Saturday, December 27, 2014

GALLERY | Thousands attend 46th CPP rites in Surigao, defying alleged blockade by Army

From InterAksyon (Dec 27): GALLERY | Thousands attend 46th CPP rites in Surigao, defying alleged blockade by Army

SURIGAO DEL SUR, Philippines – The gathering of followers and supporters for the communist party’s 46th anniversary was very successful and in fact the largest, despite authorities' efforts to stop people from attending it, rebel officials claimed.

An estimated 8,000 people from different parts of Caraga region and other parts of Northern Mindanao travelled to the town of Marihatag in Surigao del Sur to attend the 46th Anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Friday.

Soldiers from the Army’s Special Forces tried to block the large number of vehicles that showed up along the small barangay road leading to the event venue for three hours. Undaunted, hundreds of people started walking for several kilometers and the pressure pushed the soldiers to allow several vehicles to get through. But hundreds more were trapped in the army checkpoint.

Jorge Madlos also known as Ka Oris, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front-Mindanao, called the Army's action a desperate move to stop the celebration from happening.

“The people here endured the heavy rain, muddy roads and the Army’s effort to stop them yet they persevered. Yet we can se that the gathering is a big success,” declared Madlos.

NDF peace panel spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili attended the event and assured the people that they are looking into solutions in resolving several issues to again kick-start the resumption of peace talks with the government.

Here are some scenes from that anniversary celebration in Surigao:

Soldiers guard the middle of the road, ordering vehicles to turn back from their intended route.
A skylab driver explains to soldiers that they are residents of the area and they need to go through.
Thousands of people started walking for several kilometers when soldiers stopped their vehicles.
NPA guerillas stand in formation as they present their force during the opening of the program
The village is a stronghold of the NDF/CPP/NPA
Jorge Madlos also known as Ka Oris, spokesperson of NDFP-Mindanao, addresses thousands of people during the anniversary program.
An NPA guerrilla carries a chair toward the event venue of the CPP anniversary.
Guerrillas don't just shoot; they sing, too.
Painted faces of the female members of the Kabataang Makabayan.
Members of the Kabataang Makabayan portray the armed struggle of the NPA in a stage play.
NDF peace panel spokesperson Fidel Agcaoili
NPA guerrillas seem pleased with their gun salute.

Madlos: release of captured soldiers an act of goodwill to re-start peace talks

From MindaNews (Dec 27): Madlos: release of captured soldiers an act of goodwill to re-start peace talks

MARIHATAG, Surigao del Sur — The National Democratic Front (NDF)-Mindanao on Friday said peace talks with the Philippine government will likely restart soon as its armed wing released two Army soldiers held captive for four months in Bukidnon on Friday, five days after two soldiers were also freed in Montevista, Compostela Valley.

NDF-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos told a crowd that gathered here to celebrate the 46th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) that Pfc Marnel Tagalugon Cinches and PFC Jerrel Hapay Yorong were freed in  Barangay St. Peter, Malaybalay City on Friday to show the government they are serious in restarting the peace talks.

On December 21, the NPA released Pfc Alvin Ricarte and Cpl. Benjamin Enot Samano to Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte in Montevista, Compostela Valley. The two soldiers were captured during a raid by the NPA Guerilla Front 33 at the compound of Sumifru in New Corella town, Davao del Norte province last December 2.

CLENCHED FIST. Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao raises a clenched fist during the celebration of the 46th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur last Friday, Dec. 26. Madlos has been reported to have died several times but each time appeared to dispute the reports. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

CLENCHED FIST. Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao raises a clenched fist during the celebration of the 46th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur last Friday, Dec. 26. Madlos has been reported to have died several times but each time appeared to dispute the reports. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO
Madlos said they will also release in January police officers  Marichel Unclara Contemplo , Democrito Bondoc and Junrie Amper who were seized by the NPA in Surigao del Norte last November.

“We have shown our sincerity by releasing all the prisoners-of-wars in Mindanao. It is now the turn of the government to show if they are indeed sincere,” Madlos said.

Madlos said they invited NDF  peace panel vice chair Fidel Agcaoili to the celebration to listen to the sentiments of the party members and their supporters.

The celebration, however, turned into peace consultation as allied organizations passed on to Agcaoili several resolutions in support of the re-starting of the peace talks.

Onstage, Agcaoili addressed party members and supporters, as he spoke of restarting the peace talks with the government next year. The Aquino administration bows out of office on June 30, 2016.

PEACE TALKS. NDF peace panel vice chair Fidel Agcaoili speaks to party members and their supporters during the Communist Party of the Philippines 46th anniversary held in a small rural village in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur last Friday, Dec. 26, 2014. Agcaoili spoke of restarting the peace talks with the government soon. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

PEACE TALKS. NDF peace panel vice chair Fidel Agcaoili speaks to party members and their supporters during the Communist Party of the Philippines 46th anniversary held in a small rural village in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur last Friday, Dec. 26, 2014. Agcaoili spoke of restarting the peace talks with the government soon. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Hernani Braganza, Agrarian Reform Secretary under the Arroyo administration and a member of the government peace panel in the negotiations with the NDF then, also attended the anniversary rites here but did not go onstage like Agcaoili.

Braganza is reportedly doing back-channel talks with the NDF for the re-starting of the talks.

Also on Friday, NDF peace panel consultant and CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison was reported by as saying from his base in the Netherlands that peace talks with the government may resume “as early as the second half of January.”

The anniversary celebration was attended by party members and supporters who came on two buses including two air-conditioned coasters, trucks and vans from all parts of Mindanao.

In a separate activity in Barangay St. Peter , Malaybalay  City, NPA rebels freed Army soldiers Cinches and Yorong of the 8th Infantry Battalion to a local crisis management group headed by  Bukidnon Gov. Jose Ma. Zubiri and  Bishop Felixberto Calang of the Iglesia Independente Filipinas.

On the way to Cagayan de Oro, a minor verbal tussle erupted between the military and the local crisis management group over the custody of the two soldiers.

Edmundo Pacamalan Jr., head of the Misamis Oriental Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council said the misunderstanding was patched up shortly and the group was allowed by the military to proceed to the Archbishop’s residence in Cagayan de Oro.

Ex-AFP chief eyed as chief negotiator with NDF

From Rappler (Dec 28): Ex-AFP chief eyed as chief negotiator with NDF

Retired General Emmanuel Bautista is recommended by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to lead government negotiations with the communist guerrillas

 NEW CHALLENGE? General Emmanuel Bautista retired as Armed Forces chief in July 2014. Malacañang file photo
NEW CHALLENGE? General Emmanuel Bautista retired as Armed Forces chief in July 2014. Malacañang file photo

The Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) recommended to President Benigno Aquino III the appointment of retired General Emmanuel Bautista as the government’s chief negotiator with the Communist Party of the Philippines’ (CPP) political wing, the National Democratic Front.

This was dislosed to Rappler by three sources involved in getting the two camps back to the negotiating table. "He (Bautista) has been recommended by OPAPP," a senior government official told Rappler. The recommendation awaits the signature of the President.

Bautista retired as chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in July this year and later joined Malacañang as executive director of the Cabinet Cluster on Security, Justice, and Peace, tasked to lead policy discussions on key issues such as territorial disputes and peace talks. He has the rank of undersecretary.

If his appointment is approved by the President, Bautista will be replacing Alex Padilla, who has moved on after the collapse of the talks in 2013 to head Philhealth. Padilla is still involved in getting the NDF back to the negotiating table, however.

OPAPP Secretary Teresita Deles and Bautista did not respond to our text messages.

Revived talks

Talks between the Aquino government and communist guerrillas are being revived after a two-year impasse. January will be a getting-to-know-each-other phase between Bautista and the NDF panel, said one of the sources privy to the talks.

CPP founder Jose Maria Sison revealed in interviews that an informal meeting is set for January before both parties return to the negotiating table for formal talks in February. (READ: Hope springs eternal for talks with Reds)

During the CPP’s 46th anniversary celebration on Friday, government peace emissary Hernani Braganza joined high-ranking CPP officials in an NPA camp in Surigao del Sur for consultations.

Oplan Bayanihan

The OPAPP recommendation is a curious one.

Bautista, as the military's former deputy chief of staff for operations (J3), is one of the architects of the government's Internal Security and Peace Plan (IPSP), dubbed Bayanihan, which has been blamed by the communist movement for alleged human rights abuses.

