Thursday, March 19, 2015

US involvement in Mamasapano incident did not violate PHL laws – DFA

From GMA News (Mar 19): US involvement in Mamasapano incident did not violate PHL laws – DFA

American forces did not engage in combat or violate any Philippine law when they provided help to the PNP Special Action Force commandos during the Jan. 25 Mamasapano operations, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.
In its report, the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry (BOI) earlier said that the US provided assistance to the police commando raid that killed suspecteed Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, alias Marwan.
But during a press briefing, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose noted that the BOI report said “there were no armed US troops engaged in combat in the area of operations.”
The Philippine Constitution bars foreign troops from engaging in actual combat in the country.
“We can conclude from these findings that US involvement in this operation did not violate any agreement or law,” Jose said.
Separately, a Philippine Senate investigation report on the bloody assault that was made public on Tuesday revealed that the Americans provided behind-the scenes intelligence, equipment, surveillance, and training to the police commandos who were involved in the raid.
Six of them, the report added, were monitoring the operation on TV sets with Filipino military counterparts as it was happening.
When sought for comment on this, Jose said the DFA is not involved with operational details of the operation, dubbed as Oplan Exodus, but explained that the US can provide assistance to Philippine forces under existing security arrangements between Manila and Washington.
However, he stressed that such cooperation is limited to training, intelligence, and equipment.
Since 2002, hundreds of US Special Forces have been deployed and scattered in the Zamboanga Peninsula and nearby islands of Basilan, Tawi-Tawi and Central Mindanao on a rotation basis to provide combat training and weapons to the Philippine military fighting extremist groups blamed for the country's worst terrorist attacks.
The US government announced this year that they have scaled down its troops, but said a small number will remain in the area.
“As we have stated before, existing arrangements allow US forces to serve in an advisory and assistance capacities, particularly undertaking information-sharing, equipment provision, training and casualty evacuation,” Jose explained.
“Under the same arrangements, the only constitutional restriction is that US forces may not engage in combat operations,” he said.

Cops looking for terrorists in near-clash with MILF

From the Manila Standard Today (Mar 20): Cops looking for terrorists in near-clash with MILF

A COMPANY of policemen including some from the Special Action Force were said to have entered an area in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao, early Wednesday morning to go against high-value targets but were detected and quickly surrounded by MILF fighters, a reliable source from the intelligence community told The Manila Standard on Thursday.

The source said the policemen entered the lair of the MILF’s 106th Base Command based on information that Abdul Basit Usman and Malaysian terrorist Amin Baco alias Jihad were hiding in the area.

“Not a single bullet was fired from both sides because the police combatants were detected and were being yelled at by MILF fighters to go back where they came from to avoid an encounter,” said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“They were surrounded and told by the MILF to get out if they didn’t want to be fired at.”

Philippine National Police spokesman Generoso Cerbo Jr. could not be immediately reached for comment.

Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, public affairs chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division based in Maguindanao, said they too heard of such report but they were still to confirm it.

Records showed it was not the first time that PNP-SAF commandos were surrounded by Muslim rebels and ordered to put their hands up and later became a “hand-saf” joke.

The first “hand-saf” incident involving SAF troopers happened in Tabiaran village in Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, years after the unit was established in the early 90s, when some troopers were surrounded by MILF fighters.

The second incident happened at the Kapatagan Grande in Sitio Fuente Egas, Barangay Masula, Isabela City, Basilan, when SAF troopers were again surrounded and asked to surrender, and this time by fighters of the Moro National Liberation Front.

And in 1995, SAF troopers were caught in between thousands of Army troopers and MILF fighters and were again ordered to get out in Matanog, Maguindanao.

The PNP-SAF again was in the news after its disastrous mission on Jan. 25 in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, when its commandos were waylaid by hundreds of MILF and its faction BIFF fighters and some private armed groups. The 12-hour firefight killed 44 SAF troopers, 18 MILF fighters and five civilians.

The SAF troopers were withdrawing after neutralizing Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli Abdhir alias Marwan when they were attacked and pinned down that led to the massacre. Usman and Baco and their handful of followers escaped.

The sacked former SAF director Getulio Napeñas and suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima and President Benigno Aquino III were blamed for the death of the SAF troopers.

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles and government chief peace negotiator Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, along with the MILF leadership, blamed the SAF for not coordinating their mission against high-value targets that led to the death of the commandos.

The military in the area was also blamed for not providing prompt reinforcement to extricate the pinned down commandos.

Malaysia’s first Sulu Sea operating base ready in April, says Hishammuddin

From the Malay Mail Online (Mar 18): Malaysia’s first Sulu Sea operating base ready in April, says Hishammuddin

Hishammuddin said the base was being created and paid for by Petronas and SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad. — Reuters pic


Hishammuddin said the base was being created and paid for by Petronas and SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad.

Malaysia’s first forward operating base modified out of a decommissioned oil platform in the Sulu Sea east of Sabah will be in place by early next month, said Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He said the base was being created and paid for by Petronas and SapuraKencana Petroleum Berhad.

Hishammuddin spoke to reporters today on the second day of the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace 2015 (LIMA’15) Exhibition on this resort island.

He also said that work to modify a decommissioned merchant vessel into a mobile forward operating base was almost complete and it was expected to be ready in a few months.

Hishammuddin said these two forward operating bases would enable the country’s security forces to respond faster during an emergency compared to getting mobilised from a land base.

He said these forward operating bases would eventually be equipped with various assets, including unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), small patrol craft and armed helicopters.

The minister said the collaboration with oil companies to modify oil platforms and merchant vessels into forward bases served a common interest as their operations on the high seas would be safeguarded as well.

“The oil platforms of petroleum companies on the high seas will be the first to face any threat out there, similar to that posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS),” he said.

Hishammuddin said that besides stepping up security control to the east of Sabah with the modified oil platforms and merchant vessels, the government was also restructuring the placement of its military assets.

This included deploying Hawk fighter aircraft to the Labuan air base, stationing two military battalions in eastern Sabah and moving 12 Gempita 8x8 armoured vehicles there as well, he said.

“All these are being done to safeguard the people of Sabah,” he said, adding that security control in eastern Sabah had the cooperation of Brunei Darussalam, the Philippines and Indonesia. 

On the proposed decommissioning of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) MiG-29N fighter aircraft at the end of this year, he said the government was seeking a win-win solution.

He said negotiations would have to be held with Russia on a win-win solution before a decision was made to decommission the aircraft.

