Tuesday, July 7, 2020

NPA member leads Army to arms cache

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 7, 2020): NPA member leads Army to arms cache (By Rudolph Ian Alama)

A New Peoples Army (NPA) member led the 71st Infantry Battalion to an arms cache which contained two high powered firearms in Barangay Rizal, Monkayo in Davao de Oro.

The surrenderer was identified as Julieto M Refuela alyas Dan/Bihan, 29, of Purok 4 Brgy Rizal, Monkayo, Davao de Oro. He was a fulltime NPA member serving as a political guide of the Guerilla Front 20, Sub-Regional Committee 1, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC).
Bihan decided to surrender to the 71st “Kaibigan” Infantry Battalion and on Sunday (July 5) revealed the location of the arms cache containing two (40mm) M79 grenade launchers. The 71IB in coordination with the 67IB and 25IB located and recovered the said cache.


The grenade launchers were brought to 71IB headquarters for proper disposition,

Bihan said he left the NPA because he missed his family so much and wanted to start earning a decent living.


Two 40 mm grenade launchers found in the arms cache

“Lisod sa kalihokan kay di man ko paulion bisan gimingaw na kaayo ko sa ako pamilya,”. (Being in the NPA was very hard for me because I was not allowed to go home even though I already missed my family so much) he said in his dialect. Bihan has 2 sons, Julian (5 years old) and Almar (1 year old).

He said his family did not receive a single penny from the CPP-NPA, despite promising him of what he termed as “Suporta sa Pamilya.”

Bihan revealed he was further indoctrinated with deceptive ideologies as he underwent courses given by the CPP-NPA such as PADEPA or Pambansang Demokratikong Paaralan, Basic Party Course, Intermediate Course and Batakang Kurso sa Partido Militar. All these courses contain subjects that aim to advance CPP-NPA ideologies and beliefs.
Bihan is currenrly in the custody of the 71st IB and is undergoing debriefing prior to enrollment to the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP).

Lt. Col. Sonny Gonzales, 71IB commander said that the surrender of Bihan is a manifestation that the 71IB is continuously winning the hearts and minds of the people even among the NPA members themselves.

Last month, the 71st IB in coordination with the member agencies of the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF ELCAC) facilitated the benefits of 16 former rebels through the Enhanced Comprehensive and Local Integration Program (ECLIP) that offers cash and livelihood assistance to its beneficiaries. (PIA/RG Alama with reports from 71IB)

5 ASG bandits killed, 2 soldiers hurt in Sulu clashes

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 7, 2020): 5 ASG bandits killed, 2 soldiers hurt in Sulu clashes (By Ely Dumaboc and Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)



Five Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits were killed while two soldiers were wounded in series of clashes in the province of Sulu, a top military official said Tuesday.

Maj. Gen. Corleto Vinluan, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said
the first firefight broke out when the Scout Rangers encountered some 40 ASG bandits while on a military operation around 3:55 p.m. Monday in Sitio Libug Wani, Barangay Bakung, Patikul, Sulu.

Vinluan said the firefight lasted for about 30 minutes before the bandits led by Radullan Sahiron and Hatib Hadjan Sawadjaan fled in different directions.

Vinluan, who is also the Army's 11th Infantry Division commander, said the second encounter occurred around 4:40 p.m. on the same day when another Scout Ranger team encountered some 30 followers of Sahiron and Sawadjaan in Sitio Lumbaan, Barangay Buhangian, also in Patikul.

An hour later, Vinluan said another Scout Ranger team encountered some 40 ASG bandits, who are also followers of Sahiron and Sawadjaan, in Sitio Bakud Uwak, Barangay Tanum, in the same town.


He said the ASG bandits scampered in different directions following an hour-long firefight.

Two soldiers, identified as S/Sgt. Ramonito Diapolet and Cpl. Maynard Cabote, were slightly injured during the clashes, while five ASG bandits were killed.

The mortar team of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion and two MG-520 attack helicopters provided fire support to the ground troops, Vinluan said.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108167

Suspects in killing of soldier, 3 others yield in Basilan

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 7, 2020): Suspects in killing of soldier, 3 others yield in Basilan (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)



SURRENDER. The firearms belonging to the four members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team who are tagged as responsible in the July 3 killing of a soldier and three others in Barangaay Bohe Lebbung, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan. The suspects surrendered to military authorities Sunday (July 5, 2020). (Photo courtesy of the Army's 101st Infantry Brigade)

The four members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team (BPAT) involved in the killing of a soldier and three others in Basilan province surrendered to authorities, military officials said Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. Fernando Reyeg, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, identified the surrenderers as Karim Manisan, 31; Saham Mohammad, 45; Lito Manisan, 45; and Ayatula Mohammad, 40.

They are all members of BPAT in Barangay Bohe Lebbung, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan, who surrendered Sunday to the headquarters of the Army’s 4th Special Forces Battalion in Barangay Cabunbata, Isabela City, Basilan.

The four were tagged as responsible for the July 3 killing of PFC Mark Anthony Monte; militiamen Samy Akay and Alibasa Antaas; and Kong Uging, a civilian.

Monte and his companions were walking home when the suspects ambushed them around 10:30 p.m. in Barangay Bohe Lebbung, Tipo-Tipo.

Militiamen Randy Ibung and Gary Cuevas, and civilians Halam Jainul and Hakim Marani were also injured during the incident.

“The relentless efforts of the combined elements from the 18th Infantry Battalion, 4th Special Forces Battalion, and the local police, pressured the gunmen to yield,” Reyeg said.

Reyeg said the suspects turned over four high-powered firearms consisting of two M16A1 rifles, an M14 US-made rifle, and an M1 US-made carbine with several magazines and ammunitions.

He said the suspects were aware that charges have been filed against them “and they are ready to face the consequences of their actions.”

The police said earlier the group had a misunderstanding, and that Monte and the other victims confronted the suspects minutes before the incident.

Reyeg said the suspects were turned over to the custody of the police.

Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), said they will closely monitor the development of the case to ensure that justice is accorded to the victims.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108198

Troops overrun Dawlah Islamiya lair in Lanao Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 7, 2020): Troops overrun Dawlah Islamiya lair in Lanao Sur (By Teofilo Garcia, Jr.)



Government troops overran a hideout of the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-inspired Dawlah Islamiya following a clash in the hinterlands of Lanao del Sur, officials said Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Franco Rapahel Alano, commander of the Army’s 55th Infantry Battalion, said
the firefight occurred Monday in Barangay Tamparong, Madalum, Lanao del Sur.
Alano said the clash broke out after the troops launched combat operations in response to civilian tipoffs about the presence of Dawlah Islamiya terrorists recruiting and forcing them to procure food items.
Alano said the troops overran the hideout following a fierce firefight.


He said a soldier was killed as he accidentally tripped on an improvised explosive device (IED) fashioned out as a landmine left by the Dawlah Islamiya terrorists when they fled.

Meanwhile, Col. Jose Maria Cuerpo II, commander of the Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade, expressed grief that one of the soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice in protecting the province from the Dawlah Islamiya terrorists.

“Rest assured, we will continue the fight, we will not stop until we could declare the whole province of Lanao del Sur terrorist free,” Cuerpo said.

Maj. Gen. Generoso Ponio, 1st Infantry Division commander, vowed to sustain the military operations against the Dawla Isamilya in its area of responsibility.

"We remain relentless against these terrorist groups; however, we will still encourage them to return to the folds of the law," Ponio said. "Likewise, we will be facilitating the necessary support and assistance for the bereaved families."

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108224

Mother longs for lost son after joining militant group

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 7, 2020): Mother longs for lost son after joining militant group (By Marita Moaje)



‘I’LL NEVER GIVE UP.’ Therese Fuentes posts a throwback picture with her son, Frances Ern, on her Facebook page. Fuentes said she “will never give up” with her son, who allegedly became a member of the communist New People’s Army. (Photo grabbed from Therese Fuentes' FB page)

Therese Fuentes has been longing for her eldest son.

And like any mother, she would do everything to get him back, even if it means exposing and opening up her private life to the public to be able to reach out to him.

Therese shared in her Facebook account on Sunday (July 5) how her son, who had big dreams and goals in life, ended up traversing an unexpected path.

From the day she gave birth to her son, Frances Ern, Therese looked back at the precious moments she shared with her son.

“For 9 months I carried you in my womb without any complains, always praying that the delivery would be normal and successful. Thanks to God, everything went well, and on March 13, 1999, you were born,” her post stated.

“You’ve been a happy kid. Very playful but a smart one. We had a simple but happy life. You became a big brother after two years and following after, was your little sister. You’ve been so happy and excited; you love her so much. You tried to be the best big brother to her. Our family at that time was grateful and contented," she continued.

Therese, in her post, said Frances Ern grew up so fast, but they were proud of their son for being intelligent and having big dreams in life.
His son started an important phase in life – going to college to slowly fulfill his goals.

