Friday, June 23, 2017

Australia sending 2 surveillance planes to help fight vs extremists

From InterAksyon (Jun 23): Australia sending 2 surveillance planes to help fight vs extremists

A Royal Australian Air Force Orion aircraft prepares to take off from RAAF Base Pearce near Perth. (Reuters file)

Australia’s defense force said on Friday it will send two military surveillance aircraft to assist Philippine soldiers fighting extremists to regain control of Marawi City.

“The Government of the Philippines has accepted an Australian offer of two Australian Defense Force AP-3C Orion aircraft to provide surveillance support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said an emailed statement from Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne.

“The regional threat from terrorism, in particular from Daesh and foreign fighters, is a direct threat to Australia and our interests,” she said in the statement, referring to Islamic State by one of its Arab acronyms.

The seizure of Marawi five weeks ago by extremist groups and the security forces’ dogged fight to regain control of it has claimed 369 lives already, according to official estimates.

It has also alarmed Southeast Asian nations which fear Islamic State — on a backfoot in Iraq and Syria — is trying to set up a stronghold in Mindanao that could threaten the whole region.

Indonesian and Malaysian warships launched joint counterinsurgency maneuvers with Philippine vessels in waters nearby.

The United States has deployed troops near the besieged city, although they are not fighting there, and also provided a P-3 surveillance plane to assist the forces engaged in battle.

Australia’s statement condemned the attack on Marawi but gave no details about where the aircraft would be deployed.

This week, security forces made a renewed push to retake the city, aiming to clear it by the weekend Eid’l Fitr festival.

On Thursday, the military said about 100 armed militants remained in Marawi , confined to an area of about one square kilometer, down from the estimated 400 or 500 fighters who seized the city on May 23.

BIFF leave threats vs Duterte in Cotabato village as archbishop slams desecration of church

From InterAksyon (Jun 23): BIFF leave threats vs Duterte in Cotabato village as archbishop slams desecration of church

Government troops deploy against BIFF gunmen in Pigcawayan, Cotabato. (image from News5 video)

“Sho(o)t to kill ka namin Du30, kahit sa(an) ka humingi ng tulong Du30 ay hindi mo kami kayang ubusin (We will shoot to kill you Duterete, wherever you ask for help Duterte you can never wipe us out).”

These words, alongside curses and threats to target Davao City next were scrawled on blackboards and walls, next to scattered belongings and defaced portraits of President Rodrigo Duterte left in the school at Barangay Malagakit, Pigcwayan town, Cotabato province after gunmen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters retreated from the village they had occupied on Tuesday.

Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo also condemned what he called “the wicked desecration of the Catholic chapel of Malagakit in the parish of Pigcawayan and most especially of the Sacred Hosts that were kept there for the Catholic faithful.”

The BIFF’s incursion into Malagakit triggered clashes which left two government militiamen and a number of the gunmen dead, and sent hundreds of residents fleeing.

BIFF spokesman Abu Misrie Mama claimed their action was in retaliation for continued military operations despite the observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. At the same time, he stressed that they had nothing to do with the Maute group, which is engaged in the month-old crisis in Marawi City.

In a statement, Quevedo called the desecration of the chapel “irreligious acts that cry out to heaven” akin to “the desecration of a mosque and the sacred Qur’an by non-Muslims.”

“Both desecrations are gravely sinful,” he said.

The prelate challenged the BIFF to “punish its members who perpetrated the odious desecration in Malagakit and educate all its members in strictly respecting other religions” if it sought “an image as a respecter of all religions.”

At the same time, he urged “the Catholic faithful of Malagakit to restore the sacredness of their chapel and ask all the faithful of the Archdiocese to pray for peace and harmony among all believers of different religions.”

The Mautes of the Philippines: From monied family to Islamic State

Posted to InterAksyon (Jun 23): The Mautes of the Philippines: From monied family to Islamic State

Photos of several suspected terrorists from the Maute clan. From left -- Cayamora Maute, Farhana Maute, Abdullah Maute, Omarkhayam Maute and bottom row, from left --Mohammadkhayam Maute, Abdulrahman Maute, Abdul Azis Maute, and Hamza Maute/Photos released by the Cebu City Police Office

Before they formed one of the most dreaded militant groups in the Philippines and pledged loyalty to Islamic State, the Mautes were a wealthy, political family in the southern region of Mindanao, largely influenced by the matriarch, Farhana.

Soft-spoken and reserved, 60-year-old Farhana Maute owns property in Mindanao and in Manila, and runs a construction business, say people who know the family and security analysts who have scrutinized its background.

Almost unknown two years ago, the Mautes are now the biggest and most deadly among Islamic State groups in the southern Philippines and are at the forefront of a month-long battle with the military for control of Marawi, a Mindanao town. Regional governments fear that the brutal urban warfare, in which 360 people have been killed, reflects Islamic State’s intention to establish a caliphate in Southeast Asia.

Farhana Maute was related to politicians in her hometown of Butig, near Marawi, and was considered somewhat of a kingmaker because of her wealth and influence. And like many clans in the lawless area, the Mautes maintained a private militia that included Farhana’s seven sons, the analysts said.

When the Mautes got involved in a dispute with Butig Mayor Dimnatang Pansar over the award of civil contracts, it erupted into a brutal clan feud, a clash so common to Mindanao it has its own name, rido.

Other militant groups in the southern Philippines joined the Mautes, and they formed a joint front in Marawi against government troops.


Joseph Franco, a research fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies who has worked with several Philippine military chiefs, said that early last year, the Mautes projected themselves as followers of Islamic State, or IS, to “spook and coerce the Pansars”.

“That tactical use of terrorist imagery took on a life of its own,” he said. “And now we have this Maute Group, who call themselves IS-Ranao.” Ranao is an old name for the Lanao region of Mindanao, where Marawi and Butig are located.

Although known to be a deeply religious Muslim, there was no evidence that Farhana Maute was radicalized, Franco said.

“She is only a businesswoman,” a former military officer who lives in Marawi told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But, her clan was involved in a bitter political dispute with the mayor of Butig. And that probably got her into trouble.”

Two of the sons, Omarkhayam and Abdullah, had been educated in the Middle East, but it is uncertain when they morphed from being scions of a wealthy family to becoming hardened Islamists. [nL3N1J61PU]

Still, Farhana Maute was related to the former military head of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a rebel group that the government signed a peace deal with in 2014. She was deeply influenced by him, said Rommel Banlaoi, a security expert who advises the Philippines police.

“Many Muslims in Mindanao, strictly speaking, they already have what I call embedded radical ideas,” he said, adding that the Mautes provided a training camp for associates of the MILF near Butig.

“They were criminals who morphed into militancy,” Banlaoi said of the Mautes.

Other analysts said at least some of Farhana’s wealth would have been diverted to the Maute Group’s alleged illicit activities.

It was not possible to seek comment from the Maute family.

Both Farhana and her husband Cayamore, an engineer, were arrested earlier this month in separate parts of Mindanao and it was not immediately clear who their lawyers were.

The sons are believed to be fighting in Marawi.

Islamic State’s news agency, Amaq, has said its fighters control large parts of Marawi City, but has not commented specifically on the Maute.

Mohamad Ampuan, a Marawi native who has settled in Manila, said he knew Farhana Maute and several of her sons, and believed they were primarily religious-minded. He said he had not seen any of them since 2010, when he moved north.

Ampuan was speaking in a bazaar selling mobile phones and accessories in the crowded Novaliches suburb of Manila, where Philippine military intelligence reports have said Farhana or some of her sons owned stalls. All the stall-owners in the Salam Bazaar are from Marawi, but Ampuan said the family did not own any property there.

He said Farhana was fluent in Arabic and English and he considered the Mautes a “royal family”.

“The Mautes are fighting for Allah,” he said. “They want a society faithful to Allah.”

Marawi residents and analysts said Farhana has considerable influence on her sons, perhaps more than her husband, Cayamore. He has two other wives.

“She is the central figure, but not in terms of planning and preparing attacks,” said Rohan Gunaratna, a regional counter-terrorism expert. “The mother and father are patrons of the group, but father less, mother more.”

A neighbor, Marawi city councillor Khana-Anuar Marabur Jr., said the Mautes were “good people back then”, before they started the current round of violence in Marawi.

He said Farhana was a good mother, and was generous and approachable.

“The father is strong,” Marabur said. “He is like the tiger. But someone owns the tiger.”

Public warning AFP:Stop spreading unverified reports

From the Mindanao Times (Jun 23): Public warning AFP:Stop spreading unverified reports

THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will impose a stricter implementation on communication security procedures to prevent leaking internal reports that may cause public panic.