The RMAF has 16 of these aircraft, which are used for air interdiction operations.

Fighter aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation of France has offered the Rafale aircraft; BAE Systems, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing, the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet to replace the MiG aircraft.

Lawmaker Zarate: US has 'a lot of explaining' to do regarding Masasapano

From InterAksyon (Mar 19): Lawmaker Zarate: US has 'a lot of explaining' to do regarding Masasapano

Protest rally in the wake of Mamasapano. Photographed by Bernard Testa

Is the United States covering up its role in the Mamasapano clash?

Bayan Muna partylist Representative Carlos Zarate believes the US government has a lot of explaining to do after the results of the investigation of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Board of Inquiry and the Senate pointed to the American participation in the clash.

The January 25 incident killed 67 Filipinos, including 44 men and officers of the Special Action Force (SAF).

"The American government is now brazenly covering its bloody track, especially with the findings of both the Board of Inquiry and the Senate pointing to the participation of US personnel in the  Mamasapano debacle," Zarate said in a statement.

But based on earlier statements of the US embassy, Zarate said that "lies were being peddled" to cloud the Americans' role in the incident.

The partylist lawmaker noted that earlier, the US embassy spokesman in Manila claimed that personnel of the Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines of the US Pacific Command based in Zamboanga City assisted only in the medical evacuation of the wounded and survivors of the bloody encounter.

But on Tuesday, a Pentagon spokesman claimed that those involved were "contracted personnel' of the US Defense Department and not regular US troops, Zarate added.

"This is an unabashed alibi," Zarate said in Filipino. "because, as early as June 2014, the Americans already announced that they have already disbanded JSOTF-P (Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines). It turned out that this secretive American commando unit was still very much active even during the bloody Mamasapano incident."

"In fact, JSOTF-P was officially closed only on February 24, or nearly a month after the bloodbath," he added.

Zarate said the US involvement in the Mamasapano incident was "another proof of brazen assault on our sovereignty as a nation.

"The Mamasapano debacle was clearly a US-instigated operation, being part of its so-called global war on terror.  It is not our war as a people, but, our government blindly embraced it, thus, making us, Filipinos, their dispensable pawns, even cannon-fodders," he said. 

Zarate urged the two House panels investigating the incident to invite concerned US embassy officials when the House of Representatives resumes its inquiry on the incident on April 7.

Deadly Filipino anti-terror raid bittersweet for US forces

From The State (Mar 18): Deadly Filipino anti-terror raid bittersweet for US forces
American involvement in a recent Philippine assault that is believed to have killed a top Southeast Asian terror suspect but left scores of Filipino commandos dead is a bittersweet finale to a decade-long U.S. battle against terrorism in the country's south.

The U.S.-backed Philippine police commando raid on Jan. 25 reportedly killed long-wanted Malaysian militant Zulkifli Bin Hir in the marshy outskirts of Mamasapano town. A month later, the American military deactivated an anti-terror task force that oversaw what has been seen as a relatively successful 13-year American battle against terrorism in the southern Philippines.

A smaller U.S. military contingent remains in the restive region.

A Philippine Senate investigation report on the bloody anti-terror assault, which was made public on Tuesday, provided details on the extent of America's behind-the-scenes involvement in the raid, including how six U.S. personnel joined a battle-monitoring post manned by Filipino police generals. The Americans provided intelligence, combat training, maps, equipment and surveillance that could be viewed on TV sets, according to the report.

One of the Americans reportedly ordered a military general at one point to fire artillery to support the embattled commandos but the Filipino commander refused to do so in disgust, said the report, without identifying the American or his unit.

"Do not dictate to me what to do. I am the commander here!" the Senate report quoted the general, identified as Philippine army Maj. Gen. Edmundo Pangilinan, as saying.

The U.S. Embassy did not immediately comment on the Senate report, which said there was a need to review defense ties between the Philippines and its treaty ally, the United States, including their alliance in the battle against terrorism.

"Are there any consequences to working with the United States in pursuing its global war on terror?" the report asked. "Obviously, in the Mamasapano operation, the consequence of that mission ... was the death of a large number of Filipino soldiers and civilians."

U.S. forces are prohibited from local combat under the constitution in this former American colony. There has been no evidence that the Americans violated the terms of their presence, including in their involvement in the top-secret police assault, under a security pact that allows U.S. forces to train, advise and assist Filipino forces battling al-Qaida-linked militants.

Still, the deaths of 44 police commandos overshadowed the reported killing of bin Hir, also known as Marwan, who was one of three high-profile targets in the January anti-terror assault.

The commandos reportedly killed Marwan in a hut after a gunbattle. Unable to carry his body during a clash, they chopped off his right index finger and took photos of his body as evidence of his death. As the elite police forces withdrew from the hinterland and daybreak lifted their night cover, they became entangled in gunbattles with different Muslim rebel groups, Philippine officials said.

The dead included the 44 commandos and 18 insurgents from a Moro rebel group that signed a peace deal with the government last year. The Moro rebels said the firefight was a "misencounter" because the policemen had failed to coordinate the anti-terror raid with them, but the large number of police casualties nevertheless provoked public disapproval and stalled the peace deal.

President Benigno Aquino III came under criticism for allowing a national police chief suspended by an anti-graft court to become involved in supervision of the police assault while other top security officials were kept in the dark about the major assault.

An FBI DNA test has indicated that the militant killed was Marwan, who had been on Washington's list of most-wanted terrorists and had long been a high-priority target for American counterterrorism forces in the southern Philippines.

But there have been no triumphant exultations amid the heavy police loss.

Last month, when the U.S. military deactivated its Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines, which had provided counterterrorism training and support to Filipino forces in the south since 2002, an American commander cited the stronger security alliance between Manila and Washington that has been tested in the battle against terrorism.

The alliance has been credited for crippling the Abu Sayyaf, a small but brutal group notorious for ransom kidnappings, beheadings and bombings in its heyday. At least 17 American military personnel and many more Filipino troops perished in terror attacks and accidents in the south.

"Through many successes and some occasional setbacks, our partnership has grown stronger and deeper over the years," U.S. Army Col. Erik Brown was cited by the Philippine military as saying as he led a ceremony to encase the American task force's symbolic flag in a southern Philippine military camp.