Therese and her husband enrolled Frances Ern at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) in Sta. Mesa, Manila.
“(When) you started your life in PUP, we thought this is where you can start to build your dreams. As a mother, I was so excited, and you have all the support from us. But I never thought that was also the end of your dreams,” she wrote.

At first, she said Frances Ern was excited every time he would come home from school.

Theresa said she was even more excited to listen to her son and hear about things happening at school.

But all of a sudden, she said, his son changed.

“One day, you came home late. And the next day I saw that there's no smile on your face. I wonder what happened. You’re not the same Frances that I know. Just three months since you been there but you became different. And one day you did not come home,” Therese said.

Therese was so worried and prayed all night for Frances Ern’s safety.

Then one day, Therese said the news came to her that her son Frances Ern has become a member of the militant youth group, Anakbayan.

She blamed Frances Ern's friend, whom she named Alex Danday, for what happened to him.

Theresa got the shock of her life when she saw a video of Frances Ern saying, “NPA (New People’s Army) ako (I am an NPA member)".

"I’ve been horrified, I never expected that it will go that far. Asking myself what happened. Been going on with all the pain, crying for four years, and never know when this hurting (would) stop," she wrote.

Therese fumed with anger and wanted to scream over both disappointment and fear.

“I want to shout to them, want to tell them all the bad words I know. They never know the hurt they cause," she said.

Theresa said she doesn’t even know where exactly Frances Ern is now, or what had happened to him.

With all the hurt she feels, she said she thought of other parents who are in the same situation as her.

Therese said she misses hugging her son.

“I miss you son, Frances Ern, and I love you so much. All I pray (is) that God will give us another chance to be a complete family again," she said.

Therese took the risk of opening up about his son on social media, believing it might be the only way she could reach him.

On Monday, Theresa posted another message on Facebook for her son.

“Naalala mo sabi ko sa iyo. Lahat ng tao sa paligid mo mawawala, pero ako at ako ang matitira na mag-aabot ng kamay ko sa iyo para ibangon ka (Remember when I told you, everybody may leave you, but I will remain here by your side, extending my hand to lift you up). I will always here waiting for you to come home. There's always a way to make things right. Trust me, France, ang pagmamahal ko sa iyo ang hahatak sa iyo sa tama (my love will lead you to the right path). I will never give up I'll fight for your life," she wrote.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108127

BRP Jose Rizal commissioning rites set July 10

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 7, 2020): BRP Jose Rizal commissioning rites set July 10 (By Priam Nepomuceno)



BRP Jose Rizal. (Photo courtesy of Naval Public Affairs Office)

The commissioning ceremony of the Philippine Navy (PN)'s first missile frigate, BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150), will be held in Subic Bay, Zambales on Friday (July 10).

"(The) hand over, christening, and commissioning ceremony (of BRP Jose Rizal) will take place (in) Subic Bay, Zambales (on July 10)," said PN public affairs office chief, Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, in a message to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Monday afternoon.

Roxas said President Rodrigo Duterte was officially invited as the guest of honor.

"But we don't have confirmation yet," she said.

BRP Jose Rizal's commissioning ceremony was earlier scheduled for June 19, coinciding with the birthday of the national hero to which the frigate was named after, but this was canceled after one of its crew tested positive for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as confirmed by PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo.

"May nag-positive na (isang crew) (One of the crew members tested positive) which was later tested and proved to be negative. But because of SOPs (standard operating procedures) na nag-negative siya, dun nagsimula ngayon ang count ng 14 days (when the results turned negative, we started the 14-day count), so because of the counting of the 14 days, it left the TIAC (Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee) with so little time before the commission. So in order not to hurry the TIAC, the conduct of the technical inspection, we recommended it to be postponed," Bacordo earlier said.

Bacordo added that the crew member already yielded negative results based on confirmatory swabbing at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center that came out earlier in June.

Navy willing to reset rites to accommodate PRRD

Meanwhile, Bacordo said they want the President to attend the commissioning ceremonies of the country's first missile frigate which is scheduled at the Alava Wharf in Subic Bay.

"We recommended that date (July 10) to him but we are still to get a confirmation till now," he added in a media interview Tuesday.

Bacordo added that once the President confirms his attendance, the event will push through will go as scheduled.

However, should the Chief Executive decides to move the commissioning on another day, he said that the PN will comply.

"Should the President schedule it for July 12, then we will move the commissioning date to July 12, and if he will say that he prefers it on July 16 then, we will hold it on that date, but what is important is, we want the President to be the guest-of-honor for the commissioning," Bacordo said.

However, he added that they understand the restrictions imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force and of the Presidential Security Group, as to whether the Chief Executive can attend.

The ship arrived in Subic Bay, Zambales last May 23 after leaving Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea last May 18. BRP Jose Rizal is capable of conducting anti-air warfare, anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and electronic warfare operations.

BRP Jose Rizal was launched at the HHI shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea on May 23, 2019.

Incidentally, BRP Antonio Luna (FF-151), the sistership of BRP Jose Rizal, was launched in the same facility on November 8 of last year.

The contract for the two ships is placed at PHP16 billion with another PHP2 billion for weapon systems and munitions.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108149

Army Aviation Regiment feted for Covid-19, air patrol initiatives

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 7, 2020): Army Aviation Regiment feted for Covid-19, air patrol initiatives (By Priam Nepomuceno)



ARMY AVIATION REGIMENT. Army commander, Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay interacts with the members of the Army Aviation Regiment in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija on Monday (July 6, 2020). Gapay lauded the AAR for its contribution in containing the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and helping secure the country's vast maritime territories via aerial reconnaissance and maritime patrols. (Photo courtesy of the Army Chief Public Affairs Office)

Philippine Army (PA) commander, Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay on Monday commended the Army Aviation Regiment (AAR) for its contribution in containing the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and helping secure the country's vast maritime territories via aerial reconnaissance and maritime patrols over Northern Luzon, Eastern Mindanao, and Western Mindanao.

“President (Manuel) Quezon uttered these words 83 years ago but they currently speak about us: ‘Our Army is rapidly taking form as an agency equipped to provide for future Philippine security.’ Indeed, we are getting closer to our vision of a world-class Army that is a source of national pride, and I can see that in you,” Gapay said in his speech during the AAR's activation anniversary ceremony at Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.

In a message to the Philippine News Agency, PA spokesperson Col. Ramon Zagala said the AAR's air assets have been involved in securing the country's air and maritime territories as well as in transporting medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) sets for front-liners to battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.

Gapay, meanwhile, congratulated the regiment in their modernization efforts, particularly in the training of additional aviators, rotary-wing pilots, multi-engine rating, and air traffic personnel.

He also acknowledged the unit's efforts in improving existing doctrines as a result of added capabilities and changing operational environment.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108152

Anti-terror law 'reinvigorates' fight to crush terrorism

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 7, 2020): Anti-terror law 'reinvigorates' fight to crush terrorism (By Marita Moaje)



The newly signed anti-terrorism law will secure the country's freedom and democracy and "reinvigorates our constant vigil against the relentless threat of terrorism," the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) said Monday, as it lauded President Rodrigo Duterte's recent signing of the measure.

NTF-ELCAC's Legal Cooperation Cluster-Coordinated Legal Action and Support Services (LCC-CLASS) made this comment in the wake of protests on the signing of the law, with several groups saying the new law is dangerous and will worsen attacks against human rights defenders.

LCC-CLASS cited the timely passage of the measure, saying Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007 has "withered through the times and rendered itself kaput calling for its repeal”.

The country has been under threats of terroristic attacks in recent years, which includes the Jolo Cathedral attack in 2019, the Sulu encounter in 2018, Marawi siege in 2017, the Davao City night market bombing in September 2016, the Sawmill kidnapping and beheading in April 2016 when the Maute came out as a supporter of ISIS, and the Zamboanga siege in September 2013.

Despite these attacks, only one was convicted under the Human Security Act, Nur Sapian, leader of Hukbong Federal for the Marawi Siege, and only one prescribed organization which is the Abu Sayyaf.

Data from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology shows there are 735 suspects or respondents undergoing trial, but not one of them is being tried for violation of the HSA.

Cases range from murder and illegal possession of firearms even though they were captured at the Marawi siege.

Even Abu Sayyaf members who were caught by government forces were mostly convicted of kidnapping, but not in violation of the HSA.

This is because HSA, the LCC-CLASS said, has no teeth.

It said up to this day, the constant threat of terrorism continuously manages to evade the long arm of the law.

“Now, with this more comprehensive measure, our government shall be better equipped to frustrate, foil, and preempt terrorist attacks and further radicalization,” it said.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108197

PH backs UN experts in combating recruitment of child soldiers

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 7, 2020): PH backs UN experts in combating recruitment of child soldiers


Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations (Contributed photo)

GENEVA, Switzerland – Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Ambassador Evan P. Garcia, on Monday conveyed the country's full support for the work of the UN experts and urged them to continue paying close attention to the modus operandi through which recruitment of child soldiers is carried out in different settings.

