Saturday, June 6, 2015

NPA rebels gun down retired Army soldier in Sorsogon

From the Daily Tribune (Jun 7): NPA rebels gun down retired Army soldier in Sorsogon

CAMP GEN. SIMEON A. OLA, Legazpi City — New People’s Army (NPA) rebels gunned down a retired Philippine Army soldier who was watching television inside his house in Barangay Buraburan, Juban, Sorsogon at around 7:30 p.m. last Friday.

Police identified the victim as Salvador Dador, 58, a widower. He was watching news telecast on TV when four young-looking men armed with Armalite rifles barged inside and poked their guns at him.

Three of the suspects then searched the room of Dador, looking for his firearm but shot him when they found nothing.

Relatives of the former military man were helpless as the rebels’ guns were aimed at them.

The rebels left with the cellphone of the victim towards the mountainous part of the village.

PHL military personnel join PACANGEL

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 6): PHL military personnel join PACANGEL

Six armed forces, including those of the Philippines, are now providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief training to their counterparts at the Papua New Guinea Defense Force.

This is part of the ongoing Pacific Angel (PACANGEL) 15-4 exercises which started June 1 and scheduled to end on the 8th.

Pacific Angel participants deployed doctors, dentists, plumbers and planners to Goroka, a town of 20,000 people and part of the country's Eastern Highland Province.

These personnel came from the Armed Forces of United States, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.

The value of the exchanges taking place in tropical medicine, public health and engineering encourages partner- countries to build relationships through these various programs, preserving peace and stability in the region.

PACANGEL Papua New Guinea mission commander US Air Force Lt. Col. Jim Fowlew is taking the complexity of managing peacetime in Papua New Guinea and giving it a structure that might withstand worse.

"We're investing in sustainability," Pacific Air Forces US Air Force command surgeon Col. Joseph Anderson said.

The operation helps Papua New Guinea military and civil health groups recognize and cope with the complexity of a disaster like the typhoons, tsunamis, earthquakes and floods characteristic of the South Pacific, US Air Force Lt. Col. Courtney Finkbeiner, a nurse and leader of the operation's medical subject-matter expert exchange teams, said.

"Disaster is chaotic enough," she said. "All of the [Papua New Guinea] medical professionals know how to care for patients; we only try to show them how we organize in a crisis."

Appreciating that context of mutual reliance and assistance is critical to understanding the aid picture in the South Pacific, emphasizing cooperation among countries.

"We all have different outlooks, but in a situation like Pacific Angel, we have to consult with each other," Philippines Medical Corps doctor Capt. Donald Palmer said.

"We take our [national] experiences and turn them into multilateral ability, where each country can help the other."

Missions like PACANGEL help local government and international aid agencies respond more quickly to crises within a country's borders and assume control of recovery more quickly in their wake, enabling them to better use the equipment, training and connections they already have.

For instance, Pacific Angel missions to Nepal in recent years helped more than 9,000 people in that country.

More critically, the missions brought together the Nepalese, American, Australian and other military and civilian aid agencies who later formed the joint task force that responded to the devastation following the earthquake near Kathmandu weeks ago.

For many of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force members, all the disaster training and activity resonate strongly with experience.

This summer marks the eighth iteration of PACANGEL. The teams will be training in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief through June 8.

3 dead, 1 hurt in Maluso, Basilan encounter

From ABS-CBN (Jun 6): 3 dead, 1 hurt in Maluso, Basilan encounter

A member of the Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA) was killed and allegedly beheaded by armed men they encountered in Maluso, Basilan province Saturday.

Police identified the fatality as CAA member Daning Lumayon. Lumayon's M-16 rifle, bandolier with magazines and ammunitions were carted away by the still unidentified group.

Police Chief Inspector Edwin Placio said CAA members were patrolling the water lines of the Maluso Water District after reports that an armed group planted explosives there.

They chanced upon the group and a firefight ensued. CAA member Kila Lumayon was also wounded in the encounter.

Authorities said two other bodies believed to be members of the armed group were discovered during clearing operations.

