Sunday, December 23, 2018

CPP/Ang Bayan: Libong pagdiriwang para sa ika-50 anibersaryo ng ating Partido

Propaganda article from the Tagalog language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Dec 21): Libong pagdiriwang para sa ika-50 anibersaryo ng ating Partido

Ngayong Disyembre, gugunitain at ipagdiriwang ng buong Partido at ng sambayanang Pilipino ang ika-50 taong anibersaryo ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas. Isanlibo’t isang rali, pagtitipon at mga pulong ang ilulunsad ng lahat ng kadre ng Partido, mga Pulang mandirigma, mga rebolusyonaryo at aktibista sa mga pabrika, paaralan at sa mga base at larangang gerilya ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan.

Gaano man kalaki o katindi ang mga opensibang militar, hindi mapipigilan ng rehimeng Duterte at Armed Forces of the Philippines ang pagdiriwang ng sambayanang Pilipino. Katunayan, sa ilang lugar, nakapaglunsad na ng maagang pagdiriwang na hindi man lamang napansin ng pasistang kaaway. Sa iba’t ibang lugar, abala ang mga kasama sa paghahanda ng pagkain at pag-eensayo ng pinakamahuhusay na manganganta, mananayaw at iba pang artista na haharap sa ilulunsad na mga pagtatanghal.

Desperado ang AFP na pigilan ang anumang pagdiriwang ng rebolusyonaryong mamamayan. Dahil dito ay lalupa nitong pinatitindi ang kanilang mga operasyong militar. Lalong walang tigil ang panghahalihaw ng mga sundalo sa mga komunidad at kagubatang pinaghihinalaan nilang pagdadausan ng mga pagtitipon. Nagdudulot ng labis na ligalig sa mga residente ang pagpapaulan ng mga bala at bomba mula sa mga kanyon at helikopter sa mga lugar na ito.

Sa ngalan ng “paghadlang sa mga pag-atake ng BHB,” nagtambak ang estado ng mga pulis at sundalo sa mga liblib na baryo para bantayan ang mga ito. Ang lahat ng ito ay sa kabila ng unilateral na pagdeklara ng PKP at BHB ng pansamantalang tigil-putukan para bigyan-daan ang mga selebrasyon, kapwa ang tradisyunal at rebolusyonaryo. Nakahanda ang PKP at BHB na bawiin ang deklarasyon kung labis na maging disbentahe ito sa harap ng walang-habas na mga opensiba ng kaaway.

Magdeklara man ang rehimeng US-Duterte ng pansamantalang tigil-putukan o hindi sa kapaskuhan, tiyak ang pag-arangkada ng mga operasyong militar at kampanya ng panunupil nito pagpasok ng bagong taon. Napalawig na ni Rodrigo Duterte sa sunud-sunurang Kongreso at Senado ang batas militar sa Mindanao. Napasaklaw na niya ito sa iba pang bahagi ng bansa sa pamamagitan ng Memo Order 32. Pormal na rin niyang itinayo ang National Task Force para tapusin diumano ang armadong tunggalian sa pamamagitan ng “whole-of-nation” approach. Kasabay ng tuluy-tuloy na militarisasyon sa burukrasyang sibil at pagpapadeklara sa PKP at BHB bilang mga “teroristang” organisasyon, pinaiiral na ni Duterte ang batas militar sa buong bansa.

Sa paglulunsad ng malakihang mga operasyong militar, winawaldas ni Duterte ang pera ng bayan sa pagbili niya ng dagdag na mga bala, baril, kanyon, mortar, rocket, helikopter at drone. Ang mga ito ay salot sa mamamayang inaatake ng kanyang mga tropa.

Sinusuhulan niya ang mga ordinaryong sundalo ng pinalaking sweldo, at kamakailan, ayudang pinansyal sa mga elemento ng CAFGU, habang binubundat ang malalaking pinapaburang upisyal ng napakalaking pondo para kurakutin at dambungin. Ang totoong pakay ni Duterte ay bilhin ang suporta sa kanyang pasistang rehimen. Nais niyang gamitin ang AFP para pakialaman at manipulahin ang resulta ng eleksyong 2019, kung matutuloy nga, para iupo ang mga kandidatong pabor sa kanyang tiraniya at sa paghaharing militar ng AFP.

Sa kabila nito, palalim nang palalim ang disgusto ng mga ordinaryong sundalo ng AFP sa bulok at kriminal na rehimeng Duterte. Lubha silang pinapagod sa walang tigil na mga operasyong militar at pagbabala sa kanila sa kanyon ni Duterte. Samantala, lalong namumuhi ang mamamayan sa ginagawang malawakan at sapilitang rekrutment ng AFP sa CAFGU.

Kasabay ng pagdiriwang, dapat maghanda ang mamamayan sa mas matindi pang mga atake sa kanilang buhay at mga karapatan. Dapat paigtingin ng mamamayan ang paglaban sa umiiral nang batas militar sa buong bansa.

