Saturday, September 5, 2015

PH, MNLF resume talks Monday

From Tempo (Sep 5): PH, MNLF resume talks Monday

After a long while, the government of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front are scheduled to meet on September 7 and 8 to resume their stalled tripartite meeting.

Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani convened the two-day meeting at the New World Hotel in Makati City.

Madani is sending his special envoy for peace for the Philippines, Ambassador Sayyed Kaseem El-Masry, to preside over the meeting.

Undersecretary Jose Lorena of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process said the informal tripartite meeting’s major agenda is to “charter a roadmap for a conclusion of the tripartite process.”

He said other agenda may be taken, but will revolve around the major agenda.

Lorena said the convening of the meeting next week is a result of the visit to the Philippines of Madani in April this year, during which the OIC chief supported the convergence of the tracks of the Mindanao peace process.

STATEMENT: On the Lianga and Pangantucan Lumad Massacres in Mindanao

Propaganda statement issued by the NCCP, an organization that often works closely, and sympathizes with known CPP front groups, posted to MindaNews (Sep 5): STATEMENT: On the Lianga and Pangantucan Lumad Massacres in Mindanao

On the Lianga and Pangantucan Lumad Massacres in Mindanao
by the National Council of Churches in the Philippines

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”
Psalm 82:3 NIV

The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) condemns in the strongest terms the recent spate of massacres in the Lumad communities in Lianga, Surigao del Sur and Pangantucan, Bukidnon in Mindanao. Last September 1, 2015, Emerito ‘Tatay Emok’ Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Development, Inc. (ALCADEV), Dionel Campos, chairperson of MAPASU (Persevering Struggle for Future Manobo Generations), and his cousin Aurelio “Bello” Sinzo were killed. While the teachers and students of the school were harassed, and hundreds of individuals have been displaced in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur.  In Barangay Mendis, Pangantucan, Bukidnon, five lumads were killed in what the police and military assert was a “legitimate encounter” between state forces and the New People’s Army.

We uphold the statements of Bishop Modesto Villasanta of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), the National Priest Organization (NPO), and Council of Priests (COP) of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) that the circumstantial evidences of the Lianga massacre are pointing  to the 36th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army and to the paramilitary group Magahat/Bagani Forces as culprits.

We also join the relatives and IFI bishops in supporting the media statement of the lone survivor of the Pangantucan massacre on how soldiers shot his father Herminio Samia, his brothers Joebert Samia,  and Norman Samia, relatives Emir, Somina and Elmer Somina, one by one. We criticize the autopsy conducted by the Philippine National Police – Scene of the Crime Operatives (PNP-SOCO) that was done without the presence of the families of the victims or their friends. This places doubt on the police report on the paraffin test done on the victims that the AFP uses as an assertion that they were all rebel combatants.

We call on government to ensure the safety of the Lumads through the pull out of the presence of the 1st Special Forces Battalion under the 4th Infantry Division in Pangantucan, Bukidnon and the 36th Infantry Battalion in Lianga, Surigao del Sur and through the dismantling the AFP organized and supported paramilitary forces.

We call on authorities to bring to justice the death of our Lumad brothers, the victims of these two horrendous massacres and permit the conduct of independent fact finding missions.

We call on authorities, our churches, and international partners in supporting the victims including displaced individuals and their families through basic necessities such as food, temporary shelter, medical, psychosocial, and spiritual care.

We call  to stop the militarization in Mindanao by ending the government anti-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, that has been linked to extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, trumped up charges, tortures, massacres, and displacement of thousands of individuals. We continue our cry the resumption of formal peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in order to address the root causes of armed conflict in Mindanao and the rest of the country for a just and lasting peace.

The Most Reverend Ephraim S. Fajutagana
Obispo Maximo XII, IFI and NCCP Chair

Rev. Rex R.B. Reyes, Jr.
General Secretary, NCCP

STATEMENT: Attacks on Mindanao Lumad schools and communities intensify as Aquino’s military goes berserk for Oplan Bayanihan

Propaganda statement from pro-CPP front group posted to MindaNews (Sep 5): STATEMENT: Attacks on Mindanao Lumad schools and communities intensify as Aquino’s military goes berserk for Oplan Bayanihan


 Attacks on Mindanao Lumad schools and communities intensify
 as Aquino’s military goes berserk for Oplan Bayanihan by Save Our Schools Network

The last year of the Benigno S. Aquino presidency has meant a bloodbath for indigenous peoples and for Lumad education, two months after his State of the Nation Address where he gloated of figures that have purportedly addressed classroom shortages and increased the quality of Philippine education.

Emerito ‘Tatay Emok’ Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Development, Inc. (ALCADEV) and a convenor of the Save Our Schools Network was killed by government-backed indigenous paramilitary forces. His body was found lying in a pool of blood, with stab wounds on his neck, and his throat slit. While Dionel Campos, chairperson of MAPASU (Persevering Struggle for Future Manobo Generations), and his cousin Aurelio “Bello” Sinzo, were strafed dead before the terrified community of Han-ayan, Lianga town, Surigao del Sur province.

The paramilitary group Magahat/Bagani— armed, controlled, and commanded by the 36th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army—  burned down the school cooperative building and threatened to massacre the entire community if they would not leave the area two days before the killing of the Samarca, Campos, and Sinzo in the morning of September 1, 2015.

The dastardly crime which was perpetrated at dawn and later carried out in broad daylight, terrified the erstwhile peaceful Manobo school and community. As of this writing, the number of evacuees in Caraga has swelled to 3,000 individuals or more than 500 families coming from the municipalities of San Miguel and Lianga, with some 70 families still lost in nearby forests.

The Philippine military’s attack on ALCADEV using indigenous paramilitaries is by far the gravest and most vicious violation of indigenous peoples’ right to education and constitutes a wholesale violation of children’s rights.

