Saturday, July 11, 2015

Philippines army denies MILF maintaining arms factories

From News Fulton (Jul 11): Philippines army denies MILF maintaining arms factories

Senator has claimed weapons decommissioned as part of peace process suggest MILF has own weapons manufacturing factory

The Philippines military has denied claims that the country’s one time largest Muslim rebel group is keeping weapons manufacturing facilities in undisclosed locations in the central part of Mindanao island, despite a peace deal with the government.

In statement issued Saturday by the Media Bureau of the Office of Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), Major General Edmundo Pangilinan, chief of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division based in Maguindanao province, was quoted as saying that the military has verified such claims and “ground operatives validated the absence of such facilities.”

 “Our ground forces have already verified such claims. There is no truth to such allegations,” Pangilinan said.

Philippine Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. recently claimed that some weapons decommissioned by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) provide strong evidence that the group has its own weapons manufacturing factory.

Another senator, Francis Escudero, last month urged the MILF to come clean on a reported weapons manufacturing facility that allegedly produces high-powered firearms and explosives.

Escudero issued the statement almost a week after the MILF turned over 75 assault rifles and 145 rebels left the group’s armed wing to return to civilian life as part of a peace process with the government.

He said that it would have been a more credible confidence-building measure if the MILF had surrendered its alleged weapons machinery rather than “just a small portion of its firearms collection”.

“The MILF should have first surrendered their machinery that makes guns, bullets and bombs. It’s useless to surrender guns when they can easily make new ones,” he said.

He underlined that the MILF — as “our partners in peace supposedly” — should disclose how the group had been able to collect firearms and ammunition, as well as their sources and suppliers.

Referring to statements by the MILF’s chief negotiator that decommissioning would proceed only if a draft law on an autonomous Bangsamoro region in the south were passed, he vowed to press for the inclusion of the process in the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

Gradual decommissioning among the 10,000 estimated members of MILF’s armed wing is part of the Annex on Normalization of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, which was signed by the MILF and the government in early 2014.

It serves as the final peace agreement after 17 years of on-and-off and often intractable negotiations.
Under the deal, 30 percent of combatants and weapons will be decommissioned after the BBL’s passage, 35 percent after a plebiscite and the appointment of a transition authority, and 35 percent upon the Bangsamoro government’s establishment.

Pangilinan made clear that‎ “as far as the command is concerned there are no weapons facilities that the MILF are maintaining in our area of jurisdiction.”

Last month, army Public Affairs Office Chief Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc stressed that the Philippine armed forces has not monitored any weapons facilities owned or operated by the MILF in Mindanao or in other parts of the country.

Cabunoc said that outside of a firearms factory seized in Camp Abubakar in 2000, there has been no report about the existence or construction of rehabilitated weapons facilities of the MILF, contrary to several recent allegations in the media.

Brig. General Manolito Orense, chairperson of the army’s Ad hoc Joint Action Group also refuted the allegations of Escudero.

“We have not monitored any reported ‎weapons facilities. But we are open to information and evidence, if there are any so that we can verify and do what has to be done,” Orense said.

Army Reserve

From Tempo (Jul 11): Army Reserve

THE Philippine Army (PA) Reservist movement chalked another distinction in a recently concluded and successful three day (July 3-5, 2015) ‘Reservist Commanders Convention 2015’ held in Ricarte Hall Fort Andres Bonifacio. A yearly affair made more significant with the committed efforts of the current Assistant Chief of Staff for Reservist and Retiree Affairs Office. In the forefront is Colonel Nicolas Pasion who was the “busy bee” coordinating respective participants from all Regions of the country.

Every Army RCDG or Regional Community Defense Group of Regular Officers with their respective delegation of “volunteer” Reservist Officers were in attendance. To open the affair, Rear Admiral Aurelio Rabusa Jr., the recognized father of the Reservist Family was present to extol and provide the conference with the roadmap for strengthening Citizen Soldier participation in the AFP. The convention boast of one of the significant and continuous activities leading to the yearly “National Reservist Week Celebration” which will be highlighted in Camp Aguinaldo represented by the various Branches of the Armed Services in September.

As vital as their counterpart Regular comrades in arms, the Army Reservists conference tackled important issues e.g. National Threat Assessments, PA Strategic Management, PA Operating Concept, Disaster Mitigation, including Proposed Revision of RA 7077 the Reservist Law etc. The second day was dedicated to submitting respective “Workshop Papers”. As soldiers, aware of the basic requirement for maintaining a working familiarity with weapons, a “Shooting competition” was a necessity on the third day. To initiate the “friendly” contest, the Army Reserve Commander was honored overseer, B/General Paolo Leo Miciano. Behind the entire effort was the notable push of Major General Hernando Iriberri, the Commanding General of the PA, who approved and encouraged the Reservist activity in consonance with PA Core Value – “Serving the People, securing the land”.

AFP Public Affairs chief Cabunoc quits post

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 11): AFP Public Affairs chief Cabunoc quits post

Lt Col Harold “Harry” M Cabunoc.   CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Lt Col Harold “Harry” M Cabunoc. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Colonel Harold Cabunoc on Saturday resigned as the Public Affairs Office Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Cabunoc made his resignation a day after Lt. Gen. Hernando Iriberri assumed his post as the 46th chief of staff of the AFP.

READ: Hernando Iriberri is new AFP chief

In a statement obtained by Radyo Inquirer 990AM, Cabunoc said he volunteered to quit from his post.

“I have volunteered to vacate my post as Chief, PAO in order to allow the new CSAFP (Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines) to select a new set of talking heads. He has approved my request,” he said.

Cabunoc assumed his post as the PAO chief of the AFP on October 2014.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Noel Detoyato will reportedly replace Cabunoc, who will be assigned to a special project in Davao concerning indigenous people or indigenous communities.

Duterte defends allowing hero’s burial for slain NPA leader

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 11): Duterte defends allowing hero’s burial for slain NPA leader

 With guards standing in full attention, the body of slain New People's Army commander Leoncio "Parago" Pitao, which was enclosed in a plain white coffin adorned by the red hammer and sickle flag, was paraded around Davao City accompanied by at least 10,000 supporters.  PHOTO BY KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO

With guards standing in full attention, the body of slain New People's Army commander Leoncio "Parago" Pitao, which was enclosed in a plain white coffin adorned by the red hammer and sickle flag, was paraded around Davao City accompanied by at least 10,000 supporters. PHOTO BY KARLOS MANLUPIG/INQUIRER MINDANAO

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has continued to defend his decision to allow a hero’s burial for slain New People’s Army (NPA) leader Leoncio Pitao here on Friday, saying there was nothing wrong with it.

Criticisms against Duterte flooded the social media and accused him of being a communist too after he allowed the NPA to hold a funeral march for Pitao, also known as Parago, here.

Anti-communist leader Pastor Alcover even wrote on his Facebook page that Duterte should be condemned.

“Parago is dead. Death is permanent. But to me when the person is dead it is all even,” Duterte retorted.

He said while Parago was a communist leader, he should be respected for his ideology.

“After all, that guy is not an ugly guy. He was not a robber. He did not sell drugs. He was there dreaming of a different setup for the Philippines. That is all his sin,” the feisty mayor said.

Duterte said there was nothing wrong in his talks with the NPA either because as a mayor, one of his jobs is to ensure the city was peaceful and free from communist-led violence.

