Thursday, August 21, 2014

100 Filipino Muslims join Isil in Iraq

From the Gulf News (Aug 20): 100 Filipino Muslims join Isil in Iraq

Former President Fidel Ramos says militants could come back to Philippines and spread terror

Some one hundred Filipino-Muslims who have joined Abu Bakr Baghdadi’s Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) could come back and spread violence in the Philippines, former President Fidel Ramos has said.

The militants have been trained, inspired, and recruited by 12 other Southeast Asian Islamists who were hiding in the southern Philippines for more than 10 years, sources told Gulf News.
“At least a hundred of our young Filipino-Muslims have infiltrated Iraq where they get training and they can launch jihad when they come back to the Philippines,” Ramos said.
“President Benigno Aquino should focus on an anti-terror plan,” recommended Ramos, the country’s first career military officer to become head of state. He held the office from 1992 to 1998.

Meanwhile, at least 12 members of Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) — the Southeast Asian conduit of Al Qaida — among them Malaysians, Indonesians, and Singaporeans — are still hiding in the Southern Philippines, a military source who requested anonymity told Gulf News.

The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the armed wing of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement, which broke away from the mainstream Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in 2008, have given sanctuary to the Southeast Asian Islamists in exchange for training in bomb-making and insurgent strategies, the same source said.

“They have been responsible for the recruitment of young members of the ASG and BIFF to Iraq and Syria,” said the source, without revealing the date when the Filipino-Muslims left the southern Philippines for jihad training abroad.
Only five of the 12 Southeast Asian Islamists hiding in the southern Philippines were identified — Malaysian Zulkifli Bin Hir, also known as Marwan; Amin Buco, another Malaysian, a.k.a. Abu Jihad; Singaporean Muawiyah Anjala, a.k.a. Abdullah Ali; and two Indonesians, Qayi and Sa’ad.
Their presence in the south was confirmed when the wives of Marwan, Qayi and Sa’ad were arrested in Sulu province in 2013, the source said.
ASG commander Khair Mundos told investigators, after his arrest in Manila in June this year, that he saw Marwan in BIFF’s camp. He also said the ASG is divided with several factions.
Last week, a video-clip uploaded on YouTube showed members of ASG and BIFF expressing allegiance with Baghdadi’s ISIL.
In one video-clip, ASG leader Isnilon Hapilon read a statement declaring this alliance.
BIFF spokesman Abu Misry denied that BIFF members were sent to Iraq and Syria, but added they would be sent if they are needed there.
Misry also vowed that Southeast Asian Islamists would not follow the style of Bagdhadi, who is known for his resolve and brutality.
Scholars focused on Islamists told Gulf News that members of Philippines’ ASG and the BIFF were known to be allied with Al Qaida’s former leader, the late Osama bin Laden.
“This is the reason why Philippine authorities were not afraid that they would be recruited to the ISIS in Iraq and Syria,” said the same analyst, adding that Baghdadi did not belong to Bin Laden’s direct line of succession in Al Qaida.
At the same time, the ASG and its direct link, the JI, have been reportedly weakened.
Top JI leader Umar Patek was captured before Bin Laden was killed by a US special operation in Abbottabad, Pakistan on March 10, 2010.
Another JI leader, Dulmatin, was killed in 2010.
Meanwhile, the group’s key strategist and fund-raiser Noordin Mohammad Top was killed in 2009; while JI founder Abu Bakir Bashir was imprisoned in Indonesia in 2003.
The JI is blamed for attacks in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore, including bombings in Bali in 2002 and 2005; a suicide car bombing outside the Australia Embassy in Jakarta in 2004; a car bombing of Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in 2003; and several bomb attacks in Metro Manila.

Basit Usman tagged in Cotabato bombing

From the Sun Star-Manila (Aug 20): Basit Usman tagged in Cotabato bombing

THE Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Wednesday that there is a "big possibility" that terrorist bomb expert Basit Usman was behind the bombing in Cotabato City on Tuesday evening that injured four civilians.

The Army's 6th Infantry Division Public Information chief Dante Gania said the pieces of bomb recovered at the crime scene matches to the "bomb signature" of Usman.