Moreover, as schools are an integral part of communities, the attack is an open declaration of the Philippine state’s war of annihilation against people’s organizations and communities resisting foreign large-scale plunder of ancestral domains.

The 36th IB Philippine Army-Magahat/Bagani rampage at the ALCADEV School shows that the Aquino government has dropped all pretenses of adhering to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international human rights instruments. It also demonstrates the irrefutable crimes of the Philippine Army against indigenous children which the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and the Armed Conflict has continually glossed over, understated, or consistently concealed in its annual reports.

The Philippine government’s attacks on the ALCADEV School clearly shows its contempt towards self-determined development asserted by indigenous communities. Alternative Lumad schools are pushing for their own culturally-relevant pedagogy that liberates indigenous peoples from the yoke of institutionalized discrimination and corporate plunder of ancestral lands.

These Ethnocidal attacks on indigenous education, indigenous leaders and their staunch advocates and supporters are but the latest in a string of Aquino’s orders to tighten the noose on Lumad schools:
  1. Since April of 2014 up to present, 25 Lumad schools and community schools were forced to halt operations for the entire month of June due to harassment by the AFP and sanctioned by the Department of Education (DepEd).
  1. At least 84 cases of attacks on 57 community schools have displaced and disrupted the education of over 3, 000 Lumad children.
  1. Two (2) minors were brutally killed by the elements of 3rdCompany of the1st Special Forces Battalion under the ground commander Capt. Balatbat with Col. Nasser Lidasan as Battalion Commander on August 19, 2015 in Pangatukan town, Bukidnon province. They were part of 5 Manobo tribals strafed and killed on suspicion of being NPA combatants.
  1. The schooling of Lumad children under the Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur was disrupted when residents of Brgy. Siagao, San Miguel, Surigao del Sur were displaced. Brothers Ely and Crisanto Tabugol, residents of the said community, were killed by an armed group led by Hasmin and elements of the 36thIBPA.
  1. A Lumad child was among 14 farmers in White Culaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon who were illegally detained and arrested by elements of 8thIB ug 23rd IB headed by Nicolas Rivera and an official named Tocmo. All were accused as members of the New People’s Army in contrast to the fact that they are members of organizations Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Barangay White Culaman ( NAMABAW) and Tinananon Kulamanon Lumadnong Panaghiusa sa Arakan (TIKULPA). The Army threatened to burn down the MISFI-run (Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Incorporated) school which offers 7th and 8th grade education in Sitio Dao, Bukidnon.
  1. Adding to these abuses is the ongoing mass evacuation of the Talaingod Manobo people in Davao City since April of this year due to intensified military operations and threats from the terrorist paramilitary group ALAMARA. Around 1, 000 individuals from San Fernando Bukidnon, Kapalong and Talaingod, Davao del Norte have sought sanctuary at UCCP Haran, Davao City. Learners from Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc (STTILCI) in Talaingod have been holding their classes at the refugee camp since the evacuation started. Worse, three soldiers of the 1003rdInfantry Brigade raped a 14-year old Manobo grade 4 student of the Butay elementary school while conducting military operations in the area.
  1. Last month, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao schools in Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon have earlier reported harassments and threats from suspected state forces in the form of anonymous text messages, private message via facebook, and surveillances. In March 18, 2014, an RMP-NMR school grounds in Binikalan, San Luis, Agusan del Sur was strafed by 26thIB troops disrupting the graduation practice of the school. In Sarangani province, administrators and faculty of the Center for Lumad Advocacy and Services (CLANS) which provides education to indigenous Blaan children have been filed with false criminal charges of serious illegal detention of evacuees and inciting to sedition.
The Aquino government should be held accountable for all these violations. It is responsible for the formation and arming of the paramilitary groups, the paving the way for the entry of  large-scale destructive projects in the ancestral domains, the sowing of disunity among IPs, and the killings that have claimed the lives of many.

The Save Our Schools Network demands Justice for Samarca, Campos, Sinzo and all victims of human rights abuses! End all forms of attacks on schools and communities!

Prof. Mae Fe Templa, MSWConvenor, Save Our Schools Network

Upsurge in piracy roils Southeast Asian waters

From Nikkei Asian Review (Sep 3): Upsurge in piracy roils Southeast Asian waters

U.S. Navy personnel and a Philippine sailor practice how to arrest and search a suspected pirate during a joint training drill aboard the USS Fort Worth off the Philippine city of Puerto Princesa on June 22. © Reuters 

These days, the word "piracy" usually brings to mind illegally copying music, movies or software. But in the waters of Southeast Asia, mainly off Indonesia and Malaysia, the traditional meaning prevails, with boatloads of armed men storming cargo vessels in the hunt for bounty.

Describing eight pirates who in mid-June boarded the Orkim Harmony, a Malaysia-registered tanker, Adm. Abdul Aziz Jaafar, Malaysia's navy chief, tweeted that the men were "armed with pistols and parang (a type of machete). They speak with Indonesian accents."

An Australian air force patrol eventually spotted the stolen tanker during a search mission with Malaysia's navy. The pirates, all Indonesian, were arrested in Vietnamese waters and confessed to stealing the boat, which was carrying a crew of 22 and 7.5 million liters of gasoline.

The Orkim Harmony heist was followed in early August by an attack on a Singapore-registered tanker. Heading from the Indonesian port of Tanjung Pinang to the island of Langkawi off the northern coast of Malaysia, it was stopped and drained of fuel.

A Malaysian maritime police vessel approaches a Japanese oil tanker that was raided by armed pirates at Port Klang, off Kuala Lumpur. © Reuters

Busy season
During the first six months of 2015, pirates launched an attack once every two weeks on average in Southeast Asian waters, according to the International Chamber of Commerce's International Maritime Bureau.
"We have been busy, getting many calls, emails, even faxes," Noel Choong, head of the IMB's Piracy Reporting Center in Kuala Lumpur, told the Nikkei Asian Review. The center was set up in 1992 as "a 24-hour and free service for shipmasters to report any piracy, armed robbery or stowaway incidents," according to the IMB website.