It was also under his term as Armed Forces chief when alleged CPP leader Benito Tiamzon and wife Wilma were arrested in a military-led intelligence operation in Cebu in March 2014.

Another source however pointed out that Bautista's military background is precisely his asset. “Warriors make the best peace negotiators because they know the pain of war,” said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The sourced added that the CPP can be assured that as former AFP chief, Bautista has influence over the military and can deliver on his promises.

Oplan Bayanihan pushes for a “hearts and minds” approach to the insurgency problem. It replaced the military’s notorious Oplan Bantay Laya counter-insurgency campaign, which was blamed for the spate of killings of political activists during the time of President Gloria Arroyo.

Asia's longest-running insurgency, the Philippine communist rebellion is on its 4th decade, with NPA rebels still holding strongholds in select provinces in northern Mindanao, eastern Visayas and southern Luzon.

PEACE SIGN: File photo of former AFP chief General Emmanuel Bautista with NPA rebels who surrendered in Eastern Mindanao. AFP-PAO photo
PEACE SIGN: File photo of former AFP chief General Emmanuel Bautista with NPA rebels who surrendered in Eastern Mindanao. AFP-PAO photo

Bautista graduated at the Philippine Military Academy in 1981, the peak of the insurgency.

After his J3 post, Bautista became commander of the Capiz-based 3rd Infantry Division and then Army chief before taking the top post in the Philippine military. For the top Army and AFP posts, he bypassed more senior commanders – proof that he enjoys Aquino's confidence.

President Aquino and Bautista worked closely together in the back-to-back man-made and natural disasters in 2013 – the 3-week long siege in Zamboanga and the aftermath of the Bohol earthquake and Super Typhoon Yolanda in the Visayas.

Bautista's father, the late Army general Teodulfo Bautista, was slain by Moro National Liberation Front guerrillas when he was set to talk peace with them in Jolo, Sulu in 1977. (READ: Son of slain general is new AFP chief)

The military headquarters in Sulu is named after the slain general.

AFP in Bohol held civic actions as CPP marks 46th anniversary

From the Bohol News Today (Dec 28): AFP in Bohol held civic actions as CPP marks 46th anniversary

The Armed forces in the Philippines through the Special Forces (SF) Batallion of the Philippine Army based in Magsaysay, Bilar, Bohol has maximized the holding of various civic actions even as the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) marked its 46th anniversary the other day.

 In a radio program aired over Station DYTR yesterday afternoon, a certain Sgt. Bautista and his program co-anchor bragged of the various civic actions undertaken by the SF battalion in Bohol under Lt. Col. Potenciano Camba.

 Just this week, SF elements undertook medical missions including circumcision, coastal clean up drive in various communities as well as attending Christmas parties initiated in different in the barangay including one held in Lundag, Pilar.

 The said radio program also disclosed that the soldiers also conducted bible-sharing activities to local residents in their field. These efforts, according to Bautista are geared towards the AFP’s peace advocacy.

 Meanwhile, in front of a big stage in a coconut-farming community in Surigao del Sur, thousands of members and supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) gathered to celebrated its 46th anniversary and to conduct a Mindanao-wide peace consultation.

 Fidel Agcaoili of the National Democratic Front (NDF), which is the CPP’s political arm, addressed the crowd and received a copy of the Mindanao peace agenda presented by people’s organizations.

 Jorge Madlos a.k.a “Ka Oris”, NDF spokesman said that the CPP’s supporters and members has “to brave the AFP’s (Armed Forces of the Philippines) attempts not to let them pass through”.

The CPP Central Committee has issued an anniversary statement entitled “The tide of revolution rises in the Philippines as the chronic crisis of the ruling system worsens”.

Ka Oris said that said the New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the CPP, staged more than 300 tactical offensives, confiscated hundreds of firearms and inflicted casualties of more than a battalion on the AFP in 2014.

“We have maintained the 46 guerrilla fronts despite the relentless fascist attacks by the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines), which has now more than 55 infantry battalions engaged in counter-revolutionary suppression campaigns in Mindanao. Not one front was destroyed by the enemy,” he said.

NDF spokesman Jorge Madlos a.k.a “Ka Oris” (file photo)

NPA to release 3 abducted cops in January —report

From GMA News (Dec 28): NPA to release 3 abducted cops in January —report

After releasing four soldiers it captured earlier this year, the communist New People's Army may release in January three police officers it abducted last November, a Mindanao news site reported Saturday.

National Democratic Front Mindanao spokesman Jorge Madlos also said they are serious in restarting stalled peace talks with the government, according to a report on MindaNews.

The report quoted Madlos as saying they will release PO1 Democrito Bondoc Polvorosa, PO1 Marichel Unclara Contemplo, and PO1 Junrie Amper, who the NPA abducted in Surigao del Norte.

Madlos made the claim at a gathering in Marihatag in Surigao del Sur to mark the Communist Party of the Philippines' 46th anniversary last Friday.

Last Friday, the NPA freed Pfc. Marnel Tagalugon Cinches and Pfc. Jerrel Yorong in Malaybalay City in Bukidnon, he said.

The NPA also released last Dec. 21 Pfc. Alvin Ricarte and Cpl. Benjamin Samano to Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

For his part, NDF peace panel vice chairman Fidel Agcaoili – who was at the gathering – talked about restarting the peace talks with the government soon.

The MindaNews report also said former agrarian reform secretary Hernani Braganza, who had taken part in the peace negotiations during the Gloria Arroyo administration, attended the anniversary rites here but did not go onstage.

It said Braganza is reportedly involved in back-channel efforts to restart the peace talks.

Davao NPA losing steam

From Tempo (Dec 28): Davao NPA losing steam

A senior military officer said yesterday that the government is gaining grounds in its anti-insurgency campaign in Davao, noting that the strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) in the area continues to dwindle as a result of continuous law enforcement operations.

“The number of NPA bandits in this part of the country has significantly dwindled this year with the killing of 39 and the arrest of 21 others during law enforcement operations,” said Army 10th Infantry Division (ID) commander Maj. Gen. Eduardo Año.

“Our troops have also confiscated 77 high-powered firearms and 128 improvised bombs,” he added.

Año credited the civilian population for providing accurate information about the presence of bandits in far-fl ung communities.

“Civilian tipsters are instrumental to our focused-military operations. People who are extorted money by the NPA bandits have collaborated with us in pinpointing jungle hideouts, and most importantly, in identifying notorious bandits who mingle with plain civilians,” said the 10th ID commander.

Aside from those killed and arrested, the Army has also accounted 142 NPA fighters who have returned to the fold of the law. The latest batch of was composed of 39 NPA members who laid down their arms last December 9.

CPP: Ipadilaab pa ang rebolusyon, kab-uton ang dugang mga kadaugan

Regional CPP propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Dec 26): Ipadilaab pa ang rebolusyon, kab-uton ang dugang mga kadaugan (Ignite the revolution, win more victories)

Norsen Mangubat
CPP North Central Mindanao Regional Committee
Sa tumang kadasig ug kamainitong ginasaulog karon sa tanang rebolusyonaryong pwersa ug katawhan sa North Central Mindanao Region ang ika-46 nga anibersaryo sa Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas.

Ipahinungod nato labaw sa tanan ang atong pagmaya ngadto sa tanang mga rebolusyonaryong martir ug bayani, lakip na sa pito ka Pulang manggugubat nga naghalad sa ilang kinabuhi karong tuiga.

Ginasaludohan sab nato ang tanang mga kadre ug mga membro sa Partido, Pulang kumander ug manggugubat, ug tanang naghalad sa ilang panahon ug kinabuhi sa pagpatuman sa mga bug-at nga tahas sa pagpaasdang sa rebolusyon.

Puno sa mga gagmay ug dagkung kadaugan ang entero tuig 2014. Tampo kini sa rebolusyonaryong pwersa sa NCMR sa kinatibuk-ang nasudnong paningkamot alang sa pagpaabante sa demokratikong rebolusyon padulong sa estratehikong panagpatas.
Sa pagpangulo sa Partido Komunista sa rehiyon, nakatampo kita sa pagpakyas sa Oplan Bayanihan sa rehimeng US-BS Aquino nga naglunsad sa pinakadakung opensiba sa AFP sa Mindanao sukad-sukad sa kasaysayan. Dinhi sa rehiyon, ang pito ka batalyon sa reaksyonaryong tropa wala molampos sa ilang tinguha sa pagdugmok sa bisan usa lang ka yunit milisya, pagguba sa atong baseng masa ug sa pagpakgang sa padayong pag-uswag sa atong rebolusyonaryong gimbuhaton sa tanang natad.

