Monday, September 28, 2015

Army's 11IB has new commander

From the Visayan Daily Star (Sep 29): Army's 11IB has new commander

The Army's 11th Infantry Battalion in central Negros has a new commander.

Lt. Col. Eugene Badua took over the 11IB command Friday from Lt. Col. Paulito Idul, in a ceremony presided over by Maj. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, 3rd Infantry Division commander, in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

The 11IB area of operations covers the whole central portion of Negros Occidental and Oriental.

Badua graduated from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Officers Candidate School in 1992.

Maj. Rey Tiongson, 3ID spokesman, yesterday said that Lt. Col. Idul has been designated as the new commander of the 12th Infantry (CADRE) Battalion, which supervises all the CAFGU units in Negros and Panay.

Idul also replaced Lt. Col. Ariel Reyes, who is taking up a career advancement course.

The 11IB is now under the supervision of the 303rd Infantry Brigade.

Probers not yet convinced Abu Sayyaf carried out Samal kidnapping –AFP spokesman

From GMA News (Sep 29): Probers not yet convinced Abu Sayyaf carried out Samal kidnapping –AFP spokesman

Investigators from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police are not yet convinced that the Abu Sayyaf Group kidnapped the three foreigners and a Filipino on Samal Island last week, a military spokesman said Tuesday.
"The group behind [the kidnapping] ay hindi pa tukoy... Sinasabi po nila Abu Sayyaf, madali pong magsabi na sila ang may gawa niyan, pero sa mga ebidensya ng sundalo at pulis ay hindi po nag-indicate na Abu Sayyaf ang gumawa nito kaya hindi pa po namin masabi," AFP spokesperson Col. Restituto Padilla told radio dzBB in an interview.
Padilla said that all of the information that the military and the police investigators received over the weekend and on Monday are still being validated.
The military spokesman added that they have asked Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte to introduce their investigators to his sources so they can confirm the local executive's information that the kidnapped victims have been transferred by their captors to Sulu.
The mayor announced in a press conference in Davao City on Sunday that Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall and Filipina Marithes Flore have been brought by their kidnappers to Sulu.
Duterte also said that the kidnappers are allied with the Abu Sayyaf Group.
Local police investigators on Samal Island had said that the kidnapping style of the armed group that took the four victims is different from the Abu Sayyaf Group's.
"Kay Mayor [Duterte] ang pakiusap namin ay i-linkup tayo sa pinanggalingan ng information para ma-verify natin," Padilla said during the radio interview.
A source from the Sulu provincial police office on Monday said, citing an intelligence report from the Philippine Marines, that the four victims have been spotted in Indanan town in Sulu province.
The report said that the victims were spotted with around 300 armed men and "prominent" members of the bandit group.
It added that Abu Sayyaf leader Yasser Igasan, and sub-leaders Angah Adji, Alhabsy Misaya Mohammad Said (alias Amah Maas), Idang Susukan, Furuji Indama, Julhajan Aksan (alias Halimaw) were among the kidnappers.
Still no contact
Padilla said during the radio dzBB interview that police and military investigators have yet to receive information that the kidnappers have contacted the families of their captives.
"Ipinagtataka namin ay wala pang confirmation kung may contact na sila o nakikipag-negotiate," the military spokesman said, adding that usually, kidnappers would usually make an initial contact with their captives' families right after the abduction.
"May ibang grupo na ginagawa ito, pagkagawa ng isang kidnapping o panghu-hostage ay lumalantad na at inaako na sila ang gumawa. Immediately after ay may contact ito at nagsasabi ng kanilang mga demand," he said.
Padilla said they have been assured of full cooperation by the foreign victims' embassies.
Meanwhile, the military spokesman said that military and police investigators handling the Samal Island kidnapping are being very careful with the release of their initial investigations' results.
He added that the military and the police are also withholding vital operational information.
"Medyo sa public parang tumahimik tayo pero hindi nangangahulungan na dahil wala tayong naririnig na significant development ay walang nangyayari," he said.
"Ang operational commanders ay ayaw nilang magsabi ng kanilang ginagawa dahil primordial concern po ay ang safety ng hostages, ng mga sundalo at pulis na nagsasagawa ng operation. Buhay po ang nakataya dito," he added.

NPA owns up to killing of Valencia Lumad brothers

From InterAksyon (Sep 28): NPA owns up to killing of Valencia Lumad brothers

The New People's Army (NPA) has owned up to the killing of two Lumad brothers early this month in the mountains of Valencia City, Bukidnon.

But Mamerto Bagani, spokesperson of the NPA's Mt. Kitanglad Sub-regional Operational Command, denied the claim of the military that the victims were abducted, tortured and mercilessly killed on September 13 at Purok 15, Sitio Tandakol, Barangay Lilingayon.

Bagani pointed out that the Licanay brothers, Reymund, 21, and Roy, 18, died in "an intentional armed clash" with a group of rebels just passing through the area.

He said the Licanay brothers were members of the so-called "Bolo Battalion" with connections to the military.

"The two died in the encounter. From the NPA team's report, they met these brothers in the forested area above Tandakol-Mintolod, at around 8 o'clock in the morning. After they crossed paths, the Bolo Battalion members opened fire with their short firearms. The NPA team immediately returned fire," Bagani said.

Hours after the reported killing of the Licanay brothers and their bodies were recovered, 4th Infantry Division public affairs chief Captain Joe Patrick Martinez, citing reports from relatives of the victims, announced that the victims were hunting wild animals when they were allegedly abducted and killed by the rebels.

Martinez claimed that the victims were tortured before they were killed, as indicated by the autopsy report that cited broken bones and lacerations. This was corroborated by the victims' father.

Bagani, however, denied this.

"Contrary to the statements to media of Junie Licanay, the father of those two who died, they did not suffer laceration and were not stripped of their clothes," Bagani said.

"It is not surprising if Junie Licanay's version tends to malign the NPA, because it is public knowledge to the locals that he is serving for years now as an agent of the 8th IB (Infantry Battalion), an infamous criminal and accountable for numerous instances of thievery, which for greatly perturbs the community," Bagani added.

According to the military, there have been 360 Lumad killings attributed to the NPA from 1980 to 2015. Of this number, 60 were recorded from 2012 up to the present.

However, according to human rights group Karapatan, there are 282 victims of extrajudicial killings, 73 of them are indigenous peoples. Of the 73, 57 are Lumad of Mindanao, as of August 31, 2015.

The group said the spate of Lumad killings in Mindanao provinces, especially in the Caraga region, has caused the displacement of some 60,000 persons as of June 30, 2015.

"The killings, massacres, evacuation, the army encampments in tribal schools, are part of [President Benigno] Aquino's Oplan Bayanihan. The counter-insurgency program also attempts to destroy people's unity by arming civilians and using them in military combat operations. The human rights violations will continue as long as this counter-insurgency program exists," Karapatan head Cristina Palabay remarked.

Abu henchmen posing as NPA eyed in Samal kidnapping

From the Philippine Star (Sep 29): Abu henchmen posing as NPA eyed in Samal kidnapping

In this December 26, 2006 photo, New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas celebrate the anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines in the hinterlands of Surigao del Sur. The NPA is the armed wing of the CPP. Keith Bacongco

The kidnappers of three foreigners and a Filipina at a resort in Samal Island last week were reportedly local henchmen of the Abu Sayyaf who passed themselves off as communist rebels, sources disclosed yesterday.

