Thursday, July 13, 2017

LOOK | 2,500 Manobos displaced again in Diatagon by military operation

From InterAksyon (Jul 14): LOOK | 2,500 Manobos displaced again in Diatagon by military operation

Lumad bakwits gathered at the living area. Photographed by Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5 | InterAksyon

Lianga, Surigao del Sur – Some 2,512 largely Manobo Indigenous People (IP) from far flung communities of Barangay Diatagon and adjacent areas here have had to leave their home villages since July 6, for fear that on-going military operations would once again lead to human right violations and killings in their tribal communities.

This comes barely a year after they returned to their homes from a similar exodus.

The surge of evacuees from the hinterland communities of Lianga and nearby towns started when military operations in their area intensified.

Most of those who evacuated again were displaced for a year from September 2015 to September 2016 right after the September 1, 2015 killing of the chairman of the tribal organization Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) chairperson, Dionel Campos, Kiwagan Datu Juvello Sinzo and Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, Inc. (Alcadev) Executive Director Emerito Samarca.

“We have not yet fully healed from that trauma, especially since the killer militias have yet to answer for the injustice. They are still out there. Several sightings has suggested that they are still in contact with the military.

“Now we are again experiencing military operation in our area, helicopters flying and passing above. You cannot just tell us not to worry or not be affected since we believe, all of us, that those who killed our leaders and the school head were once armed and supported by the military as their paramilitary militia,” said one of the evacuees from kilometer 16, Barangay Diatagon.

The Lianga Municipal Social Welfare and Development office, as of their July 12, 2017 assessment together with that of the provincial Social Welfare Department, has recorded the number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) at no fewer than 2,512 individuals from 362 families, with several families from the towns of Tago and San Agustin, which are just adjacent to Sitio Han-ayan, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga where the bulk of this latest batch of IDPs come from.

The number increased from the figure July 5, 2017 provided by Karapatan Caraga which was around 424 households with 2,047 individuals from nine IP or Lumad communities in Lianga town.

According to the human rights group Karapatan-Caraga, around 200 students of ALCADEV and 43 volunteer teachers of five Tribal Filipino Community Schools run by the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur, also evacuated.

`At least 633 Lumad students are affected by the disruption of classes due to the evacuation.

A resident of Purok 6, Kilometer-9 explained why the evacuees are seeking refuge in their community; “We can’t blame them for moving out, because they have been traumatized before, by the cycle of violence, the killings, and the conflict that has been happening in their community through these years. It has been happening, again and again, and until now, without justice, without remorse.

“The ironic part of the situation is that people are so afraid that even attending dialogues with the government and voicing out their grievances would led to their being slammed with malicious cases filed in court. This was what happened to several of them after the killings back in September 2015. The military operation going on without them staying in the community doesn’t mean there is no more reason for the fear of the people. The most painful memories came to these communities during similar military operations even before 2009.”

One man said: “I fear for myself for speaking out, I’m afraid that by doing this, they might file a case against me, but what we speak is just the simple truth. The families who returned in September 2015 after staying in the evacuation center in Tandag for a year, have just started rebuilding their lives, their houses. Their community has started to grow and become vibrant again. Trade and commerce picked up pace in just a few months; and things are looking up with an anticipated good harvest. The school and the houses in the area have never looked better, newly renovated. But, why?

“Why can’t we have lasting peace, why cant we just live in peace?”

Datu Boni Acevedo stated, “what we are asking for from the government is to have a heart, to let us be, in peace. Help us develop, we are not asking too much. We just need to be given peace and let us live in peace. Peace especially for our children, a life without the fear of being caught up in the middle of a shooting war that we did not create.”

Col. Franco Nemesio Gacal, commanding officer of the Army’s 402nd Brigade, pointed out that the soldiers operating in the area are not doing so within their community.

“The community happens to be well within the geography of the guerilla base, even if there is no armed combatant within the community. About five to six kilometers away, there you will find our troops operating against the NPA.

“Now what are these NPA’s doing in your vicinity, they are training, recruiting, immersing in activities like wedding and anniversary celebrations. Now, we know that you know; some of them were there.

“The area, the Andap Valley, connects to several other towns, we get reports of the NPA planning to attack other towns, planning to burn or disrupt the transport of banana. What we do is to try and prevent this. We cannot just wait idle for the moment of their attack. We need to conduct our military operation proactively, to strike first. They might be 5 or 10 kilometers from the community, but what will our government be if we cannot accomplish our prime objective?” asked Gacal.

He then blamed the IDPs for compromising the security of his soldiers by resorting to social media and granting interviews with the media.

“In fact, it is the IPs that had provided men and recruits to the NPA. If you won’t give manpower to the NPA, then we won’t have any NPA in Surigao. We won’t be able to solve this problem by demanding the army to stop our military operation and yielding by default,” said Gacal.

“We are holding them from going to their farms for their own good. We don’t want them to be caught in the crossfire. This is just temporary, the soldiers won’t be there forever. We just need the communities’ cooperation and I hope they will also understand our side,” he said.

But several of the IDP’s and even residents from Lianga who also have farms in the area do not see it the same way.

“We have seen for the last eight to 10 months since our return home, most of the affected communities have started to rebuild and rehabilitate. They have regained precious economic headway that they now come down to Diatagon and help drive the economic revival. A harvest of 50 tons of abaca each month from the area at PhP80 is PhP4 million that will circulate in Lianga,” said Sammy Dollano, municipal council member of Lianga.

The community members acknowledge that soldiers and officers themselves also appreciate the problem of insurgency is spawned by poverty. “In this town of Lianga, we rely on our upland agriculture. We respect the mandate of our military, to quell the lawless elements. But the problem is, it comes at our expense.

“With the military operation, several on-going development projects have been compromised; this also creates distrust from the people. This is development in the wrong direction, negating the gains that have been recovered.”

All photographs by Erwin M. Mascariñas, News5 | InterAksyon

Bakwit father plays with his child.

Bakwit girl looks out through newly built window.

Watching a basketball game.

Tribal elder ponders life and other things at the evacuation center.

The wood shed for building more houses.

Clothes hanging to dry at the temporary shelter.

Passing the time during a time of uncertainty.

Wash day by the waterfall.


NPA declares Davao Oriental police officer a prisoner of war

From the often pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online publication the Davao Today (Jul 14): NPA declares Davao Oriental police officer a prisoner of war

NPA formation in Davao Oriental (FILE PHOTO/

The New People’s Army owned up to the arrest of a police officer in Davao Oriental saying they are investigating him for possible war crimes amid the implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao.
In a statement on Friday, Roel Agustin II, NPA spokesman for Comval-Davao East Coast Sub-Regional Operations Command, said PO1 Alfredo Sillada Basabica, Jr. is a prisoner of war and is given “lenient treatment.”
“As a prisoner of war, Basabica is being investigated for possible crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement. As per policy of the NPA, POW Basabicsa is being given lenient treatment in adherence to international war protocols,” Agustin said.

“POW Basabica’s PNP unit is being used by the local and provincial reactionary government for their anti-Lumad and anti-peasant “tourism” project in Aliwagwag Falls. It is also being investigated for the pervasive illegal drug trade in Cateel, for the torture of five peasants who were illegally arrested last March and May, and active intelligence activities against civilians whom they accuse of being supporters of the revolutionary movement,” Agustin added.

Basabica, 26, is assigned at Cateel Municipal Police Sub-station in Barangay Aliwagwag. He was arrested in a checkpoint of the NPA fighters who wore military uniforms in Km. 26, Barangay Panansalan, Compostela town in Compostela Valley, around 4:15 pm, Tuesday, July 11.

Agustin said with the ongoing implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao, the NPA in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley is heightening armed resistance by launching tactical offensives to address “the escalating fascism of the Duterte regime.”

Agustin said Duterte’s martial law is “fast resembling the dark days of Marcos’ loathed martial rule.”

The NPA added that the military is launching an offensive and civil-military operations in at least 19 villages in Compostela Valley and more than 10 villages in Davao Oriental.
Agustin said they received reports from residents that more than 40 soldiers who identified themselves as members of the Division Reconnaissance Company “held at gunpoint, hogtied and mauled seven peasants whom they accused to be members of the NPA” in Sitio San Juan, Barangay Pasian in Monkayo town in Compostela Valley province.

Agustin added that after an ambush against government troops in Barangay Salvacion in Monkayo last July 1, reinforcing soldiers “burned down and looted the houses of Lumad and peasants.”

