiring new FA-50 fighter jets from the Korea Aerospace Industries. Image from www.koreaaero.com

The country's territorial defense is expected to be strengthened with the arrival of the new fighter jets of the Philippine Air Force (PAF), President Benigno Aquino III said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the 67th anniversary rites of the PAF in Pampanga, Aquino said the Philippines will finally get next year two of the 12 new FA-50 fighter jets acquired from South Korea.

Aquino said the delivery of the remaining fighter jets will be completed by 2017.

"Mantakin po ninyo, simula nang i-retiro ang huli nating FA-50 fighter aircraft noong 2005, ay wala na tayong fighter jet na kayang tumanod para sa ating bansa," Aquino said in his speech.

"Kaya naman, sa paglapag ng sarili nating FA-50 sa ating bakuran, muli nating magagawang maipagtanggol ang ating teritoryo sa mas epektibong paraan," he added.

Aquino said the government is also planning to buy two long-range patrol aircraft, six close air support aircraft, eight combat utility helicopters, radar systems and other equipment for the PAF.

The President added that 17 more UH-1 helicopters are expected to arrive and join the four already possessed by the PAF.

The PAF currently has three C-130, eight Sokol combat utility helicopter, 18 basic trainer aircraft and 20 upgraded MD-520 MG helicopters, according to Aquino.

"Hindi na imposibleng magkaroon tayo ng makabagong fighter jets at mga kagamitan, at tingalain muli bilang modernong Sandatahan," Aquino said.

The Philippines is modernizing its military amid the increasing tensions in the disputed South China Sea, which is entirely being claimed by Beijing with its nine-dash line.


US admiral: Drills to help China, US work together

From the Philippine Star (Jul 1): US admiral: Drills to help China, US work together

Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, takes a question from a reporter during a press conference announcing the beginning of exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2014. Philstar.com/U.S. Navy/MC2 Diana Quinlan

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — The commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet said Monday that China's first-time participation in the world's largest maritime exercises in Hawaii will help Beijing and other nations work together in a crisis.

The Rim of the Pacific drills will help countries respond as they did when Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines last year and when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March, Adm. Harry Harris told reporters at a news conference opening a month of training.

"These are multilateral events. Real world operations. It helps us if we practice together in settings like this," Harris said.

The U.S. hopes the exercises will help the U.S. and China increase transparency and better understand each other, he said.

China is embroiled in territorial disputes with several countries participating in the exercises, including Japan and the Philippines. Both countries are U.S. allies.

Many of the disputes are over waters in the South China Sea. China, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam have overlapping claims in potentially oil- and gas-rich areas there. Beijing claims virtually the entire body of water.

Japan and China both claim a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea called Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese.

There has been tension between China and the U.S. itself.

China views U.S. moves to "pivot" or rebalance toward Asia and the Pacific as an effort to counter Beijing's expanding military and contain its growing economic and political influence. The U.S. says it's shifting attention to the region because of its growing economic importance.

Harris said the presence of the countries makes a statement that they believe they must improve cooperation despite disagreements. He said "increasing risks" in the region are capable of disrupting stability and affecting "our collective prosperity."

Countries "can agree to disagree without being disagreeable," Harris said.

China sent military observers to watch the drills in 1998, but it has never sent ships before.

This year, China sent four ships, two helicopters, a commando unit and a diving team along with 1,100 Chinese officers and sailors.

One of the ships is a hospital ship, the Peace Ark. A Chinese oiler, frigate and destroyer are expected to join a maritime interdiction operations task force.

The U.S. Navy is hosting about 25,000 military personnel from 22 countries at the exercises. The U.S. Pacific Fleet holds the drills every two years.
Japanese Rear Adm. Yasuki Nakahata, the vice commander of the exercises, said his country is happy China is at the drills.

"It is a very good thing for a country as large as China to acquire new equipment and contribute to a more stable security situation in nearby waters," Nakahata said. "We greatly welcome this and are hopeful."

After the first six questions at the news conference were all related to China, Harris interrupted the queries for a moment to stress the drills were about much more than China.

He pointed out the Southeast Asian nation of Brunei was also participating for the first time.