A $1 million bounty is being offered for information leading to the arrest of Usman, who has alleged links with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

Gania said they have received information that Usman is currently in the country to conduct bomb-making training to the BIFF members.

On the evening of August 20, a bomb planted in an wrangler-type jeep exploded causing injuries to three civilians and a soldier.

Gania said the hunt for Usman is ongoing.

Procurement of 2 long range patrol aircraft not delayed

From AngMalaya (Aug 21): DND: Procurement of 2 long range patrol aircraft not delayed

Though first stage bidding for two long range patrol aircraft worth PhP5.9 billion failed, the Department of National Defense believes that there would be no delay in the procurement.

Opening and submission of bids for the second stage of the procurement process is scheduled on November.

Seven bidders joined the first stage bidding last August 11, however, after hours of deliberation these seven bidders were found not eligible to proceed with the bidding.

Airbus Military C295 patrol aircraft.
Airbus Military C295 patrol aircraft. Photo by National Democratic Congress UK & Ireland

Motions for reconsideration were already submitted by the seven bidders.

EADS-CASA Airbus Defense and Space,  Elta, Elbit, Saab Asia Pacific, PT Dirgantara Indonesia Indonesian Aerospace, Lockheed Martin and L3 Mission Integration are the seven bidders.

The DND-SBAC was not able to reach the stage of checking technical documents of five bidders. While Elta and Elbit did not reach DND’s expectation on technicalities.
Elta and Elbit “did not include in their proposal the fast-moving items and consumables in the list of minimum deliverables,” said DND Undersecretary Fernando Manalo, chairman of the DND Special Bids and Awards Committee 1 (DND-SBAC 1).

Army holds tree planting, medical mission in Laguna

From the Manila Times (Aug 21): Army holds tree planting, medical mission in Laguna

CALIRAYA, LAGUNA: Philippine Army’s 202nd Brigade conducted a tree planting activity as part of the Brigade’s post founding anniversary with the theme “Serving the People, Securing the Land”.

More than 250 fruit and non-fruit bearing seedlings were planted during the activity participated by the Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan Power Plant Limited, local government units of Lumban and barangay officials of Caliraya.

A medical mission was also carried out by the Army Station Hospital, 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division, volunteers from Laguna Red Cross; and barangay health workers of this town.

Palace: IS no threat to PH

From the Manila Times (Aug 21): Palace: IS no threat to PH

Malacañang on Thursday denied claims of former President Fidel Ramos that around 100 Filipinos have joined the Muslim extremist group Islamic State (IS) in Iraq.

Ramos earlier said the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, which broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, have infiltrated Iraq and are being trained as jihadists.

He did not give details but said the ASG has been encouraged by the success of the IS, formerly known known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

IS, which displaced al-Qaeda, recently declared an Islamic caliphate in territory it controls in Iraq and Syria.

But Palace deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said the information shared by the former president has not been verified.

“I understand that former President Ramos mentioned that the information was based on raw reports. We will leave it to the military to comment, if they deem it appropriate,” Valte added in a statement.

On Wednesday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) gave assurances that the IS does not pose any threat to the country.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP Public Affairs Office chief, said the group that wreaked havoc over Iraq and Syria does not have any connections in the Philippines.

“There is none, they don’t have a capability here,” Zagala added. “We have not monitored any instances where they have come here in the country.”

ISIS suportado ng ilang grupo sa Mindanao

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Aug 21): ISIS suportado ng ilang grupo sa Mindanao (ISIS supported by some groups in Mindanao)


Mga umano'y supporters ng ISIS ideology sa Lanao del Sur bitbit ang kaparehong bandera ng ISIS sa isang rally kontra Israel agression sa Palestine. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

Dedma lamang ang militar sa lumalawak na suporta ng ilang grupo mula Mindanao sa ISIS o Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” na siyang kinakatakutan ngayon sa Iraq at Syria.

Sa Lanao ay ilang mga grupo ang sinasabing sumusuporta sa ipinaglalaban na Islamic caliphate ng ISIS at nais rin ng mga ito ang kapareho sa Mindanao na dating nasa ilalim ng pamumuno ng mga Sultan.