“I cannot seal my door. I need a window to talk to the CPP-NPA,” he said.

READ: Duterte urges gov’t to pursue peace with NPA

Still on allowing the funeral march for the slain NPA leader, during which, red-shirted NPA supporters and suspected members waved communist flags on the streets of the city, Duterte said he told security officials to allow it.

“We should not be contrasting on death. I’m your mayor. It’s not my job to do the fighting,” he said.

Duterte also openly admitted that he was not against the NPA and its ideology of social equality.
“I am not against you. I will not fight against you. We have the same view of the government and politics,” he said.

READ: Davao city mayor gives NPA rebels P125 a year

But he immediately added that he did not subscribe to an armed struggle.

“What is not with me is the armed struggle,” he added.

Duterte then went on to say that much of the problem that caused the NPA’s armed struggle was rooted on dire poverty and that many people had been marginalized.

“The NPA is pursuing a kind of democracy based on socialism,” he said.

“(But) I don’t believe in killing a Filipino,” he said, adding that he preferred negotiations or elections to bring about social change.

Asked anew if he would seek the presidency to bring about the social change he had in mind, Duterte said: “That would be the joy of the NPA.”

“They would be able to set foot on Malacañang. One foot of the NPA would be in Malacañang,” he said.

“But I am not a candidate. I am just a mayor,” he added.

CPP/NDF-KM: Pinakamataas na Pagpupugay kay Ka Parago, Dakilang Anak ng Bayan at Rebolusyonaryong Kumander

NDF-KM propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jul 4): Pinakamataas na Pagpupugay kay Ka Parago, Dakilang Anak ng Bayan at Rebolusyonaryong Kumander

NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Hulyo 4, 2015
Parangal ng Kabataang Makabayan kay Ka Leoncio Pitao
Ma. Laya Guerrero, Tagapagsalita Kabataang Makabayan

Isang maalab na pakikiisa sa pamilya ni Ka Leoncio Pitao at Ka Vanessa Limpag, mga kaibigan at kasama ang ipinapaabot ng Kabataang Makabayan (KM) sa kanilang pagdadalamhati sa pagkamatay ng ating magiting na mga kasama.

Kasabay ng pagpupugay ng mga pulang mandirigma ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa buong bansa, mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa, mga magsasaka, Lumad at mamamayan ng Timog Mindanao, kasama ang kasapian ng Kabataang Makabayan sa paghanay at pagsaludo kay Kumander Parago at Ka Kyle, ang kanyang medik na kasamang namartir sa reyd ng pasistang militar noong Hunyo 28, 2015 sa Distrito Paquibato, Davao City.

Ang buhay at kamatayan ni Ka Parago ay puno ng matapang na paninindigan para sa rebolusyon, masikhay at walang pag-aalinlangang pakikibaka at pakikipaglaban para sa masang magsasaka at mamamayang api sa Mindanao at buong bansa.

Sa kanyang kabataan, dinanas niya ang kahirapan ng kanyang magsasakang pamilya sa Agusan at ng pagmalupitan ng militar ang kanyang ama, sa edad na 22 taon ay nagpasya siyang sumapi sa BHB. Tulad ng kabataan ni Ka Parago, ang sistemang malapuyudal at malakolonyal ay patuloy na nagtutulak sa maraming mahirap na kabataan at mamamayan upang lumaban para sa tunay na pagtatamasa ng karapatan, ng kalayaan at demokrasya.

Si Ka Parago, “Tatay”, Ka Ago at Kumander Parago ay salamin ng pagkakilanlan sa kanya ng masang magsasaka, mga Lumad bilang kanilang mahigpit na kasama sa paglaban sa mga mapang-aping mga dayuhan at dambuhalang kumpanyang mangamkam-ng-lupa at pamiminsala sa kanilang kabuhayan at kapaligiran.

Si Kasamang Parago ay naalala bilang isa sa rebolusyonaryong marubdob na nagpatupad sa Ikalawang Dakilang Kilusang Pagwawasto ng Partido sa hanay ng hukbo sa Timog Mindanao. Sa mga kasama, mga pulang mandirigma ng BHB siya ay Kumander na buong-sikap na nag-giya sa pakikidigmang gerilya at pag-unlad ng mga yunit gerilya sa Timog Mindanao, maringal na Komandante ng First Pulang Bagani Company at Pulang Bagani Battalion na namuno sa maraming matatagumpay na taktikal na opensibang nagbigay dagok sa pasistang AFP mula dekada ’80, ’90 kabilang na ang ilang maningning na taktikal na opensiba sa Davao Penal Colony ng 2007 at pagkadakip kay Gen. Obillo at Capt. Montealto ng 1999 at makataong pagturing sa kanila bilang mga bihag-ng-digma.

Sumusulong ang armadong rebolusyon sa Timog Mindanao kahit pa sa pinakamatinding militarisasyon ng rehimeng US-Aquino sa ilalim ng Oplan Bayanihan at walang-katulad na karahasang nararanasan ng masang magsasaka sa kamay ng mga pasistang militar. Gumamit ang AFP ng mabaho, duwag at traydor na pakana ng pagsamantala, pagpatay anak ni Ka Parago at pananakot sa kanyang pamilya upang siya ay panghinain. Ngayon, nanaginip ang pasistang AFP at estadong bulok sa pag-aakalang sa walang-habas na pagpaslang ka Ka Parago ay mapapahina ang pwersa ng rebolusyon sa Timog Mindanao. Ngayon pa lamang, ang mga nagsabuhay ng dakilang halimbawa ni Kasamang Parago sa hanay ng ating hukbo ay patuloy na bumubigwas ng matutunog na paglaban at taktikal na opensiba laban sa pasistang AFP. Ang mga rebolusyonaryong base, mga organisasyong masa ng magsasaka at Lumad ay buong tatag na sumasalag sa mga atake ng militarisasyon sa Timog Mindanao.

Humahango ang maraming kabataang rebolusyonaryo kay Kasamang Parago ng hindi-masasaid na inspirasyon, aral at determinasyon para yakapin at lagpasan ang lahat ng kahirapan alang-alang sa pagsisilbi sa masa at demokratikong rebolusyong bayan. Ka Parago, ikaw ay aming ehemplo ng rebolusyonaryong katatagang singtigas ng bakal, ng diwang mapanlabang singlago ng kagubatan.

Ang kabundukan ay parating mapula at nag-aanyaya pailaya, sa daan-daan, libu-libo pang tulad ni Ka Parago at Ka Kyle na sa kanilang kabataan ay matapang na sumalungat sa agos ng pagkatakot at pagkakimi. Ang pagiging mulat sa at pagdanas ng malupit na pagsasamantalang kinakaharap ng nakakaraming mamamayan ang nagtutulak sa mas marami pang kabataan at masang api na tahakin ang parehong landas ng rebolusyonaryong paglaban.

Mabuhay ang rebolusyonaryong diwa ni Ka Kyle at Ka Leoncio Pitao!
Mabuhay ang lumalabang mamamayan ng Mindanao!
Mabuhay ang demokratikong rebolusyong bayan!
Mabuhay ang CPP-NPA-NDFP!
Kabataang Pilipino, maglingkod sa bayang api, sumapi sa NPA!