"This is not about China and the United States. This is about 22 nations that are trying to work together for multilateral operability and transparency," Harris said.


MNLF bares plan to elect new chairman

From the Philippine Star (Jul 1): MNLF bares plan to elect new chairman

A plan to select new chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) has been brought to the attention of the Organization of Islamic Coordination (OIC) during its meeting in June in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The plan came barely a  month after the 10 senior leaders of the MNLF central committee forged a resolution to unify and maintain their support to the MNLF under the chairmanship of Nur Misuari.

Habib Mudjahab Hashim, MNLF’s Islamic Command Council (ICC), confirmed the plan that was submitted to the OIC.

“There is a plan that was submitted during the meeting presided by the OIC to elect or choose a chairman that will represent the MNLF to the OIC,” Hashim said.

Hashim said the requirement for a candidate must be a member of the MNLF and should have no connection with the Philippine government to avoid any conflict of interest.

A disgruntled faction of the MNLF formed the 15-man committee and ousted Misuari in 2000 from the chairmanship due to dissatisfaction to  his leadership.

Hashim added that the step was not aimed to oust Misuari from the leadership again.

“The selection will not bar brother Nur (Misuari) from being one of the candidates,” Hashim said.

Hashim was one of the 10 senior MNLF leaders who forged a resolution that calls for unity of the MNLF and support to the Misuari leadership.

The MNLF resolution, however, received flaks from some Muslim peace groups as support to Misuari could be tantamount to condoning the bloody siege in Zamboanga City that left over 200 people killed and more than 120,000 civilians displaced last year. Misuari is believed to have masterminded the attempt to take over Zamboanga City.

The Muslim groups also cited the OIC’s lack of appreciation of the atrocities launched by Misuari who is charged by Department of Justice (DOJ) for rebellion and violation of International Humanitarian Law, genocide and other crimes against humanity.


Who says PAF’s ‘all air and no force’?

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 1): Who says PAF’s ‘all air and no force’?

CLARK AIR BASE, Philippines—Making its presence felt and shattering the ever-present joke, the Philippine Air Force on Tuesday showed off its assets to prove that they are not “all air and no force.”

Lieutenant Colonel Enrico Canaya said the fly-by of around 50 aircraft during the 67th anniversary of the PAF is a “show of force.”

“We are trying to show to the people that we have these; we are capable,” Canaya said after the celebrations.

During the fly-by, three S-211 jets, three C-130 Hercules cargo planes, one F-28, 2 F-27 Fokker, three N-22 Nomad planes, two OV-10 Bronco bombers, two SF-260TP warrior, 16 SF-260FH/M trainers, nine T-41D trainers, an LC-210 weather aircraft, four MG-520 gunship helicopters, four UH-1H Huey helicopters, one Bell 205, Huey II, six Sokol rescue helicopters, and three S-76A air ambulances flew.

Canaya, however, said that the fly-by was pure show.

“No, we are only showing off here, for the public,” Canaya said. “It’s not meant to provoke any movements in the territory dispute.”

Late in June, four Huey helicopters arrived in Clark and 17 more are expected to arrive by the end of 2014.


China twits US envoy on sea map

From the Manila Standard Today (Jul 1): China twits US envoy on sea map

 Chinese embassy official on Monday warned  the United States to stay out of the territorial dispute between China and the Philippines and after the US envoy commented that China’s 10-days line was inconsistent with international law.

In a statement, Chinese Embassy in Manila spokesman Zhang Hua criticized Goldberg’s recent comments on China’s new maps detailing its 10-dash line claims and reminded him that  Washington was not a “concerned party” in the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and that it should promote peace “rather than the opposite”.

“The United States is not a party concerned in the dispute in the South China Sea,” Zhang said. “Is is our hope that it (US) could do more to promote peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific, rather than the opposite.”

In his speech during the Philippine Constitution Association meeting where he was the special guest, Goldberg said that China’s 10-dash line map was not based on land features and is therefore “inconstant” with  international law.

Goldberg also called on claimant countries to resolve their disputes through tribunals or arbitration under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Zhang slammed Goldberg’s remark and reminded him that the US Congress has yet to ratify the Unclos, which was signed by China, the  Philippines and 163 other countries.