Bagamat hindi agad matukoy ang laki ng puwersa o ang bilang ng mga sumusuporta sa ISIS sa Lanao at sa ibang bahagi ng Mindanao ay marami naman ang hindi sang-ayon sa pagka-brutal ng naturang grupo sa kanilang pananakop sa Iraq at Syria. Sa sobrang brutal ng ISIS maging ang Al-Qaeda ay ayaw na dumikit sa kanila.

Pinalaya rin ng ISIS ang maraming Sunni prisoners sa Iraq na nakulong matapos na sakupin ng Amerika ang nasabing bansa. Nakadagdag pa sa galit ng ISIS ay ang kalupitan ni Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, na isang Shiite, at kamakailan lamang ay nag-resign ito.

Pawang mga Sunni ang karamihang miyembro ng ISIS sa Iraq at Syria at maging mga dating sundalo ni Sadda, Hussein ay sumanib na sa nasabing Katipunan na ngayon ay may malawak na kontrol sa malaking bahagi ng dalawang bansa.

Nasa kamay na rin ng ISIS ang ibat-ibang armas, kabilang ang mga missiles at tangke, na noon ay nasa pangangalaga ng Iraqi at US forces. Maging ang mga oil fields sa Iraq at ang yaman ng bansa ay bihag rin ng ISIS na naglalayong palawakin pa ang kanilang teritoryo na Islamic caliphate.

Kamakailan lamang ay pinugutan ng ISIS ang isang bihag nitong Amerikano na si James Foley, isang freelance photojournalist, bilang ganti sa panghihimasok ng kanyang bansa sa kaguluhan sa Iraq. Dinukot si Foley noon November 2012 sa Syria habang nasa isang assignment para sa online news website na GlobalPost.

Sinabi naman ni dating Pangulong Fidel Ramos na mayroon 100 mga Pilipino ang sumama sa ISIS sa Iraq, ngunit dedma lamang ang militar sa naturang pahayag at wala umanong kumpirmasyon ito.

Ngunit maging ang Abu Sayyaf sa ilalim ni Isnilon Hapilon ay nakiisa na rin sa ISIS at nagpahayag na ng kanilang suporta sa grupo. At pati ang Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters sa Central Mindanao ay nagsabing sinusuportahan rin nito ang ISIS.

Parehong Islamic state ang ipinaglalaban ng dalawang grupo sa Mindanao na ngayon ay siyang kumukupkop sa ilang mga lider ng Jemaah Islamiya at Kumpulan Mujahidin Malaysia.

Soldiers told: Keep support for Jovito Palparan to yourselves

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 20): Soldiers told: Keep support for Jovito Palparan to yourselves


Retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO/JOAN BONDOC

With colleagues offering words of support for retired Major General Jovito Palparan, the Armed Forces of the Philippines on Wednesday told its active force to keep their opinions to themselves.

Lieutenant Colonel Ramon Zagala, Public Affair Office Chief, said that as soldiers, they were barred from speaking out.

“Inside the AFP, as soldiers we do not have our Freedom of Expression, it is curtailed, especially our Freedom of Speech,” Zagala said.

He added that if soldiers have their opinion on a certain issue they could only express it to their units, family or close friends and not to the public. Or better yet, as Zagala said, to themselves.

On Friday, retired Lieutenant General Edilberto Adan, president of Association of Generals and Flag Officers, said that Palparan was a victim of trial by publicity and that he should be given a chance to defend himself in court.

Zagala said that once a soldier retired from service then he or she may enjoy the privileges of a civilian.

He added that the troops should respect the judicial system of the country as the case was in the courts and Palparan was still innocent unless proven otherwise.

“As soldiers we should respect the judiciary and we do not side with anyone except the Constitution.”

MILF commander, village chief son killed in ambush by rival rebel commander in Maguindanao

From MindaNews (Aug 21): MILF commander, village chief son killed in ambush by rival rebel commander in Maguindanao

A brigade commander of Moro Islamic Liberation Front and his son, a barangay chairman, were killed in an ambush by a group of another MILF commander in Sultan sa Barongis town in Maguindanao.

