Saturday, October 31, 2015

NDFP calls for support vs militarization in Zinundungan

From the pro-CPP Northern Dispatch (Oct 25): NDFP calls for support vs militarization in Zinundungan

BAGUIO CITY — In a statement provided to the media, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) West Cagayan appeals to the leaders and members of the Churches, the academe, progressive lawyers and politicians, workers of the government and the private sector, human rights defenders and advocates to support the Aggays, Malawegs, Kalingas and Ilocanos who are currently battered by intensified militarization.

“Simula buwan ng Marso hanggang sa kasalukuyan, sumailalim na ang Zinundungan sa tatlong magkakasunod na lundo ng operasyong militar sa pangunguna ng 5th Infantry division ng Philippine Army. Ang bawat lundo ng operasyon ay umaabot sa 300 hanggang 500 tropa ng pinagsamang 17th Infantry Battalion, 86th IB, 52nd Division Reconnaisance Company, Regional Public Safety Battalion, Special Action Force at CAFGU. Mula simula hanggang sa kasalukuyan, malinaw ang sistematikong plano ng 5th ID na pabagsakin at durugin ang malakas at mahigpit na pagkakaisa ng mamamayan sa Zinindungan,” (Three successive military operations led by the 5th IDPA marred Zinundungan from the start of March. In each operation, there are around 300 to 500 troops from the combined 17th IB, 86th IB, 52nd RC, RPSB, SAF and CAFGU. Since they were launched until at present, the plan of the 5h ID is clear and that is to neutralize and destroy the strong unity of the people in Zinundungan) the statement read.

According to the statement, the first wave of operations from March 27 to May 18, the 5th ID spread rumors that the two captured military intelligence officers and a member of the CAFGU are civilians and were abducted, tortured and killed by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Zinundungan. NDFP spokesperson Celia Corpuz stated that three Peace and Development Teams (PDTs) were positioned at barrio centers of Mazi, San Juan and Bural to monitor the movements of the residents.

The NDFP spokesperson also mentioned that on the second wave and third wave from July 1 to September, the soldiers utilized rapist-killer Buog Bisuten as a guide in their operations. “Siya ang ginagamit na guide at nagtuturo sa lahat ng mga aktibong lider-magsasaka na nagreresulta sa serye ng pagkubkob sa mga tahanan ng mga Aggay at Malaweg, pagdukot, pagtortyur at pagpapakulong at pagsasampa ng mga gawa-gawang kaso laban sa kanila,” (They used him as a guide and he also pinpointed the active farmer-leaders that resulted to a series of raids on the houses of Aggays and Malawegs, abduction, torture, detentions and slapping of trumped-up charges against them) she added.

The NDFP stated that in the past decade, the list of killings, arrests, enforced disappearances and other human rights abuses against the people of Zinundungan is getting longer every year. The organization stressed that the victims did not have a taste of any justice until now. It also said that this only shows how the present government and the military disregard and disrespect the civilians.

The NDFP West Cagayan Valley stated that under the Comprehensive Agreement for the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIL), Major General Lysander Suerte of the 5th ID, Col. Allan Arrojado of the 502nd IB, and Lt. Col. Jose Real of the 17th IB be held accountable for the human rights violations done during the military operations under the principle of command responsibility. The underground movement also called for the immediate release of the farmers and leaders who are illegally detained, drop the trumped-up charges against the 76 civilians and farmer-leaders of Zinundungan Valley, the arrest of and filing of charges by the Philippine National Police (PNP) against the criminal Bisuten. The NDFP also stated that the 5th ID be held liable for the killing of farmer leader Nelson Asucena who was slain in 2006 and Ronald Beran who was slain in 2014.

Agusan del Sur distributes financial aid to 28 former communist insurgents

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 31): Agusan del Sur distributes financial aid to 28 former communist insurgents

Patin-Ay, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur – In its quest for continuing peace and the proper rehabilitation of rebel returnees, the provincial government of Agusan del Sur recently distributed financial support for the immediate needs and livelihood assistance packages to 28 former members of New People’s Army (NPA), reported Agusan del Sur Provincial Information Office chief Armando R. Gomez yesterday.

Gomez said each checks amounting to P65, 000 each, which included P50, 000 for livelihood assistance and P15, 000.00 as “immediate assistance,” were given to the rebel returnees, who voluntarily surrendered to the Army’s 26th Infantry Battalion recently.

Agusan del Sur Gov. Adolph Edward G. Plaza and provincial director Arleen R. Sanchez of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) handed over the check to the returnees, Gomez said.

Most of these returnees are residents in far-flung Loreto town and Veruela, both of Agusan del Sur province.

“The provincial government, spearheaded by Gov. Plaza, is throwing its full support to the rebel returnees to make them productive and be a part in our continuing peace and economic development program in the province,” said Gomez, in an exclusive interview with Manila Bulletin.

Last March 30, the provincial government of Agusan del Sur and DILG also handed over P65,000 each to 94 other former rebels as financial assistance while, on May 29, 20 former rebels received P15,000 financial support each during a “Peace Caravan” in Loreto town.

The implementation of the financial support to former rebels was in line with the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP), based on the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2014-01 dated May 15, 2014 wherein DILG and the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) signed to institutionalize its implementation for the former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

CLIP seeks to contribute towards achieving the goal of permanent and peaceful closure of all armed conflicts with non-state armed groups and aims to facilitate the mainstreaming of former rebels as productive citizens and to enhance capacities of local government units and national government agencies in the implementation and sustainability of the project, added Mr. Gomez.

MILF: CSOs Staged Rally in Defense of FAB and CAB

Posted to the MILF Website (Oct 31): CSOs Staged Rally in Defense of FAB and CAB

CSOs Staged Rally in Defense of FAB and CAB

Manila, PhilippinesThe United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) along with other peace advocate groups and civil society organizations staged a rally outside the Supreme Court last October 27, 2015, here in Manila.

Kamim Macmod, Luzon Regional Cluster Coordinator, disclosed that the said activity is in support to the lawyers led by Atty. Michael Mastura who filed a motion before the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday to defend the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which were challenged before the High Court. 

“UNYPAD is among other groups that sent its members from different chapters in National Capital Region to join the rally to show its unwavering support to the peace process in general and the initiative of these lawyers to defend the FAB and CAB in particular,” he said.