The Unclos provides for the delimitation of countries’ territorial waters, exclusive economic zones and continental shelves.

Goldberg also said that the US does not take any sides in the territorial disputes, but expressed the hope that claimants can resolve it “through tribunals, code of conduct, negotiations directly with parties not through intimidation but legitimate kinds of discussions.”

The US envoy also lauded Manila’s decision to bring its dispute with China’s claim before an arbitral tribunal. Goldberg said it was the “ideal approach.”

The ambassador made the statement two days after China published new maps showing that the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) as an integral part of mainland China. Old maps also show the same territories, but in a cut-out box placed on the bottom corner of the maps.

The China Communist Party (CCP) said the new maps will clarify the extent of Beijing’s claims in the region. It also allowed the publication to educate the citizenry.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, however, said that  countries should not “over-read” the publication of the new maps.

Zhang said that China’s sovereignty over the land and water features in the West Philippine Sea “were formed over a long period of 2,000-plus years.”

Responding to Zhang’s statement, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said that Goldberg’s comments “reflect the convergence of the Philippines and US in resolving the disputes” in adherence to international law.

Meanwhile, a member of the Minority Bloc in the House of Representatives backed President Benigno Aquino III’s diplomatic tack in resolving the country’s dispute with China despite the latter’s ‘bullying’ tactics in asserting its sovereign rights over the disputed islands.


MNLF: Nobel for PNoy won’t end hostilities

From the Manila Standard Today (Jul 1): MNLF: Nobel for PNoy won’t end hostilities

SENIOR peace negotiator on Monday doubted the chances of President Benigno Aquino III winning the Nobel Peace Prize, saying this would even incite rebellion in Mindanao.

“I don’t think he will qualify,” said Absalom Cerveza the spokesman of the Moro National Liberation Front, one of the negotiators of the 1996 MNLF peace accord with the government under then President Fidel Ramos.

Cerveza said that if Aquino would use the framework agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front as a vehicle for him to be cited for a Nobel prize, the attempt would fail.

He explained that the legality of the government’s peace accord with the MILF remained hanging, with questions about its legality.

“The achievement for having forged a peace agreement with the MILF is not big enough to merit the Nobel prize,” Cerveza said.

Cerveza compared the MILF peace agreement as a small piece of treaty compared to the MNLF Jakarta accord, which was brokered and orchestrated by 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

“The exposure of the MNLF agreement is comparatively wider that the MILF because it was facilitated by the international community,” Cerveza said.

While the accord with the MILF has been signed, he added, its implementation and enforcement remained uncertain because of the likelihood of legal challenges.

He suggested that Aquino stop aspiring for the Nobel Prize.

“The Nobel Prize will not end the hostilities and resolve the peace and order problem in Mindanao,” Cerveza said. “It will incite rebel groups to form other rebel factions. There will be no end,” he warned.

The Palace on Monday again denied that it was lobbying for a Peace Prize but said President Aquino deserved the nomination just the same for the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

“Do I think he (Aquino) deserves it? It would be an honor for the Philippines if we’ll have President Aquino nominated. It (CAB) is in the eyes of the international community a big milestone for the promotion and propagation of peace,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

“It is probable that some others who have felt that there has been no significant peace accord reached since Aceh and that the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro was a step forward in promoting peace and, therefore, it is quite probable that they would have nominated the President,” he added.

Lacierda cited the “overwhelming positive response from the international community” toward the peace agreement.

For the peace pact between the Indonesian government and Aceh’s separatist movement, it was the negotiator, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, who won the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize.

The militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan earlier accused presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles of lobbying for Aquino with Norway’s Green Party during a recently concluded retreat for mediators and peace negotiators in Oslo.

Deles has denied the accusation, saying no representative of the Green Party was present during the Oslo conference.

“Let’s settle this: government is not lobbying...It is not by our insistence or through our prodding that there are plans to nominate him. But again, we are not in the know on who are lobbying or promoting President Aquino for the Nobel Peace Prize,” Lacierda said.

