Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cop, 3 rebels killed in Panabo clash

From the Sun Star-Davao (Jun 23): Cop, 3 rebels killed in Panabo clash 

A POLICE officer and three suspected rebels were killed in an encounter between alleged members of the communist group and police detachment in Barangay Manay-New Malitbog Boundary, Panabo City, prompting the city government to place nearby areas under heightened alert.
Police Regional office-Davao Director Manuel Gaerlan said the suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) tried to attack but failed to take the second platoon of Davao del Norte Provincial Public Safety Company patrol, based in Panabo City at around 8:13 a.m. Friday, June 23.
The exchange of fire with undetermined number of rebels claimed the life of Senior Police Officer (SPO) 1 Niño Moreño.
He was wounded and brought to Carmen District Hospital for immediate treatment but the attending physician pronounced him dead at 10:35 a.m.
The cadaver of Moreño was later transferred to Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City.
The skirmishes ended around 9 a.m. when the rebels withdrew. Three rebels were killed by the joint efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police after pursuing the attackers at the vicinity of the Municipality of Carmen.
Gaerlan, meanwhile, lauded the bravery of the police officers for their quick response against the lawless armed group before they could endanger the lives of innocent civilians.
He also condemned the act of the NPA saying that, “the treacherous manner of assassination of SPO1 Niño Moreño more than an hour after the NPA failed to overrun the detachment out of desperation. That is plain and simple murder.”
Meanwhile, Panabo City Information Office said Manay Elementary School is placed under lockdown while nearby upland barangays were on heightened alert to ensure the safety of the communities.
 After the area was cleared, the students and faculty of affected barangays Manay and Malitbog Elementary and High School returned home safely.
The army urged the public to refrain from spreading false information pertaining to the location of the armed group.
The army also belied that there were civilians, who were taken as hostages.
 Panabo City has also issued a local executive order 41 suspending all the classes of schools in the north and south cluster barangays for public safety and security.
 “There is a need to declare cancellation of classes in all preschool elementary, and secondary schools in barangays thereof in order to spare pupils and students from risk/danger that would affect their lives an limbs,” the executive order read.
Mayor James Gamao asked for the cooperation of the citizens, saying, “The continuing threat of unidentified armed individuals within the City of Panabo, particularly in the recent incident of harassment in one of the police detachment caused fear among the constituents of the city.”

CAFGU man killed despite BIFF member’s pleading

From Tempo (Jun 24): CAFGU man killed despite BIFF member’s pleading

PIGCAWAYAN, North Cotabato – Thirty three-year old farmer Abraham Cutay hid his family for safety inside a rice mill upon learning that hundreds of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were already in the periphery of Barangay Malagakit last Wednesday.

Early morning that day, Cutay and several other villagers were preparing to evacuate to safer grounds when the armed men started to close in.

Cutay led her wife Gloryjane and three other children to a nearby rice mill believing that the armedmen would not find them.

Unfortunately, his youngest son two-year old Daniel cried when five men armed with high-powered rifle passed by the rice mill.

The armed men caught them and pointed their guns to the Cutay family but the rebels were just after Abraham.

“One of the armed men knew him so he literally shielded my husband and begged not to kill him,” Gloryjane recounted in Ilonggo dialect.

“If you don’t kill him now, he would kill you in the future,” she quoted one of the armed telling his fellow rebel.

Then one of the five armed men, who was wearing a ski mask and acted as the leader of the group, shot him multiple times in the body and in the knee in front of his wife and children.

Gloryjane added that the person who shot her husband further said that they have been relaying message to him not to join the Cafgu but he did not listen.

Abraham is supposed to graduate from a Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) on June 26.

When the armed men left, Gloryjane and her children evacuated to the town proper along with hundreds of others.

The body of her husband was recovered the following day when the military recaptured the village as the rebels withdrew to the nearby Liguasan Marsh.

2 BIFF collared at a checkpoint in Maguindanao

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 23): 2 BIFF collared at a checkpoint in Maguindanao

The Armed Forces of the Philippines-Western Mindanao Command (AFP-WestMinCom) said that two members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) were arrested by government soldiers in a checkpoint in Maguindanao on Wednesday morning.

Filipino soldiers onboard a truck in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato.

The two BIFF members were identified as Jahren Mantukay, 23, and Bardurin Limba, 28.

The two were held by members of the 22nd Mechanized Company, 2nd Mechanized Battalion, Mechanized Division, Philippine Army at a checkpoint in Butilin, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao at 9:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Seized from Mantukay and Limba, both residents of Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Maguindanao, were two sachets of suspected shabu.

The two are reportedly members of the BIFF’s Special Operation Group under a certain Palos and were often seen operating the motorized boat utilized by the BIFF.

They were brought to Datu Piang Police Station for investigation.

Major General Arnel Dela Vega, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said that coordination was made with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the ceasefire committee as part of the area of engagement is occupied by the 105th Base Command of the MILF.

MILF: Editorial - Submission Of BBL Postponed Again

Editorial posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jun 24): Editorial - Submission Of BBL Postponed Again

The first schedule to submit the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) was on June 1, but during that time, the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) was still hotly debating the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). June 14 and 15 were proposed as alternative dates. They were suggested by BTC Chair Ghazali Jaafar during the meeting with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on May 29. He estimated that by that time the final draft of the BBL would be finalized and ready for signatures by all the commissioners.

However, there was no concurrence on either of the two dates by the Office of the President (OP), which has the final say on the scheduling. Then later the dates June 16, 22 and 24 were also mentioned, and then finally 28. The last one officially came from the OP.

For this historic event, members of the BTC and its Secretariat made simple but sentimental preparation for the submission. Like the previous submission on September 14, 2014 by the first BTC chaired by Mohagher Iqbal, now a member of the current commission, a modest ceremony is expected in Malacañang Palace. Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, and other members of Congress, as well as members of the international community attended.

Again, the submission was postponed to July 10 – and this is still tentative. The reason given for this is the uncertainty of the presence of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Senate President Koko Pimentel, the two most important personalities as far as legislation, and for this matter, the passage of BBL in Congress, are concerned.

So be it! The government has the final say on this. The BTC has to wait; after all, it is mainly part of the official family.

Nevertheless, for ordinary Moro, such a litany of postponements do not bode well. The ghost of the previous BBL still lingers well in their minds. If there was Mamasapano then, now we have Marawi City. What an unhappy consequence!

Of course, we do not question intention; in fact, we say here that the postponement is for good, or for reasons only the inner circle of government knows. With our trust to the president, the MILF entertains no doubt about the pristine intention of the president to pass and solve the Bangsamoro Problem or Question during his time. We see no reason at all why he has other intention than to be truthful to our people. He is not only so consistent, but he is also very frank and forthright.

But we still believe things can still be improved, especially in setting up of schedules. The best system is when it can still fly under turbulent times. We hope July 10 will be the final rendezvous for submission of the BBL.

MILF: MILF Peace Corridor Volunteers Risk Lives To Save Others

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jun 24): MILF Peace Corridor Volunteers Risk Lives To Save Others

An elderly woman is escorted by a GPH-MILF Peace Corridor volunteer as they navigate the debris-filled street at the foot of Bayabao Bridge in Marawi City, site of intense fighting between government troops and members of the Maute group, on Sunday, June 4, 2017. Raffy Tima

Peace Corridor volunteers of the Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF) stationed in Marawi City went the extra mile to facilitate the retrieval of trapped civilians inside the conflict area, even risking their lives to save the others, a report posted on OPAPP website on June 21 said.
“This is our work, we risk our lives to save trapped civilians. Aside from risking our lives, we also make sure that ceasefire is working well,” Marjanie Mimbantas, a MILF member volunteering for Peace Corridors told OPAPP.

With the ongoing crisis here in the city, MILF members found themselves performing a new role working side-by-side with the Philippine Government (GPH) by facilitating a safe and secure route for the retrieval of trapped civilians and humanitarian assistance to pass through.

The Peace Corridor is a joint initiative between the GPH and the MILF resulted from the meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim in Davao City on May 29.

Marjanie, who is also a member of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel, said that the GPH-MILF Peace Corridors are one of retrieval efforts organized, alongside with initiatives from both the city and provincial governments.

“Our Peace Corridors are unique because we are going inside the war zone not only those which are cleared areas,” he explained.

MILF volunteers to the Peace Corridors are often assigned to enter the conflict zone to retrieve the trapped civilians within the area. Despite of the dangers they will encounter, Marjanie and other MILF volunteers are always prepared to go to help others.

“That’s the reason why we are camping here. Whenever someone asks for help, we are ready to go,” Marjanie pointed out.

Their movement, however, will still depend on the assessment of the ground commanders of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police. Marjanie emphasized that it is only when they get a clearance that the operation will commence.