The source also maintained that the hostages – Canadians John Ridsdel, 68, Robert Hall, 50, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and Hall’s Filipina girlfriend Maritess Flor – are now in Sulu.

“The kidnappers, believed to be local contacts of the Abu Sayyaf, intentionally used New People’s Army as their cover to mislead pursuing government troops. They even left a note declaring that they are seeking justice for their commander,” the source said.

This deception apparently paid off and gave the kidnappers time to escape with their hostages, traversing the coastal areas of Davao Gulf, mostly along Muslim communities, towards Sarangani province while thousands of military and police troops pursued them in the mountains of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur.

Along the way, the abductors transferred the hostages to their waiting Abu Sayyaf patrons who took them to Sulu.

“The boat used by the bandit group is quite big and can withstand rough sea conditions,” he said, adding that upon reaching Sulu, the bandits tried to sink the boat by punching a hole in the vessel’s hull.

Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) chief Lt. Gen. Aurelio Baladad said that all leads being pursued by the combined military and police elements in Davao region have turned out to be false.

He also admitted that there were indications that the bandits, with their hostages, have slipped through the military and police land and naval blockade.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he received reports that the kidnappers and their hostages are now in Sulu.

Col. Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman, yesterday said that the military’s ongoing rescue operations were a failure.

MNLF: “Beware of Aquino government's conspiracy to fool the MNLF, OIC, Moros and humanity" --MNLF Vice Chairman Olamit

Editorial posted to the MNLF Website (Sep 28): “Beware of Aquino government's conspiracy to fool the MNLF, OIC, Moros and humanity" --MNLF Vice Chairman Olamit

After the Mamasapano invasion that contributed to the rough sailing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in both Houses of Philippine Congress, the brain of the Mamasapano debacle no less than President Benigno S. Aquino III has again embarked on designing another diabolical sinister conspiracy.

Using the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP) and the OPAPP-created-and-financed MNLF “mascot” conspirators, like Muslimen Sema, Randolph Parcasio, Jose Lorena and cohorts, the Aquino government has launched the conspiracy to fool the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Bangsamoro people and the whole of humanity.

Davao City MNLF Chairman and acting Vice-Chair of the MNLF Central Committee Abdulaziz Olamit has pointed out that the Aquino government is now using the September 2, 1996 MNLF-OIC-GRP Jakarta Peace Agreements or ‘Final Peace Agreement (FPA)’ in leaving a “legacy” of broken promise and shattered Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). It is only but tragic that the MILF “hopefuls” have not expected the coming of the deceptive strategy.  

Following the original concept of the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB), the BBL has become a bone of contention that is a prelude to another so-called “failed experiment” by Philippine colonialism under the present Aquino watch. The Cory Aquino government-manufactured Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) was declared by his son, the incumbent chief executive, as a “failed experiment.”

Simply put, the observation of MNLF Vice-Chairman Olamit on the recently concluded presumably MNLF-OIC-GRP Tri-Partite meeting in Makati City, September 7-8, 2015, unraveled the sinister conspiracy of the Aquino government in deceiving the concerned parties to the 1996 peace agreement. The parties included the Misuari-led MNLF, OIC, both the Filipino and Bangsamoro communities and the other global stakeholders to Mindanao peace. Interviewed by 105.9 Balita FM radio on September 10, 2015, MNLF Vice-Chairman Olamit analyzed the mysterious events surrounding the sudden holding of the September 7-8, 2015 tripartite meeting in Makati, Philippines.

It was observed that the September tripartite meet was planned and financed entirely by the Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process that maliciously invited the OIC General Secretariat to continue in pursuing the unification of MNLF and MILF and vaguely to discuss the merging of the MNLF-OIC-GRP Jakarta Peace Agreements with that of the MILF-PGH Bangsamoro Basic Law. The unfolding conspiracy is to deceive the Filipino and Bangsamoro peoples and humanity that the passage into law of BBL infused with the 1996 FPA is a sure guarantee to Mindanao peace.

However, it is unimaginable how this concocted conspiracy by Malacanang and OPAPP spin-masters can achieve stability, peace and order in Mindanao?

MNLF Vice-Chairman Olamit has illustrated the glaring truth that the tri-partite meeting was without the presence of MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari or any of his official representatives. The MNLF per se was represented only by OPAPP-handpicked personalities posing as MNLF leaders, who are beholden to Malacanang’s capricious ill-motive and financial dole-outs.   

As of the present, the MILF “hopefuls” cannot expect anything concrete about the BBL except an emasculated autonomy concept similar to or less than the current farcical ARMM. The bogus ARMM has been transformed only into the “cheating capital of Philippine elections,” according to Philippine media. Also it has been used by the central offices in Manila as a down-load money making machine to siphon hundred million-worth budget for the personal use of unscrupulous corrupt national officials rather than for development project for the welfare of the people. This down-loading scheme malpractice was exposed by former North Cotabato Governor Jose Pinol.

The MNLF Vice-Chairman bewailed the fact that if the Aquino government wanted the September tripartite meeting to be “high level and official,” the OPAPP should have invited MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari or his official representative, particularly the official MNLF Peace Panel Spokesman Reverend Absalom Cerveza, to the Makati meeting. But instead the OPAPP was awkwardly represented only by its undersecretary, Atty. Jose Lorena, OPAPP-paid MNLF henchmen, such as former Vice-Mayor Muslimen Sema and Atty. Randolph Parcasio. In the past, MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari has exposed the triumvirate OPAPP “conspirators” as “traitors” to the sacred cause of the Bangsamoro people’s Jihad Fi-Sabilillah (struggle in the way of Allah).

By designing the latest conspiracy, the Aquino government has only made a fool of OIC Special Envoy Ambassador Sayed Kassem El-Masry into thinking that the tripartite meet was duly sanctioned by MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari being the official signatory to the 1996 Jakarta Final Peace Agreements.    

MNLF Vice-Chair Olamit also decried the fact that after the signing of the 1996 peace agreement and the political attempt of the Ramos government to implement the FPA in letter and spirit, the succeeding Filipino administrators totally ignored the full and correct implementation of the internationally-binding peace agreement. But they instead pursued the genocidal war against the oppressed Bangsamoro people, who have always time and again experienced the betrayal of Mindanao peace by the Philippine colonial government.

Following along the political footsteps of his predecessors, like Presidents Ferdinand E. Marcos, Corazon C. Aquino, Joseph E. Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the incumbent President Benigno S. Aquino III did nothing to implement the 1996 peace agreement. He instead focused on creating another concept autonomy based on CAB and BBL, but at the end of the day maneuvered to undermine its successful passage into law by Philippine Congress by designing the Mamasapano invasion.

The controversial Mamasapano raid on both the MILF and BIFM stronghold in Cotabato had only led to the killing of 44 Filipino PNP SAF invaders, 17 Bangsamoro fighters, 5 Muslim civilians and “4 caucasian-looking (American) soldiers,” according to BIFM source. Worse, the lone target, the Malaysian bomb-making expert alias ‘Marwan,’ who was reported to have been killed by the PNP SAF invaders, was actually shot by one of his aides. This was contrary to the PNP and media report that wanted to portrait the PNP SAF invaders as “heroes” to justify the scandalous invasion project of Malacanang.

