Saturday, July 1, 2017

WIA in Marawi: “The enemy is really willing to die … to kill”

From MindaNews (Jul 2): WIA in Marawi:  “The enemy is really willing to die … to kill”

Inside the war zone in Marawi City, soldiers could hear the enemy in the buildings a few meters away, sometimes even see them running, the youngest “around 15 to 16.” They would taunt each other, the enemy shouting “sundalo pugot ulo” (behead soldiers) and they would respond with something the other would not want to hear.

The word war is fierce, the shooting war even more so.

On Thursday morning, June 22, Corporal Cliforduin “Wingwing” Bade of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion and his team waited for the MG-520s to finish firing their rockets on the enemy position before they would fire their RPGs (rocket-propelled grenades) at them.

Army Scout rangers take cover behind a military truck after the ISIS-inspired Maute Group fired shots at them in Marawi City on 27 May 2017, Day 5 of the Marawi Crisis. MIndaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

The 28-year old RPG gunner from Tupi, South Cotabato recalls it was around 9 a.m. and between them and the enemy position in the other building was 15 meters.

The Special Forces unit, he added, was already positioned to attack and his team, which carried 15 RPG ammunition, was preparing to fire.

The enemy beat them to the draw. An RPG exploded a meter away from him.

“Pumutok sa harapan ang RPG ng kalaban, mga isang metro.” Seven of them were injured, including his childhood buddy, Cpl. Roldan Robas, who was hit by a shrapnel on his back.

Robas was moving around in Battle Casualty Room No. 2 at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital (CESH) on Tuesday, June 27 while Bade was still in bed, his mother tending to him.

“Carne norte”

Bade said they are fortunate the explosion from the enemy’s RPG did not set off an explosion of the 15 RPG ammunition they carried “kay kung pumutok yun, carne norte talaga kami” (if they exploded, we would have become corned beef), referring to how they would have been blown to pieces.

But the shrapnels hit many parts of his body, just below his right knee, his arms and fingers, and his face.

“Wala ko’y makita. Abi nako tangtang na akong mata na isa tapos nagsuka kog dugo,” (I could not see anything. I thought one of my eyes had been gouged out and I vomited blood), Bade recalled.

Lt. Col. Jonna Dalaguit (r), head of the 4th Infantry Division’s Medical Corps talks to Cpl. Cliforduin Bade at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital as Bade’s mother Darlene listens in this photo taken 27 June 2017. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Lt. Col. Jonna Dalaguit, chief of the 4th Infantry Division’s Medical Corps was at the emergency room when Bade was brought in. “Kung nakita mo lang ito noong inadmit siya, punong puno ito noon. Hindi yan siya makakita talaga kasi tingnan mo ang kanyang itsura, polka dots” (If you had seen him when he was admitted, his face had wounds all over. He could not see because he had polka dots all over his face).

“Polka dots” meant shrapnels were all over his face.

Five days later, Bade’s vision is still a bit blurred but both eyes are improving.

“Di ka na lang magkadto, Mang”

In Tupi, South Cotabato, Bade’s mother, Darlene, received a phone call at around noon, notifying her that her son was wounded in Marawi that morning but has been attended to in the CESH.

It was the first time she received a call that her son was wounded in action. “Grabe ang akong hilak. Di nako kabalo unsa akong himoon” (I cried and cried. I didn’t know what to do), she told MindaNews.

When she got to talk to her son in the afternoon via mobile phone, her son told her “di ka na lang magkadto Mang kay okay na ko diri” (Ma, you need not come. I’m okay).

Darlene arrived at the hospital the following evening, accompanied by Bade’s girlfriend.

She cried again upon seeing her son’s condition.

Darlene Bade, mother of Cpl. Cliforduin Bade of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion administers eye drop medication on her son who was wounded in Marawi City on 22 June 2017. Darlene arrived at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City the following day. MindaNews photo taken on 27 June 2017 by MANMAN DEJETO

Bade, the eldest of two children, has served in the Army for eight years. Darlene says her son gave his father a tricycle for livelihood. He also gave her some amount to start a sari-sari store (convenience store). Bade also sent his sister to school. He disapproved her plan to work abroad.

Before Marawi, Bade was assigned in Basilan sincc 2012 and earned a Gold Cross medal in early 2016.

The battalion was deployed to Marawi on June 1, spent the night at the 103rd Infantry Brigade in Campo Ranaw “tapos pasok kaagad” (and were immediately deployed) the next day.

Inside the war zone
Every day since their deployment, they could hear and sometimes see the enemy, the youngest of whom Bade estimates to be “around 15 or 16.”

Sometimes, he said, they would see the young ones run across the street. “Naga dagan-dagan, tabok-tabok sa dalan.” He thinks they are under the influence of drugs.

“Isog gyud” (they’re so bold).

He could not estimate how many they are because “kanya-kanya din silang sector” (they have their own sectors).

But almost all the buildings, he said, “merong laman” (they are there).

Smoke envelops a portion of Marawi City’s downtown area after a military plane dropped three bombs on 14 June 2017. MindaNews photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO
Bade’s battalion has been fighting it out with the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan, sometimes also for a month. But the war zone in Basilan is a jungle while Marawi is a city with so many buildings, most of them built like fortresses.

He noted that while they have subjects on urban warfare, their training is basically on jungle warfare. Marawi was his first urban warfare assignment.

Before Marawi, the only urban warfare in recent years was the three-week standoff between government forces and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction under Nur Misuari in September 2013 in some villages in Zamboanga City.

Their unit was preparing in Lamitan, Bade said, as the siege was supposedly to be launched there but the MNLF forces, they learned, diverted to Zamboanga City.

In his eight years in the Scout Rangers, Bade describes the Marawi mission as “pinakakuyaw” (the most dreadful) because “ang mga kalaban handa gyud sila mamatay” (the enemy is really willing to die).

“Hindi naman sila makahawa … mosugot nga mamatay sila, makapatay sila. Matirang matibay” (They cannot leave anymore … so they are willing to die, to kill, too. Let the fittest survive), he said.

Saturday, July 1 is Day 40 of the war.

Quick medical evac
Evacuation of the wounded was quick from the battleground to the field hospital to where they were fetched by helicopter. He was on board by 9:30 a.m.

“Meron naka-reserve na wounded na evac ng 9:30 tapos ngayon na wounded man ako ng alas nueve, na evac ako, na priority kaagad ako sa chopper kasi grabe ang dugo ng mukha ko” (There was a scheduled trip at 9:30 for evacuation of wounded personnel. I was wounded around 9, I was given priority in the chopper because my face was bleeding profusely).