As of June 21, a total of 240 civilians were retrieved out of the war zone.

“If not because of this Peace Corridor, we will not able to go inside. This is one thing that we are very thankful to the Peace Corridors,” Marjanie said.

“Our presence here manifests the sincerity of the both GPH and MILF to finally solve this problem,” Marjanie further said.

CPP/P\NPA-Panay: Madramang engkwentro ng AFP at CAFGU, nagdulot ng malaking perwisyo sa mga sibilyan!

NPA-Panay propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 20): Madramang engkwentro ng AFP at CAFGU, nagdulot ng malaking perwisyo sa mga sibilyan!

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

20 June 2017

Hindi totoong NPA ang nakaengkwentro ng mga Cafgu sa Brgy Lampaya, Leon, Iloilo nitong umaga ng Hunyo 20, 2017. Batay sa pag-usisa sa mga yunit ng NPA na kumikilos sa erya ng Leon at Alimodian, itinanggi nilang may mga Kasama sa Brgy Lampaya para atakehen ang mga Cafgu nang panahong iyon dahil alam ng mga Kasama na may presensya ng maraming tropa ng AFP dito. Kung totoong may NPA sa lugar, ang mga pasistang tropa ng 61st IB na ang tinira nila kaysa mga Cafgu na nakaposisyon sa komunidad, at delikadong tatamaan ang mga sibilyan.

Para sa NPA-Panay dalawa ang posibleng ugat ng pangyayaring ito: una, misencounter ito ng nag-ooperasyong tropa ng 61st IB at ng mga kasapi ng paramilitar/Cafgu sa Lampaya na hindi nila maayos na nakoordina. Dahil ugali na ng 61st IB na huwag umamin ng kapalpakan sa publiko, itinuloy na ang palabas na engkwentro. Pangalawa, sadyang isinagawa ang eksenang ito para bigyang katwiran ang pagmilitarisa sa mga barangay na kanilang pinaghihinalaang direksyon ng NPA na nag-reyd sa Maasin PNP. Higit sa lahat, hindi rin gagawin ng NPA ang ganung nakatatawang paraan ng “atake”

Kami’y nakikisimpatiya sa mga sibilyan na labis na naapektuhan ng kalokohang ito ng 61st IB. Batay sa report ng mga taga media na nag-cover ng pangyayari, maraming residente lalo na ang mga kababaihan at kabataan ang napilitang lumikas dahil sa matinding takot. Hindi sila nakapagpananghalian, sapilitang natigil ang klase ng mga mag-aaral sa mga kalapit na barangay at maging sa buong bayan ng Alimodian, Iloilo.

Inaalerto namin ang mga masa sa eryang inaatake ngayon ng 61st IB – 3rd ID. Notoryus ang tropang ito sa pamamaril sa mga sibilyan na kanilang paghihinalaan. Hanggang ngayon ay sumisigaw ng hustisya ang mga pamilya nina Lorendo Borres at Ian Borres na pinatay ng kanilang nag-ooperasyong tropa noong Pebrero 24, 2017 sa Brgy Jebaca, Maayon, Capiz. Sa halip na parusahan ang mga nagkasalang tropa, walang hiyang pinagdidiinan pa ng mga opisyal ng 61st IB at 3rd IDPA na NPA ang mga biktima sa kabila ng pagpapatunay ng mga kamag-anak, kakilala at lokal na opisyal na ordinaryong mga magsasaka ang dalawang namatay. At mas masaklap, na-promote pa sa mas mataas na pusisyon ang kumander ng berdugong batalyon na ito, si Col. Leonardo Peña, bilang pangalawang kumander ng 301st Brigade, PA na nakabase sa Dingle, Iloilo.

Hinahamon namin ang 61st IB na maging makatotohanan sa pag-ako ng kanilang kamalian at sagutin ang lahat ng gastusin laluna na nasa kritikal na kondisyon ngayon ang kanilang natamaan na kasapi ng Cafgu.

CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Masupog nga Intelligence sang AFP ginsilotan sang NPA

NPA-Central Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 21): Masupog nga Intelligence sang AFP ginsilotan sang NPA

JB Regalado, Spokesperson
NPA-Central Negros (Leonardo Panaligan Command)

21 June 2017

Lubos nga ginapanginbulahan sang LPC-BHB ang tim sang NPA sa madinalag-on nga pagpatuman sang silot nga kamatayon kay Ronie Montejo sa mando sang Rebolusyonaryong Korte sang Pumuluyo sadtong Hunyo 20, 2017 sang aga sa Canlaon City, Negros Oriental.

Si Ronie Montejo isa sa mga masupog nga regular intel sang 11th IBPA sadto diin madamo sang krimen kag mga kalapasan sa tawhanon nga kinamatarung sa Central nga bahin sang isla labi na sa mga mangunguma nga masakop sang area operation sang 11th IBPA. Si Ronie nagapangtubang sang kaso nga “multiple-murder” kag “frustrated murder” sa Rebolusyonaryong Kahublagan tungod imbolbado siya sa pagpatay sang 2 ka NPA kag pagkasamad sang isa pa. Subong man pagpadakop kag pagpapriso sang 2 pa ka mga katapo sang NPA. Masupog si Ronie nga tagpaniktik sang pasistang militar sa hulag sang NPA sadto kag tubtob subong bisan naggwa na siya sa serbisyo sa hanay sang AFP. Siya ang nagpa-reyd sa yunit sang NPA sa Brgy. Bayog, Canlaon City sadtong tuig 2001 nga nagresulta sang hilaw nga kamatayon nila “Ka Keven” kag “Ka Roselyn Pelle” kag pagkapilas man sang isa pa. Subong man ang pagkadakop kag pagkapriso sang 2 pa ka elemento sang NPA. Nagapangatubang man siya sang kaso sa pagpamahug kag pagpanaya-taya sang armas luthang sa mga mangunguma nga mga residente sang mga Brgy. sang Lumapao kag Malaiba, tanan sakop gihapon sang Canlaon City.

Kabaliskaran ini sa ginapahayag sang PNP Canlaon paagi kay Canlaon PNP Chief Alarcon nga mabuot kag wala kontra si Ronie Montejo. Ang kamatuoran madamo pa sang mga kaso nga ginpasaka ang masa kag pumuluyo labi na ang mga mangunguma sa Canlaon sa rebolusyonaryong hublag batok kay Ronie sadto tubtob subong.

Madamo pa ang LPC-BHB sang mga nabaton nga mga reklamo gikan sa mga pumuluyo sang Canlaon batok sa pagpang-abuso, pagpang-agaw sang duta kag palangabuhian sang mga mangunguma sa mga binukid sang Canlaon batok sa mga despotiko nga agalon may duta kag mga armadong goons sini. Amo man ang mga kontra-sosyal ilabe na sang pagbaligya kag paggamit sang illegal nga druga nga lubos makaguba sang buasdamlag sang mga pamatan-on kag kabataan. Nakabaton man ang LPC-BHB sang iban pa nga kriminal nga mga kaso kaangay sang kinawatay, sinindikato nga kalakasan, gunrunning, pagpamahug, pinatyanay kag iban pa.

Kaangot sa sini nga mga reklamo sang pumuluyo kag mangunguma nagalutaw ang pamilya Calderon sa pagpanguna ni Emma Calderon sa pagpang-abuso kag pagpang-agaw sang duta kag palangabuhian sang mga mangunguma. Imbolbado man ang pamilya Pipino sa mga kontra-sosyal kaangay sang paggamit sang illegal nga druga kag pagbaligya sini sa syudad sang Canlaon.

Kon mapamatud-an sang Rebolusyonaryong Korte sang Pumuluyo, ang NPA indi gid magduha-duha sa pagpatuman sang silot sa inyo sandig sa kabug-aton sang kaso nga inyo nakomiter.

CPP/NPA-Camarines Norte: Consecutive Offensives, Launched by the NPA against the pro-US AFP

NPA-Camarines Norte propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 23): Consecutive Offensives, Launched by the NPA against the pro-US AFP

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

23 June 2017

Last June 21, 1:02 am, Red Fighters from the Armando Catapia Command (NPA-Camarines Norte) launched an offensive on the patrol base of the 902nd Infantry Brigade of the 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, PA in Barangay Dumagmang, Labo, Camarines Norte. During the firefight which went on for 3 hours and 40 minutes, one soldier was killed and four were wounded on the side of the AFP. One K3 machine gun was also seized from the AFP. There were no casualties on the side of the NPA.

At 6:00 am on the same day, an NPA team, using a command-detonated explosive (CDX), blasted 2 trucks loaded with 15 or more soldiers, on their way to reinforce the AFP troops in Barangay Dumagmang. The demolition took place at a distance of around 400 meters from the 9th IB detachment in Barangay Mahawan-hawan, Labo. A firefight also ensued, which lasted for 10-15 minutes. On the side of the AFP, Corporal Rey Lota was killed, while four more soldiers were wounded. There were no casualties on the side of the NPA.