“Duterte is leaving the extension and expansion of martial law up to the discretion of the militarist hawks in his regime, especially US stooge DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana. Instead of addressing the pressing problems of the Filipino people such as landlessness and unemployment, Duterte is deliberately choosing to perpetuate fascism that, time and again, all the more fuels the armed resistance in the country,” Agustin said.

The Philippine National Police is calling for the immediate release of the police officer.

DWDD: Government Troops Reclaim 54 Buildings in Marawi

Posted to DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jul 12): Government Troops Reclaim 54 Buildings in Marawi

A military spokesperson reports that the government’s forces have recouped control over at least 54 establishments in Marawi City that has been occupied by the Islamic State-linked Maute group as the clashes in the city entered its 51st day.

Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera statedthat they are continuously conducting combat clearing operations and that there are still portions of the main area that are being turned into defensive positions.

He said in earlier statements that 800 buildings were yet to be cleared in Marawi, those of which are believed to be where the Maute members and snipers are based. Herrera added that more or less 80 Maute members were in Marawi.

Air strikes have been conducted by the military in the area to flush out the militants occupying the buildings in the city’s business district.

Herrera then stated in the interview that Abdullah Maute prevails to in command of the remaing Maute members. However, they are yet to confirm Isnilon Hapilon’s location. Hapilon is the appointed ‘emir’ of ISIS in Asia.

DWDD: 8 Rebels Dead, 6 Firearms Recovered, A Soldier Killed in ComVal Clash

Posted to DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jul 12): 8 Rebels Dead, 6 Firearms Recovered, A Soldier Killed in ComVal Clash


MAWAB, COMPOSTELA VALLEY PROVINCE – Combined troops of 25th and 60th Infantry Battalions encountered a group of 40 NPA rebels belonging to Secom 3 and PBC 4 at Brgy L.S. Sarmiento, Laak, Compostela Valley Province (CVP) on Wednesday morning, July 12.

The same troops recovered eight dead bodies of the NPA and six high-powered firearms comprising five M16 armalite rifles and an M60 machine gun left by the fleeing rebels.

A soldier whose name is being withheld prior notification of his family was earlier wounded but later expired while en route to the hospital.

Two days before, July 10, the troops of 25IB engaged in firefight the same rebel group in Brgy Casoon, Monkayo, CVP. On this said encounter, said troops siezed an NPA encampment.

Prior to this series of encounters, Ltc Ismael Mandanas, commander of 25IB said that they have been receiving reports that the same NPA rebel group will consolidate at Brgy Casoon to conduct tactical offensives prior to President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) in compliance with their communist leader’s instructions.

Major General Noel S Clement, 10ID commander, lauded the bravery of the troops. Clement expressed sorrow while rendering his salute to the fallen soldier for offering the ultimate sacrifice in pursuit of peace for the people.

“We will not lower our guards against any armed threat that can harm the peaceful living of our people,” Clement said.

Troops are still in pursuit of the fleeing NPA rebels. While Army-Police checkpoints were immediately established in the different areas of 10ID.

DWDD: Statement of the Secretary of National Defense on the airstrike accident that killed 2 soldiers and wounded 10 more

Posted to DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jul 14): Statement of the Secretary of National Defense on the airstrike accident that killed 2 soldiers and wounded 10 more


I am deeply saddened by the loss of lives resulting from this most unfortunate incident. We reach out to the families and loved ones of the soldiers who lost their lives and pray for the speedy recovery of those who were injured.

What happened yesterday and last month, when several of our Marines inadvertently perished because of a wayward ordnance dropped from an aircraft, reflect the harsh nature of urban warfare where soldiers operate in tight spaces and in close proximity to the enemy. The problems we face are the same as those confronted by other nations fighting terrorists in places like Mosul, Fallujah, and Raqqa.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is now reviewing and recalibrating its existing doctrines in order for the troops to adapt and respond to this evolving type of war.

Admittedly, retaking the very last positions of the Maute-ISIS who are still in Marawi is proving to be a challenge. We have to operate with due consideration for the safety of the civilians who are still trapped in the area against enemies who know no rules, who use hostages as human shields and children as frontline fighters. Our resolve to end the situation, however, has not wavered. In fact, we are now more determined than ever to finally eliminate these terrorists, and we will not stop until evil is vanquished, not only in Marawi City but also in the whole of Mindanao.

DWDD: Army encounters with NPA in Quezon, Bukidnon, 1 rebel killed

Posted to DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jul 14): Army encounters with NPA in Quezon, Bukidnon, 1 rebel killed

quezon bukidnon

BUKIDNON-an NPA member killed in an encounter with the government troops this morning in Quezon, Bukidnon.

The elements of the 8th Infantry DEPENDABLE Battalion encountered the NPA in the vicinity of Brgy Mahayag, Quezon, Bukidnon. The troops were conducting the security patrol in the area when the NPA rebels engaged them. After the firefight, which lasted for several minutes, the government troops recovered one (1) body count and one (1) M16 rifle.

The Philippine Army will continue to perform its mandate of securing the people. This is our service to nation. Thru our efforts, and the support of the local government and other stakeholders, we will quell this country of threats that hinder its further development. With every step of the way, your soldiers are behind the path towards peace and development.

MILF: BLMI Attends 2017 HR Symposium And PAHRODF Hand-over Ceremony

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jul 12): BLMI Attends 2017 HR Symposium And PAHRODF Hand-over Ceremony

Officials and staff of the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute headed by its Executive Director Ustaz Mahmod Ahmad attended the 3-day 2017 Public Sector HR Symposium at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Pasay City on July 04-06, 2017.

The said BLMI officers & staff were: Esmael Abdula, Training Head and Steering Committee member, Omsar Paradan, Admin-Finance Chief, also member of the Steering Committee and Hafsa Arab, Human Resource Officer.

The opening ceremony featured messages from CSC Chairperson Alicia Dela-Rosa Bala and Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely, and a keynote address from the ASEAN Secretary General, Le Luong Minh.

The 2017 Public Sector HR Symposium focused on the theme “Shaping Change” and featured plenary sessions from resource persons such as Mr. Augusto Francis de Vera of iCross Holdings Inc., Mr. Anthony Pangilinan of Businessworks, Inc., Eugenio “Boy” Abunda of ABS-CBN, and Mr. Kenneth Lingan of Google Philippines.

Diverse topics focused on the global trends and best practices on Human Resource (HR) and Organizational Development (OD) were discussed by highly-esteemed local and international speakers during the concurrent sessions.

A plenary session on the updates of the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases, 2017 Omnibus Rules on Appointments, and the ARTA Implementation was also conducted on the third day of the symposium.

Meanwhile, the BLMI Officers also attended the Philippines Australia Human Resource and Organizational Development Facility (PAHRODF) Handover Ceremony on July 06, 2017 at the Mindanao Hall, Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Pasay City.

The event marked the culmination of the seven years of continued efforts by the PAHRODF on enhancing Human Resource and Organizational Development practices of their partner organizations. These partner organizations, which included BLMI, were handed over educational tools and materials produced by the PAHRODF during their seven years of active service.

The occasion was graced by Australian Ambassador Amanda Gorely who awarded the materials along with PAHRODF Facility Director Milalin Javellana. A message of gratitude to the HRODF was delivered by Dr. Renato Solidum Jr. of the PHIVOLCS.

In line with this, the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute would also like to extend their gratitude to the PAHRODF and the Australian Government for their continuous support on enhancing the HR and OD practices and systems of the BLMI.

MILF: “Deprive The Militants Of The Opportunity To Resupply So That The Siege Cannot Last For Long”: Chairman Iqbal

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jul 13): “Deprive The Militants Of The Opportunity To Resupply So That The Siege Cannot Last For Long”: Chairman Iqbal

A top official of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) told Mindanews on July 11, that ending the Marawi siege will require cutting the militants’ resupply route, MILF Information and Peace panel Chief Mohagher Iqbal described the Marawi fighting as turning into war of attrition that there a need to “deprive the militants of the opportunity to resupply (so that) the siege cannot last for long.”

“If that is achieved, the militants will only be left with the will to fight. In war, that alone cannot take you far,” he added.

The MILF has downplayed the capacity of Islamic State-inspired militants to besiege Marawi City for an extended period, expecting the war to end soonest, said the report by Mindanews.

Iqbal explained that unlike revolutionary organizations, the Maute group and its allied forces are “not an established army hence these are dependent on volunteers”, Iqbal told the popular online paper.

“And absent a clear political agenda, it is difficult to generate a horde of volunteers who will fight to the death in battle. By contrast, the MILF has a deeper reserve of fighters but its military activities are calibrated on the basis of its political objective”, Iqbal told Mindanews over the phone.

