Friday, January 9, 2015

Abu Sayyaf bandits attack military's civilian volunteers in Sulu

From the Philippine Star (Jan 10): Abu Sayyaf bandits attack military's civilian volunteers in Sulu

Fighting erupted Saturday when Abu Sayyaf Group gunmen fired grenades to patrolling civilian volunteers in a remote village in Talipao, Sulu.

The military said a volunteer of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) was wounded in the firefight that occurred at about 6:05 a.m. at the vicinity of Barangay Kiyutaan.

Col. Alan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu (JTGS), said the BPAT volunteers led by Talipao Councilor Lakim Uddin were harassed by about 30 Abu Sayyaf members led by sub-leaders Angga Adji and Roger Saji.

Arrojado said the military launched several rounds of M203 grenade launchers towards the group of Uddin that sparked a 10-minute firefight that resulted to the wounding of BPAT member Akmad Aburan.

He said the bandits withdrew towards the direction of Bud (mountain) Itao, Barangay Bungkaong, Patikul town.

Arrojado said the Marine Battalion Landing Team 2 (MBLT2) has received information that Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Angga Adji and Councilor Uddin have a long standing rido.

Special operation platoon from the MBLT2 and police forces from Talipao conducted pursuit operation against the attackers.

Southern Luzon Command beefs up security for papal visit participants

From the Manila Times (Jan 10): Southern Luzon Command beefs up security for papal visit participants

The Southern Luzon Command has ordered all its units to beef up their security preparations to ensure the safety of people who will be joining activities in honor of Pope Francis who will be visiting the country on January 15 to 19.

Major Gen. Ricardo Visaya, Southern Luzon Command chief, said this is to ensure devotees coming from Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions will be protected from groups or individuals who may disrupt these activities.

“Security along national roads, conduct of checkpoints with the PNP (Philippine National Police), as well as security augmentation to the Philippine Coast Guard in major ports in Bicol and Southern Tagalog regions are among the primary activities of our forces before, during and after the papal visit,” he added.

“There are no monitored threats. However, we will continue monitoring and intensifying our security operations and not discount the possibility of some spoilers,” Visaya said.

In Sorsogon, an Army K-9 unit augments the PCG in security operations at the Matnog Port.

A platoon sized unit that can be deployed at any point is also on standby alert.

AFP to end insurgency woes, focus on defense of territory

From the Manila Bulletin (Jan 9): AFP to end insurgency woes, focus on defense of territory

By all indications it may a difficult target, but the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is seriously aiming to end all insurgency problems in the country and shift focus to territorial defense “as soon as possible.”

“Our plan is to be able to declare the entire country peaceful and ready for development,” said Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang, AFP chief of staff.

But Catapang admitted it is such a gargantuan task, noting that the country is currently faced with so many security challenges that include communist rebels, breakaway factions of Moro rebels, the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), and even foreign terrorist organizations.

However, he said that based on the recent meeting with top military commanders, all the government action plans to address insurgency problems are on the right track.

For instance, he said the recent number of communist rebels have been reduced to 3,200 fighters from its peak of 25,000 during the 1980s.

“We are doing alright. We are being able to address these challenges,” said Catapang.

On the threat posed by the Moro rebels in Mindanao, Catapang said they are confident that the approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law and full implementation of the peace agreement will help in the normalization of security situation in the South.

How Close Is China to Another South China Sea Airstrip?

From The Diplomat (Jan 10): How Close Is China to Another South China Sea Airstrip?

Beijing could have a second airstrip in the South China Sea by the end of 2015.

On January 8, the Philippine news outlet Rappler quoted an informed defense source as saying that China is likely to finish constructing its second airstrip in the South China Sea by the end of 2015. Separately, the chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Gregorio Catapang Jr., also revealed that Beijing was about halfway done with its land reclamation activities on Fiery Cross Reef where the anticipated airstrip is likely to be built.

Satellite images released in November 2014 already indicated that Chinese dredgers had been reclaiming land on Fiery Cross Reef since August to create a land mass large enough for a 3 km long airstrip, which would be its second in the South China Sea after its airstrip in Woody Island in the Paracel Islands (Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also have their own airstrips).

But these latest reports suggest that China is quite far along in its land reclamation and airstrip construction. Those reclamation activities, along with having two airstrips — one in the Paracels and one in the Spratlys — would significantly boost Beijing’s position in the South China Sea with implications for other claimants and interested parties.

As I have stressed previously, it is important that we view such Chinese activities in the South China Sea not as isolated events, but rather as part of a broader strategy of “incremental assertiveness” to change the facts on the water in Beijing’s favor where possible to advance its claims. In this case, as with China’s several other ongoing land reclamation projects, including Cuateron Reef, Gaven Reef, and Johnson North Reef, Beijing’s efforts to increase the size of individual features like it is doing in Fiery Cross Reef could help strengthen the legal justification for its extensive territorial claims.

That could in turn potentially have an effect on legal efforts by other South China Sea claimants, like the Philippines’ ongoing case against China at an arbitral tribunal at The Hague (which Vietnam also is now participating in) which could be decided sometime in late 2015 or 2016. While Manila has decided to stop all development work in the South China Sea because of the impact it might have on the ruling, Beijing seems to see no problem letting its activities continue because it will only change the status quo in its favor while the verdict is being determined.

Beyond the positional advantages that land reclamation would confer, having an airstrip at Fiery Cross Reef would be a significant addition to China’s power projection capabilities. Simply put, by having an airstrip in the Spratlys, Beijing’s aircraft can reach the far southern parts of the South China Sea easily, quickly and frequently when they otherwise might not have been able to due to range or refueling issues. That in turn would enable China to carry out more air patrols over its claimed territory and provide greater cover for its ships around the area. Given the patterns of Chinese behavior over the past few years, which show increasing incursions into the southern parts of the South China Sea affecting Malaysia and Indonesia, these countries should be worried about what this might mean for them once this becomes a reality.

As some have pointed out, having another airstrip may also be a step towards China’s plans of potentially creating an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the South China Sea sometime in the future, similar to the one it announced in the East China Sea in November 2013. Since China declared that ADIZ, many have been wondering when exactly Beijing will declare an equivalent in the South China Sea. But with its “incremental assertiveness” slowly increasing its military capabilities in the South China Sea, Beijing may gradually be working toward a reality where it may already have the capabilities to enforce an ADIZ, even if it does not actually declare one.

Soldier hurt in Maguindanao shooting incident

From ABS-CBN (Jan 9): Soldier hurt in Maguindanao shooting incident

MAGUINDANAO - A soldier was wounded after he and three members of the Civilian Auxiliary Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) were fired upon by unidentified gunmen riding a motorcycle at Barangay Labu-Labo in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao Thursday.

Sgt. Brian Duazo, a member of the 14th Mechanized Company of the 1st Mechanized Brigade, was shot in the hand but still managed to drive himself to a hospital in Isulan town of Sultan Kudarat.