On the ailment surrounding BBL, MNLF Vice-Chairman Olamit stressed that the MNLF would remain “passive” as its negative effect has only given the MNLF freedom fighters a moral lesson and sad experience on the Aquino government’s “tricks and deception” by including the MNLF on the issue of the bungling BBL debacle created by OPAPP spin masters and stooges.


Aside from the MNLF Vice-Chairman, the official spokesman of the MNLF Peace Panel Reverend Absalom Cerveza has beforehand expressed pessimism regarding the holding of the September 7-8, 2015 tripartite meeting inside the Philippines.

Through a reliable source, Reverend Cerveza was informed that the September tri-partite meeting was orchestrated and initiated by some OPAPP-paid spin masters and conspirators to reconcile the gains of both the September 2, 1996 Jakarta Peace Agreements and Bangsamoro Basic Law.
The simple strategy was to send a strong message to the public and humanity that the MNLF, MILF and OIC have approved the BBL passage into law as a monumental legacy of the Aquino government to achieve ‘just and lasting’ peace in war-torn Mindanao.
The scheduled August 2015 deadline for the CAB-BBL passage into law by Philippine Congress just fizzled out and the Aquino government has again targeted October 2015 for its final approval and implementation. But in all probability only a totally watered-down CAB-BBL called “Basic Law of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Government” based on the Philippine Senate version promulgated by Senator Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. Thus, it is noted that the total emasculation of CAB-BBL is due to the Mamasapano invasion.
What is really behind the holding of the Makati September 7-8, 2015 tri-partite meeting? Reverend Cerveza had bluntly said that the MNLF was “not too optimistic about the tri-partite meeting” because the BBL being “pushed by the MILF and Aquino government served as the primary obstacle between the MNLF and government.”
He further explained that the Aquino government has committed some areas covered by the September 2, 1996 MNLF-OIC-GRP Jakarta Peace Agreements to the MNLF break-away faction MILF’s BBL.
Thus, he reasoned out,” how can this be resolved?” He outrageously dismissed the possibility of merging the 1996 FPA to the BBL or the new bilateral version of Philippine Congress. He also pointed out that the MNLF will only entertain any government gesture for peace talks at the instance of the OIC, expressing the reality on the ground now that MNLF under Chairman Nur Misuari would not demand resumption of talks with the out-going Aquino government.
He emphasized the fact that the Aquino government has completely shown disrespect to the 1996 peace agreement. He also said that the government has even maneuvered to abrogate the tri-partite review meeting leading to the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement.
The negative attitude shown by the Aquino government has given the opportunity to the MNLF leadership to establish the United Federated States of Bangsamoro Republik (UFSBR) and to declare complete independence and national self-determination from Philippine colonialism on August, 2013.
He emphasized the fact that the Aquino government has completely shown disrespect to the 1996 peace agreement. He also said that the government has even maneuvered to abrogate the tri-partite review meeting leading to the implementation of the 1996 peace agreement.

 The negative attitude shown by the Aquino government has given the opportunity to the MNLF leadership to establish the United Federated States of Bangsamoro Republik (UFSBR) and to declare complete independence and national self-determination from Philippine colonialism on August, 2013.
Reverend Cerveza expressed satisfaction on the diplomatic initiative of the OIC to unify the MNLF and MILF and to reconcile the differences of the mother group and its break-away faction with the formation of the Bangsamoro Coordination Council.
He also shed light over his suspicion on the hidden agenda of the tri-partite meeting stage-managed by OPAPP conspirators. He revealed that he was formally designated by MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari to head the MNLF delegation to the September meeting. But he was barred by OPAPP personnel to attend the meeting although he was the official representative of MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari, who is the “legal principal party to represent the MNLF in any MNLF-OIC-GRP tri-partite meeting being the recognized official signatory to the 1996 peace agreement.”
Thus, on the recent conspiracy of the Aquino government to derail the comprehensive settlement of the Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao, is this not a strong signal again that the betrayal of Mindanao peace has always been the constitutional mandate of Philippine colonialism?
The Luzon-based Filipino colonialist leaders, like Ferdinand E. Marcos, Corazon C. Aquino, Joseph E. Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, had in the past betrayed Mindanao peace by continuing the genocidal war in the occupied Bangsamoro homeland.
It is recalled that the blatant colonization of the Filipino-occupied Mindanao territory was the brainchild of the Philippine Commonwealth President Manuel L. Quezon. The political and economic greed of the megalomaniac Filipino leader had given false justification in land-grabbing the ancestral Bangsamoro homeland of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan (MINSUPALA) by enacting “Legislative Act No. 4197 of February 12, 1935” otherwise known as the scandalous “Quirino-Recto Colonization Act.”   
The land-grabbing law fabricated by the Philippine Commonwealth National Assembly was again given justification on July 4, 1946 with the immoral and illegal incorporation of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan into America-created Philippine Republic. But, ominously, the injustice and shameless land-grabbing scheme perpetrated by the unscrupulous Filipino politicians have resulted today to the continuing genocidal Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao.
Hence, tragically for the concerned stakeholders to Mindanao peace, it is observed that Mindanao war is the only key lethal weapon in perpetuating Philippine colonialism in the Filipino-occupied territory.
Apparently, most of the Luzon-based leading Filipino colonialist land-grabbers have arrogated themselves with the constitutional mandate to conduct ethnic-cleansing, terrorizing and killing the Muslim and Lumad natives as well as the concerned Christian settlers of occupied Mindanao. And the Philippine military colonialist war-mongers and war-dogs are just too trigger-happy to conduct genocide war and extermination against the Indigenous Peoples of Mindanao.
In the final analysis, in all this stark injustice and mass killing happening for decades now in Filipino-colonized Mindanao, how can the United Nations (UN), Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), European Union (EU) and other self-righteous NGOs remain indifferent and insensitive to the wickedness and cruelty of Philippine colonialism? – osm, 

MILF: December 16 is new deadline for BBL passage

Posted to the MILF Website (Sep 28): December 16 is new deadline for BBL passage

The Philippine Star reported on September 24 that the House of Representatives led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., set December 16 as the new calendar for approval of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) after meeting with President Benigno Aquino in Malacañan who pleaded to have the BBL passed before he steps down from office.

The proposed Bangsamoro law is facing opposition due to its allegedly perceived unconstitutional provisions.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, Chairman of the 75-member ad hoc committee on the BBL issued  the statement on September 23 after the House closed plenary debates on the measure to give way to deliberations on the proposed P3.002-trillion national budget for 2016.

“On Nov. 3, we’ll hit the ground running because the budget will be on its way to the Senate, and we can resume deliberations on the BBL and finish it, including the period of amendments until Nov. 30,” he said.

Once plenary deliberations on the proposed budget start, no other measure will be entertained on the floor until it is passed in the chamber, he added.

Rodriguez said the House still has 13 interpellators listed while the Senate has four.
“It may even happen that the Senate will pass it ahead of us,” he said.