Weeks of war has wrought havoc on Marawi’s public infrastructure and private properties, either razed down by militants or destroyed by aerial and artillery bombardments.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has ordered the Armed Forces to flush the militants out of Marawi in time for the second State of the Nation Address of President Duterte on July 24.

The military earlier said the space under the militants’ control has constricted significantly, estimating it to be about a square kilometer or about a hundred hectares which mainly spanned across the besieged city’s commercial districts.

CPP/NPA-CVEC: NPA arrests police officer in Davao Oriental amid worsening martial law attacks

NPA-Compostela Valley East Coast propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 12): NPA arrests police officer in Davao Oriental amid worsening martial law attacks

Roel Agustin II, Spokesperson
NPA-Comval Davao East Coast

13 July 2017

Despite intensified enemy attacks both against its fighting units and civilian masses under martial law, the NPA in Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley shows there is but one way to address the escalating fascism of the Duterte regime— heighten armed resistance by launching tactical offensives.

Red fighters under the ComVal-Davao East Coast Sub-Regional Operations Command of the NPA in Southern Mindanao arrested PO1 Alfredo Sillada Basabica, Jr., Badge No. 272811, in Km. 26, Brgy. Panansalan, Compostela in Compostela Valley, at around 4:15 pm, July 11.

POW Basabica, 26, is assigned at Cateel Municipal Police Sub-station in Brgy. Aliwagwag. He was captured in an NPA mobile checkpoint while on his way to Davao City. As a prisoner of war, Basabica is being investigated for possible crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement. As per policy of the NPA, POW Basabicsa is being given lenient treatment in adherence to international war protocols.

POW Basabica’s PNP unit is being used by the local and provincial reactionary government for their anti-Lumad and anti-peasant “tourism” project in Aliwagwag Falls. It is also being investigated for the pervasive illegal drug trade in Cateel, for the torture of 5 peasants who were illegally arrested last March and May, and active intelligence activities against civilians whom they accuse of being supporters of the revolutionary movement.

Meanwhile, Duterte’s appointed martial law implementor— the Armed Forces of the Philippines— is having a field day in piling up human rights violations on top of another. Duterte’s martial law is fast-resembling the dark days of Marcos’ loathed martial rule.

AFP combat troops are currently launching offensive and so-called civic-military operations in at least 6 villages in Monkayo, 8 villages in Compostela and at least 5 villages in New Bataan in Compostela Valley. In Davao Oriental, fascist enemy troops are prowling 4 villages in Boston, six villages in Cateel, and several villages in the towns of Baganga, Caraga, Manay and Tarragona. Other AFP combat units are also operating in the hinterlands of Trento in Agusan del Sur and in Lingig and Bislig City in Surigao del Sur.

In their wake is the fascist trail of abuses and human rights violations against Lumad and peasants. This week, masses report that more than 40 AFP soldiers who identified themselves as members of the Division Reconnaissance Company held at gun point, hogtied and mauled seven peasants whom they accused to be members of the NPA in Sitio San Juan, Brgy. Pasian, Monkayo.

After the successful ambush by Red fighters against enemy troops in Brgy. Salvacion in Monkayo last July 1, reinforcing soldiers of the 25IB burned down and looted the houses of Lumad and peasants.

Duterte is leaving the extension and expansion of martial law up to the discretion of the militarist hawks in his regime, especially US stooge DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana. Instead of addressing the pressing problems of the Filipino people such as landlessness and unemployment, Duterte is deliberately choosing to perpetuate fascism that, time and again, all the more fuels the armed resistance in the country.

CPP/CNL-NDF: The 2nd State of the Nation Address: Hope for Meaningful Change?

Christians for National Liberation propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 12): The 2nd State of the Nation Address: Hope for Meaningful Change?

Renmin Malaya, Spokesperson
CNL National Executive Committee

12 July 2017

Rodrigo Roa-Duterte began his bid for the presidency by impressing the electorate with his pro-poor and nationalist rhetoric, on the promise of meaningful change for our people, the first self-proclaimed Leftist and Socialist President of the country. But one year on, we are still waiting for results on this, but it looks he has entirely forgotten his promises. Prior to his assumption to the Presidency a year ago, a broad array of people’s organizations, cause-oriented groups, institutions and concerned individuals convened in a National People’s Summit and adopted a 15-point “People’s Agenda for Nationalist and Progressive Change,” including short-term proposals for the President’s first 100 days in office, which he himself accepted.

The comprehensive agenda, was in direct response to the President’s promise of meaningful change for our people. It was a way to constructively engage his administration in realizing much needed reforms in five critical areas: The National Economy, Progressive Social Policy, Peace and Human Rights, Foreign Policy &National Sovereignty, Governance and Democracy.

 Among the key reforms pushed were those pertaining to agrarian reform, national industrialization and economic sovereignty, relief for the workers by ending labor contractualization, an independent foreign policy, the resumption of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), campaign against corruption, a pro-people social policy especially in relation to health, education, housing and social protection. However, after a year of his administration, the country still finds itself far from realizing the aspiration for meaningful change.

 On the resumption of Peace Talks – on this agenda his administration has made great strides in resuming the peace process with the NDFP. Pres. Duterte’s action of resuming the talks based on previously signed agreements, releasing key NDFP leaders and consultants for the talks, and appointing a number of NDFP nominees to his cabinet and other high posts, have done well to establish confidence and goodwill on both sides.This resulted in unprecedented accomplishments in the effort to forge substantial agreements on social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and the cessation of hostilities and disposition of forces. A most important development in the talks for example is the agreement in principle on free land distribution for poor farmers. However, his failure to release more than 300 remaining political prisoners and its insistence on a bilateral ceasefire as a requirement for the talks to prosper has scuttle the peace talk and prevented it to prosper.

Unfortunately, the pro-US militarist clique LEA in his cabinet, led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año, has constantly tried to sabotage the talks by insisting on an indefinite ceasefire even without substantial reforms,as the AFP carries out an all-out war policy against the NPA. This was evident in the collapse of the 5th round of talks, including the declaration of Martial Law while the President was in Russia.

It is on this context that we the Christians for National Liberation – CNL condemn and can boldly say that the present administration has become more fascist with his declaration of Martial Law. It just proves that his government has been a hindrance to pursue the promised meaningful change, by listening to his pro-US militarist consultants in his cabinet. If there is any accomplishment that President Duterte can rightly claim his own, is the death of more than 8,000 suspected drug users and pushers at the hands of the police, its assets and police-backed vigilante death squads. This was his campaign promise, and he is doing it with flair. In addition to the political killings of farmer leaders and activists, arrested and detained for trumped up charges.

Worse, with the declaration of martial law and suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao and possibly the whole country, he is threatening to bring the people back to the Marcosian days of martial rule. The human rights situation in the country became a catastrophe as the ongoing Marawi crisis: children dying at the evacuation center due to sickness and the thousands of families still at the evacuation center, has been his major cause of worry for the past few weeks, as he himself admitted in recent speeches. In addition to the Marawi crisis, the on-going aerial bombings that created Moro communities to evacuate in Maguindanao, Matanao Davao Sur, Pres. Roxas and North Cotabato displacing thousands of families, damaged schools, students and teachers displaced. Recently the Salugpungan Lumad schools who just formally opened classes, had been attacked by the military and its paramilitary group Alamara disrupting classes prompting the teachers and students to air their grievances to the concerned government agencies, at the urban center but classes continued at the campsite. Few days after, the ALCADEV school in Surigao was also threatened by military planes flying just above their community and military forces that encamped near the campus, led the residents again to evacuate.

Despite allegations he has caused the death of many Filipinos in the incessant drug war, still majority seem to like his iron fist, where obedience to the law is not optional.The unbelievable frequency and impunity by which these extrajudicial killings (i.e. summary executions at the hands of state security forces) are committed have become the hallmark of his “war on drugs.” It is targeted mainly at the poor, who neither have the clout nor the resources to defend themselves from such an onslaught by the very government that is supposed to protect their rights.

Pres. Duterte’s launching full-scale assault on the Filipino people through its anti-people and neoliberal economic policies, which aggravate the existing social inequalities and the intergenerational oppressive system is very disturbing. He finally shed off his progressive and leftist posturing, proving himself to be another lapdog of imperialist US and local ruling elites, just like his predecessors. By retracting his promise of genuine social change and radical social transformation, President Duterte has finally revealed its true character—that it is not for the democratic interests of the Filipino people, but for the corporate interests of the privileged ruling class it chose to serve.