SALUTE. President Rodrigo Duterte salutes each soldier wounded in action in Marawi City during his visit to the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City on Sunday, 11 June 2017. Eighty four injured soldiers were recuperating in the hospital then. MindaNews photo by. MARCOS C. MORDENO

When MindaNews interviewed Bade on June 27, he said he was feeling better although “hindi ako makapagbasa ng maliliit na letra pero di lang daw i-force” (I cannot read small letters but I was told not to force it).

As of June 27, Dalaguit said a total of 414 had been brought to the CESH from Marawi, around 20 of them major cases.

For the month of June alone, President Duterte had visited CESH four times to award medals to wounded soldiers. Aside from the medals, each wounded soldier gets a mobile phone, a handgun, P100,000 in cheque and P10,000 cash.

Back to the battlefield

Dalaguit said support from individuals and companies for the troops in Marawi has been overwhelming. In the hospital, they have had to schedule those donating meals. The troops still in Marawi also receive their share of donated food and goods. When the helicopters land to deliver the wounded, food (including doughnuts) and goods (including socks and underwear) are loaded for the troops still in Marawi.

Boxes of donations are loaded on a helicopter in Camp Evangelista, Cagayan de Oro City bound for Marawi City. Support from the public for the wounded soldiers as well as those who are still fighting it out in Marawi CIty has been overwhelming, officials of the 4th Infantry Division said. Photo courtesy of the 4th ID.

Bade acknowledged that food was not a problem in the war zone. “Tubig lang ang problema” (water was a probem) although recently, he said, they had been receiving bottled mineral water.

But Bade said troops had to contend with another problem: “Iba na ang amoy ng hangin doon. Amoy patay. Daghan langaw” (The stench. The place smelled death. There were so many flies).

Where they where was where nine laborers were captured by the terrorists and killed.

He said they could see the dead bodies some 15 meters away “tapos kinakain ng aso, manok, pato” (and they were eaten by dogs, chickens and ducks).

But there was no time — and it was too risky — to go near them and bury them.

“Lipay ko nga naka-survive ko kay gitagaan kog second life sa Ginoo” (I am happy I survived because God gave me a second life), said Bade, a member of the Seventh Day Adventists.

“God is good all the time,” he added.

Bade wants to return to Marawi as soon as he recuperates.

“Mubalik gihapon ko pag maayo para tulungan ko din yung mga kasama namin doon. Hindi rin tayo papayag na manalo sila sa atin. Mga masama man sila,” (I will go back to help our comrades there. We will not also allow the enemy to win. They are evil), he said.

MILF: Editorial - End The War Soon

Editorial posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jul 2): Editorial - End The War Soon

The fighting in Marawi City is going to end soon, God willing! There is no doubt about that. The Maute group cannot hold on any longer. Exhaustion, dwindling supplies of ammunition and food, and unmatched government air and artillery superiority, as well as the steady flow of military reinforcements will prove decisive in determining the outcome of the fighting.

However, the government has to exercise caution. Forcing this war to conclude prematurely can prove very costly. As of this writing, the government had already suffered 82 dead in combat and scores of others wounded. Better for government to get it precise and calculating. On the flipside, however, not ending it soon especially when all the signs are leading to it, can boomerang to the credibility of government. It might be interpreted as not minding at all the safety and interests of the civilians who are still suffering in evacuation centers.

To our mind, the best option for government is to end the fighting naturally; meaning, if it can be won any time from now, end it.

Meantime, we are perplexed by the way the Maute group fights their war. We do not understand where they learned their tactic in fighting the government head-on. Defying the logic of war that a weak party can only fight a strong party through a highly mobile warfare will be an irreparable mistake. If the MILF has managed to stay alive and kicking to this day, it is because of the early realization that a weak party can never fight a stronger party effectively, except by using various guerrilla warfare including psychological war operation.

Without doubt, we can only surmise the reason for this. Perhaps, their apparent wish or love for martyrdom disallows them to make good use of such advantage. It is their belief or obsession that martyrdom brings them direct to heaven.

Unlike the MILF and MNLF, the Maute group has no political agenda. Building a caliphate is more in the mind rather an immediate possibility. The ISIS are losing the battles in Iraq and Syria; they are on the run. Add the reported death of Abubakre al-Baghdadi, head of the ISIS. Where is the immediate possibility of that?

In addition, while the MILF and MNLF had their battle cry “victory or martyrdom” reverberated for decades, the Maute group, on the reverse side, reportedly seeks “martyrdom” only as their motivation. This perhaps explained their almost stationary style of fighting especially during the early part of the siege of Marawi City.

Clearly, the MILF and MNLF have a political agenda, which is to establish a political entity that naturally comes with victory. Victory is for all, while martyrdom is the consequence of being in war.

Not only in battle tactics and strategies that the MILF and Maute group differ, but also on ideological and religious issues. For this reason, the Bangsamoro mufti, Sheikh Abehuraira Abdulrahman Udasan, is coming out soon with a fatwa or “ruling”, which is an Arabic term, which literally means an “opinion”.

However, in its religious context, the word carries more meaning. This is because when a Muslim has a question that they need to be answered from an Islamic point of view, they ask an Islamic scholar this question, and the answer is known as a "fatwa". This "fatwa" carries more weight than just the random opinion of any person on the street. Muslim scholars are expected to give their "fatwa" based on religious evidence, not based on their personal opinions.

MILF: MILF Open To Play Role In Resolving Marawi Crisis In Greater Regard Of Civilian Interests, Says Iqbal

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jun 30): MILF Open To Play Role In Resolving Marawi Crisis In Greater Regard Of Civilian Interests, Says Iqbal

A report by Mindanews posted on June 27 says that a top official of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said “the group is open to play a role in resolving the Marawi crisis if called upon in the greater regard of civilian interests.”

“It is not impossible, especially if the civilian interest is at stake. If there is a request, the MILF leadership will probably consider the idea,” Mohagher Iqbal, Chair of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel, said in a phone interview by the popular regional online paper.

But Iqbal said they are yet to receive a formal request for their involvement in finding a solution to the siege by Islamic State-inspired Maute group which is now on its fifth week.

In a meeting last Sunday (June 25) with the Maute Group that government said was not sanctioned, Abdullah Maute told emissaries composed on Muslim religious leaders that they will only leave Marawi if the MILF intervenes.