Dapat gawin ang lahat ng pagsisikap para pagkaisahin ang lahat ng mga pwersa at malawak na masa para biguin ang tiranikong paghahari at batas militar ni Duterte sa layuning patalsikin ang kanyang rehimen. Kabigin ang lahat ng organisasyon at personalidad para ibunyag at batikusin ang mga krimen at malalang korapsyon ni Duterte at kanyang pangkatin. Kasabay nito, dapat palakasin ang kilusang lihim para biguin ang brutal na mga atake ng rehimen.

Dapat maglunsad ang BHB ng paparaming taktikal na opensiba laban sa pinakapusakal na mga yunit ng AFP at PNP na nasa likod ng pinakamalalalang paglabag sa karapatang-tao at abusong militar. Sangkot din ang mga ito sa mga kriminal na aktibidad na tumatarget sa ordinaryong mamamayan, at protektor ng mapaminsalang mga operasyon sa mina, komersyal na plantasyon at iba pang mapandambong na korporasyon. Ang mga ito ang pinakapumipinsala sa kabuhayan ng mamamayan.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

https://www.philippinerevolution.info/2018/12/21/libong-pagdiriwang-para-sa-ika-50-anibersaryo-ng-ating-partido/

CPP/Ang Bayan: CPI-Maoist nagdaos ng ikalimang Plenum

Ang Bayan propaganda editorial posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Dec 21): CPI-Maoist nagdaos ng ikalimang Plenum  

IDINAOS NG PARTIDO Komunista ng India (CPI-Maoist) ang ikalimang Plenum nito noong Nobyembre 2018 at naghalal ng bagong mga kasapi. Naghapag ng pagbibitiw bilang Pangkalahatang Kalihim ng Partido si Kasamang Ganapathy para bigyan-daan ang mga nakababatang kasapi ng Komite Sentral. Ang kanyang lumalalang kalagayan ng kalusugan at pagtanda ang mga batayan ng kanyang pagbibitiw.

Kinilala ng bagong Komite Sentral (KS) si Kasamang Ganapathy sa kanyang ambag bilang Pangkalahatang Kalihim ng CPI-Maoist simula pa 1992. Katuwang ang Komite Sentral, pinamunuan niya ang Partido sa harap ng mga pagsasanib ng mga partido at mga internal na kaguluhan. Kasalukuyang naglulunsad ang CPI-Maoist ng isang matagalang digmang bayan laban sa reaksyunaryong sistema ng India. Ayon sa Partido, susing ambag niya ang pagpapalakas ng kolektibong pamumuno ng Komite Sentral.

Inihalal ng Plenum si Kasamang Basavaraju para tumindig bilang Pangkalatahang Kalihim ng Partido. Kasapi siya ng KS sa loob ng 27 taon at ng Pampulitikang Kawanihan ng 18 taon. Sa kalakhan, tinanganan niya ang pamumuno sa Central Military Commission, na nakapag-ambag sa pagsulong ng digmang bayan sa India.

Kinilala ng Partido na ang mga pagbabagong ito ay tanda ng pagsulong at pag-unlad. Makapagpapatibay din ito ng pamumuno ng Partido sa pangkalahatang kasapian nito, dagdag pa nila. Sa harap ng SAMADHAN, ang kontra-rebolusyonaryong opensiba ng estado, higit silang determinado na humakbang pasulong.

https://www.philippinerevolution.info/2018/12/21/cpi-maoist-nagdaos-ng-ikalimang-plenum/

CPP/NPA-EV: NPA commends Catarman tactical offensive and apologizes for civilian casualties

NPA-Eastern Visayas propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Dec 22): NPA commends Catarman tactical offensive and apologizes for civilian casualties

Karlos Manuel
Spokesperson
NPA-Eastern Visayas (Efren Martires Command)
New People's Army
December 22, 2018

The Efren Martires Command (EMC) of the New People’s Army in Eastern Visayas commends the Rodante Urtal Command in Northern Samar for their successful tactical offensive in Catarman last December 19. This tactical offensive is in response to the call of the Party to intensify offensives and defend the people against the US-Duterte regime’s all-out war and intensifying militarization in the region and other parts of the country.

The tactical offensive also does not conflict with the Party’s unilateral ceasefire declaration that will be enforced from December 24 until 26, and from December 31 to January 1 – which the AFP twists as they claim NPA violation of the still-to-come ceasefire.

The EMC apologizes over alleged civilian casualties in the Catarman offensive. The incident will be investigated and clarified in due time for appropriate action.

For the record, the NPA only uses command-detonated explosives and not contact-detonated anti-personnel land mines as slyly alleged by the military in the Catarman offensive. The NPA is thus in accordance with the laws of war, specifically the Ottawa Convention that bans the use of contact-detonated anti-personnel mines but not command-detonated explosives. Furthermore, the NPA strictly hews to revolutionary discipline and principles as well as the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). On the other hand, the AFP pays lip service to the CARHRIHL and spew lies whenever it finds it convenient to bring up the CARHRIHL to disparage the NPA and cover up its widespread violations.