“Again, we as peace advocates have joined with groups that have been appealing to lawmakers to preserve the FAB and CAB as revoking them will destroy the whole peace process,” said Joharto Ali, Chief of the Committee on Campaign and Advocacy of UNYPAD NCR Chapter.

He appealed to good Justices of the SC not to junk the CAB as CAB, he said, is the life of the peace process. 

“Earlier, the Philippine Constitution Association (PHILCONSA) asked the Supreme Court to nullify the FAB and CAB, and this initiative pushed the believers of peace to initiate a counter-move in order to save the peace process,” Ali pointed out.

Ali said that the rallyists from different groups repeatedly chanted “Peace in Mindanao, Now na! Now na, Peace in Mindanao.”

MILF: CSOs Facilitates Peace Dialogue with Security Sector

Posted to the MILF Website (Oct 31): CSOs Facilitates Peace Dialogue with Security Sector

CSOs Facilitates Peace Dialogue with Security Sector

Camp Siongco, DOS, Maguindanao – A Peace Dialogue with Security Sector was conducted on October 29, 2015 at 6ID Headquarters (Kampilan), Camp Siongco, Awang, Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao, which was participated by some 90 participants composed of officials and members of the Maguindanao Police Provincial Office (PPO), Philippine National Police and 6th Infantry Division, Philippine Army.

Ms. Jehan A. Usop, Project Officer of Moro Women Development and Cultural Center, Inc. (MWDECC), said during an interview that this dialogue is aimed at raising the awareness of the participants on the progress of the peace process particularly on the Normalization Component and gathering their commitment to continuously support all peace-related undertakings of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

She disclosed that Usec. Zenonida F. Brosas, Co-Chairman of Joint Normalization Committee (JNC) of the Government of the Philippines (GPH), and Mohammad Nasif, Co-Chairman of JNC of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), were the main resource persons of the said activity. 

“Their inputs and discussions focused on the Normalization Component of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the GPH and the MILF,” Jehan said.

“The leadership of the Maguindanao PPO, PNP and the 6th Infantry Division, Philippine Army expressed their full support to the peace process and all peace-related undertakings of the GPH and MILF,” she added.

Major General Edmundo R. Pangilinan, 6ID Commander, said that for 17 months of commanding the division, he can totally say that he is an advocate for peace manifested by his actions and decisions made.

“As the Kampilan Division Commander, I would like to once again declare that 6ID will always be willing to work for peace. We will live up to our role as the defenders and the protectors of the people against any threat that will attempt to trample our democracy in this side of the country,” Pangilinan stressed.

“We recognized that it is not only through force that peace can be achieved but more so, it can be attained through understanding the complexities that caused war in the first place. Your soldiers intend to be part of the solution and not the cause of the conflict; that, I am very certain of,” he added.

Baina Samayatin, Executive Director of the MWDECC, said that the dialogue was organized and facilitated by four local CSOs spearheaded by Moro Women Development and Cultural Center (MWDECC) together with Mindanao Action for Peace and Development Initiatives, Inc. (MAPAD), Bangsamoro Center for Justpeace in the Philippines, Inc. (BCJP) and Kadtabanga Foundation for Peace and Development Advocates, Inc. (KFPDAI).

is one of the series of activities we are currently implementing under the “Building Autonomous and Stable Institutions and Communities for Bangsamoro Advancement through National-level and Grassroots Organizations and Networks (B-BANGON)” project in partnership with the Australian Government and The Asia Foundation (TAF),” Baina elucidated.

MILF: MinHuDI holds community forum on BBL

Posted to the MILF Website (Oct 31): MinHuDI holds community forum on BBL

MinHuDI holds community forum on BBL

The Isulan-based MinHuDI, Inc., a non- government organization held a community forum on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) on October 27, 2015 at the Ampatuan Municipal Hall, Maguindanao attended by 53 participants from different barangays and sectors of the municipality of Ampatuan, Maguindanao. 

The program was realized through the support of The Asia Foundation (TAF) and the Australian Aid (Aus-Aid) under the program of B-BANGON or Basic-Building Autonomous and Stable Institutions and Communities for Bangsamoro Advancement through National level and Grassroots Organization and Networks under Cluster1, UNYPAD (head), AFADMin, MinHuDI and LIPAD Mindanao.

Mr. Nasser S. Pulindao, Anchorman of BTC-on-the-Air and radio show aired over DXMS- Radyo Bida was the resource speaker who talked on the “Current Status of the BBL and Understanding Important Provisions of FAB and the CAB”. 

He also delved on the peace partnership between the government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (GPH-MILF).

Mr. Pulindao emphasized that whatever the fruits of the GPH-MILF Peace process are for the benefits of all stakeholders in Mindanao, not only the Bangsamoro people but the whole nation as well.

After his presentation, some concerns from leaders of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and from a politician in the area were raised. They also expressed their support to the GPH-MILF Peace process and congratulated leaders of MNLF and MILF in signing a Unified Declaration last October 13 at Camp Darapanan (Arifeen), Sultan, Kudarat, Maguindanao.

A lady participant asserted that unity is very important to make the Bangsamoro struggle possible and successful.

“For as long as we are Bangsamoro, it is not necessary for us to identify what organization we belong”. . .” she said, when she delivered her message of impression before the end of the program.

Bai Sittie Sangki, Barangay Chair of Tumikor, Ampatuan asked “What will be the options of the Bangsamoro leaders if a diluted BBL is passed by Congress?” 

Some participants also requested for the conduct of more advocacies in the community level to make people aware on the current status of the BBL and peace process.

So you think you're the fittest guy out there? Tell that to the marines

Posted to (Oct 26): So you think you're the fittest guy out there? Tell that to the marines

So you think you're the fittest guy out there? Tell that to the marines

Participants in the Karera Lakas Pilipinas tackle one of the many daunting obstacle courses laid out at the Philippine Marines' training base. Dante Peralta


You know it’s not an ordinary race when you hear the echoes of 5.56mm rounds fired by sniper teams to greet your arrival, witness a fully armed squad in camouflaged war paint on maneuvers suddenly emerge from the jungle, stand alongside fellow runners in digital camouflage, and controlled explosions signaling the gun start.  