The militants are said to be unwilling to deal with government on laying down the terms of disengagement, Mindanews also said in its report.

But Iqbal clarified that the MILF has never been involved in efforts to resolve the siege of Marawi, although there have been informal overtures like those relayed through the news media.

During the early stage of the crisis, the MILF condemned the militants’ occupation of Marawi and the alleged atrocities they committed.

The MILF and government had agreed on May 29 to create a peace corridor to rescue civilians trapped in the fighting.

Iqbal acknowledged the “sensitivity of the issue” which could give the MILF some difficulties in mapping out an action should the group be tapped, Mindanews further said in its report.

MILF: MILF Not Willing To Talk To Maute Group To End Marawi Siege: Pres. Duterte

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jul 2): MILF Not Willing To Talk To Maute Group To End Marawi Siege: Pres. Duterte

MILF'S ROLE. Pres. Duterte greets Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim during the Eid'l Fitr celebration at the Palace. Malacañang file photo

In a chance interview by Rappler at Clark Air Base in Pampanga on June 28, President Rodrigo Duterte said that, “Based on his talks with MILF leaders during the Eidl Fitr celebration that he hosted in Malacañang on June 27, the group is not willing to talk to terrorists in Marawi City to end the siege there.”

"I don't think the MILF is inclined to do that. They also hate what's happening", Rappler quoting him saying.

"I was with Murad last night. We had an Eid'l Fitr [celebration]... So the Moro leaders were there and we had a very frank discussion of the things there [in Marawi]," said Duterte, referring to MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim.

Apparently, the option for MILF intervention was crossed out because Duterte said that, at this point, the only way the crisis will end is if the last terrorist is flushed out of Marawi.

During a meeting with Muslim religious leaders on June 25, Maute Group leader Abdullah Maute said his group is willing to withdraw from Marawi if the MILF will intervene for an end to the crisis.

But MILF peace implementing panel chairman Mohagher Iqbal told Rappler that the MILF is cautious about the proposal as it is a very sensitive matter.

MILF: “Pres. Duterte To Send BBL Draft To Congress”: Sec. Dureza

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jul 2): “Pres. Duterte To Send BBL Draft To Congress”: Sec. Dureza

President Duterte may no longer review and instead directly send to Congress the proposed law that would create a new Bangsamoro entity, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza told ANC in an interview on Thursday, June 29.
Dureza said the President told the Bangsamoro Transition Council (BTC) to postpone the submission of the draft measure to the Office of the President on Wednesday, saying he would wait for Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Rappler quoting Dureza saying during the interview.

“What he wants to do is once he receives it, he will turn it over to Congress immediately,” Dureza said.

The submission of the draft BBL was postponed several times and the last schedule set by Malacañang is on July 12.

MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said that his group is hoping for the smooth sailing of draft BBL in Congress.

CPP/NDF-Bicol: Pakulong Lokalisadong Usapan ng 9th IDPA sa Kabikulan

NDF-Bicol propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 30): Pakulong Lokalisadong Usapan ng 9th IDPA sa Kabikulan

Maria Roja Banua, Spokesperson
NDFP Bicol Region (Region V)

30 June 2017

Nananatiling bigo ang 9th IDPA sa kanilang kampanya laban sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa Bikol sa kabila ng kanilang walang lubay na operasyong militar at saywar. Iba’t ibang pakulo ang ipinangangalandakan ng mga upisyal at tagapagsalita ng dibisyon sa midya at madla sa pagtatangkang dungisan ang imahe ng kilusan at pahinain ang suporta ng mamamayang Bikolano rito.

Ayon sa kanila, wala na umanong sapat na pwersa ang BHB sa rehiyon at patuloy pang humihina. Apat sa anim na prubinsya ng Bikol ang idineklara na nilang conflict manageable at tinatayang kakayanin na rin umano nilang kontrolin ang presensya ng pulang hukbo sa natitirang prubinsya ng Masbate bago magtapos ang taon. Ang totoo, walang nagawa ang kanilang panananalakay upang pigilan ang ibayong paglakas at pagdami hindi lamang ng pulang hukbo kundi maging ang paglawak at paglalim ng kasapian ng mga rebolusyonaryong organisasyong masa at mga sangay ng Partido. Lalo lamang nagngalit ang mamamayan sa tumitinding karahasan at pang-aabusong militar. Itinatakwil ng masang Bikolnon ang pagtarget ng kasundaluhan sa mga sibilyan kapwa sa kalunsuran at kanayunan.

Lokalisadong Peacetalks.

Bunsod ng matinding desperasyon, muling binuhay ng 9th IDPA ang kampanya nila para sa lokalisadong peacetalks. Gaano man kaganda ang mga terminong gamitin ng iba’t ibang brigada ng 9th IDPA, hindi magtatagumpay ang pagtatangka nilang hatiin ang kilusan sa pamamagitan ng hiwa-hiwalay na peacetalks. Nananatiling matatag at buo ang pamunuan at kasapian ng CPP-NPA-NDF sa buong bansa. Walang anumang yunit ng NPA sa Kabikulan ang papasok sa lokalisadong usapang pangkapayapaan ng militar na hiwalay pa sa negosasyong nagaganap sa kasalukuyan. Kinikilala ng lahat ng yunit ng hukbo ang kakayahan ng NDFP bilang kinatawan ng mamamayan na dalhin sa usapan ang mga sosyo-ekonomikong repormang magsisilbi sa karamihan.

Pagpapakalat ng Pekeng Balita.
Dahil hindi na maapula ng kasundaluhan ang sunud-sunod na tagumpay ng mga opensiba ng NPA, halos araw-araw inaatake ng mga propagandista ng 9th IDPA ang mga aksyong militar ng pulang hukbo. Paulit-ulit nilang binabatikos ang mga mapanlikhang armas ng NPA tulad ng command detonated explosives samantala malinaw na nakasaad sa mga kasunduang kapwa sinang-ayunan ng GRP at CPP na lehitimo ang mga ito. Halos lahat na rin ng nagaganap na krimen ay awtomatikong ibinibintang sa BHB. Pilit nilang isinusubo sa masa ang pekeng balitang sinasamantala ng NPA-Bikol ang nangyayari sa Marawi upang makapaglunsad ng mga aksyon. Sa katunayan, ang pwersa ng militar ang siyang sumasakay sa kaligaligan sa Mindanao upang makapaghasik ng kaguluhan sa rehiyon. Ayon sa pahayag ng mga prubinsyal na kumand ng pulang hukbo, lalong sumahol ang pang-aabusong militar matapos ang deklarasyon ng Batas Militar. Sa kasalukuyang buwan pa lamang, nakapagtala na ng sunud-sunod na kaso ng harasment ang 83rd IBPA sa Albay at 9th IBPA sa Masbate. Samantala, mayroong apat na kaso ng pagpatay ang 31st IBPA sa Sorsogon.

