Monday, September 8, 2014

Congress sees no Moro law this year

From the Manila Standard Today(Sep 9): Congress sees no Moro law this year

MILF unhappy about it, won’t say what’s next

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III will submit the final draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law to congressional leaders during a turnover ceremony at the Palace on Wednesday, but House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte said Monday the prospects were dim that the bill would be passed as quickly as the Palace hoped.

“I think it will prosper but it will be hard to catch up this year,” Belmonte said citing time and budgetary constraints.

Belmonte also lamented MalacaƱang’s decision to leave out some P679.1 million in funding for the conduct of a plebiscite that would be needed to ratify the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Belmonte, who earlier created a special committee to speed up the passage of the bill, said the legislative calendar was such that Congress would be hard pressed to pass the law according to the Palace timetable.

Belmonte made his statement even as the Moro Islamic Liberation Front said Monday it would consider it unfortunate if Congress failed to pass the BBL this year.

“The MILF would not be happy about it,” MILF vice chairman for Political Affairs Gadzali Jaafar said after he was asked what their next plan was if the BBL suffered a defeat.

“We don’t know what will happen in case Congress foregos the BBL,” Jaafar said, adding they were closely monitoring the events in Congress.

“We will cross the bridge when we get there,” he said when pressed to comment on what would happen if the BBL was not enacted.    

1-BAP party-list Rep. Silvestre Bello III, a member of the House minority and former peace negotiator, said the government’s failure to allocate funds to make the BBL operational and implementable cast doubt on the administration’s sincerity.

“If Malacanang is serious in achieving a genuine peace accord with the MILF and other Muslim rebel groups, Malacanang should include in the budget an allocation to meet the demands that naturally comes with the agreement,” Bello said.

Bello said if the proposed BBL is enacted, there are so many organizational and logistical requirements that need government funding.

“It would be impossible to pass a law that would not be implementable at all because of the lack of government funding to give it life and meaning,” Bello said.

In a speech in Davao City Monday, the President talked up the prospects for peace in Mindanao.

“Our countrymen in Mindanao will see a new future on the horizon: the dawn of peace, stability, and ultimately prosperity. It is therefore only right that we commit further to the realization of this promise by finding ways to maximize the long-held prospects for growth for all stakeholders,” he said.

“Clearly we must boost Mindanao’s capacities, so that they themselves may catch up and contribute to our economic growth,” the President added.

All members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission signed the transmission letter of the final BBL draft on Sunday.

The BBL is among the priority measures of the House and it will be certified as urgent by the Palace to ensure that it is passed into law by the first quarter of 2015 at the latest.

Once the draft BBL is passed into law, a plebiscite will be held in the areas that will constitute the Bangsamoro territory.

Malacanang was expected to submit the draft BBL to Congress as early as July 28, but last-minute disagreements held up the draft.

The BBL, once passed, will create a new political entity to be called the Bangsamoro that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The President, who earlier described the ARMM as a failed experiment, said a plebiscite must be held in the areas that will comprise the BBL by the end of the year.

“Our target is not the first quarter of next year. What we target is to hold the plebiscite by the end of this year if possible. What we want is to give the Bangsamoro Transitional Authority at least one year and a half to run the system,” the President said.

But in an earlier interview, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda acceded that the BBL may no longer be passed into law by December amid the delays in the submission of the measure to Congress.

Lacierda said even if the BBL was passed into law by the first quarter of 2015, the administration still has enough time to put in place a Bangsamoro Transition Authority ahead of the 2016 elections.

“Certainly, we would hope that we can expedite the process, but we realize that it’s not yet been submitted to Congress. So they are being realistic on the timetable,” Lacierda said.

The executive branch earlier scrapped the budget for the plebiscite under the Commission on Elections.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad explained that P2.7 billion has already been earmarked for the enactment of the BBL.

On Monday, the House adopted a resolution creating an ad hoc committee with 75 members to review, evaluate and propose legislation relative to the comprehensive agreement on the Bangsamoro, mandated to finish its work within six months from its establishment.

“This is to help expedite the process of approving the measure,” said House Majority Leader and Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II.

The resolution passed Monday said the ad hoc committee will exercise jurisdiction over all matters directly and principally relating to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro.

Belmonte said he would immediately elect the officials and members of the ad hoc committee, which would be led by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez.

Gonzales said creating the ad hoc panel is a practical way of deliberating the BBL instead of allowing four standing committees to hold joint hearings.

Gonzales said the House has almost completed the selection of five lawmakers who will serve as his vice chairmen in the ad hoc committee.

Senate President Franklin Drilon said Monday that the BBL could be passed before March 2015 if politics don’t get in the way.

“It will be up to the politicians. That is why we are asking them to set aside everything related to the 2016 national elections so that we can focus on the BBL, which is for the peace and progress of the country,” he said.

He said he expected to start debates on the BBL during the first week of December.
Drilon on Sunday called on fellow senators and members of the House of Representatives to set aside political bickering and individual political aspirations for 2016 to achieve a lasting and genuine peace in Mindanao.

He said the Senate will immediately start deliberations on the proposed BBL once it is submitted.

“We will request the Senate Committee on Local Government headed by Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the Senate Committee on Peace, Unity and Unification headed by Senator Teofisto Guingona III to immediately conduct committee-level hearings,” said Drilon.

By the time the 2015 national budget is brought for plenary debates, Drilon said he expects that substantial discussions on the BBL draft have already been made.

“We will have to terminate temporarily the discussion on the BBL to give way for the 2015 budget. But we will immediately shift discussions back to the BBL once the budget is passed by the first or second week of December,” he added.

ZAMBO SIEGE, 1 YEAR AFTER | Old comrades believe Misuari should face trial

From InterAksyon (Sep 9): ZAMBO SIEGE, 1 YEAR AFTER | Old comrades believe Misuari should face trial

Nur Misuari. FILE PHOTO

The fugitive founding chairman of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Nur Misuari, is not likely to talk peace anytime soon simply because of his inordinate “pride,” if not sheer arrogance, according to former comrades who helped him lead the nearly 45-year Muslim secessionist campaign in the country.

Matigas talaga ang ulo ni Nur (Nur is really hard-headed),” said Alvir Alonto, a member of the so-called “Batch 90” as the nation marked the first anniversary of the three-week old Zamboanga siege led by the MNLF faction of Misuari. The moniker "Batch 90" is culled from the number of members of the first group of Muslim activists forming the core of the MNLF after completing their underground military training in Pangcor island off the Malaysian state of Perak in 1969.

In a separate interview, Al Hussein Caluang, the MNLF’s “field marshal “ at the height of the Muslim armed rebellion in the early 70s, shared the view of Alonto that Misuari will likely remain unrepentant for dragging his armed supporters in the bloody Zamboanga siege if only to show that he can still lead a rebellion.

Despite their sharing life-changing experiences in the past, the 70-year-old Alonto was candid enough to say that Misuari should face trial and explain whether or not his men were “hoodwinked” to join the siege of a densely populated community near the city proper on September 9, 2013.