CPP/NDF-Negros: NDF-Negros statement: Lubos psy-war propaganda ang deklarasyon nila Maranon-Ayeng “insurgency free and ready for further development” ang Negros

NDF-Negros propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jun 30): NDF-Negros statement: Lubos psy-war propaganda ang deklarasyon nila Maranon-Ayeng “insurgency free and ready for further development” ang Negros

NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Lubos psy-war propaganda ang deklarasyon nila Maranon-Ayeng “insurgency free and ready for further development” ang Negros

Ang deklarasyon nila Gov. Maranon-Brig. Gen. Ayeng nga “insurgency free and ready for further development” ang Negros isa lamang ka lubos psywar-propaganda agud tagoon ang realidad sg kagamo ukon bayolens sosyal nga ginatuga sg mapintas nga paghari sg mga dalagkung komprador-agalon mayduta batok sa pumuluyo nga nagaantos sg grabe nga kaimolon, gutom kag inhustisya sa idalom sg rehimen US-Aquino. Ila lamang ginapapati si Presidente Aquino agud sila makakuha sg dalagkung economic and political favors kag ginahaylo ang exploiting foreign capitalist investors kag local reactionary partners para ibuylo ang ila plunderous economic operations sa Negros bisan pa sa makahalalit nga mga epekto sa pumuluyo kag kapalibotan.

Indi nagasanto sa aktwal nga panghitabo ang mga pahayag ni Maranon kag Ayeng sa mass media nga ila na kuno natapos ang rebolusyonaryong kahublagan sa Negros ukon nahimo na ini nga indi signipikanteng kusog. Ang kamatuoran labi pa nila ginapabaskog ang militarisasyon sa kaumhan kag military combat operations batok sa baseng masa. Ila dugang ginpadaku ang reaksyonaryo nga armadong kusog sg AFP/PNP nga mayor ginabug-os sg mga batalyon sg 302Bde kag 303Bde sg Phil Army, halos katumbas 4 batalyon PNP counterinsurgency forces, 4 batalyon sg SCAA/Cafgu sa idalom sg 12IB, 1 Coy RPA, armed security units sg mga mina kag plantasyon sa kaumhan, armed goons sg mga despotikong agalon mayduta. Ang makinarya sg Provincial Peace and Order Council kag ProPIDU sini labi ginapabaskog paagi sa pag-ekspan sini sa munisipal kag syudad tubtob sa barangay lebel bilang instrumento sg intelligence operations and CMO socio-economic related projects sa pag-asistir kag pagkomplementar sa military combat operations sg AFP/PNP. Ila gina-employ ang legal offensives paagi sa pagpasaka sg fabricated nga mga kaso kriminal batok sa ila gina-alegar nga mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa kag ginalakip man ang mga progresibong lider sg mga legal organisasyon sa syudad kag kaumhan.

Ginaantos sg mga mangunguma ang kakugmat, kawala sg kalinong kag madamo na nabiktima sg pagpamatay, arson kag iban pasistang krimen kag paglapas sg mga kinamatarung nga nakomitir sa ginpatigayon nga baskog kag wala untat nga mga operasyon sg pasistang AFP/PNP. Ila ginasab-og ang terorismo militar sa pagpahog sa mga mangunguma, settlers, mangingisda nga nagapangapin kag nagapamatok sa landgrabbing and mining operations nila Maranon kag iya mga alyadong komprador-agalon mayduta kag mga dumuluong kapitalista. Madamo ang mga mamumugon nga nabiktima sg union busting kag iban represessive acts sg mga kompaniya kag reaksyonaryong gobyerno. Madamo na ang mga imol nga tagasyudad nga ilegal kag pwersadong ginwasak ang ila puloy-an kag palangabuhian.

Ang magkaluha nga imperyalistang polisiyang neo-liberalismo kag “war on terror” nga lubos ginapatuman sg papet nga presidente kag kaupdanang political agents sa sulod sg reaksyonaryong gobyerno naga-triger sg grabeng kahalitan sa kabuhi kag buwas-damlag sg pumuluyo, paglapak sa pungsodnon sobereniya kag pagguba sa kapalibotan. Ang implementasyon sini ni Presidente Aquino nga Public-Private Partnership Programa kag Oplan Bayanihan kag lokal bersyon nila Maranon-Ayeng nga naka-disguise sa “peace and development” package nagalansang na sa mga pumuluyo sa kalbaryo sg grabe nga kaimolon, gutom kag inhustisya. Nagadaku ang populasyon sg mga mamumugon nga wala na sg obra, mga mangunguma nga naagawan sg mga duta, mga mangingisda nga wala na sg palangisdaan, mga propesyonal nga indi magamit ang ila propesyon kundi nagatrabaho na lamang sa BPO centers kag iban nga indi nagasanto nga trabaho, mga skilled and semi-skilled workers nga napugos magsipalaran sa iban nga pungsod, mga pamatan-on nga indi maka-eskwela, mga pumuluyo nga nabudlayan sa kamahal sg mga balaklon kag serbisyo. Ang mga reaksyonaryo kag ila petiburges nga ideological agents natural lamang nga ila hinabonan ini nga sosyal nga realidad.

Ang dugang nga mga palatandaan sg paglala sg nagadalom nga krisis sg pungsod amo ang pagluntad sg malapnagon nga kaakig kag pagpamatok sa mga pumuluyo batok sa rehimen Aquino. Pila lamang sini amo ang bahin sa pagluntad sg talamak nga korapsyon sa sulod sg reaksyonaryong gobyerno, palpak nga Oplan “Exodus” sa Mamasapano, Maguindanao, pagkamasinulondon sg presidente sa dikta sg US sa pagpabaskog sg iya military bases and operations nga nagagatong sg nagalala nga tensyon sa agaway sg teritoryo sg China, Pilipinas kag iban pungsod, pag-railroad sa Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) sa kongreso kag suholan sa mga alyadong congressmen, wala-untat nga pagpataw sg mga buhis kag pagtaas sg mga presyo sg mga balaklon kag serbisyo, pilit nga pagpatuman sg K-12 sa sistemang edukasyon para pataason ang kalidad sg produktong skilled labor for export bangud sa kawala sg industrial goods nga ginahimo sa Pilipinas.

Imposible nga magluntad sa pungsod ang matuod nga kalinong kag kauswagan samtang nagapabilin ang pirme nga nagakrisis nga malakolonyal kag malapyudal nga sistema sosyal nga ginamentinar sg imperyalismong US kag sg mga alyadong sahi nga dalagkung komprador-burgesya kag agalon mayduta. Ang ila dominasyon sa ekonomiya kag politika ang nagapugong sg pagluntad sg matuod nga reporma sg duta kag pungsodnon nga industriyalisasyon sa ekonomiya kag kawala sg pangpolitika kahilwayan ang pumuluyo. Ini nga makasahi nga pagpanghimulos kag pagpamigos nangin adlaw-adlaw nga kapintas sosyal nga pagaantoson sg mga mamumugon kag mangunguma kag iban sahi kag sektor sg mga pumuluyo.