Asked if the Palace viewed the delay in the crafting of the Bangsamoro Basic Law as the fly in the ointment of Aquino’s possible nomination, Lacierda said the government is committed to submit the
draft Basic Bangsamoro Law to Congress when session resumes on July 28.

“The President will certify it as urgent and we are confident that the Bangsamoro Basic bill, while it will go through the legislative process, will become law,” Lacierda said.

Earlier, Aquino said he has proposed a meeting with MILF chairman Murad Ebrahim this week to finalize the draft BBL.

The President also insisted that all the provisions of the draft BBL were constitutional amid speculations that problematic items were causing the delay in the submission of the measure to Congress.

His proposed meeting with Murad next week will be a follow up to their 15-minute talk in Hiroshima Tuesday last week.

“We’re putting in all of the details and I asked him if it would be possible to meet sometime next week, either (the government and MILF) panels or we in particular or our designated representatives to thresh
it out and come up with that proposed measure and give it to Congress even before the State of the Nation Address,” the President said.

Earlier, MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghadzali Jaafar said his group has three main concerns—that the delay in the vetting process will result in a domino effect; that the draft BBL might be watered down when it is already discussed in Congress; and that there might be provisions in the draft BBL that would require the amendment of the 1987 Constitution.

Jaafar called on Aquino to rally his allies in Congress to keep their earlier commitment of passing the BBL by December, after which the plebiscite will be held in the first quarter of 2015.

The plebiscite will cover the current provinces and cities in the ARMM, the cities of Isabela and Cotabato, six municipalities in Lanao del Norte, and 39 barangays in six municipalities of Cotabato province.


PAF chief fetes pioneer pilots, aircrew on 67th founding anniversary

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 1): PAF chief fetes pioneer pilots, aircrew on 67th founding anniversary

As the Philippine Air Force celebrated its 67th founding anniversary Tuesday, PAF chief Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado took time to recognize and remember the countless sacrifices of the founding aviators, officers, and enlisted personnel who made the military air service what it is today.

"We salute those all those pilots who flew countless missions for the country and those who made the supreme sacrifice in fulfilling their sworn duty to defend and protect the country," he said in Filipino.

And with pride, Delgado also took time to point out that the PAF is Southeast Asia's first truly modern air force having being established in 1936 as Philippine Army Air Corps (PACC).

The PACC, despite its inferior flying machines, valiantly resisted the Japanese air attacks with pilots like Capt. Jesus Villamor and Lt. Cesar Basa during the early part of World War II in the Pacific, before being overwhelmed by the superior numbers of the enemy.

"We are offering this day to these heroes who made it possible for (present and) future generations to experience peace, prosperity in stable republic," he added.

Delgado also took this opportunity to express thanks to the national leadership for passing the AFP Modernization Law, a legislation which will allow the PAF, the Navy and Army, to modernize and fulfill its constitutional mandate of defending the nation.

The PAF chief also expressed his thanks to President Benigno S. Aquino III for the latter's staunch support to their modernization program.

"In this regard, I would like to take this opportunity to extend to our thanks to the President, on behalf of the men and women of the PAF, our sincerest thanks for the staunch support to our modernizaton program, for your generous support to our operational requirements and for your continued assistance to maintain a decent quality of life to our personnel and our families," he added.

"Mr. President, rest assured that your unwavering concern to the Air Force will further strengthen our resolve to live up to our sworn vow to faithfully perform our duty and dedicate our lives for our country," Delgado stated.

"Hence, no matter how tough or frequent, or the challenge maybe, with God, our countrymen and our allies as witnesses we remain strong and highly disciplined committed to transparency and good governance serving our nation with integrity, service above self, teamwork, excellence and professionalism," the PAF chief stressed.

As this develops, Delgado also assured the public that the PAF will remain a credible partner in terms disaster assistance and humanitarian relief as tested by their record during the magnitude 7. 2 earthquake in Bohol last Oct. 15 and Supertyphoon "Yolanda" which battered a large part of Eastern Visayas in Nov. 8.

"One example is the establishment of (the PAF of ) a mobile disaster response unit which can quickly respond to calamity stricken areas," he added.