The Department of National Defense later reported that at least 100 MNLF combatants were killed and 223 others captured after nearly two weeks of heavy fighting. Eventually, 53 MNLF rebels also surrendered after the remaining MNLF rebels were pushed on to “military controlled-constriction areas. 

Humanitarian crisis

But while Misuari's misadventure ended in failure, the siege also left scores of civilians killed during the firefight and left thousands homeless. In the course of the Zamboanga siege, as many as 10,000 structures, homes and buildings in the city were reported to have been razed. The situation prompted the United Nations to officially declare it a “humanitarian crisis."

Alonto confesses his puzzlement at what happened to the Nur he knew, someone who put such great value on the lives of non-combatants. “I’ve known Misuari for having valued the safety of the civilians. He taught us to respect non-combatants, and not to involve them in the war," he said.

But now, he adds, speaking in Filipino,"we cannot understand why he did this to Zamboanga."

Deep respect for Nur as young leader

Alonto wistfully recalled how he joined the MNLF because he then believed in Misuari’s leadership in their secessionist campaign in the south.

Alvir, son of the respected late Maranao Sen. Domocao Alonto said he was not close to Misuari, a Tausug, until they met in the house of then Lanao Rep. Rashid Lucman in Quezon City, sometime in 1968. It was then that he first heard Misuari advocating armed struggle.

But it was Alvir’s cousin, Abul Khayr Alonto, who later persuaded him to join the movement, after personally visiting him at the University of the Philippines Los Banos where he was pursuing a forestry degree. 

When Misuari emerged at the helm of the MNLF leadership, the tough-talking Abul became his vice chair. Being the most senior in military rank in the first batch of MNLF trainees, Caluang became the MNLF’s first field marshal when they returned to the country after one year and three months of extensive military training in Malaysia.

At the height of the MNLF in the south, Misuari even gave Caluang the moniker “lion of the jungle,” recalled Alonto.

Misuari to blame for 'disarray'

But now, his former comrades can only blame Misuari for the “disarray” in the MNLF, the mainstream organization of the Muslim struggle in the south during the martial law years.

“We believed in him because of his determination,” said Caluang, But he also quickly pointed that he found fault in Misuari’s lack of organizational management and considered this the waterloo in their rebellion.

Caluang said he decided to return to the fold of the law when the MNLF was splintered into several factions, one of them the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), after the influential Organization of Islamic Conference brokered a cease-fire between government and the MNLF in 1976.

He said that he was later proven right in criticizing Misuari. Given the opportunity to govern the Muslim-dominated areas in Mindanao after the 1996 peace agreement with the Ramos government, Misuari, as ARMM governor, spoiled it not only with his political mismanagement, but also the corruption that tarnished his administration, Caluang pointed out.

Reactivating before siege

Before the Zamboanga siege, Caluang said he was informed that Misuari was reactivating his old force. The founding chair even led a parade of his “troops” in Davao City, but on the condition -- reportedly set by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte -- that they would not display their firearms during their stay there.

However, Caluang said, Misuari failed to realize that local leaders in Zamboanga had a different perspective of the MNLF and blocked their entry into the city when they tried to duplicate their show of strength in Davao, triggering tension and ultimately, the violence that plunged the bustling, progressive city of Zamboanga into three weeks of hell.

Caluang, who is now based in Zamboanga City with his family, said that he has retired from the MNLF, but he continues to aspire for a lasting peace in Mindanao.

He hoped that the MNLF would still be included in the final phase of the peace process even if it was being dominated by the MILF.

Caluang admitted having supported Abul Khayr Alonto, who is now being recognized by the MILF as the MNLF’s new chair since the latter has the backing of the “Batch 90. But he also welcomes the entry of the so-called MNLF Council of 15, many of whom, he noted, have now emerged as prominent politicians in the Muslim region.

“I feel that we (the MNLF) have to be represented if only to recognize our struggle for self-determination,” he said.

Meanwhile, Caluang said that while the government now considers Misuari’s group as a spent force, he is still being respected by the OIC as the MNLF leader. He would not elaborate, although it is widely believed that Abul’s group tried to get the support of the OIC, but were advised to look at Misuari’s plight first.

According to Alvir Alonto, some of their old comrades may envy the MILF for having sustained the peace process to the point of getting the government to forge a comprehensive agreement on a Bangsamoro autonomous region, but he has a different take on the matter. The Bangsamoro roadmap based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro "may be our last chance for genuine peace and as long as some (forces in government) do not look at it as a form of subjugating the Muslims, this may be good for all,” he said.

10 killed in series of clashes in Abra

From ABS-CBN (Sep 8): 10 killed in series of clashes in Abra

Eight members of the New People's Army (NPA), a soldier, and a civilian were killed, while three others were hurt in two successive clashes between rebels and military forces in Barangay Guinguinabang, Lacub, Abra, officials said Sunday.

The encounter between the NPA and the military started Thursday morning, wherein six rebels, including a high-ranking official of the NPA, Armando "Mando" Jaramillo, were killed.

The other fatalities were identified as Brandon Magranga, Pedring Gangdao, Robert Beyao, Michaela Rodriguez, and Ommi Bernal.

Another encounter ensued Friday night. According to Lt. Col. Virgilio Noora of the 41st Infantry Battalion, the second encounter was part of their continued operation against the rebels.

"That was [a] continuation of our operation. They are moving from the encounter site. Their purpose is to bring the cadaver. Nagkataon na nagkaroon ng meeting engagement," Noora added.

Two more rebels, a soldier and a civilian were killed in the second encounter.

Three other soldiers, who were injured in the incident, are currently undergoing treatment in the hospital.

Recovered from the rebels were 15 firearms, a laptop, a generator, and different documents.

Military operations in the area are ongoing.

Aquino heads Eastern Visayas peace and order council

From the Sun Star-Tacloban (Sep 8): Aquino heads Eastern Visayas peace and order council

Malacanang has officially sworn in Calbayog Mayor Ronald Aquino as new chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), amid declarations of manageable conflict and development-ready areas in Samar.

Aquino took oath before President Benigno Aquino III as head of Eastern Visayas RPOC last September 2 at Malacanang Palace.

The mayor’s appointment is pursuant to Executive Order 773 dated January 5, 2009 that provides for the reorganization of RPOC, and Department of Local Interior and Government (DILG) Memorandum dated August 11, 2010 for reconstitution of the said council.

Mayor Aquino said in a press conference Saturday that he will immediately convene the council members once he gets his appointment.

The mayor will also meet with former Northern Samar governor Paul Daza to discuss the council’s programs “so that there is continuity of important plans.” Daza is the outgoing RPOC chair.

Aquino is expected to continue overseeing the peace and security plans of the six provinces in Eastern Visayas, namely, Biliran, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.

RPOC plays a vital role in maintaining the peace and order situation in the region, as this serves as a coordinating body among the local government units.

Last July, Calbayog City was declared as manageable conflict and development-ready city by the military. By August, it was the whole province of Samar through ordinance 14-01-14.

The declarations were based on several parameters including cessation of insurgents into factions, and reduced actual and potential support system of the group in the province.