Pantutugis at Pekeng Pagpapasuko ng mga Sibilyan.
Gasgas na ang palabas ng 9th IDPA na marami umanong kaso ng mga sumusukong aktibong kasapi ng NPA. Halos taun-taong naglalabas ang kasundaluhan ng listahan ng mga umano’y sumuko sa kanilang tanggapan at sa tuwina, kaagad din namang napasisinungalingan ang kahibangan nilang ito. Paulit-ulit na lang ang mga karakter sa kanilang pekeng balita. Laging nariyan ang isang magsasabing pagod na sa kaguluhan kaya sumuko. Lagi ring nariyan ang mapasusukong upisyales ng pulang hukbo. Hindi rin mawawala ang karakter ng isa o dalawang menor de edad o kaya ay matanda na sapilitang nirekluta rin umano ng NPA.

Kahiya-hiya ang desperasyon ng kasundaluhang lumikha ng mga pekeng identidad para lamang masabing nababawasan nila ang bilang ng NPA. Ang mas masahol pa, kadalasang mga sibilyan ang tinatakot, tinutugis at ginigipit nila para sumuko. Walang pag-aalangan sa pagyurak ng karapatang-tao ang 9th IDPA mayroon lamang mailabas na pekeng balitang magsasalba sa kanilang pangalan.

Nananaginip nang gising ang 9th IDPA kung iniisip nitong makukuha nitong pahinain ang rebolusyonaryong kilusang patuloy na kinakatigan ng masa sa pamamagitan ng mga malisyoso at patraydor na pamamaraan nito. Pinanday na ng panahon ang mahigpit na pagkakaisa ng kilusan at ng mamamayan. Patuloy na tatamasain ng rebolusyon ang aktibong paglahok at suporta ng masa dahil nananatili itong tapat na naglilingkod sa interes nila.

Ang hindi nagmamaliw na suporta ng masang Bikolnon ang susi sa matagumpay na gawaing pulitika at militar ng CPP-NPA-NDF sa rehiyon. Sa ilang prubinsya, mayroon nang mga antas-munisipyong rebolusyonaryong organisasyong masa. Habang sa ibang panig, umiiral ang mga antas-baryong ganap na samahang masa at komiteng rebolusyonaryo sa baryo. Samantala, 45 taktikal na opensiba ang sumalubong sa 9th IDPA sa unang hati ng taon. Hindi kailanman mapatatahimik ng pasismong militar ni malilinlang ng saywar ang malawak na mamamamayang dinarahas at ginugutom sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang sistema. Buong sikhay na paglaban, iyan ang tanging landas na tinatahak ng laksa-laksang mamamayang namumulat.

CPP/NPA-Panay: Pangingikil Gamit ang Pangalan ng Rebolusyonaryong Kilusan

NPA-Panay propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 30):
Pangingikil Gamit ang Pangalan ng Rebolusyonaryong Kilusan

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

30 June 2017

Muli naming inaalarma ang publiko lalo na ang mga negosyante sa rehiyon ng Panay tungkol sa kumakalat na sulat, text o tawag mula sa mga taong nagpapakilalang kasapi o opisyal ng CPP-NPA-NDF at nanghihingi ng malalaking halaga. Karaniwang modus nila ay kaagad na nanghihingi ng pera at may halong pananakot.

Kadalasan, ginagawa ito ng aming kaaway sa AFP, PNP, paramilitar at mga galamay nila upang magkapera para sa kanilang pansariling luho’t bisyo, at mas masahol pa dito, upang isabotahe ang lehitimong gawain sa rebolusyonaryong pagbubuwis ng rebolusyonaryong gobyerno. May iba pang masasamang elemento din na gumagawa nito bilang simpleng gawaing pangingikil. Ang mga gawaing ito ay tinuturing ng NPA na mabigat na krimen laban sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan; ang mga sangkot dito ay aming aarestuhin at ihaharap sa Hukumang Bayan para malapatan ng karampatang parusa.

Hinihikayat namin ang lahat ng mga taong nakatanggap ng sulat, text o tawag katulad ng nabanggit sa itaas, na kung may kahit kaunting paghihinala sa katunayan (authenticity) nito, huwag magbigay, sa halip ay kaagad na komonsulta sa kanilang mga kakilala o kaibigan sa NPA o magpatulong sa mga kakilalang masa o alyado para maka-ugnay sa kalapit na yunit ng NPA. Kung hindi pa ninyo kayang makipag-ugnay, i-erase ang identity ng pinadalhan ng mensahe, kunan ng malinaw na litrato ang sulat o text at i-post sa website ng NPA-Panay: Tutugunan ito namin sa pamamagitan ng pagre-post ng nasabing litrato na may kasamang tatak ng katunayan o pagiging peke nito.

CPP/NPA-Panay: Gawa-gawang kaso ng PRO-6 nadamay ang mga Inosenteng Sibilyan

NPA-Panay propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jul 2):
Gawa-gawang kaso ng PRO-6 nadamay ang mga Inosenteng Sibilyan

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

2 July 2017
Press Release

Pagkatapos ng magkasunod na mga insidente ng kabiguan ng Police Regional Office – 6 at 3IDPA nitong Hunyo 2017, naging reckless ito sa kanilang mga hakbang. Nagsimula ito sa kabiguan nilang madetect at pigilan ang reyd ng NPA sa Maasin Municipal Police Station noong Hunyo 18, na sinundan ng misencounter ng nagresponding tropa ng 61st IB sa mga armadong tanod ng Brgy Lampaya, Leon, Iloilo noong Hunyo 19, at ng bigong “hot pursuit operation” ng pinagsanib na mga tropa ng AFP at PNP na tumagal ng mahigit sa isang linggo. Marahil bunga ng desperasyon, ginamit naman nila ang isa sa kanilang nakasanayang dirty trick: pag-aakusa sa mga taong kanilang pinaghihinalaan nang walang matibay na basehan.

