Sunday, December 24, 2017

SINALAKAY | BIFF, sinalakay ang Army-CAFGU detachment sa Cotabato

From Radio Mindanao Network (Dec 23): SINALAKAY | BIFF, sinalakay ang Army-CAFGU detachment sa Cotabato



Cotabato – Sinalakay ng Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters ang isang Army-CAFGU detachment kagabi sa probinsya ng Cotabato.

Ayon kay 602nd brigade chief B/Gen. Nolly Samarita – sinalakay ng tinatayang 30 mga miyembro ng BIFF ang detachment ng Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) sa ilalim ng bravo company ng 38th infantry battalion Philippine Army.

Agad naman itong natunugan ng mga sundalo at CAFGU na gumanti ng putok sa mga rebelde.

Tumagal ng dalawampung minuto ang palitan ng bala sa magkabilang panig dahilan kaya nagdulot ito ng labis na takot sa mga sibilyan.

Umatras din ang mga terorista nang matunugan ang paparating na karagdagang pwersa ng militar.

Walang nasugatan o nasawi sa mga sundalo at CAFGU habang hindi naman matiyak sa panig ng mga rebelled.

https://rmn.ph/sinalakay-biff-sinalakay-ang-army-cafgu-detachment-sa-cotabato/

DWDD: NORMAL LIVES | 700 Former NPAs meet PRRD, receive Assistance

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 24): NORMAL LIVES  |  700 Former NPAs meet PRRD, receive Assistance

 

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City (DWDD) – Around 700 former communist rebels and supporters from all over Eastern Mindanao who had chosen to lead normal lives were gathered at Camp Panacan, Davao City on December 21, 2017, and met President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the event entitled “Panaghiusa para sa Kalinaw” or United for Peace of Eastern Mindanao Command.

The former rebels were from the provinces of Agusan, Bukidnon, Surigao, Davao, Cotabato, and Sarangani who had surrendered their firearms to different units of the Command. After undergoing verification processes, they have become recipients of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of the government which offers NPA surrenderees various financial and livelihood assistance.



Among the specific benefits that each former communist rebel got from CLIP are P15,000 financial support, P50,000 for livelihood, and a remuneration for the surrendered firearm with an amount ranging from P12,000 to P210,000 depending on the type of firearms that they turned over.

The former rebels who attended the event were among those who surrendered from January to December 20 this year and most of them were former members of the New People’s Army (NPA). With their surrender comes the recovery of 265 high and low-powered firearms.



Various officials from different government agencies had also attended the event not only to witness but also to hold dialogues with the former communist rebels and offer government’s social services, health, infrastructure, livelihood, education, social justice and governance programs to help former communist rebels reintegrate to the society smoothly.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte later attended the event for the oath of allegiance of the former rebels to the government and also to deliver his message.



“It’s my obligation to give you protection just how I am defending my soldiers,” President Duterte told the returnees in vernacular.

Aside from the benefits given through the CLIP, the President has also offered 2,000 “ready for occupancy” housing units to the returnees. He also gave one cell phone to each returnee to directly contact him for any information. Further, they received three food packs each coming from City of Davao, Malaca├▒ang, and Department of Social Welfare and Development. AFP PAO/MCAG
http://dwdd.com.ph/2017/12/24/normal-lives-700-former-npas-meet-prrd-receive-assistance/

DWDD: DISASTER RESPONSE | EMC Community Support Teams conduct DRRM

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 24): DISASTER RESPONSE  |  EMC Community Support Teams conduct DRRM

 

NSFA, Panacan, Davao City (DWDD) – Military Community Support and Anti Terrorism teams were deployed to undertake disaster response operations in areas struck by Tropical Storm Vinta in Eastern Mindanao after its landfall on December 21, 2017 in Cateel, Davao Oriental.

The teams, who were previously deployed in the hinterlands of Davao City for community support and anti-terrorism operations, were shifted to the typhoon-stricken areas in Davao City which were flooded when the Davao River overflowed.

Troops from the 89th Infantry Battalion were deployed in Barangay Mandug and the surrounding areas, while teams from the 3rd Infantry Battalion were tasked to man the downtown area of Davao City alongside Task Force Davao elements.

The Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao also deployed its Disaster Response Unit to augment rescue operations in Jade Valley, Tigatto, Davao City.

Airmen from Tactical Operations XI were, likewise, deployed in Panabo and Tagum City to aid other rescuers in the area after Libuganon River swelled and caused flood in nearby communities. The Tagum-Carmen Highway was temporarily closed as a result of the flood.

Two military helicopters assisted the Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in the conduct of Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Assessment Survey in Davao Region in the early morning of December 23, 2017.

Community Support Teams in Davao Oriental were also deployed in Baganga, Cateel and Mati to assist Local Government Units in the conduct of preventive evacuation.

In Bukidnon, Army Engineers and troops from 403rd Infantry Brigade assisted the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council in the clearing of landslide-affected areas in the province.

Anti Terrorism Units and members of the Martial Law Special Action Group in Cagayan De Oro City also took some respite to assist in the conduct of search and rescue operations in flood affected areas.

Meanwhile, about 38 military trucks and 300 Community Support Team members were deployed to assist different LGUs in the implementation of forced evacuation and disaster response operations in the different provinces of CARAGA Region.

Prior to the landfall of Tropical Storm Vinta, Eastern Mindanao Command had prepared all available equipment and alerted units for possible deployment in areas to be affected by the storm.

Lt. General Benjamin Madrigal lauded the alertness and readiness of the different units to respond during calamity.

“We recognize your effort and your dedication. While we are securing areas from threat groups, we also have to readily shift to performing other task and cancel leaves and privileges just to answer the distress call brought about by TS Vinta and mitigate the misery and suffering of our people,” Madrigal added. EASTMINCOM/MCAG

http://dwdd.com.ph/2017/12/24/disaster-response-emc-community-support-teams-conduct-drrm/

DWDD: ENCOUNTER | 8ID Recovers 2 High Powered Firearms in a Clash with Terrorist NPAs

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 24): ENCOUNTER  |  8ID Recovers 2 High Powered Firearms in a Clash with Terrorist NPAs

CAMP GENERAL VICENTE LUKBAN, CATBALOGAN CITY (DWDD) – Elements from 78th Infantry “Warrior” Battalion encountered more or less 15 terrorist NPAs at Barangay Utanan, Hilongos, Leyte on December 22, 2017 at 3:10 in the afternoon.