Napaslawan ang rehimen US-Aquino kag mga reaksyonaryong implementor sini tulad nila Maranon-Ayeng sa pagpahuyang kag pagwasak sa rebolusyonaryong kusog sa Negros. Sa baylo padayon naga-akumular sg dugang nga armadong kusog sg NPA nga ginasuporta sg nagalapad kag nagalig-on nga baseng masa. Indi malutos kag sa palaabuton seguradong magdaog ang bag-ong demokratikong rebolusyon sg pumuluyo sa idalom sg pagpamuno sg CPP batok sa mga salot nga imperyalismong US, pyudalismo kag burukrata kapitalismo. Ang rebolusyonaryong linya kag programa sini nga nagasabat sa pundamental nga demokratiko kag pungsodnon interes sg mga pumuluyo amo ang kalig-onan nga-a napaslawan ang mga oplan pangmilitar sg nakaligad nga mga rehimen kag ang subong nga Oplan Bayanihan sg rehimen Aquino.

Ang rehimen US-Aquino kag mga lokal nga reaksyonaryong representante amo ang nagapadasig sa pagtuga sg nagahinog nga sosyal kondisyon para tudloan ang pumuluyo sa pagpasakop kag pagpabaskog sg armado nga rebolusyonaryong kahublagan kag kompletohon ang pagwasak sa sistemang malakolonyal kag malapyudal kag ma-realisar ang sosyalistang konstruksyon sg pungsod Pilipinas.

Ka Frank Fernandez
NDF – Negros spokesperson

CPP/NDF-Visayas: NDFP Visayas calls Oplan Bayanihan a failure, condemns AFP-CentCom’s fascist measures

NDF Visayas propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Jul 7): NDFP Visayas calls Oplan Bayanihan a failure, condemns AFP-CentCom’s fascist measures

NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines
July 7, 2015

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Visayas denounces the AFP-CentCom’s declaration of municipalities, cities and provinces in the Visayas as “peaceful and development ready.” In truth, it is the Internal Peace and Security Plan Bayanihan, or commonly Oplan Bayanihan, that failed in curbing the armed strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) all over the country after it was launched in 2011.

It is ridiculous for the AFP-CentCom to call areas as “insurgency-free” when their very presence in these said areas disproves such claims. They continue their combat operations in the guise of “peace and development” activities. These military operations are targeted against the toiling masses to sow fear and discourage them from supporting the revolutionary armed struggle.

Last May 24, elements from the 11th Infantry Battalion brutally killed a peasant leader, Endric Calago, and his wife, Rosalie, at their home in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

This is not an isolated case as extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations are happening all over the country with the AFP as main perpetrators. Aside from political killings, political activists, even NDF consultants, are criminalized with trumped-up charges.

There are also cases where barrio folks are threatened and forced to admit their membership to the NPA and are then presented as surrenderees. These circumstances are exploited by military personnel as one of the sources of corruption in the ranks of the AFP.

These fascist measures are expected to get worse since the deadline of Oplan Bayanihan in 2016 is fast approaching. This has been historically proven by the long list of unsuccessful operational plans employed by the pro-imperialist regimes to end the national democratic revolution and destroy the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

To hide their humiliation due to Oplan Bayanihan’s failure, the US-Aquino II Regime with its Armed Forces exercise control over mass media to regulate reports on their unlawful activities, spread misleading propaganda against the revolutionary movement and block the news of victorious tactical offensives launched by the NPA.

In May 15, elements of the NPA successfully fired at a military detachment in barangay San Roque, Mabini, Bohol. But the AFP-Centcom kept mum on the incident because this invalidates their long-time proud declaration of Bohol Island as “insurgency-free.”

The revolutionary movement continues to grow in strength despite the desperate efforts of the Noynoy Aquino-led ruling class to wipe it out. It will ascertain the defeat of Oplan Bayanihan with the warm support of the Filipino masses and people. The worsening semi-feudal and semi-colonial crisis and the fascist character of the ruling system ensure the victory of the new democratic revolution.

Pax Enguerra
NDFP Visayas Media Liaison

Army ordered to guard Surallah road project

From the Sun Star-Davao (Jul 12): Army ordered to guard Surallah road project

EASTERN Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) commander Aurelio Baladad directed the Philippine Army’s 10th Infantry Division on Friday to address the current security concerns in a road project in Surallah town in South Cotabato province.

Baladad's order came after an engineer was killed and three others were wounded Thursday when an improvised explosive device (IED) allegedly planted by the rebels exploded at Sitio Lamsuguing in Barangay Upper Sepaka in Surallah at 7:30 a.m.

10th Infantry Division commander Major General Eduardo Año was directed to closely collaborate with the provincial police and officials, and concerned security officers of the firms doing government projects to look after their security.

"Combatants should be distinguished from the non-combatants. Civilians and civilian properties should not be object of attack by the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People's Army (CPP-NPA)," Baladad, in his statement, said.

Baladad, Eastmincom public information officer Captain Alberto Caber said, was saddened on the death of the engineer who has nothing to do with the insurgency. He added that its unit condemns such attack of the rebels against civilian.

The fatality was identified as one Engineer Junesis Miro of the GEMMA Construction Company, while the wounded were Cafgu Active Auxiliary (Caa) Renato Catanos, Caa Joepermar Catapang, and a Barangay Sepaka watcher Tirso Cordero.

"Engineer Miro was onboard the bulldozer. He was working while the Cafgu personnel with a barangay watcher were providing security to farm-to-market road project, connecting Surallah and Lake Sebu, when the IED blew up," Caber said.

Caber added that heavy gun fires followed the blast. It was reported that Cordero is now in critical condition following the several wounds he sustained from the incident.

He said soldiers of the 27th Infantry Battalion headed by Lt. Colonel Jess Alcudia already launched a pursuit operation until now together with the South Cotabato provincial police, against the communist rebels responsible of the attack.

Alcudia, Caber said, is also verifying the reports of the barangay officials nearby that there are two unidentified rebels killed in the firefight.

Most of the development projects have been targeted by the NPA rebels due to its refusal to pay extortion demands, Alcudia said, adding that the contractors revealed that the extorted amount shall be 3 percent of the full project cost.

The military believe that the intention of the rebels is to derail the road construction, as the completion of the project will facilitate the delivery of the government services.
Caber said the continuous manufacture and used of these IEDs are gross violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (Carhrihl).

Militiaman killed in gun attack

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Jul 11): Militiaman killed in gun attack

A MILITIAMAN was killed in a gun attack in the province of Zamboanga Sibugay, the police said Saturday.

Inspector Dahlan Samuddin, Police Regional Office (PRO) in Zamboanga Peninsula information officer, said the incident took place around 2:47 a.m. Friday in the village of Kaliantana, Naga, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Samuddin identified the victim as Samy Jaukal, who died on the spot after he was fatally shot by an unidentified gunman.

Samuddin said Jaukal was sitting at the porch of his residence prior to the incident.

Jaukal was suddenly shot by the lone suspect while he stood up and was about to enter the living room, Samuddin said.

Investigation continues to identify the suspect, he added.

Abu Sayyaf member falls

From the Sun Star-Zamboanga (Jul 11): Abu Sayyaf member falls

AN ABU Sayyaf Group (ASG) member, who is facing charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, has been arrested by police and military operatives in a raid in Zamboanga City.

Senior Superintendent Angelito Casimiro, local police director, identified the arrested ASG member as Basit Balahim, who was arrested around 1:30 p.m. Friday in the village of Talabaan.

Balahim is facing charges for eight counts of kidnapping and serious illegal detention.

A warrant of arrest has been issued by a court in Isabela City, Basilan province to arrest Balahim, the brother of Basilan-based ASG leader Puruji Indama.