Literally turning obstacles into opportunity, the Philippine Marine Corps opened the gates of Camp Gregorio Lim in Ternate, Cavite into a unique venue for a fun run dubbed Kareka Lakas Pilipinas.  

 Lt. Col. Stephen Cabanlet said more than 900 participants joined the event on Sunday, a number that was double his original projection and the largest since the race started back in 2012.   

The race started at 0700 (7 a.m. for us civilians) from the beach where marines train in amphibious landings and Balikatan military exercises with their US counterparts.  

After running several kilometers uphill, the participants were then required to crawl down a large tunnel via a web of ropes. Emerging from the tunnel, they landed on a large safety net.  

Navigating a dry creek bed, the runners then tackled the marine obstacle course that included carrying a tire several hundred meters uphill, low crawl underneath barbed wire, climb a series of walls, take on monkey bars, maintain their balance on a log bridge and crawl once more in mud. And that was the easy part.

Having waded in a murky swamp, the runners emerged into a secluded beach that led to a rocky escarpment the marines call ‘Spartan Hill’ that had 45-degree inclines.

After the race, caught up with the Marine Commandant and AFP Vice Chief of Staff, Major General Romeo Tanalgo, who said “(we) maintain a standard of physical fitness and this is how we train our marines. Ginagawa naming ito para ma-share sa mga civilians how we maintain our physical fitness.”

“Apart from knowing our military, by knowing our training (the people will start) knowing our sacrifice,” added Tanalgo, who acknowledged that sports is a force multiplier in the ongoing marine mission, noting the 1st Philippine Marine Marathon to commemorate their anniversary and the Football for Peace initiative for children in conflict areas such as Sulu, Tawi Tawi and Basilan.  

“Tama na ang giyera. We can achieve peace through sports naman,” he said.  

Two sets of winners were announced for the 10- and five-kilometer categories: one military (Bagsik) and the other civilian (Astig). Each winner received a trophy that featured two symbols dear to the Philippine Marines: their turtle mascot and a replica of the Commandant's Cup.
The first 100 finishers were given commemorative dog tags. All civilian finishers also received a certificate with the title of ‘Honorary Marines.’ For the post-race meal, citizens and servicemen all partook in a traditional ‘boodle fight.’
It’s interesting to note that the podium finishers of the 10K men category were all members of elite units: the Marine Force Recon took advantage of its ‘home court’ edge and finished first followed by an Army Scout Ranger while the PNP-Special Action Force completed the cast. Also given recognition were the fastest runners per rank as well as unit commanders.
The marines also showed a special fondness for 73-year old Pablo Francisco, who took home a trophy as the oldest competitor.
Cabanlet, known as an innovator who uses sports in supporting the PMC, said a portion of the registration fees would be used to help marines in the Wounded Warrior program.


Esscom to beef up security with 92 boats by Feb 2016

From the New Straits Times (Oct 29): Esscom to beef up security with 92 boats by Feb 2016
KUALA LUMPUR: In efforts to strengthen the security, Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) is in the midst of acquiring 92 boats, Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said the vessels of various types would arrive here in stages by February next year.

"This is to improve visual presence and as deterrence especially in areas and routes identified as high-risk and hotspots. There are currently eight ships and 69 boats operational at one time in Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone).

"The armed forces and Esscom are currently developing five more coastal surveillance systems to expand the coverage in Teluk Darvel, Lahad Datu and Semporna to improve surveillance at Kidnap-for-Ransom high-risk areas.

"There are currently eight areas covered by the system from Pulau Banggi to Tinagat, Tawau. The system is being operated by the armed forces with its centre located at the Joint Base 2 in Tawau," he said in reply to a question by Er Teck Hwa (DAP-Bakri).

It was reported that Esscom had received RM93.38 million in allocations to strengthen its management and improve the level of safety development in the east coast.

(File pic) Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) will receive 92  boats in stages starting February next year.

Brgy chair facilitates surrender of NPA rebels

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 31): Brgy chair facilitates surrender of NPA rebels

Kidapawan CityA New People’s Army (NPA) leader, together with his squad of local tribesmen, surrendered to authorities Friday in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat.

Sr. Insp. Bernard Francia, chief of police in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, identified the returnees as Filo Capion, squad leader of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) Front 72, and his men, all B’laan tribesmen, Jomar Capion, Rom Capion, Jomar Laguayan, and Ricky Wata from Sitio Bong-Mal, Barangay Datal-Blao.

Francia said the rebels first sought the help of Barangay Datal-Blao chairperson Naila Mamalinta when they decided to return to the fold of the law.

According to Francia, the former rebels rued that they could no longer bear the difficulties they experience in their guerrilla struggle in the mountains and wanted to live a peaceful life with their families.

Mamalinta immediately turned over the rebels to the regional intelligence division of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Region 12.

The rebels yielded two Garand rifles, a Carbine rifle, a shotgun and two improvised explosive devices.

They will receive livelihood projects under the Comprehensive Livelihood Integration Program of the Philippine government.

On Friday, the surrenderees were turned over to the PNP-12 regional headquarters in General Santos City for their safety, according to Francia.

But Francia expressed fears that these latest batch of returnees will be the subjects of liquidation by their comrades in the guerrilla movement.

Two weeks ago, in the hinterlands of Magpet town in North Cotabato, a former rebel returnee identified as Marco Via was summarily executed by  rebels believed to be members of the NPA.

Via’s death came months after he yielded to the Philippine Army, reports said.

Army criticizes NPA’s plan to return Otaza’s money

From the Sun Star-Davao (Oct 31): Army criticizes NPA’s plan to return Otaza’s money

THE Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division criticized the move of the New People's Army (NPA) to return the P25,000 cash they took from the house of the slain Loreto town Mayor Dario Otaza and his son Daryl.

Army's 401st Infantry Brigade commander Colonel Alexander Macario said returning the stolen cash only means more insult to the victims and their families.

"This will only add more pain and suffering to the families, friends and loved ones of the mayor and his son. It won't fix anything. This will not bring back the life of the respected mayor and his son," Macario said.

Macario also questioned and criticized the NPA's "inhumane and brutal" People's Court, saying its revolutionary justice handed down to the victims is a mere violation of the international rights law.

"They based their act of killing from their code of ethics. Criminals like them don't have moral ascendancy to use the word code of ethics," Macario said.

