Friday, September 4, 2015

MILF: Guingona champions need to bring back deleted BBL provisions in Senate version

Posted to the MILF Website (Sep 4): Guingona champions need to bring back deleted BBL provisions in Senate version

Guingona champions need to bring back deleted BBL provisions in Senate version

During Wednesday's Senate plenary hearing on the Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR), the amended version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) authored by Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. as Senate Committee on Local Government chair, Senator Teofisto “TG” D. Guingona III questioned the deletions from the original draft, which he believed were vital to the identity and operation of the autonomous region.

“My review of the BBL takes off from the following objectives: first, to highlight the primacy of the Constitution as basis and framework for the mandate of government in peace negotiations and creations of autonomous regions. Second is to acknowledge the nature, context, and significance of the draft BBL both as a legislative measure and a peace process instrument,” explained Guingona.

The lawmaker from Bukidnon began his interpellation by questioning the deletion of the preamble in the Senate BLBAR filed as Senate Bill No. 2894. Guingona argued that Republic Act No. 9054, the bill’s predecessor and the implementing law of the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, also a carried a preamble and that had not been found as “constitutionally repugnant.” Republic Act 6734, which preceded R.A. 9054 and established the ARMM, also include a preamble or prefatory statement. 

Marcos explained that “constitutionality did not really come into the reasoning that led to the removal of the preamble.” He added that it was done to “remove any suspicion or fear that we are writing a constitution for a separate state.” Conversely, Guingona countered that a preamble is simply an “introductory statement” that “usually states the reasons or/and the intent of [a] law.”

“It would be helpful to have preamble because it will prevent confusion. A preamble is a statement of intent. If you are saying there are fears that [the Bangsamoro] might not be part of the Philippines, that this might be a first step [toward secession], then let us state ‘it is not so’ in the preamble,” added Guingona.

Matter of inland waters

“Inland waters jurisdiction has already been given over to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao under R.A. 9054. This has been taken away in [the BLBAR],” said Guingona, adding that the 1987 Philippine Constitution also guarantees autonomous regions to have jurisdiction over natural resources such as inland waters.

Natural resources as well as economic development are among the legislative powers listed under Section 20, Article X of the 1987 Philippine Constitution that can be vested by organic acts, such as the BBL and the BLBAR, to autonomous regions.

Marcos commented that his committee only intended to preserve the powers of local government units over inland waters as guided by the Local Government Code of 1991. He added that the Bangsamoro parliament, once established, could always pass laws that would enhance the regional government’s administration and management over inland waters.

However, Senate President Franklin Drilon, in his questioning, pointed out that authority was not given to the Bangsamoro government to amend the said code. “[The Bangsamoro] cannot transgress national laws. Therefore, I think we should already give them the jurisdiction over the preservation and management of inland waters,” Guingona seconded.

Other deletions grilled

Guingona directed his next questions on the deletion of provisions referring to the Shari’ah High Court. “From my review, I do not see anything unconstitutional in retaining the Shari’ah High Court.” 

Quoting the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the solon from Bukidnon explained that “judicial powers shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.”

Despite the name, the original draft of the BBL clearly stated that the decisions of the Shari’ah High Court are subject to the judicial review of the Supreme Court.

Marcos said that the deletion was motivated by an attempt to streamline operations and cut cost, citing the low number of cases shari’ah courts established under Presidential Decree No. 1083 have been receiving. “There is no legal principle we are trying to impose in the deletion of those provisions,” commented Marcos.

Guingona contradicted Marcos’ statements by highlighting that the establishment of the Shari’ah Courts was not a simple matter of case load. “The closest analogy is the Court of Tax Appeals because taxation, being a complex matter, Congress saw it fit to create a Court of Tax Appeals when we could have done without it with the presence of the Court of Appeals.”

“[Shari’ah law] is not just complex in terms of being technical, but there are cultural and religious aspects on this matter which the Court of Appeals justice may not be predisposed to handle,” added Guingona.

Moving on to the provision on the Special Development Fund (SDF), a P17 billion cash fund which will be disbursed to the Bangsamoro government by the national government for purposes of rehabilitation and development, Marcos admitted that he did not see the purpose for establishing such a fund.

Guingona, who hails from Mindanao, disputed that there was an actual and immediate need for the SDF. “I see a need and I see an opportunity: the need is that the [would-be Bangsamoro] is one of the poorest, if not the poorest areas in the country. The poverty is stark, illiteracy is high, and health conditions are below par. Clearly, there is a need.”

“Secondly, here we are creating a Bangsamoro autonomous region, a new entity. This is an opportunity. We do not want it to fail like ARMM. Therefore, if we just give them political autonomy without giving them the financial wherewithal, then we are just dooming them to failure,” Guingona continued.

“Their success in the Bangsamoro will be our success. Their success will be the success of this country,” he added.

GOCCs vs local enterprises

Guingona also asked Marcos why provisions on the creation of government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) had been deleted. “We shall say that whatever [the Bangsamoro government] passes, whatever they create shall be consistent with the Constitution, pertinent laws and Republic Act No. 10149, the GOCC Governance Act of 2011.”

Marcos yielded that the Bangsamoro, similar to local government units, could create economic enterprises. “What a local government does is create what we referred to as an economic enterprise. It is a financial operation where the local government makes money. Tourism, for example, a resort, a restaurant, whatever it is, development of a mall - that is an economic enterprise. And there is nothing that holds an LGU.”

Senator Ralph Recto, at this point, took the floor and offered an additional explanation. “But the only confusion again is: What is a GOCC? What is a local public enterprise? They are very similar. So, yes, local governments, and I think the Bangsamoro region should be allowed to create a local GOCC or a local public enterprise.”

“We must provide the Bangsamoro region with the legal authority to create whatever we want to call it, a GOCC, a local GOCC, or a local public enterprise,” Recto concluded.

After his interpellation, Guingona reserved the right to bring up the matters discussed in a future time. The Senate suspension was suspended until Monday, 7 September.

MILF: Senate and HoR to prioritize BBL before sessions end: Senate President Drilon

Posted to the MILF Website (Sep 4): Senate and HoR to prioritize BBL before sessions end: Senate President Drilon

Senate and HoR to prioritize BBL before sessions end: Senate President Drilon

The Senate and the House of Representatives will prioritize the passing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before sessions end on October 10, Senate President Franklin Drilon said yesterday, September 3.

 “We will strive to pass this proposed law before the end of September”, Drilon told reporters after a meeting in Pasig City.