Aside from the procurement of more modern aircraft and helicopters, the PAF chief said that they will also focus on acquiring more up-to-date disaster response and relief equipment.

"More importantly we have proven our professionalism and dedication to duty in various preparations to defend our territory and people from any threat or danger," Delgado stressed.

Besides this missions, he also pointed out that the PAF proven its mettle and courage during the Zamboanga City crisis last September, when rogue members of the Moro National Liberation Front, tried to take control of the area.

"During the Zamboanga crisis, close air support to surface forces and our airlift of reinforcements enabled the government to quickly stabilize the situation," Delgado narrated.

The PAF commander also said that they are also in the forefront in conducting regular patrols to guard the Kalayaan Island group and other parts of the West Philippine Sea.

"In line with the AFP Transformation Roadmaps, the PAF has accomplished many remarkable things through the years, we have prevailed against challenges because of the strong bond between every member of the Air Force family and we should not forget the significant contributions of those who have steered the Air Force before me, our esteemed former commanding generals, thus our theme for this year is not incidental or a product of any caprice, it does not have any veiled intention to brag as well, this year's anniversary theme is a product of our tradition of service and reflects aspirations of all our airmen past and present, thus we have PAF at 67, soaring high for peace, freedom and development," Delgado stressed.


President Aquino assures continuous acquisition of more aircraft, other equipment to boost PAF's capabilities

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 1): President Aquino assures continuous acquisition of more aircraft, other equipment to boost PAF's capabilities

President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday assured the government's continuous acqusition of more aircraft and other equipment to boost the capability of the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

The Chief Executive, during the AFP's 67th founding anniversary held at the Haribon Hangar, Air Force City here, said the move is part of the modernization program of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

He said the government is targeting to acquire eight combat utility helicopters, two long range patrol aircraft, six close air support aircraft, radar systems and other equipment for the PAF next year.

This year, he said, the government expects the arrival of the remaining 17 UHI helicopters.

He said the PAF has already three C-130, 18 basic training aircraft, eight Sokor combat utility helicopters, 20 upgraded MD-520 MG helicopters and four UH1 helicopters.

By next year, he also said the Philippines will finally get two of the 12 new FA-50 fighter jets acquired from South Korea.

The President said the delivery of the remaining fighter jets will be completed by 2017.

"Mantakin po ninyo, simula nang i-retiro ang huli nating FA-50 fighter aircraft noong 2005, ay wala na tayong fighter jet na kayang tumanod para sa ating bansa," he said.

"Kaya naman, sa paglapag ng sarili nating FA-50 sa ating bakuran, muli nating magagawang maipagtanggol ang ating teritoryo sa mas epektibong paraan," he added.

The President also said that other initiatives for the PAF include the enhancement of the airforce pilot's skills, the expansion of the airlift capabilities and the putting up of additional fix wings and rotary axis.

Likewise, the President cited the leadership of the military officials and the support of the other men and women uniform for the modernization of the PAF.

"Ang lahat ng tagumpay na ito ng ating AFP at tayog na narating ng modernisasyon ng PAF ay hindi magiging posible kung wala ang suporta ninyo at ng inyong mga pinuno," he said.

He also lauded the efforts of the PAF officers and personnel in providing service to the people.

"Bilang inyong pinuno, hindi ko talaga maiwasang humanga sa paninindigan at abilidad ng inyong hanay. Saksi ako mismo sa inyong dedikasyon at kahandaan paglingkuran ang ating mamamayan," he added.

With the theme of "Soaring High for Peace, Freedom and Development, the event was highlighted with the confernment of awards to outstanding military and civilian personnel and units that contributed to the overall accomplishments of the command.

Named as outstanding military personnel are Major Jonathan P. De Leon from the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing as PAF Officer of the Year; Airman First Class (A1C) Jayson DS. Galvez from the 710th Special Operations Wing (PAF Airman of the Year) ; Staff Sergeant Winthor L. Caingles from the Air Force Finance Center (PAF Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year) .