NPA's Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command spokesperson Rigoberto Sanchez, in a statement emailed earlier to the media, said they are duty-bound to return any personal item or belongings without any military value.

Sanchez said the decision was in adherence to the NPA's internal code of discipline and the rules and customs of war stipulated in the international humanitarian law.

The money is set to be turned over to the Otaza family through Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who is also the chair of the Regional Peace and Order and Council.

Joma Sison: Polls a farce but don’t boycott it

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 1): Joma Sison: Polls a farce but don’t boycott it
jose maria sison

Joma Sison. FILE PHOTO

AMSTERDAM -- Jose Maria Sison, the founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), has been in exile here since 1987. Even though he has already long stepped down from the position of CPP chair, his voice remains significant, especially in light of recent attempts to revive the protracted peace talks with the government. In July, Speaker   Feliciano Belmonte visited and they had a “friendly and informal” meeting to talk about the negotiations.

Sison’s views on Philippine politics have attracted attention. Recently, his reported endorsement of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential candidacy made it to the news—even though he had to refute it.

In perhaps an ironic way, he has become an “elder statesman”—one of the few people in the political world who have lived long enough to talk about President Aquino as a teenager or Vice President Jojo Binay as a young human rights lawyer.

And while many would quarrel with his ideology, few would question his steadfastness to them. In a nation of “balimbing” (turncoats) and political adulterers, such authenticity is a breath of fresh air. Here are excerpts from an interview which began in Utrecht, Sison’s home of exile where I went to visit him, and continued through e-mail correspondence:

Throughout the years, you have maintained that elections are a show put up by the government to create a semblance of democracy. Do you still hold this position?

Sison: I still hold the position that the elections are controlled by the exploiting classes of big compradors and landlords and even by foreign interests that wish to be shielded from the people’s view and outrage. The people are limited to a choice of reactionary politicians and   cliques that will exploit and oppress them. Control of the elections by the exploiting classes is achieved though the large amounts of money needed to run a campaign, the use of the big media owned by the press lords, access to private and official armed personnel and since 2010 pre-programming of the automated electoral system.
If so, should Filipinos exercise their right to vote, or should they boycott the elections?

I share the view of the revolutionary movement that reactionary elections are a farce. But there is no need to apply a policy of boycott on these elections by progressives and allies, unless the process is as bad as the 1981 and 1984 elections of the Marcos dictatorship, in view of the fact that progressives and allies can manage to get some executive and   legislative seats and expose from the inside what is wrong with the ruling system. The elections of 1986 were also bad but critical participation by   legal progressives and allies was necessary for the subsequent claim that Marcos cheated and deserved to be overthrown by the people’s uprising.  Communists can work within reactionary institutions and processes, including the electoral   process, but cannot declare themselves publicly as such because to do so would invite repressive measures, notwithstanding the legal argument that it is no longer illegal to be a communist from the time the Anti-Subversion Law was repealed in 1992. But no real communist will declare that the electoral process of the reactionary system is the way to   social revolution.

A communist can appreciate the noncommunist and progressive Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) for participating in the elections, getting some seats and more importantly doing its best to uphold the rights and interests of the people and raise their level of consciousness toward patriotic and progressive principles and goals.

There have been instances when the ruling family failed to secure positions, as in the electoral fights involving Grace Padaca vs the Dys of Isabela, or Ed Panlilio against the Pinedas and Lapids of Pampanga. Aren’t they proof that it is possible to subvert the system?

Your examples have not subverted the ruling system. Instead, they (the Padacas and Panlilios) are subverted by the ruling system. Ultimately, they become the target of charges of corruption and other kinds of venalities. But if you look deeper at their starting points in the business of elections, they became well known for something popular but they were also supported in their electoral campaigns by bureaucrats and landlords who competed with their fellow bureaucrats and landlords. Padaca became popular as a radio broadcaster hitting hard the Dy dynasty for corruption, land grabbing, closing down public hospitals and so on. But she also relied on landlord politicians in all of the Isabela towns. Panlilio delivered strong sermons against the rich and had a simple lifestyle. But he relied also on landlords close to the Church who had been disgusted by the bigger and more powerful landlords.

You have been active on Facebook. What are your reflections on how social media is affecting the political process? Can the participatory nature of social media undermine traditional media that in your writings you have described to be controlled by the ruling class?

Social media are by far more open, especially in terms of space, than the traditional media. But traditional media have invaded social media.  Like any tool, social media can be used for good or for bad. The political operatives of the exploiting classes can hire communications experts and troll brigades to churn out pro-imperialist and reactionary propaganda. The traditional media have resorted to online editions to reach the social media users.

TV and radio broadcasting stations remain strong in relation to social media and can be easily accessed by the portable gadgets. They remain strong especially in broadcasting sports and entertainment.

Amid internal turmoil, the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) recently attempted to make a show of force at Edsa. How do you think this incident will affect their voting in 2016?

I think that the INC leadership is maintaining its hold on most of the INC following.  But it has lost a significant part of its membership and might be swamped by financial problems because of its extraordinary expenses. The attempt to make a show of force on Edsa offended quite a number of people.
Do you believe in their power as a voting bloc?

I think that the voting power of the INC is not so big even at 1.5 or 2 million people. Makabayan has more people.

What about the Left? Does it constitute a voting bloc?

The Makabayan is at the moment a coalition of eight progressive party-list groups. They have a common platform. They can agree to support common candidates for executive and legislative officials at all levels, even as each of the Makabayan progressive party-list groups must seek votes for the general electorate and certain sectors for their   candidates. In the Lower House, their elected officials constitute a patriotic and progressive voting bloc in accordance with common principles and policies.

Very recently, Binay was “grilled” by students at University of the Philippines Los Baños but two very different discourses emanated from this event: one lauded the students for their courage to ask hard questions, but the other depicted Binay as once again persecuted by the elite. Is he? In what way or ways is Jojo Binay different from the ruling class?

As mayor of Makati, Jojo Binay is known to have expanded social services for the people.  But he has been subjected to Senate and Ombudsman investigation on charges of corruption and is also reported to be eventually the subject of a warrant of arrest.  There are those who think that Binay has been subverted by the ruling system, instead of subverting it, and has become a full-fledged member of the bureaucrat capitalist elite.
How does Binay resonate with the masses?

