Friday, July 19, 2019

PRRD to NPA rebels: Come down, take skills training

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 19, 2019): PRRD to NPA rebels: Come down, take skills training

TAGUM CITY, Davao del Norte (PIA) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday (July 16) urged communist rebels to end their five decades-long insurgency — especially now that many of their comrades and supporters have surrendered to the government.

“Tell those who are still in the mountains to come down,” the President said in a speech at the turnover of 34 housing units here to former members of New People’s Army.

The President handed the certificates of house and lot ownership to rebel returnees and assured those who would abandon the armed movement that the government would give them housing units and skills trainings.


Firearms surrendered by former NPA rebels.

Wasted resources
The President said he viewed the conflict between the government and the communists terrorist groups (CTGs) that had dragged on for 53 years as undue wastage of substantial government resources.

“Pagka-anugan sa kwarta. Sayang! (It's a waste of money!),” he lamented as he renewed his call for communist rebels to come to the fold of the law and begin a new life “while I am still the President.”

Addressing the youth among the returnees, the President told them to go back to school and make education as their capital to improve their lives.

Take skills training

He encouraged returnees to take vocational courses to equip themselves with skills, noting the in-demand status of blue collar competencies, such as carpentry and wielding, in the country and abroad.

“Magsabot ta surrender na mo pero pagkahuman, pagtuon mo ug skills training (Let’s make this agreement. You surrender then take on skills training),” he said.

He revealed that the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) had substantial funds for technical and vocational education.

Addressing TESDA Director General Isidro Lapeña, the President said he wanted a skills training center set up at the returnees' housing site.

“Either dad-on ngari (bring them here) or I will provide you transportation,” he said, referring to the returnees' easy access to training facilities.

Self-contained community

The President said he planned to develop a “self-contained” community of returnees in Tagum City.

“Patindugan nako eskwelahan ngari. Para wala moy maingon si Duterte sige lang saad (I will have a school built here so you cannot say that I keep on just promising),” he said.

He said he also considered putting up a wet market near the housing site and a day care center on top of a school for elementary and high school, or even college education.

The President said he wanted the returnees' children to finish their studies and join the Reserve Officers Training Corps in college.

Nothing in return

The President made it clear with the returnees that he was asking nothing back from them except their patriotism and their cooperation to end the armed conflict.

“Ang akong pangayuon nga maka-Pilipino ka. Tabangi ninyo kay mao ni ang nasod sa inyong anak. Timan-i jud na. (What I am asking from you is be a patriotic Filipino. You should help me because this is the country of your children.),” he said.

The housing site, known as Freedom Residences, was intended for soldiers and policemen but due to the exigency of providing housing units to former rebels NHA General Manager Marcelino Escalada recommended that it be awarded to returnees.

The AFP and PNP housing boards waived their rights over the Freedom Residences, which can accommodate 375 beneficiaries under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integrated Program.

Constructed by Stone Rise Home Realty & Development Corp., the Freedom Residences covers 3 hectares of land for “enhanced row-house with loft.”

The beneficiaries, mostly from the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao Oriental and Compostela Valley, had an interaction with the President after the turnover rites. (PIA-11)

PRRD witnesses demilitarization of NPA weapons

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 19, 2019): PRRD witnesses demilitarization of NPA weapons

Featured Image



Army personnel destroy the firearms surrendered by members of the communist New People's Army.

TAGUM CITY,  Davao del Norte (PIA)—President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday (July 16) witnessed the destruction of about 50 firearms surrendered by members of the communist New People’s Army.

The firearms, mostly assault rifles, were cut by circular saws, according to the Department of National Defense.

The event was only ceremonial as the military follows a procedure in weapons disposal, which involves burning of the chopped weapons.

The President was accompanied by Sen. Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager Marcelino P. Escalada, Jr., and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairman Eduardo del Rosario.

After the demilitarization ceremony, the President proceeded to the turnover rites of 34 housing units for the former communist rebels.

The housing site, known as Freedom Residences, was developed by the National Housing Authority (NHA) for returnees who were processed as beneficiaries of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Also in attendance during the housing turnover and demilitarization rites  were Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año, Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, AFP Vice Chief of Staff Vice Admiral Gaudencio Collado Jr., PNP Chief Gen. Oscar L Albayalde, Eastmincom Commander Lt. Gen. Filemon T Santos, Jr., 10th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Jose C. Faustino Jr., 4th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Franco Nemesio M. Gacal; Land Bank of the Philippines president and CEO Cecilia C. Borromeo, and Office of the President Undersecretary Nelson J. Estares.

Local government officials present were Davao del Norte Governor Edwin Jubahib, Davao del Norte House Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, Compostela Valley Rep. Ruwel Peter Gonzaga, Tagum City Mayor Allan L. Rellon, Davao del Norte Board Members, Tagum City Councilors.  (PIA-11)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1024731

Tagalog News: Grupo ng mga magsasaka itinakwil ang teroristang CPP-NPA sa Agusan del Norte

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 19, 2019): Tagalog News: Grupo ng mga magsasaka itinakwil ang teroristang CPP-NPA sa Agusan del Norte



BAYAN NG BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte, Hulyo 19 (PIA) -- Mahigit 100 miyembro ng Unyon ng Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Norte o UMAN ang nagkaisang itakwil ang CPP-NPA terrorists o CNT sa kanilang lugar. Ang UMAN ay isang grupo ng mga magsasaka na sumusuporta sa mga CPP-NPA kung saan ang pagrerecruit ng mga magsasaka ang pangunahing pinagkukuhaan ng kanilang lakas, pera at logistics at papangakuhang bibigyan ng lupang sasakahin.

Sa ginawang peace consultation dialogue ng 23rd Infantry Masigasig Battalion ng Philippine Army na pinangunahan ng commanding officer na si Lt. Col. Francisco Molina, nanumpa ang mga magsasaka na itakwil ang mga CPP-NPA at maging loyal sa gobyerno.

Ayon kay alias Joseph, kung alam lang nila ang totoong layunin ng UMAN, hindi na sana sila sasama sa kilusang ito.



Ang mga magsasaka ay nangakong magbabago at gagawin ang lahat sa pamamagitan ng programang binigay sa kanila nga gobyerno.

Ipinaliwanag din ni Lola Agnes, isang dating rebelde, sa mga magsasaka ang mga ginawang panlilinlang at tactics ng mga teroristang grupo sa kanila.

"Hangga't may armado sa lugar ninyo, hindi kayo uunlad. Kung talagang para sa bayan pinaglalaban ng mga NPA, bakit nila sinisira ang mga tulay at gusali na itinayo ng gobyerno? Bakit sa loob ng 50 taon wala silang naitayong paaralan, tulay, kalsada, health centers o kahit mamigay man lang ng mga gamot," dagdag pa ni Lola Agnes.

Featured Image

Matatandaang kamakailan lang ay may mahigit 200 na mga magsasaka ang naunang tumakwil sa teroristang grupo sa probinsya ng Agusan del Norte. (NCLM/PIA-Agusan del Norte)

54 Samar villages tagged as priority in anti-NPA drive

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2019): 54 Samar villages tagged as priority in anti-NPA drive



COMMUNITY SUPPORT PROGRAM. A female soldier serves food to children during the conduct of a community support program in an upland village in Lope de Vega, Northern Samar. The activity aims to facilitate the government’s development programs with the army hearing issues and concerns of villagers and bringing them to the attention of concerned government offices. (Photo courtesy of Army 43rd Infantry Batallion)

The Philippine Army has initially identified 54 villages in the Samar provinces as priorities for the delivery of needed projects and services by the newly created regional task force on ending insurgency.

Brig. Gen. Eliezer Losañes, assistant commander of the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said on Thursday that government agencies should immediately address the concerns of these communities to counter the influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

“We have submitted the first batch of barangays (villages) and the corresponding issues that should be addressed by different clusters. We believe that we cannot end insurgency with just military operations. It needs a whole-(of)-nation approach,” Losañes told task force members during a workshop at the office of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA).

Of the 54 areas, 28 had been threatened by the terrorist group while 26 are vulnerable to armed struggle.

These villages are located in Can-avid and Dolores in Eastern Samar; Calbiga, Pinabacdao, Basey, San Jose de Buan, Gandara, Matuguinao, and Calbayog City in Samar; Las Navas, Mondragon, Lope de Vega, and Catarman in Northern Samar.

Government troops have come up with a list of needs through their community support program, an initiative of the military to facilitate the government’s development programs by hearing issues and concerns of villagers and bringing them to the attention of concerned government offices.

