Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Ex-rebel slain, another missing in Samar ambush

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 19, 2019): Ex-rebel slain, another missing in Samar ambush

TACLOBAN CITY –– A former member of the New People’s Army (NPA) was killed while another was missing after their former comrades allegedly ambushed them in a remote village in Matuguinao town, Samar province on Monday.

Killed during the ambush in Barangay Inubod was Dennis Diaz, while his cousin, Carlos Diaz, remained missing, said town Mayor Aran Boller in a phone interview.


Boller quoted the police as saying the victims, together with their three companions, were on their way home to Barangay Nagpapacao about 3 p.m. when around 30 NPA members ambushed them.

According to Boller, Dennis died on the spot. His cousin remained missing, while their three companions escaped.

He said the victims were former rebels who surrendered to him last year.

The Philippine Army had identified Matuguinao as one of the areas in Samar with a strong rebel presence.

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1191761/ex-rebel-slain-another-missing-in-samar-ambush

NPA’s child combatant surrenders in Bukidnon

From the Mindanao Times (Nov 20, 2019): NPA’s child combatant surrenders in Bukidnon

The Eastern Mindanao Command slammed the New People’s Army for continuing to use child combatants in the attempt to overthrow the government.

Just recently, a 16-year-old surrendered to authorities in St. Peter, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon on Nov. 16.
“This is a clear gross violation of children’s rights. Do not rob their future. Allow them to explore their potential freely and let children be children,” Lt. Gen. Felimon T. Santos Jr., commander of Eastern Mindanao Command, said.

Santos identified the teenager as alias Bulaw, who was part of the communist group that is operating in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon. In his surrender, he brought with him an M1 Carbine rifle and a hand grenade.

Accordingly, he was recruited to be part of the regular NPA guerrilla unit after he was indoctrinated by a youth group. He tried to leave many times but became afraid when the threats came. After five months, he saw a chance to escape and took it.

The minor was endorsed to the local social welfare office for assessment.

Army chides NPA for turning blind eye on rape of members

From the Mindanao Times (Nov 20, 2019): Army chides NPA for turning blind eye on rape of members

The 4th Infantry Division condemned New People’s Army for tolerating the abuses perpetrated against its female combatants by the communist leaders.

Maj. Regie Go, the 4th ID spokesperson, said alias Wilma, 20, a former NPA medic from Magpet, North Cotabato revealed that she was raped by their commander.

Go said alias Saisai, 32, a former NPA medic, married, a resident of Agusan Del Norte was also raped by his NPA commander. She got pregnant but suffered a miscarriage due to stress and hardship in the mountain.

“I was raped and threatened that he will kill my husband if I will inform the committee,” Sasai recounted. “I wanted to kill him for repeatedly abusing me sexually, he should be executed.”
The repeated abuses made her decide to leave the organization.

Go said that the troops of 88th Infantry Battalion based in Maramag Bukidnon recovered some contraceptive pills, condoms, and pornographic materials inside an NPA hideout in the forested area of Barangay Kibongkog, San Fernando, Bukidnon last Oct. 22, 2019.

Meanwhile, he said the 18-day campaign to end VAW is annually observed from Nov. 25 to Dec. 12 to raise awareness to the public about the susceptibility of women to abuse.

Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, the commander of the 4th ID said, “For 50 years, the NPA commanders have been violating their female combatants. They must respect the rights of our women and stop treating them as sex slaves.”

“I urge all female NPA combatants to surrender and save yourself from these abuses,” Gacal said.

PH, US in 'low-level discussion' on reviewing Mutual Defense Treaty

From CNN Philippines (Nov 19, 2019): PH, US in 'low-level discussion' on reviewing Mutual Defense Treaty



Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 19) — The Philippines and US are still in "low-level discussion" on Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana's proposal to amend the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT).

Lorenzana himself revealed the status of the review during a joint media briefing with US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Tuesday. It was Esper's first visit to Manila as defense chief.

"We are actually in discussion, low level discussion first, about my proposal and I think in one of these [Mutual Defense Board and Security Engagement Board] meetings sometime this year it will be taken up," Lorenzana said.

Esper reiterated the US commitment to the 68-year-old treaty, which states that the two allies would assist each other should either of them be attacked by a foreign force.

"It's always good to look at these things from time to time, to review, and to clarify and strengthen it based on changes in the environment and the world situation," Esper said.

He stressed that the treaty applies to the entire Pacific region, including the disputed South China Sea. The U.S. is not a claimant to the global waterway, but it has criticized the alleged militarization of China, which claims almost the entire sea, rejecting the arbitral ruling that recognized the Philippines' sovereign rights to some of these areas.

China's incursions prompted the US to conduct more freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea this year, Esper said, without citing statistics. These operations are aimed at urging China to abide by international law, which guarantees freedom of navigation and overflight in the high seas.

"The US rejects attempts by any nation to use coercion or intimidation to advance its national interests at the expense of others," Esper said.

Lorenzana first floated the idea of reviewing the MDT in December 2018, saying it does not provide a clear answer to whether or not the US would come to the Philippines' rescue in case tensions escalate in the South China Sea.

READ: Scrapping Mutual Defense Treaty with U.S. an option – Lorenzana

He said in February this year that a top-level panel of representatives from the US will come to the Philippines to discuss the review of the treaty, but no updates have been made public since then.

President Rodrigo Duterte invoked the pact in July following the sinking of a Filipino boat by a Chinese vessel near Recto Bank, an underwater feature in the West Philippine Sea also being claimed by China. Manila calls areas it claims and occupies in the South China Sea as the West Philippine Sea.

Malacañang later clarified that the President was just being sarcastic and is fully aware that the MDT can only be enforced if there's an "armed assault or attack" against any of the parties in the treaty. Article 4 of the MDT states, "Each Party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes."

"[An] armed attack on either of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack on the metropolitan territory of either of the Parties, or on the Island territories under its jurisdiction in the Pacific Ocean, its armed forces, public vessels or aircraft in the Pacific," the agreement further states.

READ: Top PH officials disagree on need to review U.S. defense treaty

US, PH press revision of 68-year old Mutual Defense Treaty

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): US, PH press revision of 68-year old Mutual Defense Treaty

Amid the increased aggression of China in the South China Sea, the United States (US) and Philippines are planning to revise the 68-year-old mutual defense treaty (MDT) to adapt to the ‘changing’ environment and ensure peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region.



Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, right, talks with his US counterpart Mark Esper, during a press conference at the Philippine Department of National Defense in Quezon city, metropolitan Manila, Philippines Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila / MANILA BULLETIN)

This was one of the topics highlighted during a top-level meeting between US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City on Tuesday.

“I was actually the one who first put forth the idea of revisiting the MDT because in my opinion, it has been made at the height of the Korean war and the situation then compared to now is different. We are actually in discussion first on what to look out for in my proposal,” Lorenzana said.

The country’s Defense chief said the talks will be further discussed in one of the meetings between the Mutual Defense Board-Security Engagement Board (MDB-SEB) sometime this year.

“That has to be taken up [MDT revision]. I don’t know what will be the outcome, it will be a joint cooperative endeavor,” Lorenzana noted.

The MDT was signed in 1951 between the US and Philippines, with the overall accord saying both countries shall support each other if either were to be attacked by another country.

The proposal to revise the MDT comes amid mounting criticisms on the ambiguity of some of its provisions, one of which is the definition of the term “metropolitan Philippines.”

In the MDT, it was stated that an attack on the metropolitan Philippines will trigger the MDT, but it was not clearly defined what part of the Philippines it covers.

Lorenzana earlier proposed that the term includes territories that are being claimed by the Philippines in the disputed West Philippine Sea. The proposal to revise the MDT was announced in 2018.

For his part, Esper cited the overwhelming reaction of most participants in the ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting (ADMM) held in Bangkok, Thailand recently where they expressed concern on China’s “excessive claims” in the region.

“The Secretary [Lorenzana] and I came back from Bangkok where we have a very important meeting of the ADMM plus members if you will, and the general theme that I took from our formal plenary discussion is that most participants in that room are very concerned about China’s excessive claims in the region,” Esper said.

“There are lack of compliance with international laws and norms, and they are concerned about the course of tactics used by Beijing throughout the region to advance their interests,” he added.

The US Defense Secretary pointed out that affected countries should take a “very public posture” to assert its sovereign rights and emphasize the importance of international law in the region.

“The signal that we are trying to send is that we all stand with intl laws and I think China should abide by them as well that acting collectively is the best way to send that message,” Esper said.