Coming from the lower class, Binay knows how to campaign in a manner appealing to the CDE crowd.  He knows the populist phrases to turn them on. He is capable of playing the underdog against Aquino and Mar Roxas. He has a national system of scoutmasters and sister cities and sister municipalities that helped him become the Vice President.  His problem is that he will be further discredited when the warrant of arrest is issued against him.
Mar Roxas comes from one of the privileged families of the country. Does this fact rule him out in your eyes as an eligible candidate?

Indeed, Mar Roxas comes from one of the most privileged families of the country. He is the grandson of President Manuel Roxas and the son of the late Sen. Gerry Roxas. He is being held responsible for several bunglings, like the transport mess, the Zamboanga City military operations, the lack of timely and adequate relief to the victims of the Supertyphoon “Yolanda” and some involvement in the Mamasapano incident. He is also being criticized for mimicking the poor and yet advocating nothing to lift the people from unemployment and poverty.  He is known as a dyed-in-the-wool neoliberal in economics.

Grace Poe’s campaign poster in 2010 featured a silhouette of FPJ in the background. What is your opinion on the influence of show biz in politics?

I think that Grace Poe benefited in 2010 from being the daughter of a presidential candidate who was widely considered the winner in 2004, if not for (President Gloria) Arroyo’s cheating. It does not speak well of a social system that a movie superstar can turn his celebrity status to political capital because the general run of high politicians are corrupt and incompetent and can offer no one better than a neoliberal economist who has to cheat in order to be reelected.  In fairness to her, I should add that Poe has proven her mettle in the Senate on major   issues like Mamasapano, Purisima and the MRT mess and, as a result, has earned the position of No. 1 in presidential poll surveys.
Is Miriam Santiago’s late entry to the field a game-changer? How would you compare her run now with that 23 years ago?

She is not a game-changer. She is more of someone trying to catch up with the front-runners. She is now attracting flak by having Bongbong Marcos as her running mate. In this regard, she has made a mistake. She must be desperate for campaign resources. She was far fresher and probably had bigger resources 23 years ago.
Will the fact we have had two female Presidents (Cory, GMA) in recent history affect Grace Poe or Miriam Santiago’s candidacy?

I do not think that any of the male Presidential candidates will directly attack Poe or Miriam as predetermined to be no better than Cory Aquino or Gloria Arroyo. Lower-level campaigners may satirize them in order to appeal to patriarchalism or male chauvinism. But this will not count much in a competition of platforms and track records.
Many Filipino pinned their hopes on a Duterte candidacy. How can you explain this clamor for a strong leader?

The Philippines has had Presidents strong on puppetry to the US, corruption and violations of human rights.  Marcos has been considered the strongest and worst for being a fascist dictator.  But his successors have been strong on servility to the US, corruption and brutality, despite the existence of legal opposition parties.

Duterte has been strong on offering peace and a coalition government with the NDFP (National Democratic Front of the Philippines) and also on federalism and fighting criminality and corruption. There is nothing wrong if a President is strong against powerful adversaries on the issues of upholding national sovereignty, the democratic empowerment of the working people, economic development through land reform and national industrialization and the promotion of a patriotic and progressive culture. Thus, he or she wins the strong support of   the people.

While vacillating on whether to run for the presidency, Duterte has manifested a number of good advocacies but has not shown any full and comprehensive platform that manifests a justly strong leadership responsive to the people’s strong demands for national and social liberation.
Bongbong Marcos’ candidacy has reminded people of martial law—which for many is bad thing, but for others a good one. How will his being a Marcos affect his chances?

Bongbong has his Ilocos Norte and Leyte bailiwicks.  On a nationwide scale, he can probably get some 15 percent of the voters who are impressed by the Marcos fascist regime and by Bongbong himself and disgusted with the Aquino record. I think that at least 80 percent of the voters can remember and therefore detest the extreme corruption and   brutality of the Marcos fascist regime.  The people, especially the many Marcos victims of human rights violations all over the country, will denounce Bongbong as principal beneficiary of the ill-gotten wealth of his parents and he will be held to account for scheming to prettify the corrupt and brutal record of his father.
Do you see a second Marcos presidency?

I predict that Bongbong will not become Vice President and therefore will not become President after being Vice President.  He himself is aware of his vulnerabilities. That’s why he scaled down his presidential ambition to VP.
What do you think of the vice presidential candidates?

They are too many VP candidates for me to describe and weigh each one.  I presume that each one thinks of having a good chance of winning because the vote for the VP will be fragmented. But I think that Chiz Escudero is the strongest because of his own standing and his being teamed up with the No. 1 presidential candidate. The poll surveys prove my point.
How will the 2016 elections affect the prospects of a peace deal between the CPP-NPA (New People’s Army) and the government?

Poe, Duterte and Binay have made declarations in favor of resuming the formal talks. I estimate that Miriam will be for the resumption of talks. Roxas has not made any public declaration to resume the formal talks. Even if he makes such a declaration, he has to clarify whether he will continue Aquino’s policy of seeking only the surrender and   pacification of the revolutionary forces and the people and disregarding the demands of the people for social, economic and political reforms as foundation of a just and lasting   peace.
[The author is a doctor of medicine and is currently working on a postdoctorate degree at the University of Amsterdam.]

Aquino appoints new BCDA chair, directors

From the Manila Times (Oct 30): Aquino appoints new BCDA chair, directors

The state-owned Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) has a new board chairperson and three board directors, it was announced on Friday.

President Benigno Aquino 3rd appointed Ma. Aurora Geotina-Garcia as BCDA Board Chairperson, replacing former Chairperson Rolando Gosiengfiao, who passed away in January.

Chairperson Garcia has been a BCDA Board Director since 2011. She is currently the President of Mageo Consulting Inc., a corporate finance and professional service company providing financial advisory service. She was also head of the Corporate Finance Practice of auditing firm SGV & Co., where she advised clients from government and the business sector for over 27 years on corporate finance.

She is also Chairperson of the Women’s Business Council Philippines, Inc.; a Fellow of the Institute of Corporate Directors; and a member of various professional organizations, including the Management Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

The President also appointed as new BCDA directors former Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gregorio Pio P Catapang, Jr., Joseph Emile P. Juico, and  lawyer Gerard R. Seno.