The BBL was crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) created by President Benigno Aquino III under Executive Order No. 120, Series of 2014 and is based on the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed between  the Government of the Philippines (GPH)  and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Senator Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. filed his own version of the BBL called BLBAR or Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region where 80% of the original provisions of the Malacañan-MILF agreed version were either, amended, revised or deleted. The MILF rejected Marcos’ bill saying it is not accordance with the letter and spirit of the FAB and the CAB.

Asked if the substitute bill would appear raw because the Senate would hasten its approval process, Drilon disagreed.

“This has been with us for months and it is currently in its period of interpellations”, Drilon said.

“Senator Bongbong’s defense is that his version of the bill is in accordance with the Constitution, and I think at the end of the day, everyone accepts that the BBL should be aligned with the Constitution for the sake of the whole nation”, Drilon added.

MILF: Sen. Marcos’ proposed BLBAR bill an ‘exercise in futility’: Atty. Saguisag

Posted to the MILF Website (Sep 03): Sen. Marcos’ proposed BLBAR bill an ‘exercise in futility’: Atty. Saguisag

Sen. Marcos’ proposed BLBAR bill an ‘exercise in futility’: Atty. Saguisag

Atty. Rene Saguisag, former senator and human rights lawyer and who acts as legal counsel of the government peace panel said yesterday that the proposed Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region (BLBAR), which Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has filed in the Senate to replace the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), is an “exercise in futility”.

Saguisag, a former senator who acts as the legal counsel of the government peace negotiating panel, has noted that the BLBAR has been “questioned by peace proponents and Bangsamoro stakeholders as it purportedly provides powers to the Bangsamoro less than what has already been devolved in the Autonomous Region In Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).”

“Passing a BLBAR which would render the Bangsamoro weaker than the ARMM is an exercise in futility,” he said.

According to Saguisag, under Marcos’ BLBAR, or Senate Bill No. 2894, “[the] powers over the exploration, development and utilization of minerals have been removed from the regional government when the same is already being enjoyed by the ARMM.”

It also removed the Bangsamoro’s would-be control over inland waters, Saguisag said.
“The whole point of the Bangsamoro peace process is to learn from past mistakes in the ARMM and correct them, not repeat them,” he said.

Chief among these mistakes, he said, is the noncompletion of the devolution of legislative and fiscal powers, which were provided for in Republic Act No. 9054, or the organic act for the ARMM.

According to Saguisag, “passing a BBL that is faithful to both the 1987 Constitution and the genuine aspirations of the Bangsamoro for self-determination is the duty of every Filipino patriot.”

CPP/NDF/NPA: Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) – a Source of Corruption, a Tool for Election Campaign

NDF/NPA propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Sep 4): Emergency Shelter Assistance (ESA) – a Source of Corruption, a Tool for Election Campaign
NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines
New People’s Army
Jose Percival Estocada, Jr. Command
Central Panay

Media Statement
September 4, 2015

It has been almost two years since the devastation of typhoon Yolanda and yet the victims of the said typhoon are still shouting for a just assistance from the government of Benigno Aquino. Daily reports of complaints of the victims could be heard over radio stations. Aside from the delay in the distribution of assistance, ESA funds are also being used by politicians under the administration party to campaign for the upcoming elections.

In the midst of the furor over the distribution of the assistance, Aquino has taken no steps whatsoever to solve the problem. It would take just one order for him to solve this like his order to stop the random inspection of balikbayan boxes after strong protests from the OFW’s. He has remained deaf to the protests of the victims of Yolanda. This shows how inutile the Aquino government is. This is the true face of its “matuwid na daan program” – utter negligence to the interest of the people and wanton corruption.

In the midst of this continued criminal negligence of the victims of Typhoon Yolanda, the Jose Percival Estocada, Jr. Command of the NPA-Central Panay warns all corrupt politicians to stop their anti-people maneuverings. It is also urging DSWD to hasten the distribution of the assistance to the victims and to do away with all the hindrances to its implementation like the Memorandum Circular 24 that they issued. Anybody who will continue to steal from the people’s money will answer to the revolutionary people’s court.

The Jose Percival Estocada, Jr. Command calls on the victims to file their complaints to the people’s revolutionary court. Send your complaints to: jpec or

Immediately and fully distribute the ESA!

 Junk Memorandum Circular #24!

 Down with the US-Aquino Regime!

Ka Jurie Guerrero
JPEC NPA-Central Panay

PH gov’t pushes for completion of Tripartite Review Process for MNLF peace deal

From the Philippine Information Agency (Sep 4): PH gov’t pushes for completion of Tripartite Review Process for MNLF peace deal

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Teresita Quintos-Deles, in a meeting Tuesday with foreign dignitaries whose countries are members of the Peace Committee of the Southern Philippines (PCSP) under the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), called for the completion of the Tripartite Review Process on the implementation of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The OIC-PCSP is a body created by the OIC to oversee the implementation of the 1996 peace pact and is currently composed of Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Brunei Darussalam, Turkey, Pakistan, Libya, Senegal, Somalia, and Bangladesh.

“As a lasting solution, we are pushing for the completion of the Tripartite Review Process. The Philippine government is fully committed to an inclusive and comprehensive approach on the quest for a just and lasting peace and development in Mindanao,” Deles said.

Deles challenged the OIC to “complete the review, otherwise, they will stay with the review process and will not implement anything.”

She also hoped that the review process started in 2007 will be put to a close before the ratification of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

“If we can accomplish the review process, we can proceed to the implementation of agreements achieved in the review through the mechanisms under the single framework which is the Bangsamoro and the backbone of the single framework is the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” she stressed.

The peace process chief laid down the timeline for the enactment of the BBL and assured the OIC that the “government, especially the leadership of both chambers of Congress, is fully committed (to) its passage.”

Under the BBL framework, Deles explained that the engagement of the government and the MNLF will continue through the 42 consensus points now included in the BBL, the participation of MNLF in the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) and Bangsamoro Government to be established and the inclusion of the MNLF economic agenda in the Bangsamoro Development Plan.

The Administration of former President Fidel V. Ramos signed in 1996 the Final Peace Agreement (FPA) with the MNLF which resulted in the expansion of areas covered by the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the integration of MNLF members into the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police and the establishment of transitory mechanisms and special agencies for the development of Mindanao. (OPAPP)

Militant leaders seek SC help vs gov’t ‘harassment’

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Sep 3): Militant leaders seek SC help vs gov’t ‘harassment’

Members of various militant organizations on Thursday sought protection from the Supreme Court against harassment by the government.