AFP welcomes case filed by indigenous peoples group before UN

From the Philippine Star (Mar 19): AFP welcomes case filed by indigenous peoples group before UN

Pasaka or the Confederation of Indigenous People in Southern Mindanao filed a complaint against the military before the UN for its supposed abusive practices in the region.

The military is ready to answer the case filed before the United Nations (UN) for its alleged human rights violations against the indigenous people of Mindanao.

Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman Col. Romeo Brawner said they welcome the suit filed by indigenous groups because this would allow them to shed light on the issue.

“Since there is a complaint, an investigation will be conducted and the truth will come out. The military is not hiding anything,” Brawner said in a phone interview on Thursday.

“The AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) is ready to respond to the allegations,” he added.

Earlier, Pasaka or the Confederation of Indigenous People in Southern Mindanao filed a complaint against the military before the UN for its supposed abusive practices in the region.

The group accused the armed forces and paramilitary units of occupying schools, killings, forcible recruitment, harassment, forcible displacement, intimidation and vilification of activists.

Pasaka said cases would also be filed before local courts.

Brawner said the group’s accusations against the military are “baseless.” He claimed that the mass evacuations of residents were induced by the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of communist rebels.

“The NPA told them (residents) to leave because there would be massive military operations. They did that so that no one would be around when soldiers conduct peace and development activities,” the military official said.

With regard to the presence of soldiers in civilian communities, Brawner said the troops are involved in development activities.

“We do not tolerate human rights violations. If a violation is committed, we will not hesitate to file charges against the violators,” he added.

Brawner claimed that the complainants are being influenced by communist rebels who want to drive away the soldiers in the area.

Photo: Kato, Tambako at Camp Al-Farouk

Posted to GMA News (Mar 19): Photo: Kato, Tambako at Camp Al-Farouk

File photo taken on November 17, 2011, at Camp Al-Farouk, Maguindanao, with BIFF chair Ameril Umbra Kato (right, in kufi cap) introducing Mohammad Ali Tambako (in white) to Indonesian TVOne reporter Desy Permasari as the BIFF's second in command.

OPAPP lauds 35 solons pushing for BBL passage

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 20): OPAPP lauds 35 solons pushing for BBL passage

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles lauded the 35 congressmen who expressed full support for the swift passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in a press statement last March 18.

“We laud and fully support the efforts of our valiant legislators who see and recognize the need for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, especially because this important piece of legislation is a step towards finally resolving the decades-long conflict in Muslim Mindanao,” Deles said.

“We understand that the statement was issued by legislators not only from Mindanao, but from Visayas and Luzon as well, along with representatives from party-list groups,” Deles added. “This only shows how broad the clamor for peace is, and we are heartened to see that our legislators recognize that clamor and that they are prepared to fight for it even if that may not be a popular position to take right now.”

The solons’ expression of support for the BBL coincided with the 47th commemoration of the Jabidah Massacre in Corregidor, which is widely recognized as a key cause of the current armed conflict in Mindanao.

“We call for peace. We reiterate our support and continue to call for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, and we assure the Filipino public that we will do everything in our power to make sure that it will pass,” their statement reads.

“We as legislators understand, perhaps more than anyone, that a law cannot automatically guarantee peace,” it adds. “However, we believe this is a step—the only step we have now—in the right direction. Otherwise, we can only imagine a future of more Mamasapanos, more Jabidahs. That is not the future we want, and it is our duty as Representatives of the Filipino people to make sure this does not happen.”

The statement was signed by representatives Henedina Abad, Francis Gerald Abaya, Malou Acosta-Alba, Nicasio Aliping, Jorge Almonte, Isagani Amatong, Benjamin Asilo, Kaka Bag-ao, Teddy Baguilat, Pangalian Balindong, Bolet Banal, Kit Belmonte, Winnie Castelo, Joaquin Chipeco, Jr., Sonny Collantes, Ronald Cosalan, Arthur Defensor, Jr., Anthony del Rosario, Cheryl Deloso-Montalla, Edgar Erice, Ben Evardone, Lawrence Fortun, Jim Hataman-Salliman, Doy Leachon, JC Rahman Nava, Josephine Ramirez-Sato, Rene Relampagos, Oscar Rodriguez, Cesar Sarmiento, Bai Sandra Sema, Eric Singson, Jerry Treñas, Reynaldo Umali, Isidro Ungab, and Maricar Zamora.

The 35 solons also issued a call to their colleagues even as a manifesto to reschedule the hearings on the BBL is being circulated by some of the members of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Bangsamoro, highlighting the need to act swiftly on the proposed law.

“We have the opportunity to begin stopping all these, right here and right now. And so we call on our colleagues to take the high road of statesmanship in these difficult times,” the statement said.

“The Bangsamoro Basic Law must and will undergo intense scrutiny in Congress—but let us remember that we have to pass a law that remains faithful in substance to the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, not because of what it is or who forged that agreement, but because we believe doing so is the only way to ensure the law we pass will provide a real and lasting solution for Mindanao and the country,” it adds.

“To quote Dr. Martin Luther King, we are here to remind the nation of the fierce urgency of NOW,” the solons added in their statement. “We have no more time left to lose: all these injustices, this armed conflict, have gone for far too long now. Now is the time to act. Now is the time to sit together as a nation and resolve our differences. Now is the time to boldly make our choice for a future of justice, a future of prosperity, a future of peace. Our people ask for nothing more, and they deserve nothing less.”

“It is reassuring to see that our solons, in the spirit of true statesmanship, recognize how urgent and pressing the passage of this law is—evident in this expression of support and in the willingness of the leadership of the Ad Hoc Committee to work on the bill even while Congress is adjourned,” Deles noted.

GPH-CCCH investigating alleged MILF camp in Iligan

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 20): GPH-CCCH investigating alleged MILF camp in Iligan

Government of the Philippines-Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (GPH-CCCH) head of Secretariat Major Carlos T. Sol confirmed that they have already received the report of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, Mechanized Infantry Division, Philippine Army on the alleged training camp of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in Iligan City, and that they are already validating the report to immediately undertake measures for dismantling.

“I confirm that the Armed Forces of the Philippines, through the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, has forwarded to the CCCH its recommendation with regard the dismantling of an alleged training facility by the MILF near the boundary of Sitio Limonsodan in Barangay Waterfalls of Rogongon, Iligan City. We received the official transmittal today and are currently conducting validation procedures,” Sol said.

The CCCH was created to monitor the implementation of the long-standing ceasefire between the GPH and the MILF. The body is also tasked to resolve ceasefire violation complaints in order to prevent conflict escalation and ceasefire breakdown.