Among the issues raised were land titling, poor infrastructure, absence of water and electricity, poor health services, poor irrigation system, classroom shortage, lack of livelihood opportunities, poor access of farmers to market, high farming production costs, lack of toilet facilities, absence of post-harvest facilities, political discrimination, and the very low price of copra.
The list of specific areas and issues had been provided to concerned government agencies, which are members of the regional task force on ending local communist and armed conflict.

“Resolving these issues requires more resources. We cannot execute everything since there are long-term projects where other agencies are mandated to implement. The Philippine Army has no capability to solve all of these,” Losañes said.

The army official reminded government agencies to immediately act on these concerns to completely put an end to insurgency in Samar Island.

“If the government fails to deliver what is expected, it would be an opportunity for (the) NPA to find fault and encourage people in upland areas to join the rebellion,” he added.

Director of NEDA 8 (Eastern Visayas) Meylene Rosales was upbeat that through convergence efforts by the task force, the region would be able to resolve the decades-long insurgency.

“Peace and order should have tailor-made solutions with all government resources available. We were told to realign budget this year and propose a new budget for next year to attain our goals,” Rosales said.

The formation of the regional task force operationalizes Executive Order 70 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 4, 2018. The directive also institutionalizes a “whole-of-nation approach” in attaining an “inclusive and sustainable peace.”

Patterned after the national task force, the regional body is composed of heads of local offices of the departments of the interior and local government, justice, agriculture, defense, public works, budget, finance, agrarian reform, social welfare, and education, as well as the military, police and local communication offices.

Also listed as members were the regional or provincial heads of the NEDA, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, as well as two representatives of the private sector.

The CPP-NPA, which has been waging a five-decade armed struggle against the government, 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/1075482

Sandigan acquits cops, soldiers behind 'Morong 43' detention

From GMA News Online (Jul 19, 2019): Sandigan acquits cops, soldiers behind 'Morong 43' detention

The Sandiganbayan has dismissed due to insufficient evidence the charges against seven police and military officers behind the February 2010 arrest of 43 health workers in Morong, Rizal, whom they suspected of being New People's Army (NPA) members.

In a 39-page ruling, the Sandiganbayan's Seventh Division granted the seven military and police officers' demurrer to evidence due to the prosecution's failure to prove that the arrested health workers, collectively dubbed as Morong 43, have their counsel of choice at the time of arrest and detention.

The prosecution also allegedly failed to prove that accused policemen obstructed, prevented or prohibited the private complainants from conferring with their counsel of choice.

The Morong 43 were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

The anti-graft court cited the testimonies of Morong 43 members Mercy Castro, Merry Mia Clamor, Dr. Alexis Montes, Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, Jane Balleta and Reynaldo Macabenta who categorically told the anti-graft court that they were not apprised of their right to confer with their counsel and/or they were not provided with one.

“It bears to reiterate that the issue in this case is whether or not accused obstructed, prevented, or prohibited private complainants from conferring with their counsel of choice. The veracity of the claimed obstruction by accused was put to doubt in the very testimonies of the private complainants themselves,” Sandiganbayan said.

Likewise, the anti-graft court pointed out that none of the private complainants testified that they have a counsel of choice when they were arrested and detained, or that they requested from accused to allow them to confer with their counsel and that they were thereafter prevented from conferring with him.

Given the situation, the anti-graft court said government prosecutors also failed to establish that military officials Jorge Segovia, Aurelio Baladad, Joselito Reyes, Cristobal Zaragoza of the Philippine Army conspired with police officials Marion Balonglong, Allan Nobleza and Jovily Carmel Cabading to deny Morong 43 of their right to a counsel of their choice.

“Although private complainant Castro claimed that she recognized accused’s voices, she was unable to pinpoint any accused to whom the alleged request was made. As for private complainant Clamor, she admitted that she did not see or hear accused Segovia, Baladad, Reyes, Balonglong and Nobleza prohibit or prevent her from conferring with her counsel of choice,” the anti-graft court said.

And while Clamor claimed she identified the voices of accused Zaragoza and Cabading, the Sandiganbayan noted that Clamor admitted that she couldn’t tell the arresting officer to whom she allegedly made the request to have a counsel.

Macabenta, for his part, also did not categorically state that he was prevented by any of accused from conferring with his counsel while Montes testified that he failed to identify the rest of accused and that he only remembers accused Vicente Lopez—a suspect who remains at large.

Quinawayan testified that she recognized a certain Tabion and Zaragoza because she remembered their voices but also said that she requested for a lawyer from her interrogators and not from any of the accused police officers in the case.

Moreover, Balleta said that she does not know accused Segovia, Baladad, Reyes, Balonglong, Nobleza, Zaragoza and Cabading personally and that she did not see any of accused when she requested for a lawyer.

“The testimonies of the complaining witnesses failed to show accused’s participation in an alleged conspiracy. Conspiracy must, like the crime itself, be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Suppositions based on mere presumptions and not on solid facts do not constitute proof beyond reasonable doubt,” the court said.

Lastly, the court said that the security officials cannot be held liable for command responsibility because of the absence of the following elements:
  • the existence of a superior-subordinate relationship between the accused as superior and the perpetrator of the crime as his subordinate;
  • the superior knew or had reason to know that the crime was about to be or had been committed; and
  • the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the criminal acts or punish the perpetrators.
“It should be noted that the allegations in the informations pertains to accused’s failure to allow private complainants from conferring with their counsel of choice which, in the first place, was unsubstantiated. The prosecution having failed to establish that accused committed the acts in the manner described in the information, conspiracy theory and even command responsibility would have no leg to stand on,” the Sandiganbayan said.

“The Court finds the evidence adduced by the prosecution insufficient to sustain the indictment or to support a verdict of guilt thus, warranting the dismissal of the herein cases. Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, the Demurrer to Evidence filed by accused Jorge Segovia y Valbuena, Aurelio Baladad y Bartolome, Joselito Reyes y Marinas (a.k.a. Joey Reyes), Cristobal Zaragoza y Noillado, Marion Balonglong y Daskeo, Allan Nobleza y Cruz and Jovily Carmel Cabading y Dela Fuente is granted and the cases as against said accused are accordingly ordered dismissed for insufficiency of evidence,” the anti-graft court added.

The bond posted by the accused for their provisional liberty during the pendency of these cases were ordered canceled and returned to the accused by the Sandiganbayan, subject to any liability of bond. ·

The Hold Departure Order issued against the police officers in connection with these cases were also recalled.

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/701600/sandigan-acquits-cops-behind-morong-43-detention/story/

Bulatlat: ‘Impunity rules the land’ — kin of Morong 43 on junking of charges vs military, police

Posted to the pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online propaganda publication Bulatlat (Jul 19, 2019): ‘Impunity rules the land’ — kin of Morong 43 on junking of charges vs military, police


Bulatlat file photo of the members of Morong 43 who filed charges against the military and police.By RONALYN V. OLEA Bulatlat.com

MANILA — After nine years of searching for justice, the 43 health workers arrested, detained and tortured by the military are still facing a blank wall.

This after the Sandiganbayan 7th Division dismissed the charges of violations of Republic Act No. 7438, otherwise known as “An Act Defining Certain Rights of Person Arrested, Detained or Under Custodial Investigation as well as the Duties of the Arresting, Detaining and Investigating Officers, and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof” filed against several military and police officials. In a resolution dated July 1, the Sandiganbayan junked the charges for “insufficiency of evidence.”

Roneo Clamor, Karapatan deputy secretary general and husband of one of the Morong 43, Dr. Merry Mia Clamor, said in a statement, “The decision of the 7th Division of the Sandiganbayan on the Morong 43 case is one of the most stark indications that despite strong evidence and testimonies of human rights violations by State actors, impunity rules the land.”

The Sandiganbayan said that the prosecution failed to prove that private complainants have counsel(s) of choice at the time of arrest and during detention, and that accused obstructed, prevented or prohibited said private complainants from conferring with their counsel of choice.

Lawyers of the Morong 43 are frustrated with the decision.

Edre Olalia, president of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), said with sarcasm, “Lesson: next time, all individuals, especially those labelled “enemies of the State,” must have a written engagement (notarized preferably) of a specifically named lawyer of choice in one’s wallet, purse or backpack saying: “In case of any arrest, detention, torture or disappearance, pls contact Atty ABC at the following numbers XXXX”. That is, if the police or military do not help themselves to your wallet and let you eat that piece of paper.”

