Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Ex-RPA member nabbed for murder

From the Visayan Daily Star (Feb 7): Ex-RPA member nabbed for murder

A member of the defunct Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade facing murder charges, was arrested yesterday by Army soldiers in Silay City, while policemen recovered three firearms and suspected shabu from a farmer in Kabankalan City, all in Negros Occidental.

Ronald Porras Europa, 46, was apprehended by troopers of the 62 nd Infantry Battalion Charlie Company headed by 1Lt. John William Portillano in Hacienda Herminal, Brgy. Guimbalaon, Silay City, for illegal possession of firearms.

Supt. Willy Diel, Silay City police officer-in-charge, said last night that the arrest of  Europa yielded a KG9 automatic pistol with two magazines containing 41 ammunition.

Diel said that Europa has a pending arrest warrant for murder, with no bail recommended.

Europa was immediately endorsed by the Philippine Army to the Silay City Police Station for more investigations.

Diel said that the warrant of arrest was also served to Europa, who is now in jail.

The arrest of Europa came after the Philippine Army resumed its internal peace security operations, following the lifting of unilateral ceasefire with the New People's Army.

The RPA-ABB, which is now known as Kapatiran, entered into peace talks with the government in year 2000. Almost 17 years later, the government has yet to sign the closure agreement with the RPA-ABB, where many of its leaders died in assassination activities of the NPA.

Meanwhile, a police team yesterday swooped down on the house of a farmer in Brgy. Tapi, Kabankalan City, for illegal possession of firearms.

The raid at the house of the suspect identified as Hepolito Abad led to the recovery of three firearms, including a .45 caliber Colt pistol with two magazines containing seven ammunition, another .45 caliber pistol (STI International Spartan with two magazines containing 14 bullets, as well as an improvised shotgun.

Senior Supt. William Señoron,provincial police director of Negros Occidental, said 51 more live ammunition from 45 caliber pistol, suspected shabu, and its paraphernalia were also recovered, during the raid.


Ka Frank slams military occupation of 60 brgys

From the Visayan Daily Star (Feb 7): Ka Frank slams military occupation of 60 brgys

Priest-turned-rebel Frank Fernandez slammed the military for what he called the “occupation” of 60 barangays in Negros during the ceasefire period, and the killing of four farmer-activists in Negros.

Fernandez, in a statement issued by National Democratic Front-Negros, said the Armed Forces of the Philippines, especially its Peace and Development Teams occupied schools, chapels, markets, houses and even basketball courts in barangays, among others, for their psywar propaganda, intelligence and interrogation activities.

The allegations of Fernandez was strongly debunked by the Philippine Army in Negros, stressing that it was the NPA who took advantage of the ceasefire period, noting rebel consolidation of armed rebels and continuing recruitment activities.

To protect the PDT units, Fernandez said that AFP combat operating units also launched search and destroy operations against the NPA.

He also justified the launching of tactical offensives by the NPA against AFP troops, for their survival and to defend the rights of the people.

As a result of the lifting of unilateral ceasefire, President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the arrest of all NDF consultants, who were earlier released from jail, once they return home from Oslo, Norway.

About 22 known ranking leaders of the NDF in the country were released from prison to join the peace negotiations with the government panel and the NDF in Norway mid-August last year.

Fernandez described it as a “treacherous act” , stressing that the NDF consultants in the peace talks are covered by the 1995 Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).


Constructions in EDCA camps to push through

From Update.Ph (Feb 7): Constructions in EDCA camps to push through

Construction of facilities by United States under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement will push through, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said during a press briefing for Malacañang Press Corps at the New Executive Building (NEB) on February 7, 2017.

Secretary Lorenzana said he talked with President Rodrigo Duterte to clarify some issues regarding the construction in EDCA camps.

“Mr. President, first, there was no construction yet sa mga EDCA camps, it will be constructed sometime later this year or next year. Pangalawa, it’s not allowed sa ating agreement (EDCA), there will be no stockpiling of weapons or anything that could be used for wargames,” this is what Lorenzana said he told the President.

He said the US military will put up barracks and fuel tanks for aircraft and vehicles.
“Kapag pumunta sila rito, they can use the facilities, mga barracks. They will put up barracks na malaki na pwede rin nating gamitin, joint use ito e. Then, they will put up fuel tank para sa mga gamit nilang eroplano at mga vehicles nila,” he added.

“Most of the equipment that they will be bringing here are for humanitarian assistance and disaster response, yung mga rubber boats,” he said adding that EDCA camps are strategically located for calamities.

“When they come here for exercise, they will use their rifles, ammunition for firing when they leave they will bring all of those weapons with them back to the United States and leave yung barracks lang at yung mga equipment na pwed nilang iwanan dito na gagamitin nila next time na pumunta sila dito or if there are calamities that we are addressing,” he explained.

He said after he clarified this with the President, the President said OK. “Ituloy natin (EDCA) basta be sure na walang stockpiling ng mga ammunition diyan,” Lorenzana said quoting the President.


Mandatory ROTC for Senior High School approved by President Duterte

From Update.Ph (Feb 7): Mandatory ROTC for Senior High School approved by President Duterte

“President Rody Duterte has approved the return of the Reserved Officers Training Course in Grades 11 and 12 of the country’s public and private schools,” Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol said who is present at the Cabinet meeting today.

The approval came after a thorough discussion by the members of Cabinet, which will be forwarded to the House of Representatives and Senate certified as urgent by President Duterte, Piñol said.
“Following a presentation by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana proposing an amendment to Republic Act 7077 to make ROTC mandatory.”
“Lorenzana said ROTC instills patriotism, love of country, moral and spiritual values, respect for human rights and adherence to Constitution,” the Agriculture chief said.


MILF: Catholic leaders join MILF call to uphold peace agreements

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Feb 6): Catholic leaders join MILF call to uphold peace agreements

Leadership of Archdiocese of Cotabato, Christian stakeholders and the MILF Peace Implementing Panel signed a joint statement calling for the urgency of the implementation of the signed agreements between the GPH-MILF, after a dialogue held today in Cotabato City on February 4.

The program formally opened following the Muslim and Christian prayer.

Members of MILF Central Committee, MILF Implementing Panel, Archdiocese of Cotabato, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, the Knights of Columbus and other Catholic stakeholders were gathered in this event organized by Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI).

The common concern to realizing the peace dividends in the community brought about the said dialogue.

Stories-filled discussion led by MILF Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal and Cardinal Orlando Quevedo fortified the understanding on the need to address the historical injustices in the Bangsamoro during the sharing session.

The participants came up with agreed terms of understanding as a proposed resolution to the current social concerns. It consist of specific points addressed and appealing to the present administration of the Philippine Government.

The necessity for the government to have a consistent policy in dealing with the Bangsamoro question was collectively articulated. The need to reconstitute the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and to certify its draft enabling law as urgent were as follows.

It was further discussed during the dialogue that communities face the threat of violent extremism as the non-implementation of agreements brew a growing frustration among groups. The participants then expressed their condemnation on any acts of violence and terrorism.

In upholding peace, the participants call on the peace stakeholders to help safeguard and sustain the gains of the peace process by committing time and resources in establishing the culture of peace in the Bangsamoro.

The group also committed to more joint initiatives in upholding the peace agreements and securing the gains of the decades-long negotiations.

The joint statement to be endorsed accordingly was released on the same day, where each of participants affixed their signatures.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, signed by GPH and MILF on March 2014 provides for the Bangsamoro to recover their dignity by exercising their right to self-determination. It acknowledges, gives respect to and will rectify the historical injustices committed to its people. It will usher in development in the most destitute region in the country. Ultimately, achieve peace and sustainability benefitting the entire nation.


CPP: The Filipino people demand just peace through negotiations and people's war

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Feb 3):
The Filipino people demand just peace through negotiations and people's war

Communist Party of the Philippines
6 February 2017

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins the Filipino people in rejecting the declaration the other night of GRP President Rodrigo Duterte that he will terminate peace negotiations between the GRP and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and that he is dissolving his negotiating panel.