Speaking during yesterday’s AFP-PNP press conference, Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, spokesperson of Martial law in Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), also urged the public not to spread unverified information.
Gapay said they have been receiving raw reports on threats and plans of terrorists to attacks major cities in Mindanao as diversionary attacks to ease the pressure in Marawi City.

He said each raw report is being verified by their operating unit, and the information will only be disseminated publicly once it is confirmed.

“Maybe along the way, there were some leaks that cause panic to the civilians,” Gapay said citing the recent spread of false threat report in Metro Manila.

He said they are reviewing their standard operating procedures to avoid the dissemination of raw and unconfirmed reports coming from their end.
Gapay said government security units, such as AFP and Philippine National Police, have corresponding sanctions to violators of communication security procedures. Those who violated the protocol, he said, will face administrative case and the penalty will be based on the gravity of the offense.

He said that they are reminding their personnel not to post sensitive information on social media, particularly on Facebook, to avoid causing false alarm.

With this, Gapay also urged the public not to spread unverified reports, especially sharing such on Facebook.

“We know some of you have already received such information,” Gapay said. “Let’s not forward it immediately.”

He said some sectors who like to create panic in the city may post such false reports.

As much as possible, Gapay said they want a daily “interaction and forum to inform the public on what’s happening.”

Gapay asked the public to always be vigilant so law and order will be maintained.

Mere possession of terror propaganda materials included in proposed law

From the Mindanao Times (Jun 23): Mere possession of terror propaganda materials included in proposed law

LAWMAKERS want to expand the two proposed anti-terror ordinances to include the mere possession of propaganda material.

Councilor Bernard Al-ag said the committee on laws, privileges and ordinances, which he chairs, pushed for the amendment as they will present the measure to the City Council next week for deliberation and apparent approval.

During the committee hearing, it was agreed to include the word “possession” instead of having only the phrase “manufacture and distribution of propaganda material.”
The proposed anti-ISIS ordinance covers the prohibition of the following acts:

membership of ISIS or allied local terrorist groups;

recruiting another person to membership in the ISIS or to its allied local terrorist groups whether that person is recognized or not by the ISIS leadership;

adhering to and professing express support to the ISIS or its allied local terrorist groups;

manufacturing, distributing, and possessing any reading material, propaganda, paraphernalia such as flag, clothing, sticker that are related to ISIS or its allies; and

failing to report ISIS-related activities to the authorities.
If approved, violators will be fined P5,000 and/or will serve one-year imprisonment.
In the second proposed ordinance initially aims to punish the act of leaving suspicious unmarked bags.

But the committee now amended it to “the act of leaving suspicious unmarked and unattended bags.”

Davao City Policy director Alexander Tagum pushed for the amendment as “criminal elements might opt to mark or name their bags” so they could escape liability.

It was also agreed in the committee hearing to give the specified and concrete definition of “public places” in the ordinance, as this should include airports, seaports, malls, parks, hotels, community centers, roads, streets, sidewalks, and all other public places defined by the law.

Councilor Nilo Abellera Jr., who chairs the committee for peace and public safety, said the passage of the ordinance will lessen the reports on unattended bags.

“Maiiwasan ang loko-lokong iwan ng bags,” he said.

It was also found during the committee hearing that Task Force Davao, DCPO, and the Central 911 have responded to more than 100 calls since September last year from the concerned public reporting about suspicious baggages.

Councilor Al-ag said the unmarked bags left in public places is a common problem that many cities in the country experienced.

“It causes a lot of disturbances in the community,” he said.

TFD commander Erwin Neri said the crafting of the ordinances is a welcome development on their end as they are mandated to secure the city against terrorism.

“The ordinances are timely and relevant to prevent terrorism and to lessen false alarms on the public,” he said.

Malaysia tightens border security due to Sayyaf, Maute threats

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jun 23): Malaysia tightens border security due to Sayyaf, Maute threats

Malaysia tightened its security for fear that ISIS militants fighting security forces in the Philippines may escape the government offensive and slip into Sabah.

It also included Abu Sayyaf chieftain and local ISIS leader Isnilon Hapilon, and jihadist militant Abdullah Maute on its wanted list along with other commanders Idang Susukan, Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, Majan Sahidjuan and Salvador Muktadil – all implicated in cross-border kidnappings over the years, according to the Malaysian newspaper The Star.

It said the tight security was ordered by the Eastern Sabah Security Command under Datuk Wan Abdul Bari Abdul Khalid, who also appealed to Malaysian citizens to stay vigilant and report suspicious persons to authorities.

Hapilon and Maute were among a group of jihadist leader who occupied Marawi City in southern Philippines on May 23 in an effort to put up an Islamic State province in the restive Muslim region of Mindanao. Some of the jihadist leaders, including Omar Maute and Malaysian Mahmud bin Ahmad had been reported killed in the clashes, although the military is yet to recover their bodies.

Filipino security officials said Malaysian and other foreign militants are fighting the military in Marawi alongside the local ISIS group. They claimed that security forces had killed over 200 militants, including dozens of foreign fighters, but troops recovered just about 45 bodies. At least 62 soldiers and about two dozen civilians were also killed in the violence that gripped the country and forced President Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.

The United States also sent a P-3 Orion spy plane to help the local military pinpoint hiding places of militants in Marawi. The military said at least 400 militants are still holed out in the besieged city and that 600 civilians remain trapped in Marawi and this is on top of about 240 people, including a Catholic priest, being held by jihadists. Washington sent a small group of Special Forces soldiers to Marawi to help Filipino army commanders in intelligence gathering.

Australia said it will also deploy a pair of spy planes to help the Philippine government in defeating the local ISIS group. It fears that the radical influence of ISIS poses a serious threat to the security of the South East Asian and Asia-Pacific regions.

CPP/NPA-ST: On the NPA Quezon’s military action against the 85th IB in Catanauan

NPA-Southern Tagalog propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 20): On the NPA Quezon’s military action against the 85th IB in Catanauan

Jaime “Ka Diego” Padilla, Spokesperson
NPA-Southern Tagalog (Melito Glor Command)

20 June 2017

The Melito Glor Command–New People’s Army Southern Tagalog extends its revolutionary greetings to the Apolonio Mendoza Command–New People’s Army Quezon for successfully launching its counter tactical offensive last June 18 in Brgy. Ajos, Catanauan, Quezon against elements of the 85th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

The firefight began at around 10:45 PM wherein 10 casualties were accounted on the side of the reactionary government forces. On the other hand, the Red fighters sustained none. Amidst the blatant defeat of the AFP, only 2 casualties, both of whom were corporals, were admitted by the reactionary government; another desperate attempt to cover up their inherent failure.

Prior to this, relentless offensive military operations against the NPA were conducted by 100 armed troops of the 85th IBPA for four consecutive days. Since June 15, numerous peasant communities in Brgy. Ilayang Ilog, Villa Nacaob, Sta. Elena, Mabini, and San Rafael in Lopez town were subjected to human rights abuses such as violent searches, interrogations and harassment that caused terror among the people.

Since Duterte’s all out war declaration last February, the military has conducted offensive actions against the revolutionary forces that has caused casualties on the side of the NPA. These military offensives have persisted and even intensified after the red alert status declaration of the Southern Luzon Command in the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions. And the NPA’s action last June 18 was a response to military offensives by the 85th IBPA as a form of self-defense to defend the people and its ranks against further attacks by the AFP.

As true vanguards of the people’s interest, the NPA will continue with its active defense so long as the AFP persists in putting at risk the lives and interests of the Filipino people. With this, the MGC NPA – ST implores the Filipino people to continue its wide revolutionary support in forwarding the people’s democratic revolution. Only in its victory shall the people truly enjoy genuine peace and prosperity.

CPP/NPA-Palawan: Aksyong Pamamarusa ng BHB-Palawan sa Newington Construction Company

NPA-Palawan propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 20): Aksyong Pamamarusa ng BHB-Palawan sa Newington Construction Company

Salvador Luminoso, Spokesperson
NPA-Palawan (Bienvenido Vallever Command)

20 June 2017

Pinarusahan ng isang yunit ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa ilalim ng BVC ang Newington Construction Company na pag-aari ng pamilyang Gardiola na taga lalawigan ng Batangas. Ang pamamarusa ay inilunsad noong ika-19 ng Hunyo sa pagitan ng ika-10:00 at 10:30 ng gabi sa barangay New Canipo San Vicente Palawan. Isinagawa ang pamamarusa bilang tugon sa mahigpit na kahilingan ng mga mamamayang apektado sa operasyon ng naturang kompanya. Sa pamamarusa ay nasunog at ganap na napinsala ang 4 na dumptruck, 3- backhoe, 1- grader at 1- pison na pag-aari ng Newington nang wala isa mang sibilyan ang nadamay.