Responding to two UN experts’ statements and reports in the ongoing 44th UN Human Rights Council Session, who drew attention to the situation of children being recruited for armed combat, Garcia cited the example of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) that has exploited the cover of charitable schools and school-based youth organizations, among others, to train child combatants for their terroristic activities.

“The terrorist group abuses the cover of 'human rights defender' to escape detection, project legitimacy, solicit funds from unwitting foreign donors, and evade accountability while victimizing thousands of vulnerable children, especially those from indigenous communities," he said.

UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Virginia Gamba, outlined the challenges in ending and preventing grave violations against children including their recruitment and use, killing and maiming, abduction, and rape and sexual violence.

Meanwhile, UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, highlighted how conflict and post-conflict settings heighten the vulnerability of children to being trafficked to serve as soldiers, servants, or sexual slaves.

The report of Gamba acknowledged the Philippines' law on "Special Protection of Children in Situations of Armed Conflict” that was enacted in January 2019.

She recognized the law to be an important measure toward improving the protection of children and ensuring accountability for grave violations.

She also referred, in her report, to a mission conducted in the Philippines in December 2018 where lessons and best practices were gathered relative to her meeting with UN entities, government officials, and disengaged child soldiers of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and their families.

As Garcia encouraged the UN experts to further intensify their work in the area of combating the recruitment of child soldiers, he flagged about the employment by certain armed non-state actors or terrorist organizations such as the CPP-NPA-NDF in the Philippines of insidious means to recruit child combatants, taking them away from the safety of their families, schools, and communities.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108236

BRP Jose Rizal to join RIMPAC 2020

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 7, 2020): BRP Jose Rizal to join RIMPAC 2020 (By Priam Nepomuceno)



BRP Jose Rizal. (File photo courtesy of Naval Public Affairs Office)

The Philippine Navy (PN) said on Tuesday its up-to-date and heavily armed ship, the missile-frigate BRP Jose Rizal (FF-150) will be participating in this year's "Rim of the Pacific" (RIMPAC) exercises.

PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo said the BRP Jose Rizal will depart for Hawaii, where the RIMPAC 2020 will be held, by July 29 to 30.

RIMPAC 2020 is from August 17 to 31.

"To date, (only) three Asean countries (will be) participating (and these are) Singapore, Brunei, and the Philippines," Bacordo said.

As of this time, he said only 11 countries will be sending ships to join the biennial maneuvers described as the largest maritime warfare exercise in the world.

In 2018, the PN participated for the first time in RIMPAC deploying strategic sealift vessel BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602) and offshore patrol vessel BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS-17), an AgustaWestland naval helicopter.

Around 700 sailors and marines joined the exercises, which started June 27 and ended on Aug. 2, 2018.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108205

SC asks Palace to comment on petitions vs. anti-terror law

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 7, 2020): SC asks Palace to comment on petitions vs. anti-terror law (By Benjamin Pulta)


The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday asked the executive department to comment on the petitions questioning the legality of Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020.

"The Supreme Court ordered the consolidation of the four petitions, and required the respondents to file their respective comments on the petition and application for TRO (temporary restraining order) within a period of 10 calendar days from notice," SC spokesman Brian Keith Hosaka told reporters at the end of the high court's en banc session.

No TRO sought by the petitioners was handed down by the court in the meantime.

The suits were originally filed on Monday separately by lawyer Howard M. Calleja, Albay Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, lawyer Melencio Sta. Maria and Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate.

Among other things, the petitioners assailed issues on powers of the Anti-Terrorism Council, provisions on the forms of speech and expression, surveillance, and detention.

The petitions also questioned the definition of the crime of terrorism under the law claiming it as vague and ambiguous, the maximum of 24 days of prolonged detention of a suspect without a judicial warrant or without charging him, the maximum of 90 days technical surveillance and wiretapping of communications, the maximum of six months investigation of a suspect’s bank accounts and the freezing of assets and the authority to designate a person or association as a terrorist without judicial intervention.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the measure into law on July 3 which repeals Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108216

Monday, July 6, 2020

3 alleged NPA rebels killed in Masbate clash

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 5, 2020): 3 alleged NPA rebels killed in Masbate clash (By: Ma. April Mier-Manjares)

LEGAZPI CITY — Three unidentified men believed to be members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in an encounter with police in Mobo town in Masbate province Sunday morning.

Masbate police said in a report that while authorities were about to serve arrest warrants against Alex Macadat, Norman Rapera, Rico Nuñez, Joseph Lalaguna and an unnamed person (John Doe), who were all members of the NPA, they were fired upon by unidentified persons, prompting the team to retaliate in Barangay (village) Bagacay at around 4 a.m.

Recovered were two caliber .45 pistols, a M16 rifle, assorted magazines and ammunition and a sack of improvised explosive devices.


Checkpoints were established for the possible apprehension of the fleeing suspects.

CPP/NDF-Bicol: Lalabanan ng masang Bikolano ang terorismo ng estado

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 6, 2020):  Lalabanan ng masang Bikolano ang terorismo ng estado

MARIA ROJA BANUA
SPOKESPERSON
NDF-BICOL
NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT OF THE PHILIPPINES

JULY 06, 2020



Gagamitin ng isang estadong itinayo at kumakatawan sa interes ng naghaharing-uri ang lahat ng makinarya’t institusyon sa desperasyon nitong pigilan ang kanyang nalalapit na pagbagsak. Bahagi ng papatinding terorismo ng estado ang paglagda ni Duterte ng Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) nitong Hulyo 3. Ganap nitong isinasailalim ang buong bansa sa batas militar. Binibigyang-ligalidad nito ang lahat ng pang-aabuso’t kalupitan ng militar at pulis habang kinikriminalisa ang lahat ng porma ng paglaban ng mamamayan.

Hindi na kinakailangan ng ATA para matukoy ng taumbayan kung sino ang tunay na terorista. Sa buong kasaysayan, tanging ang pasistang estado at mga ahente nito ang siyang sukdulang pumaslang, nagdulot ng matinding pinsala, nakasagabal at nangwasak ng kritikal na imprastruktura, bumili, nagmay-ari, at gumamit ng mga armas, at nagdulot ng sunog, pagbaha o pagsabog. Ang tunay na terorista ay yaong nasa Malacanang, nasa mga upisina sa kampo at mga detatsment at kanilang mga alipures.

Kinukumpleto ng ATA ang pagkubabaw ng paghaharing militar sa sibilyang populasyon at sinasalaula ang mga proteksyong nakasaad sa burges-demokratikong 1987 Konstitusyon. Pilit ipinalalaganap ng rehimeng US-Duterte ang takot upang mapatahimik at pabagsakin ang rebolusyonaryong diwa ng mamamayan. Sa Bikol, aabot na sa 17 ang ekstrahudisyal na pamamaslang sa loob pa lamang ng tatlong buwan, kahit sa kalagitnaan ng Covid-19. Paulit-ulit na ginagamit ng militar at pulis ang mga iligal na arrest at search warrant upang mailarga ang mga ala-SEMPO na atake sa rehiyon. Mayroong isa o higit pang masaker na nagaganap sa bawat taon. Kalakhan sa mga biktima nito ay kabilang sa mga progresibo at makabayang organisasyon

Mahigpit na nakikiisa ang NDF-Bikol sa paglaban ng mamamayan para sa kanilang mga soberanong karapatan. Dapat tuluy-tuloy na makapaglunsad ng kampanya laban sa ATA at terorismo ng estado. Hamon para sa rebolusyonaryong kilusang higit na maging alerto, malikhain at mapangahas. Konsolidahin ang pangangalit at ispontayong pagkilos ng mamamayan upang maiderihe ito sa pinakamakitid na kaaway – ang rehimeng US-Duterte. Hikayatin ang masang anakpawis na gamitin ang lahat ng maaaring daluyan upang ipakita ang pagkamuhi sa ATA at sa terorismo ng estado. Walang-patlang na ibuhos ang pagsisikap sa pagmumulat, pag-oorganisa at pagpapakilos ng pinakamalawak na hanay ng mamamayang bibigo sa diktadura. Ang bawat oras ng pananahimik ay pagbibigay ng puwang na manalasa ang saywar at disimpormasyon ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno.

Paghusayin ang pagpapalakas at pagpapagana sa rebolusyonaryong kilusang lihim bilang daluyan ng organisadong pagkilos at armadong pakikibaka ng mamamayan. Ihanda ang plano sa lihim na pagkilos upang patuloy na magampanan ang iba’t ibang larangan ng gawain sa panahon ng matinding panggigipit ng kaaway.