The CDX used by the NPA is different from the landmines which are banned by the Ottawa Treaty, which explode upon contact. The CDX used by the NPA explode only when the the designated bomber pushes the trigger of the blasting machine. This way, those in command can analyze the situation before ordering the bomber to push the trigger. The CDX is a legitimate weapon of war, unlike the indiscriminate airstrikes used by the AFP.

These offensives serve as an answer of the Armando Catapia Command to the continuing all-out-war campaign of the Armed Force of the Philippines, and the AFP-instigated Martial Law which led to US interference in Mindanao. The onslaught of offensive operations in the all-out-war of the pro-US AFP has led to widespread violations of human rights. Through Martial Law, the trigger-happy AFP now wields more authority in silencing and harassing the common people.

To counter the AFP’s fascism and to defend the masses, the Communist Party of the Philippines ordered the New People’s Army to launch more tactical offensives. The masses can rely only on its Revolutionary Army, especially now that Duterte has proven to be a pawn of the AFP, the pillar of US rule in the Philippines.

The Armando Catapia Command calls upon all its units to continue launching tactical offensives to uphold the rights and interests of the masses. Strengthening the revolutionary armed struggle leads to more power to the masses in upholding their right towards achieving genuine freedom and peace.

CPP/NPA Camarine Sur: Matagumpay na Operasyong Demolisyon, Isinagawa ng NPA sa Lupi, Camarines Sur

NPA-Camarines Sur propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 23): Matagumpay na Operasyong Demolisyon, Isinagawa ng NPA sa Lupi, Camarines Sur

Michael Robredo, Spokesperson
NPA-Camarines Sur (Norben Gruta Command)

23 June 2017
Press Release

Noong Hunyo 22, isang operasyong demolisyon ang isinagawa ng Norben Gruta Command (New People’s Army–West Camarines Sur) laban sa tropa ng 92nd Division Reconnaissance Company (DRC) ng 9th Infantry Division. Bandang alas-onse ng gabi, pinasabugan ng command detonated explosive (CDX) ang dumadaang trak ng AFP sa Sitio Castilla, Barangay Napolidan, Lupi, Camarines Sur. Ang nasabing trak ay sinakyan ng 1 seksyon mula sa 92nd DRC at patungo sa Pag-oring, Libmanan, upang kumuha ng dagdag pang sundalong magre-reinforce sana sa mga sundalong napalaban sa taktikal na opensiba ng NPA sa Camarines Norte noong Hunyo 21.* Sa pagpasabog sa trak, napatay ang Cafgung si Hilario Caña, habang lima sa kasamahan nito ang sugatan.

Ang opensibang ito ng NGC ay tugon sa panawagan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas na paigtingin ang armadong pakikibaka, sa gitna ng tumitinding paglabag ng karapatang pantao sa ilalim ng todo-gera at Batas Militar ng rehimeng Duterte. Matatandaan na noong Marso 30, pinaulanan ng bala ng 9th ID ang mga sibilyan sa gawa-gawa nilang engkwentro sa Sityo Traktora, Bagong Silang, Sipocot, Camarines Sur, kung saan isang sibilyan ang namatay, dalawa ang malubhang nasugatan at isa ang dinakip at inakusahang NPA. Sinundan pa ito ng mga serye ng kabiguan nang malagasan sila sa tangkang pagkubkob sa isang yunit ng NGC noong Abril 20 sa Barangay Bagong Silang, Del Gallego, Camarines Sur, at nasundan pa ng muling pagkabigo sa mga taktikal na opensiba ng mga yunit ng NGC noong Abril 21 at 22 sa parehong barangay. Patunay ito na bagamat mas maliit ang pwersa at kagamitang militar ng NPA, hindi ito malulupig dahil sa mahusay nitong taktika, pagkabisa sa teritoryo at mainit na suporta ng masa, na kaakibat ng mahigpit na pagtalima nito sa rebolusyonaryong prinsipyo at praktika. Patunay ito na habang tumitindi ang pasismo ng AFP, wala nang ibang masasandigan ang masa kundi ang Pulang Hukbo nito. Patunay ito na ang NPA ay ang tunay na hukbo ng sambayanang Pilipino.

CPP/NDF-LAB: LAB honors Guillermo Ponce ‘Pons’ de Leon: revolutionary scientist for the people Tribute of Liga ng Agham Para sa Bayan – NDF

NDF propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 23):
LAB honors Guillermo Ponce ‘Pons’ de Leon: revolutionary scientist for the people Tribute of Liga ng Agham Para sa Bayan – NDF

League of Science for the People

23 June 2017

The Liga ng Agham Para sa Bayan (League of Science for the People, LAB – NDF) confers the highest honor to Comrade Guillermo Ponce “Pons” de Leon who passed away last June 20 for his service to the people and his tireless revolutionary struggle.

The entire membership of LAB also extends its heartfelt condolences to his family, friends, and fellow comrades. Pons will forever be remembered as a brilliant scientist and educator who devoted his time and intellect in service of the people and the revolution.

Pons was a graduate of BS Physics from the FEATI University. He later worked as a Physics instructor in UP Los Banos where he, along with a group of like-minded patriots, founded the local chapter of Kabataang Makabayan. After he transferred to UP Diliman, he joined the Samahan ng Makabayang Siyentipiko (SMS), an organization of progressive and militant scientists, where he served as its Secretary General for some time. He was also active in organizing other teachers in the university at that time.

After the imposition of Martial Law, Pons and several others went underground and sustained the resistance against Marcos’ tyrannical rule. He was later arrested and detained in 1975. While in detention, he was subjected to severe torture, which permanently damaged his right eye as well as impaired his overall physical functions.

But these trials served as no hindrance for him to continue his service to the revolution. After he was released, he continued his revolutionary work as a cadre in the Manila-Rizal Region, particularly in organizing and expanding the reach of LAB in universities and government offices where significant portions of scientists and engineers were concentrated.

He was also an integral figure in the success of LAB’s rectification campaign during the late 1990’s. In recognition of his dedication and leadership, he was elected as LAB’s National Chairperson during its 1996 Congress under his nom de guerre Maximo Rufino. He also served as the Editor-in-Chief of Agham Bayan (People’s Science), LAB’s official publication during that time. Under his supervision, it was successfully re-published in 1998 after a long hiatus during the period of disorientation.

Pons’ life of selfless service and devotion to the oppressed and exploited Filipino masses must serve as an example to the current generation of scientists and engineers. Pons knew that science and technology can never be of genuine service to the people unless it is first liberated from the hands of monopoly capitalists and bureacrats.

We call on fellow scientists and technologists to follow Pons’ revolutionary footsteps: carry on the National Democratic Revolution and forge new paths toward a democratic, just, and prosperous socialist future.

Long live the memory of Ka Ponce de Leon!
Carry on the national democratic revolution towards greater heights!

CPP/NPA-Ilocos Cordillera: Parusahan ang mga Mapandambong na Kumpanya ng Pagmimina

NPA propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 24): Parusahan ang mga Mapandambong na Kumpanya ng Pagmimina

Joint Statement nina Martin Montana, Chadli Molintas Command (New People’s Army – Ilocos Cordillera Region) at Sey-ang Rayos, Jennifer ‘Maria’ Cariño Command (New People’s Army – Benguet)

NPA-IIocos Cordillera (Chadli Molintas Command)

24 June 2017

Matagumpay na inilunsad ng mga pwersa ng Chadli Molintas Command (CMC) ng NPA Ilocos-Cordillera Region at ng Jennifer ‘Maria’ Cariño Command (JMCC) ng NPA Benguet ang hakbang pamamarusa laban sa Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company at taktikal na opensiba laban sa mga tropa ng AFP at PNP nitong 7-8 ng Hunyo 2017. Bahagi ito ng nagpapatuloy na kampanya ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan laban sa mga mapandambong at mapanira na malalaking kumpanya ng minas at mga pasistang tropa ng AFP-PNP-CAFGU na nagsisilbing security force ng mga nasabing kumpanya.

Isinagawa ang panibagong hakbang pamamarusa sa Lepanto mula 10:30 ng gabi ng Hunyo 7 hanggang 12:00 ng hatinggabi ng Hunyo 8. Pinasabog at sinunog ang earth moving equipment at lime plant sa lokasyon ng Lepanto Tailings Dam 5A sa pagitan ng barangay Colalo at barangay Cabiten, Mankayan, Benguet.