The IMB data does not include incidents that take place in the dangerous waters between the Malaysian state of Sabah and the southern Philippines, where pirates have regularly kidnapped people for ransom. These incidents typically involve raiders from the Philippine archipelago province of Sulu snatching victims -- often foreign tourists -- from boats or hotels in Sabah.

Nonetheless, 68% of the 134 piracy incidents reported worldwide in the first six months of 2015 occurred in Southeast Asia, compared with 53% of the 116 incidents in the same period of 2014. The true extent of the problem may be underreported.

"Shipowners fear higher insurance rates if too many incidents are reported and also believe that local authorities are themselves responsible for attacks in the Malacca Strait and nearby waters," Carolin Liss, a maritime security expert at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, wrote in a 2014 analysis of Southeast Asian piracy.


This photo, supplied by the U.S. Navy, shows pirates holding the crew of a Chinese fishing vessel hostage in the Indian Ocean. © Getty Images 

Just like the bad old days

The increase in the number of incidents marks a return to the period between the early 1990s and 2006, when Southeast Asia was the most "pirate infested" region in the world, according to the IMB.

It was subsequently overtaken by an upsurge in deadly attacks and hijackings in the waters off Somalia and East Africa, where ships' crews were sometimes held captive for years. The piracy epidemic forced Western warships to start patrolling the African waters.

"If you look at Somalia, the attacks have almost stopped, due to the international patrols and ships using private security," Choong noted.

Attacks in Southeast Asia are less deadly and less lucrative, but they are more numerous, making up three-quarters of global maritime piracy for all of 2014.

That is perhaps unsurprising given that the waters stretching from the Indonesian island of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula east into the South China Sea are among the world's busiest. Around 120,000 vessels pass through the Strait of Malacca a year, including tankers carrying 70-80% of China's oil imports, mostly from Africa and the Persian Gulf.

Today, pirates tend to target smaller, slow-moving vessels like the Orkim Harmony, or conduct night raids on ships docked in ports.

A Philippine Coast Guard anti-terrorist unit apprehends mock pirates in a joint drill with the Japan Coast Guard near Manila on May 6. © Reuters
"Typically, the pirates attack small tankers in operations carried out quickly and in which they take anything that can be quickly and easily processed or repackaged and sold on," said Choong.
Vessels flying the Singaporean and Malaysian flags are the most frequent targets of pirates.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand carry out joint patrols as part of the Eyes in the Sky initiative under the regional cooperation agreement on combating piracy and armed robbery against ships in Asia. But the success of these programs has been limited. The reluctance of the countries to allow foreign navies inside their territorial waters makes it easier for pirates to flee across maritime boundaries. That has led Malaysia to call on its neighbors to increase anti-piracy cooperation.

Headache for Widodo

Given that the pirates who attacked the Orkim Harmony were Indonesian, the incident may cause some embarrassment for Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who made a point of discussing the country's maritime potential in his inaugural address in October 2014, invoking the slogan "Jalesveva Jayamahe" (in the ocean we triumph).

Widodo pledged to make Indonesia a maritime power, and has needled neighbors by introducing a zero-tolerance policy against foreign fishing vessels caught operating unlicensed in Indonesian waters.

"This has proven very significant to combat illegal fishing in our waters," Alina Tambunan, director of fishery resource surveillance at the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, told the Nikkei Asian Review.

Indonesia has scuttled dozens of captured foreign-flagged fishing boats in recent months, most recently blowing up 34 vessels on Aug. 18, the day after the 70th anniversary of the country's independence from the Netherlands.

According to the IMB, 58% of reported Southeast Asian pirate attacks in the first half of 2015 occurred in Indonesian waters, with most related to "low-level, opportunistic thefts from vessels."

The IMB noted that many attacks in Indonesian waters and by Indonesians go unreported, suggesting the country's pirates are even more prolific than the numbers suggest.

The world's biggest archipelago nation -- with 17,000 islands and nearly 55,000km of coastline -- Indonesia has long been a leading source of piracy. In 2004, for example, the country accounted for 93 out of 329 recorded attacks worldwide; its islands, bays and straits offer ample places to hide for fast-moving buccaneers.

Fishing boats are moored in Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Poverty has caused some fishermen to turn to piracy. (Photo by Simon Roughneen)

Poverty and overfishing have played a part in the country's piracy problem. Many Indonesian offenders are thought to be disaffected or impoverished fishermen whose livelihoods have been blighted by overfishing, polluted waters, increased competition for depleted stocks and illegal fishing in Indonesian waters by foreigners.

Only part of the story

Most of the reported attacks in Indonesia are minor thefts carried out while vessels are anchored or in port rather than the large-scale hijackings or violent abductions, which were a feature of the Somali piracy attacks.

A World Bank study estimates that between April 2005 and December 2012, Somali pirates hijacked 149 ships, collecting as much as $385 million in ransom money, some of which was allegedly used to finance terrorist groups in the region, such as al-Shabab.

But there is no sign that Southeast Asia's waters will become as dangerous as those off the east coast of Africa once were. Moreover, the IMB data needs to be used with caution as it risks overstating the nature of piracy in the region by failing to differentiate between the scale and ferocity of the incidents.

As Sam Bateman, a maritime security expert and former Australian navy officer, said in a commentary for the Lowy Institute for International Policy, an Australian think tank, the IMB's reports "suffer from the major drawback that they deal only in absolute numbers, counting an incident of petty theft from a ship at anchor as equivalent to a major incident of ship hijacking."

10th ID arrests suspected rebel leader in Compostela Valley

From InterAksyon (Sep 4): 10th ID arrests suspected rebel leader in Compostela Valley

NPA formation in Southern Mindanao, from

Reports reaching Manila indicated that elements of the Philippine Army 10th Infantry Division arrested on Thursday a suspected ranking communist leader by virtue of warrants of arrest for arson and murder in Compostela Valley.