Aside from that, Lorenzana and Esper also emphasized the importance of the Philippines and US’ strengthened partnership.

Both secretaries discussed proposals to support US’ efforts to help modernize the Armed Forces of the Philippines, improve maritime security capabilities and domain awareness, and provide rapid humanitarian assistance.

Both secretaries also reaffirmed commitment to counter-terrorism and violent extremism.

Esper’s visit in the country forms part of his voyage to select countries in the Indo-Pacific region, starting last November 13.

NegOr peace cluster inks plan vs insurgency

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): NegOr peace cluster inks plan vs insurgency

NEGROS ORIENTAL, Nov.16 (PIA) -- Members of the Peace, Law Enforcement and Development Support (PLEDS) Cluster of Negros Oriental Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NOTF-ELCAC) signed their Implementation Plan to unite efforts in addressing the insurgency problem and attain lasting peace in the province.

Representing the Department of National Defense (DND), the 302nd and 303rd Infantry Brigade (IB) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) led the signing of the PLEDS cluster plan to work with other agencies in the prevention of terrorism and resolution of insurgency issues.

This is to synchronize and harmonize all the programs and efforts in the convergence/interagency operations in doing the key task areas of anti-criminality, maritime security, legal cooperation, intelligence operations, and public communication relations to topple the communist terrorist groups in the province.

LTC. Rommil Abayon, brigade executive officer of 302IB, said terrorism is a growing threat that confronts local security and even terrorizing civilians.


PNP Provincial Director Col. Julian Entoma (w/ mic) expresses his support to the Peace, Law Enforcement and Development Support (PLEDS) Cluster. Photo also shows (l-r) Brigade Commander LTC. Noel Baluyan of 302nd IB and a representative from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). (PIA Negros Oriental)

“This is a battle that we cannot afford to lose and this is not just a provincial issue but a clear and present danger to national peace security and development,” said Abayon.

He strongly believes the combined strength and commitment of other government agencies play a critical role to end conflict and achieve peace and economic growth in the area.

Signatories to the implementation plan include officials from National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA-7), Philippine National Police (PNP), National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Dumaguete District Office, Philippine Information Agency (PIA), National Commission for Indigenous People (NCIP), and Coast Guard Station Negros District.

“I hope that we can provide peace, enforcing counter terrorist operations and development programs with clear mandates backed with predictable and sustainable support. Most important of all, this joint provincial task force PLEDS Cluster signing agreement among us is needed and appreciated more than ever,” said Abayon.

For his part, Brigade Commander LTC. Noel Baluyan said partly the peace cluster is in charge to clear the guerilla front of CPP-NPA to alert their politico-military infrastructure in the red areas.

“In doing so, we need to conduct an inter-security operations and anti-criminality campaign because NPAs have been declared as simple terrorists," Baluyan explained.

However, according to Baluyan, what matters most is the collective effort of the local task forces or different law enforcement agencies in the fight against insurgency.

With the formal acceptance of support, PNP Provincial Director Col. Julian Entoma expressed his appreciation to the members, saying “in union there is strength, in unison we will have to end this insurgency problem in the province. The Philippine Army has the primary responsibility and we at PNP are secondary. But with regards to anti-criminality, we are the primary. However, this is not about who’s first but rather left and right hands, it is a balanced effort."

In 2014, the province was declared conflict manageable and development ready, however, it is indicated that CTGs are deliberately conducting terrorist activities such as harassments of police and military forces and civilians in the area.

With this, the local task force cited that it is urgent to prevent the enemy from harming the populace’s lives and properties in the area, most specifically in areas considered as affected by conflict in the cities of Canlaon and Guihulngan City, in the towns of Valencia, Zamboanguita, Siaton, and Sta Catalina in Negros Oriental. (jct/PIA7 Negros Oriental)

4ID condemns NPA for using female combatants as sex slaves

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): 4ID condemns NPA for using female combatants as sex slaves (By 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Nov. 19 – The 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division (4ID), Philippine Army condemns the CPP-NPA Terrorists (CNTs) leadership for their continuous sexual abuses against their female combatants.

Alyas Wilma, 20, a former medic of the New People's Army (NPA) from Magpet, North Cotabato revealed her sad experience as a victim of sexual abuse from their NPA commander. “I joined the NPA because I am against sexual abuse and female exploitation, however, our NPA commander sexually abused us and neglected our rights as a woman,” Wilma exposed.

Alyas Saisai, 32, a former NPA medic, married from Agusan Del Norte was also raped by his NPA commander. She got pregnant but suffered miscarriage due to stress and hardship in the mountain. “I was raped and threatened that he will kill my husband if I will inform the committee.” I wanted to kill him for repeatedly abusing me sexually, he should be executed by death," she said.

I went lie-low due to sexual abuses and injustices in the NPA organization,” Saisai added.

Sexual abuses were also confirmed when the troops of 88th Infantry Battalion based in Maramag Bukidnon recovered some contraceptive pills, condoms and porn materials inside an NPA hideout in the forested area of Barangay Kibongkog, San Fernando, Bukidnon last October 22, 2019.

MGen Franco Nemesio Gacal, commander of the 4ID emphasized that "for 50 years, NPA commanders have been violating their female combatants."

They must respect the rights of our women and stop treating them as sex slaves,” he said.

He also urged all female NPA combatants to surrender and save themselves from these abuses. "Together with the government, we will ensure that the female former rebels undergo the healing and reconciliation process through the help of DSWD and other concerned government agencies for them to recover emotionally and psychologically and prepare them to return to mainstream society,” Gacal further said.

In the Philippines, the days between 25 November and 12 December are observed annually as the 18-Day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) to spur public awareness on the forms of violence against women and girls and the ordeal of VAW victims/survivors.

The campaign supports the government’s goal in protecting the rights of women and young girls by upholding the commitment to address all forms of gender-based violence as enshrined in the 1987 constitution.

This year's observance is anchored on the theme “VAW-free community starts with me." (4ID,PA)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1030409

Sowing the seeds of peace — the CSR way

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): Sowing the seeds of peace — the CSR way (By 1st Special Force Battalion)

MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon, November 19 — “Reaching the poor, even in the most challenging conditions is the key to ending extreme poverty. We need to focus on empowering the individual so that each one of us becomes an agent of peace,” said Vicente T. Mills Jr, president of the Rotary Club of Makati during the awarding of P950,000 livelihood grant to the Indigenous Peoples (IP) groups.

Through the Philippine Army, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the livelihood grant was turned over to five people’s organizations of Libona, Manolo Fortich, and Sumilao towns all in Bukidnon province.

During the signing of Memorandum of Understanding at Alomah’s Place in Dahilayan, Manolo Fortich, Mills said this is not the end of the cooperation but just the beginning.


Lt.Col. Sergio Macarandan Jr., commander of the 1st Special Force Battalion, thank Vicente Mills Jr, President of Rotary Club of Makati, for supporting the government's whole-of-nation approach of ending local armed conflict.

“This is a long term process. Let’s work together to make this endeavor a milestone,” he said.

The undertaking, known as the Rotary Peace Project, will cover around 700 IPs. It seeks to contribute to poverty reduction and mobilize the marginalized and the poor who are often left out from micro-credit schemes.

Further, the project will help enhance a community-driven approach that will allow beneficiaries to collectively identify, prioritize, plan, and implement their development needs, which is in support of the government’s whole-of-nation approach to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or ELCAC as specified in President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 (EO 70).

Beneficiaries include former rebels who are vulnerable and defenseless to any violence pulled off by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) terrorists.

DOLE Bukidnon chief Raul Valmores said the five IP organizations, having been registered, are now entitled to all rights and privileges of legitimate workers such as mutual aid, sustainable livelihood grants, and protection of its members, among other privileges in accordance with its constitution and by-laws. These five IP group recipients are: I Love Bagalangit - Manolo Fortich; I Love Licoan - Sumilao; I Love Lupiagan - Sumilao; I Love Ocasion - Sumilao; and I Love Capihan - Libona.

As part of the core group to sustain the project, Marcos Arbole, Vice President of Rotary Club of Northern Mindanao and Crispulo G. Vidad Jr., Past Assistant Governor of Rotary Club of Northern Mindanao District 3870, pledged to monitor the progress of the three approved ventures namely Beads making, Textile and Dressmaking (tribal attire), and Organic vegetable farming.