Ang pagtangan ng armas upang ipaglaban ang kolektibong kagalingan, kasarinlan at katarungan ay hindi terorismo, ngunit lehitimo at soberanong karapatan ng mamamayang sukdulang dinarahas at pinahihirapan ng estado. Pakamahalin ang BHB, lumahok at palakasin ang armadong pakikibaka. Ito ang natatanging sandata ng masang anakpawis laban sa terorismo ng estado. Dapat lalong maging masikhay ang mga rebolusyonaryong organisasyong masa kapwa sa kanayunan at kalunsuran sa pagrerekluta at pagpoprograma ng pagpapasampa sa BHB upang mabilis na mapalaki ang mga yunit gerilya. Ipaabot ang anumang porma ng suportang maaaring ibigay sa mga Pulang mandirigma.

Ipamalas ang tunay na lakas ng nagkakaisang mamamayan. Hindi kailanman maglulubay ang pagbangon ng masang anakpawis na matagal nang sinisikil at pinagkaitan ng kanilang mga karapatan.

Biguin ang batas miitar ng rehimeng US-Duterte!
Ibagsak ang rehimeng US-Duterte at itayo ang estado ng mamamayan!
Isulong ang demokratikong rebolusyong bayan!

https://cpp.ph/statement/lalabanan-ng-masang-bikolano-ang-terorismo-ng-estado/

CPP/CIO: CPP and NPA are not United Nations-designated terrorists organizations

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 6, 2020):  CPP and NPA are not United Nations-designated terrorists organizations

MARCO VALBUENA
CHIEF INFORMATION OFFICER
COMMUNIST PARTY OF THE PHILIPPINES

JULY 06, 2020



In various public statements and articles, Duterte’s security and defense officials and communication officers repeatedly insinuate that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) are designated international terrorist organizations.

In its website, the Malacañang-mouthpiece Philippine News Agency (PNA) repeatedly claims that the CPP and NPA are “designated terrorist organizations” by “the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.”

As a matter of fact, the “United Nations Security Council Consolidated List” does not include the CPP nor the NPA. The list includes 710 individuals and 305 entities. It includes only the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Rajah Solaiman Movement, as well as 13 affiliated individuals, as among those based in the Philippines.

It should be pointed out that the CPP and NPA are also not included in the most recent updated list of “designated terrorists” of Australia, Canada or the United Kingdom, contrary to the repeated claims of the PNA.

The Party and the NPA have repeatedly declared they are not terrorists. The CPP and NPA are revolutionary organizations that uphold and pursue the Filipino people’s aspiration for national freedom and social justice. Terrorism is anathema to the revolutionary principles of the CPP.

The CPP and NPA, through the NDFP, have declared adherence and have strictly complied with the Geneva Conventions which primarily aim to protect and safeguard the lives of civilians amid the hostilities of the civil war.

As a revolutionary movement representing the interests of the Filipino people, the NDFP, through its Negotiating Panel, also conducts peace negotiations with its counterpart in the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.

Recently, the CPP also heeded the UN Secretary General’s call for a global ceasefire when its Central Committee unilaterally declared a ceasefire from March 25 to April 30, an act which the UN Secretary General acknowledged in a letter to the NDFP.

https://cpp.ph/statement/cpp-and-npa-are-not-united-nations-designated-terrorists-organizations/

Kalinaw News: NPA leader surrenders, reveals arms cache in Davao de Oro Town

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jul 6, 2020): NPA leader surrenders, reveals arms cache in Davao de Oro Town (By Kalinaw News)



Mawab, Davao de Oro – A Political Guide of the New People’s Army (NPA) surrendered to 71 st Infantry KAIBIGAN Battalion (71IB) and revealed an arms cache containing 2 high powered firearms in Brgy Rizal, Monkayo, Davao de Oro, Sunday.

A certain Julieto M Refuela @Dan/Bihan, 29, of Purok 4 Brgy Rizal, Monkayo Davao de Oro was a fulltime NPA member who was a political guide of the Weakened Guerilla Front 20, Sub-Regional Committee 1, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC).

Bihan decided to surrender to 71IB and revealed the location of the arms cache containing 2 (40mm) M79 grenade launcher. The 71IB in coordination with the 67IB and 25IB located and recovered the said cache. Said firearms were brought to headquarters of 71IB for proper disposition.

Bihan said he left the NPA because he missed his family so much and wanted to start earning a decent living. “Lisod sa kalihokan kay di man ko paulion bisan gimingaw na kaayo ko sa ako pamilya,” he said in his dialect. [Being in the NPA was very hard for me because I was not allowed to go home even though I already missed my family so much]. Bihan is a father of 2 sons, Julian (5 years old) and Almar (1 year old.

Alias Bihan was deceived to join the NPA by its promise of “Suporta sa Pamilya”, which according to him, “paasa”. He said his family did not receive a single penny from the CPP-NPA.

He also shared that the NPA convinced him to join the rebellion because the current government is unfair and the laws it enacted favor the rich or influential families.

He was further indoctrinated with deceptive ideologies as he underwent courses given by the CPP-NPA such as PADEPA or Pambansang Demokratikong Paaralan, Basic Party Course, Intermediate Course and Batakang Kurso sa Partido Militar. All these courses contain subjects that aim to advance CPP-NPA ideologies and beliefs.



[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Contact us: kalinawnews@cmoregiment.com]

https://www.kalinawnews.com/npa-leader-surrenders-reveals-arms-cache-in-davao-de-oro-town/

Kalinaw News: CPP-NPA killed, chopped and partly burnt the body of a soldier in Samar

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jul 6, 2020): CPP-NPA killed, chopped and partly burnt the body of a soldier in Samar (By 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army)



CATBALOGAN City, Samar, July 6, 2020 (SPRINT NEWS) – The signing by President Duterte of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 three days ago did not stop a band of communist terrorists from mangling and burning the body of a 23-year old soldier they mowed down in an ambush somewhere in Barangay Canvais, Motiong town in Samar about 7am today.

Sources within the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army based at Camp Vicente Lukban here confirmed the victim to be a member of the Canvais Retooled Community Support Program (RCSP) Team under the 14th Infantry Battalion, 8ID, PA but withheld his name until his family is notified


Responding troops prevented the fire which the CPP-NPA terrorists started with the victim’s own motorcycle from fully consuming the cadaver but his right lower extremity was severely burnt already.

His head, however, was cracked open by a hack from a bolo.

The victim and a RCSP team-mate onboard another motorbike were reportedly wearing civilian clothes on their way to coordinate with municipal officials on RCSP activities in the area when waylaid by undetermined number of NPA men believed to be under the Sub-Regional Command Browser, Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee, CPP-NPA-NDF led by Segundo Sison alias Sixto.

The second soldier was also wounded in the lower extremities but reportedly managed to escape and reported the incident to his team in Barangay Canvais proper.

The NPA bandits also torched the wounded soldier’s bike which he left behind.

The Motiong Peacebuilders through its spokesman Jade Cinco, a former organizer of the CPP-established People’s Surge Movement in Samar, vehemently denounced the incident as dastardly and inhuman.

“This kind of atrocity had made me decide to leave the communist terrorist underground movement,” declared Cinco in a cellphone interview with SPRINT News.

For its part, the newly formed Sentrong Alyansa ng mga Mamamayan para sa Bayan (SAMBAYANAN) Eastern Visayas Regional Chapter declared the CPP-NPA-NDF to be no different from the Daesh, more notoriously known as ISIS, and its local terrorist affiliate, the Abu Sayyaf Group, because of what they did to the dead soldier’s body.
“It is satanic, barbaric and highly inhuman to desecrate the body of a dead man by chopping it off and burning. It is a violation of the International Humanitarian Law,” said SAMBAYANAN Eastern Visayas in a statement released to SPRINT News few hours ago.

Army authorities are yet to notify the victims’ families, however.

Police are investigating the incident for the possible filing of criminal charges against the people involved in the crime.

Kalinaw News: AFP, PNP arrest wanted NPA militias in Agusan del Sur

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jul 6, 2020): AFP, PNP arrest wanted NPA militias in Agusan del Sur (By 4th Infantry Division)



TALACOGON, Agusan del Sur — Five (5) wanted persons of New People’s Army Militia ng Bayan (MB) were arrested after a joint AFP-PNP Law Enforcement Operation was launched at KM 20, P-7 Barangay Don Alejandro, San Luis Agusan del Sur, Friday afternoon, July 03, 2020.

The Militia members were identified as Ruby Curato Havana, Francisco Helarion Tawide, Jerome Gomez Tawide, Jeneki Dolores Havana and Poldo Andaya Curato who are members of Guerilla Front 88, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee of the Communist NPA Terrorist.

They were arrested by the combined troops of San Luis MPS and 26th Infantry Battalion for Multiple Attempted Murder with criminal case No. 6004 dated September 10, 2018, issued by Presiding Judge Lou A. Nueva of RTC Branch 7, Bayugan City as per the issued Warrant of Arrest.