The outstanding military units are the Brigadier General Benito N. Ebuen Air Base in Mactan Island, Cebu which was named as PAF Model Base of the Year; the 220th Airlift Wing (PAF Commanding General's Flight Safety Award) ; 1st Air Force Wing Reserve (PAF Ready Reserve Wing of the Year award)

The 520th Air Base Wing is this year's recipient of the Commanding General PAF Streamer Award (suppor wing category); 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing which bagged the Commanding General PAF Streamer Award (tactical wing category); Air Logistics Commandwon the Commanding General PAF Streamer Award (command category); 3rd Air Division is this year's winner of the Commanding General PAF Streamer Award( air division category).

The Headquarters Service Support Group is this year's recipient of the Commanding General PAF Streamer Award (support group category) while the Tactical Operations Group 10 of the 3rd Air Division bagged the Commanding General PAF Streamer Award (tactical group category).

Special citations were also given to civilian employees that include Elton Monet B. Merelos from the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing who named as PAF Model Employee of the Year and Eusebio M. Ramos from the 410th Maintenance Wing who was chosen as PAF Model Supervisor of the Year.

Also featured in the PAF anniversary celebration was the flyby of their various assets that include S-211 jets, C-130 Hercules, F-28, F-27 Fokker, N-22 Nomad, OV-10 Bronco bombers, among others.


President Aquino praises PAF members' professionalism, dedication during anniversary celebration

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 1): President Aquino praises PAF members' professionalism, dedication during anniversary celebration

President Benigno S. Aquino III led the celebration of the 67th anniversary of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) in Pampanga, recognizing the professionalism and dedication to service of its uniformed men and women.

In his message during the event that was held in Clark Air Base in Pampanga on Tuesday, the President said the reforms and modernization initiatives in the Air Force have been made possible by the support of the PAF leadership.

At the same time, he praised the PAF for its role in the government’s response during such challenges as the Zamboanga siege and the devastation brought by Typhoon Yolanda last year.

"Ito po mismo ang ipinagdiriwang natin ngayong anibersaryo ng Philippine Air Force: ang propesyunalismo, katapangan, at katatagang nagsilbi ninyong sandigan upang itaguyod ang ating pambansang dangal," the President said in his message.

"Ito ang mga prinsipyong kinikilala natin sa bawat unit, piloto, at kawani na ating pinaparangalan ngayong umaga, at sa iba pang lingkod-bayang katuwang sa ating agenda ng reporma."

The President extended his gratitude to the members of the Air Force, urging them to keep up the good work.

He said that as commander in chief, he is proud to become a leader of a nation that does what is right and is always ready for any challenge.

He reported that in the past four years, the PAF has been able to aggressively push its modernization program.

Currently, the PAF has three functioning C-130 cargo planes and has acquired 18 basic trainer aircrafts.

It has also acquired Sokol combat utility helicopters and 20 upgraded MD-520 MG helicopters, has received four UH-1 helicopters, and is awaiting the delivery of 17 more UH-1 helicopters this year.

The government also targets to buy eight combat utility helicopters, two long-range patrol aircraft, six close-air support aircraft, radar systems, and other equipment that will help the capabilities of PAF personnel, the President said.

Next year, he said, the PAF will receive the first two of 12 FA-50 lead-in fighter trainer jets from South Korea that will help patrol the country's air space.

The government eyes full delivery of the fighter jets from South Korea in 2017, he added.


U.S., PHL troops conclude CARAT with amphibious landing exercise

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 1): U.S., PHL troops conclude CARAT with amphibious landing exercise

Members of the United States and Philippine Marines concluded Monday the five-day Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) exercise with amphibious landing at the beach in San Antonio, Zambales.

The marines were on board USS Ashland and landed on the beach by hovercrafts or Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) of the U.S. Navy.

On the beach were amphibious assault vehicles, also of the American Navy.

They conducted combat exercise on the beach and surrounding terrain unmindful of the heavy rains.

"The training is okay. There are lots of information from the U.S. about combat," PFC Almond Estrada of the Philippine Marines said.

Corporal Chris Cavey of the United States Marines enjoyed working with their Filipino counterparts.

“They are good guys, it is fun working with them, good experience,” he said.

Lance Corporal James Martinez and his companions said they learned a lot like in martial arts with the use of knife techniques.

“I have great time here, they are very professional, no language barrier,” he said.