The AFP’s top dogs churn out the lie that their decision to not declare a holiday ceasefire and to continue military operations are to “ensure the safety of residents” but in truth, they are the ones causing terror in the barrios, keeping families from peacefully celebrating the holidays, and regarding the military and police forces as no better than cannon fodder in all-out war and giving them no respite.

https://www.philippinerevolution.info/statement/npa-commends-catarman-tactical-offensive-and-apologizes-for-civilian-casualties/

Galvez appointment as Duterte adviser signals new peace mindset

From Rappler (Dec 23): Galvez appointment as Duterte adviser signals new peace mindset

The appointment of Carlito Galvez Jr also completes the retired generals' takeover of key posts handling peace, security, and delivery of government services

BANGSAMORO ADVOCATE. Carlito Galvez Jr (left) is a known advocate of the Bangsamoro peace process. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler

BANGSAMORO ADVOCATE. Carlito Galvez Jr (left) is a known advocate of the Bangsamoro peace process. Photo by Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler


COTABATO, Philippines – A retired general took on the role of top presidential adviser on peace, signaling President Rodrigo Duterte's new mindset on how to deal with the country's rebel groups.

Newly retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff Carlito Galvez Jr formally took the helm at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) on Friday, December 21, at a most crucial time for the government's peace initiatives.



He completed the retired generals' takeover of key posts handling peace, security, and delivery of government services to the people – functions that the military says are intertwined. (READ: In 2018, Duterte turns to military for (almost) everything)

Military mind
Galvez moved from the AFP to the civilian OPAPP, but his mission didn't change or end the decades-long conflicts plaguing the country.

"The President's marching order to me is to reorganize OPAPP so it can be refocused on the intent of really putting an end to the different conflicts in Mindanao," Galvez said in an interview in Cotabato City on December 19.

"The OPAPP will work together with the National Security Council (NSC). We will work closely with the agencies for our socioeconomic interventions. We will be working closely with the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government), DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development), and DOH (Department of Health). It will be collective work," said Galvez.


It's "collective work" with retired generals like himself occupying civilian offices in government. The NSC, DILG, and DSWD are led by retired generals Hermogenes Esperon Jr, Eduardo AƱo, and Rolando Bautista.

"The advantage of military people is we are very focused on mission accomplishment. If we want to make things happen, we will do all necessary actions immediately. We are focused. We are very, very committed," Galvez said.

He will also bring in his men from the military to the OPAPP, but dismissed concerns of "militaristic" thinking prevailing there. (READ: Mindanao rights groups wary of Carlito Galvez as OPAPP chief)

"I think I have a systematic mind. I studied how to really solve problems," Galvez said.

Galvez graduated from the Philippine Military Academy in 1985, the Sandiwa Class. He received higher education in Australia and various military and management trainings abroad, including at Harvard University in the United States.

The bemedaled officer was also a recipient of the United States Eisenhower Fellowships in 2006.



PEACE ADVISER. Newly retired Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Carlito Galvez Jr (right) takes the helm from Jesus Dureza during a turnover ceremony on December 21, 2018. Photo from OPAPP

Critical time

Galvez assumed the post of peace adviser at a critical time for the government's peace initiatives.

"We have the plebiscite in Mindanao to win. We have also President Duterte's EO (Executive Order) 70 to accomplish. And we have other equally important peace tables that we need to continue to engage with," Galvez said in his assumption speech in Manila last Friday.

It's only a month away from the crucial vote that aims to complete the political settlement with the dominant Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Galvez will face a lot of work next year, whether or not the people would ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) that will create a new autonomous Muslim government to replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

If it wins, he will oversee the transition to the new government.

If it suffers a hitch – in courts or in the ballot – he will face the task of managing the disappointment on the ground and avoiding a repeat of the violence that followed the court's rejection of then-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's peace bid in 2009.

A staunch advocate of the peace process with the MILF, Galvez has been well-received by many Bangsamoro stakeholders.

Outgoing ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, a key supporter of the peace process, said Galvez's appointment is most timely. (READ: Hataman calls for 'yes' Bangsamoro vote in last address as ARMM governor)

"In fairness to the man, when it comes to the peace process, you wouldn't think that he's a military man," said the governor. "The BOL is his expected output. It should be tangible."

But Galvez's appointment was a blow to talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Galvez was the AFP chief behind the "Red October" allegations against the Philippine left, accusing the communist rebels of masterminding Duterte's ouster. (READ: 2018 blockbuster: 'Red October' plot vs Duterte)

"The OPAPP is now emphatically militarized with the appointment of a rabid anti-communist general as secretary. EO 70 is one more presidential issuance to terminate and prevent the resumption of peace talks at the appropriate national level between authorized representatives of the Philippine government and NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines). It is in furtherance of the de facto martial rule and the scheme of imposing a full-blown fascist dictatorship on the people," CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison was quoted as saying.

Galvez will oversee the implementation of EO 70, a new strategy to end Asia's longest-running communist insurgency. Early in December, Duterte formalized initiatives to pursue localized peace talks as he appeared to give up on talks with the CPP leadership.