Sa pag-file ng minadaling kaso laban NPA noong Hunyo 29, 2017, nagpalabas sa media ang PRO-6 ng listahan at mga litrato ng diumano’y nakilala nila na kasama sa mga umatake sa Maasin. Ngunit kaagad din nabunyag ang kasinungalingan sa pagdamay sa mga sibiliyan. Sa katunayan, may mga umalma kaagad na pamilya ng mga sibilyan na nasa listahan dahil mga kabataang estudyante pala ang mga ito. Isinama din sa lista ang anak na babae, na matagal nang nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa, ng NDFP Peace Consultant na si Concha Araneta Bocala. Halatang nagdulot ng matinding takot at balisa sa mga biktima at kanilang pamilya ang ginawang ito ng PRO-6.

Sa panig ng NPA-Panay, kaagad ding sinuri ang nasabing lista at mga litrato, pati na ang pagkonsulta nito sa kumand ng mga yunit sa teritoryo. Maliban sa iilan, hindi din nila kilala ang iba pang nasa lista at larawan. Para sa kaalaman ng lahat, kahit na gumagamit ng koda o alias ang mga kasapi ng NPA, ang mga namumunong kadre sa yunit ay kilala nila ang tunay na pangalan ng kanilang bawat sundalo dahil basic requirement ito sa pagrekrut ng mga pulang mandirigma.

Ang pag-imbento ng kaso ay matagal nang gawain ng AFP at PNP sa buong bansa. Maliban na ito’y pantakip sa kanilang kahihiyan, bahagi din ito ng kanilang pinaigting na ‘legal offensive’ laban sa rebolusyonaryong pwersa. Bawat may inilunsad na taktikal na opensiba ang NPA, sadyang idinadawit ng AFP at PNP sa kaso ang mga sibilyan na kanilang pinaghihinalaang sumusuporta sa rebolusyon at mga dating NPA na matagal nang huminto sa pagkilos. Sa katunayan, maraming inosenteng sibilyan sa ibat-ibang bahagi ng bansa ang nakulong o nanatiling bilanggo dahil sa mga gawa-gawang kaso ng AFP at PNP.

Nananawagan ang NPA-Panay sa lahat ng fiscal at huwes sa rehiyon na huwag magpagamit sa maruming taktikang ito ng AFP at PNP. Hinihikayat namin sila na maging independente, objective at impartial sa pagsusuri ng mga ebidensya at testigo, kahit paman alam namin na ang mga umiiral na reaksyonaryong batas ay dati nang nakakiling sa interes ng imperyalismong US at mga kasabwat na uring panginoong maylupa, malaking burgesyang kumprador at kanilang mga utusan sa burukrasya, pulis at militar.

Nananawagan din kami sa mga inosenteng biktima at posibleng magiging biktima pa nitong gawa-gawang kaso ng PRO-6, na matapang na depensahan ang kanilang karapatan. Maliban sa mga aksyong legal, pwede sila pansamantalang manatili sa kalapit na base ng NPA habang sinusubaybayan ang kanilang kaso. Iwasan muna na pumunta sa mga lugar na madali silang hulihin ng AFP o PNP para hindi makulong. Kung hindi sila pwede o handang sumapi sa NPA, may mga masa at milisyang bayan naman na handang tumulong at magbigay ng proteksyon sa kanila.

CPP: Editorial - Worsening crisis, death and destruction under Duterte regime

Propaganda editorial posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (Jun 30): Worsening crisis, death and destruction under Duterte regime

President Duterte willing to declare ceasefire with NPA

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 2): President Duterte willing to declare ceasefire with NPA

President Rodrigo Duterte is willing to declare total ceasefire with the communist revolutionaries even if government is still dealing with the Marawi crisis.

The President even urged NPA supporters to send his message to the New People’s Army.

“If you’re friends, tell them that they can announce and I will announce a total ceasefire in the meantime that we are busy dealing with the problem in Marawi,”
he said.

While he is willing to declare ceasefire again, the President asked: “Would you please stop waging war against?” “Mag-usap ba tayo o hindi?” he quipped.

This developed as the President highlighted the NPA as one of Davao del Sur’s top concerns during the culminating program of its 50th founding anniversary on Thursday evening.

Speaking before some 4,000 local officials, barangay leaders and residents, he warned the NPA to stop waging war. He expressed disappointment over the conflicting pronouncements of the communist leadership on engaging government forces in the revolutionary struggle. He also mentioned the leadership’s declaration that they will stop until the Marawi siege is finished.

Duterte warned there will be no space left for the NPA if they become terrorists.

“There will never be a space for you kung terrorists ka, kayong mga komunista. Wala kayong space diyan sa terorista (if you are terrorist, you communist. You don’t have space with terrorist),” he pointed out.

Referring to accusation of human rights violations by government forces, Duterte said the revolutionaries are equally guilty because they ambush that women are also killed.

“Ano ba talaga? Mag-usap ba tayo o hindi (So what is it? Do we talk or not?” he asked.

If the communist want to talk peace, Duterte said they should stop waging war. He said the government forces are no longer keen on holding talks.

“We are just co-workers in government asta pulis (also the police). But the only reason na medyo mataas ako (I am on top), but I do not control everything and I cannot control everybody,” he stressed.

“If you want to stop fighting, you want to talk to us, then my God, please stop killing us. You kill my (soldiers),” he declared.

The President underscored fighting between the government and the revolutionaries, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro national Liberation Front (MNLF), is already as old as Davao del Sur province.

“Now tell me, do you want to fight another 50 years? Wala akong problema. May mga sundalo, may sweldo. Fifty years, sige. But this time, kung giyera, giyera gyud. Wala tayong patawaran (I don’t have any problem. There are the soldiers, they have salaries. Fifty years, fine. But this time if it’s war, it is really war. No excuses,” he said.

Duterte however, reminded that in 50 years people are weary and no longer confident on the revolutionaries, as well as the government.

“So let’s fight on even grounds. I’m willing to accept the offer that you’ll stop fighting, good. I accept that and we can talk again, I said,” he added.

“You decide. Do not create something which is not acceptable also to me and to the guys… doing the fighting,” Duterte urged communists.

President Duterte to communist rebels: Stop waging war

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 2): President Duterte to communist rebels: Stop waging war

President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday warned the New People’s Army (NPA), saying that the communist rebels should stop waging war against the government.

The President expressed his frustration over the continuing attacks by the NPA on government forces despite the ongoing peace talks.

“Would you please stop waging war? Alam mo hindi ko kayo maintindihan. Unang sabi doon sa itaas, si Sison ordered to engage government forces in this struggle… That they changed it so that they will stop until such time matapos itong sa Marawi siege. Kasi walang --- ang sabi ko nga eh, there will never be a space for you kung terrorist ka, kayong mga komunista. Wala kayong space diyan sa terorista,” Duterte said.