Tanialap Utap, the town administrator of Sultan sa Barongis, confirmed the killing took around noontime Wednesdaywhen the father and son victims was traversing the area of Barangay Tugal aboard a motorcycle.

Senior Supt. Rodelio Jocson, Maguindanao provincial police director, identified the victims as Kumander Tato Mohammad and Ankayamat barangay chairman Sadam Mohammad.

“We had conducted investigation and identified the suspects based on the statement of the witnesses,” Jocson said, relaying the statement of his police chief on the ground, Inspector Cesar Ibal Jr.

Investigation revealed that the killing was headed by a certain Kumander Taya, supposedly of the MILF’s national guard and long-time adversary of Mohammad. There is reportedly a long-standing land dispute and political rivalry among the two.

Assemblyman Khadaffy Mangudadatu, representative of the second district of Maguindanao in the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and vice chair of the committee on public order and security, urged the MILF central committee to resolve the internal problem among their ground commanders.

“Let the CCCH (Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities) and AHJAG (Ad-hoc Joint Action Group) do their job”, he said.

Mangudadatu also called the attention of Maguindanao Task Force Reconciliation and Unification (MTFRU) to immediately intervene in the area to contain any escalation of the conflict and safeguard the interest of the civilians.

Jocson added that the Maguindanao police has coordinated with the local government of Sultan sa Barongis and the MILF hierarchy to extend all efforts to curb any attempt of escalation of conflict.

According to Toks Upam, of the MILF-CCCH’s monitoring team in Maguindanao, the MILF central committee has called the attention of the ground commanders from both parties for an emergency meeting today (Thursday) in the MILF’s main headquarters in Camp Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao to address the conflict.

But sources revealed that situation in the area is still volatile at of press time.

6 soldiers wounded in Sayyaf clash in Basilan province

From the Mindanao Examiner BlogSpot site (Aug 21): 6 soldiers wounded in Sayyaf clash in Basilan province

At least six soldiers were wounded in fierce clashes Thursday with Abu Sayyaf militants in the restive province of Basilan in the Muslim autonomous region in southern Philippines, officials said.

Officials said Abu Sayyaf gunmen led by Puruji Indama ambushed soldiers belonging to the 18th Infantry Battalion in downtown Tipo-Tipo sparking a firefight. The militants also detonated an improvised explosive to slow down the soldiers.

“At least six of our soldiers were wounded in the fighting in Tipo-Tipo proper,” said Capt. Franco Suelto, a spokesman for the 1st Infantry Division.

He said troops were pursuing Indama’s group. It was not immediately known if there were enemy casualties, he said.

The clash occurred just a day after security forces arrested two wanted Abu Sayyaf militants – Nur Hassan and Ustadz Alih – near the Port of Zamboanga. The two, both natives of Basilan, were being investigated by the police in Zamboanga City.

Authorities did not say whether the two men were on a mission or planning to launch attacks in Zamboanga, where suspected Abu Sayyaf gunmen recently kidnapped a grocery owner, Michelle Panes, in Labuan village.

Army deploy peacekeepers in Maguindanao town after murder of MILF commander, village chair

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 21): Army deploy peacekeepers in Maguindanao town after murder of MILF commander, village chair

The Army’s 6th Infantry Division has deployed a peacekeeping contingent in Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao after the Wednesday fatal ambush of a village chair and a ranking commander of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) by a rival rebel group who also belonged to MILF.

Saddam Mohammad, a barangay chairman in Sultan sa Barongis, and his father Mohammad Batuh alias “Commander Batuh,” were riding tandem on motorcycle when ambushed by gunmen believed to be members of the MILF.

The victims were on their way to the town center from their farm lot when ambushed by gunmen using assault rifles.

The village chair and the MILF leader died on the spot from multiple gunshot wounds.

Authorities said the ambushers were led by another MILF commander, Kagui Said, whose family is locked in a long standing “rido” (clan war) with the victims’ family.

“These two groups had figured in several encounters in the past,” they said.