To date thousands of workers, as a result of Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) Department Order (DO) 174 which solidifies contractualization of labor and further condones the neoliberal attack on workers, remain contractual and continue to live below the national daily minimum wage despite Duterte’s promise of ending contractualization. Thousands of students remain barred from accessing education, or remain tangled in the tedious bureaucratic processes in availing piecemeal discounts on tuition fee, although recently CHED announced several state universities offering free scholarships for medical students ONLY. The question is why NOT for students taking agriculture, education and engineering?

Thousands of farmers remain bound to feudal relations and usurious debts, despite the victorious struggle of the MARBAI agrarian reform beneficiaries who were able to take back their land. Lastly, the peace talks, which was supposedly a great leap for the government in attaining long and just peace, faltered completely when Duterte suspended the fifth round of peace negotiation upon the insinuation of his warmongers in the cabinet. The peace talks further suffered a setback when Duterte’s dedication to restoring peace in Marawi led to martial law in the entire Mindanao.

The false hopes for genuine social change promised by the Pres. Duterte did not, in any way, impede the struggle of the Filipino people for social justice and peace. The guarded optimism of the Christians for National Liberation and all revolutionary and progressive Filipinos has taught the oppressed that genuine social change cannot be monopolized by a single power. We cannot rest all our hopes on a popular political figure who continuously fails to identify himself with the toiling Filipinos. The inequalities and injustices rooted in neoliberal economic policies, his unclear stand or posturing against US imperialism, his indecisive stance on the peace talks, and his frightening reliance on militaristic solutions to our country’s problems. We the Christians for National Liberation –CNL give our salute to the unwavering revolutionary spirit of all patriotic Filipinos who continue to advance the national democratic struggle for radical social transformation, and for a just and lasting peace.

End Contractualization of Workers!
Genuine Land Reform Now!
Free Education for All!
End State Fascism !
Resume the PEACE Talks!

CPP/NPA-Bikol: Hinggil sa Panlilibak ng 9th IDPA sa CPP-NPA-NDF Bikol

NPA-Bikol propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 12): Hinggil sa Panlilibak ng 9th IDPA sa CPP-NPA-NDF Bikol

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

12 July 2017

Kamakailan lamang, sunud-sunod ang ilinabas ng CPP-NPA-NDF Bikol na mga tala ng paglabag sa karapatang-tao ng kasundaluhan sa rehiyon. Ilinabas din sa madla ang tala ng mga apektadong mamamayan at komunidad ng mapangwasak na operasyong militar sa Mindanao na pinatindi ng deklarasyong ‘all out war’ at Batas Militar. Ngunit sa halip na sagutin ang usapin ng katakut-takot na pasismo at terorismo sa rehiyon at sa ibang panig ng bansa, nagkasya na lamang si Capt. Ronnie Madrinan sa pambabansag, paninirang-puri at pagpapakawala ng mga komentaryong hindi pinag-isipang mabuti. Liban sa panlilibak, ipinahayag niyang ang paniningil ng rebolusyonaryong buwis ng CPP-NPA-NDF ang dahilan kung bakit hindi umuusad ang usapang pangkapayapaan. Ayon sa kanya dapat maghanap na lamang ng trabaho ang mga rebolusyonaryo at tumigil na sa pakikidigma.

Para sa kaalaman ni Capt. Madrinan, humaharap ang NDFP at GRP peace panel bilang kinatawan ng dalawang magkapantay na entidad. Kung gayon, bilang isang gubyerno, may karapatan ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan na magpataw ng buwis sa eryang nasasakupan nito at hindi ito maaaring ituring na pangingikil. Gayundin, malinaw na nakahanay ang magiging adyenda ng usapang pangkapayaan. Sa kasalukuyan, nakatuon ang pulong sa Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reforms (CASER). Dito pag-uusapan ang mga sosyo-ekonomikong repormang ipinapanawagan ng mamamayan tulad ng tunay na reporma sa lupa, pambansang industriyalisasyon at nagsasariling patakarang panlabas. Sa puntong mapagkasunduan na ang lalamnin ng CASER, susulong ang usapan sa Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CAPCR). Dito papasok ang pagtalakay sa iba’t ibang patakaran ng dalawang gubyerno. Kabilang dito ang hinggil sa pagbubuwis. Hanggat hindi pa naaabot ang adyendang ito, mananatiling epektibo ang mga dati nang ipinapatupad na batas ng CPP-NPA-NDFP at GRP.

Kaya naman, walang kalituhan sa usapin ng legalidad ng pagpapataw ng buwis ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan. Pinatunayan lamang ng pahayag ni Capt. Madrinan ang kakapusan ng kanilang pag-intindi sa proseso ng usapang pangkapayapaan. Sa katunayan, ang paggigiit ng GRP na magbaba ng armas ang NPA sa halip na harapin na ang mga repormang tutugon sa kahirapan ng mamamayan ang siyang dahilan ng pagkaantala ng usapan.

Dahil ang tangan ng kilusan sa pagrerebolusyon ay ang mismong karaingan ng mamamayan, taos-pusong iniaalay ng bawat isa ang kanilang talino, lakas, panahon at buhay para sa pagsusulong ng digmang bayan. Mulat silang tanging sa pagtatagumpay ng pagbabalikwas ng mamamayan makakamit ang matagalang solusyon sa kahirapan at kawalang katarungan sa lipunan. Higit sa trabaho, buhay ng isang rebolusyonaryo ang paglilingkod sa taumbayan. Ito ang dapat na maintindihan ni Capt. Madrinan at ng kasundaluhan. Hindi tulad ng bayarang tropa ng gubyerno, hindi naghahangad ng anumang kapalit ang mga rebolusyonaryo.

Ngunit hindi na nakabibigla ang pahayag ni Capt. Madrinan. Walang ibang panggagalingan ang mga hindi pinag-aralang pahayag at komentaryong tulad nito kundi ang isang institusyong masigasig na papet ng imperyalistang US at walang pagrespeto sa talino at kakayahan ng mamamayang intindihin ang mga usaping panlipunan. Ang estilo sa propaganda ng kasundaluhan ay walang ipinag-iba sa isang bully o sangganong manghahamon na lamang ng suntukan kapag napahiya. Sa tuwing mayroong usaping hindi nila kayang sagutin o ‘di kaya ay napasisinungalingan ang kanilang mga gawa-gawang kwento, kaagad nilang ilinilihis ang usapan at ibinababa na lamang sa panlilibak. Nagtatago sa likod ng nagtatapang-tapangang imahe ng 9th IDPA ang katotohanang nagkakandarapa na sila sa pag-apula sa matalinong pagtatanong at pagsusuri ng mamamayan sa nangyayari sa lipunan.

Hinahamon ng NDF-Bikol ang 9th IDPA na kilalanin ang kakayahan ng mamamayan at pag-isipang mabuti ang kanilang mga pahayag. Nagkakamali sila kung sa tingin nila ay mapipigilan ng kanilang paninindak ang pag-aaral ng mamamayan tungkol sa lipunan. Sa halip na magpalaganap ng mga gasgas nang paninira, sagutin at panagutan nila ang mga usaping matagal nang sinisingil sa kanila ng taumbayan tulad ng patung-patong na kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang-tao.

Nananawagan din ang NDF-Bikol sa mga kasapi ng kasundaluhan na namumulat na mula sa kabulukan ng institusyong kasalukuyan nilang kinakaaniban. Laging bukas ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa anumang tulong at suporta na nais nilang ipaabot. Naghihintay ang mamamayan sa tuluyan nilang pagtalikod sa pwersa armadang ilang dekada nang instrumento ng pagsasamantala.

Sa huli, hindi magmamaliw ang paniniwala ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa kakayahan ng mamamayang kilalanin ang tunay nilang kasama sa laban para sa mga demokratikong karaingan. Ang paglakas at paglawak ng rebolusyonaryong pwersa sa Kabikulan ang hindi maitatangging patunay ng patuloy na pagtangkilik ng masa sa tunay na gubyernong nagsisilbi sa kanila – ang CPP-NPA-NDFP.

CPP/NPA-Ifugao: NPA – Ifugao, muling binigo ang 54th IB

NPA-Ifugao propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 12): NPA – Ifugao, muling binigo ang 54th IB

NPA-Ifugao (Nona Del Rosario Command)

12 July 2017

Mariing pinabulaanan ng Nona Del Rosario Command (NDRC) ang ipinapakalat na mga kasinungalingan ng 54th Infantry Battalion (IB) ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa nangyaring armadong labanan sa Sitio Abaka, Brgy. Danggo, Tinoc, Ifugao noong July 10, 2017, alas tres ng madaling araw.