"We've learned a lot in the training like the first aid, combat and the use of their new equipment," said Philippine Marines Sgt. Ramil Escandor.


Trooper wounded as Army repels NPA patrol in Capiz

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 1): Trooper wounded as Army repels NPA patrol in Capiz

An Army trooper was wounded following a successful combat mission which repelled a New People's Army (NPA) band in Sitio Tagsik, Barangay Lahug, Tapaz town, Capiz Monday afternoon.

Unconfirmed number of the rebels were wounded in the encounter.

Major Ray Tiongson, 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson, said the clash took place around 12: 10 p.m.

He added troopers of the 61st Infantry Battalion were responding to reports that 15 members of the NPA's Tugalbong Platoon, Central Front, Komiteng Rehiyonal-Panay (CF, KR-P) were on a extortion mission in the above-mentioned locality when the firefight broke out.

This lasted for one hour and 45 minutes and resulted in the wounding of Cpl. Genifer Gaston in his the legs.

Tiongson said the NPAs quickly retreated and were closely being pursued by government forces.

Gaston was quickly given first aid and was evacuated and brought to the nearest hospital.

He is now in stable condition.

"We have alerted our medical team that at any time those wounded NPA members would seek for medical assistance. We call on those rebels to come out, lay down their arms peacefully and be given proper medical attention. They are being assured that they will be treated well and their human rights will be respected," 61st Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Victor Llapitan said.


ARMM addressing Sulu family feud that affect fasting Muslims

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 1): ARMM addressing Sulu family feud that affect fasting Muslims

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) government and the regional police unit are trying to address a family feud in the island province of Sulu which flared up as hundreds of Muslims celebrate the fasting month of Ramadhan.

The armed conflict involving the Maling Ukkang and Imam Yusoh Anggal families who have been locked in a long standing family feud already affected about 600 families in Barangay Samal Baguingui, Sulu since they have to live with the conflict at a time when they are observing the fasting month as a religious obligation.

Reports reaching the PNP-ARMM regional office here in Parang, Maguindanao showed that left four gunmen dead and another wounded.

A report received by the office of Humanitarian Emergency Assistance and Relief Team (HEART) showed fighting have not subsided and sporadic skirmishes still occur.

HEART is an inter-agency unit of ARMM that attends to the emergency needs of displaced families in the region due to armed conflict or natural calamities.

Both Ukang and Anggal families are fighting for ownership of strategic seaside communities in Sulu.

In its report, HEART-ARMM said it has already extended assistance Tuesday to the displaced families who need to migrate to nearby villages to avoid getting into cross fire when warring clans traded shots.

The Sulu provincial government through the social welfare office had also extended food assistance to the affected families who are all Sama, Moro people leaving in the coasts lines of Sulu.

Regional Gov. Mujiv Hataman said the office of Sakur Tan Jr is now facilitating mediation between warring clans to come to terms and resolve their conflict peacefully.

Tan has invited the Muslim religious leaders to bring the warring clans into the negotiating table.

Chief Supt. Noel Delos Reyes, ARMM police regional director, has already directed the police to act as "peacekeepers" to prevent warring families from seeing each other and trade bullets.

Lawyer Laisa Alamia, ARMM HEART in charge, said the health and social welfare department had sent teams to attend to the food security and health issues of the affected families.

Police reports from Sulu showed that the warring families are affiliated with the Moro National Liberation Front.

Alamia told reporters a temporary truce is being developed among Ukang and Anggal clans even as she urged both sides to observe the interim ceasefire while efforts at resolving their main issue of conflict is being addressed.

Sama residents, like all other Muslims around the country, fast from dawn to dusk during the fasting month both as religious obligation and personal sacrifice by restraining themselves from eating food, solid and liquid and abstaining from earthly desires.

Instead, Muslims devote more time to prayers during the fasting season.


PMA entrance examination set Aug 3, 2014

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 1): PMA entrance examination set Aug 3, 2014

The schedule of the entrance examination of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) this year has been reset to August 3, 2014, instead of August 31, 2014 as announced earlier, a military official said on Tuesday.