In their testimonies, the Morong 43 health workers said they were denied counsel when they were arrested on Feb. 6, 2010 in Morong, Rizal. They were held incommunicado in Camp Capinpin, a military camp, where they were interrogated and tortured to falsely admitting they were members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

The Sandiganbayan decision, signed by Associate Justices Zaldy Trespeses, Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta and Georgina Hidalgo, also ruled that the prosecution failed to establish conspiracy among the accused in the commission of the offense charged.

The court said the complainants failed to identify the accused.

Merry Mia Clamor, Mercy Castro and Ma. Teresa Quinawayan, three of the Morong 43, testified that they recognized the voices of military officials who interrogated them while they were blindfolded.

Among those charged were Jorge Segovia, then commanding officer of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army; Joselito Reyes, then chief of staff of the 2nd Infantry Division; Aurelio Baladad, then the commanding officer of the 202 Infantry Brigade, which had operational control over the place of the arrest in Morong, Rizal; and Marion Balonglong, as he was part of the arresting team.

Also charged were Allan Nobleza, chief of the Intelligence Branch of the Philippine National Police-Rizal Province; Jovily Carmel Cabading, spokeswoman of Camp Capinpin under 2nd Infantry Division, and; Cristobal Zaragoza, then the Intelligence Officer of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army.

Clamor recounted the torture experienced by his wife and 42 other health workers. “They were blindfolded, handcuffed, and deprived of sleep and rest…Some of them received beatings from their captors. They were subjected to humiliation when the soldiers refused to give them privacy when they used comfort rooms.”

“They were told that they have no other choice but to admit the trumped up charges filed against them, because their lawyers, families and organizations have abandoned them. They were threatened to be killed, along with their families,” Clamor said.

A Commission on Human Rights (CHR) resolution dated April 21, 2015 said that the health workers were tortured and deprived of their rights against unlawful search and seizure and their rights as detainees.

The CHR listed down the rights violated at the time of their arrest. These were:
1. Right to counsel immediately after arrest
2. Right against incommunicado status
3. Right against prolonged and repeated interrogation to elicit information
4. Right to sleep
5. Visitation rights of families and relatives
6. During tactical interrogation, they were threatened with death and forced to admit membership in the New People’s Army
7. They were alternately threatened, and convinced to cooperate with the military in exchange of getting their cases fixed or rewards
8. They were deprived privacy, and sexually harassed

Karapatan pointed out that many of the respondents, including Segovia, Baladad and Zaragoza have been promoted to higher posts in the military hierarchy.

Segovia was appointed as 10th Infantry Division chief of the Philippine Army and consequently Commanding General of the Eastern Mindanao Command. Baladad was assigned as 3rd Infantry Division-Philippine Army chief and also commanding general of the Eastern Mindanao Command.

Karapatan said that numerous reports of human rights violations have been documented during Segovia and Baladad’s stints in Mindanao and Panay.

Zaragoza, meanwhile, was previously assigned to the 4th Infantry Division in Northern Mindanao and is now commander of the AFP’s Joint Task Force-National Capital Region.

“When torturers and human rights violators are rewarded with promotions and acquittals for the crimes they have perpetuated against individuals and communities, this means that the infrastructure of impunity has been so ingrained in the justice system in the country,” Clamor said.

Clamor vowed to continue to struggle for justice and accountability.

The torture charges filed by Morong 43 were also dismissed in October 2015 . The civil case, meanwhile, is pending with a Quezon City local court, according to Olalia.

“We call on all freedom-loving Filipinos to condemn this blatant use of the country’s justice system to enable murderers and torturers in uniform to evade accountability,” Clamor said.

https://www.bulatlat.com/2019/07/19/impunity-rules-the-land-kin-of-morong-43-on-junking-of-charges-vs-military-police/

SoCot's halfway house for ex-rebels nears completion

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2019): SoCot's halfway house for ex-rebels nears completion

GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The provincial government of South Cotabato is targeting the completion of its PHP5 million halfway house for returning New People's Army (NPA) rebels before month-end, an official said Friday.

Haide Agustin, head of the South Cotabato Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office, said the preparations are underway for the operationalization of the facility, which is being built in Barangay Tinongcop, Tantangan town.

"The facility is almost finished as the target completion was July," she said in an interview with reporters.

Agustin said the construction started in February through a grant from the Department of the Interior and Local Government, which released the funding in 2017.

But the provincial government was not able to start with its development until early this year due to problems with the proposed sites, eventually opting for a portion of its Animal Production and Processing Center compound in Tantangan, she said.

Agustin said the two-story building is made of concrete at the lower level and light materials at the upper level.

Citing its development plan, she said it will have dormitory rooms, training room, office, and several other amenities.

Once operational, she said the facility will be used as a temporary home for former rebels as they undergo various processes and interventions in line with the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP.

Agustin said they will conduct all activities related to the program at the halfway house, among them the awarding of assistance and livelihood training.

"It will really be a big help to our returnees as they will be getting the necessary assistance and interventions at the halfway house," she said.

She said returning rebels are temporarily housed either in police or Army camps, depending on the unit that facilitated their surrender.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1075453

Salugpongan still operates despite suspension order

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2019): Salugpongan still operates despite suspension order



SALUGPONGAN FINDINGS. National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon showed the media and tribal leaders the document containing the findings on the 55 Salugpongan schools in Davao Region. Esperon was among the Cabinet secretaries present during the last leg of 2019 Pre-SONA held in Davao City on Wednesday. (Photo by Che Palicte)

DAVAO CITY--The Salugpongan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc. (STTICLCI) remains in operation despite the suspension order served by the Department of Education (DepEd) on July 12.

In an interview Friday, STTICLCI executive director Maria Eugenia Nolasco said the 55 schools around Davao Region whose permit to operate was suspended by DepEd-11 will still hold classes following the advice of their legal counsels.

“Until no conclusion is reached on the issue, our operations will continue. The case is still being heard after we were afforded the chance to air our side, so there’s no reason for us to stop what we're doing,” Nolasco said in Filipino.

Nolasco said she received the DepEd's suspension order but added that there was no attachment of the report containing the allegations that Salugpongan has links with the communist rebel movement.

Nolasco said they are in constant communication with DepEd-Region 11 as they seek to "consistently" comply with all the requirements needed for their annual permit renewal.

But she said DepEd's decision to suspend their permit after 10 years of operation has saddened Salugpongan learners and officials.

”For 10 years, we have followed the guidelines and requirements set by DepEd. If they spot any deficiency, the usual process is to inform the institution and give it time to comply,” she added.

No operation

But DepEd-11 spokesperson Jenilieto Atillo disagreed with Nolasco's interpretation of the agency's order, saying suspension means stoppage of operation.

Because its classes are not recognized by DepEd, Atillo said Salugpongan's learners cannot be promoted to the next grade.

“If the Salugpongan promised the children for progress and promotion to the next grade level, then that will constitute to another violation that we will deal appropriately, simply because they are under suspension,” he said Friday.

Atillo said the Salugpongan should instead comply with DepEd's request to transfer their students to the nearest public schools in their communities.

Nolasco said the DepEd cannot stop their classes simply because of allegations made by National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon are still being investigated.

She was referring to Esperon's findings that Salugpongan schools are promoting the "violent" ideology of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines that has been listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

Nolasco denied the accusation, saying if it were true, "how come the DepEd has issued permit for us to operate for the past 10 years?"

“We will not be given the permit if we did not follow DepEd’s guidelines. It is only this year that we have difficulties in securing the permit because of the implementation of EO 70 and the allegations from Secretary Esperon,” she said, referring to President Rodrigo Duterte's executive order that seeks to strengthen the government's effort against communist insurgency.

Nolasco said Salugpongan schools advocate the education of Indigenous Peoples (IP), a program that was piloted by DepEd itself.

“We have been part of their advocacy and we hope they will recognize our institution as well as our curriculum in giving fair education that is culturally-sensitive and culturally-acceptable,” she said.

“We will exhaust all our means to serve more communities,” she added.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1075444

Terrorism, corruption shadow BARMM peace and order meeting

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jul 19, 2019): Terrorism, corruption shadow BARMM peace and order meeting

MAGUINDANAO – Terrorism, corruption, political clans have topped a peace and order meeting in the Muslim autonomous region called by the Department of National Defense.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has ordered security forces to finish off the pro-ISIS group Abu Sayyaf in Sulu province and for local officials to help fight off violent Islamic extremism.

“We need to finish them off, we need to do it now,” he said during a meeting Thursday with the governors of the Muslim autonomous region led by Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim at the headquarters of them 6th Infantry Division in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao province.



Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana grits teeth as he stresses the need to finish off the Abu Sayyaf during a peace and order meeting with governors of the Muslim autonomous region July 18, 2019 at the 6th Infantry Division headquarters in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao province. Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim listens to Lorenzana as Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez looks on. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

Sulu Governor Sakur Tan said the provincial government and all 19 municipal mayors are all out in supporting the campaign against the militant group, blamed for the twin suicide bombings of the Our Lady of Mount Carmel cathedral in Jolo town in January that left dozens of casualties, and for two suicide attacks on an army base in Indanan town that killed 8 people and wounded over two dozens more.

Ebrahim said they are addressing the security situation in the Muslim region, especially in Sulu and Basilan, where the Abu Sayyaf is actively operating.

Tan, the most vocal of all the governors, also appealed to both the regional and national governments to help in the local efforts to address poverty in Sulu which he said is a magnet for violent Islamic extremism ideologies.



Chief Minister Ahod Ebrahim speaks with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as Sulu Governor Sakur Tan looks on July 18, 2019 after a meeting with governors of the Muslim autonomous region at the 6th Infantry Division headquarters in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao province. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

The military has confirmed that one of two bombers in Indanan town was a local member of the Abu Sayyaf, Norman Lacusa, brainwashed by ISIS.

Wilfred Nasol, regional director of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency in the Muslim autonomous region, also briefed those in the meeting about the 50-year old communist insurgency problems and pro-ISIS groups and terrorists operating in the country, and their propaganda and at the same time outlining the government’s response to these threats, especially addressing Islamic extremism ideology and adapting the so-called National Peace Framework.

Nasol was referring to President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70 which he signed in December last year establishing a “whole-of-nation approach” in ending communist armed conflict through the creation of a national task force that will take the lead in institutionalizing a national peace framework to attain inclusive and sustainable peace through various initiatives. The whole-of-nation approach, Nasol said, is essential for this peace framework to become workable, effective and beneficial.



Sulu Governor Sakur Tan gestures as he discusses peace and order situation in his province with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on July 18, 2019 after a meeting with governors of the Muslim autonomous region at the 6th Infantry Division headquarters in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao province. (Mindanao Examiner Photo)

Corruption in 4Ps

During the meeting, Tan also exposed widespread corruption in the government’s poverty alleviation program called Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps where thousands of fake beneficiaries are receiving payout in cahoots with some unscrupulous officials.

He wanted the government to investigate and conduct a re-validation of the lists of beneficiaries in the different towns of Sulu.

Aside from Sulu, there were also complaints in Tawi-Tawi and Maguindanao. One villager in Tawi-Tawi’s Bongao town alleged that many 4Ps beneficiaries there are not even entitled to receive such benefits and has asked the government to investigate the scam.

“Bakit po ba dito sa aming sa Tawi-Tawi ay marami pa rin po until now ang naging beneficiaries ng 4Ps na hindi naman karapat-dapat tulad ng mga dalaga na wala pang anak, at mga may-asawa na wala rin anak, at hindi naman gaanong naghihirap dahil may tindahan, lupa o boarding house silang pinarerentahan buwan-buwan lalo na po dito sa Barangay Lamion sa Poblacion at ilang mga barangay? Please help the deserving poor people of Tawi-Tawi para sila naman ang mabiyayaan ng 4Ps,” the villager said. One complainant also claimed that many beneficiaries have not received their conditional cash grants for more than a year now.

In Maguindanao province, a woman also complained that their village leaders were allegedly pocketing the conditional cash grants intended for the poor beneficiaries of the program. “Kung mag payout po sa 4Ps please bantayan ninyo mga Kapitan and mga lider kasi kinukuha niya yun mga pera ng mga mahihirap imbes na matulungan sila ay mga Kapitan ang nakikinabang po,” she said.

Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Maguindanao are under the Muslim autonomous region. For his part, Ebrahim said they have taken steps and strict measures to ensure that allegations of corruption in the autonomous region are strongly addressed.

The 4Ps provides conditional cash grants to the poorest of the poor, to improve the health, nutrition, and the education of children aged 0-18. It was patterned after the conditional cash transfer scheme implemented in other developing countries provided that they comply with the set of conditions required by the program.

A household or beneficiary is entitled to receive P500 per month as health grant. A maximum of 3 children per household is covered by the program. Every monitored child in elementary receives P300 as education grant and in high school, receives P500 per month for 10 months as education grant.

The program also provide P600 a month or P7,200 per year rice subsidy for each family. And P200 a month for 2018, and another P300 a month from 2019 up to 2020 to help the poor cushion the adverse economic effect of new taxes. There are nearly 5 million beneficiaries in 41,620 villages and 1,483 municipalities in the country, according to latest DSWD data.

‘Regulated’ Anti-Dynasty bill

Parliament Speaker Pangalian Balindong also trumpeted the accomplishments of the Ebrahim-led Bangsamoro Transition Authority, saying, they have passed 8 bills the past four months of their existence and most of these were measures to streamline the operation of the regional government.

But he apparently shocked many in the audience when Balindong announced that he will pass a “regulated anti-dynasty bill” and would discuss this proposal to the 5 governors, including Ebrahim. Many political clans currently rule in the Muslim autonomous region.

The other Muslim governors in the meeting were Jim Salliman, of Basilan; Mamintal Adiong, Jr of Lanao del Sur; Mariam Mangudadatu, of Maguindanao, and Tawi-Tawi Board member Madi Tidal, who represented Governor Ysmael Sali.

The meeting was also attended by Vicente Agdamag, Deputy Director General of the National Security Council; Lieutenant General Cirilito Sobejana, chief of the Western Mindanao Command; Major General Diosdado Carreon, chief of the 6th Infantry Division; Defense Undersecretary Cesar Yano, including Presidential peace adviser Carlito Galvez and senior military and police officials. (Mindanao Examiner)

US, PH pledge to enhance defense cooperation at conclusion of 8th Bilateral Strategic Dialogue

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 17, 2019): US, PH pledge to enhance defense cooperation at conclusion of 8th Bilateral Strategic Dialogue

The enhancement of an already robust defense cooperation was pledged by the Philippines and the United States, which includes an improved defense infrastructure, updated personnel, and logistics procedure, increased mutual communication and coordination on operational elements of regional security.



Philippine and American flags (Photo from US Embassy in the Philippines / Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

The two sides committed to begin planning on a range of activities to improve maritime domain awareness during the recently-concluded 8th United States – Philippines Bilateral Strategic Dialogue.

Both sides recognized the importance of a strong Philippines-US alliance in enhancing security cooperation and promoting regional stability and prosperity.

They recalled Secretary Pompeo’s statements on the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) during his March 2019 visit to Manila, particularly the clarification that the South China Sea (SCS) is in the Pacific, and that any armed attack on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, or aircraft in the SCS will trigger Article IV of the Mutual Defense Treaty.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to upholding freedom of navigation, overflight, and other lawful uses of the SCS, and stressed the importance of peacefully resolving disputes in accordance with international law, as reflected in the Law of the Sea Convention.

Economic relationship

The Philippines and the US delegations reaffirmed their commitment to deepening the extensive economic relationship between the two countries and undertook substantive discussions on cooperating in areas such as science and technology, agriculture, fisheries, health, environment, energy, infrastructure, connectivity, and cybersecurity, among others.

The Philippines and the United States recognized the importance of the bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which has enabled both countries to make concrete and significant progress on outstanding bilateral trade issues. They also look forward to further discussions under the TIFA mechanism, recalling statements of both countries’ leaders in support of increasing trade in a manner that observes the principles of free, fair, and reciprocal trade.

Rule of Law

The Philippine and US delegations emphasized the importance of the rule of law, human rights, and fundamental freedoms. The senior officials pledged to continue working together to effectively eliminate human trafficking and in this regard, noted the Tier 1 ranking maintained by the Philippines in the 2019 Trafficking in Persons Report. Both sides committed to collaborating more closely on enhancing legal aid services as well as on countering transnational crimes such as human and drug trafficking.

The senior officials pledged to deepen their work to counter-terrorism and violent extremism through improved information sharing, and port and aviation security, in order to prevent terrorist attacks within the Philippines, and the transit of foreign terrorist fighters into and within the Philippines. In addition, both delegations committed to upholding international best practices to detect and combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

The United States acknowledged the importance of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific and recognized ASEAN centrality as integral to its Indo-Pacific Strategy. Both sides committed to deepening their engagement with partners in the region based on inclusiveness, openness, rule of law, good governance, and respect for international law.