Samar is one of the areas in the country where the New People’s Army operates.

RPOC is composed of the region’s provincial governors; mayors of the highly urbanized cities; one representative of the mayors of the component cities; the president of the league of municipalities; regional counterparts from the departments, offices and agencies; and the chairman’s appointed private sector representatives.

A coordinating center is also created under the RPOC that will focus on the coordination of internal security operations efforts of civil authorities and agencies, military and police.

DILG-Ifugao explains integration program for former rebels

From the Philippine Information Agency (Sep 8): DILG-Ifugao explains integration program for former rebels

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)  urged the  provincial government to make its  Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) plan to facilitate  the mainstreaming of   former rebels as productive citizens.

DILG Provincial Director Rosario Dumelod explained before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan  here that the CLIP is a program for former New People’s Army rebels who surfaced from 2011 onwards and those who have not received full assistance under the Social Integration Program  and expressed their desire to abandon armed violence and become productive members of society.

It also includes  their spouses, partners, children, parents or siblings if applicable  but enrollment to the CLIP will not exempt the former rebels (FRs) from criminal and civil liabilities arising from cases filed against them in the courts.

The integration is a process where the FRs voluntarily disarm and undergo mainstreaming in civilian and productive life where concerns affecting socio-economic well-being including security and safety, psycho-social and legal impediments are attended by the government and complemented by the local efforts of the local government units (LGUs).

The CLIP follows the guiding principles that it is locally-driven, managed and implemented in which the province is the focal point of authority and management of the program; it is subject-sensitive and flexible in that it provides assistance based on the FRs circumstances, needs and concerns and considers their basic rights and responsive to different situations as men and women. It  is also time-bound and has a clear exit strategy in which clear outputs and timeliness are set at the beginning of the program utilizing the Individual Reintegration Plan.

Moreover, it adheres to increased civil society organizations (CSOs) participation recognizing the crucial role of CSOs in the implementation process, a total family approach wherein it seeks to improve quality of life of the FRs including their families and adherent to the principle of human rights and justice for all.

Under the CLIP, the FRs are entitled to benefits and assistance such as safety and security guarantees, immediate assistance of P15,000.00, livelihood assistance of P50,000.00, firearms remuneration to a maximum of P50,000.00, healing and reconciliation initiatives and other assistance like capacity building, skills training, provisions of shelter and legal assistance and that the FRs will also be entitled to P2,700.00 for administrative cost while in the half-way house.

The half-way house is the temporary residence that will serve as the processing center for the FRs established in the province and can be evolved into a center that will cater to other individuals in crisis situation.

Al Qaeda In South Asia: The Terror World Championship Begins – Analysis

From the Eurasia Review (Sep 8): Al Qaeda In South Asia: The Terror World Championship Begins – Analysis

Earlier this week, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in a video message, launched an al Qaeda wing in the Indian sub-continent to “raise the flag of jihad.” What does the Al Qaeda in South Asia (AQSA) mean to South Asian security? What are the significances of this branch and the timing of its launch? How will it impact the global terrorism environment?

Project Al Qaeda in South Asia: Towards an Understanding

Al-Zawahiri’s AQSA launch has already led to a slightly mistaken interpretation that the group is targeting only India. However, the launch has more to do with the developments on the international front than its long-sustained ambition to establish a stronger presence in India and other countries towards the east.

Following the death of Osama bin Laden, al-Zawahiri took charge of operations, and in the face of the changing geopolitical environment – especially the Arab Awakening – decentralised operations, making the terror network a more franchisee-based model. With many allies viewing al-Zawahiri as a weak leader and ‘uncharismatic’ as compared to his predecessor, the localised jihadist groups – allies and affiliates of the al Qaeda – grew stronger in stature. Some became more ambitious, and one of them, the present-day Islamic State, began acting independently.

The rise of the IS has polarised the global jihadist community, with many viewing it as more effective that the al Qaeda.

When the IS unilaterally launched the ‘Islamic Caliphate’ and began administering towns they controlled – by collecting taxes, selling northern Syrian oil to Damascus etc, the al Qaeda felt the threat to their existence grow exponentially. The IS’s release of a map charting all the territories it wants under its ‘Caliphate’ only reinforced the threat. The map spread from West Asia to Southeast Asia, and explicitly identified Greater Khurasan – the historical geographical construct that includes parts of Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India – the very region the al Qaeda basecamp is located in.

Although the al Qaeda always had plans for India, the potential jihadists’ reading of the IS as more effective, increased the immediacy in the al Qaeda’s need to act quickly. Essentially, the al Qaeda’s launch of its South Asian wing is its attempt to consolidate power in the region where it’s based in – in the face of international competition.

AQSA and South Asia: What Next?

South Asia is a volatile region, with two countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan – in turmoil of various kinds, and other countries – especially India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh – that are vulnerable to an onslaught. The AQSA will tighten its existing terror network in the Af-Pak region. Although Indian states of Gujarat and Kashmir too remain vulnerable – as will Punjab given the geographical proximity to the Pakistan-based Punjabi Taliban – Assam is key for the al Qaeda to spread its activities east. Given the rising levels of fundamentalism in the subcontinent, thanks to Saudi Arabian petro-dollars that flow into the many madrassas that impart hard-line interpretations of the Quran in the region, the likelihood of terror networks allying and growing is very real.

The AQSA Cook to the Global Jihad Broth

Today, in several areas of South Asia, interpretation of the Quran is societally more fundamentalised than it was a decade ago. South and Southeast Asia are home to as many (or more) Muslims in West Asia. Adding to the already delicate situation is the perception of marginalisation among South Asian Muslims. The dastardly treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the rising intolerance towards Islamic ways of life in Sri Lanka, the increasing radicalism in the Maldivian polity, the disquiet over governance in Bangladesh, the politico-social flux in Pakistan, and the indecisiveness apparent in Afghanistan, provide for an excellent ground and timing for an entity like the AQSA to actually consolidate itself quickly. That al-Zawahiri spoke in a mix of Arabic and Urdu is telling. He is reaching out to his target audience by taking on their contours.

The countries of the region will have to beef up security, and communication between the al Qaeda and its regional allies, especially potential allies such as the recently-formed Arakan Mujahideen in Myanmar, will have to be meticulously tracked. It would also important would be to keep a close watch on Indonesia-based Mujahidin Indonesia Timur – an umbrella organisation consisting other groups such as the Jemaah Islamiah (of the Bali bombings) and the Jamaah Ansharut Tauhid, and the Philippines-based Abu Sayyaf and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

There is a possibility that the al Qaeda’s generous funders sitting in Saudi Arabia might have egged al-Zawahiri on to ensure that the ground they hold now isn’t lost to the IS – that poses serious threats even to the Saudi state. The al Qaeda, in continuation with its desperate efforts to do damage-control/salvage its existence – which isn’t entirely undermined yet – will now move east, where the IS hasn’t spread its tentacles much. It will increase activities in Assam, use it as a bridge to spread to Bangladesh, and from there, to Myanmar, the increasingly radicalising Indonesia and Malaysia, the Philippines, and Brunei Darussalam.