"In the meantime kung mag-usap tayo in the future, then stop waging war kasi baka itong mga sundalo ayaw na rin makipag-usap," Duterte said during the 50th Araw ng Davao del Sur held at the Davao del Sur Coliseum in Digos City.

"Kami, utusan lang kami lahat. We are just co-workers in government basta pulis. But the only reason na medyo mataas ako, but I do not control everything and I cannot control everybody,” he said.

“You decide. Do not create something which is not acceptable also to me and to the guys doing the fighting,” he added.

At the same time, the President renewed his commitment to bring peace to the country, reiterating his intention to negotiate with major rebel groups, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Moro National Liberation Front.

However, he said the government will never negotiate with the ISIS-inspired Maute group that occupied Marawi City.

The President also mentioned the ongoing conflict in Marawi City, sympathizing with the soldiers fighting for the city's liberation from the Maute group.

He said he always prays that the war will end soon because he does not like people dying.

He said the military offensive in Marawi City will continue until the last terrorist is taken out.

The President meanwhile underscored the hard work of the Davao del Sur’s founding fathers.

"So, one is that I would like to credit the founding fathers of this province for their tireless effort to make what is now Digos," the President said.

“Maganda na ang Digos ngayon, Davao del Sur,” he noted.

The President however said the only concern today for the province is illegal drugs, as he warned the local police force to stay away from the drug trade.

"Alam mo, ang problema lang ninyo is droga. Medyo malakas pati --- I’m also --- I would like to warn the police here," Duterte said.

"Lay off sa drugs ha, kamong mga pulis kay alam mo na. Huwag kayong pumasok diyan kasi kasali kayo sa statistics diyan," he said.

2 PAF Hueys up for maintenance

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 2): 2 PAF Hueys up for maintenance

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is looking suppliers capable of supplying it with PHP12,340,000 worth of Huey II and Super Huey combat utility helicopter spare parts.

The items are needed for the maintenance of Huey II with tail number 662 and Super Huey helicopter with tail number 122.

Pre-bid conference is scheduled for July 7, 3 p.m. at the PAF Procurement Center Conference Room, Villamor Air Base, Pasay City.

While submission and opening of bids is on July 21, 9 a.m. at the same venue, according to a bid bulletin posted at the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System.

The PAF is known to operate around 40 to 60 units of the Vietnam-era "Huey" helicopters in its fleet.

PH, Indonesia to start joint maritime patrols Thursday

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 2): PH, Indonesia to start joint maritime patrols Thursday

As part of efforts to ensure security within territorial waters, the Philippines and Indonesia will start conducting joint maritime patrols on Thursday.

In a statement, the Eastern Mindanao Command said the coordinated patrols will commence with a send off ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Thursday at Sasa Wharf, Davao City.

Prior to this, Indonesian delegates will arrive in the country on Monday at 8:30 a.m. morning at Sasa Wharf, Davao City and they will be accorded with an arrival ceremony by the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao.

The measure intends to "strengthen the security of the Davao Gulf and the common boundary of the two countries in the southern part of the Philippines, particularly along the Celebes Sea and enhance the inter-operability of the two countries in maritime patrol."

Military medical personnel aboard the patrolling vessels, in partnership with the municipal government of Balut Island, Sarangani, will also conduct a medical mission in a stopover in the town on Friday.

The coordinated patrol will end on July 12 in a closing ceremony in Manado, Indonesia.

LOOK: PH’s 5th Japan-made coast guard vessel

From Update Philippines (Jul 1): LOOK: PH’s 5th Japan-made coast guard vessel photo by Wota Aki
Photo of Philippine Coast Guard’s fifth Japan-made 44-meter Parola-class Multi-role Response Vessel (MRRV) surfaced online courtesy of PCG’s fifth 44-meter MRRV is BRP Suluan (MRRV-4406).

According to MaxDefense Philippines “it appears that the PCG is following the Philippine Navy’s superstitious beliefs, skipping the hull number 4405 and jumping to 4406.”

Adding the digits in 4405 will result to 13.

The Philippine government has ordered 10 vessels from Japan through the Maritime Safety Capability Improvement Project (MSCIP) Phase I funded by loan from Japan International Corporation Agency. Deliveries are expected every quarter until completion of 10 units in 2018.

These 10 vessels are being named after the primary lighthouses in the country to denote its significance as one of the navigational aids in the maritime industry.

44-Meter MRRVs delivered and already in active PCG service are BRP Tubbataha (MRRV-4401), BRP Malabrigo (MRRV-4402), BRP Malapascua (MRRV-4403), and BRP Capones (MRRV-4404).

According to MSCIP, these vessels will act as (1) “primary rescue vessels within the PCG District’s areas of responsibility (AOR) when the extent of the disaster is beyond the capability of floating assets deployed within the area.”

The MRRVs will also (2) assist in controlling oil pollution and protection of the marine environment. (3) These vessels will also enforce applicable maritime laws within the designated AOR, particularly relating to illegal fishing and sea patrol. The vessels will provide (4) service as platform for rapid response during relief operations in the area, and (5) transport of personnel and logistical support.

Duterte wants battalion of police snipers

From Update Philippines (Jun 30): Duterte wants battalion of police snipers


President Rodrigo Duterte said on Thursday, June 29 – during his visit to Philippine National Police Region XI at Camp Quintin M. Merecido, Catitipan, Buhangin, Davao City – that the next shipment of Chinese military aid will be on September. 

The President made the statement a day after China turned over thousands of rifles and millions of ammunition. He added that the PNP and military will share from the Chinese aid especially the sniper rifles.

“And I hope that you can assemble about one battalion of snipers para — mahusay kung marami tayong snipers,” the President said.

He added that the Maute terrorist group is using sniper rifles. “They are also sniping at us and they have the beautiful guns, they have the Barretts. So you’d be wondering: Saan nila ito nakuha.”

“Ang may mga Barrett lang ‘yan ‘yung mga Amerikano, tayo, binigyan tayo ng Amerikano, nagbili tayo. But sila halos, until now, we are still trying to — we are still recovering some of their weapons at that includes the Barrett,” the President added.

“Well, it’s a deadly firearm, it can reach you almost one kilometer away. But may panlaban naman tayo. Marami man rin tayong Barrett. And with additional arms, I think we will find it easy really to operate,” he added.