To prevent both sides from shooting each other, elements of the 33rd Infantry Battalion are now guarding strategic areas in Sultan sa Barongis.

Lt. Col. Markton Abo, commander of the 33rd IB, has sought the help of the joint government-MILF ceasefire committee to help resolve the conflict amicably and bring the conflict to a halt.

CPP/Ang Bayan: Mga aksyong militar sa Negros

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Aug 21): Mga aksyong militar sa Negros

Apat na elemento ng kaaway ang napatay sa tatlong magkakasunod na aksyong militar ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental noong Hunyo. Ayon sa Leonardo Panaligan Command (LPC-BHB), dalawang sundalo ng 12th IB ang napatay nang paputukan ng kanilang pwersa ang detatsment ng naturang yunit-militar bandang alas-8 ng gabi noong Hunyo 12. Matagal nang hinihiling ng mamamayan sa Barangay Sandayao na parusahan ang mga sundalo rito. Laganap ang pang-aabuso nila sa mga sibilyan tulad ng pagbabanta, pambubugbog at walang habas na pagpapaputok ng kanilang mga baril na nagdadala ng kaguluhan at perwisyo sa lokalidad.

Ipinatupad naman noong Hunyo 23 ng BHB ang desisyon ng hukumang bayan na ipataw ang parusang kapital laban kay Aljin Mogelio. Napunatayan ng hukuman na si Mogelio ang bumaril at pumatay sa konsehal ng bayan ng Guihulngan na si Cyrus Fat noong Pebrero 13, 2014. Si Mogelio ay isang dating elemento ng CAFGU Active Auxiliary (CAA) at dati ring intelligence asset o espiya ng AFP at pulisya.

Noon namang Hunyo 18, ipinataw din ng BHB ang parusang kapital kay Jose Baquilta. Si Baquilta ang namuno sa pagpaslang sa mag-asawang Escoba sa Sityo Punong, Barangay Trinidad noong 1987. Kabilang din siya sa “Kadre,” isang grupo ng mga panatiko na kasama ng mga tropang militar at CAFGU na sumunog sa mahigit 40 bahay sa Sityo Kalubasa, Barangay Tacpao, Guihulngan noong 1988. Sangkot din si Baquilta sa karumal-dumal na pagmasaker sa isang pamilya sa Barangay Trinidad. Ginahasa muna nila ang mga biktima bago nila pagtatagain at tadtarin ang katawan ng mga ito.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: AFP, nagtamo ng 14 kaswalti sa Agusan

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Aug 21): AFP, nagtamo ng 14 kaswalti sa Agusan

Nagtamo ng 14 na kaswalti ang Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa apat na magkakasunod na aksyong militar na matagumpay na inilunsad ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) sa Agusan laban sa 26th IB at 29th IB ng Philippine Army noong Agosto 5, 9 at 10.

Ito ay sa gitna ng pinaigting na operasyong militar ng AFP sa mga bayan ng San Luis at Talacogon sa Agusan del Sur at Buenavista, Agusan del Norte. Apat ang napatay at sampu ang nasugatan sa panig ng militar. Walang kaswalti sa panig ng mga Pulang mandirigma sa ilalim ng West Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Subregional Command ng BHB.

Dalawang beses na hinaras ng mga Pulang mandirigma ang mga tropa ng 26th IB at sinagupa ang mga elemento ng paramilitar na Special CAFGU Active Auxiliary (SCAA) sa Agusan del Sur. Isang sundalo ng 26th IB ang napatay at apat na iba pa ang nasugatan nang harasin sila ng isang yunit ng BHB habang nagpapatrulya sa Km. 18, Barangay Don Alejandrino, San Luis nitong Agosto 10.

Dalawang elemento naman ng naturang batalyon ang napatay at dalawa ang nasugatan nang magreimpors ang 26th IB sa 15 elemento ng SCAA na nakasagupa ng BHB ganap na alas-6:20 ng umaga ng Agosto 5 sa Purok 7, Barangay Zellovia, Talacogon. Pinasabugan sila ng command-detonated explosive (CDX) ng nag-aabang na yunit ng BHB. Bago ito, isang elemento ng SCAA ang napatay at isa ang nasugatan sa naunang labanan. Isang kilometro lamang ang layo ng detatsment ng 26th IB sa lugar na pinangyarihan.