Regardless of other motivations, the world is now witnessing a full-blown power-struggle between an established global leader of terror, and a fast-emerging entity that is vying for the top title.

Rajeshwari Krishnamurthy
Research Officer (IReS), IPCS

[IPCS (Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies) conducts independent research on conventional and non-conventional security issues in the region and shares its findings with policy makers and the public. It provides a forum for discussion with the strategic community on strategic issues and strives to explore alternatives. Moreover, it works towards building capacity among young scholars for greater refinement of their analyses of South Asian security.]

As caliphates compete, radical Islam will eventually weaken

STRATFOR analysis posted to the Manila Times (Sep 8): As caliphates compete, radical Islam will eventually weaken

THE rise of the Islamic State will inspire other jihadist groups to claim their own caliphates and emirates. In the long run, the extremism of these contrived dominions and the competition among them will undermine the jihadist movement. However, before that happens, the world will witness much upheaval.


 In a 52-minute video that surfaced in late August, Abubakar Shekau, the head of Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram, spoke of an Islamic State in northeastern Nigeria. The statement came two months after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the chief of the transnational jihadist movement in Syria and Iraq, declared the re-establishment of the caliphate, renaming the group the Islamic State. Though likely inspired by the Islamic State, Boko Haram is not simply mimicking its more powerful Syrian-Iraqi counterpart; it is taking its cue from the Nigeria-based Sokoto Caliphate, which was established in the early 1800s and existed for almost a century until Britain gained control of the region.

The caliphate’s role in history

 According to classical Muslim political theorists, there can be only one caliphate for the entire Muslim global community, or ummah. In practice, though, there have been rival claimants to authority and even competing caliphates throughout the history of Islam. In our July 1 analysis on the subject, Stratfor explained not only how multiple emirates and sultanates emerged independently of the caliphate but also that there were rival caliphates—for example, the Abbasid in Baghdad (749-1258), Umayyad in the Iberian Peninsula (929-1031) and Fatimid in Cairo (909-1171).

These medieval-era caliphates were not just the byproduct of geographical constraints facing the original caliphate but also heavily shaped by political and religious rivalries and political evolution. These dynastic empires were the building blocks of the Muslim world, not unlike the wider international system of the time. For this reason, they endured for centuries until Europe’s geopolitical push into the Muslim world in the 18th century.

In the past two centuries, the medieval caliphates, emirates and sultanates have been replaced by nation-states. Though artificially created and weak, these modern Muslim polities are unlikely to be swept away by radical Islamists seeking to re-establish caliphates and emirates. Although nationalism was initially a European import into the Arab/Muslim world and continues to face competition from religious and tribal identities, it is well established in the public psyche.

This can be seen in the organization of most Islamists along national lines. Most Islamists, who are aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood or some variant of it, embrace the nation-state and should not be conflated with the minority of radical Islamists and jihadists who seek to eliminate national boundaries and return to a romanticized notion of the past. Still, caliphates and emirates have emerged because of the failures of the modern Muslim nation-states to create democratic systems and, more broadly, to provide a viable political economy for their citizens —a failure which radical Islamist forces have deftly exploited.

Deficiencies in modern caliphates

 Radical Islamists are able to capture the imagination of the economically disadvantaged youth who understand neither politics nor Islam. The most successful jihadist entity in terms of capturing territory, the Islamic State, rose in part because of rare circumstances related to the regional geopolitical struggle between the Shiite and Sunni camps in the Middle East. However, as is evident from the international alignment of forces against the Islamic State, the transnational jihadist movement faces severe challenges moving forward.

In addition, its ultra-extremist policies and behavior are further alienating the Islamic State from the Muslim world. Al Qaeda’s denunciation of the Islamic State as a deviant force underscores the competition it faces from within the jihadist movement. Furthermore, there is an entire constellation of radical Islamists beyond al-Qaeda that does not accept the Islamic State’s claim to a caliphate. These Islamists will seek to form their own caliphates or emirates in the same battle spaces. Meanwhile, other groups operating in different parts of the Muslim world seek to form their own caliphates.

An important concept in this context is that of the leader of the faithful, or emir al-momineen, which was the title given to the second caliph of Islam, Omar bin al-Khattab (579-644). Since then, this title has become synonymous with that of the caliph. In the contemporary age, Afghan Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar assumed the title in the 1990s, when the movement ruled most of Afghanistan. Decades earlier, Morocco’s constitution conferred this title upon the country’s monarch.

Morocco’s king only claims leadership of the country’s Muslim majority. Likewise, the Afghan Taliban’s status as a nationalist jihadist force meant that Mullah Omar only claimed leadership of the Muslims of Afghanistan. Al-Baghdadi’s move to declare himself caliph of all the Muslims of the world therefore challenges the authority of the emirates and dynastical or republican regimes in the Islamic world.

The fate of jihadists and caliphates

 In the distant future, radical Islamism will likely lose its appeal because of two broad factors. First, the attempt to create caliphates and the associated difficulties of governance will force many radical Islamists to opt for pragmatism and become relatively moderate. Second, opposition from fellow Muslims also learning about politics and governance will give them less room to operate.

Yet, while this modern phenomenon of competing caliphates, emirates or Islamic states will only further weaken jihadist groups, the idea of the caliphate remains an unresolved matter. Muslims have long accepted that the notion does not connote a single state for the ummah; instead it symbolizes Pan-Muslim cooperation in the form of a supra-national regime such as the European Union. This remains a desirable goal, as is evident from the Organization of Islamic Conference which, though anemic, remains intact.

Still, these developments will be the outcome of a multigenerational struggle. Until then, the social, political and economic problems of the Arab/Muslim world, along with sectarian strife, geopolitical rivalries and the interests of outside powers (especially the United States and the West), will sustain the conditions in which violent extremists thrive. Thus, radical Islamism will remain a threat globally—and especially for Muslims themselves—for decades.


Publishing by The Manila Times of this analysis is with express permission of Stratfor.

Philippines waived P6-million in taxes under accord with US

From the Manila Times (Sep 8): Philippines waived P6-million in taxes under accord with US
THE Philippine government let go of an estimated P6 million in taxes when it agreed to low tax rates on public utilities for American soldiers who will be in the country under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between Manila and Washington.

A source, who is familiar with EDCA’s drafting until the pact’s signing but is not authorized to speak on the matter, made the disclosure on the day that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) presented its P12-billion proposed budget for 2015 before the House appropriations panel.

EDCA allows increased presence of American troops in the country, as well as American troops and their artillery’s unimpeded access to Philippine military bases.

We estimated that the taxes [which will be waived under EDCA] would amount to P6 million, covering mostly water and electricity [dues]. We deemed that the figure wasn’t significant enough because the Americans, under EDCA, will have to build their own infrastructure facilities [wherein they will also have to pay taxes when buying construction materials],” the source said in a chance interview with The Manila Times.