Ang lapad ug dungan-dungan nga mga combat ug COPD operasyon kaaway sa atong mga natarang gerilya, wala makahikaw kanato sa paglunsad og mga batakang taktikal nga opensiba sa luag nga lugar nga wala matangkapi sa iyang nainat nga pwersa. Sa mga eryang gilunsaran og mga combat operasyon, aktibo nga gisuklan sa mga yunit gerilya ug milisyang bayan ang kontra-rebolusyong pagpangatake sa kaaway. Sa tibuok tuig, nalunsad nato ang 102 ka lain-laing mga aksyon militar batok sa AFP, PNP, CAA, mga grupong paramilitar, pagsilot sa mga madaugdaugon,

mapahimuslanon, ug magun-ubon sa kinaiyahan nga mga kumpanya ug negosyo, mga kriminal ug uban pang mga dautang elemento. Nakumpiska nato gikan niining maong mga aksyong militar ang 55 ka nagkalain-laing tipo sa armas. Napahamtang nato ngadto sa mga tropa sa reaksyonaryong kusog sa kaaway ang 183 ka kaswalidad, nga gilangkuban sa 103 ka patay ug 80 ka samaron. Dugang pa niini, naguba nato ang 6 ka sakyanang militar ug tulo ka higayon nga nabanatan ang helikopter sa air force. Usa ka kumander sa brigade ug usa ka batalyon kumander ang natangtang tungod sa ilang mga kapildihan diha sa mga sangka. Naaresto ug nagunitan nato isip Prisoners of War ang duha ka sundalo sa 8th IB nga silang Pfc Marnel Cinches ug Pfc Jerrel Yorong. Sa kapin upat ka bulan nga pag-custody nato sa duha, pakyas ang mga pagsulay sa 403rd BDE sa pagluwas kanila.

Sa laing bahin, ang pagpangulo sa Pangrehiyong Komand sa BHB, pagbansay sa atong pwersa, ug matngon nga paghupot sa opensibang postura ug determinasyon nga suklan ang pagdasmag sa kaaway, nagbunga sa pagkunhod sa mga depensibang aksyon sa BHB ngadto sa 7 ka hugna karong tuiga kung itandi sa 11 sa miaging tuig kung asa 5 ka pulang manggugubat ang nakalas.

Taliwala sa subsob nga pagpangatake sa kaaway, miusbaw og 6% ang atong hukbo. Nadugangan ang atong arsenal og kumpanyang gidaghanon sa armas ug miusbaw og 12% ang kinatibuk-ang ihap sa atong mga gerilyang platun. Mi-usbaw usab og 57% ang atong mga milisyang bayan nga anaa sa pormasyong kumpanya sa mga lumpong sa mga baryo ug batalyon sa mga lungsod. Mapangahasong nalunsad sa mga milisyang bayan ang 21 ka independenteng taktikal nga opensiba o 20% sa kinatibuk-ang aksyong militar sa rehiyon karong tuiga.

Ang makauulaw nga nakab-ot sa rehimen sa bangis nga daw sama sa martial law nga militarisasyon dinhi sa atong rehiyon mao ang dislokasyon sa pagpuyo ug panginabuhi sa mga apektadong lumulupyo sa kabukiran, pagpamakwet ug pagtubo sa datos sa taas na nga talaan sa abuso militar ug pagpanglapas sa tawhanong katungod.

Sa pagpaasdang sa gubat mag-uuma, gidus-an sa Partido ang pagpalagsik pa sa agraryong rebolusyon aron batukan ang pyudal ug semi-pyudal nga pagpahimulos ug pagpangdaugdaug. Napahigayon ang ikaduhang rehiyonal nga konsultasyon sa agreb sa mga kadre sa Partido aron paladman pa ang pagsabot sa suliran sa yuta, mga relasyon sa produksyon ug gitakda ang mga kongkretong mga tikang sa pagpataas sa ang-ang sa antipyudal nga pakigbisog.

Gikan sa gamay nga kasinatian sa tapwak-tapwak nga ang-ang baryo nga paglihok sa relatibong naulahi nga mga nataran, tukma nga nagunitan sa mga kadre ug mga komite sa Partido ang paglunsad og ang-ang lumpong ngadto na sa ang-ang munisipal ug inter-munisipal nga anti-pyudal nga kalihokang masa. Bisan pa sa mga combat operation sa kaaway, nalunsad ang 18 ka hugna nga anti-pyudal nga pakigbisog sa 58 ka baryo, sulod sa 13 ka lungsod nga langkob sa 3 ka probinsya. Nagmadaugon ang mga mag-uuma sa pagpataas sa suhulan, pagpaubos sa abang sa galingan, pagpataas sa presyo sa produkto, ug pagpakunhod sa tantos sa utang diha sa ilang maisugong pakigharong sa mga agalong yutaan, mga buyer sa produkto sa mag-uuma, usurero ug tag-iya sa mga makinaryas. Nakab-ot ang usbaw sa suhulan gikan sa P 150 matag adlaw ngadto sa P 200.00 matag adlaw, pagkunhod sa bayad sa galingan sa P .20 – P .50 matag kilo ug napataas ang presyo sa lanot, humay ug ubang pang produkto.
 Nakabenepisyo ang kapin 3,400 ka pamilya o halos bayente-mil ka mga indibidwal ug nakatagamtam sa gamay nga alibyo sa ilang kawad-on. Napatuman sab sa pipila ka bahin ang kumpiskasyon sa yuta sa mga agalong yutaan, ug pagtikad sa mga abandonado o bakanteng mga luna. Nabatukan nato ang dinaghang pagpalagpot sa mga mag-uuma gikan sa ilang mga gitikad ug gipuy-an sa lain-laing paagi.

Lapad nga napakaylap ang kampanya sa kabukiran sa pagpalambo sa ekonomiyang sarang sa kaugalingon, pagpabarug sa mga agraryong kooperasyon pinaagi sa hunglos ug kooperatiba/komunal nga pagpanguma, pagpamuhi sa mga hayup ug pagpundar sa mga fishpond. Napakaylap usab nato ang pagbatok sa pagtanom sa makadaut nga mga imperyalistang GMO nga binhi sama sa RR, Decalb, Sige-sige, Golden rice, ug pagbatok sa ekspansyon sa mga plantasyon ug pagsulod sa mga kumpanya sa mina.
Atubangan sa paghuros sa pasismo, organisadong mibarug ang mga komunidad sa mga Lumad aron panalipdan og ipanghingusog ang ilang mga katungod, hiniusa silang namakwet aron mapasibaw ang ilang isyu ug makakabig og lapad nga suporta sa paglahutay sa ilang pakigbisog hangtud luwas nga makabalik sa ilang mga pinuy-anan. Lakip na dinhi ang pag-lobby sa tabang sa lokal nga gobyerno, pakig-dayalog sa LGU ug militar, pagbutyag sa mga pagpanglapas kanila diha sa mga quad media, pagpasaka og kaso sa mga tigpasipala, ug pagsalmot sa Manilakbayan.

Sa atong kampanyang pagpahiuli sa kinaiyahan ug pagdepensa niini, napakaylap nato ang pagtuon sa praymer sa pag-init sa kalibutan. Apan kinahanglan pa ang mainantuson nga pagpropaganda ug edukasyon aron mapatuhop ang kampanya sa atong mga organisadong masa ilabina na niadtong naa sa lasangong bahin nga dugay na nga nanginabuhi sa pagpanoroso ug pagkahoy-kahoy. Nasugdan nato karong tuiga sa dili momenos 100 ka baryo ang kampanya sa pagpananom og kahoy. Mayoriya na sa atong mga gerilyang platun ang matngon sa pag-amping sa pagpamutol sa kahoy kung magkampo. May mga platun usab nga regular na nga nagatigom og mga liso, nagapananum og kahoy ug kawayan, ug nagahimo og regular nga pag-ases sa mga natanom ug napaturok nga kahoy.