According to Lt. Col. Norman Zuniega, Assistant Chief for Civil-Military Operations (G7) of the 10th Infantry Division, identified the arrested suspect as Francisco Saramosing (nom de guerre Zoilo Cadelina/Isko) who was cornered at Barangay Anibongan in Maco town.

Zuniega disclosed that Saramosing is believed to head the sub-regional peasant bureau and executive committee of the Southern Regional Command 2 (SRC-2) of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC) of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

He said the three warrants, served by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) on Saramosing, contained no recommendation for bail, and were issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 3 in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley.

Saramosing, Zuniega added, was formerly secretary of the NPA-Guerilla Front 27.

CPP/NDF: Alab ng Katipunan Panay"--Nagpapanggap na isang yunit ng NPA sa ilalim ng organizasyon ng NPA sa Panay

NDF propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Sep 5): “Alab ng Katipunan Panay"--Nagpapanggap na isang yunit ng NPA sa ilalim ng organizasyon ng NPA sa Panay (The Alab Katipunan Panay--Pretending to be an NPA unit under the NPA organization in Panay)

NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines






CPP/NDF: Hinggil sa kay "MHE Anthon Hagutin" at "MHE Anthonette Duhac"

NDF propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Sep 5): Hinggil sa kay "MHE Anthon Hagutin" at "MHE Anthonette Duhac"
NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines
Mga Kasama at mga Kaibigan,

Rebolusyonaryong pagbati!

Kasalukuyang pinag-aaralan ng JPEC NPA-Central Panay ang tunay na katangian ni “Mhe Anthon Hagutin” at “Mhe Anthonette Duhac”. Ang “Mhe Anthon Hagutin” ay nagpapalabas ng mga pahayag gamit ang Sergio Lobina Command nga NPA-Eastern Samar. Sa panimulang pag-aaral ng JPEC sa mga pahayag ni “Mhe Anthon Hagutin” na kasalukuyang naka-post sa kanyang FB account lumalabas na malamang na ito ay isang impostor. Ang totoong spokesperson ng NPA Eastern Samar Provincial Operations Command o Sergio Lobina Command ay si Rubio Manggubat. Makikita ang mga pahayag nito na naka-post sa Philippine Revolution Web Central (PRWC). Mapapansin na wala ni isang pahayag ni Rubio Manggubat ang ni-link ni “Mhe Anthon Hagutin”. Ganun din, wala ni isang pahayag na inilabas ni “Mhe Anthon Hagutin” sa kanyang FB account na naka-post sa PRWC. Ang “Mhe Anthonette Duhac” ay maaring other FB account ni “Mhe Anthon Hagutin” o kanyang kasabwat. Maraming mga statements at pictures ang ini-share ng dalawang ito mula sa JPEC posts. Habang patuloy pang pinag-aaralan ang tunay na katangian ng dalawang ito, minabuti ng JPEC na i-unfriend sila upang hindi patuloy na magamit ang mga posts ng JPEC sa kanilang pakinabang.

Pinag-aaralan din ng JPEC ang posibleng paggamit ng mga “extortion syndicates” sa Facebook upang makapagpanggap na isa yunit ng NPA o may kaugnayan sa NPA upang humingi daw ng tulong para sa rebolusyonaryong armadong kilusan. Ginagamit nga mga grupong ito ang mga naka-post na pahayag, pictures, videos ng CPP-NPA-NDF sa internet upang ipalabas na bahagi sila nga rebolusyonaryong armadong kilusan. May isang Facebook friend na nagpaabot ng ganitong pangyayari bagamat patuloy pa itong pinag-aaralan. Upang mapabilis ang pag-aaral at ma-expose sa maagang panahon ang mga kriminal na gawain ng mga grupong ito, hinihingi namin ang inyong tulong sa pamamagitan ng pagbigay ng impormasyon. Maaring ipadala ito sa email address na: o ipadala bilang attachment sa private mail ng Facebook.
Maraming salamat at mabuhay kayo.

Ka Jurie Guerrero
Jose Percival Estocada, Jr. Command (JPEC)
NPA-Central Panay

CPP/NDF: Mga impostor na NPA sa social media

NDF propaganda statement posted to the CPP Website (Sep 5): Mga impostor na NPA sa social media (NPA impostors on social media)

NDFP National Democratic Front of the Philippines

Mga Kasama,
Maalab na pagbati!

Amin napag-alaman na may ilang Facebook account na gumagamit ng pangalan ng NPA o nagpapanggap na bahagi ng rebolusyonaryong armadong kilusan. Ginagamit nila ito upang linlangin at lituhin ang mga inosenteng sibilyan at ang masahol sa lahat maaring ginagamit nila ito sa mga extortion na gawain. May ilang Facebook account na nagpaabot ng impormasyon na hinihingan sila ng pera dahil may sugatan daw na kailangang ipagamot. May isang nagbigay ng P5,000.

Upang makapagpapanggap ginagamit nila mga posts sa internet ng CPP-NPA-NDF (logo, statements, videos, etc) at may isang Facebook account (“Mhe Anthon Hagutin”) na nagpapalabas ng pahayag sa pangalan ng Sergio Lobina Command ng Eastern Visayas.

Nang malaman ito ng JPEC kaagad itong nagpalabas ng mga advisories upang ma-expose ang mga impostor na ito na positibo naman tinanggap ng mga friends sa social media.

Minumungkahi kong magpalabas ang NDFP at NPA at/o ang kaukulang kumand sa Eastern Visayas ng pahayag tungkol sa bagay na ito.

Nasa attachment ang ilang impormasyong nakuha sa social media kaugnay sa usaping ito.

Hanggang dito na muna. Mabuhay kayo!