Militias are mass supporters of the NPA. They are individuals who was indoctrinated by the communist terrorist; they may or may not be directly involved in the violent armed struggle. However, they can be organized to provide mass support to the terrorist acts of the Communist NPA Terrorist (CNT). These organized individuals form part of the mass base that serves as reinforcement to CNT in the barrio. They secure the CNT while at the community; and at times, they are armed to reinforce the CNT during encounters. They are trained in sniping and Improvised Explosive Device (IED) deployment and detonation, among other terroristic activities. This qualifies them to become a main source of CNT regulars.

On the other hand, Lt Col Reynald Romel A. Goce, the Commanding Officer of 26IB, commended the troops for the job well done. He added that these Militias are the ones who serve as the eyes and ears of the CNT and mostly are the co-perpetrators in conducting ambush to government troops and squeal to CNT if there are opposing locals living within the community.

“Actually this individual is not our enemy. They are also a victim of the wrong ideology indoctrinated to their minds. But since they let themselves to be an instrument of violence by the CNT, it is very clear that they’ve also violated the law of our land”, LtCol Goce said.

” Still, we will not stop to remind our people to avoid being used as an instrument of violence by the CNTs. If not to be avoided, at least they have to report to us the presence of these CNTs so that we can immediately react and deploy our forces in the area”, he added.

The said militias are already in the custody of San Luis MPS undergoing legal disposition.



[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Contact us: kalinawnews@cmoregiment.com]

https://www.kalinawnews.com/afp-pnp-arrest-wanted-npa-militias-in-agusan-del-sur/

Kalinaw News: Army feeds FRs’ children as 23rd IB observes Nutrition Month celebration

Posted to Kalinaw News (Jul 6, 2020): Army feeds FRs’ children as 23rd IB observes Nutrition Month celebration (By 4th Infantry Division)



BUENAVISTA, Agusan del Norte – Soldiers observe the 2020 Nutrition Month by feeding children of former rebels at the 23IB Headquarters in Jamboree Site, Purok 6, Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte, July 5, 2020.

The troops of 23rd Infantry (Masigasig) Battalion conducted a Feeding Activity in support of the 46th National Nutrition Month Celebration 2020 that carries the theme: “Batang Pinoy, SANA TALL… Iwas Stunting, SAMA ALL! Iwas ALL din sa COVID-19!” A total of 27 children of former rebels (FRs) enjoyed hot porridge with egg, bread and a glass of juice served by 23rd IB troopers.

The activity was done with the support of the group Batang Masigasig POINTY and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) in the area. According to the study conducted by the DSWD, Five of the 27 children were considered severely underweight (SUW). With the said findings, 23rd IB Commander Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo decided to conduct a regular feeding program for the children of FRs inside the headquarters to ensure monitoring of their health status.

The initiative of the 23IB’s Commander also aimed to ensure that the children of the FRs will be protected from sickness and the threats of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19). Furthermore, the conduct of the regular feeding program is timely and appropriate as the children of the FRs need immediate attention in terms of their nutritional needs in time with the continuing threat of the pandemic.

The activity last Sunday brought joy to the children and to the FRs because they have qnever experienced such care when they were still in the hands of the Communist New People’s Army Terrorists (CNTs). Alias “Osang,” one of the mothers who joined the activity, expressed her gratitude to the government and the 23IB for attending to the nutritional needs of their children.

“Katong panahon nga naa pa ko sa kalihukan (NPA), dili gyod nako maatiman ang akong mga anak ug dili nako sila mahatagan ug insaktong pagkaon kay dili man me hatagan ug sweldo sa among mga komander. Among gi byaan ug napasagdan ang among pamilya ug talagsa lang gani me maka duaw sa ila. Wala pa sad sukad maka pahigayon ug sama ani nga aktibidad ang among mga kanhing komander kay wala man silay labot kung unsa na ang gidangatan sa pamilya sa ilang mga sakop. Dako gyod akong pasalamat sakasundaluhan sa ilang maayong pagtagad sa amo ug tungod sa ilang pagtabang, nahibaloan namo nga dili na diay himsog ang among mga anak. Wala gyod ko nag mahay nga mibalik ko sa sabakan sa gobyerno kay nakabaton na ko ug hapsay nga kinabuhi ug wala gyod ko nila pasagdi kauban sa akong pamilya,” Osang said.

Meanwhile, Lt. Col. Paulo condemned the CNTs’ continued acts of injustice to the children of their combatants. “As the CNTs take away the parents to fight for their useless ideology, many children suffer hunger and malnutrition due to the lack of food.

The false revolution of the CNTs force thousands of Filipino children, especially in the countryside, to live through hunger and fall into the fangs of malnourishment and diseases because they no longer have parents to attend to their daily food needs,” Paulo said. Being vulnerable, Paulo emphasized that the children and the youth must be prioritized, not only during the observance of Nutrition Month but as they grow up.

“This simple activity is wholeheartedly conducted for the children as we always believe that the youth is the hope of our nation. They must be taken care of and be guided properly so that they will be transformed into peace-loving individuals who will soon become great leaders that will contribute to nation-building,” Paulo said.

He also reiterated his call to the remaining CNTs to surrender and go back to their families, especially their children. “We are always sincere in giving favorable treatment for the well-being of the FRs who chose to leave the armed struggle and live peacefully with their families because we do not consider them as our enemies anymore.

The army specifically the troops of 23IB and the FRs are now united and working as a team with a heart and mind having the same goal of solving insurgency,” Paulo said.



[Kalinaw News is the official online source of information on the pursuit for peace in the Philippines This website is a property of the Civil-Military Operations Regiment, Philippine Army located at Lawton Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. Contact us: kalinawnews@cmoregiment.com]

https://www.kalinawnews.com/army-feeds-frs-children-as-23rd-ib-observes-nutrition-month-celebration/

1 soldier killed, another wounded in NPA ambush in Samar

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 6, 2020): 1 soldier killed, another wounded in NPA ambush in Samar (By Jazmin Bonifacio)

One of the soldiers was allegedly hacked to death and burned



SAMAR, Philippines – Two soldiers of the 14th Infantry Battalion were ambushed by members of the New People's Army (NPA) in Barangay Canvais, Motiong, Samar, on Monday morning, July 6, according to the Philippine Army.

Captain Reynaldo Aragones, spokesperson of the Philippine Army's 8th Infantry Division, told Rappler that the two soldiers were onboard a motorcycle and on their way to the municipal hall of Motiong when they were waylaid by NPA rebels.


The two were going to the municipal hall to coordinate with the local government unit for a proposed project intended for the people of Barangay Canvais. It was learned that the soldiers of the 14th Infantry Battalion were doing community work in the said town.

One of the soldiers was allegedly hacked to death and burned, while the other was wounded in the ambush.

Aragones described the attack as "barbaric and treacherous." The rebels, according to Aragones, also looted the dead soldier's belongings.

"We mourn the death of one of our [soldiers] whose death [was] caused by the treachery of the NPA," Aragones said.

It was learned that before the incident happened, rebels allegedly harassed Army personnel and even the Army patrol base engaged in community support programs in the said village.

"This is a clear manifestation na ayaw talaga ng kapayapaan ng mga NPA (that members of the NPA really do not want peace). We will not tolerate and we are taking military action to stop these atrocities made by the NPA who are trying to disturb peace and development in Samar," Aragones said.

https://www.rappler.com/nation/265855-soldiers-killed-wounded-npa-ambush-samar-july-6-2020

Gov’t continues to provide sustainable livelihood for former rebels, farmers in Leyte

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 6, 2020): Gov’t continues to provide sustainable livelihood for former rebels, farmers in Leyte (By PIA-8 and 93IB)

SAN ISIDRO, Leyte, July 4 (PIA) -- The Provincial Government of Leyte headed by Gov. Leopoldo Dominico "MIC" Petilla, together with the 93IB under the leadership of Lt. Col. Roberto Beatisula Jr. , continues to implement livelihood programs in the 3rd District of Leyte to strengthen the community as part of the reintegration of former rebels and sustainment of achieved peace and development in the area.

On July 3, 2020, the office of the Provincial Agriculture of Leyte started the implementation of More Income in the Countryside (MIC) Seaweed Farming in Barangay Taglawigan, San Isidro, Leyte.



This is part of the government’s Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) jointly funded by the national government and the local government.

To recall, in the later part of June, a total of 55 former rebels and members of farmers organization who were organized and formerly influenced by the Communist Terrorist Group (CTG) in Barangay Jubay, Calubian, Leyte successfully completed the skills training (Cookery and Food Processing) provided by TESDA Leyte and granted them with NC II Certification and also received Tool Kits and Financial Assistance.

“We are investing in this to make sure that they will not be influenced by insurgents again. The people are the greatest resource so we must build nation-loving people,” Governor Petilla said.

Among the first beneficiaries of this project are some of the 262 former rebels and Militia ng Bayan (MB) members in Leyte who received on January 24 the E-CLIP benefits.

President Rodrigo Duterte who led the turnover of financial aid to former rebels renewed his call to rebels to lay down their arms and avail of land distribution and other government assistance.