Corporate participation in peacebuilding


During a Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility Communications Secretary Martin Andanar emphasizes the important role that CSR plays in attaining mutual understanding and peace in conflict-affected areas.

“All of us, everyone, the whole nation is dutifully responsible for peace. We produce peace from our homes, we pursue it outside our homes, and we preserve it in the whole of the nation for all the time and for all,” said Communications Secretary Martin Andanar as he spoke before stakeholders of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in a forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in October at Cagayan de Oro City.

He emphasized the important role that CSR plays in attaining mutual understanding and peace in conflict-affected areas.

Secretary Andanar, who is the designated Cabinet Officer for Regional Development and Security for Northern Mindanao (CORDS-X), urged the business sector to continue promoting the culture of peace through resolve and action.

He also cited the private sectors’ contributions—through their respective CSRs—for doing their part in providing relief packs for victims of calamities, construction of classrooms, creating homes for Filipino families, and for helping the government make our nation a better place to live.

Chaired by President Duterte himself, the National Task Force-ELCAC’s mission is to ensure inter-agency convergence in project implementation to address causes of armed conflict at the local level. The task force works towards ensuring that social services, employment opportunities and improved quality of life should be spread out in areas experiencing clashes with communist rebels.

Working effectively with indigenous communities

The 1st Special Forces Battalion helped in linking up people’s organizations, the national government agencies, and civil society organizations through its Community Support Program (CSP) in conflict-affected areas and geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.

With the implementation of EO 70 as an institutionalized whole-of-nation approach in ending local communist armed conflict, the regional banner dubbed as Convergence Areas for Peace and Development (CAPDev) launched programs and projects epochal to the community.

The 3K (Kaon, Kalipay, Kalinaw) Program of 403rd Infantry “Peacemaker” Brigade and the Special Forces Combined Actions of Re-engineered Efforts and Services (SF CARES) had been the unit's counterpart to the community development program.

Gratified by the spirit of generosity, the unit’s commanding officer, Lt. Colonel Sergio P. Macarandan Jr, bowed his beret to the people behind the Rotary Peace Project.

“My applause to the generosity of the Rotary Club of Makati. The launching of this phase created a great impact on the welfare and progress of the IPs. You have provided the avenue to generate income and taught them to value the skills they have acquired to support the financial needs of their families. Furthermore, the sustenance of this project lies not only to the people atop the flow chart but also to the people on the ground—the real maneuvers of the cycle. Sustenance comes from your efforts to hold it away from the cliff. Make it work and strive for sustainability,” Lt. Col. Macarandan said. (Maj. Frankjo C. Boral/1stSF Bn/PIA-10)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1030374

Tagalog News: Mga komunistang grupo sa OccMin, hinimok magbalik-loob sa pamahalaan

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): Tagalog News: Mga komunistang grupo sa OccMin, hinimok magbalik-loob sa pamahalaan


Ang mga armas na isinuko ng mga rebeldeng nakatalaga sa bayan ng Sablayan. Ayon sa pamahalaan, may katumbas na halaga ang mga baril at balang isu-surrender ng mga rebeldeng nagbabalik-loob sa pamahalaan na maari nilang gamitin sa kanilang pagbabagong-buhay. (Lt Jun Sacares/CMO 76th IB)

SAN JOSE, Occidental Mindoro, Nob 19 (PIA) -- Dapat na ring magbalik-loob sa pamahalaan ang iba pang mga kasapi ng communist-terrorist groups (CTG), ayon kay Lt Jun Sacares, opisyal ng Civil-Military Operations (CMO) ng 76th Infantry Battalion (IB)-Philippine Army (PA), na nakabase sa lalawigan.

“Ito ang tamang panahon upang magbagong buhay,” saad ni Lt. Sacares. Aniya, higit na kumprehensibo ang programa ng pamahalaan ngayon para sa mga nagbabalik-loob upang makapagsimulang muli bilang mga karaniwang miyembro ng lipunan.

Inihalimbawa ng opisyal ang dalawang kasapi ng New People’s Army (NPA) na sumuko kamakailan sa Barangay Pagasa, Sablayan at ngayon ay isinailalim na sa Enhanced-Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP). Ayon kay Sacares, sa ilalim ng E-Clip ay makakatanggap ang mga benepisyaryo ng cash at livelihood assistance, gayundin ng iba pang mga serbisyo ng pamahalaan gaya ng medikal at edukasyon.

“Noong ika-12 ng Nobyembre, sila mismo ang lumapit sa atin upang sumuko. Itinuro rin nila ang nakatagong dalawang M14 rifle na may kasamang mga magazine at bala sa Sityo Danao, Brgy Pagasa,” kwento ni Lt Sacares. Paliwanag ng opisyal, pangunahin din sa programa ng pamahalaan ang pagbibigay ng kaukulang halaga para sa mga baril na isinusuko ng maka-kaliwang grupo. “Ang halaga ng perang kapalit ng bawat isinukong armas ay depende sa kalidad at kalibre nito,” ayon pa rito.

Binigyang-diin ng opisyal na ang pagsuko ng mga aktibong kasapi, gayundin ng mga taga-suporta ng NPA, ay senyales na naniniwala ang mga ito na tapat ang hangarin ng pamahalaan sa pagsusulong ng pangmatagalang kapayapaan.

Samantala, sinabi ni Sacares na magpapatuloy ang Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) sa lalawigan upang mabigyan ng pansin ang mga conflict-affected communities.

“Aalamin natin kung ano ang mga problema sa kumunidad at idudulog natin sa mga tamang ahensya upang mabilis na matugunan,” saad pa ng opisyal. (VND/PIA MIMAROPA/Occ Min)

11K uniformed personnel, force multipliers to ensure peaceful SEAG

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): 11K uniformed personnel, force multipliers to ensure peaceful SEAG

CLARK FREEPORT ZONE, Pampanga, Nov.19 (PIA) -- Approximately 11,000 uniformed personnel and force multipliers are now deployed to ensure peace and security for events of the 30th South East Asian Games (SEA Games) in Central Luzon.

“From this figure, about 6,000 police personnel will be tasked to contribute to the goal of zero incident during the conduct of the SEA Games,” Acting Police Regional Director and Task Group (TG) Central Luzon Commander PBGen. Rhodel Sermonia said during Tuesday’s send-off ceremony which was led by Philippine National Police Officer-In-Charge PLtGen. Archie Gamboa.

Sermonia told his men and women on the ground to do their work with utmost diligence and due regard for public safety.


Approximately 11,000 uniformed personnel and force multipliers are now deployed to ensure peace and security for events of the 30thSouth East Asian Games (SEA Games) in Central Luzon. The 30th SEA Games officially opens on November 30 at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena at Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan. New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac will be hosting the Aquatics and Athletics events while Subic a number of outdoor events including Triathlon, Sailing and Beach Volleyball. (Police Regional Office 3)

“I assure the public that we are ready to ensure the safety and security of all the delegates and other spectators who will attend even if we have not monitored any threats to the SEA Games,” the official added.


Philippine National Police Officer-In-Charge PLtGen. Archie Gamboa attends the send-off ceremony of the uniformed personnel and force multipliers deployed for the 30thSouth East Asian Games in Central Luzon. (Police Regional Office 3)

“No Fly Zone” and “No Sail Zone” will also be implemented during the duration of the biennial meet particularly in Clark and Subic.

“While all security preparations are covered by TG Central Luzon, we appeal for full support and cooperation of the public through timely reports of any suspicious activity to prevent any eventualities or unfortunate incidents,” Sermonia added.

The 30th SEA Games officially opens on November 30 at the 55,000-seater Philippine Arena at Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan. New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac will be hosting the Aquatics and Athletics events while Subic Bay Freeport Zone a number of outdoor events including Triathlon, Sailing and Beach Volleyball. (CLJD-PIA 3)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1030439

459 rebels, supporters surrender in Central Luzon in span of 2 weeks

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): 459 rebels, supporters surrender in Central Luzon in span of 2 weeks

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija, Nov.19 (PIA) -- A total of 459 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and their supporters voluntarily surrendered to the folds of the government in just a span of two weeks.

This was done through the efforts of the 48th Infantry Battalion, 69th Infantry Battalion, 84th Infantry Battalion and 91st Infantry Battalion all under the 703rd Brigade.