Having not received any formal notice of termination from the GRP, however, we consider as standing the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. We continue to look forward to scheduled talks on February 22-24 and April 2-6.

The Party assails Duterte’s threats to order the cancellation of passports of NDFP negotiators and consultants as well as their rearrest and detention without bail. If carried out, these shall be considered as gross acts of treachery and grave violations of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). The JASIG was reaffirmed by the Duterte regime and the NDFP just a few months ago. It guarantees non-reprisal against each other’s peace personnel.

Duterte’s impetuous pronouncements to end the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations came a day after ending the GRP’s declaration of unilateral ceasefire against the NPA. His decision was made clearly without judicious consideration of the advise of his peace panel, and coming at the heels of a successful third round of peace talks in Rome, Italy just over a week ago. He asserts that peace negotiations will no longer be resumed unless there is “compelling reason” to do so.

*Peace talks must not be used for pacification*

It is dismaying that Duterte is showing interest in peace negotiations with the NDFP only as long as it can be used as a tool for pacification to compel the revolutionary forces to accept a prolonged ceasefire that is not only without substantial gain or benefit for the people, but also detrimental to the people as it gives the reactionary state armed forces impunity in carrying out abuses against the people in the countryside.

 In declaring his intention to pull out from the GRP-NDFP negotiations, Duterte echoed the exaggerated anger of the AFP over the outbreak of successive armed skirmishes between the New People’s Army and the AFP resulting in the death of six AFP troops since the end of January.

He glosses over the fact that it was he and the AFP hierarchy that has ordered the forward deployment of armed troops in the guerrilla zones and bases of the NPA to occupy barrios in the guise of “peace and order”, “delivery of social services” and other pretexts, and to sow fear and intimidation among the people and carry out armed offensive operations despite the reciprocal declarations of unilateral ceasefire. The forward deployed armed troops of the AFP were bound to be struck by NPA active defense actions.

AFP strike operations have intensified over the past few weeks leading to the January 23 attack on an NPA encampment in Makilala, and the January 26 assault on an NPA camp in Matalam, both in North Cotabato. The relentless offensive operations of the AFP show it has long been contriving a scenario to force an end to the reciprocal ceasefire declarations. Its declarations supporting peace talks is hypocritical public posturing.

The relentless AFP offensives have made the unilateral declaration for an interim ceasefire untenable. In response, the NPA has heightened its active defense manuevers over the past days to defend the interests and welfare of people. The announcement by the Party and NPA last February 1 terminating the ceasefire declaration was made with more than sufficient forewarning since two months ago.

*On release of political prisoners*

In wanting to end peace negotiations, Duterte said he could not agree to releasing all political prisoners. He makes the absurd claim that the release of all political prisoners is equivalent to a “surrender” of the GRP, disregarding the basic fact that they have been charged with trumped up cases and are victims of a flagrant injustice.

Over the past months, Duterte has adamantly refused to release all political prisoners through a presidential amnesty proclamation, a promise he has made several times since May 2016 but which he now denies making. This is also an obligation entered into by the GRP negotiating panel since August. In the most recent round of talks, the GRP reiterated its promised to expeditiously process the release of all political prisoners even as it will continue to study the issuance of an amnesty proclamation.

Apparently, the biggest stumbling block to the release of political prisoners is the AFP. In declaring he will not release all political prisoners, Duterte says he must also listen to the military, even if this means turning a deaf ear to the people’s cry for justice. It has become quite clear that Duterte, who relies on the support of the AFP for his political survival, now favors the military and police more than the people.

*Struggle for a just and lasting peace *

 The Filipino people demand a just and lasting peace by resolving the outstanding socio-economic problems, especially widespread landlessness and landgrabbing in the countryside, as well as chronic unemployment, low wages, lack of job security and myriad problems besetting the workers, peasants and other basic sectors.

Peace-loving sectors, organizations and personalities must firmly oppose the precipitate decision of GRP President Duterte to end the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations which will effectively shut the door to the possibility of forging agreements on the substantive issues at the root of the raging armed conflict. They must demonstrate that there is no more “compelling reason” than the growing clamor for justice and just peace.

The Party and all revolutionary forces are one with the Filipino people in their aspiration for a just peace. The offices of the Negotiating Panel of the NDFP shall remain open to continue to explore the possibility of reopening peace negotiations with the Duterte government, both on the CASER as well as on the matter of a bilateral ceasefire simultaneous with release of political prisoners.

 At the same time, all territorial units and commands of the New People’s Army have been issued orders by the Central Committee to be on active defense until February 10, the day of effective expiration of the August 28, 2016 Unilateral Declaration for an Interim Ceasefire, and to subsequently take full initiative in carrying out military campaigns and tactical offensives against all oppressive armed entities of the reactionary state and ruling classes.

The Filipino people must intensify both their armed and non-armed struggles against all forms of oppression and exploitation, against landlessness, feudal exactions and landgrabbing, against the cheap labor policy and contractualization, against foreign plunder of the country’s wealth and national patrimony.

 They must vigorously carry forward the national democratic revolution in order to lay down the conditions for a just and lasting peace.


CPP/NPA: More NPA active defense in face of AFP occupation of barrios and offensives

New People's Army propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Feb 3): More NPA active defense in face of AFP occupation of barrios and offensives

Ka Oris
New People's Army
3 February 2017

Units and commands of the New People’s Army (NPA) have carried out at least 20 military actions across the country over the past five days in response to the clamor of the people to defend their rights and welfare against fully-armed occupation troops of the AFP.

Initial reports from various commands have alerted the NOC on successful active defense manuevers in the provinces of Agusan, Surigao and Davao; as well as in Bukidnon and Sultan Kudarat in Mindanao, Isabela and Batangas in Luzon and in Panay in the Visayas.

At least five AFP soldiers have been captured and are being treated as POWs. A number of AFP officers and men have been killed and wounded in the armed attacks. A couple other military actions have been carried out against the destructive and landgrabbing big enterprises in Davao, Bukidnon and notably, against big comprador Henry Sy’s security forces in Batangas.

This active defense posture is but an inevitable consequence of the Duterte government’s obduracy and duplicity in continuing offensive operations under then Oplan Bayanihan and presently Oplan Kapayapaan in violation of the spirit of the ceasefire declarations reciprocally declared by the GRP and the NDFP. The AFP has refused to heed repeated calls for withdrawal of their troops.

Most of the NPA military actions have targetted the so-called “peace and development teams” of armed troops of the AFP which have entrenched themselves at village centers, usually making use of barangay halls, day care centers and public schools as their barracks. They also occupy homes of farmers, virtually making community residents human shields against NPA attacks. These soldiers are the subject of numerous complaints over grave violations of human rights, intimidation, threats and other abuses against the barriofolk.

The AFP desperately wants to gain sympathy by spreading the lie that the presence of these teams have been “requested” by barangay officials, when in fact, they just intimidate local officials to sign blank papers. They also spread the lie that soldiers are bringing relief goods or carrying out relief operations. They make use of so-called “delivery of social services” to forward deploy their troops within the guerrilla zones of the NPA.

The leadership of the CPP and NPA announced on the other day the termination of its August 28, 2016 unilateral declaration of interim ceasefire. In line with this, the NPA urges the AFP and the Duterte regime to pull out all its troops from more than 500 barrios before February 10. If it does so, together with the release of all political prisoners, it may preempt the complete termination of the unilateral ceasefire declaration of the CPP and NPA.

Otherwise, the NPA has orders to take full initiative and carry-out tactical offensives against the AFP, PNP and all armed entities of the reactionary state.


NDF/NPA: Malaybalay encounter is in line with NPA's active defense

New People's Army propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Feb 7): Malaybalay encounter is in line with NPA's active defense

February 7, 2017

This press statement is a rejoinder and clarification to the ongoing questions and misperception that the AFP spreads to the public.

In reference to NPA-NCMR statement dated February 2, the incident last February 1 resulting to the death of Corporal Pat O. Non, Corporal Nino Christopher Talabor and Sergeant Owen Yee of the 8th IB, while conducting psywar operations in Brgy. Kibalabag and Manalog, Malaybalay City was a LEGITIMATE ENCOUNTER.