“We can’t solve the problem in the Philippines by revolution, it has to be evolution,” he said. (PIA-8/93IB)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1046721

NPA member wanted for rape arrested in Sevilla, Bohol

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 6, 2020): NPA member wanted for rape arrested in Sevilla, Bohol (By Rey Anthony H. Chiu)



TOO YOUNG TO BE CORRUPTED. Army reports bared that they captured this young man, identified as Crisologo Guimaras, 21 years old of Bingag, wanted for three counts of rape. He joined the NPA under “Commander Cobra,” where as a warrior, was tasked with a grenade launcher and an improvised bomb. (PIA Bohol/47 IB)

CORTES, Bohol July 6 (PIA) – At certain times in the past, the notorious kangaroo courts of the New People’s Army (NPA) instilled fear among corrupt officials and criminals.

Not anymore as the apparent lie of armed local insurgents unraveled the thread of using and coddling criminals to perpetuate a lost cause.

On this, the Philippine Army’s 47th Infantry Battalion under the leadership of Lt. Col. Allan Tabudlo slammed the NPA members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP-NPA) for terrorizing communities using coddled criminals.

This after the Army and civil authorities unknowingly arrested a wanted person who has a pending warrant of arrest for crime of rape, a day after a fiery encounter between the Army and NPAs on extort mission in Brgy. Bayawahan in Sevilla town on June 27, 2020.

It may be recalled that reports from community residents leaked to the military authorities bared that a group of armed men have been forcefully asking for food and threatening those who refused to give in there.

According to Army Civil Military Operations and information officer First Lieutenant Elma Grace Remonde, troops of 47IB went to the subject area to confirm reports and chanced upon the undetermined number of armed men members of the New People's Army at about 5:45 p.m. in the forested parts of the barangay.

The government troops then engaged the rebels in a ten-minute gunfight as the rebels retreated to the thick forests.

At the Army clearing operations, the government troops recovered one caliber 45 pistol, two caliber 45 magazines, one rifle grenade ammunition, three cellphones, two solar panels, personal belongings, and subversive documents.

Troops also discovered a harboring area with two posts and bunkers that can accommodate 20 persons.

A day after the encounter, residents and the Army sighted a stranger about 500 meters from the encounter site.

Authorities approached the man for not wearing a face mask, a violation against the Executive Order of the Governor, and another possible violation for unauthorized wearing of an Army t-shirt.

The stranger, later identified as Crisologo Guimaras, alias Sam, 21 years old, confessed he was from Brgy. Bingag, Dauis.

Dauis is about 30 kilometers from Sevilla, and Guimaras has no known contacts and relatives in the barangay.

Interrogating authorities then found in his possession an improvised explosive device (IED) and a rifle grenade, which led to Guimaras admitting that he was among the NPAs who clashed with the military troops in the boundary of Sevilla and Bilar towns.

During the interrogation, it was learned that Guimaras has been a regular member of the NPA under the command of Domingo Compoc alias Cobra.

Accordingly, he went into hiding in Luzon after the commission of the crime of rape in 2015.

In 2018, he entered the underground movement that was organized in the hinterlands of Inabanga municipality, province of Bohol, according to the Army CMO official.

Guimaras, who is now in the custody of the Bohol Provincial Police, would be facing violation of RA 9516 (Illegal/Unlawful Possession of Explosives) apart from three counts of rape.

“The incident is evidently showing that the Communist Terrorist Group does not only deceive innocent people, but also harbor criminals who are not willing to submit themselves to the folds of law,” Tabudlo said.

“They [CTG] are tolerating and coddling wanted criminals in order to gain new members and expand their terrorist organization,” he added.

When the NPA kangaroo courts used to be an extrajudicial body to judge violations against the people, now, in desperation to regain their control over the communities, they unwittingly showed the partiality of kangaroo courts, stretching further to protect criminals in their ranks.

Guimaras, being captured before the Anti Terrorism Act became a law, is exempt from a serious charge for terrorism, where he could get a life sentence for an unpardonable offense. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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TERRORISM KNOWS NO GENDER. Female soldiers from the 47th Infantry Battalion distribute pamphlets explaining the modus of the NPAs a few days after Army troops clashed with NPA rebels extorting and intimidating the community in Bayawahan Sevilla, Bohol. The NPAs can now be officially declared terrorists with the new law signed by the President recently. (PIA Bohol/47IB)

Ex rebels receive livelihood assistance from gov't thru EO70

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 6, 2020): Ex rebels receive livelihood assistance from gov't thru EO70 (By Jan Albert K. Araña)

MISAMIS ORIENTAL, July 5 (PIA) -- Former New Peoples Army (NPA) rebels have received livelihood assistance from the government after they returned to the folds of law through the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (ECLIP) and the whole-of-nation approach stipulated under Executive Order 70 of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to attain peace and development in the country.

This was revealed by Lt. Col. Ricky L. Canatoy, Commanding Officer of the 58th Infantry Battalion (IB)of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in an interview during the recent CORDS X Podcast with Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Martin M. Andanar.

Three members of the communist group New People's Army had surrendered to the 58th IB, namely, alias "Dino" a platoon leader of the NPA and his wife alias "Dina" an NPA medic, and alias "Jigs." They also surrendered high caliber of firearms, bombs, documents and a laptop.

They will now receive financial and livelihood assistance under ECLIP to start their new lives as civilians.

The three are now staying at the headquarters of the 58th Battalion and for a long time they are now able to sleep and eat well without fear, Canatoy said.

"Under the ECLIP they can receive initial cash assistance of P 15 thousand, P50 thousand as livelihood assistance, P450 thousand housing project/assistance and firearms enumeration," he said.

Aside from the monetary benefits, the returnees will also receive free medical assistance and trauma incident management from the AFP and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to prepare them for their return to the mainstream society.

"To our brothers that are still with the NPA, we encourage you to surrender and cooperate with us. The government is willing to help you just like what we have done to your former rebel colleagues who are now with us and living peacefully. We assure you that we help you to have a proper livelihood so that you can live peacefully. The 58th IB "Dimalulupig" Battalion is willing to help you," Canatoy appealed. (JKAraña/PIA10)

AMBALA members receive relief packs, sign Oath of Allegiance

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 6, 2020): AMBALA members receive relief packs, sign Oath of Allegiance (By Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)

Featured Image

TARLAC CITY, July 6 (PIA) -- About 98 members of Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita (AMBALA) received Saturday relief packs from the police.

Lead by their Chairperson Leonida “Ka Luning” Trinidad, they also signed their Oath of Allegiance to the government and withdrew their support to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.


About 98 members of Alyansa ng Manggagawang Bukid sa Hacienda Luisita receive relief packs from the police. (Police Regional Office 3)

In a statement, Police Regional Director PBGen. Rhodel Sermonia said this is line with the efforts of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict which was incorporated in their ongoing program dubbed “Rektang Bayanihan Bagong Pagkakaisa.”

“This program is for all who will return to the folds of the law so that we could show to them that indeed, the government cares for them and would give them a better life thru livelihood assistance so that they could start anew,” Sermonia added. (CLJD-PIA 3)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1046861

DTI provides livelihood starter kits to rebel returnees in Aurora (

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 6, 2020): DTI provides livelihood starter kits to rebel returnees in Aurora (By Carlo Lorenzo J. Datu)

BALER, Aurora, July 6 (PIA) -- About 21 rebel returnees in Aurora received livelihood starter kits from Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

“Under our Pangkabuhayan para sa Pagbangon at Ginhawa program, beneficiaries received broiler chicks, feeds, vegetable seedlings, fertilizers and other starter materials to start their new livelihood outside of insurgency,” DTI Provincial Director Edna Dizon disclosed.

“Livelihood activities that returnees chose include Gulayan plantation or vegetable gardening, balut, manukan and e-loading. A total of PhP110,000 worth of materials were distributed for these,” Dizon added.

Aside from the starter kits, DTI also supports the End Local Communist Armed Conflict initiative of the government through capacity building programs and orientation on the services of the agency to help beneficiaries return to the mainstream of society.


About 21 rebel returnees in Aurora receive livelihood starter kits from Department of Trade and Industry. (DTI)

In 2019, DTI offices in Central Luzon assisted a total of 1,806 beneficiaries in the countryside of Aurora, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Zambales.

The beneficiaries were given training on the Basics of entrepreneurship, Food safety, Halal Certification, How to register a Business, How to register as a BMBE and other relevant livelihood topics.

They were also assisted in registering their business names and oriented on the services of the Negosyo Center in their localities. (CLJD-PIA 3)

https://pia.gov.ph/news/articles/1046862

Six former communist terrorists return to the mainstream society

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 6, 2020): Six former communist terrorists return to the mainstream society (By DPAO-6ID)



CAMP SIONGCO, MAGUINDANAO, July 6 - Six former communist NPA terrorists, who surrendered to the 5th Special Forces Battalion under 601st Infantry Brigade on July 3, 2020, were presented in a simple ceremony at Provincial Governor's Office in Koronadal City.