Ang 26th IB ay protektor ng Provident Tree Farm Inc. (PTFI) at ang paramilitar na SCAA ay nagsisilbing gwardya nito. Ang PTFI ay sangkot sa pang-aagaw ng lupa ng mga magsasaka, mapangwasak sa kalikasan at mapagsamantala sa mga manggagawa.

Samantala, isang tropa ng 29th IB ang napatay at dalawang iba pa ang nasugatan nang harasin sila ng mga Pulang mandirigma ng BHB habang nagpapatrulya sa Sityo Afga, Barangay Olave, Buenavista nitong Agosto 9, alas-12 ng tanghali.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Wage all-out resistance against Aquino’s chacha and term extension scheme

Propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Aug 21): Wage all-out resistance against Aquino’s chacha and term extension scheme
CPP Ang Bayan
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) urgently calls on the Filipino people to meet the Aquino clique’s moves to extend its stay in power through Marcos-style measures.
The Aquino clique is targeting the amendment of the 1987 constitution (cha-cha) in order to clip the Supreme Court’s power to stop Aquino from doing as he pleases. Like Marcos, Aquino wants the other branches of the reactionary government to become his rubberstamps and mere facades to conceal his dictatorial conduct.
The Aquino clique, especially its minions in Congress, is likewise focused on amending the constitution to allow Aquino to extend his current term or run for a second term. Its members are now in a mad scramble to create the illusion of mass support for Aquino in order for him to stay in power after Aquino stated that he was open to such a possibility if it was in accordance with “his bosses’ wishes.”
Aquino’s backpedalling on the cha-cha issue demonstrates desperation in the face of the worsening political crisis faced by the ruling regime. He wants to consolidate his own power out of fear that he and his cohorts would be removed from power on or before 2016 and made to account for stealing, plunder and other crimes against the people.
Aquino’s statements blatantly manifest his dictatorial bent, his desire to monopolize political power and dismantle all obstacles and questions to his “righteous” rule. His statements have further stoked the fires of the people’s anger and spurred a blitz of brickbats from the people who have had enough of Aquino’s policies that have brought nothing but skyrocketing prices of goods and services, very low wages, widespread landlessness and landgrabbing, massive unemployment and unprecedented hunger and poverty. On top of these burdens is brutality militarization and other grave violations of human rights.
The people have long hated Aquino because of the stench of corruption that his regime has been reeking out. Bureaucrat capitalism has worsened under the Aquino regime because of its efforts to consolidate its power through the use of the nation’s coffers to favor cronies and contributors to Aquino’s election kitty.
They detest his use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), Development Acceleration Program and other pork barrel programs allotting billions of pesos of government funds according to Aquino’s prerogative and caprice. Aquino has arrogated the power to decide which programs or projects would suffer budget cuts or be deprived of funds altogether for the use of his businessman-cronies and politicians loyal to his clique.
Despite widespread criticism of the pork barrel, Aquino insists on maintaining tens of billions of pesos under Malacañang’s direct control. There have been recent exposés of how Aquino concealed from the public the system of providing funds for various government agency programs “nominated” by senators, congressmen and local officials as a means of buying their loyalty and support.
Thus, in realit, Aquino has long been running his government like a dictatorship. He is able to get everything he wants from Congress and the Senate which are both rules by his minions and apologists. Aquino now plans to obtain even greater power through cha-cha. When he is able to realize his avowed goal of clipping the powers of the Supreme Court, he will have enthroned himself as a dictator.
With the continuing exposés of corruption, repression and puppetry, Aquino has grown increasingly isolated from, and despised, by the people. It is no wonder that Malacañang officials and Aquino’s propagandists have been straining to portray the fiction of growing support for Aquino to justify measures to extend his power. All of Aquino’s gimmicks on the internet and in the media have been contemptuously ignored by the public.
Aquino’s statements baring his objective of attaining greater powers have likewise further driven various pettybourgeois forces, groups and personalities to join forces with entities opposed to the ruling regime. They have grown more active in expressing their opposition to Aquino’s rotten rule.
The struggles of the broad masses of the people to oust the Aquino regime must be fired up even more. Aquino must not be allowed to use cha-cha or any other political maneuver to extend his stay in power and the people’s verdict and punishment.
The Filipino people must likewise be vigilant of reactionary politicians who want to amend the constitution to do away with provisions that impose limits in foreign ownership and control of Philippine industries.
Driven by US imperialism, they are likewise targeting the removal of, or amendments to, provisions prohibiting the construction of foreign military bases and facility. This has no other purpose than to ratify the newly signed Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) which allows the US military to build facilities in various parts of the Philippines.
The people must go all-out in holding Aquino accountable for his sellout of national sovereignty, for raiding the nation’s coffers and for his onerous and repressive measures against the people.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