Sa pakikibaka,
Ka Jurie

Philippine Defense Department on Xi statement, PLA display: Stop deceitful rhetoric

From Ang Malaya (Sep 5): Philippine Defense Department on Xi statement, PLA display: Stop deceitful rhetoric

The Department of National Defense (DND) welcomes the recent pronouncement of Chinese President Xi Jinping regarding China’s commitment to peaceful development, however, DND also questions the display of offensive weaponry after a massive military parade in Beijing and a video entitled 3D Simulation of Island War surfacing on social networking sites.

“The Department welcomes the Chinese Leadership’s recent pronouncement that they are committed to peace; but why the display of offensive weaponry,” the DND said in a statement released today, September 5.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said during China’s commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War 2, “China will remain committed to peaceful development. We Chinese love peace. No matter how much stronger it may become, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation.”

However, the DND believes action speaks loader that words. “We call on China’s government to show its sincerity by, at least, stopping all ongoing construction and militarization activities, and to refrain from restricting freedom of flight and navigation in the West Philippine Sea,” DND said.

DND added that the “Chinese leadership should go beyond deceitful rhetoric, claiming peaceful efforts, before all their aggression takes a greater and irreparable toll on the region and beyond. We have heard peace-loving Chinese people living in many communities all over the world echoing this sentiment.”

US government awards Willard Marine contract to build boats for PNP Maritime Group

From Ang Malaya (Sep 5): US government awards Willard Marine contract to build boats for PNP Maritime Group

American builder Willard Marine was awarded by the United States Department of State a contract “to provide the Philippine National Police Maritime Group with patrol vessels equipped to conduct search and rescue operations along Philippine maritime borders,” Willard Marine said in a statement.

According to the American firm the contract is the third time Willard Marine has been chosen to provide military vessels to the Philippines.

Willard Marine said it will provide the Philippine National Police Maritime Group with aluminum, 30-foot patrol boats with twin 480-hp engines and dual water jets, as well as 34-foot patrol boats with 600-hp engines and dual water jets.

“Gun posts will be positioned forward and aft, and the boats will display a 40oz. Polyurethane foam collar,” Willard Marine said.

President of Willard Marine Ulrich Gottschling said “we are confident that the Philippine National Police will get tremendous use of their new Willard patrol boats for many years, and we hope to provide them with additional vessels as their mission requirements grow and evolve over time.”

PNP will be provided with customized patrol craft derived from a former SeaArk Marine boat design that Willard Marine acquired licensing rights last year.

8ID celebrates its 27th Founding Anniversary

Just posted to the Samar News (Aug 7): 8ID celebrates its 27th Founding Anniversary

8ID Stormtroopers Warrior monument

MGen. Jet Velarmino AFP, Commander 8ID, with Most Rev. Leopoldo Tumulak, Military Bishop, and the 3 brigade commanders in a wreath laying at Stormtroopers Warrior monument ICOW during the 8ID's 27th Founding Anniversary celebration on August 4, 2015.

August 7, 2015

CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan CityThe 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division, Philippine Army marked its 27th Founding Anniversary with the theme “8ID at Sambayanan, Dalawampu’t PitongTaong Nagkakaisa Tungo sa Kapayapaan at Kaunlaran” at Headquarters in Camp Lukban, Brgy Maulong, Catbalogan City, Samar on August 4, 2015.

The event was highlighted by a wreath-laying ceremony led by Most Rev. Leopoldo S. Tumulak D.D, Bishop, Military Ordinariate of the Philippines and Major General Jet B. Velarmino, Commander 8ID, for the Stormtroopers who passed away for the past year. The wreath-laying was in honor and recognition of the soldiers’ heroism and ultimate sacrifice for in pursuit of peace in Region VIII. The ceremony was attended and witnessed by the soldiers’ love ones, as well as officers, soldiers and civilian employees of the Command.

Another highlight was the recognition of officers and soldiers who made significant contribution to the accomplishments of their assigned tasks in combat operations and in administration that significantly contributed to the overall success of the Command’s mission. In addition, civilian stakeholders who worked with the Command were also given due recognition during the event.

Later in the evening, the celebration was capped by the “Stormtroopers’ Cultural Night”, an activity that showcased the rich culture of Filipinos through a cultural dance competition which was participated by different units of the Command.

Gracing the 27th Founding Anniversary of 8ID was the presence of Bishop Tumulak, Bishop of Military Diocese as the Guest of Honor and Speaker; Major General Jet B. Velarmino, Commander 8ID; Hon. Stephanie Uy-Tan, Mayor of Catbalogan City; Christine C. Caidic, 8ID MSAB Chairperson; Brigadier General Herminigildo C. Aquino, 803rd Brigade Commander; Brigadier General Leoncio A. Cirunay, Commander 801st Infantry Brigade, Col Dinoh A. Dolina, Commander 802nd Infantry Brigade and media personalities.

Looking ahead to the challenges that 8ID hurdled for the past year, Major General Velarmino said that the Command has accomplished much in performing its mandated task of protecting the people because of the unity and dedication of the troops in performing their duties. In his remarks, he challenged his officers and men and said that as long as we have faith to accomplish our just cause, coupled with unconquerable will to win, victory will not be denied us of any undertaking we have at hand and in the future.

On the other hand, Most Rev. Bishop Tumulak said, “It is my prayer that our Armed Forces and other stakeholders will unite all of us not only here but all around the world as the soldiers’ main priority is serve God and Country and protect the people.”

3 NPA rebels surrender in Zambo

From the Philippine Star (Sep 5): 3 NPA rebels surrender in Zambo

Three members of the New People's Army (NPA) surrendered after observing the dwindling mass support on the communist movement. photo

At least three communist rebels surrendered Saturday to the military in Guipos town, Zamboanga del Sur, a security official said.