Duazo and the three CAFGU members were on board a white pick-up truck when they were strafed by the suspects.

Troops from the 14th Mechanized Company of the 1st Mechanized Brigade, along with members of the Shariff Aguak Police, proceeded to the said area to conduct investigation.

This is the third shooting incident of 2015 wherein soldiers were the main target.

The 6th Infantry Division, on previous interviews, saw these incidents as liquidation acts of the armed group, Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a breakaway group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Potential terrorist threats in parts of Mindanao cited in US worldwide caution

From GMA News (Jan 10): Potential terrorist threats in parts of Mindanao cited in US worldwide caution

The United States on Saturday cautioned its nationals in the Philippines against travel to parts of Mindanao due to the threat from the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah.

In a worldwide alert, the US noted the JI and Abu Sayyaf have cells in Southeast Asia with JI being linked to Al Qaeda and other regional terrorist groups.

"There is a risk of travel to the southern Philippines, specifically related to kidnapping threats in the Sulu Archipelago and the ongoing threat of violence on the island of Mindanao, particularly in Central Mindanao," it said.

"Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Abu Sayyaf Group, have cells operating throughout Southeast Asia and JI is linked to al-Qaida and other regional terrorist groups," it added.

Also, it said that over the past year there have been several kidnappings-for-ransom targeting foreigners in Eastern Sabah and in the southern Sulu Sea area.

Such incidents may have involved terrorist or insurgent groups based in the Sulu Archipelago of the Philippines, it said.

"In addition to incursions on the coastal and island resorts themselves, criminal or terrorist bands may attempt to intercept boats ferrying tourists in the area," it said.

The US State Department, in updating its worldwide caution, cited recent terrorist attacks, "whether by those affiliated with terrorist entities, copycats, or individual perpetrators" that it said "serve as a reminder that US citizens need to maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness."

Also, it noted that on September 22 last year, the US and regional partners commenced military action against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

In response to air strikes, ISIL called on supporters to attack foreigners wherever they are.

"Authorities believe there is an increased likelihood of reprisal attacks against U.S., Western and coalition partner interests throughout the world, especially in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe, and Asia," it said.

"Kidnappings and hostage events involving US citizens have become increasingly prevalent as ISIL, al Qa`ida and its affiliates have increased attempts to finance their operations through kidnapping for ransom operations. ISIL, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) are particularly effective with kidnapping for ransom and are using ransom money to fund the range of their activities. Kidnapping targets are usually Western citizens from governments or third parties that have established a pattern of paying ransoms for the release of individuals in custody," it said.

Also, it said extremists may use conventional or non-conventional weapons, and target both official and private interests.

Such targets may include high-profile sporting events, residential areas, business offices, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, public areas, shopping malls, and other tourist destinations both in the United States and abroad where U.S. citizens gather in large numbers, including during holidays, it said.

"U.S. citizens are reminded of the potential for terrorists to attack public transportation systems and other tourist infrastructure. Extremists have targeted and attempted attacks on subway and rail systems, aviation, and maritime services. In the past, these types of attacks have occurred in cities such as Moscow, London, Madrid, Glasgow, and New York City," it said.

Six Abu Sayyaf followers behind abduction of treasurer’s son in Sulu

From the Zamboanga Today Online (Jan 9): Six Abu Sayyaf followers behind abduction of treasurer’s son in Sulu

The military has tagged six followers of a sub-leader of the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf as behind the abduction of a son of a municipal treasurer in the troubled island southern province of Sulu on Tuesday.
Capt. Rowena Muyuela, military spokeswoman of the Armed Forces’ Western Mindanao Command, said that six suspects behind the kidnapping of Eljon Steven Marzo were identified.
“Reports from ground troops disclosed that six followers of the Abu Sayyaf Group under Sub-Leader Sibih Pisih were identified as abductors of a kidnap victim (Eljon Steven Marzo),” said Muyuela.
Eljon, 9, is a student of Notre Dame of Jolo and son of Maimbung Municipal Treasurer Jun Marzo. He was playing outside their house when he was forcibly taken by the suspects on board a motorcycle, after which they fled towards Barangay Anuling, Patikul, Sulu.
According to Muyuela, among the identified perpetrators (kidnappers) were Sherwin Dela Cruz; Abdel Dela Cruz; Alrashid Panduga (a.k.a Ullok); Isabelo Panduga (a.k.a Belong Jordan Cabrera); a certain Askali; and Mabeh Kuhutan.
The military had earlier said that one of the abductors was identified as Abu Sayyaf sub-Leader Namyel Ahajari (a.k.a Gapas),
Muyuela who quoted Colonel Allan Arrojado, Commander, Joint Task Group telling that hot pursuit operations and continuous monitoring are ongoing.
“Meanwhile, no negotiations have been made by the abductors,” she said. “AFP and PNP continue to buckle law enforcement operations to contain lawless groups in the area.”

Tribal military recruitment deceptive, say

From the pro-CPP Davao Today (Jan 8): Tribal military recruitment deceptive, say

DAVAO CITY – A tribal alliance here said that the renewed recruitment of tribesmen into the government military was not new and may be a ploy to allow the entry of large mining and logging operations in ancestral domains.

“They have been wanting to organize a lumad battalion as a form of divide-and-rule tactic in the communities,” said Dulphing Ogan, spokesperson of Mindanao tribal alliance called Kalumaran.

“Kabalo man ta nga daghang nagasupak nga lumad sa mining projects (We know that a lot of lumads oppose mining projects),” Ogan said.

Lt. Col. Llewellyn Binasoy of the Army’s 10th Infantry Division announced recently that they would now include members of the tribes in recruitting new soldiers citing the tribe’s “better understanding of their own tribe and are culturally-sensitive”.

“They know the culture, the language, sila yung magiging lead natin in our conduct for peace and development (They will be our lead in our conduct for peace and development),” Col. Benjamin Madrigal of the 701st Infantry Brigade said.

Binasoy said that the idea to recruit tribal members was also “the desire of the tribal communities in Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte” scene of recent fighting between soldiers and the New People’s Army guerrrillas.

But Ogan said the Army will only “use the lumads for the anti-insurgency campaign and environmental destruction.”

Paghaylo kini sa mga lumad nga kunohay naay trabaho para kanila pero mas hinay-hinay ginakuha ang teritoryo sa mga IP (This deceives the lumads by offering them jobs but little by little they are encroaching IP territories),” Ogan said.

“For the soldiers of the IP sector, they will be recruited and they will be trained and after that, the qualified (trainees) will be deployed in the areas of their ancestral domain.” Binasoy said. He added that it was the communities who wanted to strengthen their community defense.

Regional director of the National Commission for the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) region 11 Geroncio R. Aguio said the recruitment of IPs into the military is not prohibited “so long as there is no coercion and deception.”

“If it is based on free will, there’s no problem,” Aguio said.