Here is a brief background of the incident.

The 8th IB troops began their encampment on October 26 at 4 o’clock in the afternoon in Brgy. Kibalabag and on November 24 at 3 p.m. in Brgy. Manalog. Until this day, they have not pulled-out from these two barangays.

This is contrary to what the 8th IB wanted the general public to believe that they have assigned their troops in the said barangays to deliver social services. In fact, they are spreading decadent influence to the peace-loving residents like drinking sprees, gambling and pornography. They intend to corrupt the minds of our youth, disengaging them from the mass movements and struggles. They even obliged the barangay councils to pass a resolution requesting their presence as protection but they refused.

These incidents were already submitted to the ceasefire committee of the NDFP and furnished a copy to the GRP. The NPA-NCMR have warned these troops to pull out from the barrios since November 20 last year. The NPA-NCMR exposed their provocative actions during COPD such as interrogations and pinpointing NPA encampments, and scouring to the forested areas of the barangay using civilians as guides.

The NPA command has long been seeking for ways to investigate and put an end to these violations. Thus, on February 1 at 5:20 in the afternoon, two Red fighters under the NPA-South Central Bukidnon flagged down the three soldiers onboard two motorcycles as they arrived at Sitio Kalib, Brgy. Kibalabag from Malaybalay City. Two troopers made a move of pulling out their pistols, forcing the NPA squad positioned alongside the road to open fire.

The allegation that the three were arrested and killed after was therefore not true. That they were unarmed was also not true. As a matter of fact, three .45 pistols were seized from them. They are Armscor issues with serial numbers 2052053, bb01224 and 1435922. Additionally, the NPA field units never took money from what the AFP claimed to be their subsistence allowance from the ATM. The wallets of Sgt. Yee and Cpl. Talabor were never taken. Only the wallet with an ID card and documents of Cpl. Non was retrieved.

What Capt. Tagros of the 8th IB stated about their alleged following up resources for an ongoing project in support to the COPD in the barrio was also false. For the whole duration of their stay, not even a single sack of cement was being delivered by them to the said barrios.

Moreover, the three corpses were not desecrated other than the gunshot wounds. Since their bodies were not immediately retrieved for more than 24 hours, their bodies must have decomposed due to the changing weather conditions.

The sincerity of the revolutionary movement, especially by the NPA, to the peace negotiations should not be doubted. The 164 days of the NPA’s unilateral ceasefire since August 21, 2016 to January 31, 2017 was proof enough, in which not even one violation was committed. All prisoners of war released by the NPA from the previous years will prove that it abides by the rules of war and adheres the rights of the prisoners stated on the CARHRIHL.

To the families, relatives and friends of the fallen soldiers, we offer our sincere condolences. This incident happened while the peace negotiations between the NDFP and the GRP are going on. It has been a consequence to Duterte’s unilateral ceasefire that AFP-PNP-CAFGU has since violated by invading the areas of the revolutionary movement. They suppress and hassle the livelihood and daily activities instead of bringing peace and development to the people of more than 500 barangays they supposed to serve.


Ka Allan Juanito
Spokesperson, NPA – NCMR


NDF: Legal Opinion: Can the NDFP political consultants temporarily released on bail be rearrested on the mere say so of the GRP President?

Propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Feb 7): Legal Opinion: Can the NDFP political consultants temporarily released on bail be rearrested on the mere say so of the GRP President?  
  1. The peace negotiations have not been properly terminated. According to the Joint Agreement on Safety & Immunity Guarantees (JASIG), the safety and immunity guarantees, and the peace negotiations itself, can only be terminated by written notice given by one party to the other and which would take effect only after 30 days from its receipt. No written notice has been given by the GRP to the NDFP to date.
    Hence, the peace negotiations have not been terminated.
  2. Since the peace negotiations are not properly terminated and the JASIG — which was formally reaffirmed by the Parties in the Oslo Joint Statement of August 2016 – -still effective, the NDFP political consultants as such are “guaranteed free and unhindered passage in all areas in the Philippines, and in traveling to and from the Philippines in connection with the performance of their duties in the peace negotiations.”
    Furthermore, they are “guaranteed immunity from surveillance, harassment, search, arrest, detention, prosecution and interrogation or any other similar punitive actions due to any involvement or participation in the peace negotiations.”
    These immunity guarantees hold even after the JASIG & peace negotiations are effective precisely because it aim to protect them and encourage their participation or involvement in the peace process.
  3. Only the courts which granted them temporary liberty by virtue of cash bails (some effective for 6 months since August 2016 while others rightfully till the duration of the peace negotiations) can act or order whether or not they can be validly rearrested, if at all, and not by the unilateral action of the PNP nor the AFP, much less even by the mere instructions of the GRP President.
    As a matter of fact, the extension of the effectivity of their bail to uniformly be “effective for the duration of the peace negotiations” have been explicitly agreed upon with the GRP even as early as the August 2016 Oslo talks and as expressly stipulated in the Rome Joint Statement of January 2017.
  4. The 19 released political consultants and staff are still facing either trumped-up or defective charges of common crimes rather than political offenses in continuing violation of the Hernandez doctrine and of the CARHRIHL. As such, they are not convicted and are presumed innocent and cannot per se be rearrested by that fact alone or by operation of law.
Edre U. Olalia
NDFP Legal Consultant


NDF: On the Arrrest of NDFP Peace Consultant Ariel Arbitrario and His Companions

Propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Feb 6): On the Arrrest of NDFP Peace Consultant Ariel Arbitrario and His Companions 

NDFP Media Office
Press Statement
Fidel V. Agcaoili
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

 06 February 2017

 The NDFP strongly condemns the arrest of Ariel Arbitrario, NDFP Consultant for Mindanao, and his companions, in a checkpoint in Toril, Davao City, today.

Arbitrario is a publicly-known consultant in the peace talks and is the holder of NDFP Document of Identification Number PP 978542 dated 22 August 2016 that has been duly acknowledged by GRP Chairperson Silvestre H. Bello III on 16 September 2016.

As such, Arbitrario is covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and is immune from arrest in the performance of his duties and responsibilities in the peace negotiations. Under the Agreement, the companions of Arbitrario when he was arrested are also covered by the protection of the JASIG.

We must remind the GRP that the peace negotiations are ongoing. Under the terms of the GRP-NDFP JASIG, the GRP is obliged to send the NDFP a written notice of termination that would take effect only 30 days after our receipt of such notice. In the meanwhile, all agreements that have been reaffirmed and signed between the two Parties remain in full force and effect, including the JASIG, the CARHRIHL and the Joint Statements signed in Oslo and Rome in August 2016, October 2016, and January 2017 respectively.

Furthermore, our lawyers have advised us that Arbitrario’s release last August is secured by bail. Even in accordance with GRP’s own laws and processes, Arbitrario´s arrest is in contravention of GRP’s own rules of procedures as he is claimed to be under the jurisdiction of GRP courts.

We call on the GRP to effect the immediate release of Arbitrario and his companions from detention and to prevent similar arrests that will only serve to undermine the peace negotiations.

The escalation of attacks against the formal aspect of the peace negotiations, including their participants, goes against current efforts to maintain the schedules related to the next round of informal and formal talks in February and April 2017 and the momentum to accelerate the peace negotiations and arrive at agreements that would pave the way for social, economic and political reforms towards a just and lasting peace for the Filipino people and the country. ###

Fidel V. Agcaoili


2 rebels surrender at the start of army offensive operation in Caraga

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 7): 2 rebels surrender at the start of army offensive operation in Caraga

Two regular members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) in this province have surrendered to the 3rd Special Forces Battalion based in Bayugan City on Monday, February 6, 2017. They brought with them one M16, two garand, one carbine, one Light Anti-Tank Weapon and two IEDs.