In a report from Lt. Col. Danilo I. Dupiag, Commanding Officer of the 78th Infantry (Warrior) Battalion, his troops were conducting peace and security operations when they chanced upon the terrorist NPAs passing also in the area. A ten-minute firefight followed forcing the enemy to withdraw leaving behind several war materiels at the encounter site.

Among the items recovered were One M16 Rifle with Serial Number: RP189460, One M4 Rifle with Serial Number: 1010469, Three Unit Cellphones, subversive documents and personal belongings. There was no casualty on the government side while undetermined on the enemy.

Maj. Gen, Raul M. Farnacio, Commander, 8ID, expressed his appreciation to the operating troops of the 78IB for their dedication and commitment in safeguarding the communities against the terrorist NPAs. 8DPAO/MCAG

   http://dwdd.com.ph/2017/12/24/encounter-8id-recovers-2-high-powered-firearms-in-a-clash-with-terrorist-npas/    

MILF: “US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital an insult to Muslim Ummah”: BAAI

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Dec 22): “US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital an insult to Muslim Ummah”: BAAI



The Bangsamoro Action Against Injustices (BAAI) on Wednesday organized a group of Bangsamoro Leaders in a forum here in Cotabato City to discuss East Jerusalem, and its implications to Muslim world as US President Donald Trump declared the city as the new Israel’s capital.

In a manifesto issued at the culmination of the activity said that the “The malicious recognition of Jerusalem as the new capital of Israel by the United States President Donald Trump, is an insult not only to the Palestinian People but to the Muslim Ummah.”

“This recent act of transgression is in itself a declaration of the utter disrespect and disregard to human rights the American president has towards the Palestinian people and the major religions who hold Jerusalem sacred. This is a violation of international resolutions on the legitimacy and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people,” it added.

The Bangsamoro Action Against Injustices, a conglomeration of multi-sectoral organizations also declared their sympathy to the cause of the Palestinian People.

Dr. Ombra Imam read the manifesto of the BAII, he said: “This group is one with the Palestinian people in their struggle to reclaim their land and to their right to self- determination. As a people who have also lost their lands, who have lived under subjugation for more than three centuries and who are asserting their right towards self-determination, we the concerned Bangsamoro people denounce this move by President Trump in the strongest terms possible and call on him to reverse this move.”

The group had called all countries in the world to stop the terrorism of the Zionists, and their allies against the Palestinian people by any or all means possible.

(click and read the full manifesto of the Bangsamoro Actions Against Injustices here)

During the forum numerous youth holding placards held a picket along Sinsuat Avenue in front of the Las Hermanas where the forum is being held denouncing the decision of Pres. trump.

Among the contents of the placards are: “Save the Masjidil Aqsa from Israel illegal occupation.” “Stop Terrorizing the Palestinian people”, “We condemn Pres. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Capital of Israel.”

The Masjidil-Aqsa is located in East Jerusalem, this is the third holiest place in Islam after Masjidil-Haram in Makkah, and the Masjidin Nabawi in Madinah.

Meanwhile, Ustadz Habib Usman, spokesperson of the group said that the delegates were committed to continue their actions against any form of injustices.

“When the Bangsamoro masses heard about this activity, we receive an information from other peace groups that they are willing to join our cause,” Usman said. He disclosed that they will soon hold a mass mobilization based on the recommendation of the delegates that attended the event.

Recently, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in response to the global call to reject the decision of President Trump on the Jerusalem have declared that Jerusalem is part of the Palestine, while U.S. allies also joined in condemning the U.S. unilateral action.

http://www.luwaran.com/news/article/1130/___us_president_trump___s_recognition_of_jerusalem_as_israel___s_capital_an_insult_to_muslim_ummah_____baai_

MILF: Bangsamoro Leaders gather in protest against US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Dec 22): Bangsamoro Leaders gather in protest against US President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital



Cotabato City - Bangsamoro leaders on Wednesday gathered here in protest, and as a show of solidarity with the Palestinian people against US President Donald Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's new capital.

In a ‘’Bangsamoro Forum on Jerusalem Issue” organized by Bangsamoro Action Against Injustices (BAAI) in Cotabato City on December 20, 2017, about 188 Bangsamoro leaders representing various organizations attended the event.

BAAI is a conglomeration of multi-sectoral organizations most of them ulama/ learned Muslims sympathetic to the cause of the Palestinian People.

In an opening statement by Nomaire Bin Hussen, Chairman of BAAI, he said that “Muslim world has once again been provoked. According to him, the malicious recognition of East Jerusalem as the new capital of Israel by Pres. Donald Trump of the United States is an insult not only to the Palestinian people but to the Muslim “Ummah” (Nation), and the International community.

“It is a blatant disrespect, and disregard to the Palestinians traditional right over the city, and major religions that hold East Jerusalem sacred”, the BAAI Chairman said.

Ustadz Marhan Burhan, Head of a Cotabato-based Da’wah Council (Islamic Call) said, “This is a big issue for 1.8 billion Muslim Ummah around the world.

Masjidil-Aqsa, situated in East Jerusalem, is the third holiest place in Islam after Masjidil-Haram in Makkah, and the Prophet’s Masjid in Madinah. Masjidil Aqsa was the first Qiblah of the Muslims, and it was the destination of our beloved Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) during his isra (night journey) before his mi’raj (Ascension) towards heaven.” Ustadz Burhan said in his lecture.

Meanwhile, BAAI spokesman Usatdz Habib M. Usman, provided inputs on the Political and Theological Implications of Jerusalem Declaration. “It violates the UN Resolutions No. 181 of 1948 which is the so called “UN Partition plan of Palestine. It has also violated the 1993 peace agreement or the Oslo agreement; violates the verdict of International Court of Justice.

It prevents the Palestinians from achieving their rights to self determination. He also said that the declaration deprives refugees their rights to return to their homeland; increasing the historical injustices committed to the Palestinian people by Israel, and the U.S. that will encourage more violent extremism”. Ustadz Usman stressed.

Dr. Zul-Qarneyn Abas gave inputs on the Essentials of Sympathizing with the Palestinian people on the issue of statehood, and the issue of Jerusalem. In his lecture, he emphasized “the issue of Palestine in general, and East Jerusalem in particular, extends beyond religious symbolism towards justice, and self-determination.