A total of 459 members of the New People’s Army and their supporters voluntarily surrendered to the folds of the government in just a span of two weeks. This was done through the efforts of the 48th Infantry Battalion, 69th Infantry Battalion, 84th Infantry Battalion and 91st Infantry Battalion all under the 703rd Brigade. (7th Infantry Division)

“From November 6- 19, 81 NPA members, 19 Militia ng Bayan members and 359 NPA supporters yielded to the government. This was possible through the full support and cooperation of local government units, national government agencies and the residents of Central Luzon,” 703rd Brigade Commander Col. Andrew Costelo said.

He directed his Battalion Commanders to continue to collaborate with concerned government agencies and other civil society organizations for the necessary interventions, privileges and other assistance under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program to be given to the surrenderees.

“We are grateful that our government came up with EO 70, which is the Whole-of-Nation Approach to end insurgency in our country. We can also say that EO 70 is very much effective that our misguided fellow countrymen were enlightened and finally decided to lay down their arms and abandon their armed struggle because of the hardships and difficulties that they have experienced while in the underground movement. With their decision to return back to the folds of the law, they could at last enjoy a life free from fear and hiding. We will help them achieve that full kind of life,” Costelo added.


A total of 459 members of the New People’s Army and their supporters voluntarily surrendered to the folds of the government in just a span of two weeks. This was done through the efforts of the 48th Infantry Battalion, 69th Infantry Battalion, 84th Infantry Battalion and 91st Infantry Battalion all under the 703rd Brigade. (7th Infantry Division)

In a statement, 7th Infantry Division Commander Major General Lenard Agustin said he is very proud of the troops who made the immense volume of surrenderees possible.

“I am urging all the remaining members of the NPA, their Underground Movement and their supporters to return to the folds of the law and in response, we will do our duty to facilitate them to the mainstream of society and have peaceful lives. In doing so, they would contribute in attaining Peace and Development in Region 3,” Agustin furthered. (CLJD-PIA 3)


A total of 459 members of the New People’s Army and their supporters voluntarily surrendered to the folds of the government in just a span of two weeks. This was done through the efforts of the 48th Infantry Battalion, 69th Infantry Battalion, 84th Infantry Battalion and 91st Infantry Battalion all under the 703rd Brigade. (7th Infantry Division)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1030440

4 soldiers dead, 7 others hurt in Samar road crash

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): 4 soldiers dead, 7 others hurt in Samar road crash



ROAD TRAGEDY. A wing van truck that collided with a sports utility vehicle carrying soldiers in Apolonia village, Paranas, Samar on Tuesday morning (Nov. 19, 2019). At least four soldiers died and seven were injured during the incident. (Photo courtesy of Philippine National Police)

At least four soldiers died and seven others were injured on Tuesday when their sports utility vehicle collided with a truck on a highway in Apolonia village, Paranas, Samar.

Initial reports reaching the Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office in Palo, Leyte identified the casualties as Staff Sgt. Crisostomo Gabuay, Sgt. Sherwin Antonio, Sgt. Romel Ombrog, and 2nd Lt. Sharefe Cabanog.


The injured were identified as Lt. Col. Edgar Allan Orbito, Sgt. Nixon Abadiano, Mat Raymond Barante, Warren Dabut, Janica Obidos Baco, Jella Bacay Baccol, and Sheryl Sayasa Maurillo.

The soldiers are engaged in civil-military operations based in Hinabangan, Samar.

Based on the police report, the wing van truck heading to Catbalogan City slightly bumped into a tricycle loaded with four students, injuring both its driver and the passengers.

The truck moved to the opposite side of the highway and hit a moving Toyota Hilux, carrying the soldiers.

All the four soldiers died on the spot while all those wounded were rushed to Samar Provincial Hospital in Catbalogan City.

This is the second road crash involving soldiers this year in Samar province.

Last May, a soldier died while three of his companions were injured when the military vehicle they were riding in crashed into a parked truck in San Isidro village in Sta. Rita, Samar.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086419

Village councilman slain in NoCot ambush

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): Village councilman slain in NoCot ambush



Google map of Kabacan town, North Cotabato.

Unidentified gunmen shot dead a village councilor in Kabacan, North Cotabato on Monday, a police official said.

Col. Maximo Layugan, North Cotabato police director, identified victim as Freddie Balansiawan, 49, a village councilor in Barangay Cuyapon in Kabacan.


Layugan, quoting a report from the Kabacan police station, said Balansiawan was riding his motorbike when waylaid along a dirt road in Barangay Lower Paatan, also in Kabacan at about 3:30 p.m.

“The victim sustained fatal gunshot wounds in the head and body,” Layugan said.

Witnesses told police investigators that they saw four men leaving the crime scene after the shooting.

Police recovered empty shells for cal. 45-caliber pistol at the scene.

“Motive and identities of the suspects are still being determined while our investigation continues,” Layugan said.

Kabacan Mayor Herlo Guzman Jr. condemned the attack on Balansiawan and ordered the police to dig deeper and bring the perpetrators before the bar of justice.

While police are looking at “rido” (family feud) as a possible motive behind the ambush, Guzman wanted the police to explore further to determine what motivated the suspects to kill the village official.

At least three village officials have been separately murdered in Kabacan this year. Not one has been arrested yet to answer for the crimes.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086416

Samar farmer killed, village official hurt in NPA attack

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): Samar farmer killed, village official hurt in NPA attack



NPA ATTACK. The site in Inubod village in Matuguinao, Samar where the New People's Army (NPA) attacked a village official and a farmer on Monday (Nov. 18, 2019). The farmer died and the village official was slightly wounded. (Google image)

A farmer was killed and a village official was slightly wounded when 30 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) attacked them in the upland Inubod village in Matuguinao, Samar on Monday afternoon.

Killed was Dennis Diaz, a farmer residing in Nagpapacao village, Matuguinao town. Slightly injured was Edwin Velarde, a village council member of Nagpapacao.

“They were fired upon by a group of armed men believed to be members of the communist terrorist group armed with high powered long firearms. Unfortunately, Diaz was hit on his right biceps that resulted in his instantaneous death,”
the Philippine National Police (PNP) said in a report released to reporters on Tuesday.


The incident was only reported to the police station the day after since residents have to hike for hours to the town center from Inubod village.

Several villages in Matuguinao town has been tagged as NPA-threatened due to poor road networks from the town center and the high poverty incidence.

Matuguinao is a fifth-class town in Samar province with a population of 7,288 people. The town is 105 kilometers from Tacloban City, the regional capital.

About 60 percent of the population is living in poverty, based on the 2015 survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The local government of Matuguinao recently declared the NPA as persona non grata in their area.

The NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086441

Transfer of 63 NoCot villages to BARMM set

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): Transfer of 63 NoCot villages to BARMM set



IT’S A GO. Minister Naguib Sinarimbo (right) of the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government – Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (MILG – BARMM) answers a query from a Cotabato reporter about the scheduled Nov. 20 turnover of 63 villages of North Cotabato to the BARMM supervision. The BARMM official said all is set for the day-long turnover ceremony that will be held at Shariff Kabunsuan Complex, the provisional seat of the BARMM in Cotabato City. (Photo by PNA – Cotabato)
COTABATO CITY -- All is set for the official transfer of 63 North Cotabato villages to the supervision of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, with ceremonies to be held at Shariff Kabunsuan Complex, the provisional seat of the BARMM here, on Wednesday (Nov. 20).

“Officials of North Cotabato will be coming over to be part of the momentous event,”
lawyer Naguib Sinarimbo, chief of the BARMM Ministry of the Interior and Local Government, said during the weekly Kapihan sa BARMM on Tuesday.


Heading the group of North Cotabato officials would be Vice Governor Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza, the acting provincial governor, in place of Governor Nancy Catamco who is yet to complete her 90-day suspension on Nov. 21, 2019.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has earlier imposed a 90-day preventive suspension on Catamco, which began on Aug. 21, 2019, upon orders of the Sandiganbayan in connection with a graft and malversation case.

Sinarimbo said BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim, meanwhile, would lead Bangsamoro officials in a two-part ceremony – the accepting of the 63 North Cotabato villages in the morning and the reporting to the BARMM parliament of the turnover in the afternoon.

Of the 63 villages, 13 are from the town of Midsayap; Carmen , seven; Pigcawayan, 12; Kabacan, seven; Pikit, 22; and Aleosan, two. These North Cotabato villages opted to join the expanded BARMM set-up through a plebiscite held in February this year.

Sinarimbo said despite their transfer to BARMM, the 63 villages will continue to receive their Internal Revenue Allocation directly from the Department of Budget and Management.

“We will be putting up ministries in the BARMM’s North Cotabato set-up later so the delivery of basic government services would go unhampered,” he added, amid plans to create a special geographic cluster pending the creation of a new province for the area.