The commander of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade Colonel Gilbert Gapay (GSC), PA said he crafted the recommendation due to a complaint filed by Deodato S. Abugan Sr., a chieftain of the Higaonon tribe. The said complaint also cited continued recruitment and the conduct of military-like training exercises by the MILF. Lanao del Norte-based 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion made the alleged pictures of the training camp public, which is not among the several MILF camps recognized under the peace agreement with the government.

Sol also corrected reports that members of the 105th Base Command of the MILF, the unit allegedly involved in the clash with the Philippine National Police Special Action Forces in Mamasapano last January, were in the area. The alleged camp of the 103rd Base Command is in Lanao while the 105th Base Command is in Maguindanao, a different province.

“We assure everyone, especially those in Iligan and neighboring towns, that we will do our utmost to resolve this complaint at the soonest time possible. We appreciate the public’s vigilance and we urge everyone to continue helping us. The ceasefire with the MILF has been holding. We want it to continue doing so,” Sol added.

ASG captive freed in Sulu

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 20): ASG captive freed in Sulu

Task Force ZAMBASULTA announced that a Tausug-Chinese businesswoman, snatched by Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) last Feb. 15, was freed by his captors last March 18.

This was disclosed in a statement Friday by Ensign Chester Ian Ramos, Task Force ZAMBASULTA public information office chief.

Ramos identified the freed victim as 58-year-old Hja. Dimkim Yap.

Ramos said that Yap was released by her captors in Patikul town, Sulu.

Yap was immediately escorted by the Philippine National Police for medical attention and questioning.

The victim was abducted by six armed men onboard a Tamaraw FX van at Chinese Pier, Jolo, Sulu on Feb. 15.

DND to acquire 4,464 units of night fighting equipment for PA

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 20): DND to acquire 4,464 units of night fighting equipment for PA

The Department of National Defense (DND) is acquiring 4,464 units of night fighting equipment for the Philippine Army (PA).

The equipment is an optoelectronic device that allows images to be produced in levels of light approaching total darkness.

The image may be a conversion to visible light of both visible light and near-infrared, while by convention detection of thermal infrared is denoted thermal imaging.

The program has an alotted budget of Php1,116,000,000 which will be sourced from the Capability Upgrade Program 2013 to 2017.

It was formally known as the PA's "Night Fighting System Acquisition Project."

Interested bidders must have completed a similar project within the last five years.

Pre-bid conference is scheduled at 10 a.m. March 31 at the DND bidding and awards committee conference room, right wing, basement, DND Building, Quezon City, and bid opening is scheduled on April 14.

Public misinformed about BBL, says peace panel head

From Rappler (Mar 19): Public misinformed about BBL, says peace panel head

Government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer appeals to the media to help 'correct all the misinformation' on the Bangsamoro Basic Law

 Government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer attends the Senate hearing on the January 25 clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. File photo by Rappler

Government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer attends the Senate hearing on the January 25 clash in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. File photo by Rappler

A survey which found that 4 in 10 Filipinos are against the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is based on the views of a public "misinformed" about the contents of the bill.

This was the reaction of government peace panel chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process to the Pulse Asia Research Inc survey which showed that 44% of Filipinos reject the BBL, with the highest level of disagreement found among those who will receive the most impact from its passage – Mindanao residents (62%).
In a statement released on Thursday, March 19, Ferrer also made an appeal to the media: "Public awareness on the Bangsamoro Basic Law is based on misinformation on the actual contents of the BBL. If you ask people if they want the Bangsamoro to have a separate police and army and not be audited by the COA, naturally they will say no. If you ask them if they want the Bangsamoro to separate from the country, you will get the same answer."
"But that is not what the BBL says. What the BBL provides is the exact opposite. We hope that the mass media will help us correct all the misinformation," she added. (READ: Coronel hits 'top 2 trending lies' on BBL)
The Pulse Asia survey was conducted a month after the police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao - a known bailiwick of rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) – to arrest wanted terrorists Zulkifli bin Hir (Marwan) and Abdul Basit Usman that resulted in the death of 44 elite cops, 18 Moro rebels and 5 civilians.
The incident raised persistent questions on the accountability of President Benigno Aquino III over the operation as lawmakers questioned the sincerity of the MILF in the peace process. The MILF signed a peace deal with the government in 2014.
In the aftermath of the Mamasapano clash, both the Senate and the House suspended deliberations on the BBL.
A product of the peace deal between the government and the MILF, the proposed law seeks to create a new autonomous government in Mindanao with greater political and fiscal powers than the current one in place.
But aside from the political fallout that has jeopardized its passage, constitutional questions have also been raised against the bill, with opponents saying that it is creating a substate. The House of Representatives has said it is set to delete provisions on the bill that may not be constitutional.
While the BBL faces adverse public sentiment across the country, it continues to have the support of the international community.
A total of 78 foreign and local groups have pledged their support for the measure. In a statement, the groups condemned the Mamasapano bloodbath but appealed to the House and the Senate to honor the government-MILF peace accord.
"The international community continues to look up to the Philippines as a leader in the pursuit of peace and justice and in women’s participation in political and peace processes at all levels. It also stands ready to provide support in order to translate the words of the peace agreement into realistic actions. The Filipino people deserve nothing less than the fulfillment of the promise of long lasting peace," the groups said.

Signatories to the statement include groups from Nepal, Sweden, Indonesia, Congo, Timor Leste, Thailand, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Spain, Liberia, Uganda, Colombia, South Sudan, Netherland, Colombia, Kenya, Fiji, Norway, Burundi, United States, United Kingdom, Sierra Leone, Kyrygyztan, Pakistan, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Palestine, Japan, Cameroon, Burma and Armenia.
From Rappler (Mar 19): Army reports MILF training camp near Lanao Del Sur

The Army is concerned because the facility is near Lanao Del Sur, a province that is not within the Bangsamoro area

The Army is seeking to dismantle what it said is a newly-built training facility of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in an isolated area at the boundary of Iligan City and Lanao Del Sur province.