Ang Newington ay malaon ng nagpapagamit at kasabwat ng mga kurap na pulitiko upang makakuha ng malaking kontrata sa mga proyektong may kaugnayan sa mga pagawaing pambayan(public works)na proyekto ng nasyunal at lokal na pamahalaan tulad ng mga kalsada, tulay at ibapang katulad nito. Sangkot din ito sa mga illegal quarrying na kung saan ay nakapipinsala sa kalikasan at sa buhay at ari-arian ng mamamayan.

Sa Palawan, ay ganitong mga kaso ang reklamong nakarating sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan na idinulog ng mga taong apektado at biktima ng kompanyang ito sa kanilang walang pakundangang operasyon at bilang tugon ay kagyat na inatasan ang BVCupang agarang isagawa ang pamamarusa.

Sa aksyong ito ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan ay nagpaabot ng pasasalamat ang mamamayan sa lugar na napinsala ng naturang kompanya. Higit na humigpit ang pagtangkilik sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan dahil ito lamang ang hukbong magtataguyod sa kanilang mga demokratikong interes.

Mabuhay ang mga Palaweño!
Mabuhay ang CPP/NPA/NDFP!
Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino!
Mabuhay ang Rebolusyon!

CPP/NPA-Panay: READ: Aksyon Radyo Iloilo’s Interview of Ka Julio Montana, spokesman of Coronacion Chiva Waling-waling Command, NPA about the raid on the Maasin PNP Station on June 18

NPA-Panay interview posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 20):
READ: Aksyon Radyo Iloilo’s Interview of Ka Julio Montana, spokesman of Coronacion Chiva Waling-waling Command, NPA about the raid on the Maasin PNP Station on June 18

Ka Julio Montana, Spokesperson
NPA-Panay (Coronacion Chiva “Waling-Waling” Command)

20 June 2017

AKSYON JOHN PAUL TIA: Why did you raid the Maasin PNP?

KA JULIO MONTANA: The PNP as an institution is part of the state machinery to implement the all-out war against the movement in the whole country. That’s the first. They take part in the implementation of tation of Oplan Kapayapaan against the revolutionary movement. Our attack is more of getting their farmhands from them. The NPA is the army of thhe poor, the firearms are taken with the people’s support, and our armory comes from their institution.

The people have long been complaining about this police station’s extortion and their support for the proliferation of drugs and gambling but they are afraid to speak out. That station is a legitimate target.

JPT: Have you identified the names of these policemen?

KJM: Just ask the people. For our part, we have no right to broadcast that. It is not only in Maasin but in many towns here in Panay that drugs proliferate and illegal gambling is tolerated. The protectors come from their ranks themselves.

JPT: There have been towns confirmed by the PNP in the past that are possible targets of your offensive actions, can we confirm if the following are really your targets – San Joaquin, Miag-ao, Tubungan, Igbaras, Leon, Alimodian, Maasin, Janiuay, Lambunao, Calinog, Passi City, San Enrique, San Rafael and Lemery?

KJM: The PNP as an institution is part of our legitimate military targets. This means that the whole PNP, is part of our military target. Wherever they are, as long as the situation warrants, we will strive to achieve our gains. Not only the PNP but also the AFP, CAFGU, paramilitary, even the leaders of illegal syndicates that deal on drugs, gambling and other crimes are part of NPA targets.

JPT: Before, did the movement have any actions against those who deal in drugs?

KJM: Since 2007 until now, even before Duterte, not only the Napoleon Tumagtang Command but under the Coronacion Chiva Waling-Waling, even the Nonito Aguirre Command, Jose Percival Estocada Command, all continue to campaign against drugs. In Tubungan, the NPA raided a notorious drug dealer’s marijuana plantation and dis-armed him.

JPT: Is the NPA force really this big at present? Was it really 50-60 strong that raided the Maasin PNP?

KJM: I will not divulge the actual number of our members who carried out the offensive. The increase of NPA strength can be attributed the the situation of the people, the system of extreme oppression, poverty and neglect of the regime, that created the NPA recruitment.

JPT: Mostly the youth?

KJM: The NPA is strictly implementing among its ranks to accept those who are 18 years old and above, the age that is most vigorous, that is the army that is daring in defending the people in whatever field of battle.

I wish to correct what [PRO6 DRDO SSupt Christopher] Tambungan said about us stepping on the head of a policeman. In truth, the police were neutralized, they were put on hand-cuffs, made to drop to the ground and their rights as captured enemies were respected. What Tambungan did when he choked the chief is worse than what he says as stepping on the head. We prohibit our forces from hurting any of our targets when they have been neutralized.

JPT: How many policemen were really in the station when you overran it?

KJM: Just ask the policemen who were there at the actual incident. They had many lapses. But what the policemen did was correct when they did not fight to prevent the situation from getting any worse. They knew the municipal hall was already under our control. We greatly respect the policemen who did not fight to minimize casualties. We ensure that in all tactical offensives, the security of the civilians and their property are ascertained, that they will not be harmed.

JPT: You took only the firearms?

KJM: We took only firearms, 11 armalites and 4 pistols and other military equipment such as handheld radios.

JPT: How about the tablets, cellphones and bracelet?

KJM: That’s not true. It is possible some things were taken inadvertently and put in the bags. But if we see in the inventory that personal things were taken, we assure the owners not to worry for these will be returned to you.

JPT: You did not hurt anyone? You fired your weapons?

KJM: A successful operation, that’s one without firing a shot. All our operating groups did was to handcuff them and make them lie on the ground to keep them out of harm’s way. Those stories, those were made up by Tambungan.

JPT: What you call the successful raid, how important is it to the NPA?

KJM: The confiscated weapons will go to our new recruits.

JPT: Is there someone supposedly being subjected to extortion by someone identifying himself as Frank Fernandez? *

KJM:* We really have a comrade named Frank Fernandez in the Negros Island Region. But I want to make it clear that the movement exacts revolutionary tax – from those who have businesses, in infrastructure. The taxes we collect from them go to strengthening our army. The sending of taxation letters, that is done formally and not only through cellphone. There are so many pretenders who use our name.

JPT: Is it possible that Frank Fernandez, is in Negros but he sends letters here to Panay for his revolutionary tax collection?

KJM: That does not happen.

JPT: The military has long been saying you are a spent organization. What show of force are you doing for the military?

KJM: It is the military that is saying that the NPA is a spent force but if you look back, the NPA has already carried out many operations against the AFP that has rendered them many casualties. In truth, they conceal their failure against the increasing strength of the revolutionary movement.

JPT: Is the ordinary policeman in danger now from the movement’s renewed offensives?

KJM: The PNP as a state machinery for all-out war against the movement together with the AFP is part of our legitimate targets for making them account for their crimes in their indiscriminate bombings of the poor, their extrajudicial killings.

CPP/NPA-Quezon: Dalawang Matagumpay na Aksyong Pamamarusa ng NPA sa Quezon

NPA-Quezon propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 21): Dalawang Matagumpay na Aksyong Pamamarusa ng NPA sa Quezon

Ka Cleo del Mundo, Spokesperson
NPA-Quezon (Apolonio Mendoza Command)

21 June 2017

Binabati namin ang mga yunit ng Apolonio Mendoza Command ng New People’s Army na nagsagawa ng matatagumpay na aksyong militar noong gabi ng June 18, 2017.

Ang aksyong militar ay bahagi ng pamamarusa sa kapitalistang kumpanya ng Globe Telecom sa patuloy nitong di-pagkilala sa mga patakaran ng demokratikong gubyernong bayan sa lalawigan. Bago mag-alas otso ng gabi, matapos inyutralisa ang security guard, pinasabog ang mga kagamitang nagpapaandar sa communication tower ng Globe na nasa Bgy. Tuhian sa bayan ng Catanauan.

Bandang 10:30 ng gabi, tinambangan naman ng isa pang yunit ng NPA ang 6×6 trak ng 85th IBPA sa Bgy. Pala-Ajos sa bayan din ng Catanauan. Nasapul ng command detonated explosive ang trak na may lulan ng di-bababa sa 24 na sundalo.

Ayon mismo sa Southern Luzon Command ng Armed Forces of the Philippines, nagtamo sila ng kaswalti sa naturang insidente. Dalawang sundalo ang inamin nilang nasugatan, habang pinabulaanan ito ng mga ulat ng residente at kagawad ng barangay na hindi bababa sa 10 ang sugatan at may isang patay na sundalo.