Ang Brgy. Danggo, kagaya ng lahat ng mga baryo sa kanayunan sa buong bansa, lalo pa na ito ay bahagi ng
teritoryo ng mga pambansang minorya, ay sistematikong pinagkakaitan ng reaksyunaryong gobyerno ng serbisyong panlipunan. Hanggang sa kasalukuyan, sinasadyang pabayaan sila ng gobyerno para mapilitan ang mamamayan na pahintulutan ang pagpasok ng mga mapandambong na mga kumpanya na nangangamkam ng lupang ninuno kapalit ng limos na tulong kagaya ng Sta. Clara International Corporation.

Bilang hukbo ng mamamayan, ang New People’s Army – Ifugao (NPA – Ifugao) ay nagpapaliwanag at nag-oorganisa para mas mapataas ang kaalaman ng mga masa at mabuo ang kanilang pagkakaisa.

Naglunsad ang yunit ng mga libreng serbisyong medikal para sa mamamayan ng Danggo. Ginamot ng mga kasama ang mga simpleng karamdaman at namahagi ng mga pinulbos na halamang gamot gaya ng malunggay, lagundi at sambong na siyang malisyosong ipinaparatang ng mga sundalo na marijuana. Isa ring malaking kalokohan ang ipinapakalat nilang banditry at extortion ang ginagawa ng mga NPA. Ito ay malinaw na paninira sa NDRC at sa buong rebolusyonaryong kilusan. Pilit tintatabunan ang taos-pusong pagsisilbi ng mga pulang mandirigma para mailayo sa masa ang kanyang hukbo.

Dahil buong-buo ang pagsisilbi ng NPA sa mga masa ng Danggo, ganun din ang init ng kanilang pagtanggap at pagsuporta sa kanilang hukbo. Pero may iilan, sa pangunguna ng kapitan ng Danggo na si Matthew Pihet,
isang CAFGU-intel na matagal nang nagpapagamit sa militar at may mga kaso ng pang-aabuso sa kapangyarihan tulad ng walang habas na pagpapaputok. Ilang araw bago ang labanan, dinisarmahan siya ng isang team ng NDRC at binantaan na itigil ang kontra-mamamayang gawi. Sa kanyang patuloy na pagpapagamit sa kaaway, ito ay pagtalikod sa mandato niya sa mamamayan ng Danggo. Isinusubo niya ang mga kababayan niya sa mas lalong kahirapan at pagkakabusabos sa harap ng dahas na dala ng mga operasyong militar.

Sa nangyaring labanan noong July 10, nililinaw ng NDRC na walang namatay sa hanay ng mga kasama. Agad nakaatras ang mga kasama na buo at ligtas. Hindi rin totoong mayroong sibilyan na nadamay o namatay sa labanan. Para itago ang kahihiyan na wala silang napatay o nahuling NPA sa ginawa nilang atake sa yunit, ang ipinapalabas nila ay maraming kaswalti sa mga kasama.

Ang ginagawang pagpapakalat ng mga gawa-gawang impormasyon ng AFP ay desperadong pamamaraan para itaas ang kanilang prestihiyo at moral kahit pa sirang-sira na sila sa mata ng masa. Patong-patong na ang kasalanan nh 54th IB sa mamamayan ng Ifugao at patuloy pa itong nadadagdagan dahil sa mga paglabag ng karapatang pantao ng mga taga-Danggo. Kabilang ang paglalagay ng mga checkpoint at pagpipicture sa mga hinaharang na motorista, pagbabawal na magpa-load ng cellphone at pagbibintang na mga NPA ang ilang sibilyan. Kahit nung tanghali noong labanan, patuloy pa rin ang pagpapaputok ng mga sundalo sa baryo kahit pa matagal nang nakaatras ang mga kasama, bagay na nakapagdulot ng matinding
takot sa mamamayan.

Matagumpay na nabigo ng NDRC ang layunin ng AFP na durugin ang rebolusyonaryong paglaban sa Ifugao.
Hindi titigil ang NDRC sa pagtulong, pagprotekta at pagsisilbi sa mamamayan. Bagkus, mas lalu pa nitong
hinahamon ang sarili na pangibabawan ang kahinaan at mas ibayong magpalakas para harapin ang kaaway. Nananawagan din ang NDRC sa lahat ng mamamayanng Ifugao na mas patibayin ang ating hanay at pahigpitin ang pagkakaisa.

NPA owns killing of NorthCot widow accused of feeding vital info to military

From MindaNews (Jul 13): NPA owns killing of NorthCot widow accused of feeding vital info to military

Communist guerillas operating in the hinterlands of North Cotabato and Bukidnon provinces admitted the killing of a 37-year-old widow whom they accused of giving the Army tips that led to the brutal slay of one of their rebel commanders in Sta. Cruz town in Davao del Sur.

In a text message sent to media in Kidapawan City on Thursday, a top official of the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Front 53 said they meted death on Jocelyn Yala, a widow from President Roxas town in North Cotabato, after they learned she gave the 39th Infantry Battalion vital information as to the whereabouts of a certain Commander Kiram, one of the rebel leaders operating in Davao del Sur and Sarangani provinces.

Yala, the rebel said, was a former NPA member who yielded to the Army in 2015 and became a military asset.

The NPA official, who requested not to be identified, said Kiram died when ambushed by elements of the 39IB along the boundary of Bansalan in Davao del Sur and Makilala in North Cotabato two months ago.

Yala’s body was recovered in a vacant lot along the national highway in Barangay Greenhills, President Roxas, around 7 a.m. Tuesday, days after she went missing.

“During the interrogation, she admitted having given the Army tips on how they could possibly execute Commander Kiram,” the rebel leader said.

He also read on Yala’s mobile phone the conversations she had with an official of the 39IB a day before Kiram was murdered.

Kiram, also a native of President Roxas town, was reportedly a relative of one of the top rebel leaders of NPA Front 53.

Relatives of Yala refused to give media their reactions on the killing.

NPA abducts cop in DavOr

From MindaNews (Jul 13): NPA abducts cop in DavOr

The New People’s Army abducted a policeman in Cateel, Davao Oriental last Tuesday, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 announced Thursday.

Abducted was PO1 Alfredo Sillada Basabica Jr., who was detailed at the 2nd Platoon of Davao Oriental Public Safety Company based in Barangay Aliwagwag, Cateel in Davao Oriental.

In a statement, PRO 11 spokesperson Catherine dela Rey said the police officer was onboard a Malen Bus en route to Compostela Valley province when a group of armed men clad in military uniforms stopped them at Kilometer 26, Barangay Panansalan in Compostela Valley.

Based on initial investigation, she said that the armed men, who later turned out to be NPA members, boarded the bus and demanded identifications (IDs) from the passengers.

When Basabica showed his PNP-issued ID, the armed men forcibly removed him from the bus and brought him to unknown direction, according to Dela Rey.

Basabica is a member of 2015 batch of the PNP regular recruitment of the PRO 11.

Supt. Harry G. Espela, director of the Davao Oriental Provincial Police Office, said that Basabica was permitted to take a leave to process documents in preparation for his upcoming wedding by the end of this month.

Chief Supt. Manuel R. Gaerlan, PRO 11 regional director, condemned the abduction and asked the people to report the whereabouts of the victim to authorities.

“Friendly fire” in Marawi: 12 killed in 51 days; probe results out after end of combat operations

From MindaNews (Jul 13): “Friendly fire” in Marawi: 12 killed in 51 days; probe results out after end of combat operations

“Friendly fire” has claimed the lives of 12 out of 92 soldiers killed in action in Marawi City in 51 days of fighting as of Wednesday, and while investigations have been ordered on the May 31 and July 12 incidents, the results of the first probe will be made public only “after the completion of active combat operations in the area,” the head of the Board of Inquiry told MindaNews.

The second probe is expected to follow the same release procedure.

“Friendly fire” has also left a total of 18 out of around 500 soldiers wounded in action since clashes between government forces and the Maute Group in Marawi City started on May 23.

Two soldiers were killed and 11 others injured when an aerial bombing missed its target at around 12 noon Wednesday. On May 31, an aerial bombing also missed its target, killing 10 soldiers and wounding seven others.

Smoke rises all over Marawi CIty, which have been repeatedly bombed by Air Force planes. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

In the first incident, General Eduardo Año, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), created a Board of Inquiry (BOI) headed by Major General Rafael Valencia, AFP Inspector General, to determine if it was caused by equipment failure or human error and to avoid a similar incident from happening.