Dugang milapad ug milalom ang baseng masa sa rebolusyon nga karon mokabat na sa pila ka napuloan-ka-libo. Sa kabukiran, gikan sa napundar nga kusog sa mga organisasyong mag-uuma ug lumad, padayon nga nagalapad ang mga lokal nga organo sa pulitikanhong gahum sa pagpabarug sa dugang mga Komiteng Rebolusyonaryo sa Baryo ug napataas kini ngadto sa ang-ang sa sub-seksyon . Natukod na sab ang mga munisipal nga ang-ang sa mga rebolusyonaryong organisasyong masa nga hugot nga gigiyahan sa mga napabarug nga mga Komite sa Sub-seksyon sa Partido. Dugang pang napalapad ang pagpangulo sa mga sanga sa Partido sa mga baryo ug padayon nga ginapasiksik ang pagkaorganisa sa katawhan sa mga purok ug sityo matag human sa malampusong pagpatuman sa minimum nga programa sa agraryong rebolusyon.
Ang paglagsik rebolusyonaryong kalihukan sa kabukiran suod nga naga-impluwensya sa kabus nga katawhan sa kasyudaran sa rehiyon nga nangandoy og tinuod nga kausaban sa ilang kahimtang labi na kadtong mga nabiktima sa demolisyon, mga inhustisya, ug pagpasagad sa reaksyonaryong gubyerno. Padayong nagalagsik ang dayag nga mga kalihokang masa sa mga syudad sa rehiyon nga nagapasibaw sa mga isyu, pagpanghimaraut sa kadunot sa nagharing sistema nga walay lipod-lipod nga pagpangawat sa kwarta sa katawhan, kainutil sa pagsulbad sa mga inhustisya ug sinserong pagtabang sa mga biktima sa bagyo, ug pagpakaitoy sa imperyalismong US sa pagyatak sa nasudnong soberanya. Duyog sa katawhan sa tibuok nasud, ginasinggit nila ang pagpalagpot sa reaksyonaryong gobyernong BS-Aquino.

Padayong ginahimugso niining mga ligal demokratikong kalihokan sa kasyudaran ang mga aktibista ug kadreng kabatan-onan ug mala-proletaryado nga nakakaplag sa katumanan sa tinuod nga pag-alagad sa katawhan sa ilang pagpabukid ug pagsalmot sa armadong rebolusyon sa kabukiran.

Niining tanang nakab-ot nga mga pulitikanhong kadaugan, yawe ang atong pang-ideolohiya ug pang-organisasyong pagpalig-on. Napatigbabawan nato ang sakit sa konserbatismo sa miaging katuigan ug haum kita nga nagakat-on sa padayong pagpaasdang sa gubat pinaagi sa pakiggubat unsa man ang pag-igting sa kahimtang samtang naningkamot kita nga makatampo sa pagsalta ngadto sa estratehikong panagpatas. Mapanglimbasugon natong giwagtang ang atong mga bagahe, ug sa kinatibuk-an napaandar ang atong makina.

Napamatud-an ang kamamugnaon sa mga kauban sa lokalidad sa paghimo og staggard nga pagtuon sa Batakang Kurso sa Partido ug malampuson nilang nakumpleto ang kurso sa tumoy sa ilong sa kaaway. Nalunsad usab ang tulo ka hugna sa Intermedyang Kurso sa Partido alang sa mga kadre. Miusbaw og 10% ang membro sa Partido sa rehiyon, napalutaw ug gibansay ang mga bag-o ug batan-ong mga kadre diha sa lain-laing mga gimbuhaton ug sa pagpangulo, matngon ang matag usa sa hugot nga pagsubay sa pang-organisasyong linya sa demokratikong sentralismo ug lagsik nga gipaandar ang kolektibong paglihok sa mga komite sa Partido.

Apan kulang pa ang usa ka tuig, ingon man ang atong mga paningkamot aron makumpleto ang mga rekisitos sa panagpatas. Busa, doblehon pa nato ang atong pagpursige sa mosunod nga tuig aron labaw pang mapadilaab ang rebolusyon ug kab-uton ang dugang kadaugan sa pagpaabante. Magpursige kita sa pagtuon sa teorya, pahaiton ang pagtuon sa kasaysayan ug kongkretong kahimtang sa atong mga erya ug gimbuhaton. Hugot natong huptan ug kolektibong ipatuman ang mga plano ug batukan ug patigbabawan ang atong mga kakulangon ug kahuyangon. Hingpit nga wagtangon ang mga bagahe ug mangahas kita pag-atubang sa dugang pang sakripisyo sa umaabot dala ang dili mabuntog nga pagtuo nga alang sa katawhang gidaugdaug ug gipahimuslan ang hingpit nga kadaugan sa rebolusyon ug sosyalismo.

Mabuhi ang ika-46 nga anibersaryo sa Partido Komunista sa Pilipinas!

Missing jail warden arrested by NPA for ‘illegal drugs trade, negligence’

From the pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Dec 26): Missing jail warden arrested by NPA for ‘illegal drugs trade, negligence’

The jail warden of Compostela Valley provincial jail is being held by the New People’s Army (NPA) for investigation on his alleged involvement with illegal drugs trade, corruption and negligence inside the prison.

Jose Mervin Coquilla, who heads the Compostela Valley Provincial Rehabilitation Center in Tagum City, was taken by four unidentified gunmen Tuesday evening in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

Reports said as of Wednesday evening police authorities investigating the case are still facing a blank wall as to the whereabouts of Coquilla .

In an interview with Davao Today, Compostela Valley governor Arturo Uy said he “condemn(s) this senseless act”.

In an emailed statement sent by the NPA Comval-North Davao South Agusan Subregional Command, Friday spokesperson Aris Francisco said Coquilla “was taken into custody by the NPA in order to subject him to an investigation to determine his individual culpability with respect to the complaints lodged against him before the People’s Democratic Government by jail inmates and their families.”

Francisco said that inmates complained of Coquilla’s “willful negligence in the supervision of inmates and his direct and indirect, overt and covert participation of drug trade and drug use inside the Comval jail.”

“Coquilla has allegedly siphoned off funds which are already slashed by high officials of the ruling state prison. According to the complaints received by the NPA, Coquilla’s corruption has resulted in the inadequate medical and health care and food provision for inmates. To exercise absolute and fascist control, Coquilla’s guards allegedly perpetrate physical abuse to their prisoners,” Francisco said.

Francisco added that Coquilla “has also purportedly maintained double standards and discriminatory practices.”

“He supposedly imposes strict and inhumane regulations for visiting families who are forced to talk to their loved ones while behind bars. But he allegedly turns a blind eye to inmates who were caught using illegal drugs, and to jail guards who were involved in ferreting drugs inside the prison cells,” said Francisco.

Meanwhile, the NPA command responsible for Coquilla’s “arrest” said that the warden is still “presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and as such, is being treated leniently and humanely by the NPA custodial force, for as long as guerrilla conditions warrant.”

“We assure his family that he is being treated well by the NPA and the revolutionary mass base,” Francisco said.

Coquilla’s arrest came a day before the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) started its staggered 10 day ceasefire.

Reds to AFP commanders: Let’s enjoy the holidays

From the pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Dec 25): Reds to AFP commanders: Let’s enjoy the holidays

Saying that they have all the time of the year for military operations, a leader of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines urged all Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) generals and commanders to allow their troops to go home and celebrate Christmas with their families as the rebels would also want to have a peaceful celebration with their families and friends.

According to NDF Mindanao spokesman Jorge Madlos, also known as Ka Oris, soldiers should be allowed to enjoy with their friends and loved ones this Christmas season.

“Hangyoon nato ang mga heneral nga papaulion na nila ang mga nag-operation sa bukid kay luoy kaayo. Siyempre Pasko karon, kung nakabakasyon unta sila tua sila sa ilang mga pamilya ug sama unta sab kanamo panahon sa Pasko ug bag-ong tuig mag-ipon-ipon sab ang mga NPA ug ang ilang mga ginikanan, mga igsoon aron saulogon ang tradisyon (We are requesting the generals to send their troops home to be with their families this Christmas. And like us, it is only during Christmas and New Year that the NPAs are united with their families to celebrate the tradition),” Madlos said during a radio interview with Radyo ni Juan Wednesday afternoon.

“Dili man malisud unta orderan sa Eastmincom commander, sa 4th ID commander, sa 6th ID commander, ang pagpapauli usa sa ilang tropa total daghan silag panahon sa tibuok tuig nga maglungsad og offensive operation batok sa NPA. Sa among kabahin daghan sab mig panahon, mao nga sa pagkakaron maglipay-lipay lang usa (It would not be difficult for the commanders of the Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), 4th Infantry Division, 6th Infantry Division, to send their troops home because they have a lot of time during the whole year to launch offensives against the NPA. On our part, we also have a lot of time, so for now, let us just enjoy the holidays),” he added.
Madlos’ appeal came as the NDF condemned the AFP’s violation of their own ceasefire declaration.