Named respondents include President Benigno Aquino III, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Hernando Iriberri, Major General Virgilio Hernandez, Deputy Commander for Intelligence of the AFP, ISAFP Chief Brig. General Arnold M. Quiapo, Philippine Army, Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ricardo Marquez and NCRPO Chief Joel Pagdilao.
Aside from protection, petitioners also urged the high court to order respondents to disclose and give them copies of information, statements, records, photographs, dossiers gathered about them and to destroy such files.

Petitioners Dr. Darby Santiago, chairperson of the Health Alliance for Democracy Inc. (HEAD); Imelda Gerali, nurse and administrative officer of Samahang Operasyong Sagip, Inc. (SOS) and member of HEAD both received threatening text messages accusing them of being doctors of the New People’s Army in Northern Luzon.

Some of the messages from the number 09394363140 include “Nawala ako ng umaga saan ka dumaan? Ah, tinataguan mo ako ha? Teka si Dr. busy na busy sa DOH. Kaya pala hindi dumaan sa inaabangan ng mga ka-tropa ko hehehe.”
(I got lost in the morning, where did you pass by? You hid from me, huh? You seem too busy with DOH, doctor. That’s why you didn’t pass by where my men were waiting for you.)
From the same number, on July 10, Gerali received this message “hello friend busy ka kahapon kaya hindi mo ako napansin. Si Doc Darby guapo kahapon kaso late. The lady doctor was there too. Hinatid nga kita pauwi napansin mo ako (Hello, friend. You seemed busy yesterday, you didn’t notice me. Doc Darby looked handsome yesterday but he was late. The lady doctor was there too. I walked you home, did you notice) ?
…” Then, a follow up text saying “pssst…lingon naman dyan (hey, turn around)!”
Aside from the two, other petitioners include Rebecca Abelong, National Treasurer of Allied Workers Federation-KMU; Neil Ambion, media liaison officer of KMU; Renato Asa, secretary of KMU’s PIO; Loreto Victoriano, coordinator for Manila of KMU; Josephine Carlos Betana, chair of Caloocan City chapter of Migrante and Lovely Carbon and Jessica Ferrera of the National Union of Students of the Philippines and John Paul Lapid of Kabataan Partylist.
Abelong said a man who introduced himself as a member of Guardian went to the area where she lives and asked neighbors about her while Ambion said men who introduced themselves as members of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) forced him to come with them to talk about security.
On the other hand, Asa said a man who introduced himself as member of the AFP gave him a mobile phone number and told him to accept the help they are offering or there may come a time when they won’t be able to help him.
The other respondents also said men were conducting surveillance around their house, work. Ferrera said the man who talked to her father even offered to help him get proper treatment if his daughter will help them.
“Taken together, the threats and surveillance activities portend a pattern: threats are made, often sent through text messages or anonymous correspondences alleging that the recipient are members of the NPA or the CPP and urging them to cooperate with the military in ambiguous terms,” the petition stated.
“Upon observing that the same pattern exists in the cases of petitioners herein, no other conclusion can be reached other than that their lives, security and liberty are under threat.  It is also obvious that the modus operandi manifest in the cited incidents establishes the participation of state forces, especially that of the military and police establishments. The military and police establishments’ participation in these harassments is also an indication that these are carried out pursuant to the internal security policy of the Government, the “Oplan Bayanihan,” petitioners said.

Australia warns against ‘militarization’ of South China Sea

From the Manila Bulletin (Sep 4): Australia warns against ‘militarization’ of South China Sea

Severely critical of Chinese military assertiveness in the South China Sea, Australia on Wednesday warned against “intimidation and aggression” in the disputed waters and maintained that India’s role was crucial to stability in the Indian Ocean region.
Visiting Australian Defense Minister Kevin Andrews also called for deeper defense ties with “key strategic partner” India and pitched for a quadrilateral naval exercise with Japan and the US as was done in 2007.
Noting that both India and Australia border the Indian Ocean, he said they have a shared interest in the maintenance of freedom of navigation and trade.
“In fact, the world economy is fast becoming reliant upon Indian Ocean trade as its bulk cargo grows. Australia recognizes India’s critical role in supporting the security, stability and prosperity of the Indian Ocean region and the stability of a wider, rules-based global order.
Concerned that “tensions in the Indo-Pacific persist, and in some cases are becoming more acute,” Andrews said Australia recognizes India’s “critical role” in supporting the security, stability and prosperity of the Indian Ocean region.
“Territorial disputes continue to risk regional stability and create uncertainty. One issue that has attracted a lot of international attention in recent months is the South China Sea.
“Australia strongly opposes the use of intimidation, aggression or coercion to advance any country’s claims or to unilaterally alter the status quo. We are particularly concerned about the possible militarization of features in the South China Sea,” he said, delivering a lecture at Defense Ministry-run think tank IDSA.
Taking an apparent dig at China, he said turning a reef into a military airport is not in anyway enhancing the security and peace of that region.
China is said to be building an island at least 3,000 m long on Fiery Cross Reef that could be the site for its first airstrip in the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea.
Noting that the greatest danger is miscalculation rather than a nation deliberately taking aggressive action, he said, “China should make its strategic intent clear.”
South China Sea, a disputed area with China and several countries in the region including Vietnam and the Philippines staking territorial claims, is witnessing military tensions amid increasing Chinese assertiveness.

US has new commander for ‘listening post’ in Pacific

From the Manila Bulletin (Sep 5): US has new commander for ‘listening post’ in Pacific

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii – The US Navy on Thursday installed a new commander to lead its submarine force in the Pacific at a time when growing Chinese operations in places like the South China Sea are boosting US demand for the eavesdropping capabilities of the underwater vessels.