The surenderees who were identified as Jerry Petelo alias ‘Wawie’ and Rany Ayawon alias ‘Dondon’ of the North Eastern Mindanao Regional Party Committee (NEMRC) of the NPA operating in Agusan Norte and Agusan del Sur cited their frustration against the NPA leadership after their promised allowances were no longer given. The fear of the incoming army offensive was also among the reasons for their surrender.

The two surrenderees further revealed that a lot of their NPA companions in their unit share the same sentiment after President Rodrigo Duterte lifted the unilateral ceasefire earlier declared. They said that many have already left their unit for good while others are planning to surrender.

Lt. Col. Cristobal Zaragoza, Brigade Commander of the 401st Brigade, assured the duo that they will be treated well and will be assisted in their return to the mainstream society per instruction of MGen. Benjamin Madrigal, the 4th Infantry Division Commander.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero of the Eastern Mindanao Command congratulated the 401st Brigade especially Capt. Jasper Bayrante and CInsp. Rommel Villamor for ensuring the safety of the two NPA-surrenderees when they extricated from their main group.

Also, the duo will be given their benefits under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the government and incentives for the firearms they have returned to start a new life.


4ID: NDF, NPA gave inconsistent statements over death of 3 soldiers

From the Philippine Information Agency (Feb 7): 4ID: NDF, NPA gave inconsistent statements over death of 3 soldiers

Army’s Fourth Infantry Diamond (4ID) condemned the accusation of Luis Jalandoni of the National Democratic Front (NDF) over the killing of three soldiers in Bukidnon.

MGen Benjamin R Madrigal Jr., 4ID commander said that Jalandoni's accusations has added more injury to the pains and sufferings of the families and loved ones of our three soldiers. In an attempt to hide the barbarism of their armed wing and to deceive everyone about the incident, Jalandoni accused the AFP over killing our own troops.

"It is clear therefore that Mr Jalandoni is not in touch with the situation on the ground. Moreover, with the admission of Allan Juanito on the incident, let us see if Mr Jalandoni can sanction the perpetrators, apply the Geneva protocols, and bring them to justice. If he really wanted to pursue the peace talks with the government, he must order the NPA to stop terrorizing our communities, doing atrocities and start working with the whole nation on the attainment of lasting peace," said MGen Madrigal.

In a desperate attempt to cover up for the barbaric acts committed by their terrorist members, Jalandoni gave accusations and libelous statements against the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) during his interview with a TV network saying that the death of the three soldiers in Bukidnon was a rubout.

When asked by a TV news anchor about the said incident, Jalandoni said "Eh report po yan ng militar. Maaaring militar din ang bumaril ng maraming bala diyan sa kanila kasi wala pa kaming report na galing sa NPA. Kailangan tignan. Wala namang ganong patakaran ang NPA na gagamit ng ganung karaming bala sa isang enkwentro ho. So tignan nalang maaaring rubout din yan na galing ho sa military mismo para ipagbintang ho sa NPA…oo tignan nalang kasi ang reputation naman ng NPA mahusay na mahusay sa masa diyan sa iba't-ibang lugar."
 (That was a report from the military. There's a possibility that the military are the one's who shot at them because we still have no report from the NPA. We have to see this. It is never a policy of the NPA to waste several bullets in an encounter. It can be a rubout done by the military to put the blame to the NPA. Because we have to see that the NPA has established a good reputation to our people in different communities)

On the contrary, it can be noted that the day after the killing of the three soldiers, Allan Juanito, the NPA spokesperson for the Northcentral Mindanao Region, called up the media and owned up to the said killing saying that 'the soldiers were on board two motorcycles when they were flagged down by the NPA in Sitio Kalib, Barangay Kibalabag in Malaybalay, at around 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 1.'

Juanito further said that 'the soldiers tried to fight back, pulling out their firearms, but the NPA shot at them first to defend themselves resulting in their (the soldiers') deaths'. -- The said statement can also be seen in both local and national broadsheets and heard over the local radio stations. (4ID/PA)


Police to launch anti-insurgency campaign

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): Police to launch anti-insurgency campaign

The city’s police command would start minor and major anti-insurgency operations here after the government declared the end of the ceasefire with the communist rebels, a police officer said Tuesday.

Police Chief Inspector Marde Hortaleza, of the Cagayan De Oro City Police, said the local police command would also arrest the political consultants of the National Democratic Front (NDF) who were facing criminal charges.

“We are waiting for the official list of the NDF consultants who were earlier released to join the failed peace negotiation in Oslo, Norway,” Hortaleza said.

He said the local police would also ask for additional policemen from the Regional Service Battalion for deployment in the city’s outskirt villages here.

The local police command, however, would need a formal request through a resolution from the city council for the additional police force, Hortaleza said.

Hortaleza admitted that some unidentified armed men believed to be members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels had been sighted in the outskirt villages of the city’s west district recently.

He said a regular patrol would be conducted in order to discourage the unidentified armed men from sowing fears among village residents here.

Hortaleza said the additional police force would also augment the regular police force in running after illegal drug personalities and other criminal elements.


Army believes captive soldiers in Sultan Kudarat still alive; diplomatic efforts underway

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): Army believes captive soldiers in Sultan Kudarat still alive; diplomatic efforts underway

Military officials here believed the two infantrymen seized by communist New Peoples Army last Wednesday here are still alive and considered prisoners of war, an Army lieutenant on Tuesday said.

Citing intelligence information, 2Lt. Silver Belvis, speaking for the 39th Infantry Battalion, said the two soldiers, Sgt. Solaiman Calocop and Private 1st Class Samuel Garay, are being kept in the mountain-borders of Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato and Davao del Sur.

Belvis said the local government of Columbio, police, military and religious leaders have formed a crisis management committee to help save the prisoners of war.

"Our intelligence information showed the two are being treated well and we continue to hope they will be reunited with their loved ones anytime soon," Belvis said.

Residents in the villages have been providing information that the two are still alive.

Sgt. Calacop and Garay were on board a motorbike heading to the 39th IB detachment in Columbio from Makilala, North Cotabato on Feb. 1 when about 10 communist rebels flagged them down in Barangay Telefas, Columbio.

They were disarmed and taken into custody by members of the NPA Guerilla Front 72 Mindanao Region Committee.

The crisis management committee has sent a manifesto to the local leaders of Guerilla Front 72, to the office of Sultan Kudarat Gov. Pax Mangudadatu and to President Duterte seeking their help for the immediate release of the captives.

Belvis said the NPAs have not issued any statement about the abduction.

Garay's wife has appealed for the immediate release of her husband saying he as two children waiting for him at home.

The Army has not conducted any major operation but efforts are underway through diplomatic means.


1 killed, 2 hurt in AFP, NPA encounter in Capiz

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): 1 killed, 2 hurt in AFP, NPA encounter in Capiz

Four days after President Rodrigo R. Duterte lifted the ceasefire, one was killed while two others were hurt in an encounter between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and New People’s Army (NPA) in Tapaz, Capiz, Tuesday.

Corporal Ricky Bill Fariñas was killed while Sergeant William Viado and Private First Class Donald Lisbo were hurt when an improvised explosive device (IED) blasted during the combat operation initiated by 61st Infantry Battalion to NPA’s campsite in Barangay Tacayan, Tapaz, Capiz around 6:15 a.m.

“When the ceasefire was lifted, we initiated offensive operations against the NPA. While we were heading towards the objective of the operation, we did not know that there was an improvised explosive device and when it was activated, our (soldiers) were hurt,” Lieutenant Colonel Leonardo Peña, commander of 61st Infantry Battalion told Philippine News Agency-Iloilo.

Fariñas died on the spot while both Viado and Lisbo were rushed to Dr. Ricardo S. Provido Sr. Memorial District Hospital in the town of Calinog, Iloilo for treatment.

Peña said they were already expecting an encounter with the NPA since the area is “very influential”.

“Actually, we received series of reports about the (campsite) of NPA in that area during the time of ceasefire, but we cannot initiate offensive operations since it was prohibited and we respected the unilateral ceasefire,” said Peña.

President Duterte terminated the ceasefire with NPA on February 3, two days when the NPA announced that it will end its ceasefire on February 10.