Sinarimbo said an invitation has been sent to DILG-Manila but did not say if DILG Secretary Eduardo Año would attend the event.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086429

DPWH chief inspects Bulacan military camp’s facilities

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): DPWH chief inspects Bulacan military camp’s facilities



INSPECTION. Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar (center) with Bulacan 2nd District Engineering Office district engineer Ramiro Cruz (extreme right), DPWH assistant regional director Denise Ayag (second from right) and Edgardo Pingol (second from left), chief of DPWH Maintenance Section inspect the construction of infrastructure facilities at Camp Tecson in San Miguel, Bulacan on Tuesday (Nov. 19, 2019). The construction is part of the government’s goal to show support to soldiers by modernizing and providing more capable facilities for their proper usage. (Photo courtesy of Bulacan 2nd DEO)

SAN MIGUEL, Bulacan — Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Secretary Mark A. Villar inspected on Tuesday the ongoing construction of infrastructure facilities inside a military camp here.

The projects being implemented inside Camp Tecson are under the Department of National Defense (DND)-DPWH Convergence Projects or the "Tatag ng Imprastraktura para sa Kapayapaan at Seguridad" (TIKAS).

Villar said the projects are part of the government’s effort to modernize the First Scout Ranger Regiment (FSRR) of the Philippine Army Special Operations Command, a unit specializing in anti-guerrilla jungle warfare, raids, ambushes, close-quarters combat, urban warfare and sabotage.


“There is an urgent need to equip the FSRR’s training school by constructing new facilities such as a multi-purpose building and transient quarters that will certainly boost the morale of our soldiers undergoing training here in Camp Tecson,” he said.

A total of four projects amounting to PHP59 million are ongoing and in various stages of implementation while six projects worth PHP83 million will be undertaken in year 2020 as part of the government’s continuous support to the soldiers.

Other improvements being undertaken by the Bulacan 2nd District Engineering Office (DEO) are the improvement and asphalt overlay of the camp’s perimeter road and the construction of a clubhouse.

DPWH regional director Roseller A. Tolentino, citing the report of district engineer Ramiro Cruz, said the construction of the administrative/battalion liaison office building, additional motor pool with vehicle repair shop, barracks and a multi-purpose center is set to be completed next year.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086434

4ID chief calls on female NPA rebels to yield, avoid exploitation

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): 4ID chief calls on female NPA rebels to yield, avoid exploitation



SEXUAL EXPLOITATION. The contraceptive pills, condoms, and porn materials recovered by government forces inside a New People's Army hideout in Barangay Kibongkog, San Fernando, Bukidnon on October 22 this year. Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal, chief of the Army's 4th Infantry Division, has called on female NPA members to surrender to avoid becoming sex slaves of their leaders in the communist rebel movement. (Photo courtesy of the Army's 4th Infantry Division)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- The chief of Army's 4th Infantry Division (4ID) has called on remaining female New People's Army (NPA) members to surrender to avoid becoming sex slaves of the communist rebel movement.

Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio Gacal issued the call on Monday in line with the 18-day Campaign to End Violence Against Women (VAW) organized by the Philippine Commission on Women.


Gacal said that for 50 years, NPA commanders have been violating their female combatants.

"They must respect the rights of our women and stop treating them as sex slaves," he said.

Gacal urged female NPA combatants to surrender "in order to be saved from sexual abuses."

"Together with the government, we will ensure that the female former rebels undergo the healing and reconciliation process through the help of DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) and other concerned government agencies for them to recover emotionally and psychologically and prepare them to return to mainstream society,” the 4ID commanding general said.

The 18-day Campaign to End VAW is observed from November 25 to December 12 every year to raise awareness on women's rights. This year’s observance is anchored on the theme “VAW-free community starts with me."

According to Gacal, 4ID has recorded cases of sexual exploitations against female NPA members perpetrated by their senior male cadres.

4ID cited the case of alias Wilma, 20, a former NPA medic from Magpet, North Cotabato, who revealed her experience as a victim of sexual abuse from an NPA commander.

“I joined the NPA because I am against sexual abuse and female exploitation. However, our NPA commander sexually abused us and neglected our rights as women,” Wilma was quoted as saying.

Alias Saisai, 32, also former NPA medic from Agusan del Norte was also raped by his NPA commander, 4ID said. Saisai evetually got pregnant but suffered miscarriage due to stress and hardships in the mountain.

"I was raped and threatened that he will kill my husband if I will inform the committee. I wanted to kill him for repeatedly abusing me sexually, he should be executed by death. I went lie-low due to sexual abuses and injustices in the NPA organization” Saisai was quoted by the Army as saying.

According to 4ID, sexual abuses were also confirmed when the troops of the Army's 88IB based in Maramag, Bukidnon recovered some contraceptive pills, condoms, and porn materials inside an NPA hideout in the forested area of Barangay Kibongkog, San Fernando, Bukidnon on October 22 this year.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086459

AFP not surprised by Zarate’s refusal to dialogue

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): AFP not surprised by Zarate’s refusal to dialogue



Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson (PNA File photo)

While hoping that Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate will accept the military's offer to explain the real agenda of the insurgency campaign of the government, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it is not actually surprised by the former's decision to reject the dialogue offer.

"We hoped they will but (we) are not actually surprised that the good Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate refused to accept our offer for well-meaning individuals and groups to sit down with the Armed Forces of the Philippines in a meaningful engagement for the sake of fellow Filipinos and the future of our children,"
AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, said in a statement forwarded to reporters Monday.


He said the possible refusal of Zarate to participate in the proposed dialogue may stem from the fact that he does not want to be confronted with mounting documentary and testimonial evidence that will bolster the government's findings of the communist terror group (CTG)'s infiltration of sectoral groups.

Arevalo said this includes the transfer of funds from foreign funding agencies to the CTG through witting or unwitting left-leaning organizations as conduits; deceptive recruitment and exploitation of minors and indigenous peoples to be New People’s Army (NPA) cadres and fighters; exploitation of issues involving women and children; and the alleged abuses of human rights.

He added that an outright refusal from Zarate is more palatable to the military than initially accepting it but will eventually not show up.

"We nonetheless make our continuing offer for people and organizations who genuinely desires to know why we in the AFP assert that 'red-tagging', 'vilification', 'crackdown', 'planting of evidence' among the many terms they used are merely for purposes of propaganda meant only to court sympathy," he said.

Words like "fascists" and "human rights violators" used by the communist rebels, he said, are meant to demonize soldiers who sacrificed their lives saving minors from the clutches of the NPA and fall prey to their treacherous attacks.

Compare this to the NPA rebels who willfully destroy heavy equipment used to build roads, bridges, and school buildings, Arevalo added.

"We reiterate our invitation to other like-minded groups, organizations, or individuals who desire to seek the truth on the activities, the cunning and the design of the CTG," he said.

He added that the military is making the same offer for institutions or individuals truly aspiring for lasting peace and inclusive development reign supreme for the nation's children.

"It will be a betrayal of trust for the AFP and for those who know who the real enemies are but fail to educate our people who were the wolves in sheep's clothing," Arevalo said.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086405

Group hits Dutch embassy's silence on call to bring Joma home

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): Group hits Dutch embassy's silence on call to bring Joma home



RELENTLESS. Even with the cold response from the Dutch embassy, anti-communist group Liga Filipinas Independencia still pushes for its demand to have the embassy cooperate in bringing back Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison here. The group's spokesperson, Nolan Tiongco, said they are set to take bolder actions and communicate directly with the Dutch government's parliament. (PNA file photo by Christine Cudis)

An anti-communist group believes the Embassy of the Netherlands in the Philippines "already has their bias" on their call to help bring Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison back home.

In an interview on Tuesday, Liga Filipinas Independencia spokesperson Nolan Tiongco expressed dismay over the move of the Dutch embassy to ignore their protests outside its building in Makati City.

“Tingin ko po dyan sympathizer sila ni Joma Sison, kaya malamig ang response nila sa amin (I think, they are sympathizers of Joma Sison, that’s why they are responding coldly to us),”
he said.


The Dutch embassy, in an e-mail last Nov. 12, said “the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands acknowledges receipt of your message and does not wish to comment to the press on the series of protests held in front of its office.”

Tiongco added that given this, their group is more determined to continue with the protest.

“The public’s support is making us go back here every time. And the group is getting bigger with the participation of parent groups who also want Sison to face his charges,” he said.