Police, military troops arrest 2 Abu Sayyaf brigands in Zamboanga City

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 21): Police, military troops arrest 2 Abu Sayyaf brigands in Zamboanga City

Combined police and military operatives have arrested two suspected Abu Sayyaf brigands and confiscated from them a grenade in two separate places in this city, a top police official disclosed Thursday.

Zamboanga City police director Senior Supt. Angelito Casimiro identified the arrested suspects as Edwin Sawaldi with aliases Nur Hassan and Hassan, and Jemhar Allih who carries the aliases of Memay Alih, Ustadz Haepa and Ustadz Wahid.

Casimiro said Sawaldi was arrested around 6:10 p.m. Wednesday in the port area of this city.

Sawaldi has standing warrant of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention issued by a Court in Isabela City, Basilan province, according to Casimiro.

He said that Allih was arrested around 11:15 p.m. Wednesday in Sitio Tawi-Tawi, Barangay Taluksangay, east of this city.

He said the arresting team of operatives recovered from the possession of Allih a fragmentation grenade.

He said Allih has standing warrants of arrest for violation of Republic Act 6593 otherwise known as the Anti-Carnapping Act of 1972 and attempted murder issued by a Court in this city.

Casimiro said both arrested suspects were detained while appropriate cases for illegal possession of explosive is set to be filed against Allih.

NPA covering up for blunder: Army

From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 21): NPA covering up for blunder: Army

The allegation of the Roselyn Pelle Command of the New People's Army Northern Negros Guerilla Front that those killed and injured in an encounter with the military recently in Brgy. Dian-ay, Escalante City, Negros Occidental, were not their members, is part of their alibi to cover up their blunder, Lt. Col. Rommel Cordova, 62 nd Infantry Battalion commander, yesterday said.
“They (NPA) are now suffering a major political setback because of what had happened,” Cordova said, in response to the statement of Cecil Estrella, spokesperson of the Roselyn Pelle Command had issued to the media.
While they exploited their supporters, the NPA did not even extend any form of help to them, Cordova said, adding that, “In fact, it was the Army who extended humanitarian assistance those they had exploited”.
Estrella had disputed in a statement they issued, military claims of an encounter between them and the 62IB, and said that Danilo Amar, Francisco Zamora and a certain Robles are not affiliated with their group, much more as their guides.
The rebel spokespersons claimed it could have been a mis-encounter between the RPA-ABB under the leadership of Ka Remar, who are operating in the area, and the 62IB. She further said that the NPA is not operating in the area, where the encounter had taken place.
Cordova said the NPA unarmed supporters are now complaining of being used, and of being put in harm's way.
Maj. Rey Tiongson, 3 rd Infantry Division spokesman, also dismissed the rebel claims as mere propaganda. “The CPP-NPA in northern Negros did not only disown their members, they did not even extend assistance to the slain and injured ones,” Tiongson said.
Col. Jon Aying, 303 rd Infantry Brigade commander, had said earlier that, based on their assessment, Amar was killed and Romly Palotes was injured when they were hit by bullets from their own comrades. The two were alleged members of the NPA Yunit Militia.
The encounter also caused injury to Espinosa, 27, commander of the 62 nd Infantry Battalion Bravo Company. He is now confined at the Dr. Pablo O. Torre Memorial Hospital in Bacolod City.
Estrella called on human rights advocates to conduct an impartial investigation of what she claims to be a “bogus encounter”.