Indama has been wanted by Philippine authorities for his alleged involvement in deadly bombings and kidnappings of several people, including a former Australian soldier who was freed in March 2013 after a ransom was paid. [Read the related story here.]

The charges against Balahim stemmed from his alleged involvement in the 2002 kidnapping of eight workers at the Golden Harvest Plantation in Tairan, Lantawan, Basilan, Casimiro said.

Some of the workers were killed while some have either escaped or rescued by the government forces.

8ID installs new commander for 87th Infantry Battalion

Posted to Samar News (Jun 24): 8ID installs new commander for 87th Infantry Battalion

87th Infantry Battalion change-of-command

(From L-R) LtCol Antonio Dulnuan Jr., MajGen Jet Velarmino and LtCol George Domingo during the Change of Command of 87th Infantry Battalion at Brgy. Polangi, Calbiga, Samar on June 23, 2015.

June 24, 2015

CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan CityMajor General Jet B. Velarmino AFP, Commander 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army presided the Change-of-Command of 87th Infantry (Hinirang) Battalion in a ceremony conducted at Headquarters 87IB at Brgy Polangi, Calbiga, Samar last June 23, 2015.

Lt. Col. Domingo succeeded Lt. Col. Antonio B. Dulnuan Jr. and took over the helm of 87IB that covers Calbiga, Jiabong, Basey Marabut, Motiong, Paranas, San Jose de Buan, Pinabacdao, Hinabangan, Sta Rita, Talalora, Villareal, Daram, Zumarraga and Catbalogan all of Samar Province. Dulnuan will assume a position at Headquarters 8ID.

Prior to taking the helm of 87th Infantry Battalion, Domingo was the Brigade Executive Officer of 801st Infantry Brigade of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army based at Brgy Fatima, Hinabangan, Samar.

Velarmino in his message acknowledged the contribution of Dulnuan to the peace and development that the province of Samar is now experiencing, at the same time, he challenged Domingo to continue the plans and programs initiated by his predecessor for the overall accomplishment of the Commands mission and the realization of an Insurgency Free Samar.

3 New People’s Army (NPA) members surrender to 63rd IB

Posted to Samar News (Jun 29): 3 New People’s Army (NPA) members surrender to 63rd IB

June 29, 2015

CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan City Three NPA members operating in the First District of Northern Samar surrendered to the 63rd Infantry (Innovator) Battalion’s “A” Company stationed at Barangay Polangi, Catarman, Northern Samar at 8:A.M. of June 27, 2015.

The three NPAs were Gladys Surio aka Ara, Juvy Gonzaga Somodoy aka Obet and Alberto Cuanico Somodoy aka Tatang/Leon were on lie-low when they voluntarily surrendered. Based on the 8ID record, they were under the Front Committee 2, Northern Samar Provincial Party Committee, now known as Sub-Region Committee Emporium.

According to Lt. Col. Carmelito L. Pangatungan, Commanding Officer of 63IB, the three NPAs were accompanied by five Kagawad members of Barangay Gebulwangan, Catarman Northern Samar when they surrendered. They are currently under the custody of 63IB while their surrender papers are on process.

Major General Jet B. Velarmino, 8ID Commander, lauded the efforts made by the 63IB that resulted to the surrender of the three NPA members and also encouraged them to double their effort in winning the peace through community service.

He also renewed his call for NPA members to return to the mainstream of society and avail of the government programs intended for NPA rebels and enjoy life with their respective families, not a life of an NPA that is full of uncertainty, or a life that is always on the run. He stressed that the 8ID will ensure the safety and well-being of NPA surrenderees while they are in military custody

China on talks with PH: No need to drop case

From Rappler (Jul 11): China on talks with PH: No need to drop case

Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua says dropping the case is not a precondition to talks but it seems 'the Philippine side itself shut the secure that they have a strong position at the tribunal'

'LET'S TALK.' Chinese Ambassador to the Philippine Zhao Jianhua (L) presents his credentials to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at the Philippine presidential palace on April 8, 2014. File photo courtesy of the Chinese Embassy

'LET'S TALK.' Chinese Ambassador to the Philippine Zhao Jianhua (L) presents his credentials to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III at the Philippine presidential palace on April 8, 2014. File photo courtesy of the Chinese Embassy

China is pushing for one-on-one talks with the Philippines without the need to drop the arbitration proceedings at The Hague, Netherlands, where a powerhouse Philippine team braces for another round of arguments Monday, July 13.

In a meeting with Philippine media, Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua denied reports that China wants the Philippines to drop the case as a "precondition" for bilateral talks.
"No, there is no such precondition, because as a matter of fact, we have already announced we will not accept or participate in the arbitration. So the result of the arbitration is not binding as far as our side is concerned. This is the legal right of China," Zhao said in an interview, the transcript of which the Chinese embassy sent to reporters Tuesday, July 7.
He stressed: "We have not used dropping of the case as a precondition for resumption of bilateral talks. It seems that the Philippine side itself shut the secure that they have a strong position at the tribunal."
Zhao pointed out that China has always tried "to reopen" its channels with the Philippines.
"But some people in the Philippines are afraid that if they open the bilateral channels, it will weaken the case of arbitration at the tribunal, because the precondition for filing the arbitration is that bilateral means have been exhausted," the ambassador said.
"We would like to see the Philippine side to come back to the negotiation table. The door for bilateral negotiation is open and will remain open, until we come together and find a peaceful solution to those disputes," he added.
The Philippines on Tuesday rejected China's appeal for bilateral talks.
The Southeast Asian country, after all, asserts that it filed a case against China because it "exhausted all political and diplomatic avenues" to resolve the sea dispute.
China, on the other hand, refuses to join arbitration because it avoids third-party involvement in the issue. Instead it pushes for one-on-one talks with the countries involved.
China proposes bilateral talks "without preconditions" as the Philippines defends its case before an arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague. (READ: EXPLAINER: Philippines' 5 arguments vs China)
Led by internationally renowned lawyer Paul Reichler, the Philippines' lawyers want to prove that the tribunal at The Hague has the right to hear the case of the Philippines. The oral arguments run from July 7 to 13. (READ: PH lawyer vs China: 'Giant slayer' who defeated US)
The hearing at The Hague comes as the two countries, on June 9 this year, marked the 40th anniversary of their diplomatic ties. (READ: Aquino's 'Nazi' jab spoils PH-China ties' 40th anniv)
'China opened door, we shut it'
The son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, for his part, criticized the Aquino administration for rejecting bilateral talks. He called this "a wasted opportunity for both parties."
"China opened the door and we shut it. The Chinese said let’s talk and we snubbed them. It’s an opportunity to resolve our differences but we failed to take advantage of it," Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr said in a recent media forum.
The senator's father was the Philippine president who signed a joint communiqué on June 9, 1975, to start diplomatic relations between Manila and Beijing.
The late dictator, Ferdinand Sr, is also accused of masterminding the murder of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III's father, Benigno Aquino Jr.
In his recent forum, Marcos added that the Philippines has nothing to lose in bilateral talks. He said this is important because of 3 things:
  • China is already building artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea
  • China will never recognize arbitration
  • By rejecting bilateral talks, the Philippines "is limiting the government's strategic options to stop China from antagonizing not only the Philippines, but all the other claimant countries in the West Philippine Sea"
“So talk, and tell them: We are not happy with what you are doing, and we do not agree with what you are doing," Marcos said. "But the next thing you say is: How do we fix this?"
He also urged Chinese Filipinos to help persuade both the Philippine and Chinese governments "to at least, sit down and negotiate, or at most, resolve the problem outright."
"We should not be snobbish. I can't see any reason at all why we are not talking to China. On the contrary, there are more than enough obvious reasons why we should talk to superpower China," he said, referring to the Philippines' third biggest trading partner.
In an interview with Rappler, maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal also explained that the case against China "is not enough." He said, "We will always go back to the two countries sitting down to talk it out."
The Philippines earlier said it plans to resume its talks with China – but not until the tribunal at The Hague rules on the Philippines' case likely by 2016. Dwarfed by China in terms of military strength, the Philippines would use a favorable ruling as leverage.
In a media briefing in April, Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose told reporters: "We really have to go back to bilateral talks. Once we have a decision by the court which is favorable, we can at least negotiate from a stronger position."