The AFP has declared a one month suspension of military operations (SOMO) which took effect on the midnight of December 19 until January 19 next year.

“Nabalaka mi kay wala nahimong effective ang ceasefire sa AFP (We are worried because the AFP’s declaration of ceasefire has not been effective),” Madlos said citing the incidents wherein the military launched military operations against the NPAs.
Last December 22, Simon Santiago, Political Director of the NPA Southern Mindanao Region command issued a similar statement condemning the AFP’s ceasefire violations.

Santiago said the continued operation of “Special Operations Team or peace and development teams violates and makes a mockery” of the government’s own ceasefire.
“The presence of the troops in these areas does not appear to be risk-free, undisruptive or inoffensive, but comprises actual offensive manoeuvres within and in the periphery of guerrilla territories,” Santiago said.

 Their military’s occupation of civilian areas, according to Santiago, “is highly provocative and increases the risk of armed engagements with the Red fighters amid civilian-populated areas.”

Santiago cited the case in Barangay Catihan, Boston town, where 14 soldiers of the 67th IBPA occupy public places such as the multipurpose gym, houses, and videoke bars “while they intensify intelligence activities.”

 “AFP troops who are operating in civilian areas either underhandedly or blatantly are on offensive combat operations and, except for those who are inside their detachments and outposts, shall be treated as legitimate targets by the NPA,” Santiago said.

In telling the AFP to stop its offensive military operations to observe the Yuletide season, Madlos pointed out that when the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP) commemorate their anniversaries, the NPAs do not launch military actions to disrupt their activities.

“Maong isip paghangyo lang usab sa mga kaigsoonan nato nga general, mga battalion commander, mga brigade commander, nga unta siguruhon nila ang ilang mga pwersa nga madisiplina nila, mapasabot sa kamahinungdanon nga ang katawhan hatagan og higayon nga dunay malinawong pagsaulog sa pasko bagong tuig ug pagseguro nga walay mga kagubot panahon sa pagbisita sa Santo Papa (That’s why we appeal to them to ensure the discipline within their forces and to explain to them the importance of giving the people a chance to celebrate Christmas and New Year peacefully, and to ensure that there will be no clashes during the visit of the Pope next year),” said Madlos.

Madlos cited the killing of a barangay captain in Balit, San Luis last December 22. In a statement emailed to media last December 22, Omar Ibarra, spokesperson of the NPA Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Subregional Command (WANAS) said Barangay Captain Nicasio “Angis” Precioso Sr was killed at around 8:00 am in Kilometer 2, Nuevo Trabajo, San Luis, Agusan del Sur.

Ibarra said Precioso was about to attend the Municipal Peace and Order Council Meeting (MPOC) on December 22 to discuss on the reported harassments of Community Organizing for Peace and Development (COPD) units in the barrios of San Luis.

While on December 23 there was also a straffing on a civilian residence by the paramilitaries which were organized by the AFP, said Madlos.

In a statement last December 23, Major Ezra Balagtey of the Eastmincom said the COPD “are community works promoting Bayanihan spirit through various activities in the community in order to facilitate development in the barangays and per SOMO guidelines Bayanihan Team Activites and other civic action program are not included in the prohibition.”

“Prior to the declaration of SOMO our COPDs are already in the different barangays conducting BAYANIHAN ACTIVITIES,” the statement said.

NDF, however, belied the military claims.

“Sa among tan-aw dili tinuod ni kay tungod kani nga grupo ilang ginaokupa ang sityo, mga barangay ug i-census nila ang mga tao, pugngan ang pag-adto sa uma, ug kung moadto sa uma tagaan lang daw nila og oras. Gipugngan nila ang flow sa suplay sa mga pagkaon kay kuno maadto sa mga NPA ug ang mga paghulga naa gyud. Mao gani kaning mga COPD mao gyud ang hinungdan nganong dunay daghang nagbakwit karon nga mga katawhan sa kabukiran (This (COPD) group occupies the sitios, barangays and conducts census in the community. They prohibit the residents from going to their farms or even if they were allowed, they were given limited time. They also stop the entry of supplies because they say it will be given to the NPAs, and the threats are there. The COPD units are the reason why there are many evacuees in the countrysides),” Madlos said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines announced last December 17 its declaration of ceasefire on the following dates: 12:01 a.m. of December 24, 2014 to 11:59 p.m. of December 26, 2014; 12:01 a.m. of December 31, 2014 to 11:59 p.m. of January 1, 2015; and 12:01 a.m. of January 15, 2015 to 11:59 p.m. of January 19, 2015.

Army delays convoy going to CPP anniversary

From the pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Dec 26): Army delays convoy going to CPP anniversary

SURIGAO DEL SUR — The Army delayed the unusual convoy of vehicles going to the rural town of Marihatag here, suspecting that the 46th anniversary event of the Communist Party of the Philippines would be held only around the vicinity.
The soldiers removed all unit insignias and personal identification and refused all queries about their battalion and specifically held the van carrying Davao and Butuan-based news reporters for 30 minutes for no apparent reason.
Police personnel also helped soldiers manned the highway checkpoint by joint police and Army forces as they held the journalists and the convoy of others at 4:30pm in Sitio Mabog, Baragay Bayan in Marihatag.
Thousands of residents and members of non-government organizations from across eastern Mindanao, including news reporters, were earlier held by soldiers of the 101st Brigade at around 8:00 am due to an alleged landmine in the same area. The delegation was able to pass through after an hour.
The convoy was supposed to gather to a peace consultation hosted by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Mindanao as the main event of the CPP anniversary.
The vehicle of the media personnel was first held because of the congestion of about 50 vehicles, mostly trucks and buses, which attendees of the anniversary used for transport.
The soldiers asked to inspect the vehicle and the media granted it but also did not alight the vehicle as per checkpoint protocols.
The media waited in line but were refused to pass through when it’s supposedly their turn to exit.
The soldiers were short of mocking the media personnel and laughed when asked for the reasons for holding them up and asked for identification cards which the media complied but still were not let through.
After much insistence from the media, the officer seemed to have called his higher officer and after a few minutes said: “Ok na daw sabi ng batcom (Battalion Commander) namin, regards nalang daw kay Alvin Luque.”

Ka Oris: swelling rivers, heavy rains, Army checkpoints can’t stop the Party

From the pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Dec 27): Ka Oris: swelling rivers, heavy rains, Army checkpoints can’t stop the Party

MARIHATAG, Surigao del Sur – Heavy rainfalls, swelling rivers and Army checkpoints did not stop the Communist Party of the Philippines in Mindanao from celebrating their 46th year anniversary.

Ka Oris, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Mindanao, said that he and several companies of New People’s Army Red fighters navigated roads and got soaked from heavy rains before they reached the venue where the CPP anniversary was held.

“Only one NPA unit got delayed from reaching the site because it failed to cross the Marihatag river last night as the river swelled,” he said.

Ka Oris said some 15,000 people attended the event from all over Mindanao yesterday December 26 even as “they braved the AFP’s (Armed Forces of the Philippines) attempts not to let them pass through.”

“Even if rains poured heavy, even if rivers swelled, even if roads were blocked with checkpoints, we are here to show unity and celebrate the anniversary of the Party, ” said Ka Oris.

On the way to the CPP event, an unmarked Army checkpoint stopped the convoy of private and rented cars, trucks and buses along the Surigao del Sur highway.

An Army sergeant interviewed by the media said he received orders from his brigade to stop the convoy because they have received information that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were laid on the road where the convoy was heading.

The attendees, who included Surigao del Sur Vice-Governor Manuel Alameda, Sr. and Bayan Muna partylist Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate, however, demanded that the soldiers clear the way immediately so the convoy can pass.

Soldiers relented after about an hour.

Smiling roadside NPA members greeted the guests and flagged down vehicles and patiently instructed drivers to go to a designated parking zone.

Upon arriving to the community where the program was to be held, one can see big tarpaulins with signature hammer and sickle prints.

Five Achievements

Ka Oris said that NPA is “expanding and gaining strength.”

He said the NPA in Mindanao has “maintained 46 guerrilla fronts amidst 55 Infantry (Philippine Army) battalions waging anti-guerilla warfare” against them.

“Not one front was destroyed while the NPA launched 300 tactical offensive which inflicted one battalion of casualties of regular and paramilitary troops of the AFP this year,” he said.

He said the NPA’s strength has made possible an “agrarian revolution” which has “gained material benefits” for its mass base “which number in millions.”

He also said “revolutionary forces guided by the CPP are active in Mindanao urban centers.”