“We figured it wasn’t that much, considering that the agreement is mutually beneficial. Their presence is like our insurance [in case of threats or attacks]. We had to give something so we’ll also have leverage. Besides, an exercise of sovereignty, which includes military activity such as EDCA between the two countries, is really exempt from such taxes,” the source added.

The EDCA was signed between Manila and Washington amid China resorting to at least eight incidents where it showed intimidation and aggression against Filipino authorities and fishermen who sail to the Spratly Islands and the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Before the anonymous source disclosed the amount of tax waived, House Deputy Minority Leader Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list lashed at DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario for the supposedly onerous tax provision.

Colmenares also questioned an EDCA provision that would allow the American troops to operate their own telecommunications system without having to secure a franchise from Congress.

Del Rosario responded that such provisions are common in mutually beneficial agreements between countries, and that the country also has a pact of the same nature with Japan, under which Tokyo provided the Philippines an ODA (Official Development Assistance) for upgrading health facilities.

“Since the agreement is mutually beneficial, there is assumption of [certain] taxes [by] the host country. It is a common practice,” he said.

“As for the frequencies [of the telecommunications system], what would EDCA require is registration, not franchise, because these frequencies are not for commercial use,” del Rosario added.

Eastmincom spent P5.35M to disarm Visayas NPA rebels

From the Business Mirror (Sep 7): Eastmincom spent P5.35M to disarm Visayas NPA rebels

The Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) has spent P5.35 million for its “guns for peace” program, a venture into attracting New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas to surrender and turn in their weapons.

This was contained in the exit report of Lt. Gen. Ricardo Rainier G. Cruz, who retired from military service on Saturday, and turned over the command of the Eastmincom to Maj. Gen. Aurelio Baladad, former commander of the Army’s Third Infantry Division in Hamindan, Capiz.

The Eastmincom public affairs unit said the command released P5,357,250 in accumulated worth of remuneration and livelihood to mostly NPA guerrillas who surrendered 282 firearms of various make and sizes. The amount was taken from the budget of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, according to Cruz. The practice was stopped in June and transferred to the local government under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).

According to Capt. Alberto C. Caber, chief of the Eastmincom Public Information Office, the Guns for Peace program gave between P30,000 and P60,000 for shouldered weapons or rifles and between P10,000 and P15,000 for pistols or handguns.

Cash awards also included a small capital for livelihood, Caber added.

He said the CLIP has relegated the remuneration part to local government coffers, with additional incentive for skills training to be provided by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

The Eastmincom said it listed 247 regular NPA members who surrendered during  Cruz’s tour of duty, which lasted for 18 months until Saturday.

Cruz’s report claimed the CLIP helped reduced the strength of the NPA, as government soldiers also reported recovering 273 more firearms of assorted make. It also claimed to have freed 534 barangays from NPA control and influence. Cruz said control of these villages were handed over to local governments within the Eastmincom territory, which covers the eastern half of Mindanao extending to parts of Lanao del Sur.

However, the National Democratic Front, which covers under its wing the NPA and the Communist Party of the Philippines, claimed it had launched more aggressive and almost simultaneous military attacks on government military installations and troop positions in the past year.

MILF: Editorial -- Timely call

Editorial posted to the MILF Website (Sep 8): Timely call

The call of President Benigno Aquino III to business groups to help transform Mindanao economically is not only timely but is very laudable. It comes in the heel of the submission of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress, which they are expected to pass without much delay. The President should be heeded and supported for this noble intention.
Of course, the future Bangsamoro political entity (BPE) was not directly mentioned in his speech, as appearing in the article published by one of the leading metropolitan dailies, but we are sure that it is surely included in his mind and agenda.  The BPE is in the heart of Mindanao, and a highly depressed area at that, which therefore deserves the highest priority in this impending business activity boom in this region.

Moreover, development is one of the rationales of the GPH-MILF peace negotiation, especially after the signing of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), and the BBL. But for development to be truly genuine and appreciated must anchor on true moral values, people-focused or centered, and is caring for the environment. In no way, it should become development aggression, which results in massive displacement of people, especially members of the marginalized sectors of society, including the indigenous peoples.

This is the reason why the MILF is not rushing up things for the entry of mining companies even during the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA). The priority is to develop whatever potentials already there in the BJE, say the vast rich agricultural lands and the fishing grounds that abound with fishes and marine products. Neither are we imagining constructing high rise buildings or putting up instant industrialized zones. This level of development will come at the right moment, which happens after people are truly empowered and capacitated.

However, right now, there is a creeping threat to the landholdings of ordinary people. With the lure and advent of the plantation economy, their lands, including those acquired through the operation of the scheme called “voluntary offer to sell” (VOS) under the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), are rapidly disappearing. Many moneyed and powerful people are buying off these small landholdings usually at an exuberant price and put there either African oil, banana, pineapple, or rubber plantations.

With this difficulty seemingly looming in the air and with no succor right in sight, the curse of the bloody encounters over the friars’ lands centuries ago or the haciendas in Luzon and the Visayas will be reenacted in the BJE. The necessary consequence is that in the rumble in the jungle, the mightiest and the strongest will always triumph.

MILF: BTC holds special session, agrees on modified draft Bangsamoro Basic Law

Posted to the MILF Website (Sep 8): BTC holds special session, agrees on modified draft Bangsamoro Basic Law

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) held a special session on September 7, 2014 at Mt. Mayon Hall, BSA Twin Towers Condotel in Mandaluyong City presided by Chairman Mohagher Iqbal with all thirteen members present, and at about 4:00PM, the commissioners agreed to indorse the modified or refined draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to President Benigno Aquino III, who will in turn transmit it to congress as urgent administrative bill.
Earlier in the morning, Executive Director Mohammad Suaib Ya’acob of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) presented to the commissioners a draft of the Bangsamoro Development Plan covering the period 2014-2016 and 2016-2019.

A day before, Chairman IqbaL briefed the commissioners on the events that transpired during their successive meetings with Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa in Davao City and Manila that led to coming up with an agreed version of the BBL. Through power presentation, Commissioner Raissa Jajurie showed to the commissioners the contents of the modified draft BBL article by article without any comment from members of the commission. 

In those meetings between Chairman Iqbal and Secretary Paquito Ocho, Iqbal was joined by BTC Executive Secretary Mike Pasigan and Professor Abhoud Syed Lingga, a member of the MILF Peace Panel. The BTC prepared draft BBL submitted to President Aquino on April 22 was returned to BTC on July 21 and was heavily diluted by the Palace legal team which the MILF cannot accept.

The modified draft BBL with its endorsement will be submitted by Chairman Iqbal and Executive Director Pasigan to President Aquino.

A ceremonial program on the submission of draft BBL will be held at Malacanan Palace on Wednesday, September 10, where Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Senate President Franklin Drilon are invited.  Some leaders of Mindanao’s indigenous people and CSO’s are coming to Manila to lobby for the early passage of the BBL, according to a source who requested not to be identified. President Aquino will personally submit the draft BBL to both Houses of Congress as a manifestation of his sincerest desire to put an end to the Mindanao conflict so that peace, prosperity and progress can reign in the region.