The Philippines expressed its appreciation to the United States for the return of the Bells of Balangiga in December 2018. Their journey home reaffirmed the mutual respect and deep friendship between the two countries and their peoples.

US delivers new rifles to the Philippines

From ABS-CBN (Jul 18, 2019): US delivers new rifles to the Philippines


Soldiers unload firearms Manila bought from Washington at Camp Aguinaldo, July 17, 2019.Handout

MANILA - The United States delivered military hardware the Philippines acquired Wednesday, part of efforts to upgrade the armed forces.

The turnover happened on the same day President Rodrigo Duterte invoked Manila's Mutual Defense Treaty with Washington over maritime tensions in the disputed West Philippine Sea, a remark Malacañang has called "sarcasm."

'I'm calling now America': Duterte invokes defense treaty with US

Washington delivered 10 M-107 .50 caliber sniper rifles to the military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo on July 17, six days after the order arrived at the former Clark Air Base in Pampanga on July 11, the US embassy said in a statement Thursday.

The US has previously delivered firearms, radios, and night vision devices among others. It said it would also train the Armed Forces of the Philippines to operate and maintain the equipment.

The US reiterated its support to the Philippines by saying it would provide humanitarian aid and disaster relief, grant assistance, and faster sales of firearms and ammunition.

Duterte had said Manila would no longer procure weapons from the US after it threatened to impose sanctions on countries buying military equipment from Russia, but later said he would "reconsider."

Duterte says to reconsider purchasing US weapons

The US and the Philippines have long-standing military ties, with the 1951 defense treaty binding the two sides to come to each other's aid in case of external aggression.

The long-time allies regularly conduct joint military drills.

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/07/18/19/us-delivers-new-rifles-to-the-philippines

Lorenzana cites gains, plans of PH security, justice, peace sectors

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 17, 2019): Lorenzana cites gains, plans of PH security, justice, peace sectors

Approaching the halfway mark of President Duterte’s six-year term, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana highlighted the gains and plans of the security, justice and peace sectors during the third Pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) Forum in Davao City Wednesday.



Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (photo courtesy of the Office of the Secretary of National Defense) MANILA BULLETIN

Lorenzana, who serves as the concurrent chair of the national government’s Security, Justice and Peace Cluster (SJPC), stressed the commitment of the Duterte administration in defending the country’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and sovereign rights.

“We are enhancing our relations with all nations as we remain steadfast in defending our territorial integrity, sovereignty and sovereign rights. We have increased our defense and security engagements with international community in areas of defense logistics,” he said.

To address disputes, especially in the disputed parts of the South China Sea, Lorenzana said the Philippine government “continues to rely primarily on diplomacy.”

“We are sustaining bilateral consultations mechanism with China, with the latest meeting held on April 2 to 3 2019,” he said.

Along with this, Lorenzana boasted of the capability enhancement programs of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP).

In 2018 alone, he said that 25 projects were completed under the AFP modernization program pursuant to Republic Act 7898, and the first horizon of the amended program under RA 10349.

A total of 15 projects were completed for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) under the first horizon of the amended AFP modernization program; four projects each for the Philippine Army (PA) and Philippine Navy (PN); and one each for the AFP General Headquarters (GHQ) and for upgrading of government arsenal.

For the second horizon of the amended AFP modernization program, Lorenzana said 75 projects are laid out for the enhancement of the military’s capabilities.

“In the next few months and years, we expect the delivery of more planes to patrol our skies, more ships to defend our maritime domain, more equipment for our troops to monitor and respond to threats and better systems to quickly adopt to change,” he stated.

As for the Philippine National Police (PNP), Lorenzana said the PNP has procured various move, shoot and communicative equipment to aid in their anti-criminality campaign

From 2017-2018, the PNP acquired 85,000 additional firearms which increased the fill-up rate among cops up to 68 percent.

In addition, the PNP now has 181 new police stations across the country while 96 more stations were being constructed “to increase police visibility and better maintain peace and order.”

Higher pay for soldiers, cops

Lorenzana also cited the increase in the base pay of soldiers and cops in 2018 as one of the most important gains of the JSPC since it acts as a morale booster for the men-in-uniform.

“The President also considers the welfare of our uniformed men as one of his top priorities. Our men-in-uniform received higher wages in 2018, ranging from 20 to 100 percent base pay,” he said.

“Bilang pagpapahalaga sa serbisyo ng mga beterano, nadagdagan rin ang old age pension ng ating senior war veterans lalo na yung World War 2 veterans. Mula P5,000, ito ay naging P20K kada buwan sa bisa ng Republic Act 11164,” he added.

Furthermore, the Defense Chief said that thru various comprehensive social benefits program, beneficiaries of AFP and PNP personnel who were either wounded or killed while in the line of duty were given financial employment and educational assistance.

Drug war

However, Lorenzana admitted that the country remains to be imperiled by the menace of illegal drugs.

Citing data from concerned agencies, Lorenzana said 20,810 of the total 32,909 barangays across the country remain drug-affected.

From July 2016 to March 2019, he said law enforcement agencies such as the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), PNP, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and AFP conducted intensified operations which resulted to the clearing of 12,099 barangays (37 percent).

Further, 1,308,078 drug suspects have surrendered; 182,061 were arrested; 318 drug laboratories were dismantled; and P32.42 billion worth of drugs and controlled precursors were confiscated.

No data was shown as to the number of drug suspects killed but the PNP earlier disclosed that 6,600 suspects have been neutralized as of May 31, 2019.

Insurgency, terrorism

Aside from enhancing and improving the law enforcement capabilities and operations, Lorenzana said significant gains were also made in the pursuit of just and lasting peace in the country.

One example he gave was the signing and approval of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) on July 27, 2018.

A two-part plebiscite on January 21 and February 6 was conducted, and after getting a resounding “Yes” votes, the ratification of the BOL was held, which then paved the way for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao or BARMM.

“It affirmed the creation of BARMM and marked the end of more than 20 years of armed hostilities and culmination of peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF),” Lorenzana said.

The successful ratification of the NOL started the transition from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) to BARMM and constituted the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) to srve as the interim government during a three-year transition period until 2022, Lorenzana said.

The BTA was headed by the MILF leadership and participated in by representatives of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), indigenous peoples’ group, women and youth sectors and communities.

For the first time in decades, Lorenzana said the country also witnessed the visit of Hadji Abdullah Macapaar alias MILF Commander Bravo to the Malacanang Palace in February 2019 to officially join the BTA.

Meanwhile, Lorenzana said that complementing the political legislative track of the administration was the implementation of the national government’s “Normalization Program” where 30 percent of all MILF combatants and weapons are expected to be decommissioned in 2019.

“This will be followed by two more phases for the next 35 percent and the remaining [35 percent] combatants and weapons to be decommissioned until 2022,” he said.

The Normalization Program aims to provide rapid delivery of assistance and intensified accelerated programs to help former MILF combatants, their families and other conflict-affected, poverty-stricken areas and vulnerable sectors.

“The government will continue to engage the MNLF in the remaining commitments under the 1996 Final Peace Agreement in compliance with the President’s desire to extend his hands in friendship and peace to MNLF chair Nur Misuari and ensure that the peace dividends of the new law benefit especially the island provinces of the Bangsamoro,” Lorenzana said.

As for the communist insurgency, President Duterte terminated with finality the peace negotiation with the communists in December 2018.

He then signed Executive Order 70, creating the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

“It shifted from military centric to civilian-led approach in confronting the communist movement which entails interagency convergence and harmonized the delivery of government services to address the root causes of internal strife in conflict-affected and vulnerable communities,” Lorenzana explained as he encouraged communist rebels to give up their arms and be reintegrated with the community.

“Tayo po ay nakikipagtulungan para sa pagpapatayo ng farm to market roads, tulay, patubig, health centers at iba pa. Kasama na rin dito ang pagbibigay ng hanapbuhay sa mga dating rebelde at pagpapalawig ng kakayahan ng ating mga komunidad na masuportahan ang pag-unlad ng ating mga kababayan,” he added.

Through the inter-agency Task Force Balik-Loob, Lorenzana said they saw a “more effective” implementation of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

E-CLIP is a convergence of various government programs ranging from financial assistance, livelihood training, psychosocial interventions, and housing assistance among others to rebels who decide to give up their arms and return to the folds of the law.

Lorenzana said that within the year, the E-CLIP financial assistance will be provided to 37 provinces and highly urbanized cities across the country for the construction of half-way houses or facilities that would serve as temporary shelters for former rebels.