Taliwas rin sa pahayag ni Major Virgilio Perez, tagapagsalita ng Solcom, walang naganap na palitan ng putok sa pagitan ng sundalo nila at ng mga NPA. Ang putukan na tumagal ng 15-minuto ay indiscriminate firing na nagmula lamang sa mga sundalo para pagmukhain na nagkaroon pa ng labanan.

Wala namang kaswalti sa bahagi ng NPA.

Ang mga aksyong militar ay pagtalima rin ng AMC-NPA-Quezon sa pambansang panawagan na biguin ang all out war ng AFP laban sa rebolusyunaryong kilusan sa ilalim ng Oplan Kapayapaan.

CPP/NPA-Camarines Norte: Magkasunnod na Opensiba ng NPA, Paglaban sa maka-US na AFP

NPA-Camarines Norte propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 21): Magkasunnod na Opensiba ng NPA, Paglaban sa maka-US na AFP

Carlito Cada, Spokesperson
NPA-Camarines Norte (Armando Catapia Command)

23 June 2017

Noong Hunyo 21, 1:02 am, inasolt ng mga Pulang Mandirigma mula sa Armando Catapia Command (NPA-Camarines Norte) ang patrol base ng 902nd Infantry Brigade ng 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, PA sa Barangay Dumagmang, Labo, Camarines Norte. Sa labanang tumagal ng 3 oras at 40 minuto, isa ang napatay at apat ang sugatan sa hanay ng AFP, habang walang kaswalti sa panig ng NPA. Isang K3 machine gun din ang nasamsam mula sa AFP.

Kasunod nito, bandang 6:00 ng umaga, pinasabugan ng command-detonated explosive (CDX) ang 2 trak na may lamang di bababa sa 15 sundalo na magre-reinforce sana sa Barangay Dumagmang. Isinagawa ang demolisyon sa distansyang mga 400 metro mula sa detatsment ng 9th IB sa Barangay Mahawan-hawan, Labo. Nagkaroon ng palitan ng putok na umabot ng 10-15 minuto. Sa hanay ng kaaway, isa ang kumpirmadong patay na pinangalanang Corporal Rey Lota, at apat ang sugatan. Walang kaswalti sa panig ng NPA.

Kaugnay ng paggamit ng CDX, iba ito sa ipinagbabawal sa Ottawa Treaty na landmine na sumasabog kapag nasagi, naapakan o nadaanan. Ang CDX na ginagamit ng NPA ay sumasabog lang kapag pinindot ng nakatalagang bomber ang trigger ng blasting machine. Kaya nasusuri muna ng kumand ang sitwasyon bago i-atas ang pagpapasabog ng bomba. Lehitimong sandata ito sa digmaan, di tulad ng airstrikes ng AFP, na walang pinipili.

Ang mga opensibang ito ay bahagi ng paglaban ng Armando Catapia Command sa patuloy na all-out-war na kampanya ng Armed Forces of the Philippines at ang itinutulak nitong Batas Militar, na nagbigay daan sa panghihimasok ng US sa Mindanao. Ang pagtindi ng opensibang operasyon ng maka-US na AFP sa all-out-war ay nagresulta sa kaliwa’t kanang paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Sa pagdeklara ng Batas Militar, binigyan ng higit pang kapangyarihan ang utak-pulburang AFP sa pagpapatuloy ng panunupil at pandarahas nito sa mamamayan.

Upang salagin ang pasismo ng AFP at depensahan ang masa, inatasan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan na maglunsad ng paparaming taktikal na opensiba. Napatunayang walang ibang masasandigan ang masa kundi ang rebolusyonaryong hukbo nito, lalo pa’t ipinakita ni Duterte na siya’y sunud-sunuran na lamang sa AFP na haligi ng US sa Pilipinas.

Nananawagan ang Armando Catapia Command sa lahat ng yunit nito na ipagpatuloy ang paglunsad ng taktikal na opensiba upang itaguyod ang karapatan at interes ng masa. Sa pamamagitan ng pagpapalakas ng rebolusyonaryong armadong pakikibaka, lumalakas din ang kapangyarihan ng masa upang itaguyod ang kanilang karapatan upang kamtin ang kalayaan at kapayapaang nararapat na sa kanila.

CPP/Sison: JMS on poll survey firms like Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia

Propaganda statement by Jose Maria Sison posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 21): JMS on poll survey firms like Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia

Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairperson
Communist Party of the Philippines

21 June 2017

The most unfair and stupid thing that opinion poll survey firms like Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia is to ask at random 1000 to 4000 or even less people whether they trust or not the revolutionary forces like the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

In the first place, people who sympathize with the revolutionary forces do not trust SWS and Pulse Asia poll surveyors and distrust them as possibly intelligence and psywar agents of the reactionary state. Subjecting the revolutionary forces to poll surveys premised on how good and just is the rotten ruling system is unfair and stupid and is blatantly cheap propaganda.

Those who own and control the SWS and those who hire them have long poisoned the political environment with the notion that the revolutionary forces are evil and can be trusted only if they are destroyed militarily and surrender in violation of the revolutionary cause of the oppressed and exploited people.

Those spreading distrust for the revolutionary forces are trying to spoil the peace negotiations and inflame the civil war. They harp on the point that the revolutionary cannot be trusted and that the reactionary state must continue to carry out an all-out war policy.

So be it, that is their self-fulfilling prophecy, because they are not interested in social, economic, political and constitutional reforms but merely in a protracted and indefinite ceasefire agreement as a device for cooptation, capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary forces and the people.

CPP/Ang Bayan: Editorial - Heed the cries of Marawi and Mindanao

Propaganda Editorial from the English edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 21): Editorial - Heed the cries of Marawi and Mindanao

Ang Bayan, Editorial
Communist Party of the Philippines

21 June 2017

As the AFP siege and occupation of Marawi and the imposition of martial law in the entire Mindanao drag out, the fog of disinformation and deception grows thicker. Military officials, Duterte and his spokesmen and instigators, daily weave tall tales that seek to bury the truth.

They cook up all sorts of stories about Marawi and control the flow of information. Gun in hand, the AFP issues threats against anyone who will release information, through the media or the internet, that they deem damaging to their image or helping those forces they call enemies or rebels.

It is the task of the revolutionary movement to unearth and reveal the truth about the siege and destruction of Marawi as well as about the imposition of Mindanao martial law which the Duterte regime, the AFP and the US seek to bury.

The war which Duterte and the AFP brought to Marawi City is styled as a war against the so-called Maute Group. Duterte himself claims that the Mautes are involved in drugs, are terrorists or “ISIS.”

In fact, the war was ignited after the AFP soldiers raided the city of Marawi on May 23. They were part of an operation believed to be run by the US military to capture “foreign terrorist” Abu Sayyaf-leader Isnilon Hapilon and pocket the $5 million reward money. Like the 2015 botched Mamasapano operation, the deluge of soldiers in Marawi City was met with resistance by various armed Moro groups, including the Mautes, a prominent family from Butig, Lanao del Sur.

Almost a month has passed since the AFP besieged Marawi, yet it has failed to crush what it calls a “small terrorist group.” In war, a “small” group cannot persist in continuous battle if it has no broad support among other armed groups, leaders and people in the area.

For some time now, armed groups have been coming to Marawi, center of Moro culture and commerce. These are among the emerging Moro groups who wish to pursue the Bangsamoro armed revolution. Some armed groups, like the Mautes, once belonged to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), an organization whose leaders have declared they will no longer wage war.

Some of these groups are furious at the US military and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which they denounce for meddling in local politics. The GRP-AFP-US stoke armed rivalries among clans to divide the Moros and weaken their resistance. US military presence has been building up since 2003 when the US declared the Bangsamoro area as the “second front in the war against terror.”

Arming themselves is the Moro people’s response to their continuing national oppression under the GRP. The Moro people continue to be subjected to the GRP’s duplicity, oppression, violence, rape, punishment and dispossession through its men in the AFP.

Many of these groups are dismayed at the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) being
crafted by the GRP and MILF and some groups in the MNLF. Among the key issues confronting the Moro people is the question of Bangsamoro resources. Hundreds of hectares of land are being coveted by foreign big capitalists and their local partners to turn into plantations.

The Duterte regime is pushing for BBL amendments to attract the Moros to
surrender their arms and subsume themselves to the GRP, AFP and US military. A bloody war, like the destruction of Marawi, is what Duterte promises to those who would not unite with his plan.