The Army has reported the violation of ceasefire provisions to the Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities, said Colonel Gilbert Gapay, commander of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade that has responsibility over the area.
PEACE PARTNERS: File photo of MILF fighters celebrating after the signing of a peace deal with government
PEACE PARTNERS: File photo of MILF fighters celebrating after the signing of a peace deal with government
The Army said the facility is complete with obstacle courses and watch towers. It is likely two or 3 years old and is under the control of the 305th guerrilla unit of the MILF 103rd Base Command, said Gabay.
The MILF, which committed to lay down its arms, is not supposed to put up new training camps and embark on force and capability build-up.
Gabay said they are concerned because the facility is near Lanao Del Sur, a province that is not within the Bangsamoro area.
The information originated from local leaders, who were alarmed because of the MILF's recruitment of local residents. About 80 supposedly joined a recent training course in the facility.
"They alleged that MILF fighters under Abdul Sango Amoran of the 305th Guerrilla Unit recruited 85 Higaonon tribesmen and Maranaws from Bukidnon and brought to the camp from May 16 to 31 last year," according to a statement issued by the military heaquarters.

Pangasinan welcomes new PMA graduates

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 19): Pangasinan welcomes new PMA graduates

LINGAYEN, Pangasinan --“Dream big and never stop dreaming.”
This was imparted by Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. before this year’s graduates of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) and some members of the lower class who are from Pangasinan when they paid a courtesy call on him on March 18.

The governor, who is a member of Class Masigasig in 1972, commended the Sinaglahi Class of 2015 as he rekindled precious memories in his stint in the PMA.

He was a member of the so-called “Pangasinan Military Academy” owing to the fact that a great number in his batch and even the preceding years came from Pangasinan.

Espino said that the PMA was the best institution in the country where everything was provided and discipline was best learned.

Furthermore, the provincial chief executive urged the latest batch of PMA graduates to stand firm and faithful even as he revealed that frustrations may come, citing for example the Mamasapano tragedy where lives were sacrificed.

Citing his experience as a military man to include the ups and downs, Espino challenged the younger "mistahs" to give their best shot.

“Whatever your ranking inside the academy will no longer be important because your performance outside the institution is more valuable now,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ret. Col. Mariano “Sonny” Verzosa who belongs to Class ’84, congratulated the new batch of PMA graduates as well as the members of the lower class for giving honor to the province.

Verzosa urged all young Pangasinense "mistahs" to continue reaping accomplishments for the province and join hands with other institutions and the government to usher in genuine development for the province.

In return, Lt. Benjamin John P. Cantor, Sinaglahi Class 2015 rank 14 from Bugallon town, spoke on behalf of the group as he pledged to render quality service to the country.

Other class members who paid courtesy call on the governor were Jomel G. Banila of Dasol; Robert Royce De Guzman, Bayambang; Jeffrey Ladislao, Binmaley; Danjo Lagula, Natividad; Orlando Lictawa, San Quintin; Leonard Allan Gacayan, Binalonan; Keith John Pascua, Mangatarem; Giovanni Payomo, Sual; Jefferson Sacopla, Mangatarem; and Kelvin Verzosa, Labrador.

Joining the governor in welcoming the PMAers were Police Supt. Reynaldo Biay, Laoac Mayor Silverio Alarcio, Col. Carlos Resurrecion, Major Ryan Celino and Col. Popoy Oro, who are all graduates of the PMA.

IP, LGU call for dismantling of MILF camp in Iligan

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 19): IP, LGU call for dismantling of MILF camp in Iligan

Due to complaints by tribal groups and local government officials, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front's 103rd Base Command in Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte was recommended dismantled.

The complaint was made by Datu Lantung Ko Limunsudan and Higaonon chieftain Deodato S. Abugan Sr.

The camp is located near the boundary of Sitio Limonsodan, Barangay Waterfalls in Rogongon, Iligan

They alleged that MILF fighters under Abdul Sango Amoran of the 305th Guerilla Unit recruited 85 Higaonon tribesmen and Maranaws from Bukidnon and brought to the camp from May 16 to 31 last year.

Col. Gilbert Gapay, 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade commanding officer, facilitated the recommendation of the complaint to the Government of the Philippines Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (GPH CCCH).

The protest submitted to GPH CCCH will be acted upon through the conduct of Joint Site Verification Mission which will be composed by the Joint GPH-MILF CCCH and Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG), IMT, and The Provincial Local Monitoring Team, Joint Ceasefire Monitoring Post and representatives from local government units, Elders and non-government organization Non-violent Peace Force.

Inter-agency meditation and protocols will be sought to resolve issues peacefully.

Gov’t troops score in clash with NPA rebels in Agnor

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 17): Gov’t troops score in clash with NPA rebels in Agnor

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City - Government troops under 29th Infantry Battalion (29IB) and 13th Regional Police Service Battalion clashed with communist rebels killing a still undetermined number of gunmen in the hinter-area of Brgy. Hinimbangan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte around 8:20 a.m., Monday.

An information was relayed by a concerned civilian in the area about the presence of some 30 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels believed to be members of Guerilla Front 16 of North Eastern Mindanao Regional Committee who are extorting money from the local populace in the area in preparation to support the logistical requirements for the upcoming anniversary celebration on March 29.

Ltc Adonis Ariel Orio, 29IB Commanding Officer, immediately coordinated with the Philippine National Police (PNP) to conduct a joint operation to go after the said NPAs.

Upon arrival at the said area, NPAs indiscriminately opened fire against the government troops unmindful of the presence of civilians in the community. The troops managed to maneuver to a more advantage position and were able to return fire against the NPAs. Troops inflicted casualties to the NPAs. After the 20-minute gun battle, the NPAs withdrew out of the engagement area. Civilians in the area have seen the engaged NPAs carrying their wounded and dead comrades.

Recovered from the area are the following: one M203 grenade launcher, three M16 and two AK 47 rifles, undetonated Improvised Explosive Devices with complete paraphernalia, backpacks of NPA casualties and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

Troops also recovered one dead NPA and is now being facilitated by the 29IB, PNP and local government unit of Kitcharao for identification and proper disposition.
Ltc Orio immediately ordered his troop to conduct pursuit operation against the escaping NPAs.

Major General Oscar T Lactao, Commander of 4th Infantry Division, congratulated his gallant troops together with the PNP in performing their duty in protecting the people in Kitcharao against the lawless elements.

“We also would like to thank the people for giving us timely and complete information about the presence of the NPAs in their community,” he said.

Caraga army brigade chief seeks continued public support vs. NPA

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 18): Caraga army brigade chief seeks continued public support vs. NPA

TANDAG CITY, Surigao del Sur – Col. Alexander Macario, 401st Infantry Brigade commander of the Philippine Army (PA) has called on the public to always keep in touch with any of the police and army in case of menacing presence of New People’s Army (NPA) in their locality as the 46th anniversary of the rebel groups on March 29 draws near.