Ang mga nabanggit na equipment ay ginagamit sa quarrying at pagpapataas ng embankment ng naturang tailings dam. Pinoprotestahan ito ng mamamayan ng Colalo dahil sa pangambang gumuho muli ang kanilang lupain, katulad ng nangyari noong 1999, kung kailan natibag ang gilid ng bundok na kinatatayuan ng Colalo Elementary School, at sa pagguho ng lupa ay nakaladkad ang ilang bahay, dahil din sa quarrying at pagpapataas ng embankment ng tailings dam.

Noong dekada 1990, inagaw ng Lepanto ang ilampung ektaryang palayan at iba pang lupa ng mamamayan ng Colalo at Cabiten para maitayo ang Tailings Dam 5A. Ito ay prinotestahan ng mamamayan ng mga nabanggit na baryo subalit marahas silang sinupil ng mga tropa ng PNP at CAFGU na bayaran ng Lepanto.

Matatandaan na noong Abril 25, 2013 ay sinunog ng NPA ang drilling machine ng Lepanto sa barangay Colalo. Ang isinasagawa noong drilling operations sa lugar ay para sa planong itayo na Tailings Dam 5B, na magsisilbi sana sa pagpapalawak ng saklaw ng mining operations ng kumpanya. Ang pagtatayo ng Tailings Dam 5B ay nangangahulugan ng pag-agaw muli ng Lepanto ng ilampung ektaryang lupain ng mamamayan sa mga barangay ng Colalo at Bedbed, Mankayan. Ang pagpapalawak naman ng mining operations nito ay mangangahulugan ng pagka-agaw at pagkasira ng halos 400 na ektarya ng ansestral na lupain ng mga katutubong mamamayan sa di pa namiminang mga bahagi ng Mankayan. Napigilan lang ang drilling operations ng Lepanto para sa expansion nito sa mga barangay ng Bulalacao, Tabio, at Balili, Mankayan, dahil sa higit isang taon na magiting at matagumpay na pagbabarikada ng mga komunidad.

Kasabay ng pagsunog at pagpapasabog sa equipment sa Lepanto Tailings Dam 5A ay ang pagbira ng NPA sa mga tropa ng 81st IB na naka-istasyon sa mismong dam site. Ginagamit ang mga tropang ito upang takutin at supilin ang protesta ng mamamayan ng Colalo laban sa quarrying at pagpapataas ng dam embankment.

Pinarusahan din noong gabi ng June 7, 2017 ang may-ari at operator ng isang carbon-in-pulp (CIP) cyanide processing plant sa bahagi ng sitio Ampontoc, barangay Colalo. Ang CIP ay pag-aari ni Colalo barangay captain Ambino Padawi at kasalukuyang ino-operate ng ilang negosyanteng Tsino na nangungupahan sa naturang planta. Pinasabugan at sinunog ang backhoe at iba pang mga equipment na ginagamit sa operasyon ng planta.

Itinayo ang CIP sa ansestral na lupain na inagaw ni Ambino mula sa isang clan sa Colalo. Mariing prinotestahan ng mamamayan ng barangay Colalo ang pagtatayo ng CIP dahil sa nabanggit na pang-aagaw ng lupa at dahil din sa pangambang malalason ang pinagkukunan ng inuming tubig ng mamamayan ng sitio Ampontoc. Matinding harassment at intimidation ang ginamit ni Ambino upang supilin ang protesta ng mamamayan.

Si Ambino ay masugid na tagasuporta ng Lepanto.

Matapos sunugin ang pasabugan at CIP, pinasabog din ng NPA ang Community Police Action Center (COMPAC) na ipinatayo ni Ambino sa tabi ng CIP sa Ampontoc.

Ang pinakahuling pagpaparusa ng NPA sa Lepanto at mga tropa ng AFP at PNP na nagsisilbing security force nito ay pahiwatig ng patuloy na pagsusuporta at pakikiisa ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa nagpapatuloy ding magiting na pakikibaka ng mamamayan ng Mankayan at iba pang lugar laban sa lubhang mapanirang pagmimina ng Lepanto. Mahigit 100,000 na mamamayan ng Mankayan at 18 na iba pang munisipyo sa apat na probinsya ng Benguet, Mountain Province, Ilocos Sur, at Abra ang apektado sa mining operations ng Lepanto. Mula pa noong dekada 1960 nagpoprotesta at nagpapanawagan ang apektadong mamamayan ng pagpapasara sa Lepanto.

Ang Lepanto ang isa sa tatlong pinakamalaking kumpanya ng minas sa Pilipinas, kasama ang Philex Mining Corporation at Nickel Asia. Kumikita ito ng humigit-kumulang sa dalawang bilyong piso bawat taon. Ito ay pag-aari ng mga pamilyang kabilang sa 100 na pinakamayaman sa bansa – ang mga Yap, Disini, at Tecson – at ni Manny Pangilinan, na isa din sa nagmamay-ari ng Philex.

Para sa expansion nito sa Mankayan, itinayo ng Lepanto ang Far Southeast Gold Resources, Inc. (FSGRI) at kinasosyo dito ang dayuhang kumpanyang Gold Fields, na siyang pinakamalaking prodyuser ng ginto sa buong daigdig. Kontrolado ng Gold Fields ang mahigit 60% ng FSGRI.

Sa 80 taong operasyon ng Lepanto, wala itong ibang idinulot kundi pwerhisyo sa mga magsasaka at iba pang mamamayan ng Mankayan at mga katabing bayan sa saklaw ng Benguet at Mountain Province, at sa mga bayang dinadaanan ng ilog Abra sa bandang Ilocos Sur at probinsya ng Abra. Napakalaki na ng pinsalang idinulot ng Lepanto sa kapaligiran, lupa, kabuhayan, at pamayanan ng mamamayan. Inagaw at winasak ng Lepanto ang mga agrikultural at komunal na lupain ng mga katutubong minorya ng Mankayan. Hinawan ang mga kagubatan. Hinukay ang ilalim ng lupa. Lumubog ang kinatatayuan ng mga bahay at eskwelahan. Sa kasalukuyan, unti-unting nawawasak ang mga bahay sa sitio Pacda, barangay Suyoc-Palasaan, at sa sitio Tabbac, barangay Bulalacao. Nawala ang tubig sa ilang mga sapa, at namatay ang ilog Mankayan dahil sa tuloy-tuloy na pagtatambak ng dumi at nakalalasong kemikal mula sa minahan. Dinumihan at nilason din ang ilog Abra. Dahil sa siltasyong dulot ng tuloy-tuloy na pagtatambak ng mine tailings ng Lepanto sa ilog Abra, tuloy-tuloy ding tumataas ang riverbed nito. Tuwing tag-ulan, lumalaki ang ilog, at ang mga palayan sa paligid nito ay binabaha at nililibing sa banlik. Ilang daang ektarya na ng palayan sa Ilocos Sur at Abra ang nasalanta.

Hindi totoo na nakakatulong ang Lepanto sa pagbibigay ng mahusay na trabaho at kabuhayan sa mamamayan. Napakadumi ng rekord ng kumpanya sa marahas na panunupil at pagbabale-wala sa mga kahilingin ng kanyang mga manggagawa. Kalakaran ng Lepanto na tanggalin sa trabaho ang mga malapit nang magretirong mga manggagawa nang sa gayon ay makaiwas sa obligasyong magbigay ng pensyon at mapalitan ito ng maliit na separation pay. Ipinagkakait din ng Lepanto ang sapat na kumpensasyon sa aksidente o pagkamatay ng manggagawa sa loob ng minahan. Ipinapako nito sa mababang halaga ang arawang sahod ng mga manggagawa. Mula noong dekada 1990, tuloy-tuloy na nagbawas ang kumpanya ng mga regular na manggagawa upang palitan sila ng mga kontraktwal. Mula sa dating bilang na higit 6,000, kumukulang sa 1,000 na lamang ang bilang ng mga regular na manggagawa habang lumolobo ang bilang ng mga kontraktwal na hindi nakakatanggap ng mga benepisyo at hindi kinikilala ang karapatang mag-unyon.

Kabi-kabilaan ang mga aplikasyon sa pagmimina ng Lepanto gamit ang mga kumpanyang subsidiaryo nito, tulad ng Diamond Drilling at Shipside, at iba’t ibang pangalan, tulad ng Olpaten, Eltopan, Horizon, Lindsay, Patrick, at Mount Franz. Sa ngayon, ang Lepanto at ang kakumpitensya nitong subsidiaryo ng Nickel Asia, na ang Cordillera Exploration Co., Inc. (CEXCI), ang may pinakamalawak na aplikasyon sa pagmimina sa rehiyon ng Kordilyera at Ilocos. Sinasaklaw ng mga pending applications ng Lepanto ang halos 89,190 na ektarya sa Buguias, Bakun, Kibungan, Kapangan, Atok, Tublay, at La Trinidad, Benguet; Hungduan at Banaue, Ifugao; Sagada, Bontoc, Sabangan, at Bauko, Mountain Province; San Emilio, Gregorio del Pilar, Quirino, Suyo, Alilem, at Sugpon, Ilocos Sur; at Tubo at Luba, Abra.