Abu Sayyaf attacks outpost, beheads militiaman in Basilan

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 6): Abu Sayyaf attacks outpost, beheads militiaman in Basilan

Abu Sayyaf gunmen on Saturday attacked a paramilitary outpost in Basilan and beheaded a militiaman, who died in the incident.

Chief Insp. Edwin Placio, chief of the Maluso town police, said some 20 heavily armed Abu Sayyaf bandits stormed the patrol base manned by members of the Civilian Active Auxiliary in Sitio Mabolo in Barangay Townsite around 5:40 a.m.

He said two CAA members, Daning and Kilah Lumayon, were patrolling when the attack took place and immediately fell prey to the attacking bandits.

“Daning Lumayon died and was beheaded. His M16 rifle, his bandolier with magazine and ammunition, were carted away by the armed men. Kilah Lumayon was wounded in the attack,” Placio said.

About 10 minutes later, members of the 14th Special Forces Company and militiamen clashed with the same band of bandits, this time as they were withdrawing toward Barangay Mahayahay, according to Lt. Christine Magno, information officer of the Army’s 104th Infantry Brigade.

Placio said two bandits were reportedly injured in the clash.

“There were about 20 families evacuated from Upper Mahayahay due to the firefight,” he said.
Saturday’s incident was the second of such violence that occurred in Basilan this week.

On Friday, a political rivalry between two village politicians in Lantawan, Basilan, took an ugly turn and sparked shooting incidents that killed four persons.

The violence was triggered by Friday morning’s killing of the grandson of Julhambri Majondi, village chair of Lawi-lawi in Lantawan town allegedly by supporters of his predecessor, Ibrahim Alam.

Upon learning of his grandson’s death, Majondi led an attack against Alam’s group. Among those killed was a brother of Alam’s.

Lt. Col. Eliglen Villaflor, commander of the 4th Special Forces Battalion based in the said province, confirmed to the Inquirer that the shooting incidents involved the groups of Majondi and Alam and that four people had so far been killed.

He said Alam was the former village chief and had lost his post when the Commission on Elections recently sided with Majondi in a bitterly-fought election protest.

Villaflor said there had been civilians displaced by the tension in Lawi-lawi and that they were assisted by personnel of the 15th Special Forces Company in their evacuation to the nearby village of Barangay Landugan.

Hadji Gani Ottoh, Lantawan vice mayor, said he and Nasser Abubakar, the president of the town’s Association of Barangay Chairmen, had proceeded to the Landugan to provide assistance to the displaced residents.

Abu Sayyaf beheads CAFGU member in Basilan attack

From GMA News (Jun 6): Abu Sayyaf beheads CAFGU member in Basilan attack

A member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographic Unit was beheaded while another was wounded in an attack by the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan on Saturday.

Police said the attack occurred at 5:40 a.m. in Barangay Mabolo in Maluso town, GMA News correspondent Peewee Bacuño reported.

Initial police reports identified the beheaded CAFGU as Daning Lumayon. His M-16 rifle and bandolier with ammunition was taken.

Another CAFGU, Kilah Lumayon, was wounded.

An initial investigation showed some 20 men attacked the victims who were  patrolling in the vicinity of their temporary patrol base.

The men then encountered CAFGU and 14th Special Forces members at Mabolo patrol base at Upper Mahayhay and engaged them in a five-minute firefight.

Two suspected Abu Sayyaf members were wounded.

Meanwhile, 20 families were evacuated from Upper Mahayhay.

The water supply in Maluso was also reportedly cut after the Abu Sayyaf destroyed the water connection.

Philippine Maoists support US war drive against China

From the World Socialist Web Site (Jun 5): Philippine Maoists support US war drive against China

On Thursday, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), the legal umbrella front organization of the Maoist Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), staged a protest outside the Chinese consulate in the Manila business district of Makati. The protests, timed to coincide with the 26th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, denounced China’s “aggression” in the South China Sea.

The CPP and its front organizations, including BAYAN, are playing a vital role in the service of US imperialism. They have staged similar anti-China protests over the past two years.