Valencia told MindaNews in a text message late Wednesday night that the BOI had submitted to Año the results of its investigation. But the BOI, he said, recommended to the Chief of Staff “to release the results after the completion of active combat operations in the area.”

“We have submitted our report to (Gen. Año) with our recommendation. There are critical information in the report that could jeopardize operations and put the lives of our troops in grave danger,” he said.

The SF260 aircraft successfully hit its first three assigned targets but missed its fourth and last ordnance round, hitting instead the ground troops.

On Wednesday evening, Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera, Task Force Marawi spokesperson, said an investigation is being conducted to “determine the circumstances surrounding an incident where an ordnance missed its target during an airstrike conducted at about 12 noon of 12 July 2017,” killing two soldiers and injuring 11.

He said initial reports from Marawi indicate that the bomb was 250 meters off target, causing the collapse of nearby structures. “Large debris from heavily reinforced buildings accidentally hit two of our personnel who succumbed to death in the process” while 11 others sustained minor shrapnel wounds.

A Philippine Air Force plane drops a bomb into suspected Maute Group positions in Marawi City. MindaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Herrera did not say what aircraft missed the target. But AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said it was an FA-50 light combat aircraft.

“We are saddened by this unfortunate incident. We are attending to the needs of the families of our troops who died or were hurt.
Cognizant units from the AFP have formed a group that is now conducting initial investigations to determine the cause of the mishap and prevent the chances of it recurring,” Herrera said.

In a statement on Thursday, Day 52 of the Marawi Crisis, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said what happened on May 31 and July 12 reflects “the harsh nature of urban warfare where soldiers operate in tight spaces and in close proximity to the enemy.”

“The problems we face are the same as those confronted by other nations fighting terrorists in places like Mosul, Fallujah, and Raqqa,” Lorenzana said, adding the AFP is “now reviewing and recalibrating its existing doctrines in order for the troops to adapt and respond to this evolving type of war.”

“Retaking the very last positions of the Maute-ISIS who are still in Marawi is proving to be a challenge,” Lorenzana admitted, but added they are “more determined than ever to finally eliminate these terrorists.”

“We have to operate with due consideration for the safety of the civilians who are still trapped in the area against enemies who know no rules, who use hostages as human shields and children as frontline fighters,” he explained.

Absence of support to madaris helping terror groups – economist

From MindaNews (Jul 13): Absence of support to madaris helping terror groups – economist

Terror groups filled in the vacuum that emerged after foreign funding for madaris (Arabic schools) stopped in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack, an academician said Thursday.

Dr. Acram Latiph, of the Economics Department of Mindanao State University-Marawi, said the absence of funding support enabled terror groups to infiltrate the madrasah schools in the country and introduce their own brand of Islam.

Dr. Acram Latiph says in a forum in Cagayan de Oro City Thursday (13 July 2017) that hopelessness and poverty make terrorism attractive to young people. MindaNews photo by H. MARCOS C. MORDENO

Charitable funds from the Middle East dried up after the United States waged its global war on terror, he said.

Latiph, speaking in a multi-sectoral peace conference here, said such groups attract recruits by telling them that they are assured a place in heaven if they join.

He said it is easy for Islamic State-inspired groups to thrive in a place like Lanao del Sur, which is considered the poorest province in the country.

The promise of heaven and the prevalence of poverty is a win-win formula for terror groups, he said. “Walang pag-asa kaya nadadala sa terorismo” (There’s no hope, that’s why people are won over by terrorism), Latiph added.

He said it is no longer a question of whether the Maute Group is officially linked to the Islamic State or not. He said it is enough that they are committing acts that the Islamic State is also doing.

No government support

A group report presented at the conference said madaris have no textbooks and facilities and their teachers are receiving less than P2,000 per month.

It said around 1.8 million students are enrolled in the madaris but these schools are neither registered nor supported by government.

Latiph noted too that Muslim religious leaders who speak against the Islamic State were threatened with reprisal.

“If an imam says something against the ISIS, a youngster with a gun would tell him to stop…. You’ll be terrorized if you speak against them,” he said.

He said the khutbah (sermon) being delivered by imams every Friday is supposed to unify the community and address local problems.

“This is no longer happening in our community. Politics is dividing us. Rehabilitation is colored by politics, that’s why it’s difficult to realize ‘Bangon Marawi’,” he lamented.

Young recruits

A Maranao doctor who attended the conference confirmed that the Maute Group recruited minors.

“I was doing circumcision on this 14-year-old boy. He told me, ‘Doc, after this I’m going to Butig [in Lanao del Sur] because I’m a recruit of the Maute’,” the doctor said.

He blamed the social conditions in Lanao del Sur as a major factor why “extremism” has become attractive to young people in the province.

“It’s a shame for us that Lanao del Sur is the poorest province. During our outreach programs we saw towns around Lanao del Sur, walang governance. Officials from the barangay to municipal levels are absent. Nasa Xavier Estates, Pueblo de Oro,” he said, referring to two high-end subdivisions in this city.

“As an ordinary Maranao, how do you fight these politicians? Sa CDO [Cagayan de Oro], kung magkamali ang officials pwede Bombo Radyo. Sa Lanao del Sur, wala, di mangyayari iyan. I can’t fight massive corruption in our place,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., chief of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division, said children as young as six to eight years old are being indoctrinated by the Maute Group.

He pointed out that there are no suicide bombers yet, but 10 years from now, it would be hard to predict the level of fanaticism among the youth.

The Army official said the military needs to enhance its counterterrorism strategy. “Like what’s happening now, we have no complete picture of what happened,” he said.

Madrigal added that after the conflict the military will implement firearms control and management, identify warring groups and address the possible occurrence of rido or clan war.

Some sectors believe that a series of rido might erupt after the Marawi siege, as residents who feel aggrieved by the Maute gunmen will possibly want to get back at those who supported the attackers.

‘A new city’

Latiph said the people of Marawi cannot be rightly compensated for the damage to the city. “Building a new city, that is your compensation.”

“I want my children to grow up not in a Marawi before May 23, but in a new city,” he said.

Latiph said the dream to build a beautiful Marawi has been a dream since the American era.

He said this was the reason why the Americans placed the original Kilometer Zero marker in Marawi “because Kilometer Zero signifies the capital of any land mass.”

Another Sayyaf Vietnamese hostage killed in Philippines

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jul 12): Another Sayyaf Vietnamese hostage killed in Philippines

A Vietnamese sailor kidnapped by the extremist Abu Sayyaf group was reportedly found dead – his body riddled with bullets – on a village in Sulu province where security forces clashed with militants.

The cadaver, believed to be that of Tran Khac Dung, has been recovered in the village of Buhanginan in Patikul town where army soldiers battled with the Abu Sayyaf on July 8. It was unknown whether Tran was killed during the fighting in the village where the military claimed to have recovered a body of slain militant.

The report cannot be independently confirmed and the military’s Western Mindanao Command did not give any statement whether the recovered cadaver of the militant was actually that of the Vietnamese hostage.

The fighting erupted in Patikul town after 2 kidnapped Filipino fishermen Reyjim Rocabo, 41 and Roel Leones, 37, who were both freed July 7 by the Abu Sayyaf, provided information to the military on the location of the militant group and its hostages. The information provided by the duo led troops to the hideout of Abu Sayyaf commander Almujer Yadah in Patikul.

The battle also killed a soldier and wounded 15 others from the 21st Infantry Battalion. Both Rocabo and Leones were crewmembers of FB Ramona 2 kidnapped in December 20 last year in the Celebes Sea. Their ship captain, Noel Besconde, was beheaded on April 13 by the Abu Sayyaf after his employer and family failed to pay ransom.

Another crewman, Roy Ramos, was freed in June in Talipao town. The Abu Sayyaf, which is still holding 16 foreigners and four other Filipinos, recently beheaded 2 Vietnamese sailors Hoang Thong and Hoang Va Hai after their government and families failed to pay ransom. Their decapitated bodies were recovered in the village of Tumahubong in Sumisip town in Basilan province.

The sailors were kidnapped on November 11 off Basilan along with four others seamen Phang Minh Tuan and Do Trung Hieu and Huang Vo, who was released last month by the Abu Sayyaf in Sumisip town. They are all crew members of the cargo ship MV Royal 16.

2 Sayyaf militants captured in Tawi-Tawi province (Photos)

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jul 13): 2 Sayyaf militants captured in Tawi-Tawi province

Omar Harun
Omar Harun

Ara Samindi
Ara Samindi

Security forces captured 2 Abu Sayyaf militants involved in piracy and ransom kidnappings in separate operations Thursday in the southern Filipino province of Tawi-Tawi, officials said.