"The difference between the two is sincerity," said Galvez, comparing peace talks with the MILF and the CPP. "Sincerity is key in order to have a successful peace process. We have seen that there is really sincerity between the MILF and the government so the confidence is there."

He added: "We have been talking with them (CPP) for years and nothing happened. We will look at other possibilities. We believe EO 70 will work. The national task force, a civilian-led institution, will address the underlying causes of rebellion."

Reorganize OPAPP, address corruption

His plate is full, but Galvez also has an additional task. On the heels of a corruption controversy that forced his predecessor Jesus Dureza to resign, Galvez was ordered to overhaul the bureaucracy and rid it of corruption.

"We will reorganize first…. The President said, 'You can bring your own team.' I'm so happy that the President is giving me a [free] hand to reorganize," said Galvez.

This is Galvez's first test and how he will go about it will determine the support he will get from the ground.

"We will maintain only those competent, honest, and committed individuals. Corruption is widespread on the ground. We have seen that. We will get new people who really understand the ground," Galvez said.

He added that the probe into corruption will continue, and the guilty would be punished.

His responsibilities are great and his promises are lofty. Galvez is out to prove warriors like him are the best peacemakers.

"I'm committing myself to be a good Secretary. I'll put my honor, integrity, and position on the line."
 

https://www.rappler.com/nation/219498-galvez-appointment-duterte-adviser-signals-new-peace-mindset

PRRD distributes 300 Glock pistols, cash bonuses to 10th ID personnel

From the Mindanao Times (Dec 23): PRRD distributes 300 Glock pistols, cash bonuses to 10th ID personnel

More than 300 US-made 9mm Glock pistols were turned over by President Rodrigo Duterte to Agila troopers upon his visit to the 10th Infantry Division headquarters in Camp General Manuel T. Yan Sr., Barangay Tuboran, Mawab, Compostela Valley on Saturday afternoon.
 
The President also distributed cash bonuses and 2,000 gift packs during the same event.
 
"It is an honor and a privilege for me to join the brave men and the women of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division, which has always been close to my heart because my home city of Davao has always been under your care and protection," Duterte said in his speech.
 
The President also recognized the division’s gallant efforts in fighting the communist insurgency that has hounded the country for decades.
 
Duterte said the surrender of almost 8,000 communist rebels and the recovery of some 700 firearms just this year alone speak well of the division’s commitment to end the rebellion for good.
 
"I am, therefore, taking this opportunity to call on the communist terrorists to abandon their [extremist] activities and return to the fold of the law," the President said.
 
Also present during the gift-giving activity were Presidential Adviser for Military Affairs Arthur Tabaquero; AFP Chief of Staff Benjamin Madrigal Jr.; Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto; and Brig. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., the newly designated commander of 10th ID.
 
"I have never doubted your capability to keep our nation safe from all threats, and I assure you of my full support as we continue to ensure the security of Mindanao until the lifting of Martial Law," he said.
 
In return, the President said his administration is committed to pursue the AFP modernization program so the soldiers will be provided with ample support to perform their duties more effectively.
 
"As we celebrate Christmas and welcome the New Year, I am confident that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will continue to ensure that peace will reign across our nation for the years to come," he further said.
 
"Indeed, President Duterte is a gift for the Filipinos," Maj. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr., the newly installed commander of 10th ID, said.
 
"For us, soldiers, the gift-giving activity is given to us by our Commander-in- Chief boosted the morale of soldiers and encouraged us to continue and sustain the gains of the unit in order to protect the people and secure the communities," he further said.
 

New 10th ID commander to continue momentum vs. NPA

From the Mindanao Times (Dec 23): New 10th ID commander to continue momentum vs. NPA

The newly designated commander of the 10th Infantry Division vowed to sustain the momentum in the fight to drive away the Communist rebels from communities in cities and towns under its jurisdiction.
 
Maj. Gen. Jose Faustino Jr. replaced Lt. Gen. Noel S. Clement as commander of the 10th ID during the change of command ceremony presided by Lt. Gen. Macairog S. Alberto, commanding general of the Philippine Army, in Camp General Manuel T. Yan Sr., Barangay Tuboran, Mawab, Compostella Valley on Dec. 22.
 
“You know, the 10th ID is in a very good position right now," Faustino said. "I already had briefings on what is the movement before I was here years back. I've seen the difference and we will build on that momentum."
 
He said the first step is to gather all his field commanders and staff so they can come up with new targets next year. But he conceded that there's going to be an adjustment period for him because it has been years since his last deployment to Mindanao.
 
Present during the ceremony were Gen. Benjamin Madrigal Jr., the chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); Maj. Gen. Ronald Villanueva, the commander of 4th Infantry Division, also the acting commander of Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom); as well as the different brigade and battalion commanders.
 
During also his message, Clement thanked his troops, local chief executives, stakeholders and communities for their support while he was the division commander from May 2017 until Nov. 16, 2018.
 
In a separate interview, Lt. Gen. Macairog Alberto, the commanding general of the Philippine Army, said "There is no changes at all on the standing order but to continue the mission here and also to take care of our men."
 