The army official admitted that NPA activities in his area of responsibility (AOR) have stepped up;  in fact as he speaks early today while being interviewed, Macario bared at least five construction equipment owned by Madyaw Construction and Development Corporation in La Paz town, Agusan del Sur have been burned.

He said that Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur are still under the “security responsibility” of his brigade, adding that anytime within this week or a week later, the latter will already be fully “realigned” to the 402nd Infantry Brigade, which is under Col. Isidro Purisima, who just assumed post early last month.

Moreover, he stressed that 402nd Brigade’s AOR is going to be solely Surigao del Sur, which is home to four army battalions at present.

Transition is currently ongoing, Macario remarked.

It can be recalled that news of putting up an army brigade in Surigao del Sur has already been made public recently by Governor Johnny Pimentel.

Meanwhile, the brigade commander said that despite the increased sightings of insurgents as reported by civilians in his AOR, the situation remains relatively normal, hence there is no cause for alarm.

Army on heightened alert amidst offensive vs BIFF

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 18): Army on heightened alert amidst offensive vs BIFF

DAVAO CITY -- Military authorities assured that the city’s safety and security will not be affected even with the offensive operations in Maguindanao.

Colonel Macairog Alberto, commanding officer of the Task Force Davao said the unit is fully aware of all possibilities as soldiers pursue the members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in the province.

He said they keep watch on the possible enclaves where terror cells might take refuge if ever they would come to the city.

Alberto said the TF Davao is coordinating closely with the local leaders of various communities to detect immediately group of individuals who might sow trouble here as soldiers intensity the operations against the rebels in Maguindanao.

“A terror cell needs the support of a community to attain its objectives that is why we are coordinating closely with the community leaders and the police who will help us deny them any haven in Davao City,” he said.

Major General Eduardo Ano, commander of the 10th Infantry Division said that security is also intensified even in areas close to Maguindanao.

He said the tight security yielded the arrest of Mohammad Ali alias Tambako, an alleged former deputy leader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters and founder of the Justice for the Islamic Movement and his five cohorts 9:00 pm, March 15 in Barangay Calumpang, General Santos City, an area under the 10th ID.

Ano said a follow up operation in the group’s safe house in March 17 also resulted to the recovery of detonating cords, blasting caps and other paraphernalia for an improvised explosive device.

“We are prepared to deal with them in the event they try to seek refuge in our area of responsibility,” he said.

2 NPA rebels captured after encounter in northern Negros

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 19): 2 NPA rebels captured after encounter in northern Negros

Two suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were captured by the army after an encounter in Barangay Codcod, San Carlos City Tuesday morning.

The 3rd Infantry Division confirmed Wednesday night that Felipe Bolo, 34, and Conrado Sison, 19, both of Barangay Codcod, San Carlos City, are now under police custody.

“The two NPA members were apprised of their constitutional rights and were turned over to San Carlos City Police for medical check-up and inquest proceedings,” it said in a press statement.

Firearms were also recovered by military and police troopers following the encounter that lasted for about 15 minutes.

Lt. Col. Rommel Cordova, commanding officer of the Army's 62nd Infantry Battalion, said government troops recovered five homemade shot guns and one .357 caliber revolver.

They were conducting community security operations when they encountered the NPA rebels.

The rebels are believed to be under the Northern Negros Front Komiteng Rehiyonal-Negros led by Alias Reboy.

No casualty was reported from the government side while an undetermined number of rebels could have been wounded due to bloodstains seen along the route of their withdrawal, the Army said.

“We call on those rebels to lay down their arms peacefully, be given proper medication and we ensure them that their rights will be respected,” Cordova said.

Maj. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, commander of 3rd ID, instructed the troops to strictly follow the rule of law while conducting follow-on operations in the area.

“We in the Army, together with the local government, the civil society, peace advocates and other stakeholders reiterate our call for the NPA to shun violence, abandon the armed struggle and talk with us peacefully,” he added.

NPA rebels burn 5 heavy equipment in Agusan Del Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 19): NPA rebels burn 5 heavy equipment in Agusan Del Sur

About 50 armed rebels of communist New People’s Army (NPA) torched five heavy equipment in La Paz, Agusan Del Sur, a report reaching here said Thursday.

Lt. Col. Rolando C. Dumawa, commanding officer of the army’s 26th Infantry Battalion based in La Paz, condemned the attack as anti-people and anti-development.

He said that the Madyaw Construction and Development Company, owner of the five heavy equipment, undergoes farm to market road construction in the hinterlands of Agusan Del Sur.

The NPA rebels belonging to the Guerilla Front Command 88 of the North Central Mindanao Committee burned one unit payloader, backhoe, grader, water tanker, and road roller in the hinterland village of Langgasian in La Paz Wednesday morning.

The attack on private equipment and civilian properties was a clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), Dumawa said.

He said that he had ordered government troops to pursue the armed rebels and be held liable for the crime and terroristic acts.

The attack in Agusan Del Sur followed about two weeks after when armed NPA rebels torched seven commercial vehicles along the Davao-Bukidnon highway.

In a statement released to the local media, the NPA owned the attacks as a “gesture of sympathy” to the Moro rebels in Central Mindanao, now a subject of an all out offensive by the government troopers.

PA to hold 9th Senior Leaders Conference March 19- 20

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 19): PA to hold 9th Senior Leaders Conference March 19- 20

The Philippine Army (PA) announced that it will conduct the 9th Senior Leaders Conference on March 19 to 20.

It will be held at the Philippine Army Officers Club House at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato, PA spokesperson, said that the activity is one of the highlights of their 118th founding anniversary.

Army senior leaders will gather in this important forum to discuss current programs and pertinent developments, as well as new concepts and ideas, which are vital in promoting organizational growth and providing feedback mechanism for the PA.

The Philippine Army Seniors Leaders Conference (PASLC) is a gathering of senior unit commanders at the Infantry Division and Brigade level, together with the coordinating staffs of Headquarters Philippine Army.

It will be attended by more or less 200 participants and 10 local and international lecturers from various external sectors such as the military, academe, politics, economics and business.

With PASLC's theme, "The Philippine Army in the Changing Security Environment," the Philippine Army seeks to keep the Army senior leaders informed on the regional security challenges and ensure appreciation of their role in the implementation of the Army's strategic imperatives.