Rear Adm. Frederick Roegge, who most recently served in the Pentagon, took over from Rear Adm. Phillip Sawyer during a ceremony at Pearl Harbor.  Sawyer is now the deputy and chief of staff for the US Pacific Fleet.
The ceremony’s guest speaker, Adm. Cecil Haney, a former submarine commander himself and currently the commander of US Strategic Command, said significant disagreements and disputes challenge peace and stability in the Pacific.
“For example, we see China’s efforts to assert regional dominance in the East and South China Seas while at the same time they’re operating a new ballistic missile submarine force, modernizing its mobile and fixed intercontinental ballistic missiles and conducting persistent cyber activities and counter space demonstrations,” Haney said.
China has become more active in asserting its territorial claims, including reclaiming land to build new islands at a number of disputed Spratly reefs in the South China Sea. Several of China’s neighbors also claim the reefs – including US ally the Philippines – which lie in one of the world’s busiest shipping routes and are rich in fish and potential gas and oil reserves.
The US has a policy of not taking sides in the territorial disputes, but it has declared it has a national interest in ensuring freedom of navigation and overflights.
The submarine force, which often called the “silent service,” plays an important role in keeping track of China’s increased activity.
“There’s only one type of intelligence gathering system that is really well-suited to listening in on the Chinese. That’s the submarine. They don’t know it’s there, but it can be very close to places like Shanghai,” said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst at the Lexington Institute, an Arlington, Virginia-based think tank.
Intelligence gathering is the single most important mission for the Pacific Fleet’s submarine force, Thompson said.
Submarines play an important role in preventing disputes like those in the South China Sea, as well as another territorial dispute in the East China Sea between China and another US ally, Japan, from “getting out of hand,” said Eric Wertheim, an author at the US Naval Institute in Annapolis, Maryland.
“Because any enemy force that would operate against us doesn’t know where the submarines are. And if you don’t know where the submarines are, they’re going to be a threat to your military forces,” Wertheim said.

2 NPA rebels nabbed in Camarines Sur

From the Philippine Star (Sep 4): 2 NPA rebels nabbed in Camarines Sur

The Philippine Army estimated the strength of the New People's Army at 4,000 fighters. photo 

Two members of the New People’s Army (NPA) were captured on Friday after an encounter with Army troops in Camarines Sur, the military said.

Cpt. Mardjorie Panesa, spokesperson of the Army’s 9th Division, said government troops were conducting patrols in Barangay Sagrada in Iriga City when they were fired upon by undetermined number of rebels at 5:10 a.m.

A ten-minute encounter then ensued, resulting in the capture of two insurgents and the recovery of two M653 baby armalite, an M203 rifle and subversive documents.

Authorities were still validating the identities of the captured NPA members as of Friday.

The Task Group Cam Sur and the 22nd Infantry Battalion have turned over the captured rebels to the Iriga police for the filing of criminal charges.

There are about 4,000 NPA members nationwide based on latest Army estimates.

Top NPA leader arrested in Compostela Valley – Army

From GMA News (Sep 4): Top NPA leader arrested in Compostela Valley – Army

Police and military personnel have captured a man they said is a top leader of the New People's Army in Southern Mindanao, the Philippine Army said Friday.
According to LTC Norman Zuniega of the Philippine Army, the Army 10th Infantry Division and the police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in the Davao region arrested Francisco Saramosing, alias Zoilo Cadeliña and Isko, in Maco, Compostela Valley on Thursday afternoon.
Saramosing is the head of the sub-regional Peasant Bureau and Executive Committee and is a member of the Southern Regional Command 2 of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army.
Authorities claim he is also the former secretary of Guerilla Front 27 of the NPA's Southern Mindanao Regional Command.
He was arrested by virtue of warrants for two separate charges of destructive arson and for murder. The warrants were issued by the Regional Trial Court in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley, the Army said.
Saramosing has been brought to the CIDG headquarters in Tagum City.

Expert expresses concern over ISIS flag in beheading video

From GMA News (Sep 4): Expert expresses concern over ISIS flag in beheading video

[Video report]

A security expert has expressed concern over the presence of the flag of the extremist group ISIS in the video showing the Abu Sayyaf Group's beheading of the abducted barangay captain from Dapitan in August, GMA News TV's Balitanghali reported on Friday.

Prof. Romel Banlaoi, a security expert, said he has seen many beheading videos in the country but added that this was the first that he saw ISIS' flag in the background.

"Nagbibigay sila ng mensahe na kaparis ng ginagawa ng ISIS.... Pinapakita lang dito na yung impluwensiya ng isis ay nakarating na sa Pilipinas," Banlaoi said.

Rodolfo Buligao was killed by the bandits on Aug. 11.

The two Philippine Coast Guard members who were earlier shown with him in another video by the bandits escaped on Aug. 19.

The report quoted the military as saying that while it was natural that ISIS' influence could already be felt in the country, there was no cause for concern since no member has yet to set foot in the Philippines.

The government claimed to be on the lookout to prevent ISIS members from coming into the country.

Photo: Protest

From The Standard (Sep 5): Photo: Protest

Members of the League of Filipino Students and the group Anakbayan troop to Camp Aguinaldo to denounce the alleged assassination of the Lumad people by the military. Lino Santos

How Asia-Pacific Publics See Each Other and Their National Leaders

From the Pew Research Center (Sep 2): How Asia-Pacific Publics See Each Other and Their National Leaders

Japan Viewed Most Favorably, No Leader Enjoys Majority Support

The coming decades promise to be the Asian Century, when the most populous region, with some of the world’s fastest growing economies, is likely to become the global nexus of commercial, cultural and geopolitical activity. For this reason, how people in the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, see each other and their leaders is of growing importance.

Concern about Territorial Disputes with China

Overall, despite historical and territorial frictions, Asia-Pacific publics tend to view their regional neighbors in a positive light, with Japan judged most favorably. But these same publics also express limited confidence in the region’s most prominent national leaders when it comes to their handling of international issues. These are some of the findings from a new Pew Research Center survey of 15,313 people in 10 Asia-Pacific nations and the U.S. conducted from April 6 to May 27, 2015.

No Leader Has Majority’s Confidence

A median of 71% in the region have a favorable view of Japan, with positive views exceeding negative sentiment by more than five-to-one.1 A median of 57% voice a favorable opinion of China. Roughly half (51%) see India in a positive light. And just under half (47%) give South Korea a thumbs-up, in part due to a higher proportion of those surveyed who express no opinion. Nevertheless, favorable views of South Korea outweigh negative sentiment by two-to-one.

Asia-Pacific publics have more mixed views about each other’s leaders, in part due to their lack of familiarity with them. A median of 47% have confidence in Chinese President Xi Jinping to do the right thing regarding world affairs.2 A median of 43% have confidence in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s handling of international issues, with more than twice as many expressing support. But just 39% voice confidence in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s role on the world stage. The share with positive sentiment about Modi is again larger than those with negative views, but a relatively high proportion of respondents voice no opinion, a testimony to Modi’s low public profile in the region.

Views of Each Other

Asians' Views of Each Other

Publics in the Asia-Pacific region generally see each other favorably, with a few exceptions that reflect deeper historical antagonisms, especially between China, Japan and South Korea.