Para sa ganid na interes, ginagamit ng Lepanto ang dahas at lahat ng maduduming taktika – panlilinlang, pagsasampa ng gawa-gawang kaso laban sa mga tumututol na mamamayan, panggigipit, at iba pa. Gamit ang mga tropa ng PNP, CAFGU, at mga sahuran nitong security personnel, marahas na binuwag ng Lepanto ang barikada ng mamamayan ng Colalo laban sa pagtatayo Tailings Dam 5A noong 1991-1992; ang mga barikada ng mamamayan ng Bulalacao laban sa expansion ng kumpanya noong 1995-1997 at 1999; at ang mga strike ng mga manggagawa noong 2003 at 2005. Tinangka din nitong buwagin ang mga barikada ng mamamayan ng Tabbac, Tabio, at Balili noong 2011-2012 laban sa drilling operations ng FSGRI. Kung anu-anong kaso ang isinampa laban sa higit 90 na magsasakang namuno at lumahok sa protesta laban sa FSGRI.

Ang mismong mga tropa ng AFP at PNP ang nagsisilbing gwardya ng Lepanto para maipatupad ang mga proyekto nito sa pagmimina at bantayan ang interes ng mga ganid na lokal at dayuhang dambuhalang mga kapitalista.

Sa kabila ng propaganda ng malalaking korporasyon ng minas at mga tagapagtaguyod nito sa loob ng rehimeng Duterte, hindi maikukubli ang lawak ng sinira ng mga naturang korporasyon na mga kagubatan, kabundukan, ilog, palayan, at pamayanan sa buong bansa. Milyon-milyong pambansang minorya, magsasaka, at iba pang mamamayang Pilipino ang naaagawan ng lupa at nawawalan ng kabuhayan dahil sa mga kumpanyang ito. Lantarang kasinungalingan ang sinasabi ng Philippine Chamber of Mines na malaki ang itinutulong ng industriya ng minas sa kabuhayan ng mamamayang Pilipino at sa ekonomya ng bansa. Ang katotohanan, mas maliit pa sa 1% ng kabuuang empleyo sa bansa ang nasa mga malalaking minahan, at mas maliit din sa 1% ang kontribusyon nito sa gross domestic product (GDP).

Ang pagtutol ng mga katutubong magsasaka at iba pang mamamayan sa malawakan at mapanirang pagmimina ng Lepanto ay pakikibaka para ipaglaban ang kanilang lupaing ansestral, rekurso, kabuhayan, at kinabukasan. Sa ilang dekada nang pakikibaka ng mamamayan laban sa Lepanto, napatunayan nilang wala silang maaasahang tulong mula sa reaksyunaryong gubyerno. Sa halip na ang mamamayan ang tulungan, ang Lepanto pa ang ipinagtatanggol ng mga bayarang matataas na opisyal at ahensya ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno. Kahit ang desisyon ni dating DENR Secretary Gina Lopez na ipahinto ang pagmimina ng Lepanto at mahigit 20 na iba pang kumpanya ng minas sa Pilipinas ay hindi maaasahang seryosong ipapatupad ng rehimeng Duterte dahil sa loob ng rehimeng ito ay ang maraming mga opisyales na nagtataguyod sa interes ng mga malalaking kapitalistang lokal at dayuhan.

Ang CPP, NPA, Cordillera People’s Democratic Front, at buong rebolusyonaryong kilusan ay naninindigan para sa interes ng mamamayan laban sa malawakan at mapanirang pagmimina ng mga dambuhalang kumpanya. Ipagpapatuloy nito ang pagpaparusa sa mga mapandambong na kumpanya ng minahan. Tanging sa armadong rebolusyonaryong paglaban lamang ng mamamayan makakamit ang tunay na pambansang kalayaan at demokrasya na maghahawan ng daan para sa tunay na kaunlaran.

Labanan at wakasan ang malawakan at mapanirang operasyon ng Lepanto at lahat ng malalaking kumpanya sa minahan!
Ipagtanggol ang lupaing ansestral at kabuhayan!
Palayasin ang mga gahamang dayuhan at ipaglaban ang pambansang kasarinlan!
Isulong ang tunay na reporma sa lupa at pambansang industriyalisasyon!
Panagutin ang reaksyonaryong gubyerno at berdugong AFP at PNP sa mga krimen laban sa mamamayan!
Isulong ang demokratikong rebolusyong bayan!!!

Philippines: IS funded siege through Malaysian militant

From the Philippine Star (Jun 24): Philippines: IS funded siege through Malaysian militant

This image taken from an undated video shown to The Associated Press by the Philippine military shows Malaysian militant Mahmud bin Ahmad, who helped lead and finance the siege in southern Marawi city. Philippine Armed Forces Chief Gen. Eduardo Ano told The Associated Press on Friday, June 23, 2017, that Mahmud bin Ahmad died June 7, 2017, from wounds sustained in fighting with government troops in Marawi last month. (Philippine military via AP)

The Islamic State group helped fund the monthlong siege of a southern Philippine city through a Malaysian militant who was reportedly killed by troops, the Philippine military chief said yesterday.

Gen. Eduardo Ano told The Associated Press that Malaysian Mahmud bin Ahmad reportedly channeled more than $600,000 from the IS group to acquire firearms, food and other supplies for the attack in Marawi.

Money believed to be from illegal drugs also funded the uprising, he said. Mahmud was wounded in the fighting last month and reportedly died on June 7, he said.

A local militant leader, Omarkhayam Maute, also is believed to have been killed in the early days of intense fighting and troops were looking for their remains to validate the intelligence the military had received.

Troops are seeking the help of villagers to pinpoint the spot where Mahmud was reportedly buried, Ano said.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar acknowledged that Mahmud was in Marawi fighting with insurgents but said he believed the militant is still alive.

Malaysian authorities are trying to determine the number of Malaysians who joined the siege but said at least four may have been killed in clashes.

Two other rebel leaders, top Filipino militant suspect Isnilon Hapilon and Maute's brother, Abdullah, were still fighting in Marawi, Ano said.

A former Malaysian university professor who became radicalized and received training in Afghanistan, Mahmud appeared in a video showing militant leaders planning the Marawi siege in a hideout, a sign of his key role in the uprising.

The AP obtained a copy of the video, which was seized by troops May 23.

A month ago, about 500 local militants, along with some foreign fighters, stormed into Marawi, a bastion of the Islamic faith in the south of the predominantly Roman Catholic nation.

Troops since then have killed about 280 gunmen, recovered nearly 300 assault firearms and regained control of 85 buildings. Many of the taller buildings were used as sniper posts to slow down the advance of government forces, the military said.

At least 69 soldiers and police and 26 civilians have died in the fighting. Only four villages in Marawi remain in the hands of the militants, out of the 19 of 96 villages across the lakeside city of 200,000 people that the black flag-waving militants had occupied.

"They are constricted in a very small area. They're pinned down," Ano said.

He said three boatloads of gunmen who tried to join the militants were blasted by navy gunboats three days ago in Lake Lanao, which borders Marawi.

Ano said the battle was taking longer because the militants were using civilians as human shields.

"We can just bomb them away or use napalm bombs to burn everything, but then, we will not be any different from them if we do that," he said.

The audacious attack by the heavily armed militants and their ability to hold on to large sections of a city for weeks surprised the government and sparked fears among Southeast Asian countries that the Islamic State group was moving to gain a foothold in the region.

Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said the Philippines accepted an offer of two AP-3C Orion aircraft to provide surveillance to local troops.

The US military earlier deployed a spy plane and drones over Marawi.

Facing his worst crisis, President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in the south to deal with the Marawi siege.

Powerful clans and warlords, along with insurgencies, have effectively weakened law enforcement in large areas of the country's south, making it easier for militants to take over an area and hold it, said Sidney Jones, director of the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict in Jakarta, Indonesia.

"I do think that martial law doesn't solve the problem and I think military strikes, especially airstrikes, don't solve the problem," Jones said. "It's a much broader problem that needs a strategic solution."

Philippine Foreign Minister Alan Peter Cayetano and his Malaysian and Indonesian counterparts met with top security officials in Manila on Thursday to discuss the crisis.

They agreed on a plan of action to combat terrorism and rising extremism and deal with the prospects of Asian fighters returning to their region from Syria and Iraq, where the IS group has been losing territory.