“We remain committed to ensure that no Filipino is left behind in our march towards prosperity. Peace and order are pre-requisites to development. Tayong lahat ay may bahaging dapat gampanan,” he added.

https://news.mb.com.ph/2019/07/17/lorenzana-cites-gains-plans-of-ph-security-justice-peace-sectors/

Officials upbeat about full transition of BARMM from interim status

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 17, 2019): Officials upbeat about full transition of BARMM from interim status

COTABATO CITY – Provisional officials of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), led by Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim, are upbeat about attaining full transition, which is right on schedule.



Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Interim Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim (Keith Bacongco / MANILA BULLETIN)

Under the BARMM charter (R.A. 11054), the transformation of BARMM to regular operations is being administered by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA), which President Duterte constituted.

BTA shall oversee the transition with a timetable ending upon the election of regular officials by 2022.

“So far, we are on right track and time, confident that by the end of the interim period (on June 30, 2022) the BARMM operations will be in regular course,” the office of Ebrahim told The Manila Bulletin.

Ebrahim has already designated the heads of about a dozen ministries, which fused functions and workforces of some line agencies in the defunct 29-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Among the ARMM agencies covered in the fusion were the Department of Education, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and the Commission on Higher Education now integrated under the Ministry of Basic, Higher and Technical Education (MBHTE); and the Departments of Agriculture and Fisheries, and Agrarian Reform being fused now into the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Agrarian Reform (MAFAR).

The BARMM government has embarked on absorbing the regional functions of the Department of Energy for fusion into the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Energy. It also wants to absorb the full regional operations of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DoTC), which was not fully devolved to ARMM until its abolition.

Ebrahim recently appointed retired Army Col. Dickson Hermoso, outgoing assistant secretary in the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), as Transportation and Communication minister. President Duterte, on the other hand, recently designated Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol as his “point man” in BARMM.

Hermoso was born and raised in Cotabato City, while Piñol was born in North Cotabato, which he once served as town mayor, vice governor and governor. The city is now part of BARMM, while 63 villages in North Cotabato also form part of the regional autonomy. But their being Christians have drawn criticism from some Moro residents in online viral commentaries.

Objections against Piñol’s designation as “point man” fizzled out only after Ebrahim “accepted” it in a recent meeting in Malacañang where the President reportedly pointed out that role of Pinol would be to help hasten the snail-paced devolution line agencies to BARMM.

The ICM office also invoked the “inclusivity” clause under the prescribed operations of the regional autonomy, putting a closure to questions about Hermoso’s appointment.

Meanwhile, Ebrahim has ordered lately the conduct of series of round table discussions (RTDs) in the crafting of vital regional enable edits that would flesh out the full transition of the BARMM government. Among the priority measures are the BARMM’s Local Government Code (LGC), administrative code, and regional tax code.

Local Government Minister Naguib Sinarimbo said ICM Ebrahim has tasked his ministry to spearhead the crafting of the LGC.

Sinarimbo said he was optimistic that the LGC draft will be completed “within this year,” after which ICM Ebrahim will submit it to BTA for deliberation and approval.

He said all processes involved in the transitional operations are being assisted by concerned foreign entities like the Japan International Cooperation Agency, and agencies of the United Nations.

BARMM was formally established last March 29 following the ratification of its charter (R..A. 11055) last January and February, pursuant to two major peace deals forged in 2013 and 2014 by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the government.

The MILF has formed its official political party to field candidates for BARMM positions in the 2022 elections.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

NDF-NPA-Negros Island: Reply to the intrigues sowed by the hypocrite BGen. Arevalo

NPA-Negros Island propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Philippines (NDFP or NDF) Website (Jul 19, 2019): Reply to the intrigues sowed by the hypocrite BGen. Arevalo

PRESS STATEMENT
NPA Negros Island
July 13, 2019



There is no end to the lies and intrigues mouthed by 303rd Brigade BGen. Benedict Arevalo to blemish the prestige of the New People’s Army (NPA) and the entire revolutionary movement.

Arevalo would like to project that his intelligence assets are innocent civilians that were mercilessly killed by the NPA. The revolutionary government of the people established in the countrysides exercises revolutionary justice based on the International Humanitarian Law and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), an agreement between the NDFP and GRP. The military agents and informers are subjected to revolutionary justice but are not automatically granted the death sentence. First, they are warned, given education and convinced to change their ways. If they continue to harm the revolutionary movement, especially if they have blood debts against the people, they are meted the capital punishment.

All those sentenced with the capital punishment are granted due process. This means that the cases are discussed and there are affidavits and witnesses. A people’s court is established to hear and judge the case. The people’s court ensures that the accused are informed of the complaint and are granted the freedom to reply and defend themselves. In cases that the accused fights back when arrested, the arresting team has the right to defend itself especially when the accused is armed and dangerous.

The fascist-terrorist AFP/PNP relies on their intelligence operatives and informers planted in the revolutionary bases to gather information and data on the movement of the NPA. BGen. Arevalo fumes mad along with his officers because losing their eyes and ears assures the failure of their counter-revolutionary campaign.

Arevalo is a hypocrite like his master Duterte. All those meted with the death penalty has been claimed and the basis explained by the NPA to the public unlike the murders committed by the butcher AFP and PNP of Duterte that continue to deny their crimes like the Sagay 9 Massacre, killing of peasant and human rights advocates Atty. Ben Ramos and Coun. Bernardino 鈥淭oto鈥 Patigas. In Oplan Sauron 1 & 2 and other Sauron-type of murders, illegal arrests and trumped up cases, there are clear accountabilities of state agents who shamelessly assert the legitimacy of their operations.

In the end of June and this month, more innocent civilians are victimized by human rights violations and bloody murders. These happened in Himamaylan City, La Castellana, Silay City and Escalante City in Negros Occidental and in Guihulngan City and Manjuyod in Negros Oriental. According to reports received by the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command (AGC), there are already 20 victims, 17 illegal arrests and 3 brutally murdered, in a new series of Sauron-type operations. As of now, political extrajudicial killings in Negros under Duterte’s tyrannical rule are beyond 70 wherein more than 50 are peasants. Thousands more were murdered nationwide under Duterte’s Oplan Tokhang.

In relation to the successful offensives of the NPA and its encounters, the policy of the mercenary AFP and PNP is to hide their KIA and WIA to save face. The AFP and PNP later falsely claim that the NPA is getting weaker in Negros and has lost its capacity to fight the troops of the reactionary government.

The 303rd Brigade spokesperson further spins that the NPA’s use of command detonated explosives (CDX) violates the CARHRIHL. This type of bomb utilized by the NPA requires an operator to control its explosion. As a matter of fact, it cannot be considered a landmine. It is safer for civilians compared to the military’s indiscriminate use of mortars, canyons and bombs dropped from their airplanes and helicopters such as what happened in Marawi City which resulted to thousands of deaths.

Arevalo spews lies to a greater extent by insisting that the NPA only ends up with three fates: to be killed, surrender or arrested. For the NPA sacrifices and hardships are daily companions and its members are ready to face these. The NPA and the entire revolutionary movement carry forward the national democratic revolution in order to gain national liberation and democracy for the people. Those who offered their lives are honored by the people and are regarded as great martyrs who contributed to establishing victory. Unlike the AFP/PNP that are hated by the people because they empty the coffers of the nation to spend for their bloody operations and for their corruption through fake surrenderees and recycled firearms.

Who are the true terrorists, liars and hypocrites? Who are the enemies of the people? They are BGen Arevalo and Duterte who vomit intrigues and deception if only to defend their already exposed anti-people intentions. It is clear to the people that the AFP and PNP are instruments to defend the interests of the ruling class of big bourgeois compradors and land lords.

The AGC calls on all patriotic and pro-democracy rank-and-file and officials of the AFP/PNP to unite with people and make a stand against human rights violations and mass murders committed by the US-Duterte regime. You will greatly help in exposing the corruption, lies, treachery and anti-people nature in your ranks to give justice to the victims and uphold genuine and lasting peace based on social justice.