Also present during the change of command were the classmates of Faustino, including Maj. Gen. Erwin Bernard Neri, the chief of the Intelligence Service of the AFP.  They all belong to the PMA " Maringal" class of 1988.
 
Prior to Faustino's designation as 11th commander of 10th ID, he was the 52nd chief of staff of the Philippine Army. He also served in several command positions where he became the company commander of the 7th Scout Ranger company, First Scout Ranger Regiment, commanding officer of the 11th Intelligence and Security Unit, and the Intelligence and Security Group.
 
He became also battalion commander of the 35th IB under the 1st Infantry Division and brigade commander of 501st Infantry Brigade under the 5th ID.
 

Murad visits Marawi’s Ground Zero; vows rehab will be priority in transition gov’t

From MindaNews (Dec 23): Murad visits Marawi’s Ground Zero; vows rehab will be priority in transition gov’t

“Terible. Talagang terible ang destruction,” Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said of how he felt when he entered Ground Zero, the main battle area between government forces and violent extremist groups during the five-month war in 2017.

Murad, who came here as keynote speaker of the Ranaw Region Grand Rally on Bangsamoro Organic Law at the Dimaporo Gymnasium in the Mindanao State University in the morning, told MindaNews his visit to Ground Zero, now referred to as the Most Affected Area (MAA), further strengthened his resolve to help work for the immediate rehabilitation of Marawi during the three-year transition period from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).


“I also realized the hard task in the rehabilitation process and the need to mobilize the international community,” he added.



With his mobile phone ready to take pictures, MILF chair Al Haj Ebrahim Murad surveys the extent of damage at the main battle area in Marawi City on Saturday, December 22, 2018. Murad attended the Ranaw Region Grand Rally on Bangsamoro Organic Law at the Dimaporo Gymnasium in the Mindanao State University and afterwards visited the main affected area of the five-month conflict. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

The immediate rehabilitation of Marawi is part of the 10-point priority program the MILF-led Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) is set to do once RA 11054 is ratified.

At the rally on Saturday morning, Murad told the audience that Marawi is one of the 10 priorities of the transition government.

Murad, the nominee of the MILF to be Chief Minister of the BTA, briefed international development partners in a meeting in Davao City on October 11 about the future Bangsamoro government, their 10-point priority program to meet the “huge challenges” as they transition “from rebellion to governance” and from the ARMM to BARMM.

Immediate rehabilitation of Marawi is priority number 6. He told the crowd that included six Ambassadors, that Marawi “must be quickly rehabilitated and reconstructed as every delay is an opportunity for violent extremists to use it for propaganda and recruitment.”

“Besides, immediate rehabilitation of Marawi is both the right and just thing to do,” he said.

At Ground Zero in Marawi on December 22, Murad vowed to “convince the international community” to help in the rehabilitation of Marawi.

“We are hoping na ma-convince din natin ang international community,” Murad told MindaNews minutes after he stepped out of the Grand Mosque.

Before Murad arrived at the gym on Saturday morning, ARMM Vice Governor Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman had told his fellow Meranaws at the rally that “we would rather put our faith in the incoming BARMM than this Task Force Bangon Marawi,” the multi-agency body that is charged with the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi.

The task force, Lucman said, “has lost its credibility. It does not serve the interests of the people of Marawi.”

Murad is the MILF’s nominee to the post of Chief Minister of the BTA, the 80-member body that will be appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte to govern the BARMM upon the ratification of the law until the first set of officials shall have been elected in May 2022 and the BARMM is inaugurated on June 30, 2022.

The plebiscite to ratify RA 11054 or the Organic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao is on January 21, 2019 in the proposed core territory comprising the present ARMM (Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-tawi and the cities of Marawi and Lamitan), and the cities of Cotabato and Isabela in Basilan. The plebiscite in Lanao del Norte and a portion of North Cotabato will be on February 6.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace agreement signed by the government and the MILF in March 2014, provides that the BTA will be led by the MILF.

From the Rizal Park where one can have a vantage view of the landscape of rubble at the Padian, the city’s commercial district before it became a battleground in 2017, Murad, who had dropped out of his engineering course four decades ago to take part in the Moro revolution, initially said nothing as he surveyed the extent of the destruction and took photographs using his mobile phone.



MILF chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim outside the Grand Mosque of Marawi City’s Ground Zero. MindaNews photo by GG BUENO

Rizal Park was the first of three stops in the nearly hour-long visit that started at the bridge in Mapandi at around 4:30 p.m. As he disembarked from his Chevrolet Suburban SUV with “MILF” car plate on its front and none at the back, Murad’s close-in security personnel were quick to get him a white cap and an umbrella to shield him from the drizzle. It was the same at the second stop at the Grand Mosque. The third stop, on foot as it was near the mosque, was the destroyed hospital of Dr. Zafrullah Dipatuan.

Murad told supporters who joined him in the visit, that international support helped in the rehabilitation of Aceh which suffered heavily following the December 26, 2004 tsunami.