US stand on South China Sea remains unchanged amid China dialogue

From the Philippine Star (Jun 24): US stand on South China Sea remains unchanged amid China dialogue

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, right, and Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis appear at news conference following a Diplomatic and Security Dialogue Meeting with a Chinese delegation including State Counselor Yang Jiechi and military Chief of Joint Staff Fang Fenghui, at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, June 21, 2017. AP/Cliff Owen
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis made it clear to Beijing that Washington's position on the South China Sea remains unchanged during a security dialogue between the two countries.

Tillerson and Mattis hosted Chinese foreign policy chief Yang Jiechi and Gen. Fang Fenghui, chief of the People’s Liberation Army’s joint staff department, for the first session of the US-China Diplomatic and Security Dialogue in Washington.

Tillerson said he and Mattis had a frank exchange of views on the disputed waters with the Chinese leaders.
"We oppose changes to the status quo of the past through the militarization of outposts in the South China Sea and excessive maritime claims unsupported by international law, and we uphold the freedom of navigation and overflight," Tillerson said in a press conference.

Mattis said that they also discussed the importance of freedom of navigation, peaceful resolution of maritime disputes and ways to decrease tension in the South China Sea.

The Pentagon chief stressed that the US will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows.

"On South China Sea, this is a dialogue where we identify areas where we can work together and to understand those areas where we have, I would call them disconnects, where are our understanding of the problem is very different from theirs," Mattis said.

Mattis added that Beijing and Washington will continue to work on "closing gaps" in their understanding in the future.

"But I would say for right now that’s the whole purpose for the dialogue that we held here today, and we will be holding more in the future," Mattis said.

A few weeks ago, Tillerson accused China of using its economic power to evade issues such as the South China Sea dispute.

"We desire productive relationships, but we cannot allow China to use its economic power to buy its way out of other problems, whether its militarizing islands in the South China Sea or failing to put appropriate pressure on North Korea," US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said during his visit to Sydney.

Irked by Tillerson's remarks, the Chinese Foreign Ministry insisted that China and Southeast Asian countries have been making efforts to uphold peace and stability in the contested waters.

Navy deploys newest war vessel near Marawi

From the Philippine Star (Jun 24): Navy deploys newest war vessel near Marawi

An Indonesian flag flutters from the rear deck of the new Philippine Navy ship named BRP Davao del Sur as it docks at Manila's South Harbor Wednesday, May 10, 2017 in Manila, Philippines. The Philippine Navy welcomed Wednesday the second Indonesian-made amphibious landing dock as part of the military's modernization program. AP/Bullit Marquez
The Philippine Navy is deploying its newest landing dock BRP Davao del Sur (LD602) in Cotabato to be used as instrument by military forces in battling the Islamic State-inspired militants in Marawi City, an official said here.

The 404-footer supply and operation ship, constructed by the Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL, made a two-day port call in the city. It will also deliver military logistics, supplies for soldiers and relief goods for the displaced civilians of Marawi.

Rear Admiral Rene Medina, commander of Naval Force Western Mindanao (NFWM), visited the ship docked at the Zamboanga port. He said its presence will help secure the coastal water in the Cotabato area while it serves as staging pad of the Augusta Westland attack helicopters.

“Its presence will boost the security in the area,” Medina said.

There were reports that members of the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups who led the Marawi siege may slip and find its way out of the besieged city, by using the seawaters of Cotabato towards the island provinces.

BRP Davao del Sur had its open house for two days, showing its capability as a landing platform dock. It also gave the opportunity for residents to have a guided tour of the ship.

Captain Richard Gonzaga, BRP Davao del Sur commanding officer, said the ship has its own medical facility where it can perform treatment for wounded soldiers.

Gonzaga said the Naval Reserve Center and NFWM also conducted recruitment activities aboard ship for interested individuals who wish to join the roster of the Philippine Navy.

Gonzaga said the presence if the LD602 was aimed at promoting peace, developing friendly relations and bringing the Philippine Navy and the Armed Forces of the Philippines closer to the hearts of the people here and Filipinos in general.

BRP Davao del Sur, commissioned in the service of the Philippine Navy last May 31, was the second landing dock after BRP Tarlac (LD-601) was delivered and commissioned on the same month last year.

Authorities verifying presence of 89 foreign terrorists in Mindanao

From the Philippine Star (Jun 23): Authorities verifying presence of 89 foreign terrorists in Mindanao

Government troops patrol the streets of Marawi city three days after Muslim militants lay siege in the city in southern Philippines Thursday, May 25, 2017. AP/Bullit Marquez

Security forces are verifying information about the alleged presence of 89 suspected foreign terrorists in Mindanao, Malacañang said on Saturday.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said it is possible that the foreigners entered the Philippines through the southern backdoor, where the point of entry is Mindanao via Indonesia or Malaysia.

“Authorities are still validating the report that 89 suspected foreign fighters are in Mindanao,” Abella said in a statement.

“This is the purpose why we are making a collective effort against terrorism and violent extremism through a trilateral cooperation with Indonesia and Malaysia,” he added.

Abella noted that the three countries have agreed “to work together to jointly develop and implement counter-terrorism measures and strategies to prevent future terrorist attacks in the region.”

A police intelligence report obtained by Kyodo News said at least 89 “suspected foreign fighters” are in various parts of Mindanao including Marawi City, the area attacked by Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorists last May 23.

According to the report, 28 of the suspected terrorists are Indonesians, 26 are Pakistanis, 21 are Malaysians, four are Arabs, three are Bangladeshis, one is a Singaporean and one is an Indian-Singaporean. The nationalities of the other five foreigners were not identified.

Kyodo News said the information was relayed by Philippine officials during a meeting with Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts in Manila last Thursday.

Abella said the military is also validating the report that Mahmud bin Ahmad, a Malaysian who helped finance the attacks in Marawi, died from wounds he sustained during the early days of the crisis.

“We have been told that the military has information of the spot where he was buried and government troops are now trying to locate it and recover the remains. Once done, only then can we make an official confirmation,” he said.

At least eight of the terrorists killed during encounters in Marawi were foreign fighters.

Of the slain foreign militants, two were Saudis, two were Malaysians, two were Indonesians, one was a Yemeni and one was a Chechen, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

On Thursday, Armed Forces Eastern Mindanao Command deputy chief Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay revealed that there are at least 40 foreign terrorists in the Philippines. He said security forces already know the names of the jihadists which include Malaysians, Indonesians, Arabs and Pakistanis.

A total of 280 terrorists and 69 government troopers since clashes in Marawi started last May 23.

Palace: NPA attacks cast doubt on rebels' sincerity to peace talks

From the Philippine Star (Jun 24): Palace: NPA attacks cast doubt on rebels' sincerity to peace talks

In this Nov. 23, 2016 photo, a red ribbon is tied to a firearm of a New People's Army guerrilla at a rebel encampment tucked in the harsh wilderness of the Sierra Madre mountains. AP/Aaron Favila
Malacañang is disturbed by the recent attacks of the New People’s Army in Mindanao, saying they cast doubts on the rebels’ sincerity to the peace process.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said the offensives "disrupt the conducive and enabling environment indispensable in peace making and peace building.”

“Several recent serious offensives in Mindanao and elsewhere in the country allegedly committed by the CPP-NPA-NDFP (Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front of the Philippines) forces further fueled the public’s doubts on whether it is still worthwhile to continue the peace negotiations with them,” Abella said in a statement on Saturday.
“We are disturbed by the recent NPA attacks considering that their leaders in Europe issued a statement condemning the incident in Marawi, even offering to refrain from undertaking offensive operations in Mindanao to enable our government forces to deal with focus on the rebellion still happening,” he added.

Abella said the government would undertake “corresponding and appropriate steps” to deal decisively with the development.

The government has halted the fifth round of negotiations with the NDFP after the CPP had directed the NPA to intensify offensives against government forces implementing the martial law in Mindanao.

Last week, the NDF asked the NPA to refrain from attacking government forces in Mindanao so they can focus on clearing Marawi City of Maute terrorists. The government reciprocated the declaration, welcoming it as a positive development for the peace talks.

But hours after the government reciprocated the NDF’s gesture, about 50 NPA members raided the Maasin Municipal Police Station in Iloilo City and took away firearms, a laptop, a base radio, cash and jewelry.

While the attack did not happen in Mindanao, the government labeled it as “opportunistic.”

Army troops and NPA members also figured in a series of clashes in the Davao region last week.

The military claimed that rebels fired upon members of the 67th Infantry Battalion who were conducting patrols in Cateel, Davao Oriental last June 17. The attack led to an hour-long gun battle that left three rebels dead.

Another clash happened on the same day between the 66th Infantry Battalion encountered NPA guerillas in Pantukan, Compostela Valley. Two rebels were killed and two soldiers were wounded during the firefight.