“History witnessed the Zionist people occupying Palestine, grabbing Palestinian lands, subjugating, and oppressing their people including old folks, women and children”, Dr. Abas added.

“The United Nations has been proven inutile in stopping these atrocities, and Israel has acted with impunity, Dr. Abas also added. The Israeli government has constructed illegal settlements meant to dispossess the Palestinians of their lands, conducted warrantless arrests, incarceration, and torture of innocent civilians, economic blockade of the Palestinian territories, and many others”, Dr. Abas said.

“To say that Israel has committed human rights abuses is understatement for it has committed crimes against humanity. It has upgraded itself from being a rogue state to being a prime example of a living terrorist state”. Dr, Abas stressed.

“Boycott US and Israel products”

In an open forum, a very emotional lady participant made a strong recommendation to the group not to patronize products from US, and Israel as a response to US President decision. It was supported by another participant that even asked the BAAI to make a Fatwa that prohibits the Muslims to buy any products from these two countries.

Other recommendations such as reach out to other groups, and sectors including Christians to strengthen the indignation in protest of such declaration. Writing a formal letter or manifesto to be submitted to US, and Israel embassy in Manila was also suggested during the forum.

‘Manifesto’

At culmination of the forum, Dr. Ombra Imam read the Manifesto as expression of the group’s sympathy, and solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle to reclaim their land, and their rights to self-determination.

“As a people whose lands were illegally occupied, who lived under subjugation for more than three centuries, and who are asserting their rights to self-determination, we the concerned Bangsamoro leaders denounce this move by US President Trump in the strongest terms possible, and call on him to reverse his move.

We call on all countries in the world to stop the terrorism of the Zionists, and their allies against the Palestinian people by all means possible. We strongly support the initiatives and actions of the world leaders regarding this issue. Moreover, we call on the entire Muslim Ummah to unite, preserve and protect the Holy site, our beloved Baitul-Maqdis, which Zionists are so keen on destroying through whatever means possible. This is a duty incumbent upon us; a duty that needs to be upheld for a day may come when we may be made answerable before Allah, the Almighty.” Part of the group’s Manifesto said.

‘Youth Picket’

While the forum is ongoing, a group of Moro youth staged a picket along Sinsuat Avenue, Cotabato City to expressed their solidarity with the Palestinian people.

"Men and women, carrying placards, and banners condemned the US President move.

Protesters called for a resolution of the conflict, and vowed to continue legal actions for the cause of the Palestinian people..

On December 13, President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an of Turkey hosted an extraordinary summit in Istanbul for the 57-strong Organization for Islamic Cooperation, during which he called Trump's move "dangerous" and labelled Israel a "terrorist state".

Trump's announcement overturned decades of US policy, and a long-standing international consensus, that the fate of Jerusalem be decided as part of a peace deal between Israel and Palestinians.

Israeli and Palestinian claims to the city's eastern sector form the core of their conflict, and Trump's announcement was seen as siding with the Israelis.

In Jakarta, Anwar Abbas, a top scholar from the Indonesian Council of Ulama, read a petition calling on Indonesians to stop buying American products until Trump revoked his move.

"Don't rely on their products," he said, as the crowd - including men, women and children - responded by waving Indonesian, and Palestinian Flags and shouting "boycott!"

Previous anti-American protests have unsuccessfully lobbied for a boycott of US goods.

Jakarta police spokesman Argo Yuwono said the protesters marched peacefully about 3km from the National Monument Park to the US embassy.

Some local media reported that the demonstration was attended by a big number of participants. About 20,000 security forces were deployed to secure the rally.

In the petition, the leaders, and scholars urged Trump to immediately rescind his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital because it has hurt international justice, violated Palestinians' human rights, and undermined peace efforts.

It also demanded nations not follow the US in moving their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and urged the UN Security Council to hold an emergency session to discuss Trump's declaration.

As of posting, U.N. Security Council in a meeting voted on the issue of Jerusalem with 14 members rejecting Trump’s decision, while the U.S. voted against the resolution.

The chairman of the Muslim leaders' council, Ma'ruf Amin, said: "Let's fight together with the government, and the world for the freedom of Palestine through political, diplomatic and economic ways."

Indonesian President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has strongly condemned Trump's move as a violation of UN resolutions.

Indonesia does not have diplomatic ties with Israel, and has long been a strong supporter of Palestinian aspirations for statehood.



 http://www.luwaran.com/news/article/1129/bangsamoro_leaders_gather_in_protest_against_us_president_trump___s_recognition_of_jerusalem_as_israel___s_capital

MILF: MILF – IP’s Leaders hold dialogue in Cotabato City

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Dec 24): MILF – IP’s Leaders hold dialogue in Cotabato City



The 2nd MILF - IP Leaders Dialogue for Peace in the Bangsamoro was held at Em Manor Hotel on November 29 - 30, 2017.

The dialogue is a platform aimed at having a better understanding of issues besetting the Moro - IP relationship.

The said activity was conducted by the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) thru the Facility for Advisory Support for Transition Capacities (FASTRAC) that provides support for an inclusive peace process, and the establishment of the Bangsamoro entity in Southern Philippines.

The dialogue was attended by the Chair of MILF Peace Implementing Panel Mohagher Iqbal as resource person on the history of the Bangsamoro. He included the narratives of the Moro opposition to the inclusion of Moro Homeland to the Philippines, viz a viz : Petition of Sulu Moros in 1921; Zamboanga Declaration on February 1 , 1924 ; Dansalan ( Marawi) in 1935 ; The repressive government policies on Moro - IP's; ( e.g. creation of colonies, and settlements of migrants from Luzon, and the Visayas, Land laws, etc. ), and the " Minoritization " of the Moros.

Commissioner Timuay Melanio Ulama of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, a full blooded Te'duray reiterated his unconditional support to the peace process called for the unity of all IP's in the Bangsamoro core area.

Another Te'duray leader, Timuay Alim Bandara of Timuay Justice and Governance committed to support the Bangsamoro aspiration, and called for the recognition of IP governance within the context of Bangsamoro entity.