Parent organizations Hands Off our Children and League of the Parents of the Philippines also shared the group’s demand to bring Sison back to the country so "they may get justice".

“It is justice for us, our children who have been deceived into joining the leftist organizations Kabataan and Anakbayan that support CPP and New People’s Army (NPA),” Remy Rosadio said in a phone interview.

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

Tiongco, meanwhile, said they are sending a letter to a member of the parliament of the Dutch government.

The group, he said, will stage a rally on Wednesday (Nov. 20), this time, with a “stronger statement.”

The group has held multiple protests in front of the Dutch embassy since April 2019, as they seek the embassy's cooperation to bring back Sison to the Philippines.

On August 28, the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 ordered Sison's arrest for his alleged involvement in a multiple murder case filed in 2007 related to the alleged purge of his communists.

Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Armed Forces of the Philippines Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations, said Sison made the call to kill thousands of the communists after he thought they were deep penetration agents of the government.

Former Philippine National Police chief Oscar Albayalde, on September 10, revealed plans to ask the Netherlands to drop Sison's asylum on the basis of the new arrest warrant against him.

Albayalde was also set to ask the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to issue a red notice against the CPP founder.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086447

US-PH alliance strong, adaptable to challenges: Sec. Esper

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): US-PH alliance strong, adaptable to challenges: Sec. Esper



US DEFENSE CHIEF IN PH. US Defense Secretary Mark Esper exchange pleasantries with ranking security officials upon his arrival in Manila on Tuesday (Nov. 19, 2019). Esper met with his Filipino counterpart, Department of National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, to discuss issues of mutual concern including on security. (Photo courtesy of the US Secretary Defense Facebook page)

The alliance between the United States and the Philippines is strong and continues to adapt to meet the challenges of the future.

"The alliance between the United States and the Philippines is deep-rooted and founded in our shared and common values. Our alliance remains strong and it continues to adapt to meet the challenges of the future.," US Department of Defense (DOD) Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday.

Esper discussed a range of shared security interests and issues with his Filipino counterpart, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

During the meeting, he reiterated Washington's commitment to the Philippines' 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty whose applicability to the entire Pacific Region include the South China Sea.

"It is crucial that we stand together to preserve freedom of navigation and overflight and other lawful uses of the sea. The United States rejects attempts by any nation to use coercion or intimidation to advance its national interests at the expense of others," Esper added.

Also, the DOD chief said both countries must continue to work closely together to uphold the security and prosperity experienced by the alliance in the past 70 years.

Esper also maintained that counter-terrorism cooperation between the US and the Philippines remains an important part of the defense relations between the two countries.

He cited the example of Operation Pacific Eagle Philippines which he said continues to successfully counter Islamic State affiliates and other violent extremist organizations threatening the country.

"We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in fighting terrorism. The United States remains committed to supporting the Philippines' continued efforts to deny terrorist groups a safe haven in the region," Esper added.

The DOD chief said that he also discussed with Lorenzana a number of other areas to strengthen defense cooperation including helping modernize the AFP and improving the country's maritime security in domain awareness.

"We look forward to train in future joint air and maritime patrols to improve our interoperability and to demonstrate our commitment to upholding the long-standing international rules and norms. We also discussed opportunities to enhance our joint military exercises, to strengthen cyber-security awareness and to improve defense infrastructure to further implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement," he added.

Esper said he was also very pleased with the outcome of Tuesday's meeting, adding that the US' alliance with the Philippines is absolutely vital to the security and stability of Indo-Pacific which is their priority region.

"I'm confident that as we continue to work closely together we will meet the challenges of the future and preserve the gains that both our nations have worked so hard to achieve," he said.

Meanwhile, Lorenzana said the more than 70 years of friendship between the US and the Philippines defense establishments have continued to grow stronger despite some setbacks between the overall bilateral relations.

He, however, said such matters are normal in any partnership and despite this, defense relationship between the two countries have proven enduring through the years.

"The Philippines and the US have shared long history spanning more than 70 years as friends, partners and allies. and those years cooperation has spanned in the areas of political, economic and socio-cultural relations in our ties including that, between our defense establishments have continued to grow stronger," Lorenzana said.

Esper left the US last week to attend the 51st US-Republic of Korea Security Consultative Meeting before heading towards Thailand to participate in the ASEAN-Defense Minister Meeting Plus.

After his visit to the Philippines, the US Defense Secretary will proceed to Vietnam to discuss the regional security environment and how to further boost the defense relations between the two countries.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086462

Duterte wants focus on 'conflict-prone' areas to stop insurgency

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 19, 2019): Duterte wants focus on 'conflict-prone' areas to stop insurgency



COMMAND CONFERENCE. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte presides over the Joint National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict and the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Philippine National Police (AFP-PNP) Command Conference at the Malacañan Palace Monday (Nov. 18, 2019). Duterte emphasized the need for the government to focus on "conflict-prone" communities in an effort to stop the decades-old communist insurgency in the country. (Presidential photo by Albert Alcain)

President Rodrigo Duterte has emphasized the need for the government to focus on "conflict-prone" communities in an effort to stop the decades-old communist insurgency in the country.

Duterte made the call during a joint command conference with the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and the Philippine National Police (PNP) held at Malacañan Palace on Monday, National Security Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said on Tuesday.


"During the joint conference, the President stressed his desire to put an end to the more than 50 years of communist insurgency, saying that the effort is for future generations," Esperon said in a statement.

Duterte, as quoted by Esperon, said during the joint command conference: "If we cannot solve this problem now, our children will be confronted with this problem still. Ako gusto ko tapusin na lahat (I want to end this)."

On November 23, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Proclamation 360, formally scrapping the peace talks between state peace negotiators and consultants of the Communist Party of the Philippines' (CPP) political wing, the National Democratic Front (NDF).

Proclamation 360 provides that the CPP, NDF, and its armed wing New People's Army (NPA) failed to show sincerity in pursuing "genuine and meaningful" peaceful negotiations, despite the "best efforts" exerted by the Duterte administration.

On December 4, 2018, Duterte signed Executive Order (EO) 70, which institutionalizes the whole-of-nation approach that will be implemented by the NTF-ELCAC in a bid to attain "inclusive and sustainable peace."

'Challenges, limitations' need to be addressed

Esperon said the President provided guidance in addressing the challenges and limitations faced by government units on the ground in dealing with the communist movement.

"He (Duterte) further stressed the need to focus on conflict-prone communities, as he called on those present to ensure that the roots of the communist insurgency would be addressed through enhanced programs and harmonized efforts in providing for basic needs such as housing, water, education, and health," he said.

The National Security Adviser noted that nearly 400 government executives attended the joint command conference.

He said participants were Cabinet members; the Cabinet Officers for Regional Development and Security (CORDS) and their government consultants; heads of the Regional Development Councils and Regional Peace and Order Councils; and, the top brass and senior commanders of the AFP and the PNP.

"President Duterte called the special joint meeting to call the entire government to action in finally putting an end to the atrocities of the Communist Terrorist Group," he said.

"The participants acknowledged that the President, through his unrelenting commitment to bring change to the lives of Filipinos, had provided an enabling environment for the NTF-ELCAC operationalization," Esperon added.

The CPP-NPA has been tagged as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

To achieve the President's goal of ending local communist armed conflict, Esperon said the Retooled Community Support Program is now being implemented in areas with vulnerable populations to ensure the improved delivery of basic services.

Esperon added that the government's milestone programs such as free tertiary education, free irrigation, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, universal health care program, ease of doing business, "Build, Build, Build" infrastructure program, and intensified implementation of land reform have enhanced the living conditions of the Filipino people.

"This underscores the thrust of Executive Order 70 in placing good governance, through the whole-of-nation approach, at the center of the government's campaign against communist armed conflict," he said.

"By his (Duterte) staunch drive against corruption and for the passage of fundamental policy reforms and laws that address the root causes of armed conflict, the business of governance was made easier and more efficient," Esperon stressed.

Duterte wants 'greater' participation

Esperon said the NTF-ELCAC has so far organized 17 regional task forces led by the CORDS, while the local chief executives have led the provincial, municipal or city, and village task forces.

He said 12 Clusters or Lines of Efforts have also been organized to support the NTF-ELCAC at all levels.

Focused military operations, as well as delivery of basic services and infrastructure and provision of livelihood projects, have been launched in insurgency-affected villages, Esperon added.

Esperon said the Commander-in-Chief closed the session by prodding local governments for "greater" participation in the NTF-ELCAC for future generations.