Before being appointed as BCDA Board Director, retired General Gregorio Pio P. Catapang, Jr. was the AFP Chief of Staff until he retired last July.

Juico, meanwhile, was Assistant Secretary under the Office of the Executive Secretary. He is currently the lead coordinator for Local Government Units at the Office of the Director General for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015. He also served as Quezon City Councilor for three consecutive terms from 2004 to 2013.

Seno is currently the National Executive Vice President of the Associated Labor Unions (ALU). He is co-convenor of Nagkaisa, a broad coalition of labor centers, national federations, industry unions in private and public sector, informal sector, and organizations aimed to promote trade union unity, decent work, and security of tenure.

He is not new to the BCDA as he served as a BCDA Board Director for nine years from 2001 to 2010.

BCDA President and CEO Arnel Paciano D. Casanova, who also serves as BCDA Vice Chairperson of the Board, highlighted the fact that Chairperson Garcia is the first woman chairperson of the BCDA Board.

“We welcome the appointments of Chairperson Garcia, as we underscore the value of women’s participation in BCDA governance,” said Casanova.  “We also welcome board directors Gen. Pio P Catapang, Jr., Joseph Emile P. Juico, and Gerard R. Seno. We look forward to working with them in pursuit of national development. Their wealth of experience in various industries and sectors will contribute much in realizing BCDA’s vision, mission, mandate, and goals.”

Gunmen strafe, burn 2 houses; 2 dead

From Tempo (Oct 31): Gunmen strafe, burn 2 houses; 2 dead

COTABATO CITYThe attack on a secluded village here that left two civilians dead and another wounded Thursday dawn could be a retaliation for the killing of five civilian commuters and wounding of two others in a highway ambush last Monday in Datu Odin Sinsuat (DOS), Maguindanao, according to sources.

Supt. Rex Anongos, Cotabato City police director, said about 20 to 30 heavily armed men aboard a motorized boat arrived at about 5 a.m. Thursday at Purok Lupapakan, Barangay Kalanganan 2 here, strafing and burning two of the houses near a fishpond in the village.
Killed in the attack were Abubakar Guiamalel and Guia Akmaed. The wounded victim has yet to be identified.

Anongos said his field troops responded but failed to catch up with the attackers, who allegedly fled the scene upon sensing responding lawmen.

At least 75 spent shells of M-16, AK 47, grenade launcher, M-14 and Garand rifles were recovered from the scene, he said.

Anongos said an in-depth police probe is still underway to establish the real motive and identities of people behind Thursday attack, which also forced some residents to seek refuge in nearby safer grounds.

Interviewed by local reporters, former Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema said the site of the attack is part of his family-owned fishpond, but pointed out that his relatives or workers in the area “were not targets” of the assault.

Sema, who heads a major faction in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), expressed belief that the attack was an offshoot of the bloody ambush Monday afternoon or three days earlier along the highway of nearby DOS town in Maguindanao.

Five civilians, including two women and a four-year old child, killed and two minors wounded in the ambush. All the victims belonged to the Ayunan family in this city.

NPA owns up to burning of Isabela mining firm equipment

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Oct 30): NPA owns up to burning of Isabela mining firm equipment

The New People’s Army has claimed responsibility for the Oct. 28 attack on the equipment of the Geogen-Nickel Asia Mining Corporation in coastal Dinapigue town in Isabela.

In a statement, the NPA’s Reynaldo Piñon Command, which operates in Isabela, admitted burning heavy equipment and high-end utility vehicles of the mining firm in Barangay Dimaluadi Wednesday morning.
Ka Dasig, the unit’s spokesman, said it was a retaliation for the alleged abuses and dangerous activities of the mine, as well as for ignoring the rebel’s demand for revolutionary taxes.
Isabela police said the fire gutted two sports utility vehicles and three other cars, a bulldozer, five backhoes, a pay loader, and a pickup truck.
The NPA also disarmed the mine’s security guards and took away four shotguns, a 9mm pistol and a Cal. 38 revolver.
Ramil Abugen, company head security guard, said 30 armed men had stormed the compound on Wednesday, and handed them a letter addressed to Mayor Reynaldo Dirije which denounced the mining operations.

OSG gears for presentation of evidence in West Philippine Sea case

From the Business Mirror (Oct 30): OSG gears for presentation of evidence in West Philippine Sea case
GOVERNMENT lawyers are now preparing for the presentation of the Philippines’s evidence before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague after the latter ruled that it has jurisdiction to hear and resolve the Philippines’s complaint against China’s incursions in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, a member of the Philippine legal team who presented the position of the country that the tribunal has jurisdiction over the case, welcomed the decision as it would pave the way for the presentation of the merits of the Philippine’s substantive claims.

“The decision represents a significant step forward in the Philippines’s quest for a peaceful, impartial resolution of the disputes between the parties and the clarification of their rights under Unclos [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea],” Hilbay said in a text message to reporters.

The Philippines brought its case before the arbitral tribunal in January 2013, challenging the legality of China’s nine-dash line claim over the entire South China Sea, which overlaps in the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

Hilbay disclosed that the tentative schedule for the presentation of merits is from November  24 to 30.

After presentation on the merits, the court is expected to rule on the merits next year.

On Thursday the PCA unanimously ruled that it has “jurisdiction” to hear the matters raised in seven of the Philippines’s submissions.

The court, however, stressed that the ruling does not decide any aspect of the merits of the parties’ dispute.

“In light of the foregoing, the tribunal has concluded that it is presently able to decide that it does have jurisdiction.  The tribunal has concluded, however, that its jurisdiction with respect to seven other submissions by the Philippines will need to be considered in conjunction with the merits. The tribunal has requested the Philippines to clarify and narrow one of its submissions,” the tribunal, led by Judge Thomas A. Mensah, said in a statement.

Although the hearing on the merits of the Philippines’s case will not be open to the public, the tribunal said that it will consider written requests from interested states to send delegations to attend the hearing as observers.

The court said, “States which sent observers to the hearing on jurisdiction and admissibility, namely, Malaysia, the Republic of Indonesia, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the Kingdom of Thailand and Japan, will be informed of the hearing dates.”

The UN-backed arbitration court, in deciding to proceed the hearing of the case, threw out China’s argument that the tribunal has no jurisdiction over the case for the reason that the dispute was actually about the sovereignty over the islands in the South China Sea.

