Sunday, November 29, 2015

803rd Infantry Brigade supports former rebels engagement and evaluation

Just posted to the Samar News (Oct 30): 803rd Infantry Brigade supports former rebels engagement and evaluation

Former Rebel Engagement and Evaluation seminar

803rd Infantry Brigade commander Col. Mario G. Lacurom encourages the former rebels to continue to work with the government and the Army for a lasting peace in Northern Samar

By 803rd Infantry Brigade, 8ID PA
October 30, 2015

CATARMAN, Northern SamarThirty nine former rebels from the province of Northern Samar attended the Former Rebel Engagement and Evaluation (FREE) conducted at the Headquarters of the 803rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade on October 29, 2015.

The activity which was initiated by the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, G7 of the Philippine Army in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), Northern Samar, aimed to continue monitor on how the former rebels are living their lives after returning to the folds of the law.

During the one day activity, the participants were lectured on the proper way of vegetable gardening and were given assorted vegetable seeds from the representatives of the Provincial Agriculture Office of Northern Samar headed by Mr. Marlo Cabudsan, while the office of the PSWDO thru its representative, Ms. Mercy Castillo distributed food packs with five kilos of rice, assorted canned goods, coffee and Milo packs. The participants also received one thousand cash each from the Philippine Army for their travel allowance.

In his speech during the opening of the activity, Col. Mario G Lacurom, Commander of the 803rd Infantry (Peacemaker) Brigade, Philippine Army, encouraged the former rebels to continue to be one with the government and the Army in pursuing peace, progress and development in the province.

Facilitators of the activity were Ms. Agnes Lopez (Lola) Reaño and Maj. Alexander D. Banatao from the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, G7 Philippine Army, Fort Bonifacio Metro Manila.

NEUTRALIZED // Notorious Abu Sayyaf Member nabbed in Hospital

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 29): NEUTRALIZED // Notorious Abu Sayyaf Member nabbed in Hospital

MANILA (DWDD)An Abu Sayyaf member also positively identified in kidnap-for-ransom activities was apprehended by elements from the Joint Intelligence Task Unit of the Joint Task Group Sulu and by police operatives led by Jolo Chief of Police Superintendent Junpikar Sitin during intelligence operations conducted on Saturday, November 28.

Kadaffy Kamsa was recuperating at the Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) Hospital in Asturias Street, Jolo, Sulu after a head-on collision with another motor vehicle on Friday when apprehended. His companions Badong Kamsa and Nixon Manda, however, were able to escape when they noticed the presence of law enforcers.

Kamsa is a notorious member of the ASG who is also taking orders from ASG sub-leaders Alhabsy Misaya and Angah Adji for several kidnapping activities in Tawitawi and in Sabah, Malaysia. He also has an outstanding warrant of arrest for illegal possession of firearms and reckless imprudence resulting in serious physical injury.  Josephine Jaron Codilla / MCAG

PEACE AND RESPECT // Soldiers Pray for Lumads

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Nov 29): PEACE AND RESPECT // Soldiers Pray for Lumads

BUIKIDNON (DWDD) Soldiers of the 8th Infantry Battalion, 4th Infantry Division, Philippine Army offered their prayers for the Lumad evacuees in the barangays of Cabanglasan and Malaybalay City in Bukidnon today, November 29, 2015 through a Holy Mass at the battalion headquarters in Impasugong, Bukidnon. The mass that was celebrated by Father Pepe C. Namocot, Parish Priest of Sumilao, was conducted  after a series of IDP occurrences in the barangays of Cabanglasan and Malaybalay City that lie along the boundary of the provinces of Agusan del Sur and Bukidnon. It has been reported by the victims that they fear for more NPA attacks against their villages as most of them were tagged by the NPA as anti-communists, hence they evacuated their houses. According to them, the group of Junie Tilocan alias WATIWIT of SPP1/Pulang Bagani Yunit of Section Committee 89, North Central Mindanao Regional Committee of the NPA was behind these attacks.

It can be recalled that tribal leaders in Agusan del Sur, Upper Pulangui of Malaybalay City and the eastern barangays of Cabanglasan, Bukidnon have denounced the NPA for using the term “Bagani” in their armed struggle since this is an act of desecration of the Lumad culture and traditions.