To the Filipino people especially of Negros Island, it is about time that we face the evil intent of the US-Duterte regime to destroy the revolutionary movement all over the country and to preserve the fascist state. Let us intensify the armed revolution and raise the level of the people’s war until victory. Our people鈥檚 war is a just war because its goal is to free the people especially the peasants and workers to fight for their interests against the exploitative and repressive system under the US-Duterte regime. Our bright future depends on the victory of our armed revolution.###

Reference:
Ka Juanito Magbanua
Apolinario Gatmaitan Command Spokesperson
New People’s Army Regional Operational Command
Negros Island

https://www.ndfp.org/reply-to-the-intrigues-sowed-by-the-hypocrite-bgen-arevalo/

PLDT, Smart donate tower to PH Air Force

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2019): PLDT, Smart donate tower to PH Air Force



TOWER DONATION. PLDT and SMART donate tower to the Philippine Air Force Paredes station in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte. This tower donation is part of the private company's efforts to support government initiatives to improve connectivity across the country. (Photo courtesy of Smart)

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) have donated a decommissioned Sun facility in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine Air Force (PAF).

Under its C4iStar Project, the PAF is boosting its telecommunications capabilities by interconnecting its offices and bases nationwide and upgrading its internet facilities.

The donation of the tower located in the PAF’s Paredes Air Station in Pasuquin, will help the AFP and PAF in monitoring its operations, particularly in North Luzon.


PLDT-Smart chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan and Air Force Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Rozzano D. Briguez led the signing of the memorandum of agreement at a ceremonial turnover held recently at the Villamor Air Base.

“As a response to your request, we have donated the Smart tower in Camp Paredes, Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte,” Pangilinan said in a press statement, adding that the tower would help the operations of the Armed Forces and the AFP in Northern Luzon.

“Consonant with the AFP’s [C4iStar program], the PAF is understandably and necessarily improving its telecoms facilities. In that regard, I have assured the PAF that the PLDT group are prepared to support your telecommunications requirements,” Pangilinan added.

Briguez said in addition to the Ilocos Norte tower, the PAF is also set to deploy more radars all over the country in the coming years.

“For these kind and generous gestures, you are not only expanding our core competencies, but most importantly, you are actively assuring that we shall be able to provide continuous air space surveillance,” Briguez said.

“In support of your mission to protect the people and the state, we are committed to your C4iStar project. The cell tower that we are turning over today will play an important role in how your operations are carried out in the country, enhancing connectivity across different air force bases nationwide,” said Juan Victor Hernandez, senior vice president and head of enterprise for PLDT and Smart.

“We have been partners with the PAF for a long time now and we have provided the Villamor Air Base, as well as the other bases nationwide with fiber. We hope that this will continue to enable the good work that you do,” Hernandez added.

Pangilinan, as chair of the Makati Medical Center Foundation, also signed with the PAF a memorandum of agreement (MOA) under the public-private partnership program between PAF and MMC Foundation.

Under the MOA, MMC Foundation and PAF will work together in providing quality healthcare for PAF personnel, in search and rescue missions, and emergency response. (PNA)


LOR 2 Accompanying photo July 18-19 Photo Caption: PLDT and SMART donate a tower to the Philippine Air Force Paredes station in Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte. The donation is part of the private company's efforts to support government initiatives to improve connectivity across the country. (Photo courtesy of SMART)

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1075359

BIFF gunmen yield to Army, given livelihood

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2019): BIFF gunmen yield to Army, given livelihood



SURRENDERER. One of five members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (right) hands over his rifle to Col. Jose Narciso (2nd from left), who is assisted by Talitay Mayor Allan Sabal (3rd from left), during a turnover ceremony in Datu Anggal Midtimbang, Maguindanao on Thursday (July 18, 2019). The five surrenderers also received livelihood and housing assistance to help them start a new life. (Photo courtesy of 6th ID)

After a weeklong negotiation, five members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) surrendered to military authorities in Talitay, Maguindanao on Thursday and handed over assorted high-powered firearms.

Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, said the rebels, whose identities were concealed for security reasons, surrendered to the Army’s 90th Infantry Battalion of the 601st Infantry Brigade.


In a turnover ceremony attended by Talitay Mayor Allan Sabal in neighboring Datu Anggal Midtimbang municipality, the rebels brought along with them two .30 caliber Garand rifles, a homemade 60 mm. mortar and ammunition, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, ammunition and a .45 caliber pistol.

Carreon said Sabal was instrumental in the surrender of the BIFF members.

“The former BIFF rebels decided to go back to the fold of the law because of the hardships they experienced in fighting government forces and also due to their desire to live normally as farmers and fishermen together with their families,” he said in a statement.

After their surrender, the former BIFF fighters received livelihood and housing assistance to help them start a new life.

Col. Jose Narciso, the Army’s 601st brigade commander, called on remaining BIFF members to surrender and lay down their arms so that peace can be achieved in Mindanao and for them to be with their families.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1075439

Army offers live viewing of Pacquiao-Thurman bou

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2019): Army offers live viewing of Pacquiao-Thurman bout

To boost the morale of soldiers' battle casualties and their families, the Philippine Army (PA) announced that it will be offering live-viewing of the Pacquiao-Thurman boxing match dubbed as the "Welterweight Supremacy" inside selected areas at Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City on Sunday.

Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, Army spokesperson, said live viewing will be available at Ricarte Hall, PA Officers' Clubhouse, the Multi-Purpose Hall, Army General Hospital and Army Wellness Center, all located inside Fort Bonifacio.

"(The) said venture aims to heighten the morale of Army personnel and their dependents, specifically, of the battle casualties," he said in a statement Thursday.

Viewing will start at 10 a.m. (Manila time).

The Pacquiao-Thurman bout will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night (local time).

Manny Pacquiao, a Filipino boxing legend, senator and popularly known as the "Pacman", will be going against undefeated American Keith Thurman, who is a world champion since 2013, holds a perfect 29-0 record with 22 knockouts.

While the Filipino boxing icon, who is 10 years older than the 30-year-old Thurman, holds the distinction of the only boxer who won 12 major world titles in eight different weight divisions.

Pacquiao has 61 wins, including 39 via knockouts, and seven defeats and two draws.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1075428

Rapport with troops one of PRRD's significant contributions

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 19, 2019): Rapport with troops one of PRRD's significant contributions



For Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato, President Rodrigo R. Duterte's frequent visit to military camps and taking time to talk with troops and their families is one of his most significant contributions to the security sector.

This is aside from supporting the ongoing modernization of the AFP and doubling the pay of all military personnel, he added.

"President Duterte has not only pursued and continued the AFP modernization but also displayed his genuine concern for the welfare of the soldiers by his frequent visits to (their) camps and personally award medals," Detoyato said to the Philippine News Agency when asked what is the most positive contribution the Commander-in-Chief has made to the military.

Also, the Chief Executive also takes time to talk and listen to what front-line troops say along with their families, he added.

"He (President Duterte) also takes time to listen to their stories and commiserate and emphatize with them and their families," Detoyato stressed.

Earlier, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the continued support of the President to the AFP modernization and doubling of salaries of troops heightened the sense of duty on all active-duty military personnel.

"They can do their jobs better knowing that their family are taken care of with the salary increase. On the improvement of their equipment and know-how they will be more confident in doing their tasks. It also make them at par with the neighboring military who have been modernizing earlier. This brings pride to our soldiers," he stressed.

Last June, Lorenzana expressed his appreciation to President Rodrigo R. Duterte for approving and giving priority to the DND request to implement the provisions of Congress Joint Resolution (JR) No. 1 or Joint Resolution Authorizing the Increase in Base Pay of Military and Uniformed Personnel (MUP) in the Government, and for Other Purposes, s. 2018 which the Chief Executive signed on January 1 of this year.

“Truly, your unparalleled support for our uniformed personnel serves as our guiding light as the AFP continues to pursue its duty to the Filipino nation,” the DND chief said earlier. Through the MUP pension increase, Lorenzana said the sacrifice and dedicated service of all Filipino soldiers have been truly and duly recognized.

It will be recalled that the DND, by virtue of an official letter to Malacañang written on May 17, 2019, recommended that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) be directed to implement the pension indexation under JR No. 1, s. 2018 and release additional funds for that purpose.

The letter was signed by Defense Undersecretary Cardozo M. Luna, who was then officer-in-charge of the DND.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1075430

Kalinaw News: Municipality of President Roxas denounces communist terrorist group

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jul 18, 2019): Municipality of President Roxas denounces communist terrorist group

Municipality of President Roxas denounces communist terrorist group 1

Municipality of President Roxas denounces communist terrorist group 2

Municipality of President Roxas denounces communist terrorist group 3

MAGPET, Cotabato – The Municipality of President Roxas was added in the list of municipalities that declared CPP-NPA-NDF as Persona-Non-Grata in the 2nd district of North Cotabato under 901st Infantry Brigade’s area of responsibility.