Japan enjoys a relatively positive image, except in China and South Korea. Eight-in-ten or more Malaysians (84%), Vietnamese (82%), Filipinos (81%) and Australians (80%) express a favorable opinion of Japan. About seven-in-ten Indonesians (71%) agree. Such views are largely unchanged from 2014, except in Malaysia where favorability of Japan increased 9 points since 2014. As a point of comparison, 74% of Americans voice positive sentiments about Japan.

But long-standing historical animosities and recent territorial tensions are evident in Chinese and South Korean views of Japan. Just 12% of Chinese and 25% of South Koreans express favorable views toward Japan. And 53% of Chinese say they have a very unfavorable assessment of Japan. Both the Chinese and the South Koreans believe that Japan has not apologized sufficiently for its military actions in the 1930s and ’40s, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey.

Notably, more than a third of Indians and Pakistanis say they have no opinion about Japan.

In four nations, there is a significant generation gap in views of Japan. Respondents ages 18 to 29 are more favorably disposed toward Japan than people ages 50 and older in South Korea (a 34-percentage-point differential), Vietnam (24 points), Indonesia (16 points) and China (11 points). Those with the most positive view of Japan are young Vietnamese (59% very favorable). The most anti-Japan are older Chinese (55% very unfavorable).

A majority of people in the Asia-Pacific region who were surveyed, not including the Chinese, have a positive view of China. (For more views on China, see this June 2015 Pew Research Center survey.) Roughly eight-in-ten Pakistanis (82%) and nearly that many Malaysians (78%) voice a favorable opinion of China. About six-in-ten or more Indonesians (63%) and South Koreans (61%) agree. Public views of China have improved in the past year in the Philippines (+16 points) and India (+10 points).

However, the Vietnamese (only 19% favorable) and the Japanese (9%) do not see China in a positive light. In fact, almost half the Japanese (49%) express a very unfavorable view of China. Asia-Pacific views of China are far more positive than the perception held by Americans. In the United States, only 38% have a favorable opinion of China.

Philippines, Japan and Vietnam Concerned about Territorial Disputes with China

Contrasting Asia-Pacific views of China may in part be explained by differing levels of concern about regional territorial disputes with Beijing. The Filipinos (91% concerned), Vietnamese (83%) and Japanese (83%) are the most troubled by these territorial frictions, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center survey of Asia-Pacific perceptions of various global threats. And they are also the three countries in the region with the highest unfavorable ratings of China.

Roughly half of those surveyed have a favorable view of India (median of 51% not including Indians). This includes more than six-in-ten Vietnamese (66%), South Koreans (64%) and Japanese (63%). But only 24% of Chinese and 16% of Pakistanis see India in a positive light. These views of India are generally unchanged from last year. The most upbeat about India are the Vietnamese, but even there only 22% say they feel very favorably toward India. The most intense anti-India views are in Pakistan, not surprisingly given the long, fractious Indo-Pakistani history. In Pakistan, 56% see India very unfavorably. In comparison, 63% of Americans hold a favorable opinion of India.

The younger generation of Asians is quite enamored with India. About seven-in-ten Vietnamese ages 18 to 29 (72%) have a favorable view of the world’s second-most-populous and fastest-growing large economy, as do 67% of young Japanese. This compares with 77% of young Americans who see India favorably. The respondents most critical of India are older Pakistanis (80% unfavorable). These are people who experienced, or whose parents experienced, the traumatic 1947 partition of India and Pakistan.

South Korea’s favorable rating is the lowest of the four Asian nations tested. This is in part because 65% of Pakistanis and 52% of Indians expressed no view of South Korea. Nevertheless, 82% of Vietnamese see South Korea in a positive light, as do roughly six-in-ten or more Filipinos (68%), Malaysians and Australians (both 61%). But only 21% of Japanese and 15% of Pakistanis agree. The Japanese are, in fact, quite harsh critics of South Korea: Nearly a third (32%) of the Japanese voice a very unfavorable view of their neighbor. And positive views of South Korea in Japan are down sharply, from 57% favorable in 2008 to 21% in 2015, possibly a reflection of unresolved tensions over “comfort women” during World War II. In comparison, 60% of Americans see South Korea in a positive light.

South Korea enjoys particular popularity among younger Asians: 93% of Vietnamese, 74% of Filipinos and 68% of Malaysians ages 18 to 29 express a favorable opinion of the country.

Views of Regional Leaders

Less than Half See Xi, Abe, Modi Positively

Across the Asia-Pacific region, none of the major national leaders tested – Chinese President Xi Jinping, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – garner majority support. But regional medians mask widely disparate assessments of the three by individual countries.

A median of 47% of those surveyed in nine Asia-Pacific countries, not including China, have confidence in Xi to do the right thing regarding world affairs. (By comparison, 69% of publics in the Asia-Pacific region voice confidence in U.S. President Barack Obama.)

Xi’s strongest supporters are in Malaysia (72%) and South Korea (67%). Some of the Chinese president’s biggest fans are South Koreans (81%) ages 50 and older and Filipinos (59%) ages 18 to 29.

Just 12% of Japanese have confidence in Xi, with 82% voicing no confidence. And Vietnamese ages 18 to 29 (71% no confidence) also distrust him.

Abe enjoys the confidence of a median of 43% of the publics surveyed, not including Japan. His strongest support is in Malaysia, where 73% say they believe he will do the right thing regarding world affairs. Nearly as many in Vietnam and the Philippines (both 68%) agree. Abe’s biggest supporters are in Vietnam, where 78% of men and 77% of those ages 18 to 29 express confidence in him.

But neither the South Koreans (7% confidence) nor the Chinese (18%) are big fans of Japan’s leader. In fact, 63% of South Koreans say they have no confidence in Abe at all.

A median of 39%, not including India, have confidence in India’s Modi to do the right thing regarding world affairs. In only two countries – Vietnam (56%) and Australia (51%) – do half or more of those surveyed express faith in Modi’s handling of foreign policy. Modi’s greatest support outside of India is among younger Vietnamese (60%).
Not surprisingly – given India’s fractious relationship with Pakistan and Modi’s leadership of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – just 7% of Pakistanis, most of whom are Muslims, have confidence in Modi. Roughly half of Pakistanis (52%) have no confidence in Modi at all. And his lowest backing is among older Pakistanis (64% no confidence).

But, overall, Modi suffers from a lack of recognition. A quarter or more of respondents in six of the nine countries surveyed voiced no opinion about him as a leader.