The President said he tried to extend peace with the communist rebels but many soldiers were still killed.

Meanwhile, Peña said the killing of one soldier will not stop them from initiating future combat operations against the NPA.

“We will continue the operation.” said Peña.


Soldier wounded in Masbate clash; new clash between gov’t troops, NPA rebels in Bicol occurs

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): Soldier wounded in Masbate clash; new clash between gov’t troops, NPA rebels in Bicol occurs

A soldier was wounded in a clash between suspected New People’s Army rebels and government troopers in Barangay (village) Amotag in Aroroy, Masbate, the second reported skirmish between the two forces in the Bicol region since collapse of the peace talks between the two early this week, said a belated report that reached the Provincial Police Office (PPO) Tuesday.

SPO1 Zandro R. Cabintoy, public information officer of the Masbate PPO, said the encounter between the communist rebels and troops from the 93rd Division Reconnaisance Company (DRC) occurred in Barangay Amotag on Monday afternoon at 1:40 p.m.

“Barangay Amotag is an interior barangay (village) located 21 kilometers away from the poblacion of Aroroy town,” he said.

Cabintoy said police authorities have identified the wounded soldier as Cpl. Mark Alfred Repol.

The soldier was with one section of the company led by 2nd Lt. Ramil Balsomo that was conducting combat patrol in the village when they encountered around 15 NPA guerrillas.

“A firefight lasting 10 minutes ensued before the NPA rebels withdrew towards the direction of Barangay Macabug of Aroroy town,” said Cabintoy.

Government troops recovered from the scene four improvised explosive devices, 96 pieces of live ammunitions of M14 rifle, a jungle hammock, 12 batteries, assorted medicines and subversive documents.

Repol was brought to Masbate Doctors Hospital in Masbate City for treatment

Cabintoy said elements of 93rd DRC are conducting pursuit operations against the rebels.

President Rodrigo Duterte terminated the government’s ceasefire with the Communist Party of the Philippines and NPA, its armed wing, on February 3 after the NPA announced lifting of its unilateral ceasefire with the government on Feb. 1.


NPA supply officer killed in shootout in Davao City

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): NPA supply officer killed in shootout in Davao City

A supply officer of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in a shootout with authorities in Davao City on Monday night in Maa, this city.

Captain Rhyan Batchar, chief information officer of 10th Infantry (Agila) Division, identified the NPA supply officer as Glenn Ramos alias Berdan, 40, married and a resident of Purok 4, Don Julian, Barangay Maa, Davao City.

Batchar said Ramos was killed when he shoot it out with a joint police and military team serving a warrant for his arrest.

Ramos is facing charges for attempted homicide under criminal case number M-DVO-15-01538, Batchar added.

“Ramos refused to submit himself and drew a weapon that led to a brief firefight. He sustained two gunshot wounds in the body and was brought to SPMC where he was later declared dead-on-arrival by the attending physician,” Batchar said.

Authorities were able to recover .38 caliber pistol with five live ammunition and a fired cartridge; one fragmentation grenade; an improvised explosive device (IED) mounted with electrical wire and live 7.62mm ammunition, he added.

Following the killing of Ramos, 10th ID commander Major General Rafael Valencia urged the other members of NPA in the area to surrender.

"We encourage other NPA terrorist members to return to the folds of the law before its long arms will catch them," Valencia said.

He also lauded the police and military team for their accomplishment.


(Update) SOLCOM troops engage NPA rebels in 3 encounters in 1 day; sustain pursuit operations

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): (Update) SOLCOM troops engage NPA rebels in 3 encounters in 1 day; sustain pursuit operations

The Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) had three separate clashes in just a day with the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) rebels in Southern Tagalog and Bicol region on Monday.

In a report on Tuesday from the command headquarters here, SOLCOM information office chief Major Virgilio J. Perez Jr. disclosed that troopers of the 31st Infantry Battalion led by 2nd Lieutenant Niko Pendejito clashed with 15 NPA rebels at a sub-village Kabungahan in Trece Martirez, Casiguran, Sorsogon Monday morning.

Maj. Perez said that during the 15-minute firefight, Private First Class Mart Maximo Odsinada and Corporal Jerome Tiu were wounded.

Also on Monday afternoon, the 93rd Division Reconnaissance Company encountered an undetermined number of NPA rebels at a sub-village Bantulinao, Amutag in Aroroy, Masbate.

Perez said that the military recovered four improvised explosive devices (IEDs), ammunition for an M14 rifle, personal belongings and subversive documents left by the fleeing rebels after the skirmish.

Almost simultaneous with the Masbate encounter in the afternoon, soldiers from the 80th Infantry Battalion clashed with 10 NPA insurgents at a sub-village Lukutang Maliit, San Isidro in Rodriguez, Rizal.

The headquarters 202nd Infantry (Unifier) Brigade of the 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division (2ID) of the Philippine Army based in Cavinti, Laguna reported that they received information from the residents on the presence of the communist rebels.

“We will hit them hard,” SOLCOM Commander Lieutenant General Ferdinand F. Quidilla stressed following the directives from AFP Chief of Staff General Eudardo Año to intensify pursuit operations of the military units.

With the termination of the ceasefire and upon orders of the military hierarchy, Lt. Gen. Quidilla vowed to continue military offensive operations to decimate NPAs in the Southern Tagalog and Bicol Region.

Troops from the 80th Infantry Battalion under Lieutenant Colonel Randolph G. Cabangbang, Battalion Commander, reported that their Alpha Company soldiers fought the estimated 10 NPA rebels in Rodriquez, Rizal sub-village Lukutang Maliit for about 10 minutes, causing rebels to scamper to different directions from the pursuing troops.

Lt. Col. Cabangbang said that after the firefight, the military recovered one magazine of ammunition and several subversive documents from the fleeing rebels.

2ID Commander Major General Rhoderick M. Parayno also declared sustained combat operations within the 2ID's area of responsibility in order to achieve peace and development.

"The enemies of the government shall expect massive combat operations as we are now more focused in protecting the people from any threat,” Maj. Gen. Parayno stressed, but added that the government forces “are still open for those NPAs who would like to return to the folds of law.”

Meanwhile, troops on the ground are still conducting pursuit operations to track down the fleeing enemies who continue to pose threat to the communities.

Colonel Glorivine R. Dida, Commander of 202nd Infantry (Unifier) Brigade and its operationally controlled units, also vowed to resume military offensives against the CPP– NPA in the CALABARZON region following President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s pronouncement to terminate the government’s unilateral ceasefire with the communist rebels.


315 new soldiers take oath, join 6th Infantry Division's human resources

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): 315 new soldiers take oath, join 6th Infantry Division's human resources

The Army's 6th Infantry Division has 315 new soldiers who will augment the Army and Marines in Central Mindanao Region after taking their oath Tuesday afternoon, officials said.

The new soldiers graduated from a nine-month Candidate Soldier Course on Saturday in a ceremony held at 6th Division Training School in Barangay Semba, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

The new soldiers, sworn in as new Privates of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, are members of Candidate Soldiers Class 416-2017 and Class 417-2017.

They underwent a rigid Basic Military Training and Jungle Warfare Mountain Operations Course as well as trainings on war fighting competency, disaster response and rescue operations, explosive ordnance and reconnaissance agent, water search and rescue, and martial arts called "pekiti tersia kali," according to 6th ID Public Affairs Office chief Captain Arvin Encinas.

After months of rigid training, Encinas said the new soldiers will be assigned to the different battalions of 6ID to boost the peace and development efforts of the command in Cental Mindanao.

The 6th ID is composed of the three Army brigades and under its supervision and control are 1st Marine Brigade and Philippine Air Force (PAF), Army Special Forces Brigade, Army Engineering Brigade, 1st Mechanized Infantry Brigade and Special Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit brigade scattered in the provinces of Maguindanao, North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat and part of Lanao del Sur.

Brigadier General Arnel B. dela Vega, 6th ID chief, welcomed the new soldiers and congratulated them for their hard work and patience in finishing their trainings.