Some senators have asked the Duterte administration to defer the conduct of negotiations with the communists, saying the rebels do not seem to have control over their ground troops.

Army calls ambush of 2 barbaric

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 24): Army calls ambush of 2 barbaric

The Philippine Army yesterday condemned the criminal and barbaric acts perpetrated by the New People's Army, who staged an ambush on two civilians on Thursday in Calatrava, Negros Occidental.

Norberto Lumayno, a sugar planter, and his driver, Danilo Braga, succumbed to multiple gunshot wounds, and the vehicle they were riding was riddled with bullets, after they were ambushed by about nine suspected NPA rebels in Brgy. Minapasok, Calatrava, the police said.

The ambush also took place two days after three suspected NPA assassins also shot and killed former Army Sgt. Ronnie Montejo in Canlaon City, also following the raid of a police station in Maasin town of Iloilo, on Sunday.

The pursuit operations of the 62IB against fleeing rebels suspects led to an encounter in the nearby barangay of Cambayobo in Calatrava, that lasted for about 15 minutes.

Bañez said he 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 among the masses, specially land owners, for them to yield to their extortion demands.

Col. Eliezer Losañes, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said that they are now following reports that the fleeing rebels, who encountered the 62IB troops, have either been injured or killed.

Recovered from the encounter site were a 45 caliber pistol, a hand grenade, assorted s ubversive documents, a portable gas stove, medical accessories, twoCPP- NPA flags, nine bag packs, two transistor radios, P270 in cash, assorted food stuffs, a hammock and personal belongings.

Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, officer-in-charge of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, said yesterday that they are now checking hospitals, to determine if there are persons being treated of gunshot wounds in them.

Castil said they are also implementing target hardening measures in all police stations, following the reported formation of four platoons of NPA in northern Negros, after the Maasin police station raid in Iloilo.

While they have yet to establish the specific targets of the rebel group, he said they are assuming that NPA is up to something.

Bañez also said the 62IB .will help other law enforcement agencies in bringing the suspects to the bar of justice, and vowed to protect the people from fear and intimidation from local terrorist groups.

Gov't peace panel urges release of Aglipayan bishop

From Rappler (Jun 23): Gov't peace panel urges release of Aglipayan bishop

Government chief negotiator Silvestre Bello III urges the DOJ 'to look into the case of Bishop Carlos Morales on humanitarian grounds'

ARRESTED. Iglesia Fiilipina Independiente (IFI) Bishop Carlos Morales was arrested with a suspected communist rebel on May 11, 2017. File photo by the IFI Pagadian diocese

ARRESTED. Iglesia Fiilipina Independiente (IFI) Bishop Carlos Morales was arrested with a suspected communist rebel on May 11, 2017. File photo by the IFI Pagadian diocese

The government peace panel urged the "immediate release" of Bishop Carlos Morales, a leader of the Aglipayan Church, who was arrested along with a "most wanted" commander of the New People's Army (NPA).

The government panel, which is negotiating peace with communist rebels, said it is "asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to expedite the process for the immediate release" of Morales, who was arrested in Ozamiz City on May 11.

The panel made this call in a statement Thursday, June 22.

In this statement, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, government chief negotiator, urged the DOJ "to look into the case of Bishop Carlos Morales on humanitarian grounds."

Bello and peace panel members pointed out that Aglipayan priests and bishops have been "assisting the government it its peace efforts and initiatives."
Clergymen of the Aglipayan Church, formally known as the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, have helped "especially in facilitating the release of (government) captured soldiers/military officers or members of law enforcement agencies in the past," Bello and members of the peace panel said.

Morales was with Rommel Salinas, a high-ranking communist leader who was wanted by the police, when their vehicle was flagged down at a checkpoint in Ozamiz City.
Morales earlier said he did not know Salinas, who just hitched a ride with the bishop as it was raining and he was carrying many bags.

Morales said the security forces initially arrested only Salinas. But he said he and his wife decided to accompany him to the police station when they learned that he was a consultant of the National Democratic Front, the group talking peace with the government on behalf of the rebels.

It was then that he said they were also handcuffed and accused of conniving with Salinas.

The Aglipayan Church earlier condemned Morales' arrest.

Coast Guard stepping up sea patrols in Boracay

From Rappler (Jun 24): Coast Guard stepping up sea patrols in Boracay

Authorities say they will intensify sea patrols and deployment of assets to protect Boracay Island from any armed groups

HEIGHTENED SECURITY. Authorities beef up security in top tourist destination Boracay Island. Rappler file photo

HEIGHTENED SECURITY. Authorities beef up security in top tourist destination Boracay Island. Rappler file photo

BORACAY, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is beefing up its security measures to thwart any possible terrorist attack on Boracay Island, Lieutenant Commander Eric Ferrancullo said.

Authorities are also conducting joint regular seaborne patrols to keep armed groups from sneaking into popular tourist destination Boracay Island and adjoining areas through sea routes.

Ferrancullo said the intensified sea patrolling and deployment of assets will safeguard the maritime interests of Boracay Island.

Aside from Boracay, the Maritime Joint Task Force-Boracay "Area Shield" is also tightly monitoring the coastal communities in Malay mainland and their surrounding waters.

"Tayo ay nakikipagtulungan sa (We are working with the) Philippine Navy, police, and Philippine Army for corroborative efforts to ensure peace and security in the island," he added.

Coast Guard personnel are also on standby 24/7 in Caticlan and Cagban ports, as well as Tabon and Tambisaan areas during habagat season for safety and security of passengers.

Ferrancullo urged the public to alert the PCG and the police about the presence of individuals on board of any suspicious motorized bancas in their areas.

"'Pag nagpumilit na pumasok ang mga bancas, i-report agad sa ating kapulisan at sa Coast Guard sa Caticlan at Boracay (If the bancas insist on entering, report them immediately to the police and to the Coast Guard at Caticlan and Boracay)," he stressed.

Security measures in the ports, he added, were discussed with motorboat owners, cargo operators, and shipping companies during coordination meetings.

Last week, the PCG had ordered its stations and districts to impound boats for failure to comply with the Safety, Security and Environmental Numbering System.

The agency also took over the security supervision of public and private ports and shipping from the Maritime Industry Authority and the Philippine Ports Authority as part of state security preparations against a number of armed groups.

Meanwhile, the Boracay Tourist Assistance Center is implementing target-hardening measures as part of its pro-active response against terror threats in the island.

CCTV deployment

More closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras will also be rolled out in Boracay's other "areas of interest."

At least 18 units of CCTV cameras were installed in 2015 and 2016 amounting to P6 million. Of the number, 17 CCTVs were installed in Boracay Island and one in Poblacion in Malay, Aklan.

The CCTVs are top-of-the line surveillance cameras and able to be manually zoomed in up to 200 meters. The CCTVs are wireless-based, backed up by 5 antennas – 4 in Boracay Island, and one in Poblacion in Malay mainland.

Executive Assistant Rowen Aguirre said "out of 18 CCTVs installed, only 12 cameras are functioning while 5 have power supply problems."

"We intend to expand the CCTV coverage for Phase III in Bulabog and other areas of interest identified by the Philippine National Police (PNP)," he added.

Meanwhile, a 24/7 operation center in Barangay Balabag will house personnel from various government agencies such as the Philippine Navy, Philippine Army, PNP and Boracay Action Group.

Sangguniang Bayan members urged Aguirre to deploy 24/7 personnel to do security surveillance and to help deter crimes as well as to cater emergency response during disasters.

Malay Vice Mayor Abram Sualog said round-the-clock monitoring should be in place to maximize the anti-crime initiatives of the government.

"The security should not be taken for granted in Boracay. CCTVs will be put up also in areas of convergence, public places to stop growing incidents in the areas," he stressed.

1 month of Marawi clashes: Death toll now at 375

From Rappler (Jun 24): 1 month of Marawi clashes: Death toll now at 375

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella says 69 government troops, 280 terrorists, and 26 civilians have been killed in Marawi City since clashes erupted on May 23

MONTH-LONG CONFLICT. An army soldier checks on his fellow soldiers over radio as he holds his post inside Marawi City on Thursday, June 22, 2017. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

MONTH-LONG CONFLICT. An army soldier checks on his fellow soldiers over radio as he holds his post inside Marawi City on Thursday, June 22, 2017. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

The death toll from month-long clashes between government troops and local terrorist groups in Marawi City has risen to 375, Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said on Friday, June 23.

During Friday's Mindanao Hour held in Davao City, Abella reported that 69 government troops and 280 terrorists have been killed in Marawi as of 6 pm Thursday, June 22. The number of civilians killed by terrorists remained at 26.

In addition, government troops have also rescued 1,633 civilians and recovered 298 firearms from terrorists.