Australia’s Gender Gap

Australian Men and Women Differ in Views of Asian Neighbors, Leaders

There are some gender differences in how many people in the Asia-Pacific region view each other and their leaders. But much of this may be attributable to very high levels of nonresponses among the women surveyed. However, there are striking gender gaps in Australia on views of major Asia-Pacific countries and leaders.

Australian men are far more likely than women to have a favorable view of their neighbors and are more likely to have confidence in their leaders’ handling of world affairs.  There is a 19-percentage-point differential between Aussie men’s views of South Korea (71% favorable) and Aussie women’s opinions (52%). There is a 15-point gender gap in views of India (66% of men, 51% of women). Similarly, far more Aussie men (58%) have confidence in Indian Prime Minister Modi than do Aussie women (44%).

  1. Japan not included in Japan favorability median, China not included in China favorability median, India not included in India favorability median and South Korea not included in South Korea favorability median.
  2. China not included in Xi median, Japan not included in Abe median and India not included in Modi median.


About the Pew Research Center’s Spring 2015 Global Attitudes Survey

Results for the survey are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews conducted under the direction of Princeton Survey Research Associates International. The results are based on national samples, unless otherwise noted. More details about our international survey methodology and country-specific sample designs are available on our website.

For more detailed information on survey methods for this report, see here:

For more general information on international survey research, see here:

Philippine Marine Corps to have new base in Zamboanga city

From Ang Malaya (Sep 4): Philippine Marine Corps to have new base in Zamboanga city

The city government of Zamboanga said that the Office of the President has approved the allocation of PhP124 million for the purchase of the Mindeva property and the construction of a Philippine Marine Corps base in Rio Hondo. Zamboanga city Mayor Beng Climaco said the budget for the military facility will be made available to the Department of National Defense (DND).

Mayor Climaco noted that the Philippine Navy is now coordinating with the DND for the implementation of the project.

“Rio Hondo was one of the staging areas of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels under the faction of Nur Misuari during the September 9 (2013) siege that paralyzed activities in Zamboanga for over 20 days,” Zamboanga city government said in a statement.

The decision to establish a military security camp in the said location was based on the post conflict needs assessment (PCNA) conducted by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and other agencies.

Establishment of such facility in the area is seen to help ensure security in Rio Hondo and the neighboring areas considered as vulnerable to lawless elements and other illegal activities.

Mayor Climaco has sought the intervention of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin to intercede for the expeditious release of remaining funds under the Zamboanga City Roadmap to Recovery and Reconstruction (Z3R) Plan as well as the funds needed by the sectors listed in the PCNA document.

Finger-pointing continues on killing of Lumads in Surigao

From the Mindanao Times (Sep 4): Finger-pointing continues on killing of Lumads in Surigao

THE EASTERN Mindanao Command will play support to the PNP-led operation against armed men who torched two cooperatives and killed three in Km. 16, Sitio Han-Ayan, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur on Monday morning.
Col. Isidro Purisima, 402nd Infantry Brigade commander, the Surigao del Sur Police Station will lead the operation against 20 suspected members of the New People’s Army members responsible for the deaths of Emerito Samarca; Dionel Campos; and Aurelio Sinzo.
He said their primary task is to secure the communities,
“We shall not let these criminals roam around and threaten the peace in Surigao,” he said.
On Wednesday, Rius Valle, spokesperson of Save Our School Network, in a press conference at Haran compound said that the victims were killed by paramilitary groups.
However, Capt. Alberto Caber, information officer of EastMinCom, denied the allegations that the army is behind the killings.
“There are no paramilitary groups,” he said. It’s not true, we only have Cafgu (units).”
Meanwhile, Eliza Pangilinan, secretary general of Karapatan in Caraga, challeged law enforcement agencies to give justice to the victims.
“We call on the law enforcement agencies and the local prosecutors to seriously investigate the increasing spate of killings that are perpetrated by these groups,” Pangilinan told TIMES in an interview on Wednesday.
Pangilinan added that instead of filing charges against activists the police should look at the connection between the military and paramilitary groups.
“File charges and arrest them and bring a stop to impunity. This is the only way that communities can truly feel secure,” she said.

Chinese naval ships headed home after Bering Sea sighting: US Navy

From InterAksyon (Sep 5): Chinese naval ships headed home after Bering Sea sighting: US Navy

A Chinese Navy destroyer is pictured in August 2015 in the port of Vladivostok while taking part in joint exercises with Russian naval forces. (Xinhua)

Five Chinese Navy ships sighted in the Bering Sea off Alaska during a visit to the region by US President Barack Obama have begun their "return transit," the US Navy's top uniformed officer told Reuters on Thursday.

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert said he did not view the incident, an apparent first for China's military, as unexpected or alarming.

"They already had one of their icebreakers up in that area, and they weren't that far away with an exercise, and they've already started their return transit," he told Reuters in an interview.

Greenert said the ships had been seen in the Bering Sea, close to some Alaskan atolls, on Wednesday, but gave no further details.

The Pentagon confirmed on Wednesday the ships had been sailing in international waters.

China's Defense Ministry, in a statement sent to Reuters on Thursday, said the ships were in the Bering Sea as part of a routine drill following the completion of military exercises with Russia.

"This is a routine arrangement as part of annual plans, and is not aimed at any set country or goal," it said, without providing any other details.

China has ramped up defense spending to modernize its forces and develop a navy capable of defending its growing interests as the world's second-largest economy.

At a regular State Department briefing in Washington on Thursday, spokesman Mark Toner said: "This is certainly the first time we have observed Chinese navy ships in the Bering Sea, but that said, we do certainly respect the freedom of all nations to operate military vessels in international waters in accordance with international law."

Pentagon spokesman Commander Bill Urban said the Chinese ships were now south of the Aleutian Islands, a chain of islands bounding the south side of the Bering Sea. He had no additional information.

US defense officials said the Pentagon was continuing to monitor the movement of the ships, which appeared to be heading away from the region.

CEGP, groups condemn AFP for abetting Lumad massacres

From the Daily Tribune (Sep 5): CEGP, groups condemn AFP for abetting Lumad massacres

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and other youth groups descended upon the general headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Camp Aguinaldo and condemned the slaughter of three Lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur last Sept. 1.

CEGP national president Marc Lino Abila slammed the military and paramilitary groups for committing the worst atrocities against the indigenous peoples in Northeast Mindanao and unleashing what appears to be a campaign of genocide against them.