After a series of dialogues, the former rebels realized that they have been heavily exploited by communist NPA terrorists with their lies and evil motives. The surrenderers were all natives of Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

They decided to abandon their armed struggle and submit themselves to the government with the assistance of the military.

Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, Commander of 6th Infantry Division, with Brig. Gen. Roy Galido, Commander of 601st Infantry Brigade and Lt. Col. Randy Banaag, Commanding Officer, 5th Special Forces Battalion presented the returnees to South Cotabato Governor Reynaldo Tamayo, who is also the chairperson of Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (ELCAC).

Former rebel brought along with them 2 M16 rifles, 2 M14 rifles, 1 carbine rifle, one 9mm pistol with ammunition and magazine.

The former rebels will be enrolled to the government's reintegration program known as Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), to help them start a new life and become productive citizen of the country.

In his message, Governor Tamayo expressed his full commitment to support the mandates of the provincial ELCAC to eradicate the influence of communist terrorist groups to achieve a lasting peace, progress and prosperity in the whole province.

“We will intensify our campaign to entice more CNT members to surrender and live in a peaceful life together with their families. We will ensure that all benefits intended for the surrenderees will be processed accordingly as they will be incorporated to the mainstream society," Maj. Gen. Carreon said.

The surrenderers are now in the process of availing the E-CLIP of the government facilitated by the provincial ELCAC of South Cotabato. (DPAO-6ID)

JTFC soldiers foil attack on government’s infra project in Sultan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 6, 2020): JTFC soldiers foil attack on government’s infra project in Sultan (By DPAO-6ID)

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CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao, July 6 - Troops of 37th Infantry Battalion, under 603rd Infantry Brigade, foiled a communist NPA terrorists (CNT) attempt to attack and burn heavy equipment of a construction firm currently undertaking a road-concreting project in Brgy. Hinalaan, Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat on June 30, 2020.

Soldiers securing the government flagship project clashed with around 30 CNTs who approached the construction site even with the presence of civilian workers.

Firefight broke-out at 2:30 p.m. while the soldiers held their ground at the project site preventing the terrorists from getting close. The latter scampered 40 minutes later to different directions after more troops arrived and maneuvered.

One soldier was slightly wounded from a shrapnel, while there could be more wounded among the terrorists based from the traces of blood found at the encounter site. Parts of M16 rifles and various ammunition were also recovered during clearing operation.

The troops identified the group under the West Daguma Front headed by Datu Gawa Gantangan and Glenn Sakudal a.k.a. Dennis belonging to Far South Mindanao Region.

According to Lt. Col. Allen Van Estrera, Commanding Officer of 37th IB, the CNT harassment was intended to pressure the construction company, JANMERC Construction, to give in to their extortion demands or protection money.

“The demands were repeatedly denied by the management. The terrorists were also disrupting the completion of the road project as it will provide easy access of government services in the geographically isolated communities in this upland barangay were NPA members try to infiltrate,” Lt. Col. Estrera said.

Brig. Gen. Wilbur Mamawag, Commander of 603rd Infantry Brigade said that the sustained vigilance of 37th IB troops have established a secured environment which allows the implementation of government projects reach the far-flung barangays to benefit the less-privileged and isolated communities.

Meanwhile, Joint Task Force Central Commander Maj. Gen. Diosdado C. Carreon said that troops remained on high alert following an incident of torching heavy equipment by the CNT last June 15 in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

“We will not let our guards down and we will do our utmost effort to prevent the CNT from their treacherous activities to sabotage government and private projects,” Maj. Gen. Carreon stressed.

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Kids abandoned by NPA parents suffer malnutrition

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 6, 2020): Kids abandoned by NPA parents suffer malnutrition (By Alexander Lopez)



FEEDING THE CHILDREN. Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo (standing) commander of the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion, leads a feeding program on Sunday (July 5, 2020) at the 23IB headquarters in Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte. The activity benefited 27 children of former communist rebels. (Photo courtesy of 23IB)

Instead of wasting their time on a "false ideology", communist New People’s Army (NPA) combatants who have families should instead surrender and attend to the needs of their children, an Army official said.

Lt. Col. Julius Cesar C. Paulo, commander of the Army's 23rd Infantry Battalion (23IB) said malnutrition is common among children in the countryside who are abandoned by parents who chose to fight for the NPA instead of raising their children.

“As the Communist NPA Terrorists (CNTs) take away parents in order to fight with their useless ideology, many children suffer hunger and malnutrition due to lack of food. The false revolution of the CNTs force thousands of Filipino children, especially in the countryside, to live through hunger and fall into the fangs of malnourishment and diseases because they no longer have parents to attend to their daily food needs,” Paulo said in a statement Monday.

Paulo issued the statement a day after the 23IB organized a feeding activity for children inside its headquarters in Barangay Alubihid, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte, in line with the observance of the 46th Nutrition Month Celebration.

1Lt. Roel T. Maglalang, 23IB civil-military operations head, on Monday said 27 children of former NPA rebels benefited from the feeding program, which was supported by Batang Masigasig POINTY and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

“Each of the 27 children of our FRs (former rebels) was served with a bowl of nutritious hot porridge with egg, bread, and a glass of juice,” Maglalang said.

The feeding activity was organized following DSWD's nutrition survey that found five of the 27 children "severely underweight, the Army official said.

He assured the Army unit will continue to ensure that children of former NPA rebels are protected from malnutrition and the threats of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Among the former rebels whose child benefited from the feeding program was “Osang”, who expressed gratitude to the government for taking care of the children NPA surrenderers.

“When I was still in the NPA movement, I was not able to take care of my children and have not provided them with sufficient food because our commander failed to give us our honorarium,” Osang was quoted by 23IB as saying in the dialect.

Osang also expressed regret abandoning her children when she joined the communist rebel movement.

“We were not given time to visit our families and our children,” Osang said, recalling that she could not recall any instance the NPA showed concern for the children of their combatants.

She said the NPA did not care about the welfare of their members' families.

Paulo said the NPA's disregard of their members' families reflects the "continued injustice" the rebel movement has inflicted on hundreds of families in the countryside.

“Being vulnerable to sickness, including the risk from Covid-19, children and the youth must be prioritized, not only during the observance of Nutrition Month but must also be watched most of the time, as the CNTs constantly shadow them for indoctrination and recruitment,” Paulo said.

Parents, he said, must take care of their young and must be guided properly to become "peace-loving individuals and someday become leaders and contribute to nation-building."

Paulo also reiterated his call to the remaining NPA rebels and supporters in the area to surrender and go back to mainstream society and live in peace with their families.

“We are always sincere in giving favorable treatment for the well-being of the FRs who chose to leave the armed struggle and live peacefully with their families because we do not consider them as our enemies anymore. The Army specifically the troops of 23IB and the FRs are now united and working as a team with a heart and mind having the same goal of solving insurgency,” Paulo said.

The NPA 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/1108025

BARMM seeks ‘representation’ in Anti-Terror Council

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 6, 2020): BARMM seeks ‘representation’ in Anti-Terror Council (By Noel Punzalan)



COTABATO CITY – The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has expressed full support to the newly-enacted Anti-Terrorism Law 2020 and is seeking for a “representation” in the Anti-Terror Council (ATC).

“The BARMM, being a government itself, fully respects this decision of the President,” said BARMM Chief Minister Ahod “Murad” Ebrahim in a statement released Saturday, a day after the signing of the anti-terror law by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on July 3, 2020.

Murad said there is no single way of addressing the threats of terrorism, which is an evolving discourse globally, and that BARMM is open to engaging the national government on preparedness against the vicious phenomenon.

“This engagement can start with the Bangsamoro having representation in the ATC,” Ebrahim said, without elaborating.

Section 45 of the law states that ATC members are composed of the Executive Secretary as chairperson; the National Security Adviser as vice-chairperson; and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs; the Secretary of National Defense; the Secretary of the Interior and Local Government; the Secretary Finance; the Secretary of Justice; the Secretary of Information and Communications Technology; and the Executive Director of the Anti-Money Laundering Council Secretariat.

Ebrahim said the Bangsamoro government recognizes the need for a strong policy direction on the fight against terrorism, and that they trust the President will ensure that the concerns and apprehensions of the Bangsamoro people on some provisions of the law "will not happen."

“Rest assured that we will support the implementation of the law and commit to continue the conversation within the Bangsamoro, in our effort to provide the national government realistic context from the ground,” Ebrahim said.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108041

Rebel slain in Iloilo recruited by NPA when he was 17: Army

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 6, 2020): Rebel slain in Iloilo recruited by NPA when he was 17: Army (By Perla Lena)



DECEIVED. Malvin Christian V. Cruz of Barangay San Nicolas, Oton, Iloilo was identified by his parents as the NPA member who was killed in an encounter with government troops in Sitio Lay, Barangay Dalije, Miagao, Iloilo on June 29, 2020. The Army said Cruz was deceived into joining the movement when he was only 17 years old. (PNA photo courtesy of 61IB)

A member of the New People’s Army (NPA) who was killed in an encounter with government troops on June 29 joined the movement when he was still a minor.