"Through the combined efforts both at the national and regional levels, thousands of rebels have returned to the folds of the law," he said.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1086488

Monday, November 18, 2019

CPP/NDF-Negros: Class contradiction behind the economic and political attacks in Negros

NDF-Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Nov 18, 2019): Class contradiction behind the economic and political attacks in Negros

BAYANI OBRERO
SPOKESPERSON
NDF-NEGROS
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES
NOVEMBER 18, 2019

The reactionary government and big comprador bourgeoisie – landlords are fussing over the future of the sugar industry particularly in Negros Island. However, in reality, the sugar workers in the sugarcane fields and sugar centrals are the slaves of exploitation wherein bureaucrat-landlords and big compradors overindulge on huge profits from their labor.

Negros is the seat of power of despotic bureaucrat-landlords and bourgeois compradors who control Negros’ economy and politics. Central and South Negros are ruled by the families of the Cojuangcos, Alvarezes, Zaycos, Solas, Hinojaleses, Montillas and the Lamatas while the Marañons, Lacsons, Ledesmas, Ballesteroses, Montelibanos and the Golezes hold power in North Negros. Big bourgeois compradors such as the Lopezes, Tans, Sys, Gokongweis, Chans and Pangilinans who own the sugar centrals, bio-ethanol plants, real estate and other businesses also have economic interests rooted here. This is the principal reason why Negros is a priority of the Duterte regime’s military campaign — in order to protect the interest of the ruling class.

Amidst the crisis of the sugar industry, farm workers and sugar mill workers engage in a protracted struggle to fight for their legitimate demands like wage, benefits and the right to organize along with their struggle to achieve genuine land reform and national industrialization.

There is class interest in subduing the growing struggle of the people against Duterte’s fascist-tyrannical reign. The Negrosanons encountered the brutal de facto martial law resulting to widespread extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, red-tagging and trumped-up charges and planting of evidences-firearms-grenades-bombs under the Duterte regime’s Memorandum Order 32 and Executive Order 70.

The Joint Task Force – Negros of the AFP/PNP under the whole-of-nation approach of Duterte takes part in the cycle of failures against the revolutionary movement. It shows the eagerness of the ruling class to resolve the social crisis using violent instruments of the state but actually these only set ablaze the courageous struggle of the oppressed classes.

As class struggle between the exploited classes and the exploiting class sharpens so will the determination of the oppressed classes to advance armed struggle to end the rotten US-Duterte regime.

Carry through national industrialization and genuine land reform! Fight the liberalization of rice ang the sugar industry!

Forward the People’s Democratic Revolution!

Fight, overcome fear!

https://cpp.ph/statement/class-contradiction-behind-the-economic-and-political-attacks-in-negros/

100,000 Maranao sign petition to halt planned military camps in Marawi

From Rappler (Nov 18, 2019): 100,000 Maranao sign petition to halt planned military camps in Marawi

Increased military presence in the war-ravaged city may rile up residents' cultural and religious sensitivities, and take up land that has historic meaning to the Maranao people, the petitioners say


More than 100,000 people from Marawi City and Lanao del Sur province signed a petition asking President Rodrigo Duterte to halt the government's plan to build new military camps in the war-ravaged city.

Marawi-based civic groups SAKSI Radio Forum and Ranaw Confederation for Peace brought their petition to the Office of the President in Malacañang late afternoon on Friday, November 15.

The petitioners were still waiting for a response from the President on Monday, November 18, their spokesperson Abo Hayyan Malomalo told Rappler.

The petitioners warned that increasing military presence in Marawi would go against the Maranao's cultural and religious sensitivities, and could lead to unrest.

"We are all one and united in our stand that establishing a new military camp could bring about social and political repercussions or spark cultural sensitivity that may possibly lead to social unrest or chaos if adverse effects arise [from it], not to mention the ultimate plan to institutionalize it as a military industrial base," the groups said in their petition.

"The Maranaos vehemently oppose or resent the idea," they added.

The petitioners also expressed concern that the plan would expose Maranao women to non-Muslim men, and any violation of their "gender sensitivity" and "Maratabat" or sense of honor could result in violence.

They also worry that an influx of non-Maranao military families would bring about "possible changes in the political landscape" of Marawi, and these newcomers would have "undue influence" if they "actively participate in electoral exercises" once they become legal residents of the city.

Besides these, Malomalo said the land has become part of Maranao history, to which their identity is inextricably tied.

"Mahalaga po iyan dahil future po ng aming mga anak, generation ang nakataya diyan. Nandiyan po ang mga libingan ng aming mga magulang. Historic po 'yan," Malomalo said.

(That is important because our children's future and generations are at stake. Our forebears are buried there. That's historic.)

The Maranao people of Lanao del Sur and its capital, Marawi, early on opposed plans to build new military camps as part of the government's program to reconstruct the city after the 5-month battle against the pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Maute terror group that began in May 2017.

This recent signature campaign began in October, when the Philippine Army secured writs of possession, or recovery orders from a legal court, for more than 10 hectares of land in barangays Caloocan East and Kapantaran in Marawi's most affected area (MAA), the city's commercial hub almost completely destroyed by the fighting.

Some 2,000 hectares of Marawi City were declared a military reservation in 1953, and the military would merely be reacquiring land it really owned, Housing Secretary and Task Force Bangon Marawi chief Eduardo del Rosario earlier said.

The Philippine Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade already has a camp in Marawi, but adding new ones is necessary to stamp out terror threats in and around the city, Major General Jesus Sarsagat, Army chief of staff, said on October 14.

Different Maranao groups have complained and decried the government's insistence on keeping Marawi's roughly 100,000 remaining displaced residents out of the city's MAA until all unexploded bombs and other safety hazards are cleared, which could take until mid-2021.

That's just too long, Maranao civic leaders have said. Meanwhile, security experts warn that the people's resentment could become fodder for radicalization, and help terror groups recruit new fighters among the desperate and homeless.

Malomalo said they expect Duterte to grant their petition, "dahil galing ito sa mga internally displaced person, at alam natin na may dugong Maranao ang President, and we trusted him as our President (because this came from internally displaced persons, and we know that the President has Maranao blood, and we trusted him as our President)."

Duterte has claimed a number of times that his mother was of Maranao descent.

Although hoping for the best, the petitioners are looking at other legal remedies should they receive a negative response from the President, Malomalo said.

https://www.rappler.com/nation/245202-maranao-petition-halt-military-camps-marawi

More military assets to be deployed in Sulu

From the Philippine Star (Nov 19, 2019): More military assets to be deployed in Sulu

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — More military equipment will be deployed in Sulu to help ground forces defeat Abu Sayyaf bandits and neutralize foreign terrorists hiding on the island.

Armed Forces chief Gen. Noel Clement announced during his visit to the Western Mindanao Command last week the acquisition for the Light Armor Battalion of additional C-130s and the arrival of a C295 personnel transport plane, attack helicopters, a Navy warship and armored tanks, which are equipped with sophisticated weapon systems that can hit long-range targets, Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Westmincom chief, said.


More military equipment will arrive as part of the AFP modernization program, Clement said.

“Once the AFP declares the new equipment as mission-capable, it will be deployed in Westmincom to help ground forces address threat groups,“ Sobejana said.

He said the AFP chief’s assurance and support boosted the morale of ground forces, given President Duterte’s order to neutralize Abu Sayyaf bandits before the end of this year.

Sobejana said Clement also ordered pursuit operations for the remaining foreign terrorists being coddled by Abu Sayyaf bandits to prevent them from staging suicide bombings.

”We do not want these activities to occur in Sulu or any part of the country,” Clement told government troopers.
 
https://www.philstar.com/nation/2019/11/19/1969889/more-military-assets-be-deployed-sulu

Cagayan Valley NPA leader surrenders

From the Philippine Star (Nov 19, 2019): Cagayan Valley NPA leader surrenders

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — A leader of the New People’s Army recently surrendered to government troopers in Isabela.

Identified only by his aliases of Popoy and Marlboro,
the military said the surrenderee was a squad leader of the Sentro Grabidad Unit Central Front of the Komiteng Rehiyon-Cagayan Valley.


The Northern Luzon Command said the former rebel, who reportedly had four children, escaped from the underground movement on Nov. 11, saying he wants to have a peaceful life with his family.

Two 5.56 rifles, 12 magazines, 230 bullets, a handheld radio, a bandoleer, improvised explosive devices and bomb materials were among those turned over by the surrenderee, according to Lt. Col. Gladius Calilan of the 95th Infantry Battalion.