The various armed Moro groups emerging are being brought together in various ways by Islam and the Shari’a Law (like the MILF before). Some of their leaders look up to the ISIS (in the Middle East), a group supported and funded by the US to overthrow the elected Assad government in Syria. But for the armed Moro groups, the basic issue behind their taking up of arms is the struggle against oppression and for self-determination.

Like the imperialists, the Duterte regime is fanning “black scare” or Islamophobia (fear of Islam) to justify the oppression of the Moros and obscure their socio-political issues. Duterte labels the present Moro armed resistance as “extremism” even when they have long waged armed struggle for their welfare and rights.

Even without solid basis (except for flying the black flag which is the
universal symbol of Islam), he claims the armed fighters are under the ISIS. Muslims are automatically suspected of “terrorism.” Moro communities in Davao City and in Manila are subjected to surveillance. Muslims in Marawi are subjected to AFP stringent restrictions.

Not even Duterte can deny that the prolonged resistance in Marawi indicates the unity of the Moro people and the armed groups. This is being buried by supposed reports of armed attacks against civilians. Such attacks should be denounced, if true. To gain the people’s support, one must avoid harming civilians and train weapons only against the armed enemies.

Duterte insists that because of “extremism”, a communal war among clans is inevitable. On the contrary, the war ignited by Duterte in Marawi will only bring about greater unity among the Moro people and will push them to open another chapter in the armed struggle for their right to self-determination.

MARTIAL LAW TRAMPLES on the rights of millions of people. Cases of police and military abuses are on the rise. The people are fed up with restrictions against their freedoms and denial of their rights. Under martial law, the AFP’s all-out war against the people has worsened.

The Party strongly denounces the Duterte regime for the US and AFP’s relentless bombing and destruction of Marawi. People’s homes have been plundered and destroyed. The AFP insists only 26 civilians have been killed, while there are reports stating that at least one thousand bodies have been brought to funeral homes.

The Duterte-AFP-US siege of Marawi has resulted in a grave humanitarian crisis. More than three hundred thousand from the city and neighboring towns have been forced to evacuate and currently are without homes or livelihood.

Duterte has virtually unleashed a genocide against the Maranaos and Moros of Marawi. With Mindanao martial law powers, Duterte has fed Marawi to his wild beasts in the AFP hoping to tame the military. The banner of the “war against terror” which Duterte raised is now being used by the US to expand its presence and intervention in the Philippines.

Duterte has declared his plan to impose martial law across the country. The Party and entire revolutionary movement will oppose this rigorously.

The broad masses in Marawi demand justice for all the lives killed by the bombs and cannons and for all their stolen possessions. The Filipino and Moro people must make the Duterte regime account for all the destruction dealt in Marawi.

Everything must be done to help the people of Marawi during their evacuation and in their struggle to return to their city; unite and join their struggle to be justly recompensed for all the damages resulting from the siege of their city.

The Party calls on the entire Filipino and Moro people: Heed the cries of Marawi and Mindanao. End the AFP’s siege and occupation of Marawi! End martial law in Mindanao! Pull out AFP and American troops from Marawi! Make Duterte, the US and AFP pay for all their crimes against the Moro people!

NDF/NDF-NEMR: The declaration that 75% of NPA are Lumad is a big lie and deceitful

NDF-Northeast Mindanao Region propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Jun 20): The declaration that 75% of NPA are Lumad is a big lie and deceitful  

June 20, 2017

During his visit to Agusan del Norte last June 17, 2017, the US-Duterte regime declared that 75% of NPA members are Lumad. Thus, he said, attention should be given to the Lumad to suppress “insurgency” in Caraga, which continue to be the primary problem of the region. He tried to entice the Lumad to surrender with integration into the reactionary army.

The statement is a big lie, deceitful and provokes further attacks against the Lumad people! It is a lie because the Lumad people are a minority in terms of population. They only make up close to 7% of the entire population of Caraga and are concentrated in far flung mountain areas of the region. In addition, the NPA operates in a large section of the mountains, plains, highways, coastal areas and town centers of the region’s five provinces and are the sources of Red fighter recruits. Thus, the Lumad people cannot comprise the larger number of members of the NPA-NEMR.

It is deceptive and provokes further attacks against the Lumad people as it is a component of the psychological operation of the US-Duterte regime to confuse, divide and pit the Lumad people against each other. The resources within the ancestral lands of the Lumad people are being targeted by imperialists and local ruling classes. This is the reason why it connives to weaken the legitimate struggle of the Lumad people to defend ancestral lands constantly threatened by extensive land grabbing for large scale mining and plantations.

Duterte has offered the lands of Caraga and the entire island of Mindanao, particularly the ancestral lands of the Lumad and Moro people, for the projects and plans of foreign investors. In fact, these projects and plans are connected with the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the amplification of the unrest in Marawi City.

Duterte’s statement about the Lumad is clearly a perpetuation of the propaganda and plan of the AFP under the despised Oplan Bayanihan of the US-Aquino regime. It brutally attacks and destroys the unity of Lumad communities in order to annihilate the NPA and the revolutionary movement. It resulted to widespread evacuations like what happened with the Lianga Massacre, last September 1, 2015; indiscriminate bombings near communities and farms, and widespread shooting, killing and arrests of Lumad leaders and activists.

The US-Duterte regime’s Oplan Kalayaan will again employ the same actions against the revolutionary movement. The “whole of nation initiative” combined with brutal military campaigns, or mobilizing the entire nation to focus on getting the minds, support and mobilizing the people against the revolutionary movement.

It is similar to the “fish and water” method. The people are apparently the water and the NPA, the fish. Poison the water to kill the fish. The enemy have been using violence and deceit to “drain the water.” They are using this action now against the Lumad people.

Aside from combat operations, we expect that the US-Duterte regime will further intensify COPD and the establishment of detachments in Lumad areas and forcibly recruit the Lumad people to become CAA/ CAFGU. And it will continue to support the paramilitaries among the Lumad, like the Magahat, to terrorize their own tribe. The corrupt Lumad leaders will be used to entice the Lumad people from resisting. This will facilitate the entry of large imperialist mines and oil palm, rubber and banana plantations and others, that destroy the environment, livelihood and lives of the Lumad and the people in the region.

There is no other way then, to free the Lumad people from oppression and exploitation and effectively defend ancestral land, but to join the New People’s Army in armed struggle. The Lumad people must always raise their political consciousness and unity to evade the schemes of the enemy to deceive and divide their ranks.

Love live the fighting Lumad people!

Ka Maria Malaya

CPP/NDF: CPP welcomes GRP commitment to continue talks; calls for immediate end to destruction of Marawi and Mindanao Martial Law

CPP propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Jun 21): CPP welcomes GRP commitment to continue talks; calls for immediate end to destruction of Marawi and Mindanao Martial Law  

Communist Party of the Philippines
June 19, 2017

The Party acknowledges the June 17 statement of GRP Negotiating Panel Chief Silvestre Bello III. The commitment of the GRP expressed therein to proceed with peace negotiations with the NDFP is a welcome development and is well appreciated by the revolutionary forces.

The Party acknowledges as well the GRP’s recommitment of its adherence to all previously signed agreements including the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), a critical element in peace talks which enables NDFP negotiators and personnel to freely travel and participate in talks without threat of arrest or reprisal.

(Photo from

The Party anticipates the fifth round of peace negotiations to resume in around two or three months providing sufficient time for preparations to be undertaken by the reciprocal groups and committees to thresh out the draft agreements, especially on socio-economic and political and constitutional reforms.

The NDFP has reiterated its declaration to stand firmly against terrorism and terrorist acts which intimidate, terrorize, harm and murder civilians solely or mainly.

To encourage the continuation of peace talks, the NDFP Negotiating Panel has recommended to the CPP to order NPA units in Mindanao to refrain from carrying out offensive operations against GRP forces provided that the GRP order the AFP and PNP to likewise refrain from carrying out offensive operations against the NPA and people’s militias, and that the rights and interests of the masses and communities are respected and promoted. Action on the NDFP recommendation can be undertaken once conditions for it exist concretely.

The Party acknowledges the GRP chief negotiator’s declaration for the GRP not to undertake offensive operations against the New People’s Army. Presently, GRP military, police and paramilitary forces in Mindanao remain on the offensive mode, carrying out reconnaisance, patrol and search and destroy operations against the NPA and the revolutionary masses.

According to the Mindanao-based commands of the NPA, AFP offensive operations against the NPA have heightened since the declaration of martial law and are currently ongoing in Davao Oriental, Compostela Valley, Davao City, Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Bukidnon, Maguindanao, Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Surigao del Norte and still other Mindanao provinces.