But Ogan said the act of recruiting the lumads to military force creates a “wrong perception” for the lumads.

“Mawad-an og luna ang mga gagmayng bata sa yutang kabilin inig sulod sa mga dagkong korporasyon. Asa man diha ang proteksyon sa mga lumad? (Young IP children will lose their ancestral land if big corporations enter the ancestral domains. Where is the protection for the lumads?)” Ogan said.

Meanwhile, Madrigal said it is a preemptive measure of the lumads against   being “recruited by the New People’s Army.”

MILF: Decommissioning must be “parallel and commensurate”

Posted to the MILF Website (Jan 9): Decommissioning must be “parallel and commensurate”

 When asked by reporters about the changing dates of the decommissioning of MILF forces and weapons, MILF Peace Panel Chairman Mohagher Iqbal said that it has to be parallel and commensurate to the implementation of other agreements. 
Speaking before the media community of Davao City on January 8, Iqbal clarified that though the symbolic decommissioning may sound ceremonial, it is in reality not that simple but a very “sentimental, sensitive and emotional” act.
Decommissioning is the gradual and process through which MILF forces and weapons are put beyond use.
Iqbal stressed that it must never be equated to surrender nor would there be a destruction of weapons, but that a third-party monitor, called the International Decommissioning Body (IDB), would be responsible for the storage of said weapons.
The symbolic decommissioning was initially set last December but “it has to relate to other tracks in Phase 1” of the implementation schedule.
A matrix detailing the program for normalization in the Bangsamoro has been attached to the Annex on Normalization signed by the GPH and MILF Peace Panels on January 25, 2014 at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The matrix shows four phases of implementation with eight dimensions or tracks, including decommissioning, that have to be parallel and commensurate to each other. The rest are transitional components of normalization, socio-economic programs, confidence-building measures, redeployment of AFP, policing, disbandment of private armies and other armed groups, transitional justice and reconciliation.
But Iqbal mentioned that he has already written Ambassador Haydar Berk of Turkey, who heads the IDB, about the number of MILF weapons and combatants that would be decommissioned. The IDB is made up of Norway, Turkey and Brunei and four other local experts jointly nominated by the parties.
It is expected to meet in Manila within the current month.
Iqbal also mentioned that another thing that delays the decommissioning is the unfinished implementing guidelines of the terms of reference of the IDB.
Since the IDB was constituted last September only, its members “cannot put up themselves yet in the proper way to move forward,” Iqbal said.
The decommissioning is tentatively set for next month.
Media roundtable
Iqbal was joined by GPH Peace Panel Chairwoman Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer during the three-hour roundtable discussions with Davao City-based media practitioners at the Royal Mandaya Hotel.
BTC Commissioners Abdulla Camlian and Raissa Jajurie also served as panel discussants alongside Atty. Jesus Dureza who once served as GRP Peace Panel Chair. Institute for Autonomy and Governance Executive Director Atty. Benedicto Bacani represented the independent panel of lawyers assisting in the peace process.
The media roundtable was the second in a series of related events organized by MindaNews and Philippine Information Agency XI in cooperation with the BTC. It is currently funded by the Canada Aid.
The next roundtable is slated in Cagayan de Oro City in the last week of January. 

MILF: Extend transition period of Bangsamoro Region beyond 2016: Dureza

Posted to the MILF Website (Jan 9): Extend transition period of Bangsamoro Region beyond 2016: Dureza


Jesus Dureza, former GPH Chief Negotiator, and now President of the Philippine Press Institute urged Congress on Thursday, January 8 to to extend the transition period for the Bangsamoro region beyond 2016.  This according to Dureza will “give the MILF’s United Bangsamoro Justice Party time to mature.”
Such an extension “will allow the MILF to mature politically and be able to prove to the Bangsamoro constituents that they are a different breed to the known past political leaders in the area.”

Congress will start deliberating the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the charter that would govern the new Bangsamoro government when it resumes session on January 19.

The new political entity Bangsamoro government with a ministerial form of government is the key feature of the GPH-MILF Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed on March 27, 2014.

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao shall be abolished once congress approves the proposed bill on BBL and ratified by the people in the core territory, six (6) municipalities in Lanao del Norte, 39 barangaysd in North Cotabato, Cities of Cotabato and Isabela in Basilan..

The Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will take over the governance of the region, with all the members including the Chief Minister appointed by the President, until the first set of officials are elected during the 2016 elections.

The MILF officially launched the UJBP during a three-day 1st Volunteers General Assembly from December 23-25, 2014, in Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao. About 128,000 people attended the event who vowed to campaign for the party’s candidates in 2016.  The UBJP will only field candidates for the regional positions vis-à-vis members of the Bangsamoro Parliament in 2016 synchronized elections.

MILF chieftain Al Haj Murad  Ebrahim is the party’s President and Chairman with four vice chairmen.

Dureza stressed that Congress has the power to extend the transition period beyond 2016 by incorporating such provision in the approved version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

 “If we don’t give the MILF longer time to mature and reform things in the Bangsamoro, they will not be able to compete in 2016 with the entrenched political leaders,” he said.

CPP/Ang Bayan: Hold the US accountable for its crimes during the Philippine-American War (1899-1913)

Propaganda article from the English language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Jan 7): Hold the US accountable for its crimes during the Philippine-American War (1899-1913)

We will be commemorating the 116th year of the start of the Philippine-American War on February 4. On that day in 1899, the first Filipino fighter was felled by a soldier from the American occupation army in a skirmish at Sta. Mesa, Manila.
Let us r
efresh the memories of the new generation of Filipino youth on the genocide, the crimes and brutalities committed by the US military against the Filipino people and the latter’s heroic struggle for national freedom and democracy.

Gen. Elwell S. Otis, the US military governor in the Philippines (1899-1900) led the first round of the violent suppression of the Filipino people. The US Army used the tactics of reconcentrating civilians in military camps, the “water cure” in interrogations, and the “scorched earth” campaign which involved burning down entire communities. These did not only happen in Batangas and Laguna, but were likewise widespread in Bicol, the Visayas and parts of Mindanao.

Eminent historians estimate that up to 1.4 million Filipinos, or more than 10% of the Philippine population at that time died from 1899 to 1905, the first years of the Philippine-American War. Up to 600,000 died in Luzon, including 300,000 reported by the US military to have died in Batangas alone in the face of wanton killings and atrocities. These figures do not include the thousands of Moros killed by American soldiers.

Despite their superior weapons, US military forces failed to quickly defeat the Filipino people’s resistance. The brutality of the US military incited widespread resistance. The Filipino people mounted an armed revolution lasting close to 15 years, using old rifles, revolvers, machetes, daggers, arrows, spears and other indigenous weapons.

Hamletting. The military camps where Filipinos were forcibly herded were known as reconcentrados. The camps were severely cramped, leading to the spread of disease and widespread deaths. One camp that was little more than three kilometers long and half a kilometer wide housed 8,000 Filipinos. In another report, 8,450 out of 298,000 people incarcerated in reconcentrados died between January and April 1902.