This year's conference is divided into three modules: Internal Security Operations (ISO) Updates, Challenges and Opportunities in Asia, and Evolving Threats and Challenges.

PN chief open to joint patrolling of uncontested areas of South China Sea

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 19): PN chief open to joint patrolling of uncontested areas of South China Sea

If joint patrolling by concerned parties will be done to preserve stability and freedom of navigation of international and domestic shipping, then the Philippine Navy (PN) is more than willing to participate.

This was the response of PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Jesus C. Millan when asked if the Navy is prepared to conduct joint patrolling in uncontested areas of the South China Sea.

"We have supported combined and joint patrolling for anti-piracy purposes, like in the Straits of Malacca, and this have been a successful one. We can support it if this will be the objective -- preserving stability and freedom of navigation of international/domestic shipping," he said.

Before joint patrolling can start, Millan said there must be a framework of collaboration among all concerned parties.

"Joint patrolling is governed by frameworks of collaboration acceptable to all parties concerned and must be anchored on trust from each party's factoring diplomatic, legal/political, and environmental considerations among others," Millan pointed out.

The PN chief stressed that joint patrolling does not cover disputed areas in the South China Sea.

"For the disputed areas, I cannot comment on the position of the Philippine government as this must be addressed by concerned agencies," he said.

Navy AW-109s now waiting for guns, other armament

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 19): Navy AW-109s now waiting for guns, other armament

The Philippine Navy (PN) on Thursday announced that two AgustaWestland AW-109 "Power" helicopters are now waiting for its guns and other armament before undergoing its acceptance and flight test.

According to PN public affairs office chief Cmdr. Lued Lincuna, "The two AW-109 cleared its Custom requirements last January and it is now at secured facility while waiting for its guns and other armaments to be be installed."

The two armed AW-109 airframes arrived in the Philippines last December.

This is part of the five-helicopter deal, worth Php1.33-billion, signed by the Philippines with AgustaWestland in early 2013.

Three of the AW-109s were delivered and commissioned in Dec. 22, 2013.

The armed versions of the AW-109s will be armed with machine guns, 20mm cannons and possibly, with air-to-ground rockets.

The AW-109 "Power" helicopter is a three-ton class eight seat helicopter powered by two Pratt and Whitney PW206C engines.

The spacious cabin is designed to be fitted with a number of modular equipment packages for quick and easy conversion between roles.

The aircraft’s safety features include a fully separated fuel system, dual hydraulic boost system, dual electrical systems and redundant lubrication and cooling systems for the main transmission and engines.

The AW-109 has established itself as the world’s best selling light-twin helicopter for maritime missions.

It's superior speed, capacity and productivity combined with reliability and ease of maintenance make it the most cost effective maritime helicopter in its class.

For shipboard operations the aircraft has a reinforced-wheeled landing gear and deck mooring points as well as extensive corrosion protection measures.

The ability to operate from small ships in high sea state enables the AW-109 to perform its mission when many others helicopters would be confined to the ship’s hangar.

Over 550 AW-109 "Power" and AW-109 light utility helicopters have been ordered for commercial, parapublic and military applications by customers in almost 50 countries.

Abu Sayyaf sub-leader in Sulu shot dead by nephew

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 19): Abu Sayyaf sub-leader in Sulu shot dead by nephew

An Abu Sayyaf terrorist sub-leader was gunned down in cold-blood by his own nephew while the victim was taking a bath in a creek in Sulu, which the military said was instigated by jealousy, intrigue and the sharing of ransom money collected by the terror group.

A military report identified the slain terrorist sub-leader as Khalid Sali, trusted aide of Radullan Sahiron, overall leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sulu and Basilan.

Sali’s killer was identified as Yasser Sahiron, his nephew.

The report said Sali was taking a bath together with four bodyguards in a creek in Barangay Bud Bunga, Talipao, Sulu, last Sunday when another ASG unit led by Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan arrived and brainwashed Khalid’s nephew, Yasser Sahiron, telling the latter that Khalid was allegedly a military informant.

This angered Yasser, who proceeded immediately to the creek where Sali was taking a bath and without saying a word opened fire, killing his helpless uncle and wounding his four bodyguards.

Intelligence reports said that animosity had set in between the group of Sawadjaan and Sali, with the latter being suspected as a military informer.

Sawadjaan suspected that Khalid was giving the military information on the location of his group because they were always the target of attacks by government security forces wherever they hid while Khalid was safe at Radullan’s hideout.

Following a series of encounters with Army troopers from Feb. 25 to 27, there were reports that the group of Sawadjaan planned to move towards Indanan for safety.

The military report said that another allegation that led to the killing of the Abu Sayyaf sub-leader was that Khalid had become more arrogant toward his fellow sub-leaders because of his close ties with Radullan and even outshone some of his senior sub-leaders in the group, particularly in handling kidnapped victims’ ransom money.

It was likely that misunderstanding had erupted between the group of Radullan and Sawadjaan due to these series of incidents, the military said.

First C-295 formally turned over to PAF

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 19): First C-295 formally turned over to PAF

Airbus Defense and Space, one of the largest aerospace manufacturers in the world, has formally turned over Wednesday to the Philippine Air Force (PAF) one of the three C-295 medium transport aircraft it has ordered last year.

"The aircraft was formally handed over in Seville, Spain where the final assembly line was located and is now being ferried to the Philippines. In PAF service, the C-295 will play a key role in the modernization of the force´s transport fleet and will undertake a wide variety of military and humanitarian missions," the company said in a statement.

Earlier, Department of National Defense (DND) undersecretary for finance, modernization and materiel Fernando Manalo said the aircraft will be arriving in Philippine territory by March 23 or 25 at the latest.

"Our first C-295 (the first out of the three ordered) will be arriving at Clark Field, Pampanga by March 23 or 25," he added.

Upon arrival, the aircraft will be subjected to technical inspection and flight tested by Air Force crews before being accepted for service.

The March delivery date of the first C-295 is five months earlier than its scheduled August arrival, Manalo said.

With the early arrival of the first aircraft, the DND undersecretary expects the two other aircraft to follow in short order.

"These aircraft will help in troop and limited equipment movement," DND secretary Voltaire Gazmin earlier said.

The C-295 is described as "a capable and versatile transport and surveillance aircraft.”

Airbus stated that the C-295 can carry up to nine tons of cargo or 71 people.

It also has a maximum cruising speed of 260 knots and operate in short and rough airfields.

