From GMA News (Jan 26): Airman killed in Batangas clash with suspected NPA rebels
An airman was killed following a clash with suspected New People's Army rebels in Batangas Monday night, a regional military spokesman said Tuesday.
Armed Forces Southern Luzon Command's Maj. Angelo Guzman identified the fatality as Airman 1st Class Cliff Arvin Alama of the 730th Combat Group of the 710th SPOW under the Joint Task Group Finisher Warrior.
Citing field reports, Guzman said that at 7:49 p.m. Monday, patrolling government troops engaged 15 rebels in Barangay Toong in the municipality of Tuy.
Guzman said Alama was hit in the left shoulder and immediately brought to a hospital in Balayan town. Attending physicians, however, declared him dead on arrival.
There were no reported rebel casualties.
Government troops have since launched pursuit operations against the insurgents.
Having light in every home is a basic necessity. People must not be deprived of it. At all times, this must be sought. But securing the transmission lines of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for people to continue access to power can well be a recommended act. But for the MILF to simply announce that we commit to help secure these lines is more problematic than what meets the eye. Both the short and long term implications and complications have far-reaching effects.
What are the consequences? If the bombing stops, then some people might suspect that the MILF is behind the act, because it had stopped it; if the bombing continues, then the MILF would be pictured as inutile or has not done enough to prevent it from happening. “Damn if you do, damn if you don’t” is still the rule here.
Besides, the MILF has no gain in the destruction. We are upholding the integrity of the ceasefire and the peace process. In addition, the NGCP is a private corporation that maintains and operates the power transmission network of the Philippines. It is a joint venture of the State Grid Corporation of China, Monte Oro Grid Resource of the Philippines and Calaca High Power Corporation. The NGCP took over TransCo on 15 January 2009. The corporation was inaugurated in Manila by Zheng Baosen, vice-president of the State Grid Corporation of China. This venture is the biggest investment made by China in the Philippines, in which 40% is owned by China.
More importantly, the MILF is not yet a full-fledged partner or part of the state; peace partners, yes. The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is still pending in Congress and its non-passage is more expected than its passage. If the BBL becomes a law, the MILF which is leading the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) will have the legal mandate to undertake this responsibility. However, this is not as easy as it is said here. The success of this undertaking is still contingent to other considerations, say a good and effective Bangsamoro police, because by that time, the MILF weapons and combatants are decommissioned already.
If the NGCP is really serious in seeking the intervention of the MILF, then perhaps the better part of judgment is to send a formal request for a meeting, or better still, to send someone to discuss the issue with the MILF. In such a way, any agreement can be part of the overall scheme to promote peace in the region, and can be linked to relevant organs of the GPH-MILF peace process especially the ceasefire committees of the government and MILF. The MILF is not expert in making casual arrangements.
Anent to this, we are happy to note the positive statement of Senator and Vice-Presidential aspirant Francis Joseph “Chiz” Escudero on the MILF, in contrast to previous statements attributed to him, correctly or incorrectly, way back in 2008 at the time the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) was under intense discourse, when he said that the Moros do not even know how to bake pan de sal (the quintessential bread roll of Filipinos), and therefore not fit to run a government. Of course, this has long been part of the dustbin of history. What is important is that he is supporting the passage of BBL in the Senate.
Escudero urged the MILF to help the government secure these transmission towers in the upcoming May 2016 elections. At the very least, this is an admission of the capability of the Moros to do more difficult talks than just being able to bake pan de sal. This indeed is a welcome remarks! Thank you Mr. Senator!