Rodriguez said that with the new timetable, BBL might be passed and ratified by Congress on or about Dec. 16 and signed into law by Aquino before the end of the year.

He added that the administration is eyeing the holding of the plebiscite by March after Aquino would have appointed the first members of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).

The BTA members will hold office until 2019 when the election of members of the Bangsamoro parliament will be held.

Meanwhile, on September 26, Malacañan said it would continue to push for the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law to ensure long-term peace and development in Mindanao, Philstar said in its September 27 issue.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that President Aquino was committed to have the bill passed as it would give the people of Mindanao the chance to truly live in peace.

Malacañan earlier said the executive branch was working on the BBL amendments to address the concerns both of Congress and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), the Philstar report also said.

Valte also welcomed the pronouncement of MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal that there would be no bloody war should the BBL fail to pass. Iqbal gave assurance the MILF is committed to peace-building efforts.(Source: Philstar)

MILF: MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim attends 1st Annual Commemoration of September 18th World Alliance of Religions’ Peace Summit in Seoul

Posted to the MILF Website (Sep 28): MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim attends 1st Annual Commemoration of September 18th World Alliance of Religions’ Peace Summit in Seoul

Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) attended the 1st Annual Commemoration of September 18th World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Summit in Seoul, South Korea upon invitation by Chairman Man Hee Lee, Chairman of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL.

Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) attended the 1st Annual Commemoration of September 18th World Alliance of Religions’ Peace (WARP) Summit in Seoul, South Korea upon invitation by Chairman Man Hee Lee, Chairman of Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL).

HWPL is a non-governmental peace organization registered under U.N. Department of Public Information whose mandate is to put an end to wars and restore world peace.

It has two affiliates, the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) with Nam Hee Kim as the Chairwoman, and the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG). IWPG and IPYG serves as the two wings of peace, making it possible for HWPL to soar. They are protecting the women and youth of the world for the co-prosperity of mankind, through advocacy on ending wars and bringing peace.

HWPL is taking the lead in peace-building in response to a world rife with disputes and armed conflicts. 

HWPL in its WARP Summit in September 18-19, had gathered over 300 world-renowned leaders, among them are  former and current head of states, chief justices, religious leaders, university presidents, and heads of various organizations around the world, and thousands of members were in attendance.

On the 2nd day of the conference, Sept 19th, Presentation of the Convention on the Renunciation and Cessation of War and International Armed Conflict was discussed. Participants to the summit signed peace agreements.

Chairman Lee said “The Purpose of HWPL is to bring about the cessation of war and establish peace as an inheritance for future generations. Peace came to Mindanao, a land that had suffered from a 40-year conflict. A monument of peace was erected in the region where the MILF handed over their weapons.”

In his message, Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said, “We, too in the Bangsamoro, Mindanao, in the Southern Philippines share this vision of achieving World Peace. Last March 27, 2014 the MILF signed the historic Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the Government of the Philippines to end the more than four decades of war and conflict in the Bangsamoro Homeland. This peace agreement, our modest contribution to World Peace is a product of eighteen years of hard and persistent negotiation”.

Chairman Al Haj Murad also said that the MILF is adherent to the teachings of Islam, the religion of peace, that promotes and desires peace with justice and dignity for all human beings.

He also mentioned that despite the uncertainties facing the passage of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the MILF leadership demonstrated its commitment and great courage in undertaking the symbolic decommissioning of weapons and combatants.”

After MILF Chairman Ebrahim’s message, HWPL Chairman Lee has only to say, He has nothing more to ask because the MILF Chairman had answered all questions he has in mind.

One may say that the MILF became the featured case of conflict resolution in the WARP Summit because the CAB that it signed with the government is the only peace agreement that is prospering amidst world-wide conflicts.

Wounded soldiers honored

From the Sun Star-Davao (Sep 26): Wounded soldiers honored

WHILE the focus of attention of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is centered on the Samal kidnapping of three foreigners and one Filipina, the AFP chief of staff still managed to give recognition to nine soldiers wounded during the performance of their duty.

AFP chief of staff Hernando Iriberri arrived at the Eastern Mindanao Command headquarters in Davao City Friday morning for a command conference with all high-ranking military officials in the region.

The conference centered on the ongoing military operations to rescue the kidnap victims.

Iriberri proceeded to nearby Camp Panacan Naval Hospital to give medals to the wounded personnel.

Captain Boas Alsiyao and Private First Class Ranny Benito were recognized for their heroic action during an ambush in Sitio Pangyan, Barangay Calapagan in Lupon Davao Oriental on September 24, 2015.

Second Lieutenant Noel Manalang Jr., Sgt. Ruel Lavalle, Pfc. Abdurasan Ibnomusa, Pfc. Ravi Pamalison, and Pfc. Mavin L Dancel were meanwhile wounded during an encounter in Barangay Pagan, Kitaotao, Bukidnon on Sept. 20, 2015.

Private First Class Have Fernandez also received the wounded personnel medal for the encounter incident in Sitio Nasilaban, Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod, Davao Del Norte on Sep. 14, 2015 while Cpl. Renante Paulo claimed an award for his involvement in an encounter in Barangay Golden Valley, Mabini, Compostella Valley Province on Sept. 22, 2015.

IN PHOTOS: Early uniforms of the Army of the First Philippine Republic

From the Philippine Star (Sep 28): IN PHOTOS: Early uniforms of the Army of the First Philippine Republic

Look back on the early uniforms of the Philippine Army, standardized by the director of war, Gen. Antonio Luna and designed by his brother, Juan Luna. Malacañ

The recent biographical film on Gen. Antonio Luna, Jerrold Tarog’s “Heneral Luna,” discussed how the hero standardized the clothing of the members of the Army of the First Philippine Republic during the war, with the approval of then President Emilio Aguinaldo.

As director of war, Luna issued a standardization of Army uniforms designed by his brother, Juan Luna since the uniforms issued by the Army of Aguinaldo’s government were only made from available materials at the time.

Historian Teodoro Agoncillo said the uniform designs of the Army of the Philippine Revolutionary Government and its Department of War varied depending on whom the soldiers receive their commands.

Due to different uniform designs, Antonio decided to issue standardized uniforms to also represent himself as a chain of command for the Army of the First Republic otherwise called “Ejercito Filipino” according to the book "The Price of Freedom" by Jose Alejandrino.

Under The Decree of Nov. 25, 1898 signed by Aguinaldo, Juan’s uniform designs were officially formalized as told in the book “The Laws of the First Philippine Republic.”

Juan’s designed uniforms were worn by the Army of the First Republic into the Philippine-American War from 1899 to 1901 and beyond, during the guerilla war waged by General Miguel Malvar after the capture of Aguinaldo in 1901.

Prior to Juan’s designed uniforms, early uniforms of the Filipino revolutionaries were inspired by Spanish guayabera and guerrera. Some uniforms were stolen from the captive Spanish soldiers.

The Army ranks were shown on the cuffs on sleeves of the uniforms also similar to Spanish troops’ uniforms.

Juan’s uniform design also included ranks, pins, epaulettes and the insignias of the Army to determine their positions.