Areas outside of the reconcentrados were called “free-fire zones,” meaning anyone seen outside the camp without a cedula or residence certificate was to be shot. General J. Franklin Bell claimed in a letter that he organized the camps to “protect” friendly Filipinos from the “ladrones” or thieves (which was how the revolutionaries were called) and “assure them an adequate food supply” while teaching them “proper sanitary standards.”

“Scorched earth policy.” Notorious examples of the policy of burning down entire villages was Gen. Jacob Smith’s orders to his men in Samar to “kill and burn,” “Kill everyone oven ten years of age!" and "Turn (Samar) into a ‘howling wilderness’ so that ‘even the birds could not live there.’”

It was General Smith’s retaliation for the successful raid on September 28, 1901 by revolutionaries under Gen. Vicente Lukban on Company C of the 9th US Army Regiment then stationed at the Balangiga town center in Eastern Samar. The 74-man company suffered 48 killed and 26 wounded. The revolutionaries were able to seize 100 rifles and many rounds of ammunition.

Some of the American soldiers survived when they were able to ride a dugout canoe to Basey, Samar province. Company G commander Capt. Edwin V. Bookmiller later returned to Balangiga and burned the town to ashes.

“Water cure” and other US Army crimes. American soldiers systematically used the “water cure” and other forms of torture on captured Filipinos, in a desperate attempt to quell the armed resistance. In a letter to his family in the US on November 25, 1900, Sgt. Charles S. Riley recounted how they gathered the presidente (mayor), the priest and another local leader, and investigated them. The mayor evaded some questions, and he was soon bound and subjected to the water cure. He was made to lie face up under a water tank while water flowed to his mouth. Another man sat on his belly to prevent him from drowning. The mayor begged for mercy and talked. He was subjected a second time to the water cure until he divulged all the information that they sought from him.

The people of Panay likewise fell victim to intense brutality in the hands of the Americans. A letter by a man named Mr. Nelson to the Boston Herald on August 25, 1902 recalls the burning of Panay:

“There was talk of indiscriminate burning by General Smith. The 18th Regulars marched from Iloilo in the south to Capiz in northern Panay, with orders to burn all towns allied with the resistance. This resulted in clearing an area 60 miles wide from end to end”—meaning the American soldiers had burned down an area of more than 96 square kilometers.

Suppressing information. Otis suppressed all reports regarding such military tactics to prevent them from reaching anti-imperialist newspapers and the American Anti-Imperialist League of which writer Mark Twain was a member. Otis also ordered particular unit commanders to order their men to reverse or retract their initial statements reported in the US media.

Meanwhile, Otis launched his own counter-propaganda, claiming “Filipino bandits” were the ones torturing their American captives. This was belied by reports from other foreign reporters and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) like F.A. Blake.

When Blake arrived in Manila to investigate the atrocities, Otis confined him to his office in Manila. Once, when Blake was able to shake off his military escorts and venture into the field, he saw burned houses and “horribly mutilated bodies of Filipinos, with stomachs slit open and occasionally decapitated.” Blake recounted this to an American reporter upon his return to San Francisco, California, USA.

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

CPP/Ang Bayan: AFP violates own ceasefire in SMR

Propaganda article from the English language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Jan 7): AFP violates own ceasefire in SMR

The month-long ceasefire declared by the Aquino regime and the AFP that was supposed to have started December 18 is utterly useless. Particularly in Southern Mindanao, forces of the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command continue to occupy and conduct military operations in the following areas:

1) Davao City: Mapula, Lumiad, Paquibato Proper and Malabog in Paquibato District; Domingga in Calinan District; Marilog; Salaysay; and Tambobong in Baguio District.

2) Compostela Valley: Kingking, Napnapan, Tibagon and Las Arenas in Pantukan; Panamin and Anitapan in Mabini; Nuevo Iloco, Nueva Visayas, Barangay Andili and Sta. Monica in Mawab; Cabidianan and Mainit in Nabunturan; Paloc, Mahayahay, Parasanon and Tandik in Maragusan; Casoon in Monkayo; Sangab, New Visayas, Lapulapu, Teresa, Masara, Panoraon, Elizalde and Malamodao in Maco; Ngan in Compostela; and Manurigao in New Bataan.

3) Davao Oriental: Taguibo in Mati City; Causwagan and Maputi in Banaybanay; San Isidro, New Visayas, Don Mariano Marcos, Maragatas, Calapagan and Marayag in Lupon; Binondo and Mahan-ug in Baganga; Taytayan, Malibago and Mainit in Cateel; Caatihan in Boston; and Lapulapu and San Roque in San Isidro.

4) North Cotabato: Don Panaca, Kinarum, Bangkal, Amabel, Noa, Binay, Bagumbayan, Balete, Basak, Mahongcog, Manobisa, Imamaling and Bongolanon in Magpet.

5) Agusan del Sur: Santa Josefa, Veruela, Sabud and Kauswagan in Loreto; Salvacion and New Visayas in Trento.

The NPA cited the case of Barangay Catihan, Boston where 14 soldiers from the 67th IB occupy the multipurpose gym, private homes and videoke bars while conducting intensified intelligence operations.

In Sitio Balod, Barangay Malibago, Cateel, the 67th IB Bravo Company arrived at around 5 a.m. of December 19, scoured the area and occupied the village center.

[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: NPA arrests ComVal jail warden

Propaganda article from the English language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Jan 7): NPA arrests ComVal jail warden

The New People’s Army (NPA) Comval-North Davao-South Agusan Subregional Command arrested on December 23 Jose Mervin Coquilla, jail warden of the Compostela Valley Provincial Rehabilitation Center.

The arrest was spurred by complaints received by the NPA on alleged anomalies related to Coquilla’s administration of the Compostela Valley Jail and his involvement in the trafficking of illegal drugs inside the detention center.

The complaints allege that Coquilla stole funds meant for the detainees, resulting in substandard food and medical services received by the inmates.

Coquilla also allegedly abused the detainees physically and psychologically. Visiting family members are reportedly forced to talk to their detained loved ones with the latter remaining behind bars.

On the other hand, Coquilla has reportedly been turning a blind eye whenever prisoners are caught using illegal drugs or when jail guards are caught smuggling drugs into the jail.

The NPA assured Coquilla’s family that he would be treated well by the Red fighters and the revolutionary mass base while he is under investigation.

[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: NPA releases prisoners of war

Propaganda article from the English language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Jan 7): NPA releases prisoners of war

Four prisoners of war were released on two separate occasions last December in Mindanao.

On December 26, two soldiers captured in August in Impasug-ong, Bukidnon were released in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur. For more than four months, AFP forces failed to discover the whereabouts of Pfc. Marnel Cinches and Pfc. Jerrel Yorong. The prisoners were detained for a long period due to the AFP and the Aquino regime’s refusal to implement a seven-day ceasefire of limited scope requested by the NPA.