Arevalo warns youth vs Reds’ deceptive recruitment scheme

From the Sun Star-Bacolod (Nov 18, 2019): Arevalo warns youth vs Reds’ deceptive recruitment scheme

A MILITARY official has warned students against the alleged deception made by rebels, who are recruiting youth into their organization.

Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, made the emphasis in a short lecture at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, November 16, on the “Deceptive Youth Recruitment Strategy of the CPP-NPA-NDF” to the parents and students of Colegio de Sta. Ana de Victorias (CSAV), Victorias City, Negros Occidental.

Arevalo, who was invited as guest of honor and speaker for the Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) Presentation of Sponsors and Recognition of Parents, showed to the 600 faculty, parents and students a short animated video entitled “Pindoy,” exposing the modus of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People's Army, and National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in deceiving and misleading the youth to join the NPA.

During the lecture, the military commander also emphasized the CPP-NPA-NDF’s schemes on infiltrating different schools, state colleges and universities in the country.

He also warned the students to be wary of joining NDF organizations since some intend to corrupt or mislead them, clarifying the distinction of “activism” from “supporting terrorism.”

“Activism is not a crime, but supporting terrorism is a crime," Arevalo said.

"Our government respects the right to academic freedom. However, a student joining the NPA or supporting terrorist organizations is illegal and a crime,” he added.

Arevalo received a Certificate of Appreciation from the CSAV faculty headed by lawyer Romeo Vincente Sta. Ana Jr.; Dr. Nemia Yorac, Dean of Instruction; and Dr. Nelly Parreño, Research Director and Officer-In-Charge.

https://www.sunstar.com.ph/article/1832468

Parents, students warned vs NPA enticements

From Panay News (Nov 18, 2019): Parents, students warned vs NPA enticements

BACOLOD City – “Activism is not a crime, but supporting terrorism is a crime.”

This was Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade commander Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo’s stark reminder to parents and students in Victorias City, Negros Occidental.

Arevalo was the guest of honor and speaker during the Reserve Officer Training Corps Presentation of the Colegio de Sta Ana de Victorias on Saturday.

He urged both the students and their parents to be wary of student organizations which he believed to have been infiltrated by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

“Our government respects the right to academic freedom, however a student joining the NPA or supporting terrorist organizations is illegal and a crime,”
Arevalo stressed.


Arevalo also showed a short animated video entitled “Pindoy”, exposing the modus of the in deceiving and misleading the youth to join the CPP-NPA.

https://www.panaynews.net/parents-students-warned-vs-npa-enticements/

Grandson of ex-Kabankalan mayor slain in ambush

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 18, 2019): Grandson of ex-Kabankalan mayor slain in ambush

The grandson of the late Kabankalan Mayor Pablo Sola was killed in an ambush around 5 p.m. Sunday.

John Paul Sola, 38, was driving his McArthur type jeep, when f
our unidentified assailants fired upon him as his vehicle was crossing a bridge in Barangay Camansi, Kabankalan, Negros Occidental.

Police Colonel Romeo Baleros, provincial police director, said witnesses claimed that Sola’s assailants raised a clenched fist leading investigators to suspect that the New People’s Army could be behind the killing.


The killing that happened about 10 kilometers from the Kabankalan police station was reported an hour after the incident.

https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1191219/grandson-of-ex-kabankalan-mayor-slain-in-ambush

PH strengthens border security with Indonesia, Malaysia

From UNTV News & Rescue (Nov 18, 2019): PH strengthens border security with Indonesia, Malaysia


Participants are seen gathering near a Royal Malaysian Navy (RAM) patrol gunboat at the port of Zamboanga City, southern Philippines, 27 November 2018. The RMN is participating the Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines (INDOMALPHI) 4th Trilateral Maritime training exercise to enhance joint patrol with the three navies aiming to combat the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group and pirates operating in the common borders of the three nations in southern Philippines. EPA-EFE/LAURENZ CASTILLO

Backdoor entry through the Philippines southern border has made the country susceptible to threats from foreign terrorists.

Thus, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has been working with its neighboring countries Indonesia and Malaysia to further strengthen its border security.

In 2017, the three countries entered into an agreement coined as ‘INDOMALPHI’ or Indonesia, Malaysia, and Philippines Trilateral Cooperative Agreement which commits the three nations to securing common borders.


“If ever there are reports from let’s say Indonesia or Malaysia that they going here, they have to share that information (to prevent entry of terrorists),” explained AFP Chief of Staff General Noel Clement.

“The same is true also if we have reports that we have fighters that are coming here and going to their respective countries,” he added.

The AFP admits, however, that the lack of floating assets of its naval arm – the Philippine Navy – gives foreign terrorists the chance to penetrate the country’s territories like the suicide bombers in the Sulu attack.

Worse, these terrorists teach their local counterparts how to create explosives and execute their plans, according to Clement.

“Ang kanilang intention bakit sila nandito is para makapag-conduct ng kanilang mga terroristic activities particular ang pagbobomba (Their intentions for entering our territory include conducting terrorist activities particularly bombings),” the official said.

“Hindi natin dapat payagan ito because kapag naisagawa nila yung kanilang mga hangarin na ito ay maraming mape-perwisyo at madadamay, (We won’t allow that because if they succeed in their plans, many people will suffer),” he added.

The ‘INDOMALPHI” is conducting joint maritime exercises aimed at strengthening capabilities against sea-jacking, piracy, smuggling and other illegal activities at sea.

Meanwhile, the AFP also tapped the support of the fishing industry in ZAMBASULTA area to augment as force multipliers in guarding and protecting the waters within the Philippine territorial jurisdiction.

https://www.untvweb.com/news/ph-strengthens-border-security-with-indonesia-malaysia/

Family of suicide bombers behind attacks in Sulu, military says

From ABS-CBN (Nov 19, 2019): Family of suicide bombers behind attacks in Sulu, military says

A family of suicide bombers was responsible for a series of suicide blasts in Sulu this year, a top military official said Monday.

Major General Corleto Vinluan, the commander of 11th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Sulu, said DNA test results showed the lone female suicide bomber who launched an attack near a military camp in the village of Kajatian in Indanan, Sulu last Sept. 8, was the mother of one of the 3 suicide bombers who were killed in a shootout with government forces in the village of Kan Islam in same town on Nov. 5.
3 suspected suicide bombers killed in Sulu

The Egyptian national identified only as Abduramil, who was also killed during the shootout, was also confirmed by Vinluan as the spouse of the female suicide bomber.

“Bale lumalabas na 'yung kasama nung latest noong November 5, 'yung relationship nung dalawa is parang stepson niya, isang pamilya lang sila. Last year niya inasawa yung naunang suicide bomber,” Vinluan said.

Abduramil has a teenager son, who is also in Sulu allegedly helping local bandits.

Abduramil and his son settled in Sulu last 2017 after allegedly training with an ISIS-related group in the Middle East.

Not long after, he met his Filipina wife, who was also connected with the Abu Sayyaf group.

Abduramil allegedly convinced his Filipina wife and his stepson to carry two separate suicide bombing missions.

The first attack happened near a military camp in the village of Kajatian, wherein the woman blew herself up using a vest packed explosives.

The second mission was foiled by the military, after Abduramil, his stepson, and a local bandit was killed in a shootout with government forces in the village of Kan Islam.

“Sa isinagawa ng DNA test ng ating PNP ay tumugma nga po 'yung unang suspect which is a female doon sa pangalawang suicide bomber po natin, yung bata," said Major Arvin John Encinas, spokesperson of the Western Mindanao Command.

“Yun 'yung lumalabas sa ating investigation na family nga itong mga suspect, dahil ang unang suspect noong nagdaang suicide bombers na isang female at the same time yung pangalawa nga, ay nakita po natin at lumalabas sa ating investigation na iisang family lang po ito," he added.

Encinas said Abduramil’s son is among the five foreign terrorists, including 4 Indonesians, who are being hunted down by the military in Sulu.

Vinluan said based on intelligence reports, the four Indonesians are related to the two suicide bombers who attacked the Jolo Cathedral on Jan. 27 this year, which left 22 persons dead and more than 100 injured.

Indonesian suicide bombers behind Jolo blasts: Año

In the entire Mindanao, at least 50 suspected foreign terrorists are being tracked down by authorities.

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/11/18/19/family-of-suicide-bombers-behind-attacks-in-sulu-military-says