Several Meranaws gave Murad a background on what the Padian was to the Meranaws as well as the history of the Grand Mosque and its role in the history of the Bangsamoro struggle, while Major Palawan Miondas, Civil Military Operations officer of the 103rd Infantry Brigade, briefed him on the battle narratives in that area.

Murad said he would visit an evacuation center on Sunday morning before heading back to Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2018/12/murad-visits-marawis-ground-zero-vows-rehab-will-be-priority-in-transition-govt/

Tausugs stand firm vs. BOL; want federal government instead

From the Mindanao Examiner (Dec 23): Tausugs stand firm vs. BOL; want federal government instead

SULU – Muslims in the southern Philippine province of Sulu are standing against their inclusion to the proposed Bangsamoro autonomous region and vowed to vote against it in a plebiscite set in January.

Muslims in the region are asked to ratify the Bangsamoro Organic Law or BOL that would pave the way for the new region which shall replace the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or ARMM.

ARMM is composed of Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao whose residents belong to different tribes. The Tausugs in Sulu do not want to be part of the new autonomous region under the former rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and prefer to be with the Zamboanga Peninsula region where it was previously a part of.


The MILF, which signed an interim peace deal with Manila in 2014, was largely part of the presidential commission that drafted the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Now, the Tausug people and their leaders led by Sulu Gov. Toto Tan and his father, Sakur Tan – a philanthropist and an influential politician and the mayors of Sulu – are pushing for the establishment of a federal government which Duterte is also strongly advocating.

The governor has in October filed a petition with the Supreme Court questioning the legality and constitutionality of the BOL, saying, the law cannot abolish ARMM and replace it with the new Bangsamoro region unless lawmakers amend the Constitution to which ARMM is created in 1989 by virtue of the Organic Act for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (RA 6734).

And recently, the Philippine Constitution Association also filed a similar petition and asked the High Court to declare BOL as “unconstitutional, null and void.”

The Tan patriarch, who is also known as Datu Shabandar and Special Envoy and Spokesman for the Royal Council of the Sulu Sultanate, recently held separate forums here – the Ulama Council and the Sultanate of Sulu – to further explain why BOL is deemed unconstitutional and that the establishment of a federal government is best not only for the Mindanao region, but the whole country as well.













Sulu Gov. Sakur Tan with the Ulama during a recent forum in Patikul town. (Mindanao Examiner Photos)
Thousands of Tausugs attended both forums held at the Capitol. It was part of the series of forums being held in the province in support to Duterte’s advocacy on federalism.

“We reject this BOL. We don’t want to be under the MILF rule and prefer to be part of the federal government. We are better with our neighbors Basilan and Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga. We shall vote against the Bangsamoro Organic Law in the referendum,” said Murshi Abdurajak, 66.

The elder Tan also said there is nothing common between the Tausugs and the MILF of Maguindanao, except their religion which is Islam. “Our people are different, our culture and heritage is different, there is nothing common between us, but religion and that is Islam,” he said.

The Yakans of Basilan province and the Sama of Tawi-Tawi province are also opposed to being part of the MILF-led Bangsamoro region and street rallies had been held in Basilan and Sulu to strongly support federalism and reject BOL.

ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman, a strong advocate of BOL, appealed to the Muslims to support and ratify the law in the plebiscite, saying, the new region would bring peace and progress to all.

Hataman said they will campaign hard for BOL and the establishment of the Bangsamoro autonomous region. “Magsisimula kami sa Basilan and dito sa ARMM ay magbubuo kami ng team. Sa Basilan ay 101% mananalo ang BOL, at ang focus muna namin ay ang Isabela City (which is not part of the ARMM) and some parts, punta sa Sulu and Tawi-Tawi,” he said.

He said they will also hold forums in the provinces to explain and educate the people on the provisions of the BOL.

https://mindanaoexaminer.com/tausugs-stand-firm-vs-bol-want-federal-government-instead/

PRRD commends troops, gives gifts

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 23): PRRD commends troops, gives gifts



MAWAB, Compostela Valley -- President Rodrigo Duterte commended the Armed Forces of the Philippines, especially the 10th Infantry Division, in combatting communist insurgency.

“It is my honor and privilege to join the great men and women of the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division, who has always been close to my heart because Davao City has always been under your care,” President Duterte said.

During the gift-giving activity on Saturday (Dec. 22) at Camp General Manuel T Yan Sr in Mawab, Compostela Valley, he also recognized the division’s accomplishments for 2018 including the surrender of almost 8,000 communist-terrorists and recovery of around 700 firearms.

President Duterte called on the soldiers to remain committed to their sworn duty to protect the people and defend their democratic rights.

“I am confident that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will continue to ensure that peace will reign across our nation for the years to come,” he emphasized.

He also stressed that he will continue to support all the soldiers including their families.

“We will continue to pursue the AFP modernization program. We will Improve your skills, invest in your professional development and look for the welfare of your families.”

The President also said that he will treat wounded soldiers and give houses to the families of the fallen troops.