They also did not give credence to China’s assertion that the case filed by the Philippines concerns the delimitation of a maritime boundary between the two countries.

Photo: Stop the Attacks

Posted to front page of the Online edition of Bicol Today (Oct 31): Photo: Stop the Attacks

Youth group LFS hits De Lima’s statement on Lumad killings

LEGAZPI CITY, 31Oct2015 — “Justice delayed is justice denied. After violating the rights of thousands of Lumad, the AFP battalions and its paramilitary forces are still wrecking havoc and terror in Mindanao. We have to see them out of schools and communities immediately.” This is the reaction.

Youth group LFS hits De Lima’s statement on Lumad killings

Posted to the periodically pro-CPP Davao Today (Oct 31): Youth group LFS hits De Lima’s statement on Lumad killings

Picket at Commission on Human Rights. Photo by Mon Ramirez

Picket at Commission on Human Rights. Photo by Mon Ramirez

LEGAZPI CITY, 31Oct2015 — “Justice delayed is justice denied. After violating the rights of thousands of Lumad, the AFP battalions and its paramilitary forces are still wrecking havoc and terror in Mindanao.

We have to see them out of schools and communities immediately.” This is the reaction of League of Filipino Students (LFS) National Spokesperson Charisse Banez to former Justice Secretary Leila De Lima’s statement at the 4th Mindanao Tribal Leaders Congress last Thursday.

“51 Lumad were already killed and more than 4,000 people of Mindanao were displaced in their lands. There are 13 cases of massacres and 203 cases of trumped-up charges. More than 1,000 students are affected by the attacks of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in 81 schools. Even after starting the protest caravan in Manila, attacks on the Lumad continue. The people of Mindanao need quick actions and speedy resolutions, not promises,” said Banez.

According to the youth leader, De Lima’s statement is disgustingly covering Aquino’s accountability. She reiterated that the military activities and human rights violations by the AFP are in accordance to the regime’s National Internal Security Plan called Oplan Bayanihan.

Banez also reminded De Lima that the increase of mining and logging activities of foreign corporations intensified the militarization in Mindanao.

She added that as Aquino became more desperate to open the lands of Mindanao to foreign control and ownership, the military activities became more ruthless by the day.

“Above anyone else, Aquino should be held responsible for taking away the rights and lives of the Lumad. Because of his thirst to attract foreign corporations, the government is willing to kill and violate our people,” said Banez.

Banez reiterated that they will not stop until the immediate demands of the Lumad and people of Mindanao are met – the immediate pull-out of AFP troops and its paramilitary forces and the re-opening of Lumad alternative schools.

Killing of three fellows puzzles probers

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31): Killing of three fellows puzzles probers

SAN PABLO, Isabela -- Isabela Police investigators are zeroing on leads on the killing of three men at the barangay outpost in Barangay San Vicente here, police said.

However, police have been puzzled on the real motive of the killing of Benedict Crisologo of San Vicente in San Pablo, Tony Ballabo of Colunguan in Santo Tomas and Jerbie Cureg of Baleleng in Santo Tomas, all in Isabela.

The killers used an Armalite rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun in the killing.

Crisologo, Ballabo and Cureg were having a drinking spree when the armed men suddenly arrived and peppered them with bullets.

The gunmen immediately fled, leaving the three men who died on the spot.

341 cadets incorporated in CCAFP

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 28): 341 cadets  incorporated in  CCAFP

BAGUIO CITY - - The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) formally welcomed  341 new plebes that compose the  Mandirigma ng Bayan Lakas at Sarili Iaalay Para sa Kapayapaan (Mabalasik) Class 2019 during the incorporation rites over the weekend.

Vice Admiral Ceasar Taccad,  flag officer-in-command of Philippine Navy (PN) who was the guest of honor and speaker, challenged  the plebes composed of 249 males and 92 females,  to be disciplined, responsible and committed cadets.

Through the Incorporation ceremony, the new cadets now take their place in the different squads of the eight companies making up the Cadet Corps of the Armed Forces of the Philippines(CCAFP).

The  Incorporation is a meaningful ceremony since it symbolizes that the new plebes are now truly fit and worthy of being called cadets.  It  is one  of the  most touching and memorable traditions a cadet experiences in the PMA, the premiere military school in Southeast Asia.

 A PMA cadet upon graduation from the Academy,   is guaranteed a   military career as an officer in the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy or Philippine Air Force.

5ID orients Kalinga, Isabela media on Army Transformation Plan

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 28): 5ID orients Kalinga, Isabela media on Army Transformation Plan

GAMU, Isabela - - Media practitioners in the provinces of Isabela and Kalinga   were oriented  on Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR) by the Civil Military Operations Office of the 5th Infantry Division (5ID)  at Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Upi, this town  last week.

The ATR is  a blueprint of the Philippine Army’s long term transformation program anchored on   good governance and performance excellence.  Its primary objective is  “to transform the PA into a more credible, dynamic, responsive, capable, and professional Army committed to its mandate of serving the people and securing the land”.

The Army that has Duty, Honor and Patroitism as their core values in accomplishing their goals and objectives.

Prosecutor Atty. Franklin Pagurayan, a member of the 5ID Military Service Advisory Board was  the guest speaker  on the  first day and Atty. Romano Tamayo representing Isabela State University President Dr. Aleth Mamauag, also MSAB member from the Academe, on the second day.

MGen. Lysander Suerte, 5ID Commanding General  urged the 5ID Press Corps to continue doing their work based on truth and under their own guidelines while the Army does  its part in building a world class Army in 2028 and a source of Filipino pride.

Representatives  from private print, broadcast and television outfits and  government information officers and radio announcers in both provinces  committed to help the Philippine  Army disseminate what they are doing  and in  correcting negative perceptions against the military.

Search is on for 2016 outstanding soldiers

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 31): Search is on for 2016 outstanding soldiers

The search is on again for the 2016 The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers (TOPS).

The Armed Forces of the Philippines signed with the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. (MFI) and Rotary Club of Makati Metro (RCMM) recently signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the annual search.

AFP chief of staff General Hernando DCA Iriberri along with MFI president Mr Aniceto M Sobrepeña, and RCMM president Atty. Al Miguel T Leogardo led the signing of the agreement.