Prior to this, a custodial unit under the NPA Comval-North Davao-South Agusan Subregional Command released Cpl. Benjamin Samano and Pfc. Alvin Ricarte in Montevista, Compostela Valley on December 21. The two soldiers were captured on December 2 in an NPA attack on the compound of Sumitomo Fruits Corp. in New Corella, Davao del Norte where they were serving as security guards. The NPA transferred custody of the two soldiers to Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte, who in turn turned them over to the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command.

[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: 4 soldiers killed, 7 wounded

Propaganda article from the English language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Jan 7): 4 soldiers killed, 7 wounded

Four soldiers from the 29th IB Bravo Company were killed and seven wounded after being hit by a command-detonated explosive (CDX) planted by a team from the Western Agusan Norte-Agusan Sur Subregional Command of the New People’s Army at about 8 a.m. of December 22 in Rizal, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte.

Arriving aboard a six-by-six truck, the ambushed platoon had come from the Bravo Company command post in Barangay Rizal to relieve troops stationed at Sitio Bangkaling, Nongnong, Butuan City.

The soldiers aboard the six-by-six truck were unable to return fire due to the impact of the explosion.

A full five minutes elapsed before reinforcements arrived. But they were too scared and could only manage to fire their weapons indiscriminately, hitting a boy who was walking at a nearby rice paddy. Aside from the explosives detonation, no other shots came from the NPA side. Thus, claims by the the 29th IB of a ten-minute exchange of fire were a figment of their imagination.

No matter how much the military and police deny the casualty count, there is no hiding this fact from residents living nearby, from others who had passed by the scene of the ambush and from people living adjacent to the military camp.

Meanwhile, an NPA unit under the Armando Sumayang Jr. Command of Southwest Negros disarmed Efren Baton Solanoy, an active CAFGU element under the 12th IB. The disarming operation was conducted in Sitio Tau-angan, Gil Montilla, Sipalay City on the night of December 14.

Seized from Solanoy was an M14 automatic rifle with nine magazines and 110 rounds of ammunition. The NPA also confiscated a military backpack, two camouflage uniforms and an ID. Solanoy and another CAFGU element are assigned to secure the International Builders Corporation (IBC) Batching Plant.

[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: Tasks in advancing the revolution in Panay in 2015

Propaganda article from the English language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Jan 7): Tasks in advancing the revolution in Panay in 2015

Even as it succeeded in maintaining areas under concentrated enemy attack, the NPA was likewise able to expand to new areas in Panay. The NPA took advantage of the enemy’s concentration of relatively large forces to guard the Jalaur River Dam project and other antipeople projects of the government and big capitalists.

At the same time, mass struggles gained momentum in the face of the people’s efforts to recover from the devastation wrought by typhoon Yolanda and battle the Aquino regime’s neglect. Apart from rehabilitating Yolanda-affected areas and even those not severely devastated, production campaigns have also been launched to help the people recover their livelihoods. These efforts have resulted in greater support for the guerrilla war and the NPA.

Struggles were likewise launched to suspend debt payments to usurers and develop crops that would help farmers become less dependent on usurers for capital. The peasants were also able to demand higher farm-gate prices for their products.
In this light, the Communist Party in Panay called for the following:

First, thwart the enemy’s plans to weaken the revolutionary forces in Panay. Seize the initiative and simultaneously disrupt attacks by the enemy which has concentrated two battalions in each guerrilla front. Sustain coordinated tactical offensives against repeated “clearing operations” and renewed efforts to bore “keyholes” in the guerrilla fronts. Oblige military forces to garrison themselves within the compounds of the destructive projects that they have been guarding.

Continue pinning down the military by flexibly concentrating and meting blows on the enemy’s isolated and weak points. Recover areas within guerrilla zones or their environs that have been temporarily abandoned due to concentrated enemy attack. As much as possible, maintain consolidated areas being besieged by the enemy. Shift when there is danger of being embroiled in a decisive battle or of being rendered passive. Abandoned areas can be recovered by disrupting enemy actions.

Raise the fighting spirit of all Red fighters in thwarting enemy attacks. Develop more coordinated and intensified tactical offensives throughout the island. Make sure of seizing arms from the enemy. Further expand the NPA to raise its capability to launch coordinated tactical offensives and attend to the growing number of tasks especially in the countryside.

Second, sustain and strengthen the mass movement in order to contribute to the ouster of the US-Aquino regime. From sustaining coordinated and large mass movements, further develop the capability to hit the regime at its most vulnerable spot—its failure to help typhoon victims and its very belated distribution of limited cash assistance, which even became part of its electioneering.

Give further momentum to efforts to expose the hundreds of billions of pesos worth of pork barrel funds in the hands of Benigno Aquino III which he has been giving to his favored landlord-comprador cronies. Give particular attention to exposés of militarization and the regime’s violations of human rights. Take advantage of national and international activities, like the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) secondary ministerial conference to be held in Panay in order to expose the regime’s brutality, rottenness and criminal negligence.

Relentlessly underscore the various issues that anger the people of Panay and the entire country such as high prices of food and other prime commodities. Prepare for and launch sustained, intense and large-scale mass campaigns at the time of the regime’s actual ouster.

Third, pursue the campaign to help in the economic recovery and in rebuilding the houses and social facilities of people who already know how to take organized action. Develop a comprehensive movement that would help the people recover from the typhoon’s devastation and move towards developing governance capabilities as a response to the regime’s criminal incompetence, corruption and brutality.

[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: Advances in Sierra Madre-ST and Southwest Negros

Propaganda article from the English language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Jan 7): Advances in Sierra Madre-ST and Southwest Negros

The revolutionary movement in both the Sierra Madre-Southern Tagalog (ST) subregion and the Southwest Negros guerrilla front registered advances. The Sierra Madre-ST subregion encompasses the provinces of Laguna and Rizal as well as northern and central Quezon. Southwest Negros, on the other hand, covers the towns of Cauayan, Hinobaan, Candoni and Ilog and the cities of Kabankalan and Sipalay, as well as parts of Negros Oriental.

In Sierra Madre-ST. In the past two years, the New People’s Army (NPA) was able to launch 50 annihilative and attritive tactical offensives in all the provinces covered by the subregion, or an average of four per month. The enemy suffered platoon-size casualties (26 dead and 27 wounded). Meted blows by the NPA were the enemy fascist troops of the butcher 16th IB, 1st IB, 59th IB, 21st and 22nd DRC. The NPA likewise meted punishment on exploitative and environmentally destructive quarrying companies owned by big comprador bourgeoisie and foreign capitalists like Rapid City Corporation in Antipolo City, JCR Aggregates and Rodriguez Rock, Inc. in Rodriguez, Rizal.