72nd Infantry Battalion conducted Peace Building Seminar on July 12-14, 2019 held at Brgy Labuo, President Roxas participated by more than 200 members of Underground Mass Organizations (UGMOs) and CPP-NPA-NDF supporters and sympathizers.


The peace building activity includes a series of lectures that give the participants awareness on peace and order issues in their community. The activity also provides venture for them on how they could help in ending social conflicts.

As part of the culmination of the Peace Building Seminar on July 15, 2019, 9’Oclock in the morning a Peace Rally was conducted. Residents from the 25 barangays of Pres Roxas, brgy functionaries, Tanods and Peace and Development Volunteers from the whole municipality showed their support in denouncing CTG.

Approximately seven hundred (700) individuals voiced out their support to attain a genuine peace in the municipality.

During the closing program, the six participating barangays: New Cebu, Kamarahan, Tuael, La Esperanza, Sagcungan, and Mabuhay, thru their respective Barangay Captains, declared the CPP-NPA-NDF as “Persona non-grata” to their respective communities.

Afterwhich, Honorable Mayor Jonathan Mahimpit affirmed the declaration of Persona non grata of said barangays; and subsequently the LIGA President, Hon Romeo Roturas also announced in behalf of other Barangays denouncing the communists and eventually declare the same.

In addition, Honorable Mayor Jonathan Mahimpit, led the oath- taking of more than 200 participants who have completed the 3-day Peace Building Seminar. They oath condemning the communist groups and stopping all their support to the CPP-NPA-NDF terroristic ways which brought fear to the people.

“Never support these terrorists again. Your government is on your side. They have just polluted your mind in order to achieve their personal desires. You have your LGU, your PNP, and your Philippine Army. We are all on your side. What belongs to you, will be given to you,” Mayor Mahimpit said.

The closing program was also attended by all SB members, IPMR, LGAs, Col Zosimo Oliveros INF (GSC) PA, Deputy Brigade Commander 901st Brigade, Ltc Rey T Alvarado INF (GSC) PA, Commander 72IB; PMaj Oranza, COP and Media practioners. The 72nd Infantry Battalion will continue to support these kinds of LGU initiated activities to strengthen the collaboration with the local government and other
stakeholders in its Area of Operation.

“I was glad that this kind of activity like the peace building seminar was greatly participated and appreciated by the community. To see the local government empowering its people to cooperate with the government’s effort of peace and order was already a great manifestation that we are not far from reaching our desired peace
and development. We, the 901st brigade will continue our efforts in doing our mandate of securing the land and serving the people of North Cotabato,” Colonel Gabriel C Viray III, 901st IBde Commander, said.



901st Infantry Brigade 9th Infantry Division Philippine Army
2LT JENNYMOR C AMOD (AGS) PA
Civil-Military Operations Officer, 901stBde, 9ID, PA
ARAKAN, Cotabato
s7cmo_901bde@yahoo.com

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace by the Philippine Army. It provides information on the activities of Army Units nationwide in the performance of their duty of Serving the People and Securing the Land. This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.]

Kalinaw News: Army seizes machine gun and explosives from NPA in Agusan del Sur

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jul 18, 2019): Army seizes machine gun and explosives from NPA in Agusan del Sur

Army seizes machine gun and explosives from NPA in Agusan del Sur 1

Army seizes machine gun and explosives from NPA in Agusan del Sur 2

Army seizes machine gun and explosives from NPA in Agusan del Sur 3

PROSPERIDAD, Agusan Del Sur – Operating troops of the 3rd Special Forces ‘Arrowhead’ Battalion (3SFBn) seized one M60 General- purpose Machine Gun during the recent clash with NPA terrorists in the hinterlands of Sitio Tibog, Barangay Mabuhay last June 16, 2019.

As the Army’s clearing operations continue on its 10th day, another encounter occurred at 11 o’clock AM against 15 NPA terrorists led by Rizaldo Sumunod alias Mansoy which resulted to the recovery of one Light Machine Gun, three Cal. 45 pistols, one fragmentation grenade, six fully loaded magazines for M16 rifle, three fully loaded Cal. 45 magazines, 200 live ammunitions for M60 machine gun, 260 live ammunitions for M16 armalite rifle, 20 live rounds for Cal. 45 pistol, one video camera, one commercial radio, two cellular phones, medical supplies, five backpacks with personal items, subversive documents, demolition set which includes one soldiering iron with lead, two boxes detonating switch, three rubber antennas, one tool set and 50-meter wire. The troops also seized the terrorists’ hideout which can accommodate up to 20 persons, after the 8-minute firefight.

According to Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Joey Baybayan, Commanding Officer of 3SFBn, this decisive encounter is the sixth tactical engagement of his operating troops against the NPA terrorists in the area. “This operation is part of our relentless effort to end the local communist armed conflict in our Area of Operation. As we gained significant results against this terrorist NPAs, we will continue with our pursuit operations against the fleeing terrorists. With the continuous support of the local residents in the area, I am confident that my troops can find them again and finally pin them down,” LTC Baybayan said.

“I am giving them one last chance, surrender now and avail the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program of the government. You still have your own family waiting for you alive,” LTC Baybayan added.

Colonel Allan Hambala, Commander of 401st Infantry Brigade on the other hand, highlighted that the successful security operation of the 3SFBn was a product of the combined efforts with former NPA members, who continuously provided important information about their comrade’s hideouts, and the tactical proficiency of the operating troops in accomplishing their mission.

“This is how sincere we are in our effort to end this communist-driven local insurgency. As long as the people of Agusan del Sur and Surigao del Sur continue to support us in all our peace initiatives, these accomplishments are always possible. Let us altogether end this menace in our society,” Col. Hambala added.

Kalinaw News: Army, Communist NPA Terrorists clash in Zamboanga Sibugay

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jul 18, 2019): Army, Communist NPA Terrorists clash in Zamboanga Sibugay

Army, Communist NPA Terrorists clash in Zamboanga Sibugay 1

Army, Communist NPA Terrorists clash in Zamboanga Sibugay 2

Army, Communist NPA Terrorists clash in Zamboanga Sibugay 3

CAMP SANG-AN, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur – Army troops under 44th Infantry Battalion and armed elements of Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT) figured in an encounter in Brgy Diampak, Kabasalan, Zamboanga Sibugay Province, 3:00 p.m. Wednesday July 17, 2019.

“Our troops immediately responded to the call of the local populace about the presence of armed CNTs in their community that are extorting money and foodstuffs. While we are approaching, the CNTs fired upon us which led to a firefight,” said Lt. Col. Don Templonuevo, 44th Infantry Battalion Commander.

The firefight which lasted for 30 minutes resulted to the killing of one CNT member and recovery of one M16 Rifle, magazines, ammunitions and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

One of the government troops was slightly wounded in the course of encounter. Said trooper was immediately brought to the nearest hospital for proper medication.

Templonuevo also said, “Our troops saw several wounded CNT members as they scampered to different directions during the encounter.”

The people of Kabasalan also reported to the government troops that they are already fed up with the threat, intimidation and extortion activities of the CNTs in their communities.

It can be recalled that 44IB troopers and the CNTs also figured in an encounter last July 14, 2019..

“We thank the people of Kabasalan for taking action against the CNTs’ threat and extortion activities in their localities,” said Brig. Gen. Bagnus Gaerlan, Jr., commander of 102nd Brigade.

“We also urge other CNTs especially those who were wounded to come out and be given proper medical treatment. We are assuring you of your safety and security. We will also assist you to avail the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) for you to live peacefully,” Gaerlan added.

Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Roberto Ancan, the 1st Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Zampelan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao Provinces) commander, commended the troops of 44IB for their swift response, and the people of Kabasalan for their cooperation which led to the successful conduct of operations.

“With the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) we will unify and harmonize our peace and development efforts with the the local government units, government agencies and other stakeholders to end the local communist armed conflict in the region,” said Ancan

“Our condolences also go to the family of the dead CNT member. It is tragic that he took arms against the government which led to his senseless demise”, added Ancan.

Additional troops were sent to the area to pursue the fleeing CNTs, while the PNP Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) went to conduct investigation in the encounter area.

The troops of 44IB are also in close coordination with the barangay officials to ensure the safety and security of the residents in the area.



Division Public Affairs Office 1st Infantry Division Philippine Army
CPT CLINT ANTIPALA
Chief, Division Public Affairs Office, 1st Infantry Division
E-mail: tabakdpao@gmail.com
Mobile Number: 09177938341

[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace by the Philippine Army. It provides information on the activities of Army Units nationwide in the performance of their duty of Serving the People and Securing the Land. This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.]