CPP/Ang Bayan: 4 aksyong militar, inilunsad sa South Cotabato

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Sep 7): 4 aksyong militar, inilunsad sa South Cotabato (4 military actions launched in South Cotabato)

Umabot sa pito ang kaswalti ng mga pulis at sundalo matapos maglunsad ng serye ng operasyong harasment ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) sa mga bayan ng Tampakan, T’boli at Lake Sebu sa South Cotabato noong Agosto 15, 16 at 21. Ang mga operasyon ay isinagawa ng mga pwersa ng BHB sa Front 72 at Front 73 sa ilalim ng Mt. Alip Command, ang Panrehiyong Kumand ng BHB sa Far South Mindanao.

Isang pulis at isang sundalo ng 27th IB ang nasugatan nang hagisan ng granada ng isang tim ng BHB ang detatsment ng South Cotabato Public Safety Company ng Philippine National Police (PSC-PNP) sa Barangay Sta. Cruz, Tampakan bandang alas-4:30 ng umaga noong Agosto 15.

Hindi bababa sa apat ang nasugatan at isa ang napatay nang dalawang beses na harasin ng mga sapper team ng BHB ang nagpapatrulyang mga elemento ng 27th IB sa Barangay Tudok sa bayan ng T’boli noong Agosto 15 at 16.

Noong Agosto 21, nagtamo ng di pa malamang bilang ng kaswalti ang 27th IB nang harasin ng dalawang sapper team ng BHB ang detatsment ng naturang yunit-militar sa Sityo Blit, Barangay Ned sa bayan ng Lake Sebu. Inilunsad ang aksyong militar habang ang karamihan ng mga sundalo ay naglulunsad ng operasyong kombat sa Sityo Tawan Dagat sa nasabing barangay.

Ang PSC-PNP at 27th IB ay aktibong protektor ng dambuhalang dayuhang minahan ng ginto na Sagittarius Mining Inc.-Glencore-Xstrata at San Miguel Energy Corporation (SMEC) na nagmimina ng coal. Ang SMEC ay pag-aari ni Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco, tiyuhin ni Benigno Aquino III.
Samantala, naglabas ang BHB ng bidyo hinggil sa dalawang tropa ng 8th IB na inaresto ng mga Pulang mandirigma noong Agosto 22 sa Barangay Buntungon, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon habang namamalengke. Nang arestuhin, nakumpiska mula sa dalawa ang isang kal .45 na pistola at mga bala ng M203 at M16. Kasalukuyan pa silang iniimbestigahan tungkol sa posibleng pagkakasangkot sa mga krimen laban sa mamamayan at rebolusyonaryong kilusan.

[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: Oplan Bayanihan, binibigo sa Eastern Visayas

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Sep 7): Oplan Bayanihan, binibigo sa Eastern Visayas (OPLAN Bayanihan fails in Eastern Visayas)

Umaabot na sa 10,000 malalaki’t maliliit na operasyong kombat ang nailulunsad ng 8th ID sa Eastern Visayas (EV) mula 2012 na sumaklaw sa 48 bayan at 136 na barangay sa Samar at Leyte. Konsentrado ang mga pang-aatake ng 8th ID sa hangganan ng tatlong prubinsya sa Samar kung saan nito pinaniniwalaang pinakamalakas ang mga baseng gerilya sa isla. Dito ay minomobilisa ang pwersa di lamang ng AFP at PNP kundi ng iba’t ibang ahensya ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno para dahasin at linlangin ang mamamayan. Sa pamamagitan nito, nilalayon ng 8th ID na pawalansaysay ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa EV at ilipat na sa Philipppine National Police and mga operasyong “counterinsurgency” pagsapit ng 2016.

Subalit nangangarap nang gising ang 8th ID. Sa buong panahon ng implementasyon ng Oplan Bayanihan sa EV, nagtamo ang kaaway ng 341 kaswalti—255 patay at 86 na sugatan. Mahigit walong beses ang laki nito kumpara sa 14 na Pulang mandirigmang napatay, walong nasugatan at 18 nadakip ng kaaway sa panahon ding ito.

Pilit na inaabot ng 8th ID ang resyo na isang batalyong militar bawat larangang gerilya, pero masyado nang banat ang mga pwersa nito. Hanggang 10% lamang ng isang erya ang kaya nitong konsentrahan sa isang panahon, kaya libre ang BHB na kumilos sa nalalabing 90%.

Hindi rin mapagtakpan ng mga pakitang-gilas ng AFP ang malubhang kabiguan ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno na bigyan ng mga kinakailangang serbisyo ang mamamayan. Ang inilulunsad na mga “medical and dental mission,” “tree planting” at iba pang aktibidad ng 8th ID sa rehiyon ay desperadong tangkang burahin ang bakas ng dugo ng mga paglabag nito sa karapatang-tao sa ilalim ng Oplan Bayanihan.

Hindi rin naiangat ng mga dambuhalang proyekto ng rehimeng Aquino ang matinding karalitaan ng mamamayan sa EV. Bilyun-bilyong pisong halagang mga proyekto ang inilunsad sa mga itinuturing na baseng gerilya, kabilang ang P470-milyong Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (o PAMANA) na tumatarget sa baseng masa ng BHB at nasa pangangasiwa ng Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process. Nariyan din ang P12-bilyong halaga ng mga kalsada na ipinagawa ng Regional Peace and Order Council, ang 14 na proyektong panturismong nagkakahalaga ng P888.8 milyon, ang P1.6-bilyong Samar Pacific Coastal Road at ang P900-bilyong Samar Peace and Prosperity Road (pareho sa Northern Samar). Pinakamalaki sa lahat ang $357.15-milyong mga proyekto ng US Millennium Challenge Corp. na karamihan ay mga kalsada.

Sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, bumagsak pa ang katayuan ng rehiyon at ito na ngayon ang ikalawa sa pinakanaghihirap sa buong bansa. Walang napala ang mga maralita ng rehiyon sa bilyun-bilyong pisong mga proyektong ito at ang tanging nakinabang ay ang mga bulok na upisyal ng militar at sibil na burukrasya. Walang nagbago sa mga batayang problema ng mamamayan—ang kawalan ng lupa at serbisyong panlipunan, nagtataasang mga presyo, ang bagsik ng militarisasyon at iba pa. Bagkus, pumatong pa rito ang pinsalang dulot ng bagyong Yolanda at ang kriminal na kapabayaan ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno.

Ang lahat ng ito ay matabang lupa para paigtingin pa ng BHB ang mga taktikal na opensiba sa rehiyon upang tuluyan nang gapiin ang Oplan Bayanihan at makapag-ambag sa pakikibaka ng mamamayan para patalsikin ang rehimeng US-Aquino.

[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: 2 M16, naagaw ng BHB sa Himamaylan City

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Sep 7): 2 M16, naagaw ng BHB sa Himamaylan City (2 M16, gathered by the NPA in Himamaylan City)

Nagtamo ng tatlong kaswalti ang 47th IB (dalawang patay at isang sugatan) nang tambangan sila ng isang yunit sa ilalim ng Apolinario “Boy” Gatmaitan Command ng BHB noong Hulyo 17 sa Sityo Madaha, Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City sa Negros Occidental. Nakasamsam din ang BHB ng dalawang M16 at dalawang bandolier ng mga bala.