The NPA has been able to maintain initiative and flexibility in battle. Out of the 56 firefights, 50 were initiated by the NPA and only six initiated by the AFP. This, despite the presense of three to four Philippine Army battalions and two battalions of SAF-PNP supported by three CAFGU battalions and the Regional Police Safety and Maneuver Battalion which have been relentlessly launching sustained encirclement and suppression campaigns against NPA forces. The AFP-PNP’s declarations that Laguna is now “insurgency-free” is a big lie. Neither has the NPA been absent from Rizal province and central and northern Quezon.

On the other hand, the mass base continues to expand throughout the subregion. The organized mass base expanded by 68% in the past two years, and the number of full-fledged peasant mass organizations have doubled despite incessant enemy attacks.
The people’s open antifascist, antifeudal and anti-imperialist mass struggles against the reactionary US-Aquino regime is intensifying in the face of the AFP and PNP’s brutality and human rights violations, beatings, rape of women and destruction of the people’s livelihoods.

Protest actions are persistently launched to resist the widespread eviction of minority peoples and peasants from the UP Land Grant in Real, Quezon; from ARC lands in Mauban, Quezon; from lands being claimed by the Roxas family in Nakar, Quezon on which they plan to build the Pacific Coast City; and the upcoming inundation of seven barangays in Tanay, Rizal and two barangays in Nakar, Quezon for the construction of the Laiban and Kaliwa Dams.

The scheduled eviction of residents living around Laguna Lake to give way to the construction of circumferential road-6 (C-6) and plans to extend MRT-7 from Quezon City to Bulacan will further drive the people to take action to defend their lives and livelihoods. It is clear to the people of Sierra Madre-ST that only through their collective opposition and action can they effectively defend their rights.

The Party’s membership and the number of basic Party organizations continue to grow. The Party exercises firm leadership over the theater of guerrilla war, the guerrilla fronts, Sierra Madre-ST’s urban areas and the people in the villages, communities, factories, mass organizations and alliances and within NPA units. More than 95% of Party members within the NPA have taken the Basic Party Course. Almost half of the members of Local Party Branches have also finished taking the basic course. Cadres at the guerrilla front and section levels and a number of Party branch cadres have also taken the Intermediate Party Course.

Company-size guerrilla fronts must be further strengthened. Within Sierra Madre-ST, it is both possible and feasible to maintain nine to 11 company-size guerrilla fronts. The NPA must continually be expanded until platoon-size units have been established in every appropriate town within Sierra Madre-ST.

More people’s militia units as well as barrio defense units and sectoral self-defense units must also be established, trained and armed. The masses must continually be mobilized to join tactical offensives and engage in intelligence work, recruitment, production, raising supplies and logistics and other revolutionary tasks.

In Southwest Negros. As 2015 begins, intensified people’s struggles are expected to confront the next stage of implementation in Southwest Negros of the AFP and Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr.‘s Marching for Peace program as well as the US-Aquino regime’s neoliberal policies.

According to Ka Andrea Guerrero, spokesperson of the Armando Sumayang Jr. Command of the New People’s Army in Southwest Negros, the Red fighters have been able to expand their areas of operation and maneuver as the AFP chose to concentrate only on a number of areas. Party Section Committees have been established to assist NPA platoon cadres in maintaining older areas. The NPA likewise engaged in production work together with the peasant masses and the people’s militia.

As a result, the theater of guerrilla war has expanded, providing more favorable conditions to the NPA to exercise initiative. It has been able to launch basic tactical offensives, including punitive actions against two construction companies and their CAFGU security guards “(see related article)”: and bodyguards of despotic landlord Pablo “Jin” Sola. The NPA also punished rabid fascist elements and military intelligence operatives.

Agrarian revolution has consistently been implemented. Peasants and farm workers have demanded higher wages for work in sugar cane fields, higher prices for charcoal and coffee crops and the right to till vacant land. There is intense resistance to landgrabbing in the uplands to replace existing crops with pineapple, oil palm, rubber trees and banana. The middle forces in Hinobaan and Cauayan have undertaken significant action against black sand mining in coastal and upland areas. There is also a widespread petition among residents of coastal areas in Cauayan against Aquino’s “No Build Zone” (NBZ) policy.

These various mass struggles have exposed the hollowness of the much-vaunted peace and development under the Provincial Integration Development Unit (Providu) and Marching for Peace. The regime’s reforestation program is nothing but a smokescreen to enable big companies to penetrate ancestral land. There is widespread resistance among minorities and settlers to schemes by the government and landlords to provide Ancestral Domain Titles (ADT) to the national minorities in exchange for allowing their land to be planted to rubber trees, oil palm and banana.

Marañon’s much-vaunted claims of having put a stop to illegal logging in Hinobaan is all for show to cover up his role in denuding the uplands and divert the people’s attention from the construction of a pier in Barangay Culipapa that will cause the eviction of hundreds of families. In Candoni town, huge amounts of local government funds have been poured into the establishment of Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams (BPAT) to ensure the suppression of the people’s resistance to plans by TADECO to plant banana and pineapple in the villages of Gatuslao, Agboy and Payawan. Meanwhile, Marañon turns a blind eye to the proliferation of illegal drugs.

Residents of Sipalay and Cauayan are likewise worried about the reopening of Philex Mining Corp. because this would lead anew to the destruction of the environment and the people’s livelihoods.

[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: NCMR scores numerous victories

Propaganda article from the English language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Jan 7): NCMR scores numerous victories

The revolutionary forces led by the Communist Party of the Philippines in Northcentral Mindanao Region (NCMR) scored numerous victories in 2014. According to Ka Norsen Manggubat, the region’s Party spokesperson, NCMR was able to contribute to the overall advance of the democratic revolution towards the strategic stalemate.

It had its share in thwarting the Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan. In the face of intense militarization, it was able to launch up to 102 various military actions against the AFP, PNP, CAA and paramilitary groups. The NPA was likewise able to seize 55 firearms of various caliber and inflict 183 casualties on the enemy, including 103 killed. It destroyed six military vehicles and fired at Air Force helicopters on three separate occasions. It launched punitive actions against oppressive, exploitative and environmentally destructive companies, criminals and other bad elements. The enemy’s forces have become overstretched.

An AFP brigade commander and battalion commander were both relieved from their positions for incurring heavy losses in clashes with the NPA. The NPA arrested and detained as prisoners of war two 8th IB soldiers and held them for more than four months, proving the NPA’s capability to arrest and detain enemy forces and respect their rights as prisoners of war. The 403rd Bde’s attempts to get hold of them were all in vain.

Amid the intensity of enemy attacks, the number of guerrilla platoons grew by 12%. The people’s militia likewise grew by 57%, and has company-size forces in village clusters and battalion-size forces at the municipal level. The people’s militia daringly launched 21 independent tactical offensives or 20% of the total number of military actions in the region in 2014.

On the other hand, the only thing the regime achieved in its imposition of brutal militarization in the region was the dislocation of thousands of people from their homes and livelihoods and a longer roster of military abuses and human rights violations.