On the part of the civil society organization, Abdullah P. Salik Jr. , former Vice Mayor of Upi, Maguindanao, and now the President of the Federation of the Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations, Inc. (FBCSO), one of invited participants move for the creation, and institutionalization of the MORO - IP Coordination Committee as one of the component of peace process, and as a platform for a better understanding, and strengthening of their relationships as a fora on the issues confronting them for the establishment of the Bangsamoro government.

Timuay Gumbalia Gunsi, an Upi Te'duray leader, and a retired DILG official seconded the motion, and the participants agreed among themselves to submit their recommendations to the Chairman of MILF Peace Implementing Panel Mohagher Iqbal for the creation and designation of Moro - IP Leaders to compose the committee.



http://www.luwaran.com/news/article/1131/milf-----ip---s-leaders-hold-dialogue-in-cotabato-city-

MILF: “MILF Communities exist in Zamboanga Peninsula”: Zamboanga City PolComs

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Dec 24): “MILF Communities exist in Zamboanga Peninsula”: Zamboanga City PolComs



Zamboanga City: The Three (3) Districts of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Political Committees conducted joint meeting in Baliwasan, Zamboanga City on December 17 upon learning of the recent resolution of the Regional Peace and Order Council-Region IX (RPOC IX) declaring that there are no MILF, and MNLF communities in Region IX.
Present in the joint meeting the International Monitoring Team (IMT Mobile Team No, 3, the Three (3) Districts of MILF Political Committee, and other agencies of the MILF in the city.

IMT is tasked “to monitor the implementation of peace agreement between the government of the Philippines (GPH), and the MILF of 22 June 2001, and its Implementing Guidelines on the Security Aspect of 7 August 2001 and Implementing Guidelines on the Humanitarian, Rehabilitation and Development Aspects of 7 May 2002 (Tripoli Agreement), and Agreement on the Civilian Protection Component (CPC) of the IMT of 27 October 2009”.

The Zamboanga City PolCom Chairman along with the officers of the 3 Districts of MILF PolComs unanimously belied the RPOC-IX declaration, and urged the leadership of the MILF, and the MILF Peace Implementing Panel to let its counterpart in the government recognize the presence of the MILF communities in Zamboanga Peninsula.

The resolution was issued, and adopted by the RPOC IX on June 7, 2017.

Director Pedro G. Cuevas Jr., Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG IX), and Mayor Maria Isabelle G. Climaco of Zamboanga City are members of the RPOCIX secretariat who signed, and adopted the said resolution.

As MILF Officer told Luwaran that in the 2007 population census of Zamboanga City, out of ninety-eight (98) barangays in the city thirty-eight (38) of them are Muslim dominated villages.

The MILF Officer also told Luwaran that there as well MILF military camp, and 113 Based Commands of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) spread out all over the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Though he cannot speak on behalf of the MNLF but they are as well obviously present in the region, the MILF Officer added.

http://www.luwaran.com/news/article/1133/---milf-communities-exist-in-zamboanga-peninsula-----zamboanga-city-polcoms-

MILF: More reactions on RPOC-IX Resolution keep coming

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (Dec 24): More reactions on RPOC-IX Resolution keep coming



More reactions from Zamboanga City Moro Residents, and other sectors keep on coming after Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) in Region IX came up with Resolution No 06-2017 adopted last June 7, 2017, declaring the non- existence of two Moro fronts’ communities in Region IX.
It was only few weeks ago when such resolution came out that prompted some Peace Advocates, Moro Non-Government Organizations (NGO’s), and People’s Organizations (PO’s) to react, and declare that such resolution is politically prejudicial to the Peace-loving Moros in Regional IX.

The Mindanao Women Advocacy for Good Governance (MWAGG) conducted a series of peace dialogue in different Moro grass root communities tackling the issue which disgusted Moro residents, and some took initiative by displaying tarpaulin in Moro communities describing their Bangsamoro identity, and collective support for the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) drafted by the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (E-BTC).

The peace advocacy, and dialogues were facilitated by some officers from Moro NGOs such as the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) and (SIAPAHAN) and Mindanao Women Advocacy for Good Governance (MWAGG) with support of Moro Community Leaders.

A Muslim Student Association (MSA) leader said “We the Moros must show our collective stand, and solidarity by intensifying our peace advocacy, and letting the people know their rights, and be enlightened of the Bangsamoro Narratives.”

“Let us uphold our basic rights as stated in the Constitution that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and petition the Government for redress of grievances. Article III, Section 4. Bill of Rights (The 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines)”, he stressed

“I don’t know why some LGU’s in Region IX particularly Zamboanga City LGU having animosity towards the Moro Fronts, conditioning the minds of other Moros through various forms, and means. Is it because of the 2013 Zamboanga Siege or whatever?” Pah Ali, a fish vendor said.

A Moro community leader said that Region IX LGU’s should be thankful, and beholden to the Moros for the blessings they get from Bangsamoro rich resources such as energy resources from Lanao Lake, and aquatic resources where Zamboanga fishing, and canning industry have been harvesting, and benefitting from Sulu Sea, and Bangsamoro Waters.

He further said that “The Moros welcomed the arrival of settlers from Luzon, and Visayas in early 1901 & 1930’s with open arms, and compassion in their quest for better life in Moro homeland but now they not only occupied the large Moro fertile lands but are hostile to those who fed them before with the exception of other peace-loving settlers who understood the Bangsamoro Narratives, and the causes of Moro legitimate grievances.

“We the Moros are the source of Zamboanga City economic prosperity considering that Moros from island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi are the frequent visitors, traders, and top valued customers in malls, hotels and restaurants. “Without the Moros, Zamboanga City is a dead city”, a Moro trader said.

“On the issue of non-existence of Moro Fronts communities in Region IX, it drew provocations, and seemingly pushing the Moros to the wall. It is nothing than apparent revealing of their deep-seated hatred, insecurity and prejudice against the Moros No one can impose, and propose what Bangsamoro should be since we are struggling for legitimate cause, and correcting the historical injustices committed against us” Pah omar, a fish vendor said.

One Moro researcher said “Come and visit our city hall and read by your own eyes the remaining historical landmark inscribed in black-painted bronze plate that almost defaced for public to read. It is located at the entrance of Zamboanga City hall reminiscing the Moros existence in Region IX. hence, they can only deny, and conceal the facts partially but they could not conceal the truth forever. Let history speaks for itself for history may repeat itself in due time” if Allah wills!