International community appeals Philippine Congress to honor peace agreement with MILF

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 19): International community appeals Philippine Congress to honor peace agreement with MILF

Around 78 international organizations appealed to members of the Philippine Congress for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

"We, the undersigned organizations condemn this recent violence in Mamapasano town, Maguindanao province, Philippines. We call for a timely, transparent and thorough investigation and prosecution. At the same time, while the investigation and quest for justice is ongoing, we urge the Philippine Congress to complete their deliberation and adopt the Bangsamoro Basic Law," they said.

The group also expressed their solidarity and support to the Women Engaged in Action on the UN Securty Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and other Filipino organizations as they call for "observance of the confidence-building measures that the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) agreed to undertake including the turning in of the first of MILF weapons to signal the start of the decommissioning process under the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro’s (CAB) Annex on Normalization; and the holding of a joint security assessment for enhanced cooperation between the government and the MILF."

According to the group, the Philippines serves as "a shining example in women’s participation in peace processes."

"The signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement on the Bangsamoro by the Government of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and its Annex on revenue generation and wealth-sharing, which provides for the use of public funds for gender-specific development programmes and activities is attributed to women’s leadership in the peace negotiations and strong advocacy of women’s groups and other civil society actors," they noted.

Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Philippine Congress has undergone deliberation on the Bangsamoro Basic Law which would turn the Comprehensive Peace Agreement into a law. The said law is expected to be adopted in the coming months.

However, the killing of 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Forces (PNP-SAF) and 19 civilians in an encounter on Jan. 25 with the MILF and its splinter group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Mamapasano town, Maguindanao, Southern Philippines has put the peace process in jeopardy.

Some actors are taking advantage of the Mamapasano tragedy to undermine the trust between the government and the MILF. There are even some groups already calling for a halt to the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Despite that, the international community continues to look up to the Philippines as a leader in the pursuit of peace and justice and in women’s participation in political and peace processes at all levels.

It also stands ready to provide support in order to translate the words of the peace agreement into realistic actions.

"The Filipino people deserve nothing less than the fulfillment of the promise of long lasting peace," they said.

Among the organizations who signed the appeal include the 1325 Action Group – Nepal, 1325 Policy Group (1325 PG) – Sweden, Acheh Women's League (LINA) - Indonesia, African Women’s Active Nonviolence Initiatives for Social Change/COFERD – Democratic Republic of Congo, Alola Foundation - Timor Leste, Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR), Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) - Thailand, Association Dea Dia – Serbia, Association of War Affected Women – Sri Lanka, Cadre Permanent de Concertation de la Femme Congolaise (CAFCO) – Democratic Republic of Congo,

Centre d’études sur la Justice et la Résolution 1325 (CJR 1325) – Democratic Republic of Congo, Centro de Education e Investigación para la Paz (CEIPAZ) – Spain, Cerue Konah Garlo (of Civil Society Media Leadership Program) – Liberia, Coalition for Action on 1325 – Uganda, Colectivo de Pensamiento y Acción Mujeres, Paz y Seguridad – Colombia, Community Empowerment for Progress Organization (CEPO) – South Sudan, Cordaid – Nehterlands/International, Corporación de Investigación y Acción Social y Económica (CIASE) – Colombia, End Impunity Organization (EIO) - South Sudan, Equatoria Women United in Kenya (EWUK) - Kenya.

EVE Organisation for Women Development – South Sudan, Eye Radio - South Sudan, FemLinkPACIFIC - Fiji, Forum for Women and Development (FOKUS) - Norway, Fountaine - ISOKO for Good Governance and the Integrated Development – Burundi, Gender Equity and Women’s Leadership Program - South Sudan, Global Justice Office (United Methodist Women) - USA/International, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders – USA/International, Human Rights Development Organisation (HURIDO) - Sudan, Initiative Feminine pour la Defense des Droits Humains et le Developpment (IFDH-NGABO) - Democratic Republic of Congo,

ISIS International - Philippines, Islamic Studies and Muslim Community Development for Peaceful Social Integration, Walailak University - Thailand, Justice for Women- United Kingdom, Lisa International Limited – Kenya, Media Advocacy Group – Nepal, Naga Women Union – India, National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) - United Kingdom, National Network for Beijing-Review Nepal (NNBN) - Nepal, National Organization of Women – Sierra Leone, Pacific Centre for Peacebuilding – Fiji,

PA SHAZET - Kyrgyzstan, Rural Women’s Development and Unity Centre (RUWDUC) - Nepal, Rural women's association (Alga) - Kyrgyzstan, Rwanda Women’s Network, Saathi – Nepal, Samanata Institute for Social and Gender Equality - Nepal, Sancharika Samuha – Nepal, Sentro ng Alternatibong Lingap Panligal (SALIGAN)/Alternative Legal Assistance Center, Society for Appraisal and Women Empowerment in Rural Areas (SAWERA) - Pakistan, South Asia Forum for Human Rights (SAFHR) - India/South Asia,

South Sudan Friends International - South Sudan, South Sudan Law Society (SSLS) - South Sudan, South Sudanese Women Leaders for Peace, South Sudanese Women Cry for Peace and Development (SSWCFPD), South Sudanese Women Empowerment for Peace (SSuWEP), Strey Khmer Organization - Cambodia, Supporting People and Rebuilding Communities of Chittagong, Hill Tracts - Bangladesh, Synergie des Associations Feminines du Congo (SAFECO) – Democratic Republic of Congo, Synergie des Femmes pour les Victimes de Violences Sexuelles (SFVS) – Democratic Republic of Congo, Teso Women Peace Activists (TEWPA) – Uganda,

United Youth of the Philippines - Women, Inc. (UnYPhil-Women, Inc.) - Philippines, Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights - USA/International, Voice for Change - South Sudan, Wi’am Palestinian Conflict Resolution and Transformation Center – Palestine, Windows for South Sudan, Women’s Action Network of Sri Lanka, Women's Active Museum on War and Peace(WAM) - Japan, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) - Philippines/International, Women for Human Rights - Nepal, Women and Media Collective- Sri Lanka,

Women’s Peace Initiatives - Cameroon, Women Peace Network Arakan - Burma, Women Peacemakers Program – Netherlands/International, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – Democratic Republic of Congo, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) – Spain, Women's Leadership Program - South Sudan, Women’s Solidarity Fund – Armenia and UK, and Young Women’s Christian Association – International.