Lilongan Bucalas or commonly known by his tribesmen as Datu Manlomakad of the Talaandig Tribe in Brgy. Kasapa, La Paz, Agusan del Sur, who recently fled to Bukidnon due to NPA attacks and harrassments in their village, recalls how the NPA went mad at him when he refused to support the group because of the violent nature of their armed struggle. “Dili jud ko ganahan sa NPA kay gihimo nila nga armado ang mga Lumad ug gigamit pa gayud ang ngalan nga BAGANI sa ilang grupo nga kining Pulang Bagani Yunit. Supak kana sa amoang balaud sa Lumad. Miingon ko kanila kaniadto nga dili nako gusto nga mag apil-apil mi sa armadong pakigbisog kay gusto lang namo nga magpuyo ug malinawon. Apan nasuko sila ug sukad atong 1992, ila na ming gibalik-balikan ug atake, pagdaug-daug ug pagpanghulga sa amoang komunidad sa Katalawan sa Agusan.” (I despise the NPA because they are arming the Lumads. They even use our term “BAGANI” in their Pulang Baganit Unit. This is against our customary laws. So I told them before that I and our villagers do not wish to join the armed struggle because we want to live peacefully. And they got mad at us and began attacking us and oppressing us repeatedly in our village in Katalawan Mountain Range in La Paz, Agusan del Sur since 1992.)

Meantime, the 8th Infantry Battalion has continued its military operations in the affected areas so as to secure the Lumad communities. It has been four decades that the armed struggle brought senseless deaths and miseries to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos and destroyed the future of many Filipino youth, especially our brother Lumads in Mindanao and in the province of Bukidnon. In order to win the peace, the 8th Infantry Battalion will continue to fulfill its mandate of securing the Filipino community from all forms of threats. CMO 8IB / MCAG

Chinese enter Philippines, search for ship’s missing crew

From the Philippine Star (Nov 30): Chinese enter Philippines, search for ship’s missing crew

PCG reported that last Saturday, aircraft Rescue 64 and Chinese tugboats Nan Hai Jiu 111 and Nan Hai Jiu 115 arrived from Hong Kong and entered the search area located 45 nautical miles northwest off Stewart Bank in La Union. AP file photo/Bullit Marquez

Two Chinese vessels backed by two airplanes entered Philippine waters over the weekend to join search and rescue operations for 11 crewmen of a Chinese cargo ship that sank off Vigan last week.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reported yesterday that  two Chinese Coast Guard tugboats and two aircraft from Hong Kong entered the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) to support the search for the missing crewmembers of the M/V Fortune Life, a Panamanian-registered cargo vessel that sank Thursday.

As of yesterday, 11 crewmembers remained missing while eight had been rescued.

The PCG said the crew of the Fortune Life included 18 Chinese and one Vietnamese.

PCG reported that last Saturday, aircraft Rescue 64 and Chinese tugboats Nan Hai Jiu 111 and Nan Hai Jiu 115 arrived from Hong Kong and entered the search area located 45 nautical miles northwest off Stewart Bank in La Union.

The M/V Fortune Life earlier activated its Electronic Positioning Emergency Radio Beacon that sent out a distress signal late Thursday.

The PCG said another Chinese aircraft Rescue 44 from Hong Kong entered PAR at around 8:30 a.m. yesterday to support the search and rescue operation.

The Hong Kong Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) picked up the signal and immediately relayed the information to local PCG officials.

Officials said the Chinese vessels coordinated the rescue operations with the PCG.

The Fortune Life was reportedly loaded with 7,500 metric tons of mineral ore feldspar and had left Kaohsiung, Taiwan for Kuching in Sarawak, Malaysia.

Five passing vessels identified as M/V Great Tang, M/T Ashley Lady, M/V Yue Dian, M/V Nord Delphinus and M/Tug Tal Tal also joined in the search and rescue operations for the ill-fated ship.

The PCG ships BRP Pampanga and monitoring control and surveillance (MCS) 3007 were earlier sent to the area.