Araw Force turns over newly-repaired schistosomiasis hospital

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 21): Araw Force turns over newly-repaired schistosomiasis hospital

The Joint Support Group of South Korean Military Force (Araw Forces) turned over to its management a newly repaired Schistosomiasis Control and Research Hospital Thursday that was damaged during the height of typhoon Yolanda.

The Araw Forces was supported by the Presbyterian Churches of Korea and the 546 Engineering Battalion of the Philippine Army in repairing the damaged facilities of the hospital that is located in the town of Palo.

It took a month for the Araw Forces and soldiers of AFP to finish the repair, according to Dr Charlemagne Escape, chief of hospital.

The facility that was used to focus on schistosomiasis cases has been upgraded into a general hospital is now equipped with pediatric and psychiatric wards.

It was established in the region after the outbreak of said disease after World War II. It is not only endemic disease in the province of Leyte but also in some parts of the region affecting mostly farmers and even farm animals.

It has been catering to at least two birthing moms daily thus, there is a need for the repair of its damaged facilities.

Also, it currently has 20 patients admitted at the psychiatric ward. Fifteen of them are mentally-ill patients with assisting families while five are vagrant mentally ill-patients, said Escape.

These five patients were turned over to them by the city government of Tacloban.

Aside from the repair undertaken by the Araw Forces, the national government through the Department of Health (DOH also provided P5 million funds to immediately repair the vital structures of the hospital.

The DOH will also provide fund for the construction of Comprehensive Emergency Management of New Born Care added Escape.

In Thursday's ceremony, pastors from Presbyterian Church of Korea also turned over three laptops to the management of the hospital.

8 soldiers wounded in Basilan ambush

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 21): 8 soldiers wounded in Basilan ambush

Government forces have launched pursuit operation against the Abu Sayyaf bandits who staged an ambush that injured eight soldiers in the nearby island province of Basilan, officials disclosed Thursday.

Army’s 1st Infantry Division Public Affairs Officer-in-Charge Capt. Franco Suelto said the subject of the pursuit operation is the group of Abu Sayyaf brigand leader Puruji Indama.

Suelto said the combined Army and militia forces were traversing from Barangay Sungkayut to Barangay Bohe-Suyak, Ungkaya Pukan when ambushed by the Abu Sayyaf brigands.

Suelto said the brigands also set-off an improvised explosive device (IED) when the troops returned fire triggering an exchange of gunfire.

Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade commander Col. Rolando Joselito Bautista said the troops stood ground and repelled the Abu Sayyaf brigands following a 15-minute firefight.

Bautista disclosed that eight government troops were injured in the 15-minute firefight that ensued.

Both officers did not released the identities of the wounded troops except that five of them are troops of the Army’s 18th Infantry Battalion and three are militiamen.

The troops were ambushed while they were on the way to provide security to an ongoing government project in the area.

Suelto said the Abu Sayyaf brigands were also believed to have sustained injuries or casualties.

Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law submitted to Palace --Deles

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 21): Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law submitted to Palace --Deles

Presidential Peace Process Secretary Teresita "Ging" Deles confirmed on Thursday that the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law has been submitted to Malacanang by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

"As agreed upon by the parties (Philippine government and MILF peace panels), the MILF submitted the final draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to the Office of the Executive Secretary yesterday evening," said Deles in a statement.

Deles said President Benigno S. Aquino III will review the draft BBL and that further discussions may be held based on the guidance of the President before submitting it to Congress.

She also stated that the passage of the BBL "remains on top of the President’s legislative agenda" and the leadership of both Houses of Congress -- the Senate and the House of Representatives -- have indicated that they are prepared to work overtime to ensure the timely passage of the law.

The Bangsamoro Basic Law seeks to create a new political entity to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). It will embody the comprehensive peace agreement signed last March by the MILF and the government, which aims to end the decades-long armed conflict in Mindanao.