“Pagnamatay (kayo), ang inyong pamilya automatic may bahay kung wala kayong bahay,” he told the soliders. (If you will die, your family will automatically own a house, if you do not have one.) During his visit, President Duterte also led the distribution of 2,000 gift packs and pistols to the troops of the 10ID.

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1016425

300 NPAs yield in NoCot

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 23): 300 NPAs yield in NoCot



CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- Some 300 communist rebels and their mass base supporters surrendered and pledged allegiance to the Philippine flag during separate symbolic events in the villages of Kinarum and Bangkal in Magpet, North Cotabato, the past two days, the military here said Sunday.

Lt. Col. Ehrlich Noel Paraso, commander of the army’s 19th Infantry Battalion (IB), said two surrender rites were conducted on Friday and Saturday for 300 men, composed of farmers and members of the
New People’s Army (NPA) and members of Unit Militia, the unarmed NPA mass base.


The Unit Militia also denounced the rebel group for forced taxation and tipped off military authorities about their presence.

“We are being used as milking cows by the NPAs,” a resident of Barangay Kinarum, who requested anonymity, said in a radio interview. “At first they were good to us, providing us aid in farming but later they started demanding money and agricultural products.”

In a separate interview, Ka Ben, one of the NPAs operating in the slope of Mt. Apo for 15 years, told reporters he decided to surrender because of the rebels’ empty promises.

“Tam-is kayo sila og promise sa amo (They have sweet words for us) but later they were using us to raise money through extortion against multi-national companies like a banana plantation and business establishments in Magpet and in Kidapawan City,” Ka Ben said.

1Lt. Prolen Bonacua, commanding officer of the Alpha Company of 19th IB, said the rebels will be covered under the government’s “Balik-Loob” Program.

Paraso said the Army is now processing the surrenderers, so they can be qualified for the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

The E-CLIP aims to reintegrate the rebels to mainstream society by providing them livelihood in exchange for their surrendered firearms. Local officials of Barangays Bangkal and Kinarum, both of Magpet, also passed two resolutions declaring communist rebels and militant organizations as “persona non grata” in their respective areas.

Paraso said the village officials declared in their resolutions that they no longer want the NPAs and progressive groups supporting the NPAs to come to their villages.

The Army official said residents of the two villages have been complaining of forced taxation by NPAs, who are not from the village but from nearby towns of Bukidnon and the mountains of Davao City.

Separate village resolutions were also passed requesting the Army’s 19th IB to issue the guns surrendered by the NPAs to Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) members which they can use to protect villagers from rebel harassment and other crimes.

“The matter has been forwarded to the Department of National Defense legal department for appropriate action,” Paraso said.

The Magpet villages’ declaration of persona non grata for NPAs came at least 13 days after some 500 residents of Barangay Datu Ladayon, Arakan, North Cotabato declared the NPAs “unwelcome” in their community.

That time, the villagers of Barangay Datu Ladayon also paraded around their community, holding banners denouncing NPA atrocities.

“With this declaration from the mass base of Barangay Datu Ladayon, it will certainly give the NPAs to touch base again in the Arakan Valley Complex,” Paraso said.

Arakan Councilors Josie Nasiluan and Romulo Tapgos, who represented Arakan Mayor Rene Rubino during the event, commended the local officials and residents of Barangay Datu Ladayon for the initiative as they vowed to pass a town ordinance supporting the peoples’ declaration.
 
http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1057360

Army’s 33IB braces for possible NPA attacks

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 23): Army’s 33IB braces for possible NPA attacks



LIVE FIRE EXERCISE. Troopers from the Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion in Sultan Kudarat province practice shooting ahead of possible attacks by communist rebels in time for the Communist Party of the Philippines' 50th founding anniversary on Dec. 26. (Photo courtesy of 33rd IB)
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao -- The Army’s 33rd Infantry Battalion has prepared its units in Sultan Kudarat province against possible attacks by the New People’s Army (NPA) ahead of the Communist Party of the Philippines' (CPP) 50th founding anniversary on Dec. 26.



Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, commander of the 33rd IB, on Saturday said soldiers have stepped up their preparations for a sustained counter-insurgency campaign against the NPAs, who have threatened to attack members of the security forces, coinciding with the CPP’s forthcoming anniversary.


Cabunoc led the on-site live firing activities for the troops, who are currently deployed in far-flung villages in the Upper Valley of Sultan Kudarat, where the NPAs have a strong presence.

“Our troops are ready to face the enemy in gun battles anytime. Aside from having the support of the people, our soldiers are also adequately trained and equipped to fight in this longest-running communist insurgency in Asia,” Cabunoc said in a statement.

Cabunoc made the statement in response to threats coming from Jose Maria Sison, who recently ordered the NPAs to launch "tactical offensives" against government troops.

The training activities conducted included live-fire exercises for M14 rifles, M203 grenade launchers, M60 light machineguns, M50 heavy machineguns, and sniper rifles.

Capt. Winston Cacatian, commanding officer of the 33rd IB’s Charlie Company, said his troops are now ready to fight. “We are conducting this training to build your confidence in fighting any armed threat against peaceful communities in our area of jurisdiction,” Cacatian told a group of militiamen, who are deployed in Laquicon village, a hinterland community of Bagumbayan town.