“The search for TOPS started in 1994 and has produced 176 awardees who continue to serve as models of excellence, professionalism, nobility, and integrity in their service,” Leogardo said.

Also present in the ceremony are senior military and defense officials including Major Service commanders and past TOPS awardees. Among them are  AFP Vice Chief of Staff Mgen Romeo T Tanalgo (2009), AFP Sergeant Major Romeo H Jandugan (2009), 1st Air Division Commander MGen Raul Del Rosario (2011), and Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations BGen Carlito Galvez. 

Now on its 16th year, TOPS has become a highly sought after award among soldiers who have shown exemplary service worthy of the honor.

“This is our social contract to all the men and women of the AFP for tirelessly battling for the peace of our nation. We believe that Filipino soldiers do not just fight insurgents or defend our territorial integrity, but continuously maintain a strong relationship with the community they serve,” Sobrepaña said.

Meanwhile, Iriberri lauded both MFI and RCMM for the enduring partnership and the support they have given in recognizing the valuable contributions of the Filipino soldiers to the country.

“More than recognizing the men and women of the AFP, the success of the search for TOPS is a testament to the relevance and responsiveness of the entire AFP to the nation,” Iriberri said.

The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers is an annual search jointly undertaken by the Rotary Club of Makati Metro and the Metrobank Foundation, Inc. in partnership with the AFP.

The search aims to honor the men and women of the Philippine Army, Philippine Navy, Philippine Air Forces and the Technical Services who served as models of excellence, professionalism, integrity and nobility in the military service.

Happy Home welcomes new batch of former rebels

From the Philippine Information Agency (Oct 28): Happy Home welcomes new batch of former rebels

The Happy Home (Half Way House and Processing Center) opens its doors for the new batch of Former Rebels (FR’s) who surrendered to the 701st “Kagitingan” Brigade that will benefit the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP)in partnership with the Provincial Government of Davao Oriental earlier today.

No less that the Brigade Commander of the 701st Brigade, Colonel Bienvenido R. Datuin accompanied nine (9) former rebels (FR) from the Brigade Headquarters going to the Happy Home as part of their first step in benefiting the CLIP and they were warmly welcomed by Evelyn A. Vallar, Head of the Happy Home together with her staff and other FR’s availing the TESDA livelihood training at the said facility.

The FR’s were first briefed of the house rules being implemented at the Happy Home then they were discussed of the services and procedures they will undertake such as health services, legal assistance, enrollment to PhilHealth, initial assistance worth fifteen thousand pesos (P15,000), registration to Government ID’s, skills training, healing and reconciliation activities, educational services such as the Alternative Learning System (ALS), Lakbay-aral, livelihood training to be followed by receiving the livelihood assistance worth fifty thousand pesos (P50,000) lastly their discharge at the Happy Home.

“Since the Happy Home started its operations, this is the first time that FRs are being assisted personally by the Brigade Commander”. “This shows the sincerity and care of the Philippine Army to our FR’s and this inspires us to perform our task to the fullest”. “You are always welcome here, the Happy Home is always open to serve you and we assure you that you are going to avail all available services the Happy Home has to offer ” Vallar said referring to the FR’s

 Col Datuin during his speech saying “We wanted you FR’s feel that we are really concern with your well being as much as we wanted to achieve just and lasting peace in Davao Oriental”. “We hope that your stay at the Happy Home will change your life and give you hope to have a fruitful life, we know that your stay with the New People’s Army is hard and it brought trauma to you and this is your chance to erase it all, move on and be advocates of peace”.

One of the FR’s during his interview said “I never taught that in spite us being FR’s be given such accommodation and warmth welcome such as this, before when we were still with the NPA we were told that the CLIP is just a propaganda but now seeing and experiencing it we will be advocates of this program and encourage more NPA to surrender”. The FR’s saying in mandaya language.

 The FR’s will be staying at the Happy Home after they finished their processing and until such time that they are ready to go back to the community where they belong. (4th Civil Military Operations Company, PA, AFP)

Joint security protocol launched in Mati City

From the Philippine Information Agency (30): Joint security protocol launched in Mati City

In order to intensify the security protocol in the City of Mati, the 701st “Kagitingan” Brigade in partnership with the Davao Oriental Provincial Police Office, City Government of Mati and Business Cluster of this City launched the Bayanihan Investment Protection and Security Operations (BIPSO) in Mati City, Davao Oriental last Oct. 28.

With the recent Samal Island incident where the victims allegedly were brought to the Municipality of Governor Generoso, the BIPSO is intended to have a rapid contingency plan in addressing threats particularly Kidnap for Ransom Groups (KRG) and because of the growing tourism industry and economy in the City of Mati this program was launched to protect the different economic investment in the said City.

This protocol also aims to enhance the response system of the different security elements in the City of Mati, strengthening of security measures in partnership with the AFP and PNP, installation of CCTV’s in the key areas of the City, coordinated patrolling in key investment and tourism areas, establishment of detachment on construction sites, posting of Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signage on all establishments, intensify intelligence monitoring on both Government and private security groups and the active communication coordination between the private establishments, City Government of Mati and the AFP and the PNP.

“After the Samal Island incident I realized that I won’t let that type of incident happened in the City of Mati s well as in Davao Oriental, tourism and the different investments are the key in the growth of economy of Davao Oriental and we wanted to protect it from such atrocities brought by KRG’s and the New People’s Army”. Col Bienvenido R. Datuin, Brigade Commander of the 701st Infantry Brigade said during his message.

“We assessed the lapses during the incident in Samal and we saw that the BIPSO is the best security protocol that we could implement to ensure that incident like that wont happened in our area”

“The 701st “Kagitingan” Brigade will continue to secure your investments in the City of Mati to the best of our ability together with the City Government and the PNP, were encouraging everyone to help and coordinate with the security protocol that we together are going to implement”. “Let’s help each other in making the City of Mati a peaceful and progressive place, let’s keep the Bayanihan spirit”. Said Col Datuin. 

 The BIPSO will be having its next coordinating conference for the signing of Memorandum of Understanding and briefing of courses of action to be undertaken to be followed by simultaneous simulation exercises for the familiarity of the said security protocol. (4th Civil Military Operations Company,PA AFP)