The CPP reiterates the Filipino people’s demand for the Duterte regime to withdraw its February 2017 all out war policy order and immediately lift martial law in Mindanao. The rights of millions of people have been violated. Military and police abuses are on the rise. The people demand an end to the restrictions against their freedoms, as well as and end to all military abuses and attacks against human rights.

The Party denounces the Duterte regime and the AFP for the incessant US military-supported aerial bombardment and destruction of Marawi City which has forced almost its entire population to evacuate. Duterte is determined to flatten Marawi to the ground by dropping bombs and unleashing his dogs of war to wreak havoc and loot the people’s homes and shops for war booty.

A humanitarian crisis has ensued with more than three hundred thousand people left without homes and cramped in evacuation centers with no livelihood or resources. The Party and NPA hear the pleas of the people of Marawi and enjoin all forces to unite and extend to them all possible material support and help them stand up, amplify their voices and advance their cause.

The revolutionary forces echoes the demand of the people of Marawi for an end to AFP aerial bombardment and occupation of their homes; for the various armed groups to end attacks against civilians; for US forces to leave; for the Duterte regime to withdraw military troops in their area; and allow the processes of the Moro people to resolve the raging local conflicts.

MILF: Malacañang Palace Declares June 26 As Regular Holiday In Observance Of Eid’l Fitr

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jun 23): Malacañang Palace Declares June 26 As Regular Holiday In Observance Of Eid’l Fitr

MILF Implementing Panels and BTC commissioners are invited on the occasion of Eid'l Fitr 2017 in Malacañang Palace.

Malacañang Palace through Proclamation Number 235 has declared Monday, June 26, 2017 as regular holiday throughout the country in observance of Eid’l Fitr, the feast which marks the end of fasting in the month of Ramadhan.

"The entire Filipino nation should have the full opportunity to join their Muslim brothers and sisters in peace and harmony in the observance of Eid'l Fitr," the proclamation stated.

Eid’l Fitr is one of the two holidays celebrated by Muslims all over the world. The other one is Eid’l Adha, a feast which marks the culmination of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

The declaration was recommended by the National Commission of Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) aimed “to bring religious and cultural significance as well as national consciousness on the occasion.”

During Ramadhan Muslims fast abstaining from drinking, eating and indulging in sexual acts that starts shortly before the break of dawn till sunset.

They are also more engaged in praying, meditating, giving charity, and seeking forgiveness from the Almighty.

Ramadhan is very significant for the Muslims for it was in this month when the Holy Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w).

It is the highlight of Eid’l Fitr where Muslims gather for a morning congregational prayer held in open spaces or mosques wearing their best clothes.

MILF: Filipino Muslims Trust MILF, MNLF: SWS

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jun 23): Filipino Muslims Trust MILF, MNLF: SWS

A report by Philstar on June 22 says that a majority of Filipino Muslims have much trust in the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) while they distrust the Abu Sayyaf Group, a Social Weather Stations survey result released Monday said.

The survey conducted from March 25 to 28 showed that the net trusting rating of the MILF was an excellent +74 and the rating of the MNLF was a very good +50 among Muslims.

The MILF has been engaged in peace negotiations with the government since 1997 and have signed two peace agreements, the Frameworks Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) in 2012, and the Comprehensive Agreement (CAB) on the Bangsamoro in 2014.

On the basis of the CAB, a Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that crafted a draft Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was created by the previous administration of Pres. Noynoy Aquino but failed to pass by the 16th Congress.

An expanded BTC was created by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016 with 21 members and has recently completed a new draft BBL to be submitted to the president next week.

BTC Chair and MILF 1st Vice Chairman Ghazali Jaaafar said that the new draft BBL is ‘democratic’ and ‘inclusive’ with all stakeholders has membership in the proposed Bangsamoro Parliament.

The new BTC has also conducted consultations with LGU’s, IP’s, women, Youth, Christian religious leaders, etc. and has gone as far as Tawi-Tawi for consultation.

Malacañang said that Pres. Duterte will sign the draft BBL during the Eid but will not certify it as ‘urgent’ pending the outcome of the GRP-MNLF (Misuari) peace negotiations that is yet to formally kick-off.

In a recent statement by Pres. Duterte, he said that there will be a Bangsamoro Homeland in three (3) years from now.

Once passed by congress and ratified in a plebiscite, the BBL will establish a new political entity called Bangsamoro that is seen to finally address the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people.

MILF: BBL To Be Submitted To Palace On June 28

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jun 22): BBL To Be Submitted To Palace On June 28

The proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) which was formally signed by all commissioners of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), except one, last June 16, will be submitted to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on June 28, a source at the BTC told Luwaran early today.
The submission will take place right at the presidential palace in Manila with no less than the president himself receiving the official copy of the BBL.

The first schedule for this submission was on June 16 but the president was still on leave reportedly due to the Marawi City crisis which he had to attend to hands-on.

To make the event doubly significant, according to the source, will be the hosting of Eid’l Fit’r celebration, also in the Palace, marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. All the 20 commissioners expressed their intention to attend this historic occasion.

Commissioner Samira Gutoc, who resigned earlier, was the only commissioner who did not affix her signature to the BBL, citing the declaration of martial law in Mindanao and the alleged comments of the president on the issue of rape, as reasons.

However, no official letter was reportedly sent by the lady commissioner to BTC Chair Ghazali Jaafar stating her resignation.

In the previous BTC, Johaira Wahab, also a lady commissioner, did not sign the first BBL. No reason was cited except that she already resigned earlier by joining the Department of Foreign Affairs after passing the foreign affairs career examination.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Ibrahim Ali, who is also a member of the MILF central committee, told Luwaran that the passage into law of the BBL will greatly give those pushing for the peaceful resolution of the conflict the moral high ground over those who are advocating for the use of force including those using “terrorism” to solve this conflict.

“Right now,” he explained, “the MILF is finding hard time in combatting the harsh and radical stance of the BIFF, Abu Sayyaf and the Maute group.”

“Their advocacy is very attractive to the youth and those frustrated over the failure of government to deliver the BBL.”

Asked to comment on the chance of BBL passing during the current administration, he said, “very great.” He did not elaborate.

DWDD: NPA Ambush 2 Civilians in Calatrava

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jun 22): NPA Ambush 2 Civilians in Calatrava


CAMP GERONA, Murcia, Negros Occidental – A hacienda owner and his driver were killed in an ambush staged by New People’s Army in Barangay Minapasok, Calatrava, Negros Occidental on Thursday morning, June 22, 2017 6:50 O’clock.

According to a witness, the victim identified as Bebing Lumayno, owner of sugar cane plantations at Barangay Bug-ang,Toboso and Barangay Minapasok together with his driver identified as Danilo Braga was on his way to a sugar plantation in Minapasok on board his Isuzu D-Max pick-up when fired several times by more or less twelve NPAs.

The assailants immediately fled from the crime scene towards Barangay Cambayobo while boisterously shouted “Mabuhay ang NPA!” (Long live NPA!), leaving the lifeless bodies of the victims, witness added.
Meanwhile, LTC Darell Bañez, Commander of the Army’s 62nd Infantry Battalion that covers Northern Negros including the municipality of Calatrava immediately dispatched troops in response to a text message from a concerned civilian regarding the presence of armed men believed to be members of the New People’s Army at Sitio Mahusay, Barangay Cambayobo, Calatrava.

As they approached the reported area at about 10:30 O’clock, the troops encountered at least twelve (12) NPAs of Squad 3, SDG Galaxy Platoon under @ Saggy. After a 15-minute fire fight, the enemy withdrew towards different directions.

Recovered from the encounter site were one cal. 45 pistol, hand grenade, NPA flags, war materials and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

With these developments, LTC Bañez believes that the two incidents are connected and the killing of Lumayno was a part of the CPP/NPA’s desperate move to sow fear to the masses specially, land owners and force them to yield to their extortion demands.

LTC Bañez condemned the killing of the victims as a clear violation of Human Rights. He also tagged the CPP/NPA as anti-development, anti-people, anti-morals, anti-spirituals and anti-peace, and that their mere presence already creates physical and psychological fear on the people.

“The tip off from the civilians only manifest that they are already tired of the CPP-NPA’s extortion activities and terroristic acts.” LTC Bañez said.

He also called upon the people to do the same courageous act of reporting the presence of the Communist Terrorists to put an end to the communist insurgency in the area.

PH intensifies fight vs terror as foreign terrorists move to Asia

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 22): PH intensifies fight vs terror as foreign terrorists move to Asia

The Philippines is intensifying its cooperation with Indonesia and Malaysia in the fight against terrorism, as terrorists who may be ousted from Mosul in Iraq are expected to move to Asia, said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año.