Here are the early uniforms of the Army of the First Republic revisited, taken from Malacañ







Maranaw clans end deadly clan war

From the Philippine Star (Sep 28): Maranaw clans end deadly clan war

Leaders of Maranaw clans in Balabagan, Lanao del Sur swear over the Qur’an to co-exist anew as one big family based on Islamic fraternalism principles. John Unson

Officials on Sunday settled in Marawi City a deadly clan war involving ethnic Maranaw groups in Balabagan town in the second district of Lanao del Sur.

Leaders of the Mangadang and Masbud families swore over the Qur’an to put an end to their rido (clan war) in the presence of Lanao del Sur Gov. Mamintal Adiong Jr., Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and representatives from the police and the military.

The reconciliation of the rival ethnic Maranaw clans ended a drawn-out conflict that exacted fatalities on both sides and repeatedly caused the dislocation of innocent villagers in areas where they figured in one bloody encounter after another.

The rival families agreed to reconcile on Sunday through the joint intercession of Adiong and Lucman, who is concurrent social welfare secretary of the ARMM regional government.

The two groups, armed with assault rifles and 40 millimeter grenade launchers, had repeatedly clashed several months before in Balabagan, a seaside town southeast of Lanao del Sur, some 90 kilometers from the provincial capital, Marawi City.

Lt. Col. Mike Santos of the Army’s 6th Infantry Battalion, which has jurisdiction over Balabagan and nearby Lanao del Sur towns, also helped Lucman and Adiong convince the two clans to reconcile.

The animosity between the two families was sparked by territorial disputes and other irritants, including their allegiance to rival political quarters.

Lucman said the mayor of Balabagan, Edna Sampiano, and her relatives and provincial board Member Tanjie Macapodi were also instrumental in the resolution of the conflict.

The two groups last fought about three months ago in stretches of the Secretary Narciso Ramos Highway in Balabagan, causing closure of the thoroughfare to traffic for three days, stranding hundreds of commuters and motorists.

Lucman said he is also grateful to Maranaw Islamic preachers in Balabagan for helping reconcile the two clans.

Lucman said the office of the Lanao del Sur provincial governor paid for the obligatory diyya, which means “blood money,” to the families of the fatalities in the conflict.

Abu Sayyaf member tagged in kidnapping heads to jail

From the Philippine Star (Sep 28): Abu Sayyaf member tagged in kidnapping heads to jail

A captured Abu Sayyaf member, tagged in the kidnapping of an American mother and son in Zamboanga City, will be committed to the city jail on Monday, an official said.

Chief Inspector Joel Tuttuh, spokesman of City Police Office, said the suspect Wajir Arijani known with his aliases as Abu Miqtad and Muhajid Wajir remains in the custody of the police while waiting for the commitment order by the court.

Tuttuh said Arijani, a follower of Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf leader Furuji Indama, was arrested last Friday, 4 p.m. by the tracking police forces near the Zamboanga City Medical Center in Barangay Sta. Catalina.

He said the suspect was tagged in the kidnapping of naturalized American Filipina Jerfa Lunnsman and her son Kevin last July 12, 2010.

Tuttuh said the suspect has a warrant of arrest issued by Basilan court Judge Peter Eisma in connection with the abduction of the Lunnsmans.

Arijani claimed during investigation that as an orphan he was introduced by his uncle to the Abu Sayyaf group and became a follower of Hatib Sawadjaan before he joined the group of Furuji Indama after the former died in the encounter.

The police said the captured Abu Sayyaf member also claimed that he went on hiding after he bolted out from the group when he was only given a meager share from a heist they conducted in Basilan.

Vietnam leader: China island work violates international law

From the Philippine Star (Sep 29): Vietnam leader: China island work violates international law

Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang listens to questions during an interview, Monday, Sept. 28, 2015, in New York. Sang told The Associated Press on Monday that China’s island-building in the disputed South China Sea violates international law and endangers maritime security. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Vietnam's president told The Associated Press on yesterday that China's island-building in the disputed South China Sea violates international law and endangers maritime security.

President Truong Tan Sang also urged the US, which has expressed mounting concern over China's assertive behavior, to fully lift a ban on lethal weapons sales to Vietnam.

Sang said that would demonstrate to the world that US-Vietnam relations have been fully normalized, 40 years after the end of the Vietnam War.

Sang was speaking in an interview with The AP as world leaders gathered at the United Nations.

Communist-ruled Vietnam and China have long-standing fraternal ties but tensions have grown over oil exploration in disputed waters, and as China has undertaken massive land reclamation in the Spratly island chain, also claimed by Vietnam.

"The East Sea is indeed a hot spot of the region and the world at this point, and in the last year China has done large-scale reclamation of submerged islands to make them very big islands," Sang said, using the name Hanoi uses for the South China Sea.

"We believe that these acts by China violate international law," he said, citing the UN convention of the law of the sea. He added that it also infringes a declaration of conduct reached in 2002 by members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

He said the concerns of Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations are "obvious and easy to understand because the acts by China seriously affect the maritime safety and security in the East Sea." He underscored the importance of a peaceful environment to realize new goals for sustainable development just agreed at the UN.

In Washington last week, China's President Xi Jinping said the Chinese have "the right to uphold our own sovereignty" in the South China Sea, where Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Brunei and Malaysia also have competing claims to tiny islands and reefs. China has reclaimed about 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares)of land in the past year-and-a-half by dredging sand from the ocean bed, and is building airstrips and other facilities that the US is concerned could have military uses.

While Sang talked tough on China, he had warm words for the United States, and looked for further steps to cement stronger ties.

"The moment the United States fully lifts the ban on lethal weapons sales to Vietnam will send a signal to the whole world that the Vietnam-US relations have been fully normalized" and there's no mistrust between the two nations, Sang said.

A visit by President Barack Obama to Vietnam — possibly this fall, when the US leader is due to visit the region — would also consolidate a comprehensive partnership formalized between the former enemies when Sang visited Washington in 2013, he said.

Last October, the US announced it would allow sales, on a case-by-case basis, of lethal equipment to help the maritime security of Vietnam — easing a ban in place since communists took power at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. But the Obama administration has said that Vietnam needs to improve human rights conditions for the relationship to reach its fullest potential. US lawmakers also feel that Hanoi should clean up its human rights act before getting privileges in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal currently under negotiation. Vietnam is one of 12 nations in the agreement which appears close to completion.

Sang expressed willingness to keep discussing human rights with the US He said that a chapter on human rights is now included in Vietnam's constitution, and that implementing legislation would be enacted in the "next few years" so those rights are fully in place "on the ground."

Human rights groups remain critical of Vietnam's record. While conditions have improved sharply on the immediate post-war era of re-education camps, its record on freedom of expression is poor and the government remains intolerant of dissent.

According to the US State Department, at the end of 2014, Vietnam was holding about 125 political prisoners.

‘Bangsamoro law dead’

From the Philippine Star (Sep 29): ‘Bangsamoro law dead’

Rep. Rufus Rodriguez filed the Basic Law on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region that has been stripped of 48 unconstitutional provisions as a substitute to the controversial Bangsamoro Basic Law even as Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. claimed that the BBL was as good as dead.

Rodriguez, the city’s representative to the House of Representatives and chairman of the ad hoc committee on the BBL, is optimistic that lawmakers would approve his substitute bill when Congress resumes session on Nov. 3.