Officials said one of those nabbed by policeman and soldiers, Omar Harun, is a sub-leader of the extremist group blamed by police and military for the spate of hijacking of cargo ships and cross-border raid in Sabah.

Harun, alias Halipa, was captured on Taganak Island where another militant, Ara Samindi, had been arrested. Both Harun and Samindi were involved in the hijacking of Vietnamese cargo ship MV Giang Hai off Tawi-Tawi and kidnapping of 6 crew members last February 19.The attack also left one Vietnamese crewman dead.

The duo is currently being investigated by the police in Tawi-Tawi.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command said security forces had arrested nearly 6 dozen Abu Sayyaf militants in the provinces of Tawi-Tawi, Basilan, Sulu – all in the Muslim autonomous region; and in Zamboanga City since early this year.

Military hints at extension of martial law in Mindanao

From CNN Philippines (Jul 13): Military hints at extension of martial law in Mindanao

The Philippine military on Thursday said there may be a basis to extend martial law in Mindanao.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said the assessment to prolong or lift military rule in the southern Philippines is based on objectives that were given to the military when it began its operations against the ISIS-linked Maute group on May 23.

"Martial law, when it was imposed, provided a set of conditions that we should meet at the end of martial law," Padilla told CNN Philippines "The Source" in an interview.

"Now whether those conditions were met, whether those objectives were achieved is something that will be part of the assessment," he said.

He expressed doubt that the military has achieved the primary objective of destroying the Maute group's network and capabilties.

This could be a basis for the extension of martial law in Mindanao.

"For one, you needed to quell the rebellion definitely, and second you needed to degrade the capability of this group to launch another sort of similar activity elsewhere, and you need to destroy the network," Padilla said, explaining the objectives of the military's operations in Marawi City.

"So in as far as the network is concerned , I cannot confidently tell you that we have already taken care of that. So that can perhaps be a basis for the extension," Padilla added.

President Rodrigo Duterte, based on the recommendation of government security forces, imposed martial law in Mindanao on May 23, 2017 when the Maute group seized Marawi City, the provincial capital of Lanao del Sur. This was considered an act of rebellion under the Constitution, which allows martial law for a period of 60 days. The 60-day limit lapses on July 22.

Related: AFP assessing military rule in Mindanao as 60-day limit looms

On July 11, the President, speaking to the business community at the Philippine Stock Exchange, said the Marawi crisis would be resolved in "10 to 15 days."

Related: Duterte sees Marawi crisis ending in 10-15 days

Padilla backed up the President's remarks, saying the commander-in-chief's information came from ground commanders leading the military operations.

"This is from the ground commanders' perspective as well which was passed on to the President," Padilla said. "Kaya itong 10 to 15 days, malamang nanggaling ito sa ating ground commanders at ito'y ibinahagi. May basehan 'yan. Sisikapin natin," he added.

[Translation: This 10 to 15 days, most likely this came from the ground commanders and this was shared (with the President). There's a basis for this. We will try our best.]

However he added that the 10-to-15 day deadline "goes beyond the SONA, by the way, and not prior to the SONA," referring to the President's second State Of the Nation Address on July 24, which is two days after the 60-day limit.

The military is now focusing its operations on flushing 80 Maute fighters believed to be holding out in some four barangays in Marawi City, Padilla said. He added that two of these barangays were considered the terror group's centers of "command and control" and were harder to penetrate.

Duterte has said that any decision to extend military rule in Mindanao will depend on the military's assessment, which is in the stages of being finalized.

Padilla said a part of the assessment was with AFP Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año. "Some of it is with General Ano. I think he's finalizing the report and putting his own input into the recommendations," the AFP spokesperson said.

8 NPA rebels, 1 soldier killed in Compostela Valley clash

From CNN Philippines (Jul 13): 8 NPA rebels, 1 soldier killed in Compostela Valley clash


Eight members of the New People's Army (NPA) and one soldier were killed in a clash in Compostela Valley on Wednesday, the military said.

Troops encountered around 40 NPA rebels at Barangay L.S. Sarmiento in Laak town on Wednesday morning, the Army's 10th Infantry Division said in a statement.

By the end of the fighting, soldiers recovered eight dead bodies on the enemy side, along with high-powered firearms.

The military refused to disclose the name of the fatality on the government side, who died while on the way to the hospital, saying the soldier's family had to be notified first.

"Lt. Col. Ismael Mandanas, commander of 25IB said that they have been receiving reports that the same NPA rebel group will consolidate at Brgy. Casoon to conduct tactical offensives prior to President Duterte's State of the Nation Address (SONA) in compliance to their communist leaders instructions," the statement read.

Casoon in Monkayo town is around 50 kilometers away from Laak. Troops engaged in a firefight with the same group of rebels in Casoon on Monday.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines which has waged a 48-year-old insurgency, the longest-running armed rebellion in Asia.

Wednesday's encounter comes even after the National Democratic Front (NDF), which represents rebels in peace talks with the government, urged the NPA to "refrain" from attacking government forces in Mindanao, and focus instead on helping troops flush out terrorists.

President Rodrigo Duterte on July 1 also called for the fighting to stop.

Also read: Duterte to communists: Can we stop fighting for a while?

He declared martial law in Mindanao following clashes between government forces and ISIS-linked Maute group in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur. The communist movement has offered to help the government in its fight.

The government on July 4 announced it will resume peace talks with communist rebels "probably" by the second or third week of August.

Marawi airstrikes to continue despite accident

From CNN Philippines (Jul 14): Marawi airstrikes to continue despite accident

Airstrikes will continue to target Maute strongholds in Marawi, despite a mishap that killed two soldiers, the military said on Thursday.

Task Force Ranao Commander Brigadier General Ramiro Rey said that if the commander on the ground sees the need for an airstrike, the government troops will carry out the offensive.

"The airstrike is the decision of the ground commander per recommendation from the ground troops," Rey said in a news briefing.

"At kung nakita nila na 'yun dapat ay ta-target ng airstrike [And if they saw that it's the airstrike's target], then the commander will decide," he said.

Two soldiers were killed in a botched air assault on Wednesday. AFP Spokesperson B/Gen Restituto Padilla told CNN Philippines one bomb "fell short of target," missing its target by 200 meters.

The debris from the building, not the bomb, killed the two troops and wounded 11 soldiers, Padilla said.

"That building where our soldiers were hiding, absorbed the shock of the bomb that exploded and caused a lot of debris to fall. The debris that fall caused the death of two of our soldiers unfortunately, and the wounding of 11 others. The good thing there however is that the wounded were not critically injured," he said.
The Armed Forces said this "airstrike accident" was the first time the FA-50 missed its target.

Padilla said the aircraft, which is used to carry bigger bombs and equipped for close-air-support to ground troops, will be temporarily pulled out from their operation. The pilot will also be investigated.

Padilla said airstrikes are "part and parcel of tools" used by the military to defeat the ISIS-linked Maute group.

Joint Task Force Marawi Spokesperson Lt. Col. Jo-Ar Herrera said the airstrike accident will be investigated by the military.

This is the second time government troops were hit by mistake by its own airstrikes in the 52-day Marawi crisis.

On May 31, 10 soldiers were killed and seven other troops were wounded. Two light military aircraft trainer SF-260TP jets were positioned to strike, but the second one failed to hit its target and struck members of the 55th Infantry Battalion instead, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.

The Board of Inquiry is still carrying out its investigation.

The military is now focusing its operations on flushing 80 Maute fighters believed to be holding out in some four barangays in Marawi City, Padilla said.
He added that two of these barangays were considered the terror group's centers of "command and control" and were harder to penetrate. They also have over 600 buildings to clear.

AFP tightens mechanism to identify terrorists from civilians

From the Philippine information Agency (Jul 12): AFP tightens mechanism to identify terrorists from civilians

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has strengthened its process of determining gunmen from civilians in the Marawi battle area following reports that some ISIS-inspired terrorists are disguising as trapped civilians wanting to get out of the city.

LtCol Jo-ar Herrera, spokesperson of the 1st Infantry Division, said the AFP have instituted a mechanism to determine if escapees or survivors are involved in the hostilities.

Aside from the debriefing, Herrera said they are also collaborating with the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on the conduct of paraffin tests.

The police force are also conducting series of investigations to determine the facts.

Herrera said they have identified some persons who were involved in the hostilities since they started their rescue operations for trapped civilians.

According to him, most of them were lured by money unaware of the extent of damage that will happen.

Herrera further said they already strengthened their cordon and defense posture as well as contained the area especially Lake Lanao to block the possible exits of the ISIS-inspired terrorists.