Año told reporters they were closely monitoring the situation amid indication there were attempts from foreign fighters to come to the Philippines.

He noted that allied forces in Mosul are forecasting to achieve victory over Islamic States (ISIS) in six months.

“So we expect that those who will be displaced there will move to Asia. And because of the Marawi crisis, parang magnet itong Pilipinas (Philippines can be the terrorists’ magnet),” he said on the sidelines of trilateral security meeting between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines held here Thursday.

Año bared that Philippine authorities have monitored 40 foreign terrorists across the country, half of which are Indonesians. The remaining 20 are Malaysians, Saudis and Yemenis.

To jointly combat terrorism, the AFP chief said the three countries are sharing counterterrorism information.

Año noted Malaysians and Indonesians were normally recruited by the ISIS as the group wanted to set up a base in Southeast Asia.

He added the launching of trilateral maritime patrol was aimed at countering terrorism.

The joint maritime operations by Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines to fight transnational crimes and terrorism in the Sulu Sea were launched last Monday in Tarakan, North Kalimantan, Indonesia.

“Not only intelligence, sharing information but (also) joint training. There is an ongoing joint training on counterterrorism and HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief),” Año added.

The AFP chief also stressed there was no need for assistance from Indonesian and Malaysian troops for the Marawi fighting.

“What is only important here is the information sharing and probably supporting each other for example helping us to observe their ways in order for us to legislate laws that will help us,” Año added.

AFP ready for any retaliatory attacks

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 22): AFP ready for any retaliatory attacks

With the military soon-to-conclude its operations against Maute Group remnants in Marawi City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Thursday announced it has prepared all of its units for possible retaliatory attacks by ISIS and other terror groups.

"There are always such threats, and our answer is that we're ready to respond," said AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla in Filipino.

However, he said they are still to detect or monitor such threats from any terrorist cell or group.

"They (Maute Group and their allies) are still very much in the defensive, they are all locked there (in Marawi City) and we have not monitored any (movement that would indicate that they are planning attacks against other civilian and military targets)," Padilla disclosed.

And as the Marawi City crisis reaches its first month anniversary Friday, he admitted that totally neutralizing the remaining terrorists is complicated engagement because of the urban terrain with the enemy well aware of their positional advantage.

Padilla cited the cases of military units in the Middle East, despite their firepower and numerical superiority, of having extreme difficulty in combating ISIS terrorists when it comes to the urban setting.

"In the case (of) the Battle of Mosul (in Iraq), it is still ongoing up to now, (having) started October 2016 and it not yet finished yet (despite) been going on for eight months. In Libya (which conducted operations against) ISIS/Daesh (terrorists) the battle started May 12 and ended only last Nov. 6, so it lasted over six months, in the Battle of Ramadi where American and Iraqi militaries combined to fight the ISIS terrorists, the operation started April and ended only on November 2006 and during the Second Battle of Fallujah (where the Iraqi, American and British forces combined) against Al-Qaeda terrorists, operations lasted Nov. 7 up to Dec. 23, 2004," he added.

"So if you will compare it to this current and ongoing engagement, the terrain is very much the same, and we are doing this very carefully we have compounding complex of issues, presence of hostages, residents in their homes refusing to leave, and continued discovery of improvised explosive devices, (necessitating) the door-to-door clearing operations our soldiers must practice," Padilla pointed out.

PH, Indonesia, Malaysia intensify cooperation vs terrorism, extremism

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 22): PH, Indonesia, Malaysia intensify cooperation vs terrorism, extremism

The Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia on Thursday agreed to intensify their efforts and cooperation in addressing terrorism and violent extremism confronting the region.

In a joint statement read by Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, foreign ministers of the three countries decided to task their senior officials to consider the proposed Plan of Action to resolve root causes of extremism.

They said these include but not limited to poverty, narcotics or illegal drugs, crime and social injustice.

The three countries will enhance the intelligence and information sharing among all security and intelligence agencies on “potential, imminent and real threats.”

In particular, they will work to stop the flow of terrorist financing and contain the spread of terrorism and terrorism-related content in the cyberspace, particularly in social media.

Foreign ministers further said their countries intend to prevent and suppress the terrorist exploitation of information and communication technology and the dissemination of terrorist messages.

Furthermore, they raised concern over the recent incidents of terrorism and violent extremism in their countries, and reaffirmed their desire to work together to jointly develop and implement counter-terrorism measures and strategies.

The meeting reaffirmed their governments’ commitment to effectively address existing as well as emerging transnational challenges and threats that have the potential to undermine the stability and well-being of countries in the region.

Indonesian Foreign Affairs Minister Retno Marsudi said the threat that the region was facing was imminent.

“No action is not an option. Thus, it is incumbent upon us to embark on taking concrete actions,” she said.

Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato Sri Anifah Haji Aman noted that challenges posed by terrorism differed from those in the past.

“In the past, terrorists maintain a sense of self-preservation unlike today. It is far more difficult to stop people who are willing to die. Now, secondly, technology has enabled terrorism to spread their message faster and more promptly than ever before,” he said.

For his part, Cayetano said their joint action to combat terrorism would be raised during the ASEAN Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) in October.

The three countries held trilateral security meeting here Thursday.

The Ministers agreed that their next meeting will be held in Indonesia in October 2017.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

WATCH | BIFF ends school occupation in Cotabato village but fresh fighting reported

From InterAksyon (Jun 22): WATCH | BIFF ends school occupation in Cotabato village but fresh fighting reported

Military armored vehicles patrol the national highway in North Cotabato on Wednesday, hours after BIFF members occupied a school and were reported to have taken hostages as they fled. DENNIS ARCON, INTERAKSYON

Tension continues to prevail over Pigcawayan town in North Cotabato hours after an attack by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who were also reported as having taken some hostages as they retreated.

Past 2 p.m. Wednesday (June 21), tension flared anew after the BIFF again figured in an encounter with soldiers, this time in a remote village in Midsayap town.

The military has gone on full alert in the entire North Cotabato, with military armored vehicles seen patrolling major roads, especially near the entry and exit points of Cotabato City.

According to a report by 6th ID Spokesperson Capt. Arvin Encinas, at least 50 armed BIFF members attacked Barangay Malagakit at 5 a.m. Wednesday. The attackers are under Kumander Abunawas, OB 10, Abu Saide and Sala, all sub-leaders of Kumander Bunggos.

Still unconfirmed reports said 15 civilians were still being held by the BIFF at the Malagakit Elementary School.

Some 100 families fled the fighting and took refuge at the Municipal Plaza.

One Cafgu member was wounded in the attack.

Despite the violence, the national highway remains passable, the military said.

BIFF withdraws

Earlier, the military said, BIFF members who occupied a village school in Pigcawayan town early Wednesday morning have withdrawn with no reports of casualties.

“It’s already resolved,” Armed Forces spokesman Brigadier General Restituto Padilla told reporters. “They’ve withdrawn, they are no longer there. The school area is again safe.”

However, Padilla also said the military was investigating whether five civilians were still being held by the militants, adding no children had been taken hostage.

Earlier, a spokesman for the gunmen said they had taken civilians to a safe place after a gunfight erupted with troops and did not intend to hold them.

Chief Inspector Reylan Mamon, Pigcawayan police chief, earlier said villagers had been trapped by the clash that erupted when the gunmen occupied the school around 5:45 a.m.

The BIFF, which broke away from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front almost a decade go, is one of the armed groups in Mindanao that government claims have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Mindanao has been under martial law since May 23, when fighting broke out in Marawi City between government forces and extremist gunmen from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups, who have been joined by a number of foreign terrorists.


Military: Islamist fighters in Marawi hemmed within 1 sq-km enclave

From InterAksyon (Jun 22): Military: Islamist fighters in Marawi hemmed within 1 sq-km enclave

air strike blast Marawi

Debris and fire is seen after an OV-10 Bronco aircraft released a bomb, during an airstrike, as government forces continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over large parts of Marawi City, Philippines June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco

Islamist militants holed up in a southern Philippines town have been cornered and their firepower is flagging, the military said on Thursday, as the five-week battle for control of Marawi City raged on.

Joint Task Force Marawi spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo-Ar Herrera said on Thursday the number of militants holding out in Marawi had dwindled to “a little over 100”.

Lt. Col. Christopher Tampus said: “Their area has been reduced to 1 km square only.” Tampus’ troops are blocking escape routes across bridges spanning a river to the west of the militants.

“Our forces are coming from the east and the north and we are blocking the three bridges,” he said.

Tampus told reporters that the militants were still using snipers who were firing from “strategic nests” in schools and mosques, and homemade bombs were hampering the progress of Philippine troops as they advanced house by house.