He said his new bill is scheduled for House deliberation from Nov. 3 to Dec. 16.

Rodriguez said 48 unconstitutional provisions in the BBL have been removed from his substitute bill.

“Let us just hope that we will be able to get the needed quorum during the Nov. 3 to Dec. 16 deliberations, otherwise the BBL is dead,” said Rodriguez.

“We are running out of time as the campaign period for the 2016 elections starts in January,” he added.

Marcos said the BBL is dead and has no chance to be passed in the Senate and the House.

“We really have a hard time passing it in this Congress because we have a very difficult task and no time to finish it,” he said during his visit to San Fernando, La Union, over the weekend.

Marcos said the lawmakers have little time for the BBL because Congress will adjourn on Oct. 9 and will tackle the 2016 budget when the two chambers resume session after the holidays for the dead.

“By November, if the budget is there, all other hearings will be cancelled so we can finish it by December. And then by January to February, we expect lack of quorum because it’s already campaign period,” he said.

He said both the House and the Senate are still in the period of interpellations on the provisions of the BBL and they are not yet in the period of amendments.

Marcos said that the Senate committee on local government that he chairs was able to craft a substitute bill that answered deficiencies of the original BBL.

“I filed this (substitute bill) a month ago but the problem is we are already in the deadline,” he said.  

MILF laments delay in BBL passage

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), for its part, lamented that the passage of the BBL is hampered by the lack of quorum in the House and the diluted version of the measure in the Senate.

In an editorial posted on its website, the MILF said President Aquino’s commitment is the only thing that “keeps the ember of hope still alive” for the BBL.

“President Aquino promised recently to push the BBL in all directions. But the lack of quorum in the House has continued to haunt those who appear to be pushing for it,” the editorial read.

“So far no one in government has ever said the BBL is already dead on track. But if one compares this commitment with what is happening in both Houses, especially in the Lower House, the least that can be said is that the BBL is passing through the proverbial eye of the needle,” it added.

The MILF also believes that certain “spoilers” have stalled the BBL, which seeks to form a new Bangsamoro region with enhanced political and economic powers.

“They (spoilers) know that their number one ally is the conscripting time left for the passage of the bill,” the group said.

The MILF said while the measure is moving in the Senate, the substitute bill introduced by Marcos had severely revised the original proposal.

“The main obstacle is the kind of the substitute bill introduced by Senator Marcos. The deliberation could have been faster if he had not only crafted his version of the BBL from out of the blue,” the group said.

“He set aside almost completely the original BBL, which was crafted on the basis of the letter and spirit of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB),” it added.

The MILF said Marcos’ substitute bill is “way far below the present Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM),” the region that the President once described as a “failed experiment.”

According to the MILF, some deletions and additions in the substitute bill are clearly unconstitutional, like the removal of “inland waters” conferred to the ARMM and the mention of “sultanates rights” which the group said is against the constitutional principle that the state will not recognize the title of nobility or royalty.

The MILF’s rival faction Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) is not happy with the Rodriguez substitute bill as it is now pushing for the so-called Bangsamoro constitutional convention.

Newly installed MNLF vice chairman Punduma Sani said both substitute versions of the proposed BBL being pushed by Rodriguez and Marcos are not acceptable.

Sani insisted that a Bangsamoro constitutional convention be held and that delegates must come from all sectors of society in the Bangsamoro homeland.

Accepting the BBL proposal of Rodriguez is definitely out of the question, while the alternative bill being offered by Marcos has its own set of flaws, according to Sani.

Sani also accused Marcos of saving his own skin by presenting an alternative BBL proposal to forward his own political propaganda.

“Marcos failed to grasp the real import and goal of enacting a law in the south and the Bangsamoro. Peace can be achieved only if economic contentment is achieved,” Sani said.

Govt nixes UN lumad probe

From The Standard (Sep 29): Govt nixes UN lumad probe

THE government has turned down the request of the UN special rapporteurs to visit the country to look into reports of killings and human rights abuses committed against tribal communities or lumad in Mindanao.

“We could not accommodate the request of the UNSR this year,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said Monday.

The human rights group Karapatan had asked the UN special rapporteurs to investigate the killing of lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Juvello Sinzo and lumad teacher Emerito Samarca, but the UN envoys are not allowed to conduct an investigation without an invitation from the government.

Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay appealed to the Aquino administration to allow the UN envoys to visit Mindanao so that they could see the real situation of the lumad there, but the administration said it would undertake its own “internal processes” before any international bodies can get involved.

“It is best to leave the investigation to relevant authorities in the Philippines,” Jose said in an earlier text message.

But Karapatan on Monday said a probe announced by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima would be “completely pointless” because she was running for the Senate in 2016.

“She is leaving the Justice Department next month. The investigation will be useless,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairman of Karapatan and the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto.

De Lima, who is expected to resign in a few weeks, earlier vowed to conduct a thorough and truthful investigation into the abuses against the lumad communities in Mindanao, taking into account the United Nations’ interest in the cases.

“Somebody will be replacing her. Can we expect continuity? You know what kind of government we have. You have to shake them up before they would move,” Enriquez said.

“Under a new leadership, we have to double our efforts. De Lima will be leaving her post with  unfinished business since two weeks is not enough to  dig deeper into the atrocities… and human rights violations committed on lumad and [their] advocates,” she added.

Enriquez said that on Sept. 17, De Lima was supposed to meet with relatives of the slain lumad leader, Campos, but failed to keep the meeting because she had to go to the Palace to meet President Benigno Aquino III.

“Who are we to compete with the schedule of  the President?” Enriquez asked.

On Sept. 22, De Lima met with Enriquez and Renato Reyes, Bayan Muna secretary general, at her office in Manila, and vowed to look into the reports of killings and abuses in lumad communities in Mindanao.

On Monday, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate challenged De Lima to drop charges against him and other human rights defenders that he said were trumped up, and focus instead on a speedy resolution of the cases against paramilitary groups that were responsible for the killings.

“The trumped-up charges filed against us are harassment charges,” Zarate said. He said he and other members of human rights groups were merely helping the lumad and they were the ones being bullied.

“Should the Justice Department find there is no basis at all to back these charges, then De Lima should dismiss these cases outright,” he said.

Also on Monday, a spokesman for the Moro National Liberation Front said the forced ejection of indigenous people from their ancestral land and relocating them was a clear violation of an existing law granting them ownership of their domain.

MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said the plan by the government to relocate the lumad and other tribes in Surigao del Sur constitutes clear violation of Republic Act No. 8371, “An Act to Recognize, Protect and Promote the Rights Of Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples.”

 “It is the government that is violating its own laws after having established a legal framework for the indigenous people’s as contained in the law,” Cerveza said.

The government suggested that lumad be relocated outside of their communities in light of the atrocities prevailing in their communities blamed on communist rebels and the militarization of their communities that has led to the killing of dozens of indigenous people since Sept. 1.

The Commission on Human Rights, which has launched its own investigation, came under fire from Manobo leaders after it refused to allow a federation of lumad participate in the inquiry.

Rather than looking into the human rights violations against them, the CHR focused instead on the conditions inside the Haran Mission House of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, and asking the people sheltering there if they were willing to be transferred to another sanctuary.