“No one can stop our peace-building effort in both contiguous, and in core areas Bangsamoro since it is our common concerns, and divine obligation to struggle for cause. We are not violating any laws for we are cognizant of our rights, purpose, and limitations” another peace advocate said.

The peace undertakings have been conducted calling for Bangsamoro unity and the swift passage of CAB compliant BBL in line with Bangsamoro aspiration to reassert what is due to them.

The Bangsamoro struggle is a lifetime struggle unless the historical injustices are corrected, discriminations, and prejudice are stopped because the Bangsamoro people in this part of the country have accepted, and fed you before when you were in the state of landlessness, and poverty.

http://www.luwaran.com/news/article/1132/more-reactions-on-rpoc-ix-resolution-keep-coming

Sacked Navy chief won’t be reassigned

From the Manila Times (Dec 23): Sacked Navy chief won’t be reassigned

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday expressed doubts that Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado, the Philippine Navy flag officer in command who had been sacked, will be given another high military position.

Lorenzana cited the looming retirement of Mercado, who was removed over an P18-billion frigate deal.

“I doubt [that he will be given a new position]because his time [in his job]is too short already,” he said in a chance interview at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City.

“His [Mercado] status here at the Office of Chief of Staff is that he will stay here until March unless he will be reassigned,” Lorenzana added.

Mercado, a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Matikas” Class of 1983, is set to retire in March 2018.

He was replaced by one of his underclassman, Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad of the PMA “Sinagtala” Class of 1986, with whom he allegedly had a rift arising from the frigate deal.

Turnover of command from Mercado to Empedrad was held closed-door at Camp Aguinaldo, the general headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), on Tuesday.

The Defense chief accused Mercado of “insubordination” for insisting that another private company will provide the weapons system for the frigates set to be procured, which firm was not indicated in the contract with the Hyundai Heavy Industries from South Korea.

Lorenzana said the Department of National Defense had to comply with the contract with Hyundai, the company that won the bid for the frigate program of the Philippine Navy.

“We cannot deviate from what is in the contract because if we will [do so]… the proponent will go to court and what he [Mercado] did is that he delayed this project,” he added.

AFP chief Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero said Mercado is “actively” transferring his leadership of the Philippine Navy to Empedrad, who will serve in an acting capacity.

“You have to understand the circumstances behind his reassignment so we will take it as it is,” Guerrero said in an interview.

It was Guerrero who presided at the turnover of command.

http://www.manilatimes.net/sacked-navy-chief-wont-reassigned/370191/

NDF/NDF-FSMR: The imposition of martial law challenges the Mindanao peoples’ resistance

NDF-Far South Mindanao Region propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Dec 23): The imposition of martial law challenges the Mindanao peoples’ resistance  

Press statement
22 December 2017

The US-Duterte regime’s coercive re-extension of martial law in Mindanao is a dangerous machination. Duterte is inexcusably accountable for its atrocious and treacherous imposition. He has proven once more his subservience to his real bosses, the rapacious foreign monopoly capitalists.

Contrary to Duterte’s declaration that the martial law is necessary in fighting terrorism in Mindanao, the AFP and PNP are conspicuously intensifying their attacks against the civilians. With martial law, state terrorism is becoming even clearer in the extermination of social activists and bombardments of civilian communities to satisfy Duterte’s greed for power and facilitate imperialist encroachment.

The imposition of martial law challenges the Mindanao peoples’ resistance. More than ever, the people will pursue a much wider and more intense denunciation and struggle against the anti-people and pro-oligarchs fascist regime. The people’s revolutionary armed struggle becomes more necessary in defending democracy and national sovereignty. Moreover, the armed resistance of the Moro people and the Lumads is virtuously in position to defend their ancestral land and right to self-determination.

The revolutionary forces in Far South Mindanao are resolutely embracing their utmost task to lead and be one with the people in the struggle against all-out war of suppression and Duterte’s aim to establish a fascist dictatorship.

Ka Efren Aksasato
Spokesperson, NDF-FSMR

https://www.ndfp.org/the-imposition-of-martial-law-challenges-the-mindanao-peoples-resistance/

NDF/NDF-NEMR: Release of Two POW in Surigao del Norte Shows Goodwill for the Resumption of Peace Talks

NDF-Northeastern Mindanao Region propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Dec 23): Release of Two POW in Surigao del Norte Shows Goodwill for the Resumption of Peace Talks

Press statement
December 22, 2017



For the National Democratic Front of the Philippines-North Eastern Mindanao Region (NDFP-NEMR) and revolutionary forces in the region, the release of prisoners of war (POW) PO2 Jhon Paul M. Doverte and PO2 Alfredo L. Degamon of the Philippine National Police (PNP)-Placer last December 20, 2017 in Sitio Palalihan, Barangay Mahanob, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte, is a show of goodwill for the resumption of peace talks.

The two POWs were under the care of the New People’s Army (NPA)-Front 16 Custodial Force for 36 days. The two policemen were captured by the NPA-Front 16 in the course of its successful raid of the PNP outpost in Bad-as, Placer, Surigao del Norte last November 13, 2017. It was reported that the two policemen were involved in protecting illegal drugs and extortion of small scale miners in Placer.

The NPA is a revolutionary army and are not terrorists. Red fighters fully abide by the Basic Rules of the New People’s Army which ensures its firm discipline. The Eight Points the NPA Must Follow guarantees the respect of the rights and security of the prisoners.

The Eight Points the NPA Must Follow are the following: 1) Be respectful when speaking; 2) Pay all bought correctly; 3) Return all borrowed things; 4) Pay for the damages made; 5) Do not hurt or curse anyone; 6) Do not destroy people’s crops; 7) Do not exploit women; and 8) Do not harm prisoners.

It is a principle of the NPA to humanely and appropriately treat prisoners of war and enemies who can no longer fight back. Enemies wounded in battle are cared for and given treatment.

Under the care of the NPA-Front 16 Custodial Force, the policies of the NPA were strictly followed, and the provisions under the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and international protocols of war relating to the rights of PO2 Doverte and PO2 Degamon as prisoners of war, were upheld. The Red fighters made sure that the lives of the POWs were safe and their health and food guaranteed.