The rebels, including a female member, were identified as Erme Elnas alias “James,” Lodevico Jordan Nadal Jr. and Anselma Perez-Quijano alias “Jelly,” all experts in propaganda and are members of the Western Mindanao Revolutionary Party Committee (WMRPC) of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Lt. Col. Audi Mongao, spokesman of Army’s 1st Division said the rebels also yielded a KG45 sub-machinegun and a caliber .45 pistol when they surrendered about 7:30 a.m. to the commanding officer of the 53rd Infantry Battalion (IB) at Camp Sabido in Guipos town.

“Based on the debriefing, the three rebels surrendered after observing the dwindling mass support on the communist movement,” Mongao said.

He said the intelligence unit of the 53rd IB immediately facilitated the surrender of the rebels and encouraged the rest of the members to return to the mainstream society.

Protesters, burglar hit Camp Aguinaldo

From the Philippine Star (Sep 5): Protesters, burglar hit Camp Aguinaldo

Militants try to grab the nozzle of a water cannon being used to disperse them during a rally in front of Camp Aguinaldo yesterday to protest the killings of several members of indigenous tribes in Mindanao as part of the military’s anti-insurgency campaign. MICHAEL VARCAS 

Militants staged a rally in front of Camp Aguinaldo yesterday to denounce the alleged human rights abuses of the military.

Around 30 protesters gathered in front of the camp’s Gate 2 along EDSA and sprayed the wall with red and black paint.

The crew of a military fire truck used a water cannon on the protesters, forcing them to disperse, but not before they threw canisters and bags of paint, hitting the wall and some photojournalists covering the incident.

The protesters, led by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines, denounced an ongoing anti-insurgency campaign by the military that has reportedly displaced thousands of lumad, members of indigenous tribes, in Davao and Northern Mindanao.

Col. Noel Detoyato, the military’s public affairs office chief, said the gate had to be closed in order to prevent the protesters from entering the military compound.

Meanwhile, a still unidentified man snuck into the military camp and stole an undetermined amount of cash and valuables from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) building before noon yesterday.

The burglary – which occurred at the building’s second floor – was discovered shortly after the OCD employees returned from attending the First Friday monthly mass at the ground floor of the building.
The burglar went through the executive offices of disaster officials, including those of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Coordinating Council.

Military police investigators initially recorded that two wallets – one of them containing P30,000 – and several mobile phones left by employees were missing.

A witness said the burglar was a dark-skinned, middle-aged man “and everybody thought he was just helping or was seeking help from the priest.”

Yesterday’s burglary was not the first such incident at Camp Aguinaldo.

In 2012, unidentified robbers stole gadgets, jewelry and cash from the official residence of the Armed Forces of the Philippines chief, then occupied by retired general Jesse Dellosa, now Customs deputy chief for intelligence.

Several months later, unidentified thieves stole a military dentist’s vehicle while it was parked in the military camp.

Security forces intercept P10.5M worth of smuggled rice in Zambo

From the Philippine Star (Sep  5): Security forces intercept P10.5M worth of smuggled rice in Zambo

Special Forces soldiers secure the smuggled rice seized aboard a motorlaunch last Sept. 2 while anchored off R.T. Lim town, Zamboanga Sibugay province. PareƱo
Combined security forces intercepted an estimated 15,000 sacks of smuggled rice worth P10.5 million which reportedly came from Malaysia.
Local authorities said the smuggled rice was discovered when two mini-trucks and a close van were intercepted in Barangay Magsaysay in a coastal village of R.T Lim town, Zamboanga Sibugay province last Thursday.
The local police of R.T Lim town, backed by the Provincial Public Safety Company and 7th Special Forces Company, traced that the smuggled rice were unloaded from M/L Shaida based in Tawi-Tawi then anchored off Barangay Magsaysay.
Based on the reports of Police Inspector Jimmy Albert Decin, police chief of R.T Lim town, the sacks of rice were slipped through motorboats and stocked in a secluded shore. The smugglers discretely loaded the sacks onto the closed container van and two mini-trucks.
Local government officials from Tungawan and R.T Lim town have initially accounted about 15,000 sacks of rice in 25 kilos each with an estimated market value of P10.5 million.
Based on the joint accounting of the police and the Bureau of Customs (BoC), there were only 736 sacks of smuggled rice seized from the three trucks.
Joint accounting will be conducted Monday on the remaining smuggled rice seized aboard the M/L Shaida.

Military 'occupies' Bukidnon 'massacre village' - priest

From InterAksyon (Sep 5): Military 'occupies' Bukidnon 'massacre village' - priest

Army troops, backed by an armored vehicle, have occupied a hinterland community in Pangantucan, Bukidnon where soldiers allegedly massacred five Manobo kinsmen, including a blind 70-year old and two minors, a priest said Saturday.

Fr. Christopher Ablon, who is also spokesman of the human rights organization Karapatan in Northern Mindanao, said the armored vehicle and two truckloads of troops from the 4th Infantry Division arrived in Barangay Mendis on Friday and “cordoned off” the community called “Block 8” in Sitio Mando, where tribal elder Herminio Samia, 70, his sons Joebert, 20, and Emir, 19, and nephews Norman, 13, and Elmer, 17 -- now dubbed the “Pangantucan 5” -- were shot one by one, allegedly by soldiers, as they emerged from their house on August 18.

Samia’s 15-year old son, the sole survivor, has surfaced to refute the military’s original claims his relatives were “New People’s Army combatants” slain in a “legitimate encounter.”


Citing reports reaching him from the area, Ablon, who is based in Cagayan de Oro, told by phone that the troops allegedly tried to confiscate the residents’ cellular phones when they surrounded Block 8 Friday night.
He also said the soldiers had summoned residents of the community, from the ages of 8 and older, to a “dialogue” Saturday afternoon to discuss the “NPA presence” in the area.

Acknowledging that he no longer had any contact with the community on Saturday, Ablon said, “We fear the military will use the dialogue to threaten the Manobo and maybe even frighten them into ‘surrendering’ and then presenting a different story of what happened there.”