Maj. Christian Uy, spokesperson of the army’s 4th Infantry Division, said that the rescheduling of the entrance examination would provide enough time to properly screen successful examinees who would undergo the complete physical examination.

He said that the applicant must see to it that all information in the PMA application form must be completed together with the attached NSO copy of the applicant’s birth certificate and high school form 137.

The documents should be submitted to the office of the cadet’s admission not later than July 25, 2014, Uy said.

He said that for online submission, applicants are required to submit the requirements in PDF format.

The PMA Entrance Examination aims to measure the mental ability of the applicant in the areas of Math (Algebra and Geometry), English (Grammar, Composition, and Reading and Comprehension) and Abstract Reasoning, also known as SPMA (Verbal and Numerical Reasoning and Pattern Analysis.

Uy said that the applicant should make sure that the requirements are complete before proceeding to the designated examination centers.

Walk in applicants may be entertained to take the exam as long as there are sufficient examination booklets, he added.

The examination centers in Northern Mindanao would be in Camp Evangelista, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City for Misamis Oriental applicants and in Agusan National High School, Butuan City for CARAGA Region applicants.

MGen Ricardo R Visaya, Commander of 4th Infantry Division, said that joining the noble profession of arm in the PMA would provide an individual the rare opportunity of becoming the country’s future leader that advocates peace, serve the Filipino people, and protect the sovereignty of the state.

For more queries about the examination, one should visit the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) portal at www.pma.ph.


OPAPP allocates P289M for Northern Mindanao infra projects

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 1): OPAPP allocates P289M for Northern Mindanao infra projects

The National government is setting aside P289 million for infrastructure projects in the “Kalabugao Plain,” the tri-boundary of the provinces of Misamis Oriental, Bukidnon and Agusan Del Sur, a senior local government official said on Tuesday.

Rene K. Burdeos, regional director of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) in Region 10, said that the Kalabugao Plain has seven barangays and a total land area of about 51,000 hectares.

He said that a provincial road that would traverse the Damay-Kalabugao lines in Bukidnon would be constructed in the area in 2015.

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) has committed the amount for the road project in the Kalabugao Plain, Burdeos said.

He said that the development of the Kalabugao Plain is important because it affects other parts of Mindanao.

“The bulk of the flood waters in the cities of Gingoog, Butuan, Cagayan de Oro, Davao, and Cotabato usually originate from the Kalabugao Plain, home of the Higaonon tribes and a strategic watershed area of Pulangi River,” he said.

The 320-kilometer Pulangi River, the longest in Bukidnon, provides approximately 25 percent of Mindanao’s power needs and the main water source of Bukidnon both for drinking and irrigation.

The development of the Kalabugao Plain would also benefit the indigenous people, the most vulnerable target of the insurgency movement in the region, because of the feeling that the government has not taken care of them, Burdeos said.

The project known as the Peace and Development Convergence Program for Kalabugao Plain, the Technical Working Group (TWG) of Regional Peace and Order Council in Region 10 (RPOC-10) has conceptualized the program aimed to develop Kalabugao Plain into an economically, environmentally and culturally developed community.

Based on the existing Ancestral Domain Sustainable Protection Plan and Barangay Development Plans (BDP), the project has identified various sectors which the convergence intends to be developed. One is the economic sector where livelihood, organic agriculture production, agro forestry, irrigation canal, animal dispersal, fisheries or fishponds among others, are seen to provide sustainable income to community members.

Second is the environment sector. Under this classification would be the purchase of land for farmers, establishment of barangay nursery, maintenance of crops, medicine for animals and rejuvenation of coffee production and others.

There is also a proposed greening program or reforestation, landfill for solid waste, tree growing and greening program, establishment of dump site and eco-tourism and community awareness of environmental protection.

This project also aims to preserve Pulangi and Kalabugao River by regulating fishing activities, reforestation along watershed areas and barangay water source, assist natural regeneration (ANR) and National Greening Program (NGP), develop eco-tourism along Pulangi River and the preservation of the Philippine Eagle.

TWG has recently revisited Kalabugao Plain as an affirmation of the government’s commitments to the Peace and Development Convergence Program to spur further action from various stakeholders, Burdeos said.