Ka Oris said the CPP “formed alliances with sectors in society who are against US (United States) imperialism and domestic feudalism.

“We have maintained good relationships with church groups, professionals and other sectors and Moro groups outside the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) which has turned its back on the armed struggle,” he said.

Ka Oris said the CPP “continue to propagate Marxism-Leninism-Maoism to its membership through education courses.”

He added that the membership of the CPP in Mindanao is in “tens of thousands” and are “entrusted with various important tasks for the revolution.”

Mindanao Peace Agenda
Different leaders from the ranks of farmers, workers, youth, church and peace groups invited by the NDF also presented their ‘peace agenda’ for both the NDF and the government during the event.

Bishop Modesto Villasanta of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines handed over a copy of their position paper to Fidel Agcaoili, a member of the NDF’s peace negotiating panel.

“I gladly receive your peace agenda for the NDF negotiating panel to discuss,” said Agcaoili.

Ka Oris said the panel has been conducting consultations all over the country.
Meanwhile, Vice Gov. Alameda also received a copy of the ‘peace agenda’ for the Surigao del Sur provincial government.

Other personalities in the event include former Interior and Local Government Secretary Hernani Braganza.

Despite rains and harassments|CPP in Mindanao celebrates 46th anniversary with impressive attendance

From the pro-CPP Bulatlat online propaganda publication (Dec 27): Despite rains and harassments|CPP in Mindanao celebrates 46th anniversary with impressive attendance

The CPP said its membership in Mindanao has increased to “tens of thousands, majority of whom are in barrios, factories, schools and communities,” without revealing exact numbers.

Marihatag, SURIGAO DEL SUR– Military harassments and heavy rains failed to dampen the anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Northeastern Mindanao yesterday.

Thousands of members and supporters, as well as national legislators and local executives, trekked steep and muddy roads to attend one of the biggest public events in years held around a huge, tarpaulin-covered stage in a farming village of this town.

The underground party had foregone big celebrations since 2010, electing to donate its resources earmarked for such occasions tO survivors of destructive typhoons Sendong, Pablo and Yolanda in succeeding years instead.

Philippine Army’s 101st Brigade put up barricades to prevent dozens of buses, trucks and smaller vehicles carrying thousands of attendees from proceeding to the event venue. Mindanao journalists were also delayed and were even taunted even after presenting identification.

But the government soldiers were forced to allow the long convoy to proceed an hour later after Surigao del Sur vice governor Manuel Alameda helped in the negotiations. Alameda later delivered a short speech and a message from provincial governor Johnny Pimentel at the celebrations.

The harassments succeeded however in delaying the start of the formal program by more than two hours, even as New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas scrambled to put up tarpaulins against the intermittent rains.

There was no sign of any security tension as the program remained upbeat once it got started.

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP)-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge Madlos revealed to Bulatlat that at least a battalion-sized “people’s militia” was deployed around the area to complement several company-sized units of the NPA in attendance.

A company of NPA fighters in a formation at the start of the CPP's 46th anniversary celebration in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur. (Photo by Raymund Villanueva/

A company of NPA fighters in a formation at the start of the CPP’s 46th anniversary celebration in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur. (Photo by Raymund Villanueva/

A company of uniformed NPA guerillas stood at formation and presented arms as the communist anthem “Ang Internasyunal” was sung to start the program.

In his speech, Madlos, popularly known as Ka (Comrade) Oris, said the CPP’s maintained its 46 NPA fronts despite unrelenting attacks from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) which poured 55 infantry battalions throughout the island.

The NPA in turn launched around 300 attacks throughout 2014 that inflicted casualties against the AFP that would cumulatively amount to a battalion-sized enemy unit, Madlos said.

The CPP also announced it has active formations in urban areas in Mindanao, including Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Surigao, General Santos, Iligan, Zamboanga, Dipolog, Kidipawan, Cotabato and Tagum cities.

The CPP said its membership in Mindanao has increased to “tens of thousands, majority of whom are in barrios, factories, schools and communities,” without revealing exact numbers.

It said it maintained its organizational growth this year through ideological activities such as intermediate and advanced party courses among its members.

The CPP said it continues to exert strong influence on various sectors, including the religious, academic, legal and other middle forces, in their respective struggles against imperialism, local feudalism and graft and corruption in government.

The Party maintains relationships with different Bangsamoro organizations that are working for genuine autonomy, aside from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front which “has turned its back on armed struggle,” Madlos said.

The NDFP spokesperson said that the grave conflicts among the ruling classes, represented by corrupt politicians, is weakening the dominant political system in the country. The Benigno Aquino III government exposes itself as a servant of the interests of United States imperialism, landlordism, and bureaucrat capitalism, he said.

These problems pushes the people towards the struggle for genuine change and serve as bases for the CPP’s people’s democratic revolution, Madlos said.

The CPP also took the opportunity to include a peace forum and consultation in the formal program of its 46th anniversary celebrations, marked by the presence of NDFP negotiating panel member Fidel Agcaoili.

Agcaoili accepted a manifesto of support to the (Government of the Philippine[GPH]-NDFP) peace talks and the Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Agenda from Sowing the Seeds of Peace-Mindanao Movement for a Just and Lasting Peace (SSP-MMJLP) represented in the forum in the by bishops, priests, pastors and nuns.

SSP-MMJLP’s eight-point agenda includes calls for genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization and development, employment and respect of workers’ rights, socio-economic and democratic rights, respect of rights of national minorities, nationalist and scientific culture, independent foreign policy, and equitable resource allocation for Mindanao from the national budget of the GPH.

The movement is composed of church leaders and workers, lawyers, human rights advocates, Bangsamoro organizations, and local government unit officials.
In his short acceptance speech, Agcaoili promised to submit the documents to his colleagues in the NDFP negotiating panel upon his return to The Hague, The Netherlands.

A cultural program followed the peace forum when various individuals and groups representing provinces and sectors performed.

After the program, various NPA guerrillas gathered on the village’s school grounds as they waved the last of the civilian attendees off. They also took turns exchanging pleasantries with other guerrillas belonging to other units while partaking of fresh fruits and cake given by sympathetic businessmen and politicians.

Meanwhile, AFP soldiers were stationed along the road leading to the national highway well after dusk, even as the NPA guerrillas have left the village. Military checkpoints still littered the roads along the length of the province well into the night, long after most of the attendees have reached their destinations.

Troops seal off Philippine highway after discovery of powerful bomb

From the Mindanao Examiner (Dec 27): Troops seal off Philippine highway after discovery of powerful bomb

Communist rebels have planted a powerful bomb on a highway and deployed snipers forcing authorities to seal off the road to motorists in southern Philippines, officials said on Saturday.

It took hours for soldiers to finally secure the highway and eventually disarmed the improvised explosive left behind on Friday night by New People’s Army fighters in the town of Marihatag in Surigao del Sur province.

Major Ezra Balagtey, a spokesman for the Eastern Mindanao Command, said the bomb was discovered by a civilian who immediately informed the military and police authorities.

“The road was impassable until about 9 o' clock in the evening because of the presence of NPA snipers in the vicinity. Troops did not engage the rebels due to the presence of civilians in the area which prevented Explosive Ordnance Disposal and K-9 teams from 4th Infantry Division to render safety recovery of the explosive not until night time,” he said.

Balagtey said no fighting occurred because the rebels eventually fled. He said troops recovered a 5-kilogram landmine attached to a blasting cap and electrical wire.

The NPA has been fighting for decades for the establishment of a communist state in the country.

Jalandoni, wife in town for peace talks

From the Bohol Standard (Dec 28): Jalandoni, wife in town for peace talks

On the eve of the 46th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its two top leaders are back home from the Netherlands for today’s celebration of the communist movement in the country, a senior intelligence official revealed.

The official yesterday said the return of National Democratic Front (NDF) chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni and wife Connie Ledesma to the country would also allow the resumption of stalled peace negotiations with the government.

Asked if Jalandoni and his wife’s return is related to persistent talks that the government and the communists have sealed an agreement for the resumption of peace talks, the official said the issue is political.

There had been reports that both parties have agreed to return to the negotiating table after the papal visit next month.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the country on Jan. 15 and is leaving on Jan. 19 after a series of engagements in Manila and in Eastern Visayas.

Early this year, CPP founding chair- man Jose Ma. Sison said they are willing to meet and talk peace with President Aquino following the failure of negotiations a year ago. “I cannot comment on that because it’s a political issue.