To further invigorate the agrarian revolution, the Party convened the second regional consultation of Party cadres on agrarian revolution to deepen understanding of the land problem and the prevalent relations of production and draw up concrete measures to advance the antifeudal struggle to a higher stage.

From small and sporadic barrio-level antifeudal actions, the masses are now able to launch municipal and inter-municipal antifeudal mass movements. Despite the enemy’s relentless combat operations, 18 antifeudal struggles were launched in 58 barrios covering 13 municipalities in three provinces.

The peasants succeeded in raising wages, reducing milling fees and selling their produce at higher prices by courageously confronting landlords, buyers, usurers and owners of farm machinery. Daily wages have been raised from P150 to P200, milling charges decreased by P0.20 to P0.50 per kilo and prices for abaca fiber, rice and other products have been increased. More than 3,400 families or almost 20,000 individuals benefited from these actions, providing them some measure of relief from their poverty.

In certain areas, land has been confiscated from landlords and abandoned or vacant land occupied and cultivated. The ejection of peasants from their homes and the lands they till has likewise been prevented in various ways.

The campaign to develop a self-sufficient economy has been expanded in the uplands, taking concrete form in the setting up of agrarian cooperation through labor-exchange teams, cooperative and communal farming, animal-raising and fish culture. Campaigns against the spread of destructive imperialist genetically modified seeds have been launched as well as against the expansion of agribusiness plantations and the entry of mining companies.

Amid the scourge of fascism, Lumad communities stood as one to defend and assert their rights. They resorted to organized evacuation to make their issues heard and win powerful support to sustain their struggle until they could return to their homes safely.
Campaigns to rehabilitate and defend the environment have been launched through the widespread study of a primer on climate change. Nonetheless, more effort is needed to propagate the issues and educate the organized masses, especially those who live in forested areas and continue to make their living out of small-scale logging activities.
Tree-planting campaigns were begun in 2014 in at least 100 villages. The majority of the guerrilla platoons are now conscious of limiting the felling of trees when setting up camp. There are platoons that regularly collect seeds, plant bamboo and join other tree-planting activities and conduct regular assessments of the number of trees planted and grown.

The revolution’s mass base has expanded and deepened, now numbering in the tens of thousands. In the uplands, from the accumulated strength of peasant and Lumad organizations, local organs of political power continue to grow through the establishment of more barrio revolutionary committees. Municipal-level revolutionary mass organizations have also been established.

Leadership over Party branches in the barrios has further expanded and people’s organizations down to the area and sub-village level have become more tightly knit following the successful implementation of the minimum land reform program.
The invigoration of the revolutionary movement in the countryside closely influences the urban poor in the cities of the region who aspire eagerly for genuine change, especially those who have fallen victim to demolitions, injustices and the reactionary government’s neglect. The open mass movements in the region’s cities continue to condemn the rottenness of the ruling system, its failure to solve injustices and provide badly needed assistance to calamity victims, and its utter puppetry to US imperialism. The region marched abreast with the rest of the country in demanding the ouster of the reactionary Aquino government.

The legal democratic movements in the cities continue to serve as wellsprings of activists and youth and semi-proletarian cadres.

Vigorous education work continues with the implementation of the three-level Party course as well as special courses. Party education work has been conducted even under the very noses of the enemy. Young cadres are trained in assuming leadership tasks in the different fields of Party work.

In conclusion, Ka Norsen said that the key in all of the Party’s achievements is ideological and political consolidation. The region has overcome the conservatism of years past and has learned to further advance warfare through warfare no matter how harsh conditions are. He called on comrades in the region to redouble their efforts in the coming years to further keep the flame of revolution raging and achieve more victories.

[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: CPP-Mindanao holds successful celebration of 46th anniversary

Propaganda article from the English language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Jan 7): CPP-Mindanao holds successful celebration of 46th anniversary

“The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Mindanao grew by thousands despite intense militarization in the entire island.” Thus did Ka Oris describe the Party’s overall disposition in Mindanao during a program held to celebrate the CPP’s 46th anniversary on December 26.

More than 10,000 Party members, friends and allies were able to gather in a village in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur despite maneuvers by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to stop them from attending by setting up many checkpoints along the way and delaying the advance of a convoy of up to 200 vehicles.

Among those who joined the gathering was Fidel Agcaoili, a member of the NDFP negotiating panel; Surigao del Sur vice governor Manuel Alamada; and other local politicians and their representatives.

According to Ka Oris, National Democratic Front-Mindanao spokesperson, the CPP in Mindanao has been able to maintain its 46 guerrilla fronts amid relentless attacks by AFP forces who now number 55 battalions. Throughout 2014, the NPA was able to launch 300 tactical offensives and inflict battalion-size casualties on the enemy.

“The mass movements in the urban centers of the various provinces of Mindanao like the cities of Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Surigao, General Santos, Iligan,
Zamboanga, Dipolog, Kidapawan, Cotabato and Tagum have supported the advancing armed struggle.”

A key indicator of the overall advance are the thousands of new Party members in the villages, factories, schools and communities. Their recruitment was due to the sustained and vigorous mass movement and strict implementation of ideological work such as giving the intermediate and advanced Party courses to its members.

“As a result of the Party’s firm leadership, it has a growing influence over the various sectors, including church people, academics and other middle forces, in their particular struggles,” said Ka Oris.

The celebration provided an opportunity to hold a peace conference, where Ka Fidel Agcaoili accepted the manifesto of support for the GPH-NDF peace talks drawn up by Sowing the Seeds of Peace-Mindanao Movement for a Just and Lasting Peace (SSP-MMJLP). The SSP-MMJLP is composed of religious leaders and church people, lawyers, human rights advocates, Bangsamoro organizations and local government officials.

Among the SSP-MMJLP’s eight-point agenda are calls for genuine agrarian reform, national industrialization and development, jobs and recognition of workers’ rights, socio-economic and democratic rights, respect for the rights of national minorities, national and scientific culture, an independent foreign policy and equal allocation of resources for Mindanao from the GPH national budget.

After the peace forum, colorful cultural performances were presented by various groups and individuals representing the different provinces and sectors.

The gathering was a joyous occasion for comrades from various units to warmly exchange news and jointly feast on food donated by allies.

A battalion-size people’s militia provided security alongside several companies of regular NPA forces who attended the gathering.

[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: The AFP’s bogus ceasefire

Propaganda article from the English language edition of the CPP online publication Ang Bayan (Jan 7): The AFP’s bogus ceasefire

The Aquino regime once again manifested its mendacious and deceitful character when it reversed the facts surrounding the death of a lieutenant and two of his men in an ambush in Mabini, Compostela Valley on December 29. The regime is now using the incident as a pretext to malign the revolutionary forces and look for an excuse to scuttle the resumption of formal peace talks which may be held this January.