Speaking during the oath-taking of new soldiers, dela Vega lauded training unit commander Lt. Col Donald M. Gumiran and his men for their dedication in molding the character of the new soldiers and ensuring that the new breed will become outstanding troops of the Kampilan family.

Dela Vega told the new infantrymen that they were provided with the best training and will be deployed to their respective unit assignments under 6ID, making sure that they would be of great use to the people whom they have sworn to protect and serve.

The division commander reminded the new AFP members of the AFP's mission of upholding the sovereignty, supporting the Constitution, and defending the territory of the Republic of the Philippines against all enemies foreign and domestic; advancing the national aims, interest and policies; and planning the organization, maintenance, development, and deployment of its regular and citizen armed force for National Security.

"Take note of our primary duties, that is to secure the sovereignty of the state and the integrity of the national territory, protect the country the country from foreign aggression and internal subversion, advance national aims and interest and perform duties as directed by immediate superiors," he said.


86th IB troopers extend aid to 6 road mishap victims in Isabela

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): 86th IB troopers extend aid to 6 road mishap victims in Isabela

Aside from securing the nation against all forms of internal and external threats, soldiers on duty can also act emergency medical technicians if needed.

This was proven by troopers of the 86th Infantry Battalion who witnessed a roadside mishap at the National Highway near Barangay San Manuel, Naguilian town, Isabela Monday morning.

In the said mishap, six people, all members of the Reyes family, were injured, 5th Infantry Division public affairs office chief 1st Lt. Rhea May Reyes said.

She added the 86th Infantry Battalion troopers were headed to their headquarters in Camp Melchor, Upi town but opted to aid the injured passengers by transporting the victims to the Isabela Doctors General Hospital for medical treatment.


Army troops clash anew with NPA rebels in Rizal

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): Army troops clash anew with NPA rebels in Rizal

In line with President Rodrigo Duterte's ceasefire termination order, troopers from the 2nd Infantry Division, on patrol operations, clashed with an estimated 10 New People's Army (NPA) members in Rodriguez town, Rizal Monday afternoon.

The encounter took place in Sitio Lukutan Maliit, Barangay San Isidro of said locality at around 1: 30 p.m., 2nd Infantry Division public affairs office chief 1st Lt. Xy-zon Meneses said.

In the 10-minute fighting, no casualties were sustained by both sides but retreating NPA members dropped behind ammunition and subversive documents.

"The enemies of the government shall expect massive combat operations as we are now more focused in protecting the people from any threat. Yet, we are still open for those NPAs who would like to return to the folds of law," 2nd Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Rhoderick Parayno said.

Pursuit operations are still ongoing as of this posting.


AFP strongly subscribes to President Duterte's description of NPA as terrorist group

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): AFP strongly subscribes to President Duterte's description of NPA as terrorist group

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) strongly subscribed to President Rodrigo Duterte tagging the New People's Army (NPA) as a terrorist group.

"We subscribe to PRRD's (President Duterte) declaration of the NPA as a terrorist group. Their actions manifest no less than acts of terrorism," said AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo on Tuesday.

Arevalo said the NPA has proven this tag by extorting money from individuals, private businesses, and corporations; burning of buses, public conveyances and farm implements; in driving away indigenous people from their communities; of laying of improvised explosive devices (IED) that victimizes non-combatants.

"(These) are definitely acts of terrorism," he stressed.

As this develops, military operations against the NPA after the President's lifting of the ceasefire and peace talks have yielded positive reports so far.

"There were a total of six armed engagements in various parts of the country since the President lifted the ceasefire and the peace talks on Feb. 4. We were able to effect two arrests together with the PNP (Philippine National Police), and received seven surrenderees who have yielded high-powered firearms and an IED. Some of them used their aliases because they requested to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal," the military official stated.

Also killed while resisting arrest on Feb. 6 in a joint operation between Task Force Davao, Intelligence Service AFP, and other local intelligence unit, backed by Criminal Investigation Detection Group-11 and Special Weapons and Action Team was Glen Ramos alias "Berdan".

Arevalo said the latter was military hardware liason officer of Southern Mindanao Regional Committee.

The incident happened in Maa, Davao City. He has a warrant of arrest with Criminal Case No. M-DVO-1501538-CR at 11 Judicial Region Branch 6.


AFP 'all-out-war' vs NPA to be surgical in nature

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): AFP 'all-out-war' vs NPA to be surgical in nature

As the government declares an "all-out war" against the New People's Army (NPA), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) assured the public that it will not be indiscriminate in the conduct of is operations to prevent needless civilian casualties.

This was stressed by AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo in a briefing Tuesday.

"Well, when you talk about all-out-war, it means that we are going to make use of all available assets of our AFP to accomplish our mission, by 'all-out-war', however we do not mean that we are going to be indiscriminate in our conduct of operations, our operations will always and has always been focused and determined but we are not going to be indiscriminate," he added.

Arevalo said the government offensive against the NPAs will not be pressured by a deadline or timeline.

The AFP public affairs chief added that the military offensive will be well planned, surgical in approach and deliberate as it's intention to defeat the NPA not only militarily but also through their infrastructure and support systems, and destroy their will to fight.

Arevalo stressed their "all-out-war" approach is also aimed at convincing remaining NPAs to voluntarily surrender and be part of main stream society.


DOJ to issue lookout order vs NDF consultants

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): DOJ to issue lookout order vs NDF consultants

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday said it is set to issue a lookout bulletin order (LBO) against the consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF) who participated in the peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army (CPP-NPA).

”What we did lahat ng members consultants nagkaroon ng bail because of peace process maglalabas kami ng LBO this afternoon. We have cabinet meeting this afternoon yung final decision ng Duterte administration on peace process whether its terminated and arrest na yan,” DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II told reporters on Tuesday afternoon in an interview.

Aguirre said that these people should be under the watchlist as they might leave the country.

An LBO is issued to subject persons, in order to at least monitor the itineraries of their flight, travel,and/or whereabouts. The persons subject of an LBO is allowed to travel subject to a permission from the DOJ.

Aguirre said on Monday the consultants of the NDF should go back to the country and return to detention.

“Once they turn themselves in or arrested, they will be returned to their detention,” Aguirre said when sought for comment on the issue adding that security forces can arrest them.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared the suspension of peace talks between the government and communist rebels where he ordered government negotiators to come home.

Duterte said he is not ready to resume peace talks with the communist groups.

"As I have said, I would like to tell the Filipino people: peace with the communists might not come in this generation," he said.

The President said he has done everything and has walked the extra mile in extending an olive branch with the rebels but their "unreasonable" demand of releasing more than 400 political prisoners prompted him to discontinue the talks.

He was likewise angered by the deaths of several soldiers despite ongoing peace negotiations with the leftist groups.


Napolcom backs 42 SAF troopers for Medal of Valor

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): Napolcom backs 42 SAF troopers for Medal of Valor

The National Police Commission (Napolcom) has recommended to President Rodrigo Duterte the conferment of the Medal of Valor to 42 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers who died in action in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on Jan. 25, 2015 to neutralize a known terrorist.

"We will never forget the SAF 44 heroes. It is only right and just to award all of them with the highest recognition, the Medal of Valor or 'Medalya ng Kagitingan'," Napolcom vice chairman and executive officer Rogelio Casurao said in a news release issued Tuesday.
The commission has already awarded the medal to two of the 44 commandos -- PCInsp Gednat Tabdi and PO2 Romeo Cempron.

It noted that the families of medal of valor awardees are entitled to a lifetime monthly pension of PHP20,000 with several incentives and special privileges, including the one-rank posthumous promotion, gratuity, pension and scholarship grants for their children.

The 44 SAF commandos were able to neutralize Zulkifli Bin Hir, also known as Marwan, one of the most wanted terrorists and bomb-makers in Southeast Asia with a USD5 million reward in the Rewards for Justice Program of the US Department of State.


Pres. Duterte urged to fire communist cabinet members

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): Pres. Duterte urged to fire communist cabinet members

Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV on Tuesday welcomed the decision of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to call for an all-out-war versus the communist group New People’s Army (NPA) and at the same time urged him to fire communists in his cabinet.