He said he had seen at least five civilians dressed in black who appeared to have been forced to stand in the street as human shields.

Despite signs that the insurgents are now on the back foot, Southeast Asian governments are worried that the siege could be just the prelude to further violence as the ultra-radical Islamic State group tries to establish a foothold in their region.

Jolted by the May 23 attack on Marawi, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines have launched joint patrols to control the movement of militants across their archipelagic region and their foreign ministers gathered in Manila on Thursday for talks.

Malaysia is worried that militants who are flushed out of Marawi City by the fighting may try to cross from the Philippines to its eastern state of Sabah.

“We fear that they may enter the country disguised as illegal immigrants or foreign fishermen,” said Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) chief Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid, according to state news agency Bernama.

It said Esscom had drawn up a “wanted” list that included two militants who spearheaded the attempt to capture Marawi.

They are Abu Sayyaf group leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was proclaimed by Islamic State last year as its “emir” of Southeast Asia, and Abdullah Maute, whose followers accounted for a large number of the estimated 400-500 fighters who overran part of the town, killing Christians and taking dozens of civilians hostage.

The fighting in Marawi broke out on May 23.

According to official estimates late on Wednesday, 369 people have been killed during the month of hostilities, three-quarters of them militants. The number of security forces and civilians killed stood at 67 and 26, respectively.

Counting the dead in Marawi: of 384, at least 50 civilian deaths confirmed

From MindaNews (Jun 21): Counting the dead in Marawi: of 384, at least 50 civilian deaths confirmed 

The death toll in the month-long clashes between government forces and the Maute Group has risen to 384, at least 50 of them civilians. This, as the Marawi Crisis entered Day 30 on Wednesday, June 21,

At the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacanang on Wednesday, Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said 268 terrorists, 66 government forces and 26 civilians had been killed, for a total of 360. Add to that 24 evacuees who died in hospitals, according to Health Secretary Paulyn Jean Ubial, and the grand total as of June 21 is 384.

Of 384, however, only 110 dead bodies have been accounted for: 66 government forces (63 soldiers, three police officers), the 24 evacuees who died in hospitals in Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte and 20 of the 26 civilians allegedly “killed by the terrorists” whose dead bodies were brought to the Capin Funeral Homes in Iligan City between May 27 and June 9.

Cemetery workers place the last of the 11 coffins containing the bodies of still unidentified victims in the Marawi City siege in their final resting place at the cemetery in Barangay Dalipuga, Iligan City. The interment was attended mainly by local government employees and the media. MindaNews photo by Bobby Timonera

Nine of the bodies had been claimed by relatives while the remaining 11 were buried at the San Roque Cemetery in Barangay Dalipuga also in Iligan on June 15, after they were processed (including taking of tissue samplings for DNA matching) and tagged by the Philippine National Police’s Scene of the Crime Operatives.

Wounded In Action; terrorists killed

The number of soldiers wounded in action is no longer mentioned during press briefings. But on June 14, Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, in a statement denying reports they had ordered the bombing of mosques, said, “that’s the reason why I had more than 50 KIAs (killed in action) and 297 WIAs (wounded in action) because of our extremely restrictive rules of engagements. He said mosques are “no fire areas.”

President Rodrigo Duterte pins medals and gives away phones and Armscor Caliber .45 pistols to 79 more soldiers wounded in action (WIA) in the fight against the Maute Group in Marawi City at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital on Tuesday June 20, 2017. Each soldier wounded in action also receives a P100,000 check and P10,000 cash. On June 11, Duterte also pinned medals on 84 WIA in Marawi in the same hospital. MindaNews photo by FROILAN O. GALLARDO

In the early days of the still ongoing war, the military spokespersons — Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla in Manila and Lt. Col. Jo-Ar-Herrera in Marawi — would mention the number of terrorists killed, in two categories: “confirmed by body count” and “confirmed by eyewitness” accounts, e.g. 42 body count, the rest based on eyewitness accounts.

On the second week of the clashes, the military spokespersons stopped mentioning categories, just numbers.

The last “body count” of slain terrorists was on May 31, when the military reported 89 terrorists killed, 42 of them “confirmed by body count” and 47 “confirmed by eye witnesses.”

There is no way of confirming exactly how many terrorists have been killed since May 23. The 268 slain terrorists reported as of June 21, is a number claimed by the military.

Trapped / Hostaged

On June 9, as air strikes against the Maute Group in Marawi’s conflict zone intensified, the Provincial Crisis Management Committee (PCMC) spent Day 18 of the Marawi Crisis meeting with agencies to prepare for the retrieval of the dead in the conflict zone once the military declares these areas cleared.

Volunteer rescuers were also gathered to attend a crash course on retrieving dead bodies, conducted by the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Philippine Red Cross.

Lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, PCMC Coordinator and member of the Secretariat, told MindaNews then that while conducting rescue operations to save lives remains the priority, “we are also conscious of the fact that the fighting has dragged on for a long time and as the day passes by, we have to contend with the reality that the chances of survival especially of those who have been injured decreases.”

Sinarimbo said there is a need to “calibrate our preparation as we may need to deploy for retrieval, which is why we are also training our rescue teams.”

No, this is not Aleppo. This is Marawi City, Sunday morning, 04 June 2017. A member of the Joint Coordinating, Monitoring, and Assistance Center of the GPH-MILF Peace Corridor assists an elderly woman leave the conflict zone, one of 134 trapped civilians rescued Sunday morning during a four-hour “humanitarian pause.” Photo courtesy of BANGSAMORO NEWS

PCMC spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong told MindaNews on June 19 that they reckon “300 to 600” civilians remain trapped within the conflict zone. This is apart from the estimated 100 civilians held hostage by the Maute Group, including Fr. Teresito Soganub, Vicar General of the Prelature of Marawi.

Adiong expressed fears at least 100 dead bodies are in various stages of decomposition within the conflict zone, based on accounts of survivors and rescue volunteers.

Retrieval of dead bodies cannot be done unless the military declares the area cleared.

Preparing for the worst

A week earlier, on June 12, Adiong told a press briefing in Marawi: “I guess we need to ready ourselves for the worst once this (Baanggolo) bridge is opened,” as he noted that photographs shared online have given the public glimpses of the destruction in the conflict zone located in the city’s center, and accounts of rescuers who were able to enter the “hostile area” on June 4 as well as survivors indicate there are many dead bodies lying on the ground, some of them in an advanced stage of decomposition.

Adiong narrated that during the flag-raising ceremony on June 12, a police officer narrated that one of his friends received a text message that a trapped family in Barangay Raya Madaya had sent word their child has died of hunger and that they and their Christian employees have been eating their blanket for survival.

Other survivors narrated eating raw noodles until their supply ran out, some turned to eating leaves and many relied on rain for water.

The remains of a slain civilian along Gomisa Avenue leading to Banggolo district on June 4, 2017. awaits retrieval. Photo courtesy of Amerol Ariel

Samira Gutoc of the Ranao Rescue Team, told ABS-CBN News’ Headstart last Monday that residents trapped in the conflict zone for 28 days have been without access to food “in the areas of Marinaut, the coommercial area, the Banggolo plaza, Cabili — these are areas where people are eating we don’t know, God knows what they are eating. Some have reported blankets, they are eating from little drops of water from somewhere so its like I don’t know if it’s Africa I am looking at or yung movies na pinapanood natin.. it’s so real.”

She said some have resorted to eating boxes and leaves.

She explained is “double burden” for the Maranaos because of the ongoing Ramadan, the month-long fasting. “Some of them would observe fasting but at night when they can eat, there’s nothing to eat because there’s no commercial establishment (that is open). So we’re asking the Philippine Army, government and the Maute Group to let the food in, especially also in the evacuation centers in the first district of Lanao del Sur.

Gutoc contested the figure on slain civilians in the conflict zone. “We don’t agree that numbers are at just 20 as reported by media,” Gutoc said, adding that as early as Day 1, “one our volunteers saw a summary execution by the MG (Maute Group) guy.”

She said a volunteer whose nine-month old child died likely from suffocation when the city jail was burning on Day 1, May 23, reported seeing cadavers there.

“Every day, if you count three people die times 28 days,” that’s a huge number, Gutoc said, adding “we’re not talking three in recent days.”

Gutoc narrated how a son whose family was trapped in the conflict zone, dug up a shallow grave to bury his ailing father “who died in front of his eyes.”

Under normal circumstances, Maranaos bury their dead before sundown or within 24 hours, following rituals that include cleaning the corpse and wrapping it in white shroud.

Volunteer rescuers had earlier said some remains had been preyed upon by animals and maggots.