Reds want peace talks in 3rd qtr

From The Standard (Jul 12): Reds want peace talks in 3rd qtr

Informal talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-National Democratic Front will likely resume in the third quarter of the year, CPP founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison told The Standard in an interview from Utrecht.

Sison said it is still possible to hammer out a ceasefire agreement within the term of President Benigno Aquino III, a positive take on the peace negotiations that have remained stalled since February 2011.

“It is possible to have informal talks within the third quarter of the year. That is our expectation,” he said.

Heart-to-heart. Communist leader Jose Maria Sison, founder of the
 Communist Party of the Philippines, explains a point to Speaker
 Feliciano Belmonte Jr. during a dinner at a Japanese restaurant in
Amsterdam, Holland on Friday where they discussed the resumption
 of the stalled peace talks. NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC FRONT
“Efforts of the Norwegian special envoy Ambassador Elisabeta Slottum are ongoing to bring both parties to a consensus on the procedures for the informal talks that will set the agenda of the formal talks,” Sison added.

Sison said NDF chairman Luis Jalandoni has already sent a letter to Slottum detailing suggestions for the procedures for the informal talks.

The two communist leaders recently met with lawmakers, led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., at a Japanese restaurant in Amsterdam where they discussed the possibility of reviving the negotiations.
“It was a friendly and informal conversation. Speaker Belmonte said our conversation was a confidence-building measure. Louie (Jalandoni) told them that the House leadership can play a crucial role in promoting the peace negotiations,” Sison said.

“I told them there is still time to hammer out a truce and cooperation agreement as well as a Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms before Aquino’s term ends,” he added.

Malacañang, for its part, said the meeting in Amsterdam was a welcome development as it expressed readiness to resume peace talks with the communist rebels.

“It is good that they had a chance to talk about the peace process. As you know, our government panel is ready to talk peace with the CPP-NDF. But we first we have to put some things in order so that the talks could resume,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

In an earlier interview, Belmonte said Sison and Jalandoni did not impose “preconditions” to what he called an “initiative” to get the stalled peace talks with the rebels back on track.

He said he would report to President Aquino the “informative dinner” that he had with the communist leaders.

Belmonte is with the 35-member Philippine delegation to The Hague, where the country is arguing its case against China over disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

Gov’t currently preparing draft pension bill for uniformed personnel

From the Business World (Jul 10): Gov’t currently preparing draft pension bill for uniformed personnel

A DRAFT pension bill that will help ensure all uniformed personnel receive benefit payments is currently being prepared by government agencies, President Benigno S. C. Aquino III said on Friday during the Philippine military’s change of command ceremony on Friday.

The Department of Budget and Management, Department of Finance, Department of National Defense (DND), and Department of Interior and Local Government are all working on a draft pension bill that will lay down the measures that will ensure the funding of benefits,” Mr. Aquino said in a speech at Camp Aguinaldo where he formally named Lt. Gen. Hernando Delfin Carmelo A. Iriberri as the new AFP chief of staff, replacing Gregorio Pio P. Catapang Jr.

Proposed contents of the measure are being finalized, DND Public Affairs Service Chief Arsenio R. Andolong said in an interview.

“The proposed bill seeks to amend the existing law that provides for indexation of lifetime pension benefits based on latest salary levels. This is deemed not sustainable,” Communications Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. said in a separate text message.

During his speech, President Aquino ordered Mr. Iriberri, who served as the 56th Commanding General of the Philippine Army since February 7, 2014, to continue what Mr. Catapang and other chief of staff have started and to ensure a peaceful and clean 2016 elections.

“This is my challenge for you: Continue what Gen. Catapang and his predecessors started and to further raise the soldiers’ standards of service,” President Aquino said. “The election is forthcoming. Your duties include ensuring that elections are clean and peaceful.”

For his part, Mr. Iriberri identified five priorities that must be addressed: the matter of winning the peace; continuation with commitment of AFP Transformation Roadmap; duty to implement national policy; preparation for the 2016 elections; and the need to upgrade capabilities.

Mr. Iriberri said in the last seven years, 58-conflict affected provinces have been declares either as “insurgency-free or peaceful and ready for further development.”

“We will not only win the peace, but we will secure the peace as well,” he said.

Mr. Iriberri holds a Masters degree in Management and Defense Studies from the University of Canberra, Australia and also a graduate of the PSYOPS Officer Course in CONUS, UN Staff Officer Course from Sweden, High Defense Course from Spain and other local military career courses.

Weapons turned over by MILF authentic, says decommissioning body

From ABS-CBN (Jul 11): Weapons turned over by MILF authentic, says decommissioning body

The initial set of weapons turned over by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) last month in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao are authentic and in a secure location, the Independent Decommissioning Body (IDB) body said Saturday.

In a statement, IDB member retired Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Lieutenant General Rey Ardo denied allegations that there were homemade weapons included among those turned over by the MILF.

Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. earlier alleged that 28 of the decommissioned MILF weapons contained ''paltiks'' or homemade weapons.

He also alleged that the rebel group was still able to manufacture armaments through its weapons factory.

According to Ardo, the MILF submitted to the IDB a list of the firearms to be turned over prior to the ceremonial decommissioning. The seven-member decommissioning body also inspected the weapons prior to the ceremony.

''Based on my experience and competency as a retired general of the AFP, these are the original weapons used by the MILF in their fight with the government," Ardo said.

He also noted that the weapons "were clearly not manufactured for the sake of the ceremonial decommissioning."

Ardo added the weapons have been placed in secure storage facilities.

"Under the watch of the IDB, the decommissioned weapons of the MILF have been placed in secure storage facilities and will remain there until they are finally put beyond use," said Ardo.

The official added that the weapons are kept safe to prevent them from falling in the hands of lawless elements, or from being sold back in the "black market."

Meanwhile, Government of the Philippines (GPH) Chief Peace Negotiator Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer appealed to reporters to undertake their own investigation or at least interview other competent sources before reporting on mere statements.

The chief peace negotiator, moreover, suggested that those with proof regarding claims that the MILF are manufacturing firearms and weaponry should immediately coordinate with the security sector or the government ceasefire committee.

"Tungkol po sa alegasyon na ang MILF ay gumagawa ng armas, ayaw din po namin ng ganito kaya matagal na naming sinasabi na ibigay po natin sa ating AFP at PNP o sa ating ceasefire committee ang anumang impormasyon ukol sa sinasabi na weapons factory upang ito po ay maaksyunan (With regard the allegation that the MILF is manufacturing arms, we also do not want this to happen, so those with information should report to the AFP and the PNP or ceasefire committee so that we can take action)," said Ferrer.