BRP Andres Bonifacio to undergo Continuous Maintenance Availability

From Update Philippines (Jun 30): BRP Andres Bonifacio to undergo Continuous Maintenance Availability

Philippine Navy’s third Del Pilar-class frigate BRP Andres Bonifacio (FF17) is now in Subic Bay Freeport Zone (SBFZ) for its very first Continuous Maintenance Availability (CMAV).

“It is BRP Andres Bonifacio’s first time to dock at Subic Port. For three months, Andeng will undergo her very first Continuous Maintenance Availability (CMAV) in SBFZ,” said in BRP Andres Bonifacio’s official page.

“This also opens up for other opportunities for training and physical fitness,” it added.

In April, BRP Andres Bonifacio replaced BRP Gregorio del Pilar (FF15) as the lead-warship securing the West Philippine Sea.

BRP Gregorio del Pilar was deployed for Continuous Maintenance Availability that time. However, FF15 was sent to Singapore to attend the 50th anniversary celebrations of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) from May 11 to 19.

After the Singapore engagement, BRP Gregorio del Pilar was sent to attend Philippine Navy’s 119th founding anniversary celebration in Davao City on May 31.

Armed clashes erupt in Guihulngan

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jul 1): Armed clashes erupt in Guihulngan

Armed clashes between government forces and New People's Army erupted anew yesterday in Sitio Agpapatao, Brgy. Sandayao, Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental.

The encounter took place after soldiers of the 79th Infantry Battalion responded to an information relayed to them by residents in the area about the presence of about 30 rebels, who were recruiting new members, Capt. Eduardo Precioso, 303 rd Infantry Brigade spokesman, said last night.

Precioso said the 79IB initially recovered an M14 assault rifle with ammunition, war materials and subversive documents at the encounter site, as they pressed their pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels.

He said residents were already fed up by the food foraging activities of the NPA, who engaged in recruitment activities.

Citing testimonies of some populace, Precioso said residents initially extended food assistance and money, believing that the NPA will leave their community.

But they were wrong about their actions, he added.

The encounter took place several days after the NPA went on a rampage in Calatrava and Escalante City in Negros Occidental, staging an ambush of two civilians and burning an abandoned detachment, and killing a former Army soldier in Canlaon City in Negros Oriental.

Fighting in Marawi displaces nearly 400,000

From Rappler (Jul 1): Fighting in Marawi displaces nearly 400,000

Over 70,380 people have been housed in 79 government-run evacuation centers where relief officials are struggling to deal with outbreaks of illness

EVACUEES. Soldiers escort rescued civilians at a village on the outskirts of Marawi on May 31, 2017. Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

EVACUEES. Soldiers escort rescued civilians at a village on the outskirts of Marawi on May 31, 2017. Photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

Local terrorists occupying Marawi City in Lanao del Sur have forced nearly 400,000 people in the wider area to flee their homes, officials said on Saturday, July 1, while warning of disease outbreaks and psychological trauma among refugees.

The city of Marawi, considered the Muslim capital of the largely Catholic Philippines, has been reduced to a ghost town after self-styled followers of the Islamic State (ISIS) movement launched an assault on the city on May 23.

For more than a month, the government has deployed jet fighters, attack helicopters and armored vehicles to crush the militants who are members of the so-called Maute group. (IN PHOTOS: Death and destruction in Banggolo, heart of Marawi)

The fighting has left over 400 people dead, while the Maute members still control parts of the city, using snipers and improvised explosive devices to slow the military's advance. (READ: Marawi death toll: 82 gov't troops killed, 39 civilians slain)

Liza Mazo, the regional civil defense director, said it was not just the city's residents leaving the area but also people living in the surrounding communities.

Out of 389,300 who have fled, over 70,380 people have been housed in 79 government-run evacuation centers, while the rest have sheltered with their relatives, according to social welfare department figures. (READ: Marawi children need our help)

Mazo said that relief officials have struggled to deal with outbreaks of illness at the evacuation centers as government forces continue to launch air strikes and artillery barrages against the militants.

"There are alarming cases of skin diseases and gastroenteritis. We want to control the outbreak, not just in the evacuation center but even the home-based (refugees)," she said.

"There are also cases of psychological trauma from the fighting," she added.

Some 26 people who have fled Marawi have since died in hospitals from various ailments, according to the health department's local spokesman Jun Galban, but he declined to say whether their deaths were related to the evacuation.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who declared martial law over Mindanao to deal with the crisis, vowed on Saturday that government forces would crush the extremists.

"We will not go out there (Marawi) until the last terrorist is executed," he said in a speech at the 50th founding anniversary of Davao del Norte.

At one point in his speech, to demonstrate his seriousness, he lifted his shirt to reveal a holstered pistol.

But he conceded, "we are having a hard time."

"We never realized the magnitude of their preparation for their explosives. We got there, they were positioned (with) their snipers. We practically had to climb upward," he said.

China builds new military facilities on South China Sea islands – think tank

From InterAksyon (Jun 30): China builds new military facilities on South China Sea islands – think tank

Construction is shown on Mischief Reef in this June 19, 2017 satellite image released by CSIS Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies to Reuters. (CSIS/AMTI DigitalGlobe/Handout/Reuters)

China has built new military facilities on islands in the South China Sea, a U.S. think tank reported on Thursday, a move that could raise tensions with Washington, which has accused Beijing of militarizing the vital waterway.

The Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, part of Washington’s Center for Strategic and International Studies, said new satellite images show missile shelters and radar and communications facilities being built on the Fiery Cross, Mischief and Subi Reefs in the Spratly Islands.

The United States has criticized China’s build-up of military facilities on the artificial islands and is concerned they could be used to restrict free movement through the South China Sea, an important trade route.

Last month, a U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef in a so-called freedom of navigation operation, the first such challenge to Beijing’s claim to most of the waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

China has denied U.S. charges that it is militarizing the sea, which also is claimed by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.

Trump has sought China’s help in reining in North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, and tension between Washington and Beijing over military installations in the South China Sea could complicate those efforts.

China has built four new missile shelters on Fiery Cross Reef to go with the eight already on the artificial island, AMTI said. Mischief and Subi each have eight shelters, the think tank said in a previous report.

In February, Reuters reported that China had nearly finished building structures to house long-range surface-to-air missiles on the three islands.

On Mischief Reef, a very large antennae array is being installed that presumably boosts Beijing’s ability to monitor the surroundings, the think tank said, adding that the installation should be of concern to the Philippines due to its proximity to an area claimed by Manila.