The NPA rebel, 21, who was identified by his parents as Malvin Christian V. Cruz
of Barangay San Nicolas, Oton, Iloilo, was recruited into the communist-terrorist group when he was 17 years old, a press statement from the Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) showed.

Cruz, also known in the movement as alias "Lean/Lucas"
was a 1st year Bachelor of Arts in Statistics student at the University of the Philippines Visayas-Miagao campus during the school year 2015-2016 when he was misled into joining the NPA.


“He was four years in the movement. He was claimed after barely five days by his parents from a funeral parlor in Miagao, Iloilo,” said Lt. Col. Joel Benedict Batara, commanding officer of the 61IB, in an interview on Monday.

He said based on gathered information, Cruz cut communication with his parents for more than three years.

Batara said the recovery of the rebel's body was a clear evidence that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA continue to recruit minors and youths from target universities.

“This communist NPA terrorist, they want to destroy the very fabric of the society, including the smallest unit of the society—the family. They would like to separate the parents from their children because once they lost control over their children, that would be a success on the part of the NPA,” he added.

Parents, he said, should be alarmed once there is a change in the behavior of their children and when they no longer come home and join protest actions.

“Student activism is normal. The government is encouraging students to be active because it develops their critical thinking. But once he armed himself, he has to face the law,” he added.

Prior to joining the rebel movement, Cruz was an active member of the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and the IBON Foundation, a non-government organization.

In the NPA, he was team leader of Squad 3, Suyak Platoon, Southern Front, Komiteng Rehiyon-Panay led by Joven Ceralvo.

Batara said Cruz was given a position in the movement because of his background as a UP student, his organization, and teaching skills.

On June 29, Army soldiers figured in a clash with rebels at the mountainous part of Sitio Lay, Barangay Dalije, Miagao, after acting on an information from concerned citizens that NPA terrorists were recruiting minors in San Joaquin and the said town.

The body of Cruz was recovered in the encounter site, along with his M16 rifle.

Government troops also clashed with NPA members last April 18 in another village in Miagao where 11 members were captured including five minors.

“The targets of their recruitment are the minors because of their idealism, dynamism, lack of experience, and guidance from parents,” Batara said.

He added that with the massive rebel recruitment, the role of parents, barangay officials, and local government units is very critical in making sure that children are provided with the right information.

Meanwhile, Batara said the new Anti-Terrorism Law recently signed by President Rodrigo Duterte is a strong measure seen "to crush the NPA”.

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

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108076

Expansion sends 6ID battalion to Sarangani

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 6, 2020): Expansion sends 6ID battalion to Sarangani (By Edwin Fernandez)



NEW ASSIGNMENT. Soldiers of the Army’s 38th Infantry Battalion witness the turnover of battalion commanders as they prepare for deployment to Sarangani province from Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao as part of the expansion of the area of responsibility of the 6th Infantry Division, their mother unit, in Central Mindanao. The 38IB will secure the towns of Maasim and Kiamba in Sarangani province starting Monday (July 6, 2020). (Photo courtesy of 6ID)
CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – After a three-month retraining program, the Army’s 38th Infantry Battalion has been deployed to Sarangani province, as the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (ID) enhanced its capability following its expansion to Central Mindanao.

On Sunday, the 38IB and the 6ID Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operation (CMO) also welcomed new leaders after the turnover ceremonies held at the 602nd Infantry Brigade Headquarters, Camp Lucero, Barangay Nasapian, Carmen, North Cotabato.

Maj. Gen. Diosdado Carreon, 6ID commander, presided the military ceremony that installed Lt. Colonel Edgardo Vilchez Jr. as the new 38IB commander, replacing Lt. Col. Carlo Ferrer.

Ferrer was subsequently installed as the assistant chief of staff for CMO, replacing Lt. Col. Guillermo Mabute who will be designated as the officer-in-charge of the 6ID administration and logistics detachment at Fort Bonifacio, the Philippine Army’s headquarters in Taguig City, Metro Manila.


“To Lt. Col. Ferrer, it would be not easy considering the workload in store. This might be a tough task for you but I know that with through your experiences, you can manage,” Carreon said during the turnover rites.

“To Lt. Col. Vilchez Jr., make use of this opportunity to show what you’ve got. I know you are worthy of the position so I expect you to take charge and perform your utmost best,” added Carreon, also the commander of Joint Task Force Central (JTFC).

The 6ID chief thanked Mabute for his dedication for the past eight months that has greatly contributed to the accomplishment of the command’s mission as he carefully managed the challenges of the job as G7, which resulted in excellent popular support within its area of operation.

After the turnover ceremony of the 38IB, a ceremonial send-off program followed as they will be deployed Monday (July 6) to their designated area of responsibility in the towns of Maasim and Kiamba, both of Sarangani province.

The 6ID now covers the provinces of Maguindanao, part of North Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, South Cotabato, part of Sarangani, and part of Lanao del Sur.

The 38IB was previously based at Barangay Taviran, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao functioning as a “cadre (training) battalion” and now reverted as a maneuver battalion.


https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108050

DND chief welcomes petitions challenging new anti-terror law

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 6, 2020): DND chief welcomes petitions challenging new anti-terror law (By Priam Nepomuceno)



Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (File photo)

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday welcomed petitions filed before the Supreme Court against the newly-signed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 or Republic Act 11479 saying it is within the people's rights to do so.

"We welcome this so that we will know with finality the constitutionality of the ATL (Anti-Terrorism Law)," he said on Monday.

"This is a free country. It is within their rights to do so," he added.

After President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 last Friday, a petition was filed before the High Court to stop its enforcement. Petitioners said its provision was "repugnant" to the Constitution.

Earlier, Lorenzana assured the public that the new law would be strictly implemented and not abused.
He said it is a "much-needed" measure that would "clothe law enforcement agencies with the necessary power" to contain and eradicate terrorists.
Lorenzana called on Filipinos to give the new law a chance and not be swayed by misinformation. 

ATC can't order arrest of persons suspected of terrorism: Esperon

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 6, 2020): ATC can't order arrest of persons suspected of terrorism: Esperon (By Priam Nepomuceno)



National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. (PNA File photo)

The Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) cannot order the arrest of persons suspected of terrorism, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. clarified in an interview with CNN Philippines' The Source on July 2.

Esperon told program host Pinky Webb, said ATC is not a judicial body or a quasi-judicial body and that it can only order the arrest after proscriptions or after designations.

"Proscription is taking to the court, to the Court of Appeals and filing petitions against organizations and personalities so that they will be listed as terrorists. The designation on the other hand is what would come from the Anti-Money Laundering Council and these are organizations that could be supporting terrorist acts. The designation also refers to the organizations that are already proscribed or listed in the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism," Esperon clarified.

The ATC would be composed of nine members of the Cabinet including the Executive Secretary, National Security Adviser, Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Secretary of National Defense, Secretary of Interior and Local Government, Secretary of Finance, Secretary of Justice, Secretary of Information and Communications Technology, and Executive Director of the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

He added that there are already foreign and regional-based organizations listed as terrorist groups by the United Nations.

"By resolutions of the United Nations Security Council, we are bound, we are encouraged, and we are bound in fact to follow those designations. So the ATC is not allowed to simply declare people as terrorists," he added.

Esperon said the arrest of individuals or groups suspected of terrorism will only come once the organization is proscribed.

"That power comes only after the organization is proscribed, we have to go to court first. Even the matter of surveillance of organizations and personalities has to be by order of the court and we apply for it," he said.

By the court, Esperon said he is referring to the Court of Appeals

The ATC, he said, could only designate terror groups or individuals by complying with the resolutions of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.

"Now, once we have proscribed organizations, then that is the only time that we designate agents, we designate agents with written authorities to arrest because you cannot just allow anybody to be conducting an arrest. This is a very technical job and so they must be trained for it," he said.

A written authority will come from the ATC, he added.

When asked if the ATC can be politicized due to its composition of nine Cabinet secretaries or members, Esperon said there are safeguards for such matters.

"For one, there will be a joint oversight committee by Congress and we report our arrests to the Commission on Human Rights as well as to the courts. And by the way, after the passage of this law, we will also craft our Implementing Rules and Regulations and this will also be submitted to Congress. And so there goes again the balance, the check, and the safeguards," he added.

He said terrorism should not be politicized as it is a security matter that needs to be addressed.

He added that activism is not terrorism and that claims that the new anti-terror law would infringe on civil and political rights are not true.

"That is prohibited under the definitions of terrorism, Section 4 which states that it shall not include advocacy, protest, dissent, stoppage of work, industrial or mass actions and other similar exercises of civil and political rights. And so, it does not include people going to the streets if they have legitimate grievances and the exercise of course of freedom of expression," he added.

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1108099