John Paul Gunong, 23, a member of the Army’s Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit in Laquicon, was among the trainees who participated in the live fire exercises. “I am thankful because I was given the opportunity to fire my issued M14 rifle. I have learned how to adjust my weapon based on the range of the enemy’s position,” Gunong said.

Capt. Alessandro Cruzada, commanding officer of 33rd IB’s Alpha Company, said his troops have gained more confidence in repulsing armed attacks by the communists. “We train as we fight. We allocated training ammunition for live fire exercises in order to simulate realistic combat scenarios,” said Cruzada, who personally supervised the training in Midtungok village, Senator Ninoy Aquino town.

The 33rd IB has deployed additional forces to launch security patrols to confront enemy aggressors, who will celebrate the underground CPP's 50th anniversary on Wednesday.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1057362

2 young Maute members yield to Cotabato City mayor

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 23): 2 young Maute members yield to Cotabato City mayor



MAUTE SURRENDERERS. Two former Maute terror group members, both minors, are presented to the media by Cotabato City Mayor Frances Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi on Sunday (Dec. 23, 2018). (Photo courtesy of Rowella Dayawan/Cotabato Media Group)

COTABATO CITY -- Two self-confessed terrorists, both minors, along with their parents, voluntarily surrendered to Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi on Sunday.

Sayadi presented the duo, both Maguindanaons, to reporters in the presence of senior police and military officials at the city hall here but asked that they remain unidentified to protect them, considering both are minors.

Senior Supt. Rolly Octavio, city police director, said the two claimed they belonged to Dawlah Islamiyah, also known as Maute terror group, based in Lanao del Sur and trained on bomb-making and urban guerrilla attacks under the Ansar al-Khilafa Philippines (AKP) in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat in 2015.

The confessed local Islamic State-inspired men were volunteered by their parents to Sayadi, who had been actively campaigning against the IS-linked group in the city.

“Both were not allowed to answer questions from the media, considering their young age,” Octavio said.

The two also confessed to authorities of their links to Cotabato City-based Maute group members, who carried out the bombing in Davao City on Sept. 2, 2016, which left 17 persons dead and about 60 others injured.

“Since they were minors, they were turned over to the city social welfare office,” Octavio said. Both the mayor and the police assured the parents of both surrenderers that they would be protected against possible reprisals from their former allies.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1057365

Militiaman, NPA rebel killed in Kalinga encounter

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 23): Militiaman, NPA rebel killed in Kalinga encounter

The detachment commander of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in Barangay Uma, Lubuagan, Kalinga was killed at dawn on Sunday, after a 15-minute exchange of fire between government forces and the New People’s Army.



“We have one casualty and three wounded CAFGU members,” said Supt. Pelita Tacio, Police Regional Office Cordillera (PROCOR) Information Officer.

She said around 30 NPA rebels attacked the CAFGU patrol base in Uma, Lubuangan town around 4 a.m. on Dec. 23, leading to an exchange of fire and death of Cadre Sgt. Elon Bayang of Luplupa, Tinglayan town, Kalinga.


“The government troops defended the base but were overpowered and the base commander was killed,” Tacio said.

Based on information obtained by the Philippine News Agency (PNA), tribal members of Lower Uma took custody of Bayang's body as part of their customary laws. The said tribe has a peace pact with Bayang’s tribe.

Tacio said one NPA fighter was also killed in the encounter. Sources identified the killed NPA member as Roy Tongdo alias “Ka Rex,” whose body was left by his comrades and is now at the barangay hall of Western Uma.

Based on the spot report of the Kalinga police obtained by the PNA, the wounded CAFGU members were Bal-iwang Gacayon, Julio Codiam, and Benedict Lingayo, who were transported to Kalinga Provincial Hospital for medical treatment.

Tacio said the NPAs were able to steal several firearms of the government forces before escaping.

Maj. Jefferson Somera, chief of the Fifth Infantry Division (5ID) Public Affairs Office (DPAO), said in a separate telephone interview the military is now pursuing the terrorists. “Ongoing po ang hot pursuit operation natin (Hot pursuit operation is ongoing) and we will not stop until we make them [NPA] responsible for the death of the base commander," he said.

Somera said 5ID commander Maj. Gen. Perfecto Rimando had stated that the NPA attack just goes to show that the truce announced by the leftist army was insincere -- perpetrating a crime that it said it would not do.

"They are celebrating their 50th anniversary by sowing terror in the community and causing disturbance, which is really a bad way of celebrating,” Somera said.

He added the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has actually been in full alert and has ordered all detachments to be on the watch, but the CAFGU patrol base in Lubuagan, Kalinga was just "overpowered" by the NPA attackers.

“Lumaban ang mga tropa natin (Our troops fought back and defended the camp) but unfortunately, they were overpowered. The base commander sacrificed his life to defend the base,” Somera lamented.

Somera asked the communities to report any sightings of NPA troops in their areas.

http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1057373