“It’s about time,” Trillanes said in a text message.

However, to prove that this is not another bluster, Trillanes said “Pres. Duterte must immediately fire the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) officials whom he appointed to various high positions in government.”

Currently, three CCP members are part of the Duterte cabinet namely Department of Agrarian Reform Sec. Rafael Mariano, Department of Social Welfare and Development Sec. Judy Taguiwalo, and National Anti-Poverty Commission Chair Liza Maza.
Sen. Francis Escudero, on the other hand, said he does not agree that an all-out-war should be called at this time.

Escudero said that both the government and the CPP-NPA were responsible for the collapse of peace talks although recognized that “it was the CPP-NPA who cast the first stone.”

"The reds should reexamine its position and pursue concessions towards peace. The government, for its part, should never close the door towards peace," Escudero said.

"There is no reason really for either party to totally close the possibility of peace talks however difficult it may seem at this point in time," he added.

He stressed that any new war waged will just breed a new generation of insurgents.

Pres. Duterte appointed them to these positions as a gesture of building bridges with other groups.

Last Friday, he lifted the ceasefire with the NPA after the rebels brutally killed three soldiers in Bukidnon.

He also announced the cancellation of peace talks with the communist rebels and ordered the members of the Philippine government peace panel to return him from Oslo, Norway.


Andanar graces PSG web launch

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): Andanar graces PSG web launch

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar joined the launching of the Presidential Security Group’s website aimed at bringing the command closer to the people.

Today we are launching the PSGTroopers.com as our audience here all knows, PSG Troopers is the official publication of the PSG and PSGTroopers.com is its online counterpart,” Andanar said during the launch of the portal at the PSG Officers’ Clubhouse on Tuesday, February 7 at Malacañan Park.
“I therefore commend you for being abreast with the changing media landscape and keeping up with technology," he added.

As the President’s close-in security, the PSG members know how unconventional the President is as he defies structure and definition, Andanar said.

“Hindi po de-kahon si Pangulong Duterte. Thus, strategic communication under the Duterte administration has never been as challenging,” he noted.

Noting PSG members are a special group of people, Andanar said they were chosen from thousands of military and police personnel to protect the President because the chief executive trusts them.

Andanar encouraged the PSG, which targets both local and international audience, to help the President push his agenda for genuine change.

“Together, let us help the President as he traverses the road towards a nation without crime, without drugs and without corruption,” he said. “Together, let us deliver what has to be communicated and we thank you for taking the extra step towards understanding.”

Based on the PSG website, the present-day PSG originated from the ragtag squad established by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo around March 1897, when he was elected President of the revolutionary government.

PSG underwent transformations since then but when the late Ferdinand Marcos assumed power, the Presidential Security Agency was expanded to the Presidential Security Command under the late President Diosdado Macapagal.

Former president Corazon Aquino disbanded the Presidential Security Command in 1986 and replaced it with a leaner Presidential Security Group.

During the presidency of Fidel Ramos, a former military man, PSG facilities were improved. The headquarters became a full-fledged camp that had two chapels, a gymnasium and physical fitness room, nursery and children’s playground, K-9 doghouse, apartments for enlisted personnel, a tennis court, rifle range and a house for golf caddies.

President Rodrigo Duterte designated Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista as PSG’s 31st commander, who assumed office on July 2, 2016.

Pres. Duterte’s announcement enough to terminate peace talks with Reds -- DND

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): Pres. Duterte’s announcement enough to terminate peace talks with Reds -- DND

The Department of National Defense on Tuesday said there is no need any more for the government to issue a formal notice of the termination of peace talks since President Rodrigo Duterte has already made a public announcement on the matter.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana made the clarification during a press briefing in Malacañang after the National Democratic Front (NDF) pointed out that they have yet to receive a formal notice from the government peace panel on the termination of the peace negotiations.

“What could be a more formal announcement of the termination of the peace talks than the statement of the President? Kung hinihintay nila siguro ‘yung black and white, ewan ko kung darating pa ‘yun,” he said.

The NDF has stated that the mode of termination of the peace negotiations is defined under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

The JASIG, signed on February 24, 1995 is effective and binding upon the parties for the duration of the peace negotiations, unless terminated by written notice given by one party to the other.

It is deemed terminated “30 days after receipt of the notice of termination.”

“But the fact is, the President came on national TV saying that wala na, tapos na ‘yung peace talks, I’m recalling all my people back home if they are abroad,” Lorenzana pointed out.

The Defense Secretary likewise said that President Duterte’s order to return to jail the NDF consultants who were temporarily freed to participate in the peace negotiations have legal basis despite NDF protestations that said consultants “are all protected from re-arrest in accordance with the JASIG.”

“I think they are not covered by the JASIG because according to the President, they were set free for the purpose of talking. (The) peace talks ay hindi naman JASIG ‘yung basis niyan for releasing them but for the peace talks,” he said.

“But since the talks are already terminated, wala ng basis sila na free sila. So they could be arrested. That’s what I understand from the President’s instruction,” Lorenzana said.

He added that while they have yet to fully implement the President’s directive, he is calling on the concerned NDF consultants to just voluntarily surrender instead of going into hiding.

He said that it was the same as the recommendation of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Eduardo Año.

“I have talked with (Presidential Advise on the Peace Process) Secretary Jesus Dureza. Sabi ko kung pwede ‘yung mga nandiyan they will turn themselves in so that they will be treated accordingly; na hindi ‘yung habul-habulin pa sila,” the Defense Secretary said.

“But if there are feelers that they are going to surrender, we will accept them and we will treat them accordingly; granting them special privileges because they are also, you know, they’ve been talking peace talks with us for quite some time already,” Lorenzana said.


Trooper killed in NPA IED attack in Capiz

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): Trooper killed in NPA IED attack in Capiz

A trooper from the 61st Infantry Battalion was killed after New People's Army (NPA) rebels detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) in Tapaz, Capiz Tuesday morning.

Lt. Col. Ericson Rosana, 3rd Infantry Division public affairs office chief, said the incident took place 6:15 a.m. at Sitio Tina, Barangay Acuña.

He added that 61st Infantry Battalion troopers were responding to reports that NPA rebels were laying IED in the area and was about to disarm one when the rebels detonated another improvised landmine.

The blast killed one Cpl. Ricky Bill Farinas, Rosana disclosed.

3rd Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Jon Aying vehemently condemned the terroristic attack of the rebels, citing the shrapnel indifference to civilian and military targets.

"The 3rd Infantry Division will continue to support the local government units and other agencies in the delivery of basic services and development programs in the communities (despite the IED attacks)," he added.

Rosana said this was second IED laying activity the rebels had committed in their area-of-operations with the first one taking place last Feb. 4 at Barangay Cabatangan, Lambunao, Iloilo.


AFP tells NDF consultant to go home and present themselves to courts

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): AFP tells NDF consultant to go home and present themselves to courts

With President Rodrigo Duterte's lifting of the ceasefire and termination of the peace talks, National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants should immediately go home and present themselves to courts who have taken "judicial notice" of the Chief Executive's pronouncements.

"The negotiators should surrender themselves to the courts where, we submit, have taken 'judicial notice' of the pronouncement of the President terminating the talks," said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo on Tuesday.

Failing to do that, these NDF negotiators will be deemed to have “jumped bail” and thereupon may be validly arrested, he added.

"The negotiators enjoy temporary liberty on account of bail granted by the courts at the behest and the intercession of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. The grant of that temporary liberty is to freely travel in the Philippines and abroad solely to participate in the peace negotiations," Arevalo noted.

And with the President's declaration of terminating the peace talks with the NPA, he said, it effectively informs the negotiators from both sides of the table to “wind up the activities and come home immediately."

He also said these NDF negotiators cannot validly invoke the Joint Agreement on Security and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG) as it only applies to those who are in hiding.

"(JASIG) applies only to those who are in hiding whom the government invites to participate in the peace talks. And to encourage them to go out, we provide them 'Safe Conduct Passes," Arevalo said.