BAYAN secretary general Renato Reyes denounced China’s land reclamation activity in the disputed Spratly Islands as an act of “robbery” and “an affront to our sovereignty.” He said: “Filipinos have the patriotic duty to oppose these aggressive actions as well as to call on our own government to defend our territorial integrity.”

Reyes called on Philippine President Benigno Aquino to nationalize Chinese-owned businesses in the Philippines, saying “Kailangan mapa-aray natin ang China dito/We need to hurt China here.”

BAYAN and the CPP have worked over the past year to whip up furious anti-Chinese nationalism. They have denounced China as a “brute” and an “imperialist” power that is poised to invade the Philippines. Both Reyes and Joma Sison, founder of the CPP, have repeatedly compared Beijing’s leaders to Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascist dictator.

Mong Palatino, chair of BAYAN Metro Manila, issued a statement last year that concluded: “Hate China? Then join the people’s army, strengthen the people’s movement, and be prepared to fight for the motherland.”

BAYAN and the CPP claim to oppose US intervention in the South China Sea and in the Philippines, but their war-mongering against China objectively serves the interest of US imperialism.

What is more, the CPP’s “opposition” to the United States intervention is premised on the false claim that Washington is not serious about its war-drive against China.

Reyes told the demonstrators: “It is not true that the US is out to protect us against China’s incursions and reclamation projects in the West Philippine Sea. The US has repeatedly said that it that does not take sides in the maritime dispute.

“The US is a huge debtor to China, to the tune of $US1.3 trillion. The US will not engage China in a shooting war. Our national leaders are only being made to believe that the US is there to support us.”
The CPP has repeatedly claimed that Washington is avoiding antagonizing China, and that Beijing and Washington are “covertly working hand-in-hand” to oppress the Philippines. These political contortions are designed to obscure the fact that the CPP, having denounced US imperialism for decades, is now in Washington’s camp.

It is not Beijing but Washington that has deliberately inflamed tensions over the South China Sea and is preparing for war with China, in order to ensure its continued dominance in Asia. To tell the working class that there is no threat of war between Washington and Beijing, while the United States is rapidly marshaling its forces to conduct just such a catastrophic conflict, is a political crime of the highest order.

On this basis, BAYAN filed an appeal against the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) basing agreement before the Philippine Supreme Court last year. BAYAN opposed the basing deal because, it claimed, the United States was not committed to war with China. The logic that follows from this is that BAYAN would publicly support the basing deal if Washington announced its commitment to go to war against China over Philippine territorial claims.

BAYAN and the CPP have given full-throated support to the case filed by Manila before the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS), urging President Aquino to press forward the Philippines dispute with China. The ITLOS case was drawn up by Washington and is instrumental to its propaganda that China is flouting international norms. CPP founder Sison wrote that the ITLOS case would help assure “free and safe navigation,” the mantra of the US State Department. In the South China Sea, Sison and the CPP are reading off Washington’s crib sheet.

At every turn, BAYAN and the CPP have served the political interests of US imperialism in its drive against China. This role is the necessary outcome of the CPP’s Stalinist political program in new historical circumstances.

The Maoist CPP was founded in 1968 out of a split in the Philippine Communist Party (PKP) during the 1960s. This split was a direct product of the conflict between the Chinese and Soviet regimes. Rooted in the bankrupt Stalinist program of “Socialism in One Country,” Moscow and Beijing fought for their rival national interests, competing for influence in, and then splitting, communist parties throughout the world.

The CPP did not make any fundamental change to the anti-Marxist program of the Moscow-oriented PKP. Both were founded on the Stalinist doctrines of “two-stage” revolution and a “bloc of four classes.” The CPP pursued a strategy of guerrilla warfare and supported Beijing’s foreign policy interests. To this end, it entered into intimate alliances with bourgeois Filipino politicians who supported the opening of trade and political relations with China.

When Mao and the Communist Party leadership in Beijing opened political ties with Washington in 1972, the CPP was isolated. The Chinese Communist Party’s last attempt to smuggle arms to the CPP in 1974 failed and all ties were effectively severed.