The POWs were scheduled to be released last December 5, 2017 to show goodwill for the peace negotiations, in response to the appeals of the family of the two policemen and the peace efforts of the people in the region and the country. But because the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) were not interested in peace talks and are bent on implementing Duterte’s all-out war against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), it always goes for a militarist solution for social problems. The 402nd Brigade Philippine Army and PNP-Caraga continued its military operations in the municipalities of Surigao del Norte where the POWs were to be released resulting to the cancellation of the release on that day.

Through the sincere efforts of the third party facilitator, officials of the local government unit (LGU), church people, concerned individuals and with the help of the people, the release of the POW finally pushed through. Despite the statement of the AFP/PNP that they will not halt their military operations, close to 500 people attended the event for the release. It may not be as large a crowd compared with the POW releases in the past, but the people risked their safety to push for the resumption of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The people are strongly calling for a sincere dialogue and solving the root causes of armed struggle to achieve just and lasting peace. The revolutionary movement is also pushing for this.

Thus, we must continue with the struggle to advance and defend the rights and just demands such as genuine land reform, wage increase and security of tenure, free education, housing, and other rights because these are the basis for achieving genuine peace, not surrendering and bowing to the fascist criminal US-Duterte regime. We call on the people in the region to resist the fascist oppression of the US-Duterte regime.

Ka Maria Malaya
Spokesperson
NDFP-NEMR

https://www.ndfp.org/release-two-pow-surigao-del-norte-shows-goodwill-resumption-peace-talks/

CPP/NPA: Unilateral declaration of ceasefire during the Christmas holidays and CPP anniversary

NPA propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Dec 22):
Unilateral declaration of ceasefire during the Christmas holidays and CPP anniversary

Ka Oris, Spokesperson
New People’s Army

22 December 2017

Under the direction of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the National Operational Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) hereby unilaterally declares to all commands and units of the NPA and the people’s militia a ceasefire in observance of the Filipino people’s traditional holidays and the Party’s 49th anniversary.

This unilateral declaration of ceasefire shall be in effect from 6:00 p.m. of December 23 to 6:00 p.m. of December 26; and 6:00 p.m. of December 30 to 6:00 p.m. of January 2, 2018.

During this period, all NPA units and people’s militias shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive military campaigns and operations against the uniformed armed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and its paramilitaries, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

Personnel of the AFP and PNP who have no serious liabilities other than their membership in their armed units shall not be subjected to arrest or punitive actions. They may be allowed individually to enter the territory of the people’s democratic government to make personal visits to relatives and friends.

All units of the NPA and the people’s militias shall remain on active defensive mode in order to defend the people and revolutionary forces. The NPA will also continue to enforce policies and laws of the people’s democratic government, perform necessary and appropriate functions of governance, and mobilize the people and resources in territories under its authority.

All NPA units shall maintain a high degree of alertness and preparation against any hostile actions or movements by enemy armed forces, similar to what transpired during the 6-month unilateral ceasefires last year wherein the AFP occupied and forward deployed troops in at least 500 barrios nationwide, committing numerous human rights violations against civilians and their communities. Since July last year, the NPA and revolutionary organizations have received reports of political killings of at least 129 activists (mostly peasants in areas with land disputes), illegal arrests of more than a thousand activists and their supporters and cases of mass evacuations due to militarization, intense bombings and shellings.

Despite the GRP’s own unilateral ceasefire declaration, the CPP and NPA is only too aware of the AFP’s treachery, attacks and deception. As such, all leading organs and branches of the CPP, commands and units of the NPA and people’s militias and revolutionary mass organizations shall closely monitor any hostile actions, provocations or movements being carried out by the enemy armed forces.

CPP/Central Committee: Declaration of ceasefire

CPP-Central Committee statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Dec 22): Declaration of ceasefire

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) hereby issues a ceasefire order to the New People’s Army (NPA) which will take effect on:

06:00 p.m. of December 23, 2017 to
06:00 p.m. of December 26, 2017
and
06:00 p.m. of December 30, 2017 to
06:00 p.m. of January 2, 2018

During the indicated periods, all commands and units of the NPA and the people’s militia shall cease and desist from carrying out offensive operations against the armed units and personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police and paramilitary forces attached to the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

 This ceasefire order is being issued in solidarity with the Filipino people’s celebration of traditional holidays.

While the unilateral ceasefire is in effect, all commands and units of the NPA and the people’s militia shall be in full alert and should be ready to repel offensive combat operations, PDT/COPD operations, surveillance and other hostile acts by the GRP’s regular and paramilitary armed forces.

Active self-defense shall be undertaken in the face of clear and imminent danger.

This ceasefire order does not cover the GRP’s death squads.

https://www.philippinerevolution.info/statements/20171222-declaration-of-ceasefire

BIFF suffers heavy losses in military airstrikes, ground assaults

From Update Philippines (Dec 24): BIFF suffers heavy losses in military airstrikes, ground assaults

 

Military airstrikes and ground assaults conducted by the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade the past two days left 11 ISIS-inspired armed men killed in a remote village in Carmen, North Cotabato, the Army said Saturday.

Eight of those were killed when the Philippine Air Force launched the offensive in the village of Tonganon in Carmen, North Cotabato where Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) along with foreign terrorists were holed up.

Three others died when elements of the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion clashed with forces of Esmael Abdulamlik alias Abu Toraife, according to Army Capt. Arvin John Encinas, 6th Infantry Division (6ID) spokesperson.

Encinas said the Army also captured what appeared to be a training camp of the BIFF, a band of Moro rebels turned bandits that pledged alliance with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Maute terrorist and Abu Sayyaf Group.

Major Gen. Arnel dela Vega, 6th ID chief, said the air strikes on Thursday were launched after the BIFF were sighted in the village of Tonganon as preemptive measure to prevent the terrorist from attacking civilian communities.

Military ground assaults were conducted Friday amid heavy downpour brought by Tropical Storm Vinta that hit parts of Mindanao, including North Cotabato province.

According to Encinas, the slain terrorists were immediately buried by their companions while others were taken by relatives for burial.

Four soldiers were injured while a militiaman, identified as CAFGU Proseso Lacuesta, was killed during the ground encounter in Tonganon.