What can I say is, whatever the government decision on this matter, the military will fully support it,” the security official said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said they could not comment on the resumption of peace talks with the rebels.

“It’s OPAPP (Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process) under Secretary Teresita Deles, not us in AFP. Let’s wait for an official announcement of OPAPP if there is any,” Padilla said.

Deles reportedly hinted about a surprise development when she met with the media before the holiday break.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., for his part, also would not comment on the return of the Jalandonis.

Jalandoni’s return with his wife to the country comes as the AFP enforces a month-long unilateral ceasefire it declared last Dec. 18 until Jan. 19 next year with the communist rebels.

Talks with the NDF were stalled last year after government negotiators rejected a demand to free communist leaders with pending criminal cases.

The NDF, which represents the CPP and the New People’s Army (NPA) in the negotiations, claimed the detained communist leaders are peace consultants and should be immune from arrest. Most NDF leaders have pending criminal cases in the Philippines, including murder.

Joma Sison looks forward to meet with Aquino

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 28): Joma Sison looks forward to meet with Aquino

Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Ma. Sison. FILE PHOTO

Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Ma. Sison. FILE PHOTO

Jose Maria Sison, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair, does not discount the possibility of meeting with President Benigno Aquino III to jump-start peace talks with the government, a confidence-building measure reminiscent of the Chief Executive’s secret meeting with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Murad Ebrahim.

“My meeting with the President can still happen if there is already a substantive agreement or if the meeting can be inspiring, as a confidence-building measure,” Sison told the Inquirer in a message late Friday afternoon.

Asked if the “friends” of both parties mentioned by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Deles in a statement were working toward his meeting with Mr. Aquino, Sison said, “Yes.”

He said the meeting with Mr. Aquino to discuss the peace negotiations could happen if “there is new substantive agreement or if the booster is needed at a certain point.”

Sought for comment on the possibility of an Aquino-Sison meeting, Deles told the Inquirer in a text message: “There are unlimited possibilities once peace talks are seriously on course.”

The idea of having a meeting between the President and Sison was initially hatched in 2012, after the successful meeting of the Chief Executive with Murad in August 2011 in Tokyo.

It was a secret meeting, which was ultimately described by the MILF as a “great leap forward” in resuming the then stalled peace negotiations between the government and the then Moro secessionist group.

While exactly not smooth sailing after the Aquino-Murad meeting, the peace talks between the two parties led to a peace agreement that was signed in March.

The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will give flesh to the autonomy yearned for by the Bangsamoro people, is now awaiting passage in Congress.

By contrast, the planned meeting between Mr. Aquino and Sison has yet to materialize.
Llamas proposal

Sison on Friday recalled that Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Ronald Llamas proposed the Aquino-Sison meeting in October 2012, and described it as a “historic meeting.”

Sison said his meeting with Mr. Aquino was tentatively scheduled for April 2013 in Hanoi, but the Amsterdam talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), the CPP’s political arm, broke down in February 2013.

“Pero sayang hindi natuloy (Unfortunately, it did not push through),” he said of his planned meeting with the President.

In an e-mail to the Inquirer in June 2013, Sison said “P-Noy has no reason to fear meeting with NDFP representatives directly and personally.”

The government and the NDFP have on-and-off talks over the past three decades, as both parties face differences in ideologies and difficulties in maintaining a truce.

More than 40,000 Filipinos have been killed in the communist insurgency that is one of the longest-running in the world.
Talks after papal visit

As the CPP marked its 46th anniversary on Friday, the Utrecht-based Sison announced that the stalled negotiations could resume in the second week of next month, after the Jan. 15-19 visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines.

In a goodwill gesture amid a Christmas ceasefire, the New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the CPP, released on Friday two soldiers held captive for four months in Bukidnon province.

Three more soldiers would be freed by January, according to NDFP spokesperson Jorge Madlos.
Warden in NPA custody

The NPA unit operating in the Davao provinces has admitted that it has in its custody the provincial jail warden of Compostela Valley, who disappeared on Dec. 23 after being forcibly taken by armed men from Panabo City.

Aris Francisco, NPA spokesperson for Compostela Valley, Davao provinces and Agusan, said warden Jose Mervin Coquilla was “arrested outside his house” and would be subjected to “an investigation.”

He was initially taken with his wife Lijobeth, who was freed later.

Francisco said on Friday the NPA decided to take Coquilla into custody “to determine his individual culpability with respect to the complaints lodged against him before the People’s Democratic Government by jail inmates and their families.”

Drug trade in jail

Among the complaints against Coquilla, he said, were “willful negligence in the supervision of inmates and his direct and indirect, overt and covert participation in drug trade and drug use inside the Compostela Valley jail.”

“Coquilla has allegedly siphoned off funds, which are already slashed by high officials of the ruling state prison. According to the complaints received by the NPA, Coquilla’s corruption has resulted in the inadequate medical and health-care and food provision for inmates,” Francisco said in an e-mailed statement on Friday.

He said Coquilla also tolerated the physical abuse of prisoners by jail guards.

Francisco said the jail warden also turned a blind eye to inmates caught using illegal drugs and to jail guards involved in ferreting out drugs inside the prison cells.

“While currently undergoing investigation for his possible involvement in these acts, Coquilla is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, and as such, is being treated leniently and humanely by the NPA custodial force, for as long as guerrilla conditions warrant,” Francisco said.


Chief Insp. Levitico Estay, Davao del Norte police spokesperson, said the NPA initially wanted Coquilla to be swapped for a comrade detained at the Compostela Valley provincial rehabilitation in Mankilam village in Tagum City.

Quoting Coquilla’s wife, Estay said the abductors allegedly told her before setting her free that the warden would be freed only if one of their comrades at the provincial jail would be released.

But Estay would not name the person the rebels wanted to swap for Coquilla.

Managed by the provincial government, the jail shares space with the Davao del Norte Provincial Rehabilitation Center in a sprawling prison complex in Barangay Mankilam in Tagum. It holds several guerrilla inmates.

Gov. Arturo Uy urged the rebels to free Coquilla “in the spirit of Christmas."

YEARENDER: AFP in defense mode against critics in 2014

From the Philippine Star (Dec 28): YEARENDER: AFP in defense mode against critics in 2014


The military drew flak when AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr. and acting Health Secretary Janette Garin visited 132 peacekeepers from Ebola-stricken Liberia while being quarantined on Caballo Island in Manila Bay last month.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) found itself in defense mode in 2014 as it parried attacks not just from armed groups but also from critics unhappy with the way it handled major issues.

To be sure, crisis communication is far from being unfamiliar terrain for the military, which has grappled with controversies that threatened to erode its credibility.

For an institution that has been accused of human rights violations, political partisanship and large-scale corruption, negative publicity is practically a way of life, like rendering a salute to a superior or hearing marching tunes.

The year 2014, however, proved to be an acid test for military communicators who had to defend the controversial moves of their leaders while engaging with citizens who can call them names with just a few clicks or taps.

The military, nevertheless, believes criticism can be a good teacher.

“The year 2014 has been exciting and very challenging. We learned a lot of things,” AFP spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla said in a recent interview.

“All criticisms have positive impact. It can be a source of lessons that can help improve the armed forces,” he added.

Padilla said they would continue to defend the citizens’ right to express their views, including those critical of them.

Against Suselbeck
Among the issues involving the military in 2014, two elicited the most emotional responses in both the real world and cyberspace – the unwelcome visit of the family of slain transgender Jeffrey Laude in Camp Aguinaldo and AFP chief Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang Jr.’s visit to peacekeepers undergoing quarantine.

On Oct. 22, Laude’s mother and sisters, his German partner Marc Suselbeck and their lawyers tried to enter a facility in Camp Aguinaldo to personally confront US serviceman Joseph Pemberton, the suspect in the killing of Jeffrey.

They were denied entry by Filipino troops who insisted the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board compound where Pemberton is detained was off limits.

Jeffrey’s sister Marilou and Suselbeck then climbed over the fence, resulting in a 30-minute confrontation between the Laude camp and soldiers. Tensions flared when Suselbeck shoved one of the soldiers guarding the facility, an act that would later earn him deportation.

Despite Suselbeck’s apology, the military moved to have him declared an “undesirable alien,” something that did not sit well with sympathizers of the Laudes.

Some Facebook and Twitter users scored AFP public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc for supposedly being abrasive when replying to critics of the move to seek Suselbeck’s deportation.

Cabunoc denied being brash to critics. He maintained that he was just voicing his support for proper procedures.