Ablon said the Army “has already modified its original version of what happened on August 18,” citing an interview given by 4th ID spokesman Captain Patrick Martinez to a local radio station, “in which he said, ‘Hindi namin alam, baka NPA ang nakapatay sa kanila (We don’t know, maybe the NPA killed them)’.”

The NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Command spokesman Allan Juanito earlier confirmed that they had clashed with Army Special Forces on August 18 and had left an AK-47 rifle, which the military earlier said had been recovered from the Samias, behind but stressed that the fighting happened some four kilometers away from the community where the five were killed.

Even as he dismissed Martinez’s claim, Ablon said the change in the military spokesman’s narrative “is a tacit admission that the victims were, indeed, civilians.”

Ablon also scored the military who, he said, harassed religious who joined a “solidarity” mission to Barangay Mendis on September 2, accusing them of being NPA pretending to be priests and nuns.

The alleged massacre of the Samias is one of the many atrocities visited on indigenous peoples' communities in Mindanao in recent months.

In Surigao del Sur, close to 3,000 residents of hinterland villages have evacuated to the provincial capital, Tandag City, following extrajudicial murders allegedly committed by tribal militia backed by the military, including the killing of Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development, an award-winning tribal school in Barangay Diatagon, Lianga town, and the execution of Dionel Campos, chairman of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang Sa Sumusunod or MAPASU, and his cousin Bello Sinzo, in front of hundreds of residents.

Surigao Sur Gov to Army: disband, disarm Bagani forces

From MindaNews (Sep 5): Surigao Sur Gov to Army: disband, disarm Bagani forces

Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel wants the Philippine Army to “disband and disarm” the Bagani Forces, a paramilitary group composed of Lumads (Indigenous peoples) suspected to have been responsible for the killing of three persons Tuesday dawn, including the executive director of an alternative learning center in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.

“We have been having this kind of problems for the past six years and the Bagani militiamen have been the cause of this problem. This has to stop. The only solution here is for the Army to disband and disarm the Bagani forces. The Army helped in creating this militia group then they should find means to stop and put an end to them,” said Pimentel.

The governor made this pronouncement after visiting an evacuation center here where some 2,416 villagers from Barangay Diatagon in Lianga town, Surigao del Sur, sought shelter following Tuesday’s killings.

Displaced villagers from four towns in Surigao del Sur wait in line for their turn to receive their daily ration of water at the sports center turned evacuation area in Tandag City, September 5, 2015. MindaNews photo by Erwin Mascarinas

Displaced villagers from four towns in Surigao del Sur wait in line for their turn to receive their daily ration of water at the sports center turned evacuation area in Tandag City, September 5, 2015. MindaNews photo by Erwin Mascarinas[/caption]

The executive director of an alternative learning center for Indigenous Peoples (Lumads) and two other members were killed allegedly by the paramilitary group, Bagani Forces, at around 4 a.m. Tuesday in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, Karapatan Caraga said.

Killed were Emerito Samarca, 54, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (Alcadev); Dionel Campos, chair of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), a Lumad organization protesting mining operations, land conversions and plantations, and Campos’ cousin, Bello Sinzo.

Karapatan-Caraga narrated that at around 4 a.m. on September 1, “known elements” of the Magahat-Bagani “opened fire at Dionel Campos and Aurelio Sinzo as community members in Km. 16, Han-ayan, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur were roused from bed and forced to gather in the middle of the community.”

At around the same time, Samarca’s body “was found in one of the one of the schoolrooms, tied around the neck and extremities, with a stab wound.”

“We know”
Pimentel made it clear that he knows that the Army has been working with the Bagani forces in the past.

“It would be hard for the Army to deny that they know these people because members of this Bagani force have been seen within their headquarters. We have seen this militia group carry between 20 to 30 high-powered firearms, which costs around 150,000 pesos each. Where did this tribal group get their assault rifles and ammunitions? Why allow this group to just walk around carrying such firearms?” asked the governor.

“We are appearing inutile as we are helpless to do anything. These people are acting like gods,” said Pimentel.

Colonel Isidro Purisima, commander of the Army 402nd Brigade under the 4th Infantry Division said they will support the province on its action against the armed group.

TENT BREAKFAST. Displaced villagers from barangay Diatagon, Lianga town in Surigao del Sur eat their breakfast under the tent at the sports center turned evacuation area in Tandag City, September 4, 2015. MindaNews photo by Erwin Mascarinas

TENT BREAKFAST. Displaced villagers from barangay Diatagon, Lianga town in Surigao del Sur eat their breakfast under the tent at the sports center turned evacuation area in Tandag City, September 4, 2015. MindaNews photo by Erwin Mascarinas[/caption]

“We strongly condemn the action of this armed group and we will support the local government unit and the police in conducting law enforcement operation against armed lawless elements. We call on the Bagani forces to surrender as well as any other armed group in the area which includes the New People’s Army (NPA),” said Purisima.

Community members have accused the group of Datu Calpi Egua to be behind the deaths, attacks and harassments in several villages across five towns.

But Purisima said Datu Calpit is “not the only Bagani here in Caraga. There is an ongoing tribal war between several IP groups against the NPA. It is not the Army doing these actions but those IP’s who have pledged to fight against communist aggression.”

Purisima said they “never neglected our duty. In fact (there were) several instances in the past where we took action against the Bagani forces,” he said, citing the incident against Bagani forces on May 11, 2015 at a mining company in Carrascal town.


Purisima emphasized that there is a process that they follow in the apprehension of such groups.

“Our primary objective is the suppression of insurgency. This is law enforcement incident which falls on the police. In this case we have due process and a case should be filed. Even suspected NPA we can’t directly arrest without warrant of arrest,” he said.

The provincial police office has named and identified three suspects who are allegedly behind the killings.

“We have identified Bobby Tejero, Loloy Tejero and Garito Layno who are going to face charges of multiple murder and arson,” said Sr. Supt. Narciso Verdadero.