“Lumad killings and journalist killings have something in common. Last month, two radio broadcasters in Mindanao were gunned down. Lumads and indigenous peoples, who only protect their ancestral lands, are also victims by the reign of impunity intensified by the Aquino administration and its cohorts in the AFP,” Abila said.

The harassment and threat from the 36th Infantry Battalion (IB) and Magahat/Bagani paramilitary group to Manobos in Han-ayan, Lianga, Surigao del Sur forced them to evacuate to Km. 16.

Magahat members eventually killed Alternative Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (Alcadev) executive director Emerito Samarca, Malahutayong Pakigbisog alang sa Sumusunod (Mapasu) chairperson Dionel Campos and his cousin Bello Sinzo early morning of Tuesday.

The 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City denied the military’s participation to the incident but the Manobos saw 36th IB troops along with the Magahat group when it happened because they were roused from sleep and forced out of their homes at dawn.

“The AFP cannot deny this as a whole community of Manobos can testify the claims,” CEGP said.
Lumads have been affected by military operations in Mindanao since the entry of large-scale mining companies and corporate plantations.

The militant groups stormed the gate of the headquarters of the AFP, Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City as a reaction to the recent series of indigenous Lumad killings in Mindanao.

Lead by left-leaning group Anakbayan, the protesters threw red paint bombs that vandalized the facade of the military headquarters.

Anakbayan national chairman Vencer Crisostomo pointed out that the formation of the Paramilitary group Magahat, that is allegedly responsible for the multiple murder cases in Lianga, Cagayan de Oro, is an apendage of the military.

“The Magahat militias occupied the Lumad community together with the 36th Infantry Batallion of the AFP. The militias acted as AFP’s attack dog, in order to distance themselves from the killing,” Crisostomo said.

On August 31 before the murders, The Magahat militias burned down the community cooperative store of MAPASU while indiscriminately firing around the community. Samarca was detained by the Magahat militias, he was all tied up when he was last seen alive.

China’s anti-ship missile and troop cuts highlight shifting power

From the Daily Tribune (Sep 4): China’s anti-ship missile and troop cuts highlight shifting power

China’s unveiling of “carrier-killer” missiles and cuts in troop numbers on Thursday underlined a shift toward naval strength amid growing Pacific rivalry with the US, analysts said.

More than a dozen anti-ship ballistic missiles capable of traveling at 10 times the speed of sound were shown at a massive military parade in Beijing, with state television calling them a “trump card” in potential conflicts and “one of China’s key weapons in asymmetric warfare.”

For a fraction of the cost of an aircraft carrier the missile threatens to alter the balance of power in the Pacific.

The land-based DF-21D intermediate-range missile is said to be equipped with on board terminal guidance systems that give it the ability to attack a moving target, such as a carrier group at sea.

For decades, the United States’ fleet of aircraft carriers has been a key component of its ability to project power around the world, and Andrew Erickson of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation has described the DF-21D as a “Frankenweapon” that is “potentially unpredictable and disruptive.” The missile “serve as a deterrent which requires rivals in the region to think twice about deploying aircraft carrier groups against China,” James Char, an analyst at Singapore’s Nanyang University told Agence France Presse.

The technology is untested but it underlines “the growing importance of China’s naval forces” as Beijing seeks to project its power more widely in the air and on sea, he added.

Also on show in Beijing were longer-range weapons, prompting one commentator on Chinese state television to exclaim: “Look at this missile! It can hit Hawaii!”

China said in May that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) navy will put a greater emphasis on “open seas protection”, rather than “offshore waters defense” alone.

At the same time its air force will shift focus “from territorial air defense to both defense and offense”, it said.

Beijing is “very concerned with what its rivals, in particular the US naval forces, might do to it,” Char added.

China has been boosting its military budget with double-digit percentage increases for decades, as it takes a more assertive stance in territorial disputes with Asian neighbors in the East and South China Seas.

But the US, which has dominated the Pacific since World War II, has pushed back with a “pivot” to Asia which Barack Obama has said is aimed at maintaining “American leadership” in the region.

Washington spends far more on its military than China, and is treaty-bound to defend Japan and South Korea, while other allies in the region include Taiwan and the Philippines.

Arthur Ding, a military expert at Taiwan’s National Chengchi University, told AFP that the DF-21D “will somewhat complicate US operations in this region”.

But he cautioned that the missiles’ effective use required advanced co-ordination between satellites and ships, and that the US has “many countermeasures” available.

Firepower and mobility

Immediately before the parade, President and army head Xi Jinping announced that the PLA — currently the largest standing military in the world with 2.3 million troops — would cut 300,000 staff.

China’s troops would “faithfully execute their solemn mission to maintain world peace,” he added, and would never “seek hegemony”.

It is the latest in a series of giant cuts to the bloated PLA, which Beijing has reduced by around two million troops since the 1980s as it seeks to craft a more efficient fighting force.

The latest decline was “within expectations” and had been under discussion for several years, Taiwan-based analyst Ding said, adding: “Overall firepower and mobility has been much better improved, so the cuts can be done.”

The fall in troop numbers is “consistent with scope of past reductions,” said M. Taylor Fravel, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“Ground forces will likely face the brunt of the reduction,” he added, predicting it would also probably “streamline layers of command and bureaucracy within the PLA”.

The military has been one of the targets of Xi’s much-publicized anti-corruption drive — which analysts and diplomats say can be used for internal faction-fighting — with two of China’s most senior generals falling victim to it in the past year.

Corruption - especially bribery for promotions — is thought to be endemic in China’s army, but the parade provided a show of unity and adherence to the chain of command, troops and generals alike turning their eyes to Xi and saluting as they passed.

“The high ranking army officials are nervous because many of them probably were promoted because of bribes,” Ding said.

“They have to show their loyalty. Xi has firm control of the military.”

Senator seeks resumption of talks with NDF

From the Business Mirror (Sep 4): Senator seeks resumption of talks with NDF

AS the Senate deliberates on the proposed Bangsamoro basic law, Sen. Loren Legarda said the government should also resume peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front (NDF).

“We need to pursue peace that is inclusive in order for it to be just and lasting. The government should initiate the resumption of peace negotiations with the NDF for the sake of the millions of Filipinos who will benefit from a peaceful and progressive nation,” Legarda said.

According to the Philippine Peace Center, the peace talks between the government and the left are suspended. The two negotiating panels have not sat together for formal negotiations since February 2011.

Moreover, the formal talks to resume discussions on Social and Economic Reforms scheduled for June 2011 did not materialize. Subsequent efforts to break the impasse through informal talks between the two Parties and discuss an NDF proposal for truce and alliance (also referred to as the “special track”) began in late 2011, but, likewise, collapsed in February 2013.