The decommissioning process is guided by the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the peace accord signed by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the MILF in March 2014. The CAB stipulates that the MILF weaponry will be put beyond use while the combatants will transition to civilian lives in a gradual and phased process.

Palace: Sison-Belmonte meeting 'a good start'

From ABS-CBN (Jul 11): Palace: Sison-Belmonte meeting 'a good start'

Malacañang welcomed the meeting between House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and Communist Part of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison.

In a radio interview, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda described the meeting Belmonte and Sison as a ''good start."

He also welcomed Sison's declaration of support for the Philippines' case against China before a United Nations arbitral tribunal with regard to the South China Sea dispute.

''Magandang umpisa po ito na Speaker Belmonte and Mr. Joma Sison were able to speak to each other, and we certainly welcome the statement made by Mr. Sison on our case against China,'' he said.

Belmonte is in the The Hague, Netherlands as part of the Philippine delegation in the hearings in the arbitration case filed by the Philippines against China.

Belmote and Sison met in Amsterdam last Thursday. Also present in the meeting was National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panel chief Luis Jalandoni.

Lacierda said it is good that Belmonte and Sison met to discuss the possible resumption of the peace talks, noting that the government will always be willing to talk peace with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army/National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

''Alam niyo namang handa po ang ating panel, ang Philippine panel namang makipagtalakayan sa kanila tungkol sa isyu ng peace, ng kapayapaan dito sa CPP-NPA-NDF,'' he said.

However, he said several issues must be resolved first before the two parties go back to the negotiating table.

'''Yun nga lang, kailangan lang ayusin po 'yung ilang mga bagay para tuluyang magkaroon po ng pag-uusap sana."

Peace talks between the Philippine government and the communist leadership have stalled due to several issues, such as the NDF's demand that its detained consultants be released before the two parties resume talks.

2 dead as soldiers fired shots at men who lobbed grenade

From ABS-CBN (Jul 12): 2 dead as soldiers fired shots at men who lobbed grenade

Two people were killed in a sly grenade attack in Barangay Sambulawan in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao Friday morning.

Datu Salibo Police chief Insp. Abdulbasit Kulod said members of the 22nd Mechanized Company of the 2nd Mechanized Battalion under a certain Capt. Melendrez were on board a vehicle with Barangay Masigay, Datu Piang chairman Sajid Ambiton when the explosion occurred.

The group came from Datu Piang and was on their way to Datu Saudi Ampatuan.

Upon reaching Barangay Sambulawan in Datu Salibo, however, two motorcycle-riding men went beside the vehicle and lobbed a hand grenade at a nearby army detachment in the area.

After hearing the explosion, soldiers at the army detachment then opened fire in the direction of the national highway, hitting the vehicle carrying the soldiers.

Ambiton and a soldier, identified as Sgt. Dinnes Tamma, died in the incident. Melendrez was wounded.

Another explosion occurred within the same vicinity around 7 p.m. This was followed by a firefight which lasted for 20 minutes.

Another soldier, identified only as Private First Class Neri, was injured.

Both the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are investigating the series of explosions.

Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters spokesperson Abu Missry Mama denied that his group was behind the blasts.

Opinion/Commentary: Internal war

Commentary posted to the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 11): Commentary: Internal war

The Armed Forces of the Philippines has been waging a campaign against the communist insurgency since the Communist Party of the Philippines was reestablished on Dec. 26, 1968, and its military wing, the New People’s Army, was formally rechartered in March 1969.

After 50 years of counterinsurgency operations, the AFP’s spokesmen have boasted that its officer corps gained valuable lessons to teach regional neighbors in similar situations. This is nonsense. The theory and principles of war can be taught only by victors, not by inept battlefield officers.

A subject of crucial importance to military theory is internal war. In “Silent War” (1989), author and publisher Victor Corpus scoffed at the AFP’s counterinsurgency methods such as “hamletization,” search-and-destroy operations, and low-intensity conflict. He said the AFP lacked a “suitable and effective strategy” that fits Philippine conditions to defeat the CPP-NPA.

Corpus defected to the NPA as a Constabulary first lieutenant on Dec. 29, 1970, for a nonexistent idealism and returned to camp on July 14, 1976, as a repentant Benjamin. After the 1986 Edsa revolt, a general amnesty of President Corazon Aquino enabled him to be recommissioned lieutenant colonel in the Army’s reserve force.

The correct strategy, Corpus asserts, is to “surround the cities from the countryside,” camouflaged by philosophizing in the traditional mode of “us versus them.” He offers a “how to” primer with great admiration for Mao Zedong—the direct implication being that, having succeeded in China, it is a strategy for the ages.

Not honed in Marxist political theory, Corpus conveniently forgets what Mao himself said: Guerrilla tactics cannot be replicated by the ruling government.

In Eastern Europe, where Marxism was initially engaged and where the alliance between workers and peasants first saw expression, the need for a sustained workers’ movement in the cities rather than a full-blown insurrection became a standard insurgent tactic. The method of warfare more suitable to a society mired in uneven development was left to Mao to develop based on concrete conditions in China. Thus, Mao’s contribution was to introduce “protracted war” versus Lenin’s classic prescription of “industrial strikes” in more urbanized Russia.

The foremost deficiency of Corpus’ counterinsurgency strategy is his ignorance of the Marxist concept of “people’s war.” The concept of guerrillas being analogous to fish in water, the idea of “when the enemy tires, we attack and when the enemy weakens, we pursue,” which Mao explained in his military writings—and which Corpus seems to praise—are nothing more than the application to the material world of Hegelian dialectics of contradiction. Thus, the CPP-NPA’s guerrilla tactics cannot be separated from the philosophical framework of Marxism itself.

Corpus’ view on insurgency and counterinsurgency begins and ends in a historical vacuum. This lack of historicity that shapes strategy and tactics versus insurgents, renders his proposed measures pointless and abstract. Nothing disarms insurgents more effectively than democratized prosperity.

There is a vain attempt to be original by using clichés like “gradual constriction”—a battlefield tactic known since ancient times—and phrases such as the “Venus Fly-Trap” technique, although this is a ploy (baiting the enemy into a controlled killing zone) surely even cavemen must have known.

But a “how to” manual should pass the test of practical application, and its entire usefulness must be a positive answer to the question “Does it work?” Removing such strained similes as those likening the civilian population to a river and the insurgents to rocks in it, and understanding Corpus’ meaning to be removing/avoiding the civilian populace and/or befriending/seducing civilians to our side, the guarded answer is: “It ought to.”

But success and failure are in the details. The important point is to avoid the great danger of coining and thinking in slogans. A slogan oversimplifies, and the resultant conclusions are usually inadequate and even false. This book may serve the useful purpose of being a primer, like teaching the alphabet, but the whole course of teaching officers and men should quickly proceed to the inculcation of the habit of thinking in terms of historical models and abstracting from them the principles of victory.

Assuming this can be done, we ought to have an officer corps that can think in strategic and tactical terms. Naturally, we expect mental filtering and common sense as well.

A basic problem is that Hannibals and Caesars rarely apply at the Philippine Military Academy. It usually gets the children and relatives of military and police officers, careerists and opportunists, and even sublimated sadists and masochists whose true nature, unfortunately, emerges only when invested with the power of the gun amid impoverished villagers and small businessmen (the bigger ones get kidnapped).