Samantala, sa Sorsogon, nagsagawa ang Celso Minguez Command ng aksyong pamarusa laban sa lambat-paniktik ng 96th Military Intelligence Company (MICO) noong Hulyo 3 sa Barangay Casay, Casiguran. Napatay ng BHB si Domingo Tisoy, alyas Buyong, isang sagadsaring ahente ng 96th MICO.

Isinagawa ang operasyong partisano sa tapat mismo ng detatsment ng Alpha Coy habang nakikipag-inuman si Tisoy kasama ang mga sundalo ng 31st IB. Nasugatan din sa palitan ng mga putok ang isang Corporal Deprisa, na tumatayong hepe ng nasabing detatsment.

Bilang aktibo ring elemento ng CAFGU, madalas maggiya si Tisoy sa mga operasyong militar at sangkot siya sa ilang kaso ng ekstrahudisyal na pamamaslang, kabilang ang pagpatay kay Joseph Benson, isang sibilyang inakusahan nilang “poste” ng BHB sa Barangay Escuala, Casiguran noong Mayo 9, at kay Jose Espera sa Barangay Bentuco, Gubat noong Hunyo 15, 2008. Pinalabas ng militar na kasapi umano ng BHB si Espera.

[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: Ibayong paglagablabin ang armadong pakikibaka sa Kabisayaan at buong kapuluan

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Sep 7): Ibayong paglagablabin ang armadong pakikibaka sa Kabisayaan at buong kapuluan (Further advance? the armed struggle in the Visayas and the whole island)

Puspusang sumusulong ang rebolusyonaryong armadong pakikibaka sa buong bansa. Sa isyung ito ng Ang Bayan, tampok ang mga ulat ng tagumpay ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) sa pagsusulong ng armadong rebolusyon sa mga rehiyon ng Kabisayaan, partikular na sa Eastern Visayas, sa Panay at sa isla ng Negros.

Kabilang ang mga rehiyong ito sa pangunahing mga target ng malawakang kontra-rebolusyonaryong kampanyang panunupil na Oplan Bayanihan ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa ilalim ng rehimeng US-Aquino. Subalit matapos ang apat na taon, ang tanging maipagmamalaki ng mga upisyal- militar ay ang mga hungkag na deklarasyong “nalipol na ang kalaban” at “natamo na ang kapayapaan.”

Nakahanay din ang mga rehiyong ito sa mga pinakanaghihikahos sa buong bansa. Bunga ito ng pag-iral ng malalawak na monopolyo sa lupa at ng pinakamalulupit na anyo ng pyudal na pagsasamantala. Pinaghaharian ang mga rehiyong ito ng malalaking asendero, kabilang yaong may kontrol sa malalawak na palayan sa Samar, malalawak na nyugan sa Leyte at libu-libong ektaryang mga tubuhan sa Panay at Negros.

Ang mga programang pampasiklab tulad ng Jalaur Dam sa Iloilo, mga haywey sa Samar at iba pang mga proyekto ay nagsisilbing palabigasan lamang ng mga bulok na upisyal ng rehimeng Aquino at mga lokal nitong kasabwat.

Tulad ng buong sambayanang Pilipino, walang kapantay ang sidhi ng pagnanais ng mamamayan ng Kabisayaan para sa rebolusyonaryong pagbabago. Ang kalakhan ng Kabisayaan ay nag-aalburutong bulkang nagbabantang sumabog sa harap ng tumitinding tunggalian ng mga uri.

Malawak ang kilusan ng mga manggagawang bukid sa Negros para bungkalin ang mga tiwangwang na lupa para sa produksyon ng pagkain. Tahasan itong paghihimagsik sa batas ng mga despotikong malalaking panginoong maylupa. Gayon din ang paghihimagsik ng mga magniniyog sa Leyte na naggigiit ng kanilang mga karapatan sa lupa. Ilampung libong ektaryang lupaing ninuno ang ipinaglalaban ng mamamayang Tumanduk sa Panay laban sa pangangamkam ng lupa ng AFP.

Ang rebolusyonaryong armadong pakikibaka sa Kabisayaan ay sumusulong kaakibat ng patuloy na lumalawak at umiigting na antipyudal na kilusang magsasaka. Kung saan maigting ang makauring pakikibaka, doon pinakamaraming nagnanais na maging Pulang mandirigma, doon pinakamalalim ang suportang tinatamasa ng BHB at doon pinakamainit ang apoy ng armadong rebolusyon.

Ang mga rehiyon sa Kabisayaan ang pangunahing sinalanta ng bagyong Yolanda noong nagdaang taon. Humambalos ito nang husto sa mamamayang lublob na sa putik ng kahirapan at kaapihan. Lalo pa silang pinahirapan ng labis na pagpapabaya ng rehimeng US-Aquino, ng napakabagal, lubhang kulang at batbat ng anomalyang tugon ng mga ahensya ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno.

Taliwas sa ipinakita ni Aquino, kaagad na kumilos ang mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa kaisa ng mamamayan sa Kabisayaan upang organisahin ang malawak na kilusan ng mga magbubukid, mangingisda at minoryang mamamayan at kolektibong harapin ang pinsala ng Yolanda. Kaagad silang nagtulung-tulong upang kumpunihin ang mga nawasak na tahanan at kagamitan sa produksyon, padaluyin ang tulong mula sa ibang rehiyon at mula sa mga pambansa at internasyunal na ahensya at pasimulan ang mga kolektibong sakahan at pasiglahin ang produksyon.

Habang nakatuon ang mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa sa rehabilitasyon, walang patid ang mga pwersa ng AFP sa ilalim ng 8th at 3rd ID sa kanilang kontra-rebolusyonaryong digma. Sa gitna ng malawakang pinsala at sa kabila ng idineklarang tigil-putukan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas sa mga nasalantang lugar, tuluy-tuloy ang panghahalihaw ng mga pasistang sundalo at ang mga kampanya nito ng pagsupil. Gumamit ang kaaway ng pasistang terorismo laban sa mamamayang nagkukusang kumilos upang makabangon sa salanta at malakas na nagpoprotesta sa labis na pagpapabaya ng naghaharing rehimen.

Hinuhubaran ng tuluy-tuloy na pagsulong ng armadong rebolusyon sa Kabisayaan ang mapanlinlang na maskara ng Oplan Bayanihan at nilalabanan ang pasistang bangis nito. Ginagamit ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan ang mga taktika ng pakikidigmang gerilya upang tuluy-tuloy na paigtingin ang digmang bayan.