More debates erupted after the AFP awarded a plaque of recognition to T/Sgt. Mariano Pamittan, the soldier shoved by Suselbeck, for displaying “professionalism and restraint” during the confrontation.

Critics said the award was unnecessary because Pamittan was just doing his job. The AFP, however, insisted that Pamittan deserved the recognition because he did not react violently while he was being dishonored.

Against health experts
The military drew flak anew when AFP chief Catapang and acting Health Secretary Janette Garin visited 132 peacekeepers from Ebola-stricken Liberia while quarantined on Caballo Island in Manila Bay.

The Nov. 16 visit was supposed to convey the message that the peacekeepers should not be ostracized because they were not displaying symptoms of the virus.

However, the move was heavily criticized by health experts who believe Catapang and Garin broke protocol when they met with peacekeepers even if the three-week quarantine period was not yet finished.

They noted Catapang and Garin were not wearing protective equipment when they interacted with the troops.

Catapang, however, insisted that no protocol was broken during the visit, saying it was sanctioned by health officials.

Those against the visit argued the issue was not about whether the peacekeepers were contagious but the inability of officials to take their own rules seriously.

The peacekeepers have tested negative for Ebola and are now enjoying a long holiday break with their families.

Against Singha
The AFP was also in defense mode before the international community after Filipino peacekeepers made a daring escape from Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights.

The peacekeepers figured in a standoff last Aug. 28 after they were surrounded by hundreds of Syrian insurgents.

Before the standoff, the militants held hostage 45 Fijian soldiers who agreed to surrender their weapons. The Fijians were freed two weeks later.

Philippine officials claimed that Lt. Gen. Iqbal Singh Singha, the chief of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), had ordered the Filipino troops to surrender to ensure the safe release of the Fijians.

The Filipino contingent, however, refused to give up their firearms, believing this would make them helpless against the insurgents. The peacekeepers stood their ground until they were rescued by UN troops from different countries on Aug. 30.

The AFP called for an investigation on Singha for supposedly endangering the lives of Filipino soldiers,

Singha fought back by saying the Filipino troops committed an “act of cowardice” that placed the lives of the Fijian hostages at risk. He also scored the Philippine contingent for deserting their posts and breaking the chain of command.

Whether the UN conducted a probe on Singha remains uncertain as the issue died down. However, the UNDOF chief acknowledged the bravery of Filipino and Fijian troops during a briefing to the UN Security Council in New York last October.

Other highlights
Despite these issues, 2014 was not totally unkind to the Department of National Defense (DND) and the 125,000-strong armed forces.

For the DND, one of the most significant developments was the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the United States last April 28.

A product of talks over eight months, the EDCA will provide the US greater access to military facilities in the country to enhance the Philippines’ territorial defense capabilities. It will also allow US troops to pre-position equipment in mutually agreed upon areas.

The agreement was signed just hours before US President Barack Obama arrived in the Philippines for a two-day state visit.

The constitutionality of the deal has been challenged before the Supreme Court by former senators and activists who believe it violates Philippine sovereignty.

The DND also signed the contracts for the purchase of 12 lead-in fighter trainer jets worth P18.9 billion from South Korea and eight combat utility helicopters worth P4.8 billion from Canada.

The military can also claim gains in its internal security operations.

On Aug. 12, security forces arrested retired general Jovito Palparan Jr., labeled “The Butcher” by militant groups.

Palparan has been charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention over the disappearance of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño in 2006.

The former commander of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division was nabbed in Sta. Mesa, Manila after hiding from authorities for three years.

Security forces also captured Communist Party of the Philippines leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon in Cebu last March 22. The Tiamzons are facing 15 counts of murder and were arrested on a warrant issued by a regional trial court in Leyte.

The National Democratic Front, which represents the communist rebels in the peace talks with the government, claimed that the arrest was illegal because the Tiamzons are working as peace consultants.

Another highlight of 2014 was the release of German couple Stefan Viktor Okonek and Henrite Dielen and Swiss wildlife photographer Lorenzo Vinciguerra from the clutches of the Abu Sayyaf.

The Abu Sayyaf claimed to have received the full ransom of P250 million following the release of Okonek and Dielen, but this could not be confirmed.

While military officials attributed the release to their operations, they failed to dispel notions that huge amounts of ransom were paid to secure their freedom.

OIC invites Nur to Turkey

From Tempo (Dec 27): OIC invites Nur to Turkey

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) Parliamentary Union of Islamic Cooperation (PUIC) has invited fugitive Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding Chairman Nur P. Misuari to the 10th Session of the PUIC of OIC Member States Conference on Jan. 21-22 in Istanbul, Turkey.

Prof. Mashur bin-Ghalib Jundam of the MNLF Education Committee and close ally of Misuari, relayed this yesterday to the Manila Bulletin.

He said the PUIC extended the invitation through the Islamic Republic of Iran, being the chair of the parliamentary body of the 57-member OIC.

Relatedly, the MNLF has been an observer at the OIC itself since 1977, with Misuari still regarded as MNLF chairman until now.

Needless to say, Misuari, being in hiding from the long arm of the law because of rebellion charges arising from the September 2013 fighting in Zamboanga City, has no way of attending the meeting.

Jundam said that most likely the MNLF chieftan, like in the past, will be naming MNLF leaders who will attend the Istanbul meeting. “If the government allows ‘Maas’ (Misuari) to go to Istanbul, he will attend,” he said.

It could be recalled the MNLF applied for its Bangsamoro People’s Congress (now Bangsamoro National People’s Parliament (BNPP) as observer in the PUIC, which the body granted on January 30, 2012 during its 7th conference session in Palembang, Indonesia.

Misuari attended the Palembang meeting where the MNLF supremo received with enthusiasm the PUIC approval.

The grant to the BNPP chaired by Ustadhz Zain Jali as observer was endorsed to the PUIC by its Executive Committee during its 7th Meeting in 2011 in Ankara, Turkey.

BNPP is the MNLF-Misuari group’s “regular parliament component body…tasked to create policies complimentary with Islamic Laws to regulate the affairs of the MNLF members and the Bangsamoro masses.”

Jundam said he and Misuari also attended the 8th PUIC conference session in Khartoum, Sudan, on Jan. 17-22, 2013.

NDF says 46 guerrilla fronts in Mindanao intact

From the Manila Bulletin (Dec 27): NDF says 46 guerrilla fronts in Mindanao intact

On its 46th CPP anniversary

Forty-six years after its re-establishment on December 26, 1968, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was able to expand its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), in Mindanao with the formation of 46 guerrilla fronts situated in various points of the island.

This was the claim made by Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front in Mindanao (NDF-Mindanao) during the commemoration of the 46th year anniversary of the CPP held at the hinterlands of Marihatag town, in Surigao del Sur province.

The celebration was joined by more or less 10,000 supporters coming from various provinces in Mindanao.

The supporters were ferried to the ceremony site by 12 buses, 15 trucks, 110 passenger jeeps, 20 SUVs and countless number of motorcycles.

Madlos expressed gratitude to the delegations from various regions in Mindanao, who came to the celebration despite foul weather conditions and the blockade that was set up by the Army’s Scout Rangers in Barangay San Isidro in Marihatag.

“The National Democratic Front in Mindanao joins the rest of the proletariat and Filipinos people in extending revolutionary greetings to the Communist Party of the Philippines on the occasion of its 46th anniversary of its rebuilding on December 26, 1968,” Madlos said.

He added that for the past 46 years, “the party organization also made its landmark in advancing the armed and political mass struggle and contributed significantly to this overall nationwide advance.”

Among the highlights that was cited by Madlos was the establishment of 46 guerrilla fronts in Mindanao that he said are still intact.

“We have maintained 46 guerrilla fronts despite the relentless fascist attacks by the AFP which has now more than 55 infantry battalions engaged in counter-revolutionary suppression campaigns in Mindanao,” Madlos said.

A total of 300 tactical offensives were also launched by the NPAs in Mindanao this year that resulted to the confiscation of firearms, ammunitions and inflicted casualties among government forces, he claimed.

He also hailed the continuing political mass struggle in the urban centers in Mindanao, particularly in the cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Surigao, General Santos, Iligan, Zamboanga, Dipolog, Kidapawan, Cotabato and Tagum.

Personalities, who were present during the commemoration in Marihatag were Bayan Muna Party-list representative Carlos Isagani Zarate, Surigao del Sur Vice Governor Manuel Alameda and representatives from religious groups, the academe and people’s organizations from various parts in Mindanao.