Abella said one significant development in Marawi is the "successful clearing" of 85 buildings, with more to follow. Government has also monitored "increasing willful and intentional arson activities" of the terrorists in various areas of the city.

But challenges remain, such as the continued use of snipers, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) "from remaining vantage positions" and the use of combustible materials and other incendiary devices.

Terrorists, according to Abella, continue to use non-combatant civilians as shields, and situate themselves in mosques.

As the fighting continues, Abella said the focus of military operations in Marawi will be on the following:

continued clearing of remaining armed terrorists
continued rescue of trapped residents, including those held as hostages
continued recovery of civilian casualties or cadavers
assisting local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations, and non-governmental organizations on relief operations
preparing or assisting LGUs for the rehabilitation, reconstruction, rebuilding phase as soon as the rebellion is quelled

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao on May 23, following clashes between the military and the Maute Group in Marawi City. (READ: TIMELINE: Marawi clashes prompt martial law in all of Mindanao)

The provincial government of Lanao del Sur is already finalizing plans about establishing tent cities for internally displaced Marawi residents who may return once the armed conflict is over.

CBCP guide lists websites peddling fake news

From Rappler (Jun 24): CBCP guide lists websites peddling fake news

A guide issued by the CBCP tags at least 29 websites for 'carrying fake or unverified contents'

BISHOPS' GUIDELINES. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, led by Archbishop Socrates Vilegas (in photo), issues pastoral guidelines on the use of social media. File photo of Villegas by Angie de Silva/Rappler

BISHOPS' GUIDELINES. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, led by Archbishop Socrates Vilegas (in photo), issues pastoral guidelines on the use of social media. File photo of Villegas by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Beware of these websites.
Months before issuing a pastoral letter against fake news on Wednesday, June 21, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) published its Pastoral Guidelines on the Use of Social Media. It comes with an appendix on websites "carrying fake or unverified contents."
Here is the partial list of websites "carrying fake or unverified contents," based on the CBCP Pastoral Guidelines on the Use of Social Media issued on January 30:
Classified Trends -
Definitely Filipino -
Duterte News Info -
Extreme Readers -
FilipiNews PH -
Get Real Philippines -
Guard1an -
Kalye Pinoy -
Leak News PH -
Media ni Duterte -
Minda Nation -
Netizens PH -
News Media PH -
News Titans -
OKD2 -
Pinoy Freedom Wall -
Pinoy Trending -
Pinoy Trending News -
Pinoy Viral Issues -
Pinoy Viral News -
PinoyWorld -
Public Trending -
SocialNewsPH -
TahoNews -
TheVolatilian -
Thinking Pinoy -
TrendingBalita -
Trending News Portal -
TrendTitan -
Of these websites, 5 links – Guard1an, Kalye Pinoy, Trending Balita, Trending News Portal, and TrendTitan – are either dead or under construction.
One website, OKD2, when visited, morphs into the website "Pinoy Pride" under the URL
Meanwhile, the website FilipiNews PH is not in the URL, as stated in the CBCP guidelines, but in the URL
This reflects the characteristic of fake news websites, which can morph as needed or move to other URLs, depending on whether they have been tagged or blocked as sources of fake news.

Beyond the CBCP's partial list, more fake news sites abound as opposing political camps in the Philippines spread their own propaganda.

In fact, a number of officials and agencies of the Duterte administration, such as Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson, have also been accused of spreading fake news. Uson and many pro-Duterte bloggers have also discredited legitimate journalists as "presstitutes." (READ: Inside Martin Andanar's man cave)
Cracking down on fake news sites, the CBCP said in an unprecedented pastoral letter on Wednesday that it is a sin to spread fake news.
The CBCP said the Catholic faith obliges Catholics "to refrain from patronizing, popularizing, and supporting identified sources of 'alternative facts' or 'fake news.'"
Referring to fake news, Villegas pointed out on Wednesday: "Not only does this offend against the orientation of the human intellect to the truth. It is, more fundamentally, a sin against charity because it hinders persons from making right and sound decisions and induces them, instead, to make faulty ones!"

Abu Sayyaf medics undergo inquest for rebellion

From Rappler (Jun 24): Abu Sayyaf medics undergo inquest for rebellion

One of the suspects is a nurse from Jolo, Sulu, who was supposedly on his way to treat wounded Abu Sayyaf members

MARAWI CLASHES. A convoy of Philippine Marines passes through Barangay Saduc on June 6, 2017, as clashes continue in Marawi City. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

MARAWI CLASHES. A convoy of Philippine Marines passes through Barangay Saduc on June 6, 2017, as clashes continue in Marawi City. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

Two suspected medics of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) arrested on Thursday have undergone inquest proceedings for rebellion in Cagayan de Oro City, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said on Saturday, June 24.

Jadzrie Harad Saabdula and Jamal Kalib Jamil were arrested on Thursday in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur, while at a pharmacy buying what looked like stocks of antibiotics, pain relievers, and other post-traumatic medicines.

Justice Undersecretary Erickson Balmes confirmed on Saturday that Saabdula and Kalib were turned over to the panel of prosecutors in Cagayan de Oro designated to handle cases related to the Marawi siege.

"Saabdula is a nurse from Jolo, Sulu, who went AWOL and was arrested buying a large volume of medicines (pain reliever, antibiotics, etc). He allegedly provided medical aid to the combatants," Balmes said.

Saabdula is the brother of an Abu Sayya leader, Nadzmi Saabdula alias Commander Global, who was killed in the attempted jailbreak in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City in 2005.

Abu Sayyaf members were believed to joined forces with the Maute Group in the ongoing clashes in Marawi City. Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon was the target of a military pursuit on May 23 that triggered the clashes, and eventually, the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

Isnilon Hapilon may have fled Marawi City – army

From Rappler (Jun 24): Isnilon Hapilon may have fled Marawi City – army

(UPDATED) 'We have some reports that he was already able to slip somewhere,' says Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, head of the Western Mindanao Command

Screenshot of a video showing Isnilon Hapilon pledging allegiance to the Islamic State

Screenshot of a video showing Isnilon Hapilon pledging allegiance to the Islamic State

(UPDATED) – Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon may have escaped the now one-month battle between the army and Maute group in Marawi City, a senior military official said on Saturday, June 24.
Hapilon, said to be the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) group in Southeast Asia, has not been seen in the battle zone in Marawi City, said Lieutenant General Carlito Galvez, head of the military's Western Mindanao Command.

An attempt by government troops to arrest Hapilon in Marawi on May 23 triggered a rampage by Maute terrorists flying black IS flags who seized parts of the mainly Muslim city. (READ: 1 month of Marawi clashes: Death toll now at 375)

President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law in Marawi and the entire southern region of Mindanao, unleashing an offensive to crush what he said was an attempt by the jihadist group to establish a province in the area.

"He (Hapilon) has not been seen in the area. We have some reports that he was already able to slip somewhere but as of now we are still confirming the reports," Galvez said in an interview on radio dzBB.

Asked if Hapilon was on the run, he said: "Yes, yes because reportedly he suffered a lot of casualties. Majority of his group, more than half, were casualties." (READ: Marawi battle zone: Urban warfare challenges PH military)

Hapilon was indicted in the US for his involvement in the 2001 kidnapping of 3 Americans in the Philippines, and has a $5-million bounty on his head from the US government, which has his name on its "most wanted" terror list.

He leads a faction of the Abu Sayyaf that has pledged allegiance to ISIS.

Security analysts say he has been recognized by ISIS as its "emir," or leader, in Southeast Asia, a region where the group wants to establish a caliphate.

The military says Hapilon's group had joined forces with the Maute Group, to launch the Marawi siege.

On Saturday, security forces continued intense air raids and artillery fire on pockets of Marawi still occupied by the terrorists, while troops fought house-to-house gunbattles on the ground.

"The operation is going on, the firefights are intense. We have gained substantial ground," said Galvez, the military commander.

Nearly 300 militants and 67 government troops have been killed in the fighting, according to official figures.

Galvez said there are "strong indications" that two or three of the Maute brothers – among the key players in the siege – had been killed, including Omar Maute, believed to be the group's top leader.

Only one brother, Abdullah, has been visible in the fighting, Galvez added.

Press reports also quoted military chief General Eduardo Año as saying that Malaysian Mahmud bin Ahmad, who helped lead and finance the Marawi siege, is believed to have been killed, although his body has not been retrieved.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella on Saturday said the military "is validating" the intelligence report that Mahmud "died from wounds he sustained during the early days of the Marawi rebellion."

"We have been told that the military has information of the spot where he was buried and government troops are now trying to locate it and recover the remains. Once done, only then can we make an official confirmation," Abella said.

When asked about Mahmud's reported death, Malaysia's Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar told Agence France-Presse in a text message in Kuala Lumpur: "Not true. He is still alive."