Meanwhile, Herrera appealed to Marawi residents to understand them if they are restricting civilians access to the city.

He said they are doing this to protect the civilians. "We intend to save more lives," he reiterated.

Amid the ongoing battle between the government troops and the ISIS-inspired terrorists, some residents want to return to their homes to get important documents and belongings.

Herrera said they are allowing access especially in cases of emergency or other humanitarian considerations. This is done in partnership with the city and the provincial government.

Tagalog news: USAID, LGU, tumutok sa pagpapaunlad ng turismo sa Puerto Princesa

From the Philippine information Agency (Jul 13): Tagalog news: USAID, LGU, tumutok sa pagpapaunlad ng turismo sa Puerto Princesa

Muling nagplano kamakailan ang Pamahalaang Lungsod ng Puerto Princesa katuwang ang United States Agency International Development (USAID) kaugnay sa proyekto nitong pagpapalakas ng Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) na nakatuon sa pagpapalago ng turismo.

Dito, inilatag ni Dr. Randi Alampay, tourism value chain specialist ang mga katangiang dapat taglayin ng lungsod bilang isang destinasyon pang-turismo. “Dapat ang Puerto Princesa ay mayroong competitive industry at sustainable destination. Ang mga ito ang dapat mapanatili upang mas lalong umunlad ang industriya ng turismo”, pahayag ni Alampay.

Dagdag pa ni Alampay, pagdating sa sustinableng destinasyon, ilan sa mga dapat matutukan at mapanatili ng siyudad ang mga programa sa malinis at berdeng kapaligiran, tamang pamamahala sa basura at pangangalaga sa kalikasan na siyang mga pangunahing sangkap nito.

Ani Alampay, ito ang buod ng naunang isinagawang planning workshop hinggil sa turismo noong nakalipas na buwan ng Marso kung saan naging partisipante ang mga ahensya at negosyong may kinalaman sa industriya.

Kaugnay nito, sinisikap ngayon ng lokal na pamahalan ang pagdaragdag ng mga atraksyon kung saan nangunguna sa bibigyang prayoridad ang pagkakaroon ng Balayong Park at Acacia tree tunnel.

Samantala, layon din ng gawain na mabuo ang pinagkasunduan sa naunang pagtalakay patungkol sa pagpapahusay ng istratehiya tungo sa pag-unlad ng turismo sa lungsod.

Ano mang mapagkakasunduan ang mabubuong plano sa nasabing workshop ay siya nang pagsisikapang ipatutupad ng pamahalaan sa kasalukuyang taon at sa hinaharap.

Tagalog news: 120 Special Civil Armed Auxillary nagtapos ng pagsasanay sa Palawan

From the Philippine information Agency (Jul 13): Tagalog news: 120 Special Civil Armed Auxillary nagtapos ng pagsasanay sa Palawan

Karagdagang 120 miyembro ng Special Civil Armed Auxiliary (SCAA) ang nagtapos sa Basic Military Training kahapon matapos ang apat na buwan.

Ang programang ito ay magkatuwang na itinataguyod ng Pamahalaang Panlalawigan ng Palawan at ng Armed Forces of the Philippines sa pamamagitan ng Western Command (WESCOM) upang tumulong sa pananatili ng kapayapaan at kaayusan sa lalawigan ng Palawan.

Ginanap ang seremonya ng pagtatapos sa Victoriano J. Rodriguez Multipurpose Hall sa pangunguna nina Gob. Jose Ch. Alvarez at WESCOM Commander Lt. Gen. Raul del Rosario.

Ang mga nagsipagtapos na kabilang sa Class 01-2017 ay magiging kaanib na rin ng Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit o CAFGU sa Palawan. Nakatakdang italaga ang mga ito sa southern Palawan para sa pananatili ng seguridad dito.

Ayon kay Lieutenant General Raul L. del Rosario, napapanahon ang pagtatapos ng CL 01-2017 dahil na rin sa maraming proyekto ang pamahalaan sa lalawigan na dapat mabantayan. Kanyang pinaalalahanan ang mga nagsipagtapos na magserbisyo ng tapat at may integridad sa kanilang tungkulin.

Ayon naman kay Gob. Alvarez, titiyakin ng pamahalaang panlalawigan na tatanggap ng kaukulang benepisyo ang mga miyembro ng SCAA maging ang kanilang mga kaanak tulad ng libreng pagpapagamot at pagpapa-ospital kung kinakailangan.

3 NPA rebels yield in Ilocos Sur

From the Philippine information Agency (Jul 13): 3 NPA rebels yield in Ilocos Sur

Three members of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to the military at its headquarters here for the first week of July, the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division said Tuesday, July 11.

Lt. Col. Eugenio Julio Osias IV, head of the division’s 81st Infantry Battalion based in Ilocos Sur, identified them only by their aliases “Ka Winter,” “KaSomer,” and “Ka Paul” for security reasons pending the processing of their status.

The three NPA cadres are an additional to the list of 11 surrenderees of the said unit for the first semester of 2017, a proof of the relentless efforts of the military in securing the area from insurgency and threat.

In a statement, Ka Winter said that he surrendered to the military because “it has been hard in the mountains nowadays, especially this rainy season. We always run out of food and the military is everywhere.”

On the other hand, KaSomer said “When I heard the government program for NPA rebels, through the 81st Infantry Battalion, I immediately took the opportunity to surrender.”

While Ka Paul said that he heard the good treatment of the Army and how it helped the former rebels claim their Government's Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) benefits.

Maj. Gen. Angelito De Leon, commander of the 7th Infantry Division, commended the surrenderees for their decision to lay down their arms in exchange for a peaceful life with their families.

“I call on other NPA members to also take advantage and avail of CLIP so that they can start a new life outside the armed struggle,” De Leon said.

Further, Col. Henry Robinson Jr., commander of the 702nd Infantry Brigade, said “We have seen the successes of every individual who surrendered to achieve a peaceful and productive life with the help of the government. This will convince others who are still fence sitters or just observing what will happen that surrendering is indeed a viable option than being in the armed struggle considering that what they are supposed to be fighting has now became irrelevant and a non-issue anymore.”

Lt. Col Osias added, “We will never get tired of reaching out to our rebel brothers and sisters in the NPA rebel movement. We will assure them of our assistance and protection should they decide to surrender.”

AFP to public: Report suspicious checkpoints

From the Philippine information Agency (Jul 13): AFP to public: Report suspicious checkpoints

An official of the 10th Infantry Division called on the public during the Makigsayod sa Kinaiyahan, a Thursday edition of the Serbisyo Para sa Masa radio program over DXRD Sonshine Radio, to report suspicious checkpoints.

It can be recalled that on July 11, PO1 Alfredo Pasabeca was abducted in a checkpoint in Compostela town, Compostela Valley province manned by suspected members of the New People’s Army, who wearing fatigue uniforms disguising themselves as members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Capt Rhyan Batchar, spokesperson of the 10th ID, said that the public must not panic when they are being inspected in a checkpoint that is manned by the New People’s Army; however, they should report it to the authorities after they pass through the checkpoint.

Capt Batchar emphasized the government checkpoints have signages that are clear and are printed in a tarpaulin and manned by snappy uniformed personnel with radio facilities.

Batchar added that the checkpoints also have marked vehicle or are located near a detachment identified as patrol base of the military and the police.

BIFF men harass Army camp

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 13): BIFF men harass Army camp

Outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) attempted, but failed, to inflict injuries Wednesday afternoon on government forces securing the borders of North Cotabato and Maguindanao, police said Thursday.

Supt. Bernard Tayong, Midsayap town police chief, said the lawless elements set off a powerful improvised bomb near an Army detachment of the 34th Infantry Battalion in Sitio Tampat, Barangay Ulandang, Midsayap.

Citing intelligence information, Tayong said the BIFF members have been harassing government forces tasked to secure rice and corn farmers residing near the borders of Midsayap and Datu Piang in Maguindnao borders.

He said military vehicles regularly passed by the village of Ulandang en route to its base in Sitio Tampat.

The IED was set off about five minutes after a military convoy passed by the blast site.

The exploded ordnance was made of 60 mm mortar with mobile phone as trigger mechanism which police said was a signature explosives of the BIFF.

Following the incident, Tayong said, augmentation troops from the 34th IB and Midsayap PNP have been deployed in Barangay Ulandang where famers are harvesting crops.

In the past, according to residents, harassment from BIFF occur when farmers started harvesting rice and corn crops, demanding shares of the harvest and threatening villagers.

Tayong assured Midsayapenios the police and the Army will continue securing the boundary so the public can sleep well at night.