The indigenous people said they preferred staying in the church compound because they felt safe there.

The military has denied involvement in any atrocities against the lumad and blamed the communist New People’s Army for the violence.

The 10th Infantry Division on Monday said it supported the Justice Department investigation on atrocities committed against the lumad tribesmen in Davao del Norte and Bukidnon.

“We believe that, in light of the various views surrounding this issue, a thorough investigation conducted by a competent government institution is a step forward to find out the truth. More importantly, the lumads, who have been the victims of this controversy deserves the justice that our constitution has guaranteed them,” 10th Infantry Division public affairs office chief 1st Lt. Alexandre Cabales said.

A spokesman for the NPA on Monday said two lumad brothers who were killed early this month in the mountains of Valencia City in Bukidnon, died in a firefight with the communist rebels.

Mamerto Bagani, spokesperson of the NPA’s Mt. Kitanglad sub-regional operational command, denied the claim by military officials that the victims were abducted, tortured then killed on Sept. 13.

MNLF offers help in rescue

From The Standard (Sep 29): MNLF offers help in rescue

THE Moro National Liberation Front said it is willing to help rescue the three foreigners and Filipina who were kidnapped by still unidentified men in Samal Island last week, provided the government officially asks for its assistance.

MNLF spokesman Absalom Cerveza said the group can help find the victims and their abductors if it is true that they are now in Sulu, the group’s primary stronghold.

“[But] we will not move to recover the victims unless authorities ask,” Cerveza said, noting that any action on their part may be misinterpreted by the government with whom they signed a peace agreement in 1996.

At least eleven armed men abducted Canadians John Ridsel and Robert Hall, Norwegian resort manager Kjartan Sekkingstad and a Filipina only known as Marites from the Ocean View Resort Hotel in Samal Island at 11:30 p.m. Monday and taken to a still unknown destination.

The military launched search-and-rescue operation, but has so far failed to pinpoint the location of the armed group and their captives.

Cerveza said they do not want to intervene in the military operations “if there’s no request from the military,” adding that the important matter is to really determine the location of the kidnap victims.

MNLF commander Rolando Ulamet, based in Davao province, had earlier expressed willingness to find the victims and is now in Jolo trying to find out if the kidnappers and their victims really arrived in Parang, Sulu last Friday as reported.

Former government negotiator Jesus Dureza has also volunteered to help find vital information, but Cerveza asked Dureza to first identify who perpetrated the kidnapping because everyone is still facing blank wall.

“We are hearing several information that the victims are already in Sulu, but we considered it raw data,” Cerveza said.

The MNLF has many members in Davao City which they said is one of their controlled areas aside from Sulu and several locations in Maguindanao.

Govt troops defuse yet another IED in Bukidnon

From the Philippine Information Agency (Sep 26): Govt troops defuse yet another IED in Bukidnon

KITAOTAO, Bukidnon -- Troops of the 8th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army defused and recovered an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) around 8:00 a.m. on September 25, 2015, along a foot trail in the hinter barangay of White Kulaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon.

The incident transpired when an anxious local resident reported to the military who are deployed in the area that an IED was planted by suspected NPA rebels along the foot trail going to Sitio Division of said barangay.

The troops were prompt in responding to the report and defused the said IED.

Moreover, the troops also recovered a 500 meters detonating wire, 5 blasting caps and one (1) detonator switch from the area where the IED was planted.

It can be recalled that on August 26, 2015, a law enforcement operation was conducted in the said area which resulted to the recovery of high powered firearms, explosives, IED paraphernalia, ammunition, blasting caps, detonating cords, detonator switches and numerous subversive documents belonging to the communists New People's Army (NPA) and the discovery of an NPA IED factory and training facility.

The incident also led to the arrest of 13 local residents who were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives and rebellion cases. These individuals have been reported to be in connivance with the NPA rebels.

The Regional Trial Court of Malaybalay City dismissed the case, however, due to "lack of probable cause." This has led to the release of the 13 detainees on September 22, 2015, around 6:00 p.m., from the custody of the Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in Malaybalay City.
Ltc Lennon G Babilonia INF (GSC) PA, commanding oof the 8th Infantry Battalion, has commended the vigilance of the local residents of Brgy. White Kulaman in Kitaotao, Bukidnon, while he challenged the leaders of the NPA in the area to spare the lives of civilians from being subjected to the threats of IEDs.

"We would like to commend the cooperation and the vigilance of the people of White Kulaman. Yesterday was another fruitful day for our united efforts in trying to transform the barangay back to a peaceful community from being an NPA war zone. Let the blindness of the leaders of the NPA be cured by these recent turn of events where their minions made clear violations of the CARHRIHL and the IHL by emplacing dangerous explosives within the community and basically turning the barangay into a military base. Obviously, it is these rebels who have militarized these communities - an issue that progressive groups supporting the NPA have been accusing the military with," said Babilonia.

Samal kidnap victims reportedly seen with Abu Sayyaf in Sulu

From GMA News (Sep 28): Samal kidnap victims reportedly seen with Abu Sayyaf in Sulu

The four kidnap victims taken from a Samal Island resort on Sept. 21 were seen with suspected Abu Sayyaf Group members near Indanan, Sulu on Monday morning, a source in the the provincial police has said.
Citing intelligence information from Philippine Marines in the area, the information from the Sulu PNP said the four were spotted with around 300 armed men and "prominent" members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in the area of Barangay Sawaki.
Police said Abu Sayyaf leader Yasser Igasan, and sub-leaders Angah Adji, Alhabsy Misaya Mohammad Said (alias Amah Maas), Idang Susukan, Furuji Indama, Julhajan Aksan (alias Halimaw) were among the kidnappers.
Also seen with the group was suspected Jemaah Islamiya operative Abu Anas.
The kidnap victims were reportedly brought to Parang town in Sulu on Sunday afternoon on a "Fuzo watercraft" and were fetched by around 50 Abu Sayyaf members led by sub-leaders Halimaw and Alhabsy Misaya.
Police said groups of Abu Sayyaf members were then sent to different barangays in Indanan and along the shore to watch for government forces.
The four victims — a Norwegian, two Canadians, and a Filipina — were seized by at least 20 armed men wearing balaclavas and black shirts from the Ocean View Resort in Barangay Camudmud, Babak district on Samal Island in Davao del Norte on the night of Sept. 21.

Kidnap plans

Information that the Abu Sayyaf Group had been planning to kidnap foreigners and tourists in some of the resorts in Samal Island had circulated within the intelligence community as early as June, a security expert told GMA News last week.

Prof. Rommel Banlaoi, chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, said the abduction of three foreigners and their Filipino woman companion could have been prevented with the information.

"Kung nakarating sa akin, makakarating 'yan sa intelligence units natin kaya pwede siyang ma-prevent dahil umiikot na sa mga piling tao yung information," Banlaoi told GMA News.

"Anong nangyari sa pagma-manage natin ng intelligence information? Kung yung intelligence information ay nakarating sa akin, ina-anticipate ko na nakarating 'yun dapat sa otoridad at nagkaroon na ng tamang measures para ma-prevent yung mga plano nila," he added.