Sa layuning dalhin ang digmang bayan sa bago at mas mataas na antas, dapat ibayo pang paglagablabin ang armadong pakikibaka sa Kabisayaan at sa buong bansa. Dapat palakasin ang kumand ng BHB at buuin ang plano sa digma sa antas ng rehiyon at subrehiyon. Dapat puspusang panghawakan ng mga kumand ng BHB ang inisyatiba sa gera at sagpangin ang lahat ng pagkakataon upang bigwasan ang kaaway. Dapat ilunsad ang paparami at papalaking mga taktikal na opensibang tiyak na maipagwawagi. Ibayong palawakin at palakasin ang mga milisyang bayan at itaas ang kakayahan nito sa nagsasarili at koordinadong mga pagkilos. Ibayo ring palawakin, palakasin at paigtingin ang antipyudal na mga pakikibakang masa ng daan-daan libo hanggang milyong magsasaka.

[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.]

RPOC chair wants to sustain gains on peace and security in Eastern Visayas

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 8): RPOC chair wants to sustain gains on peace and security in Eastern Visayas

TACLOBAN CITY -- Calbayog City Mayor Ronald Aquino will meet with Northern Samar Governor Paul Daza, his predecessor as chair of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC), to talk about sustaining peace and order in Eastern Visayas.

Likewise, he would like to know his duty as new RPOC chair.

“I was caught off-guard with the position,” said Mayor Aquino during a weekend press conference at his office in Calbayog City.

However, he said he will start to function as chair once his appointment papers arrive. He took his oath of office before President Benigno S. Aquino III last August 26 in Malacanang.

He said that among his immediate tasks is to convene the membership of the council.

Already, Eastern Visayas through the 8th Infantry Division (8ID) of the Philippine Army has been gaining ground in its campaign against insurgents with the series of declaration of towns and cities including the province of Samar as manageable conflict area and ready for development.

SOLCOM changes command

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 8): SOLCOM changes command
LtGen Caesar Ronnie Ordoyo was replaced Monday as the commanding general of the Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) by MGen Ricardo Visaya in a simple Change of Command and Retirement Ceremonies at the headquarters in Camp G. Nakar in this city.

The turn-over ceremonies was presided by AFP Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr., attended by the immediate families of the incoming and outgoing command generals as well as their respective PMA and high school classmates, former commanders, mentors, local businessmen, public officials including Quezon 2nd District Provincial Councilor Beth Sio, civic leaders and members of the media.

In his valedictory address, Ordoyo thanked all who played important roles in his tenure as SOLCOM's top man. He emphasized that without the people’s selfless cooperation, all his undertakings would not be fruitful.

He also expressed gratitude to his wife, Claudia Cheryl, who supported him all the way and believed in him, despite his nervousness when he first assumed the post as SOLCOM commanding general.

He requested from all who attended the event to extend the same collaboration, including the indispensable assistance from business community such as the Filipino-Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry headed by Regional Director Dr. Roberto Licup.

He assured that even if he is now a simple ‘citizen Ces,’ he will always be available to pitch in his skills and talent whenever he is needed.

In his acceptance speech, Visaya requested utmost understanding, cooperation and support to his endeavors.

”I assure our brothers in Karapatan that I will observe and uphold human rights,” Visaya said.

Catapang averred that the government is now more concerned in fostering development for peace.

”We are concentrating on grassroots-identified projects such as school buildings for peace, hospitals for peace and bridges for peace,” Catapang said.

To cap the event, Catapang led the singing of ‘happy birthday’ for Ordoyo who celebrates his birthday today.

Bid opening, submission for DND's RHIB project reset to Sept. 11

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 8): Bid opening, submission for DND's RHIB project reset to Sept. 11

Bid opening and submission for the Department of National Defense's rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) project has been reset to Sept. 11 from the earlier date of Sept. 10.

This was announced by the Special Bids and Awards Committee-2 in a supplemental bid bulletin posted at the DND website.

The contract is worth Php 63,159,000 and includes an integrated logistic supports for the craft.

The RHIBs are for the use of the Philippine Navy. The money will be sourced from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Modernization Funds.

The AFP said the RHIBs will be used for "maritime interdiction and GOPLAT takedown missions."

The craft must be able to cruise at speeds of 45 knots, withstand and still be functional at Sea State 4, and capable of carrying 14 passengers, including four crewmen.

Interested bidders must have completed a similar project within the last 10 years and must be able to deliver the RHIBs within 180 calendar days from the issuance of the notice to proceed.

Bid opening and submission will be held at the Philippine Veterans Administration Office (PVAO) Conference Room, Andres Bonifacio Hall, PVAO Compound, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

PA honors PEFTOK veterans

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 8): PA honors PEFTOK veterans

In recognition of the bravery and sacrifices made by Filipino soldiers during the 1950-1953 Korean War, the Philippine Army (PA) honored PEFTOK veterans with a simple ceremony on Sunday.

PEFTOK refers to the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea.

Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, Army spokesperson, said that the PA honors and gives its utmost respect and dedication to PEFTOK veterans who showed the world the sterling qualities of patriotism, courage and a steadfast dedication to duty that made the heroic Filipinos to their generation.

Sunday's ceremony had the theme of “Perpetuating The Legacy of Our Korean War Veterans.”

Detoyato said the event was highlighted with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony and floral offering at the Korean War Memorial Pylon, Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

The event was graced by the presence of former President Fidel V. Ramos, PEFTOK Veterans Association President Paterno V. Viloria, President of the Philippine Department of the Korean Veterans Association Um Ick-Ho, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea Lee Hyuk, Administrator Ernesto G. Carolina of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Administration (PVAO), members of the PEFTOK Veterans and their dependents, senior officers, enlisted personnel and civilian employees of the PA, and other government officials.

PEFTOK’s mission was to defend the Republic of Korea against communist aggression.

The first PEFTOK, the 10th Battalion Combat Team (BCT) reached South Korea in September 1950.

They were deployed to South Korea in fulfillment of the Philippines pledge of assistance to the United Nations effort to stem North Korea’s communist invasion of South Korea on June 25, 1950.

Massively outnumbered, the 10th BCT with only 900 men withstood the night attack of an entire Chinese army of 40,000 men during the Battle of Yuldong in North Korea on April 23, 1951.

Considering the strength of the Chinese, all UN forces retreated, except the Filipinos who engaged the Chinese in a bitter close quarter fighting.

The United Nations Command ordered the Filipino forces to disengage but was ignored and instead they engaged the enemy up to the last man.

The 20th BCT relieved the 10th BCT, which returned to the Philippines covered in glory as “The Fighting Tenth” on Sept. 5, 1951.

The 20th BCT again seized Hill Eerie, a strategic observation post that proves invaluable to PEFTOK in the coming battles against the Chinese.

The 19th BCT, which replaced the 20th BCT, emerged victorious after a fierce four-day battle to defend Hill 191 and Hill Eerie on June 21, 1952.

This gory “Battle for Combat Outpost No. 8" inflicted heavy losses on the Chinese.

Triumphant Filipinos planted the Philippine Flag on the summit of Hill 191 to proclaim their victory over the Chinese.

On March 26, 1953, the 14th BCT took over the PEFTOK colors in Korea.

It was then followed by the last PEFTOK contingent, the 2nd BCT which arrived in Korea on April 19, 1954 and returned to the Philippines in June 1955.