As of September 4, 2015, the number of internally displaced persons in the evacuation center at the Surigao del Sur Sports Center in Tandag City had reached 501 families or 2,416 individuals.
Tuesday’s killings triggered the mass evacuations.

In a statement, the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) called on government to ensure the safety of the Lumads through the pull-out of the 36th IB in Lianga and through the “dismantling (of) the AFP organized and supported paramilitary forces,” to give justice to the victims and to “permit the conduct of independent fact-finding missions.”

Capt. Al Anthony Pueblas, civil military operations officer of the 36th IB told MindaNews on Tuesday night that they were surprised their unit was implicated because the area is “not part of our jurisdiction.”

The NCCP called on authorities to “stop the militarization in Mindanao by ending the government anti-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan that has been linked to extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, trumped up charges, tortures, massacres, and displacement of thousands of individuals” and to resume the peace talks between government and the National Democratic Front.

The Save Our Schools Network, in a statement, demanded justice for Samarca, Campos and Sinzo.

“The Aquino government should be held accountable for all these violations. It is responsible for the formation and arming of the paramilitary groups, the paving the way for the entry of  large-scale destructive projects in the ancestral domains, the sowing of disunity among IPs, and the killings that have claimed the lives of many,” it said.

Close to 16,000 soldiers promoted in August

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 5): Close to 16,000 soldiers promoted in August

The Philippine Army (PA) on Saturday said it has promoted a total of 15,642 soldiers to their next higher rank last August.

The promotions are part of the Army's career development and morale and welfare programs, PA spokesperson Col. Benjamin Hao said.

He added the promotion quota in the Army is based on the vacancies determined by the end calendar year 2014, to include the number of retiring personnel and those who were separated or discharged from the service.

“We expect another 11,068 personnel more to be promoted for the remaining part of 2015,” PA assistant chief-of-staff for personnel Col. Ernesto C. Torres Jr., said.

“Based on our program, we expect to promote a total of 26,700 soldiers this year,” he added.

Distributions of ranks for promotion in the Army are the following: 10,211 for corporals; 8,054 sergeants; 5,931 staff sergeants; 1,580 technical sergeants, and; 934 for master sergeants.

The selection process of the enlisted personnel promotion system is primarily based on the individual evaluation records which gauge a soldier’s competency and reputation in the service.

The other mandatory requirements for promotion include: required minimum number of years in one's current rank, passing grade on a competitive promotional examination, completion of a career military occupational specialty course, physical and neurological-psychological examination and physical fitness test.

The increase of pay and allowances complement the rank promotion of the soldiers.

A newly-promoted corporal will receive an additional PHP1,080 in his or her take-home pay, while a master sergeant will receive an additional PHP1,552.

3 rebels surrender in Zamboanga Del Sur

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 5): 3 rebels surrender in Zamboanga Del Sur

Due to dwindling support from the masses, three New People's Army (NPA) fighters surrendered to 53rd Infantry Battalion troopers in Guipos town, Zamboanga Del Sur Saturday morning.

This took place at 7:30 a.m. at 53rd Infantry Battalion headquarters in Camp Subido, Zamboanga Del Sur, said 1st Infantry Division spokesperson Lt. Col. Audie Mongao.

These returnees were identified as Erme Elnas, Anselma Perez Quijano, and Lodevico Jordan.

The rebels also surrendered their weapons which include a KG-45 sub-machine gun and .45 caliber pistol.

Mongao said that the surrender of the three was facilitated by the intelligence squad of the 53rd Infantry Battalion.

Palace welcomes high public awareness on West Philippine Sea issue

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 5): Palace welcomes high public awareness on West Philippine Sea issue
The Palace welcomes the high consciousness of Filipinos on the West Philippine Sea dispute issue, noting it will strengthen the country's position as it pushes for a peaceful resolution based on international law.

"A unified citizenry is needed in terms of asserting our national position on the need to respect our maritime entitlements, ayon doon sa international law, ang UN (United Nations) Convention on the Law of the Sea," Communication Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a radio interview Saturday.

"Kaya para sa atin, ito ay isang positibong development—ang kakitaan natin ng mataas na kamalayan at kamulatan ang ating mga mamamayan."

The government is actively conducting an information dissemination campaign to raise awareness on the issue, he said.

Coloma also said that the Department of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Philippine Information Agency, has been holding regional and provincial information fora.

The DFA is using the three-part documentary produce by the government regarding the West Philippine Sea.

Asked if the Philippine government hopes to see Chinese President Xi Jinping during APEC Leaders' Meeting in November, Coloma said they expect all the leaders from the 21-APEC member economies to attend the meetings in Manila.

The Philippines filed an arbitration case against China in the international Arbitral Tribunal in connection with its claim in the West Philippine Sea.

While China is not participating in the case filed by the Philippines, it has released diplomatic statements claiming to be open to settling the dispute through bilateral negotiations.

DND welcomes Chinese announcement on commitment to peace

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 5): DND welcomes Chinese announcement on commitment to peace

The Department of National Defense (DND) strongly welcomes pronouncements made by the Chinese leadership that they are strongly committed to peace, according to DND spokesperson Dr. Peter Paul Galvez on Saturday.

But he questioned the Chinese government's display of offensive weaponry during the ceremony commemorating the defeat of Japan during the Second World War II.

"We, thus, call on China's government to show its sincerity by, at the least, stopping all ongoing construction and militarization activities and to refrain from restricting freedom of flight and navigation in the West Philippine Sea," Galvez said.

"Several nations have called for the Chinese government to stop such activities that run counter to international law and agreements. The Chinese leadership should go beyond deceitful rhetoric claiming peaceful efforts before all their aggression takes a greater and irreparable toll on the region and beyond," he added.

Galvez reiterated the Philippine position and incessant call for a "rules based and peaceful approach to this matter which is shared not only by our neighbors in the region but by the rest of the international community."