Rescuers encountered strong wind and rough seas off Ilocos Sur during the operations last Saturday, according to the PCG.

Six of the survivors were rescued by the Great Tang, Yue Dian and Ashley Lady.

The PCG Search and Rescue vessels OO3 and NCS 3007 are still in the search area.

MILF: BDA-CenMin extends thanks and gratitude to all donors, partners and supporters of the 27th MBD

Posted to the MILF Website (Nov 29): BDA-CenMin extends thanks and gratitude to all donors, partners and supporters of the 27th MBD

BDA-CenMin extends thanks and gratitude to all donors, partners and supporters of the 27th MBD

The Bangsamoro Development Agency-Central Mindanao (BDA-CenMin) extended its thanks and gratitude to all donors, partners and supporters of the 27th Muslim Blood Donation (MBD) that it conducted at the Regional Management Office (RMO), No. 23, Jasmin Street, Rosary Heights 6, Cotabato City last November 22, 2015.

Nazneen Biruar-Piang, BDA-CenMin Regional Coordinator of MBD, in her text brigade message three (3) hours after the activity, extended on behalf of the BDA-CenMin, her thanks and gratitude to all donors, partners and supporters for sacrificing their sweat and blood that greatly contributed to the success of the 27th MBD.

Biruar-Piang also congratulated them for having collected three hundred fourteen (314) blood units during the MBD.

During the whole-day MBD from preparation to restoration, all staff and regular volunteers of the RMO of BDA-CenMin headed by its Regional Manager Hashim B. Manticayan, were all in their proper place ever-ready according to their corresponding assigned tasks.  

RM Manticayan said, "We are not just strengthening but we are multiplying our collective efforts with the very aim that the total number of our blood unit collection will increase in order to, at least, meet the increasing demand for blood".

"This is because, the increasing demand for blood increases compared to the number of donors", added RM Manticayan.

This need to meet the demand on the use of blood is supported by the commitment of one of regular blood donors of BDA-CenMin in the person of Mr. Mohammad Pasigan that according to him, "blood is highly important to the life of anybody that needs it".

"That is why, I am regularly joining the MBD in order to donate my blood for any recipient regardless of tribes, religious involvement and political affiliation", Mr. Pasigan said.

"Not only in this MBD, even directly in the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC), I am also sharing blood to anybody that needs it particularly that my blood is Type AB, a special type of blood which is rarely found from donors", emphasized Mr. Pasigan.

Also, Amina Abdullah, a retired employee of Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), "emphasized the great importance of bloods to save life".

"She also called on everyone who is qualified to share his/her precious blood in order that they can help saving peoples’ lives".

MBD was founded and organized by BDA-CenMin as proponent region. BDA-CenMin is among the seven (7) regions of the agency.

Sison: Pakikiisa sa Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Kartagalugan (KASAMA-TK) sa Ikapitong Kongreso nito

From the Jose Maria Sison Website (Nov 27): Pakikiisa sa Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Kartagalugan (KASAMA-TK) sa Ikapitong Kongreso nito

Ni Jose Maria Sison
Tagapangulo, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
November 28, 2015

Bilang Tagapangulo, malugod na ipinapaabot ko ang pakikiisa ng International League of Peoples’ Struggle sa Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukidsa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK) sa okasyon ng inyong Ikapitong Kongreso.  Marapat na ipagbunyi at konsolidahin ang mga tagumpay! Ibayong paigtingin ang militanteng pakikibaka para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa at pambansang demokrasya!

Napanatili ninyong pinakamalawak na pambansa demokratikong organisasyon ang KASAMA-TK.  Masagana ang ani ninyo ng mga tagumpay magmula pa ng Ikaanim na Kongreso noong Nobyembre  23, 2005. Napapangibabawan ninyo ang dalawang rehimeng kontra-magsasaka at berdugo, ang rehimeng US-Arroyo na naglunsad ng Oplan Bantay Laya at  US-Aquino na naglulunsad ng Oplan Bayanihan.