In a statement, Teresita Quintos-Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process claimed that the ambush was a ceasefire violation by the New People’s Army (NPA). Contrary to claims made by Deles and AFP propagandists that the ambushed soldiers were unarmed and on their way home to their families, the 80-man combat unit of the 71st IB then led by 1st Lieutenant Bautista was conducting clearing operations in the villages of Palali, Panamin and Mascareg to pave the way for the massive and destructive operations of the Australian-owned One Asia Resources. The 71st IB’s overall military operations likewise cover the villages of Darot, Linaw, Manasa, Anitapan and Candinuyan.

In reality, 1st Lieutenant Bautista and his men had come from their detachment in Barangay Anitapan to launch military operations right smack in the middle of the AFP’s much-vaunted month-long ceasefire.

One Asia Resources and other big mining companies in the area fund the combat, intelligence and psywar operations of the 71st IB to suppress the people’s opposition to military abuses and the destruction of their livelihoods due to large-scale mining.
Included in the 71st IB’s psywar operations is a vilification campaign against community leaders who have been leading struggles against foreign mines and military attacks, and programs to develop production and raise the prices of their agricultural produce.

Aware of how much the 71st IB’s connivance with One Asia Resources is detrimental to the people’s interests in the area, a people’s militia unit initiated an ambush against 1st Lieutenant Bautista’s unit. Bautista and two other soldiers were killed in the ambuscade launched in Sitio Barigyan, Barangay Candinuyan, Mabini at around 10 a.m. of December 29. As the commanding officer, Bautista was himself armed with a handgun and a grenade, while his men were armed to the teeth.

Said the NPA Comval-Davao Gulf Subregional Command, the December 29 ambush was not a violation of any ceasefire but was a means of meting justice on the 71st IB for its military abuses.

The 71st IB is responsible for the merciless killing of 8-year old Roque Antivo and the wounding of Jefrey Hernan and Earl Antivo, both 13 years old, in April 2013 and the killing of 7-year old Sunshine Jabines in September 2011. It was a legitimate politico-military action by the masses who have long been suffering from fascism and economic dislocation brought about by large-scale foreign mining.

[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: Aquino’s 20-day SOMO/SOPO is a big lie

Propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jan 9): Aquino’s 20-day SOMO/SOPO is a big lie

Communist Party of the Philippines
The Aquino regime’s declaration of a 30-day suspension of military and police offensives is a big lie. Despite its supposed effectivity since December 18, units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and paramilitary groups have not ceased to conduct offensive maneuvers, deployments and combat operations up to this day.

The CPP continues to receive reports regarding the militarization of communities in Davao City; as well as in the towns of Mabini, Mawab, Nabunturan, Maragusan, Monkayo, Maco, Ngan and New Bataan in Compostela Valley; in Mati City, Banaybanay, Lupon, Baganga, Cateel, Boston and San Isidro in Davao Oriental; in Magpet, North Cotabato; and in Loreto and Trento in Agusan del Sur.

Army soldiers continue to go around communities, occupying barangay halls, day care centers, village schools and sports centers, harassing people, traumatizing children and disturbing community peace and order.

AFP operations during the so-called SOMO/SOPO have been especially intense in areas where people have militantly resisted the entry of mining companies. In Mabini town, an 80-strong combat unit of the 71st IB continues to conduct “clearing operations” in barangays Palali, Panamin and Mascareg to quell resistance against the planned entry of One Asia Resources, an Australian mining firm. The operations of the 71st IB are being funded by One Asia.

The abuses of the 71st IB prompted local units of the people’s militia to ambush last December 29 a team of Army soldiers led by its commander 1Lt. Ronald Bautista who had just left their detachment in Barangay Anitapan. Bautista and two of his men were killed in the ambush.

Last December 26, the 4th Infantry Division deployed units all over the Caraga region to set up road blocks to prevent thousands of people from reaching Marihatag, Surigao del Sur where celebrations of the CPP’s 46th anniversary were held.

Despite relentless operations of the AFP, the NPA successfully released six prisoners of war in Montevista, Compostela Valley and in Surigao del Sur, and handed them over to concerned humanitarian agencies and personalities. However, continuing military offensive operations in Gigacuit, Surigao del Norte have prompted the NDFP-Mindanao leadership to order the cancellation of the release of three other prisoners of war scheduled for yesterday.

It is clear that Aquino’s declaration of a 30-day SOMO/SOPO is a big lie. Over the past three weeks, military and police units observed no holidays and showed no letup in the conduct of their counter-guerrilla operations and militarization of communities under the Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression.

NDF scraps release of 3 captive cops as Army rejects troop pullout, ceasefire

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jan 9): NDF scraps release of 3 captive cops as Army rejects troop pullout, ceasefire

The National Democratic Front (NDF) in Mindanao has suspended the release of three captive policemen after the military rejected its demand for a troop pullout and ceasefire.

Jorge Madlos, alias Ka Oris, spokesperson of the NDF-Mindanao, said the release, which was scheduled today, Thursday, would no longer push through because the military has adopted a hard-line stance on their demands.

“We are saddened to announce the indefinite suspension of the release of POWs. The NPA would never compromise the safety of the custodial force and of the three policemen,” Madlos said.

Heavy military presence and ongoing rescue attempts at a village in Gigacuit town in Surigao del Norte, where the release was supposed to take place, forced them to cancel the release, Madlos said

“The military failed to perform its responsibility. It’s for the public to judge who’s at fault and to blame for this,” Madlos added.

The NDF leadership already signed last month an order granting the immediate release from its custody of PO1 Jonry Amper, PO3 Democrito Polvorosa and PO1 Marichel Contemplo “without other pre-conditions except for troop pullout and implementation of ceasefire,” Madlos said.

The three were separately snatched by communist rebels on November 2 and 16 in 2014 in Malimo and Alegria towns.

Brig. Gen. Jonathan Ponce, commander of the Philippine Army’s 402nd Infantry Brigade, said the Army would never accede to the rebel demands, describing it as “totally unacceptable.”

“The Army is just following orders from higher headquarters. We have to obey it. Anyway, the NPA can leave their kidnapped victims behind,” he said.

The impasse, however, did not sit well with third-party negotiators, who worked double time for the early and safe release of the policemen.

“It’s frustrating because the release was within our reach already but hardliners in the Army prevailed,” said Bishop Rhee Timbang of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente and among the third-party negotiators.

Timbang said the negotiating team has been trying revive the talks with the NDF and civilian government authorities.

He also lamented the apparent apathy and lack of action taken by top Caraga officials to pressure the military and asked their counterparts to temporarily concede for the sake of their “lowly” members.

“I’m afraid the apathy to and the abandonment of the PNP (Philippine National Police) Caraga leadership of its lowly members caused demoralization in its ranks. They must do their share in pressuring the military,” he said.

Sought for comment, the Caraga police spokesperson, Senior Supt. Romaldo Bayting, said the police have decided to let the provincial crisis management committee spearheaded by Surigao del Norte Gov. Sol Matugas handle the key decisions.