A large dome recently was installed on Fiery Cross and another is under construction, indicating a sizeable communications or radar system, AMTI said. Two more domes are being built at Mischief Reef, it said.

A smaller dome has been installed near the missile shelters on Mischief, “indicating that it could be connected to radars for any missile systems that might be housed there,” AMTI said.

“Beijing can now deploy military assets, including combat aircraft and mobile missile launchers, to the Spratly Islands at any time,” it said.

Military assesses whether to lift or extend martial law in Mindanao

From InterAksyon (Jun 30): Military assesses whether to lift or extend martial law in Mindanao

Duterte checks rifle sight

President Rodrigo Duterte checks a rifle given by China as part of its urgent military assistance gratis to the Philippines during a turnover ceremony at Clark Airbase in Angeles City, Pampanga on Wednesday, June 28, 2017. Photo by KrizJohn Rosales/InterAksyon

Past the halfway mark for the initial 60-day period of martial law in Mindanao, an assessment is to be conducted by the military as to whether the declaration can be lifted earlier than prescribed or extended for another 60 days, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said on Friday, June 30.

In a radio interview, Padilla said a set of conditions have to be met before the military recommends the lifting or the extension of martial law.

“Doon sa assessment lalabas at makikita natin kung kinakailangan na i-lift o ipagpatuloy pa (From the assessment we will determine if martial law can be lifted or needs to be continued),” he said.

“We will submit the assessment to the President,” he added.

Padilla was responding to questions regarding President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent statements that he would defer to the recommendation of the military before moving to lift the martial law declaration.

“If they say everybody is safe, and everybody is free to roam around Mindanao and will be alive for the next 24 hours, then I would ask the military, ‘Do you think it’s time to lift the martial law?'” the president said Wednesday, June 28, during the 140th anniversary of the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association, Inc at the Manila Hotel.

“If they say not yet, or if it’s up to when, I really do not know. This means it is not my option, I will listen to them. Then I will ask for their recommendation. They would know better than me,” he added.

Padilla said the result of the military’s assessment will be made public for purposes of transparency once it has been completed.

Nevertheless, he said, they are expecting to restore the rule of law as well as the peace and order situation in Mindanao within the fixed time period, but if conditions are still deemed unfavorable, the military and the Department of National Defense would recommend for another 60 days to implement martial law.

“Regarding how long will it be, that will also be part of our study,” Padilla said.

President Duterte declared martial law covering the whole of Mindanao on May 23, the day fighting erupted between government forces and the terrorist Maute group in Marawi City.

The month-long clash had already claimed the lives of 82 government troops, 44 civilians, and 303 terrorists, according to the June 30 update from Malacañang.

Various groups had already called for the lifting of martial law, raising concerns over possible human rights violations or questioning its necessity in the battle for Marawi, even as several lawmakers, including leaders of the House of Representatives, have expressed support for its extension as long as threats of rebellion and invasion by terrorist groups remained.

PH, U.S. navies complete joint Sulu Sea patrol

From InterAksyon (Jul 1): PH, U.S. navies complete joint Sulu Sea patrol

Sailors assigned to littoral combat ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) ride a rigid-hull inflatable boat to the BRP Ramon Alcaraz (FF 16) for personnel transfer during a coordinated counter-piracy operation in the Sulu Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Deven Leigh Ellis)

(UPDATED 8:00 p.m.) The Philippines and U.S. navies completed a coordinated patrol in the Sulu Sea on Saturday, the U.S. embassy in Manila said.

The patrol, involving the Littoral Combat Ship USS Coronado (LCS 4) and the Del Pilar Class Frigate BRP Ramon Alcaraz (PF 16) was conducted at the invitation of the Philippine government, the embassy said.

File photograph of the Independence class littoral combat ship USS Coronado. Inset shows the Mk 38 Mod 2 gun station mounted on the BRP Alcaraz.

During the operation, crews from both vessels “worked closely together to detect and deter threats to maritime security,” it added.

“These patrols enhance regional peace and stability,” the statement quoted Rear Admiral Don Gabrielson, commander of the US Navy’s Task Force 73, as saying. “Our at-sea operations with the Philippine Navy demonstrate our commitment to the alliance and deter piracy and illegal activities.”

Filipino sailors went aboard the USS Coronado to coordinate communications and movements between the two ships and exchange best practices with their U.S. counterparts in visit, board, search, and seizure techniques and information sharing.

Before the coordinated patrol, the USS Coronado participated in the training exercise “Sama Sama” with the Philippine Navy off Cebu.

Army commander tells left, CHR: condemn NPA for death of boy

From the Mindanao Times (Jun 29): Army commander tells left, CHR: condemn NPA for death of boy

THE COMMANDER of the 67th Infantry Battalion is calling on the progressive groups to also condemn the killing of 10-year-old boy reportedly at the hands of the New People’s Army in Caraga, Davao Oriental.
Speaking in yesterday’s AFP-PNP press conference held at Royal Mandaya hotel, Lt. Col. Jake Obligado said the brutal action is really condemnable.

“I want to call the (Commission on Human Rights) to investigate this incident, and also for Karapatan. We really cry for justice for Justin,” he said.

He described the death of Justin Padao, who succumbed to 10 gunshot wounds on the head and body, as “very brutal.” “This also shows that the NPA is no longer conscious of the rule of law because, as a result of their action, an innocent was killed.”

The boy and his companions were sleeping when the rebels attacked the house in the Mandaya community of Barangay Pacifico Moralison Sobrecarey, Caraga, Davao Oriental around 12:30 a.m. Sunday.

Padao, a member of Mandaya tribe, was a student of PM Sobrecarey Elementary School in Caraga.

The NPA has yet to issue a statement owning up to the attack on the house of Leo Padao, reportedly a military informant.

Meanwhile, Obligado said that after the termination of the peace talks last Feb. 3 until today, almost 40 who members of the New People’s Army (NPA) already surrendered to authorities.
“Very significant was the killing of the Pulang Bagani Command (PBC) 8 leader in Davao Oriental and another political officer who surrendered two weeks ago,” Oblligado said.

More than 30 surrendered and the rest were killed and captured, he said. They have also recovered three high-powered firearms from the NPAs. They are also in the process of clearing affected barangays under the area of operation of the 67th IB.

“They were all duped into joining, especially the youth whose ages ranged from 16 to 17 years old,” he said, adding that 3 in 4 NPA fighters come from the IP communities who were promised better lives.