“One may not necessarily agree with the NDF’s alternative vision of Philippine society, but no one can doubt the integrity of their patriotism or the depth of their commitment to help bring about a more just and a more humane society. That is why we want the government and the NDF to iron out their differences and address the root causes of the armed conflict,” Legarda said.

The Senator noted that the subject of the negotiations are concerns affecting Filipinos, such as poverty; lack of employment and livelihood opportunities, underemployment; lack of access to housing services; affordable health care; education and other social services, corruption; impunity in human-rights violations; environmental degradation; among many others.

“The government and the NDF should resume peace talks to come up with an agreement that is agreeable to both parties and beneficial to the Filipino people. Our people have a huge stake in the peace negotiations, the success of which is a step towards a brighter future for generations to come, “Legarda.

Davao Oriental's Happy Home, interventions for rebel returnees benchmarked

From the Philippine Information Agency (Sep 2): Davao Oriental's Happy Home, interventions for rebel returnees benchmarked

Members of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) committees from all over the country, together with their respective Department of Interior and Local Governmentregional directors, have recently visited here to benchmark Davao Oriental’s successful CLIP implementation, mainly on the establishment and operation of the Happy Home – a halfway house for rebel returnees, which has been gaining the attention of different LGUs and agencies for its best practices.

The delegations from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, arrived in batches within a series of three-day benchmarking period last August 25-27, learned how the Provincial Government manages to push for the establishment of the Happy Home which helps former rebels transition to civilian life.

A brainchild of the Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon, the Happy Home was inaugurated in April 2013 when the Philippine Army officiallydeclared Davao Oriental as development-ready. The facility was established as part of the Provincial Government’s thrust to firmly install the pillars of shared peace and prosperity in the province.

The facility’s major goal is to provide a transition home that offers enabling services for total healing, rehabilitation and preparation of former rebels for complete integration into mainstream society and to motivate them to become productive and law abiding citizens.

To ensure effectiveness of the facility, the strategy basically involves the implementation of various initiatives and activities that covers the areas of values formation, community integration, capacity building, skills development, and empowerment through education, among many others. These goals and strategies are being met through the provision of various services such as counseling; psychological and psychiatric services; spiritual enrichment services; educational, health and employment services. Aside from that, livelihood assistance and conduct of sports development and therapy sessions and workshops to the residents are also provided. In addition, the facility also offers a site intended for the development of livelihood projects and related skills.

Happy Home Manager Evelyn Vallar said that in order to accomplish such holistic rehabilitation aimed for their clients, a convergence and collaboration of agency programs and services were pooled together. For instance, crop production, livestock raising, fish culture was facilitated by the Provincial Agriculture Office and the Department of Agriculture, skills development of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA);techno-transfer and value adding of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), entrepreneurship of the Department of Trade and Industry; Alternative Learning System (ALS) of the Department of Education, and other related services of the Department of Agrarian Reform, and theDepartment of Labor and Employment, among other agencies of the government.

On top of these trainings that would prepare them in their subsequent integration to the mainstream society, other benefits are also given, particularly cash assistance under the CLIP of the DILG. This financial assistance intends to help them start anew and mainstream in the community.

The Happy Home, being the first and only of its kind in the whole country, was conceptualized by the governor. It was funded by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process through the DILG –Payapa at MasaganangPamayanan Program (DILG-PAMANA) and is now being managed by the Provincial Government.

As Davao Oriental now basks on its relative peace, Gov. Malanyaon attributes this achievementto the strong partnership between the Provincial Government and all stakeholders involved in peace and development. She highlighted the role of the Philippine Army’s Peace and Development Outreach Program in winning the hearts and minds of the people by helping provide basic services to thecommunities.

701st Brigade Commander Col. BienvenidoDatuin, Jr., said the military here is ‘indeed fortunate for being under a leadership that is very supportive and with a vision’. He further vowed for the continued military efforts to sustain the gains so far achieved in terms of peace and development.

People first in security operations- 10th ID chief

From the Philippine Information Agency (Sep 2): People first in security operations- 10th ID chief

Newly-designated chief of the 10th Infantry Agila Division, Major General Rafael Valencia vowed to put first the welfare of the people in all its peace operations.

He told the Aguila troops to consider primarily the impact of its operations to the welfare and livelihood of the people, particularly the future of their children.

“Along this line, our troops must come to a shared concept of security with the people in the community, with the local government and other national government agencies and the civil society.  We must understand that security is more than just the occurrence of violent conflict.  It has other components like food, jobs, shelter, economy, health, environment, political, community and personal concerns,” he pointed out.

Valencia underscored that the difficulties experienced by the people on these components are exploited by the rebel movement to recruit and entice the people to join in their struggle.

He said that the government through the line agencies have comprehensive programs to address these insecurities.

“It is imperative for all government agencies to work together and address these insecurities especially in far-flung areas,” Valencia said.

He offered that the troops can be a conduit to deliver the peace and development programs to where it is needed most.

Valencia also called on the rebels to lay down their weapons but not to abandon their dreams for the welfare of their respective families and communities.

“Join us in our Bayanihan to achieve your dreams for the future of your children without the use of force,” he said.

Valencia also vowed to use the full force of law to defeat those who continue to fight government by employing all its capabilities to secure the people and communities from violent and deceptive activities.

He also assured that the troops pay high respect to the human rights, rule of law and the International Humanitarian Law in the conduct of all security operations at all times.

“I therefore expect every officer and soldier to be well-trained on basic military skills and every aspect of our operations. We must also pursue the institutionalization of the Army Transformation Roadmap throughout the Agila Division, down to the last rifleman,” Valencia said.

He also reminded officers to be wary of the morale of the troops and be impartial in the forthcoming political exercise in 2016.

Valencia told the troops to be extra-careful that their acts might not be misconstrued as being partial to a political organization.

He also vowed to carry on the responsibilities as the 8th commander of the unit.

Earlier, Valencia took cognizance of the vast accomplishments of his predecessors and the Aguila troopers in keeping the peace in Davao and Socksargen region like the focused military operation against the rebels and Serbisyo-caravan initiated by both the national and local governments and all peace stakeholders.

“I am fully aware the need to sustain these gains and finish the fight,” Valencia said.

Valencia took the reins of the 10th ID from acting commander  Brigadier General Benjamin Madrigal, Jr. in a ceremony officiated by Army chief Major General Eduardo Ano.