But despite such material, aided by the PMA’s relevant transmutation processes, we have an officer corps undistinguished by greatness but competent enough to go forth into battle and regularly return to an honorable retirement. Have we ever had a George Patton? A Tiberius Caesar? Even an Emilio Aguinaldo? Not in our memory.

The problem at hand is whether books such as “Silent War” can upgrade the officer corps’ battlefield capability. Certainly, there had been similar tracts from more illustrious authors, and the officer corps remains what it is today.

Nevertheless, we have to keep trying. There is no camino real, but the inculcation of sound strategic and tactical thinking can be reasonably achieved using the conditioned reflex as a working substitute for natural talent. And this is exactly what military training systems have sought to achieve. We cannot but insist on a kartilla of fundamentals:

Officers and men must be thoroughly indoctrinated in patriotism and fighting responsibility; professional soldiers must be taught to think in strategic and tactical terms, learning the great infantry campaigns of the past; soldiers must view every situation as a new one; adequate arms and materiel must be provided; intelligence funds must be used, not stolen; soldiers must be extremely kind and helpful to civilians; the garrison concept of ancient Rome, and its road-building strategy, must be remembered; Rome’s patience in its strategy of massing forces steadily, in a pincer movement, inexorably pushing its enemies into dead ends and premature mass attacks must likewise be remembered; foot patrols must be discouraged and more air reconnaissance and village intelligence relied on; and unnecessary convoys/travels between enemy borders and garrison must be stopped, movements must be done only in masses, using the “phalanx” as a concept—or an insurgent war will be fought for another 50 bloody years.

Take heart. Without a remarkable strategy on the AFP’s part, rebel forces have been thinned by time, deprivation, disease, boredom, hunger, disillusion and their own bestial cruelty to each other. Read but don’t depend on “how to” primers; rely mostly on your own guts, arms and common sense. Perhaps, by just being careful, we’ll see them all simply disappear.

[Reynaldo V. Silvestre is a retired Army colonel and belongs to the University of the Philippines Diliman’s Vanguard (Class 1968). He is a multiawarded writer, bemedaled officer and former director for doctrine development of the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Bonifacio.]

What went before: peace talks between gov’t, communist rebels

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 11): What went before: peace talks between gov’t, communist rebels
Peace talks between the government and the communist rebels have been going on and off for nearly three decades, with negotiations getting suspended several times.

Last month, Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the government was open to resuming formal peace talks with the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), following the government’s successful negotiation of a framework agreement for peace with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In May, President Benigno Aquino III said that while he was all for resuming the peace negotiations with the communists, the other side had to show sincerity.

In April, NDFP chief negotiator Luis Jalandoni said Mr. Aquino had become an “obstacle” to the resumption of peace talks, accusing the President of using the Bangsamoro Basic Law and the MILF issues as an excuse to stall negotiations.

Jalandoni’s remark came after then Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang’s statement that the military fully supported the government in its commitment to end all internal armed conflicts and push peace and development in conflict-affected areas.

Jalandoni told reporters the Aquino administration could only handle “one peace talk at a time.”

In a podcast on his website last December, CPP founding chair Jose Maria Sison said the government and the NDFP “might resume talks probably after Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines” in January.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Deles clarified that formal meetings had yet to happen for the resumption of peace talks, but both parties were amenable to returning to the negotiating table to end more than four decades of communist insurgency.

Sison said that while he believed the two parties would not be able to reach a peace agreement before the Aquino administration ends in June 2016, they could reach agreements for, at the very least, social and economic reforms and a ceasefire.

Malacañang later clarified that it was not committing to the release of CPP leaders Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, who were arrested in Cebu in March last year, as a condition to restart peace negotiations.

It was not the first time that Sison said he was willing to resume peace talks with the government. In May last year, Sison also said he “remained willing” to meet with the President to help jump-start the stalled peace talks despite the arrest of the Tiamzons. Sison made the remarks via Skype at a forum in Hong Kong, which was attended by an audience of mostly domestic workers.

At the time, Deles said “any serious proposal toward resuming peace talks should be coursed through our third-party facilitator and not through the media.”

Deles was referring to Norway, which is brokering the peace negotiations between the government and the NDFP.

The insurgents’ recent call for the resumption of peace talks was a reversal of their statement in December 2013, when the CPP declared it would no longer pursue negotiations because of the Aquino administration’s “unwillingness to negotiate a just peace.”

“It has no choice but to wait for the next regime to engage in serious negotiations,” the CPP said.

According to Sison, it was the administration that decided to terminate peace negotiations, but Deles said it was the NDFP, the political arm of the CPP, that “killed” the talks because of its insistence on conditions for the resumption of the talks.

In February 2011, the two parties met in Norway but failed to reach a settlement on the release of detained communist insurgents and the declaration of a longer ceasefire. The peace process has not moved since then.

Most Pinoys satisfied with gov’t peace efforts

From the Philippine Star (Jul 11): Most Pinoys satisfied with gov’t peace efforts

A majority of Filipinos are satisfied with the Aquino administration’s efforts to pursue peace in Mindanao, the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) said.

The OPAPP on Thursday cited the results of the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey which showed the public’s +23 rating on the administration’s efforts in “restoring peace to Mindanao,” up from +12 in March, with a majority of Filipinos at 52 percent expressing satisfaction.

“The President’s overall satisfaction rating also recovered last month to +31 from +19 in March, his lowest since he assumed office in 2010. He also received a +19 and a +13 rating on giving justice and fighting terrorism, respectively,” OPAPP said in a statement.

Quoting Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., OPAPP said President Aquino continues to enjoy high satisfaction ratings due to his stand on controversial issues, including his effort in the peace process.

Coloma said the government also received a high rating for securing the peace process alongside its advancement of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and the implementation of provisions in the peace agreement such as normalization and decommissioning.

Government peace panel chairman Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, for her part, thanked the people who continued to support the Bangsamoro peace process and helped shape a favorable view among the populace.

Ferrer said the latest SWS survey results showed Filipinos across the country are realizing the stakes involved in the Bangsamoro peace process with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) amid the security concerns in the West Philippine Sea and other security threats such as the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

“What we are doing is not only for the Bangsamoro but for the benefit of all Filipinos. I am grateful that more Filipinos realize why we must pursue the solutions provided by the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro so that the government can focus on other pressing problems,” Ferrer said.

OPAPP added the latest survey also showed a +1 satisfaction rating with regard to “reconciliation with Muslim rebels.”

“This was several notches up from the -3 rating of the administration under the same category last March,” OPAPP said.

Ferrer said this net positive rating showed more people are seeing the big picture and its benefits.
“We welcome the support of every Filipino, especially at this juncture when permanently ending the conflict with the MILF is so close and is no longer elusive,” Ferrer said.

The OPAPP also released a statement in which Australian Ambassador Bill Tweddell reiterated his country’s support for the peace process in Mindanao and their initiatives to improve the educational system in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM.)     
Tweddell said the Australian government remains steadfast in its support for the current peace process and for development in the ARMM and the Bangsamoro.

“As a strong supporter of peace, Australia would like to see peace and stability in Mindanao – to allow development and prosperity to take place in the region,” Tweddell said.

Tweddell said peace in Mindanao would result in stability and economic development in the region.