Airstrikes were suspended Friday due to inclement weather while ground operations continue, Encinas said.

https://www.update.ph/2017/12/biff-suffers-heavy-losses-in-military-airstrikes-ground-assaults/23563

Funding for 16 new combat utility helicopters released

From Update Philippines (Dec 24): Funding for 16 new combat utility helicopters released



The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has released the Special Allotment Release Order (SARO) for the acquisition of 16 brand new combat utility helicopters (CUHs) for Philippine Air Force (PAF).

SARO-BMB-D-17-0025076 approved December 20, 2017 for the said acquisition has an amount of PHP12,073,122,578.00.

“Release of funds to cover the acquisition of 16 units of Combat Utility Helicopters (CUHs) under the Revised AFP Modernization Program (RAFPMP),” the DBM said in SARO’s purpose.

“The helicopter to be acquired are additional Bell 412 helicopters although the exact variant (EP or EPI) is still to be determined,” MaxDefense Philippines said in its social networking page.

MaxDefense said the mode of procurement will be government-to-government transaction between Philippines and Canada through the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC).

MaxDefense also said that according to its sources “Bell and CCC could deliver the first batch probably before the end of 2018, if a contract can be signed and Notice to Proceed provided by January-February 2018.”

The most recent acquisition of Bell 412EP helicopters for PAF from Bell Helicopter Textron Canada was in 2014. Mode of procurement was also via government-to-government negotiation through CCC. Eight helicopters were delivered and accepted mid-2015.

https://www.update.ph/2017/12/funding-for-16-new-combat-utility-helicopters-released/23560

Suspected NPA rebel killed in Masbate encounter

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 24): Suspected NPA rebel killed in Masbate encounter

Army troopers killed a suspected New People's Army rebel in a clash on Saturday in Barangay Ubongan Diot in Baleno, Masbate, report reaching the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol said.

The report said Army soldiers were on combat patrol at around 7:15 a.m. Saturday when they encountered a group of NPA rebels that led to a firefight, said Senior Inspector Maria Luisa Calubaquib, PNP Bicol spokesperson.

The brief gunbattle led to the death of a still unidentified NPA rebel.

NPA rebels fled immediately leaving their slain companion while Army soldiers recovered from the battle scene two M-16 rifles, and an M14 rifle.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1019764

700 NPA-UGMO surrenderees celebrate Christmas day with their families

From the Manila Bulletin (Dec 24): 700 NPA-UGMO surrenderees celebrate Christmas day with their families

CAMP BANCASI, Butuan City – The 700 members of Underground Mass Organization (UGMO), a mass-based group of the New People’s Army (NPA), along with some NPA regular fighters and Sangay sa Partido and Milisyang Bayan who also recently gave themselves up to field Army troops, have joined their respective families during the Christmas celebration.



This file photo taken on July 30, 2017 shows guerrillas of the New People’s Army (NPA) in formation in the Sierra Madre mountain range. (AFP Photo/Noel Celis/MANILA BULLETIN)

This big number of UGMO members and some regular member of NPA front guerilla committees recently voluntarily surrendered to the different units of the Army’s Northeastern and Northern Mindanao 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division (4th ID) and Southern Mindanao 10th Infantry (Agila) Division (10thID).

Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, chief of the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) presented this big number of surrenderees as the accomplishment of the different units in year 2017 at the covered court of Naval Station at Camp Felix Apolinario in Panacan, Davao City on Thursday.

The AFP EastMinCom chief also presented the 160 surrendered firearms and 251 recovered firearms.

“The President would like to inform the surrenderees of the government programs that aim to help them and their families to have a chance to be integrated in the mainstream society and live a normal productive life. Amidst the conflict, the President is willing to provide immediate assistance to those who wanted to go back to the government,” said AFP-EastMinCom chief Lt. Gen. Benjamin R. Madrigal, in a statement sent to The Manila Bulletin Sunday.

He said this big number of surrenderees have already joined with their respective families in the celebration of Christmas Day and New Years Day.

“They already joined their loved ones during the celebration of Christmas,” he said.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Ronald C. Villanueva, commanding general of the Army’s Northeastern and Northern Mindanao 4th Infantry (Diamond) Division today encouraged the remaining NPAs, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to come down now and avail of the government’s peace, livelihood and development program.

https://news.mb.com.ph/2017/12/24/700-npa-ugmo-surrenderees-celebrate-christmas-day-with-their-families/

NPA rebel killed in Masbate clash hours before Christmas truce

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 23): NPA rebel killed in Masbate clash hours before Christmas truce

A suspected member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed in an encounter with Army soldiers Saturday morning in Baleno town in Masbate province, just two days before Christmas and hours before the beginning of the separate holiday ceasefires announced by both the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Capt. Joash Pramis, chief of the 9th Infantry Division Public Affairs Office (9DPAO), said the soldiers surprised some 20 NPA rebels encamped not far from the center of Barangay (village) Ubungan Diot.

Pramis said the government troops were conducting combat patrol after the Army received the information about the presence of an armed group in the area.

Senior Inspector Maria Luisa Calubaquib, Bicol police spokesperson, said in a separate information that the firefight that happened around 7:15 a.m. led to the death of the still unidentified rebel.

Pramis said most of the NPA rebels were able to flee leaving behind their dead comrade, assorted personal belongings, two M16 rifles and one M14 rifle.

Despite the holiday truce between state forces and the rebels which starts at 6 p.m. Saturday, Pramis said the Army expects more movement from NPA rebels as the anniversary of the CPP on December 26 draws near.

He said three encounters between NPA rebels and government forces took place in Baleno during the first two weeks of December.

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/954683/npa-rebel-killed-in-masbate-clash-hours-before-christmas-truce

What happened in 2017? The South remembers

From the Philippine Star (Dec 23): What happened in 2017? The South remembers



Civilians were rescued and escorted out by government forces to safety as fighting subsided. AFP/File photo

Southerners will remember 2017 as the year violent religious extremists espousing an extreme kind of Islam that moderate Muslims detest came to fore.
 
There are at least five groups now of violent religious extremists in southern Philippines, all using the Islamic State flag as revolutionary banner.

While violent religious extremists in the Maute terror group first surfaced in late 2014 in Butig town in the second district of Lanao del Sur, the group hit the news globally with its siege of Marawi City on May 23, 2017.

The religious adventurism of the Maute terror group in Marawi City also went viral on social media.

The conflict in Marawi City, which lasted for five months, prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to put Mindanao under martial law.