Senior Superintendent Robert Fajardo of the PNP Anti-Kidnapping Group told GMA News that the unit  received information on the ASG's plan to kidnap individuals in Samal Island and intensified security in the area.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines confirmed receiving the same information.

"We have that information but hangga't hindi natin nako-confirm, it just only raw information," said Col. Noel Detoyato, the chief of the AFP Public Information Office.

Abandoned seacraft

Meanwhile, policemen on Friday recovered an abandoned seacraft in Sitio Salam Bridge, Silangkan, Parang, Sulu. The 48-foot speedboat, outfitted with two 80-horsepower engines, was spotted by members of the Barangay Peacekeepoing Force at a seaweed farm.

Authorities are still investigating whether the speedboat was used in the kidnapping in Samal Island.
Still no proof of life

A week after the abduction, authorities still waiting for proof of life. The authorities have yet to receive any ransom demand either.
No group has come forward to claim responsibility for the kidnapping incident, GMA News reported on Monday.

"Hindi tayo makapagbigay ng exact or logical presumption or assumption or impression about this," said Superintendent Antonio Rivera, the chief of the PNP public information office in Davao.

"We're still developing the intelligence.... Hindi pa tapos yung investigation so hindi pa tamang mag-bigay ng conclusion," PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez said.

Aside from the boat recovered in Parang on Friday, information from Task Force Sulu showed that another seacraft was found on Sunday in Omat town.

It also has two engines and was found abandone in Barangay Niangkaan. The authorities are still verifying whether the boat has anything to do with the Samal Island abductions.

Why PNP is facing difficulty hiring new people

From ABS-CBN (Sep 8): Why PNP is facing difficulty hiring new people

Police officers march in formation. Jonathan Cellona for

With very few applicants, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is having a hard time recruiting new people to join the service even as it aims to increase police visibility.

PNP Chief Ricardo Marquez told the Senate finance committee on Monday the police force needs at least 10,000 new personnel this year.

However, it was only able to recruit 4,600 so far.

Marquez said the country's improving economy and increasing opportunities in other sectors contributed to the PNP’s recruitment problem.

''Marami nang employment opportunities today … Marami nang puwedeng pasukan ang ating mga college graduate (There are many employment opportunities today. Our college graduates can now be employed in many fields),'' he told reporters after the PNP’s budget hearing.

Marquez wants the PNP's entry requirements revised so that even those who do not have a college degree can apply to be part of the police force.

According to the PNP website, the general qualifications for aspiring police officers:

1. A citizen of the Philippines;

2. A person of good moral character;

3. Must have passed the psychiatric/psychological, drug and physical tests.

4. Must possess a formal baccalaureate degree from a recognized learning institution;

5. Must possess any of the following eligibilities;

 PNP Entrance (NAPOLCOM)
RA No. 1080
PD No. 907
(For Lateral Entrants), RA No. 1080 (Board and Bar Examinations)

6. Must not have been dishonorably discharged from the military employment or dismissed for cause from any civilian position in the government;

7. Must not have been convicted by final judgment of an offense or crime involving moral turpitude;

8. Must be at least one meter and sixty-two centimeters (1.62m) in height for male and one meter and fifty-seven centimeters (1.57m);

9. Must weigh not more or less than five kilograms (5 kgs) from the standard weight corresponding to one’s height, age, and sex;

10. Must not be less than twenty-one (21) nor more than thirty (30) years of age

Marquez said that at present, a policeman serves 683 people when the ideal ratio is one police for 500 people.

Police officers prepare for protesters. Jonathan Cellona for


Under its proposed 2016 budget, the PNP's budget for personnel services - which includes the salaries and benefits of its employees - increased from P60 billion to P75 billion.

At the budget hearing, finance committee chair Senator Loren Legarda called on the PNP not only to increase police visibility, but also to make sure all cities particularly in Metro Manila are well-lit and have closed-circuit television cameras. She said the PNP can use collections from the motor vehicle user’s charge to fund this.

Marquez noted that Mandaluyong and Pasig City, Ermita in Manila, and Masambo and Cubao in Quezon City have the highest number of robbery and theft incidents in the metro.

However, he said ''Oplan Lambat Sibat'', the PNP's statistics-driven campaign against crime, has helped lower the crime rate.

''This model has been running in Metro Manila for the last 15 months and we have seen a considerable reduction in index crime,'' said Marquez, adding that the program will soon be implemented in other parts of the country.

Still, Legarda cited perceptions living in the capital is unsafe.

''I would like to feel safer in Metro Manila. While I will not dispute your findings when you say that there's a reduction, the general sentiment or feeling is not that,'' Legarda said. ''You're probably correct but we must also have that assurance that it's actually happening.''

No Senate assurance of BBL approval before recess

From ABS-CBN (Sep 28): No Senate assurance of BBL approval before recess

With only six session days left, Senate President Franklin Drilon has indicated that there is no assurance the proposed law creating the Bangsamoro autonomous region would be passed before Congress goes on a break.

The bill is currently in the period of interpellation and debate in the Senate, where it is among the priorities. The last Senate session day is on October 7.

“Nobody can assure anything,” Drilon told reporters when asked about the bill’s chances of getting approved before the congressional recess.

“You can watch me every day. I try my best. But I can only do so much.”

Drilon said the bill is number one in the Senate’s daily agenda, but that there’s no rule in the chamber that allows for cloture or closing debates for an immediate vote on a measure.

Eight senators have interpellated the bill’s sponsor, Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

One more senator, Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile, is scheduled for interpellation, according to the Office of the Majority Leader.

Once interpellations finish, the bill will be subject to the period of amendments before being passed on second and then third reading.

It takes three days after a bill’s approval on second reading before it can be passed on final reading, unless the President certifies it as urgent.

A product of peace negotiations between government and the rebel group Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the bill seeks to establish the Bangsamoro region to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The Aquino administration wanted the measure, originally called the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), passed early this year to allow for a transition before the 2016 elections.

However, a bloody clash with rebels in January 25 that left 44 elite cops dead prompted several lawmakers to withdraw their support for the bill and stalled its progress.

AFP recovers another abandoned boat in Sulu

From ABS-CBN (Sep 28): AFP recovers another abandoned boat in Sulu

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Sulu Police recovered another abandoned water vessel in Sitio Laud-Laud, Barangay Niangkaan, Omar town in Sulu on Sunday afternoon.

The military recovered a motorboat in a coastal village in Parang town last Friday, as authorities continue to search for three foreigners and a Filipina abducted by armed men on Samal Island last week.

The hostages - Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, Canadians John Ridsdel and Robert Hall, and Hall's Filipina girlfriend Marites Flor - were snatched by a group of armed men from the Ocean View Resort owned by Sekkingstad.

Brigadier General Alan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Force Sulu, said the abandoned boat had no signs that would link it to the abduction.

Arrojado said they are also finding it hard to gather information from the residents in the coastal village as to how the water vessel reached the place and who left it with a hole in its hull.

The first recovered motorboat in Parang town also bore a hole in its hull.

Arrojado said they need more evidence and witnesses to prove that the two water vessels were used by the abductors in the Samal Island incident.

He said they have been intensifying their intelligence information using their assets from the ground to verify all sources of information on the whereabouts of the captives.