With the end of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, the CPP floundered, looking to restore international political ties. Not receiving support from China, which had openly initiated the restoration of capitalism in 1978, Sison offered to drop the party’s opposition to Moscow and instead to oppose Beijing. In return, he looked for support from the Soviet Union. His overtures went unanswered.
In 1991 the CPP fragmented. A portion of the party retained the name and remained under Sison’s leadership. Through its front organizations, the CPP threw itself into mainstream politics, running candidates for office and forming alliances with leading bourgeois parties. It increasingly became part of the political establishment in Manila, tasked with preventing the independent struggle of the working class for socialism.

In the face of worsening economic crises and mounting geo-political tensions, the dominant sections of the Philippine ruling class have turned to their old colonial master—US imperialism—as the means for defending their interests. The Aquino government has played a leading role in provoking and escalating conflict with China on Washington’s behalf. And the CPP, in line with the shift in ruling circles, has joined the clamor for war.

The political trajectory of the Philippine Maoists strongly parallels that of the pseudo-left in the United States, Australia and Europe, who are all pushing ahead with the agenda of imperialism. This is a reflection of the petty-bourgeois and nationalist basis of these organizations. Their interests lie not with the working class, but with their country’s bourgeoisie.

To the deepening economic crisis and the looming threat of war, there is only one alternative: socialist revolution. The Maoists in the Philippines, and the pseudo-left groupings throughout the world, are hostile to the working class and to socialism.

The nationalism of BAYAN and the CPP will lead only to war. The only way forward for the working masses of the Philippines is to break with these groups, and to organize independently in defense of their own class interests. To do this they must join with their class brothers and sisters around the world in the struggle for socialism by building a section of the world party of socialist revolution, the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI).

From foes to allies: Gov’t forces and BIAF, MILF train as Joint Peace and Security Teams

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 5): From foes to allies: Gov’t forces and BIAF, MILF train as Joint Peace and Security Teams

The Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) have finished forming and training the first Joint Peace and Security Team (JPST) Monday, June 1 that will be deployed in agreed areas in the Bangsamoro to help in the decommissioning process.

The  training had the full support of the leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said.

The Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) mandates the JPSTs to track and document private armies and other armed groups; help reduce and control weapons; support the observance of the ceasefire agreement; work on security arrangements for peace process-connected personalities and events; and support dispute resolution initiatives on the ground.

6th Infantry Division, Philippine Army commander Major General Edmundo Pangilinan, who oversaw the graduation of the first JPST, expressed that he “could no longer see the differences between the government forces and the BIAF (Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces).”

The commander emphasized that peace, long been prayed for by all sectors in Mindanao, could only be attained through unity.  “Now we are one. We have a lot of experiences, the BIAF, the AFP, the PNP, including the civilians who suffered so much. We shed tears, perspire and bled. I believe that because of these experiences we should stop these fights.”

MILF Joint Normalization Committee (JNC) head secretariat Toks Ibrahim said the formation of the first JPST was another concrete proof of the gains of the peace negotiations between the government and the MILF. “The training was successful despite the differences between the participants.”

Brigadier General Carlito Galvez, Jr., chairperson of the GPH Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH), commented that “ang dating magkaaway at magkakatunggali ngayon ay magsasama-sama sa iisang layunin na palaganapin ang katahimikan sa buong Mindanao (Former enemies and foes now work together to spread peace in Mindanao)."

The International Monitoring Team (IMT) M-10 mission also joined the ceremony and recognized the the JPST’s vital role in the normalization process. Mission deputy head Admiral Dato Pahlawan Khairuddin Bin Mohd Arif lauded the members of the JPST, proclaiming the team will contribute greatly to the success of the peace process to achieve lasting peace in Mindanao.

BIAF Commander Gordon Sayfullah gave assurances of his command’s full support for all the JPST’s activities and undertakings in the Bangsamoro.

The JPST is part of a larger normalization initiative which aims to build a Bangsamoro that is committed to basic human rights where individuals are free from fear of violence or crime and where long-held traditions and values continue to be honored. (OPAPP)