"The negotiators in question are serving prison terms or are at least charged with non-bailable crime, hence, they are out of prison not by virtue of “Safe Conduct Passes” but of bail," he added.

Arevalo stressed that these NDF negotiators are covered by the conditions of bail that imposes certain conditions chief of which to report their whereabouts pertaining to the peace talks.

"With the termination of the peace talks, the ground for their temporary liberty ceases to exist. They should abide with the provisions of bail and not that of JASIG," he added.


PNP starts purging of scalawag cops

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): PNP starts purging of scalawag cops

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has started the purging of scalawags from their ranks.

This was evident with the presentation made by PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte the almost 300 erring policemen in Malacanang grounds on Tuesday.

Dela Rosa said some of the police scalawags have hard feelings as they claimed they had no case and if ever there was, it happened several years ago and they had been punished for it.

”Yung iba masama yung loob nila. Wala naman daw silang kaso. Kung meron man, several years ago (na 'yun at) napagbayaran na nila,” he said.

Dela Rosa added some of the scalawag cops were asking why those with heavier offense were not with them.

”Bakit daw hindi naisama sa kanila yung mas matitindi (ang kaso),” he said.

The PNP chief stressed that those with big cases were beyond repair and they should be dismissed from the service.

”Kaya nga hindi kasama yung (may) mabibigat na kaso kasi beyond repair na yung mga tao na yun. Kailangan na talaga tanggalin sa serbisyo,” he said.

Dela Rosa said he would not mind whether the faces of the police scalawags are presented to the public.

He said the scalawag cops should not be bothered by “shame” because in the first place, they were not ashamed when they committed an offense or violated the law.

Presented in Malacanang were 84 members of the Manila Police District (MPD), 31 from the Eastern Police District (EPD), and 43 from the Quezon City Police District (QCPD).

Southern Police District (SPD) Director Chief Supt. Tomas Apolinario said 183 of his men were included on the list but only 64 were present as others were AWOL (absent without official leave).

Northern Police District (NPD) Director Chief Supt. Roberto Fajardo said 42 of the 80 personnel in the list are included.

NCRPO chief Director Oscar Albayalde said some of the erring policemen have court duties but were involved in extortion, “laglag-kaso” wherein they released the person they arrested in exchange of money, “15-30”, tardiness “moonlighting”, "orbit" or they serve as security escorts to other personalities and “Kotong” cops.

Albayalde noted that the highest rank among the erring policemen is Chief Inspector, an NUP (non-uniformed personnel) turned positive in drug test, and 13 from NCRPO turned positive of drugs.

”It doesn’t mean na napagbayaran mo na noon ay you will not be committing the same offense,” he said.

Albayalde said this is part of the long-term cleansing program of PNP chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa.

”Once na in-activate niya (PNP chief) yung Counter Intelligence Task Force (CITF), this is part of it,” he said.

He added that some of them will be given a chance to explain.

”Ang gusto natin ay total cleansing, ipakita natin na we are serious in this and the chief PNP is serious in this,” Albayalde said.


Lorenzana denies NDF claim that military is sabotaging peace talks

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): Lorenzana denies NDF claim that military is sabotaging peace talks

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana denied on Tuesday insinuations that the military is out to sabotage the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the communist rebels.

"We want peace. We do not want to sabotage. We support the peace process that was initiated by the President (Rodrigo Duterte)," Lorenzana said in a Palace media briefing.

Lorenzana also refuted claims by National Democratic Front (NDF) negotiating panel chairman Luis Jalandoni that the brutal killing of three soldiers in Bukidnon could be a rubout from the military to pin down blame on the NPA.

"The accusation of Mr. Jalandoni, it’s not true," he said, adding that NPA North Central Committee spokesperson Alan Juanito has admitted that NPA rebels accosted the three soldiers.

"They claimed that the three soldiers fought back that’s why they shot them. They (three soldiers) sustained 73 gunshot wounds. That’s too much," Lorenzana added.

He said the NPA rebels are big threat to the security of the country due to the atrocities and extortions they do in the far flung barangays of the country.

"They are trying to consolidate barangays, threatening them. They continue to extort money from businessmen especially in the south, from mining firms, plantations, contractors of the roads. We know somebody has been paying 2 percent of the gross cost of their projects to the NPA," Lorenzana said.

"So they are threat because they can always launch attacks to our troops. You saw how they attacked foresters in Batangas. They entered in one resort there under the guise of the military," he added.

He said the NPA rebels who resort to extortions have no difference from the bandits like Abu Sayyaf who kidnap people and would kill their victims if they refuse to give money.

"There’s no difference at all. They are there to terrorize people to give them money, that’s extortion. So we will hunt them down and maybe stop them from what they are doing," Lorenzana said.

"It is an all-out war because they are considered by the President already as terrorists. We also consider them as terrorists," he added.

Lorenzana downplayed the NPA rebels’ claim that they control 500 barangays all over the country.

"I think it’s not true that they control these barangays because if there will be referendum in these barangays, they will be rejected by the barangay people. Takot lang sila kaya akala nila controlled nila," he said.

The DND official said the people in the remote barangays can report to the military if they are being harassed by the NPA rebels.

Lorenzana clarified that an all-out war that President Duterte declared against NPA will focus only against its nearly 5,000 armed components all over the country.

"We will not target those peace-loving supporters who are farming. They will not be touched. It’s only the armed component that we are going after because they are the ones who can go around and intimidate people," he explained.


Gov't serves formal termination of JASIG

From the Philippine News Agency (Feb 7): Gov't serves formal termination of JASIG
The Philippine government on Tuesday formally issued the notice terminating peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF).

The formal notice was contained in a letter signed by Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and addressed to NDF Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison and NDF peace panel chair Fidel Agcaoili.

The letter in full read:
“Dear Prof. Sison and Mr. Agcaoili:

Following the President’s announcement of the cancellation of the peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF and per his instructions, the Government is hereby serving notice of the termination of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG).

Please be guided accordingly.”

The letter was served amidst concern by the NDF panel that the termination of the peace negotiations should be made through a formal notice not just from a mere announcement by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The NDF argued that the mode of termination of the peace negotiations is explicitly defined under the JASIG.

The JASIG, signed on February 24, 1995 is effective and binding upon the parties for the duration of the peace negotiations, unless terminated by written notice given by one party to the other.

It is deemed terminated “30 days after receipt of the notice of termination.”

In the meantime, Dureza said that despite the cancellation of the peace talks, the Duterte administration remains committed in its peace efforts by continuing with resolve to explore all opportunities to intensify implementation of genuine reforms for the benefit of the people, particularly socio-economic programs in conflict-affected communities.

He said that the government “shall also continue to pursue other paths to peace and undertake all forms of peace initiatives and peacebuilding efforts at the national, regional and local levels to keep the peace.”

“We assure our people that the Government will continue its vigilance in the preservation of law and order and in protecting our people against insurgent activities and threats of terrorism, and pursue the enhancement of our democratic institutions,” he said.

“Let us be one in our call for a stop to armed violence and pursue just and lasting peace by ways of peace,” Dureza said.

Prior to the formal cessation of talks, the Government has engaged the CPP/NPA/NDF in three rounds of formal negotiations, the last being in Rome on January 19 to 25 of this year.

A fourth round of talks has been scheduled on February 22.

Formal talks were started August 22 to 28 last year in Oslo, Norway after President Duterte ordered the temporary release of 20 detainees from jail who will serve as NDF consultants for the duration of the talks.

The government and the CPP/NPA also declared separate indefinite unilateral ceasefires to further facilitate the holding of the peace talks.

But on February 1, the NPA said that it was terminating its unilateral ceasefire as it accused the government of reneging on its promise to release about 400 more political prisoners.

The NPA’s ceasefire withdrawal should have taken effect on February 10.

Meanwhile, President Duterte announced the end of the government’s ceasefire last February 3.

The President said he would not compromise the integrity of the government by releasing all political prisoners.

On February 4, Duterte publicly announced the end of the peace talks with the CPP/NPA/NDF.