It also resulted in drawn-out hostilities that caused the displacement of more than 300,000 Maranaos, resulted in the deaths of more than a thousand, including more than a hundred soldiers and policemen, and left a historic city in ruins.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Western Mindanao Command and Mayor Dimnatang Pansar of Butig town in Lanao del Sur both confirmed recently that brothers Omar and Abdullah Maute and their five siblings all perished in encounters with state forces from between May 23 to October 23.

Butig, a hinterland town in the first district of Lanao del Sur, is hometown of the Maute clan.

The patriarch of the Maute clan, Cayamora, died in detention two months after he was arrested in Davao City in June.

Cayamora’s wife, Farhana, nabbed in Masiu town in Lanao del Sur, is now being prosecuted for rebellion and other criminal charges.

The government has weakened the Maute group, but some members, among them an ethnic Maranao named Abu Dar, is trying to consolidate militants driven out of Marawi.

Abu Dar and his followers are now roaming in hinterlands in Lanao del Sur’s forested Unayan Area.
 
It was in July 2017 when a third faction in the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, led by radical cleric Esmael Abdulmalik, most known as Abu Toraife, declared war on non-Muslims in Mindanao.

He also announced then their rejection of the ongoing peace overture between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

More than 30 followers of Abdulmalik were killed in clashes with MILF forces in the adjoining Salibo, Datu Piang and Saidona towns in Maguindanao from late July to August 2017.

The MILF’s campaign against Abdulmalik and his men was launched in keeping with its commitment to help the government address security issues in conflict flashpoint areas based on its 1997 interim ceasefire pact with Malaca├▒ang.

The Army’s 6th Infantry Division, which has jurisdiction over Maguindanao and North Cotabato, where the BIFF-Abdulmalik faction operates, has been enforcing tight security measures in both provinces to restrain movements of militants.

Moderate Muslims have rabidly been vocal against VREs claiming allegiance to the Islamic State.

Abu Huraira Udasan, grand mufti (preacher) of the Bangsamoro Darul Iftah, also known as House of Opinions, said it is sinful in Islam to foment animosity between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Udasan said Islam espouses the “la iqra fidin” principle, which literally means there is no compulsion in religion.

Neutral Muslims also rant about the enforcement by violent religious extremists of a ruthless Taliban-style justice system which is for them absolutely primitive and barbaric.
 

Military intensifies offensives vs. BIFF in Cotabato town

From MindaNews (Dec 23): Military intensifies offensives vs. BIFF in Cotabato town

Since the unilateral ceasefire Malacanang recently declared only covers communist guerillas, the Army in North Cotabato has intensified its offensives against a faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) which had earlier pledged allegiance to the ISIS.

The 602nd Brigade sent at least two battalions in areas in Carmen, North Cotabato to run after the BIFF led by Abu Torayfe, according to Captain Arvin Encinas, spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division.

Encinas said the BIFF sought refuge in their temporary camps or bases in the mountains of Carmen and in nearby Bukidnon province.

“We have studied the terrain and we already have the grid coordinates so we make sure we hit our targets,” he explained, stressing there are no more civilians in areas where BIFF members are sighted.

On Thursday, Encinas told media here that at least 11 BFF fighters were killed when they stepped up their hunt against Torayfe and his group at Barangay Tonganon, Carmen, since Monday.

Eight of them were hit during the air strikes and the rest died after Army ground troops engaged them in a running gun battle in Barangay Tonganon.

Encinas admitted, however, that they could not show proof of the supposed deaths since Muslims, when they die, are buried immediately.

On the government side, he said a member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) identified as Proceso Lacuesta was killed while four soldiers sustained slight injuries during the firefight.

Meanwhile, the 140 families that evacuated their villages when armed fighting erupted, sought temporary shelter in nearby barangays.

On Tuesday, the evacuees received relief assistance from the local government, Encinas said.

Torayfe, as described by Encinas, is a Maguindanaon Moro who arrived in North Cotabato on board a pump boat from the Ligawasan marsh and has been staying in Carmen town since early 2017. 

http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2017/12/military-intensifies-offensives-vs-biff-in-cotabato-town/

7 Filipinos among 20 terrorists nabbed in KL

From The Standard (Dec 24): 7 Filipinos among 20 terrorists nabbed in KL

A SELF-C0NFESSED kin of dead terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon from the Abu Sayyaf Group in Mindanao has been arrested for allegedly recruiting his countrymen working in Malaysia to fight in the southern Philippines.

According to the News Straits Times, the arrested suspect’s confessed recruitment work had raised worries among security officials that the terror group might attempt to recapture Marawi City, which has since been recaptured by government troops after terrorists launched a siege there in May this year.

The Straits Times said the unnamed 50-year-old Filipino man was picked up on Dec. 6 in Kuala Lumpur in a special operation conducted by Malaysia’s Counter Terrorism Unit.

He was among 20 people—seven Malaysians, seven Filipinos, five Indonesians and a north African—arrested in Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Johor and Selangor, between Nov. 30 and Dec. 15 for their alleged involvements in terrorist activities.

There was no immediately available comment from Philippine security officials nor from the defense establishment.

The latest security swoop meant that 105 suspected militants have been nabbed in Malaysia this year. The authorities arrested 119 suspected militants last year, both Malaysians and foreigners, with many of them enticed by the ideology of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

More than 400 suspected militants have been detained since 2013, with many of the locals behind bars and the foreigners deported.

Malaysia’s police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun, referring to the Filipino detainee, said in a statement on Friday: “The suspect has family ties with a high-ranking ASG leader.

“He was believed to be recruiting his fellow countrymen in Kepong [Selangor] to join the terror group in southern Philippines.”

A intelligence source told The Straits Times the suspect—whose exact affinity to Hapilon was not established in the Straits Times report—told investigators he had been recruiting Filipinos living in Malaysia since 2016.

“He admitted that he is related to Isnilon Hapilon and said that the dead relative was one of the commanders during the fight in Marawi,” the Straits Times source was quoted as saying.

Government troops lifted the siege of Marawi on Mindanao island in October, five months after some 1,000 terrorists stormed the city in what is one of the biggest security crises in the Philippines.

More than 1,000 militants, government troops and civilians were killed in the conflict.

http://thestandard.com.ph/news/top-stories/254750/7-filipinos-among-20-terrorists-nabbed-in-kl.html