Naisakatuparan ninyo ang inyong pangunahing layunin na ipaglaban ang tunay na reporma sa lupa at mga karapatan ng magsasaka sa gitna ng papatinding pyudal at malapyudal na pagsasamantala, pananalasa ng imperyalismo sa agrikultura, at mga salakay ng pasismo, laluna na ang militarisasyon sa kanayunan.

Ang mga tagumpay na nakamit ninyo sa rehiyon ay bunga ng hindi matatawarang pakikibaka para itaguyod, ipagtanggol at isulong ang mga demokratikong karapatan at interes ng uring magbubukid at ng sambayanan. Itinayo ninyo ang kilusang magsasaka para isulong ang reporma sa lupa at baguhin ang lugmok na kalagayan ng masang magsasaka sa balangkas  ng pakikibaka para sa pambansang kalayaan at  demokrasya.

Ang paglutas ng  problema sa lupa ay  pangunahing laman ng demokratikong rebolusyon ng sambayanan.. Sa tatlong dekada magmula itayo ang KASAMA-TK, nagsilbi itong ilaw ng pag-asa at mitsa ng pagbabago sa kanayunan at sa buong rehiyon.  Walang lubay na isinusulong ang interes ng magsasaka at ng mamamayan. Ang militanteng katangian ng pakikibaka ng KASAMA-TK ang nagpalakas sa organisasyon para kamtin ang mga makabuluhang tagumpay. Nakapagpalawak at nakapagkonsolida kayo sa iba’t ibang saklaw.

Ang mga tagumpay ninyo sa kilusang masa ng mga magbubukid ay bunga ng mga pangrehiyong koordinadong kampanya at pamumuno sa mga lokal na pakikibakang masa ng mga balangay ng KASAMA-TK. Umani kayo ng suporta mula sa iba’t ibang sektor, nakapagbuo ng mga alyansa hindi na lang sa usapin ng mga magsasaka kundi maging sa mga isyung pambansa.

Bigo ang rehimeng US-Aquino at ang mga naunang rehimen na durugin ang inyong organisasyon. Maliwanag na tinutulan ninyo at militanteng nilabanan ang mga kontra-magsasakang patakaran at programa ng gobyerno. Matagumpay na hinadlangan ninyo  ang pagpapalawig sa ikatlong pagkakataon ng anti-magsasakang Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) habang tuluy-tuloy ninyong itinutulak ang panukalang batas na Genuine Agrarian Reform Bill (GARB) bilang malinaw na alternatibo at solusyon sa kawalan ng lupa. Masigasig din ninyong nilabanan ang panukalang Charter Change (Cha-cha) na magpapalala sa pangangamkam ng lupa sa kanayunan.
Dahil sa inabot na lakas ng ilang mga balangay ng KASAMA-TK ay mapangahas nang naipapatupad ninyo ang tunay na reporma sa lupa. Patunay dito ang mga okupasyon ng lupa na may maunlad na kolektibong pagsasaka sa pangunguna ng inyong mga lokal na balangay. Patuloy ninyong nailalantad at nalalabanan ang mga salakay ng pasismo sa mga magbubukid. Ang malalaking ambag ninyo sa mga kilusang talsik at pagtataguyod ng pagbabagong panlipunan ay nakaukit na sa kasaysayan.

Mayaman sa mga aral ang mahabang karanasan ng KASAMA-TK. Patunay ang pananatili ng lakas ng organisasyon na kaya nitong pangibabawan ang mga panloob na kahinaan at harapin ang mga salakay ng kaaway.  Batay sa karanasan at lakas na inabot ninyo, kayang-kaya ninyong harapin at tugunan ang mga hamon.

Nananatili at tumitindi ang suliranin sa kawalan ng lupa, kagutuman, at kahirapan sa ilalim ng rehimeng US-Aquino. Lalong lumubha ang krisis sa ekonomya at pulitika ng lipunang malakolonyal at malapyudal sa ilalim ng patakarang neoliberal. Ipinapasa ang pasanin ng krisis sa mga magsasaka at mamamayan sa kanayunan. Tumitindi pa ang monopolyo at kontrol sa malalawak na lupain at asyenda ng malalaking kumprador at panginoong maylupa at ng mga lokal at dayuhang agro-korporasyon. Mabisa ninyong nahuhubaran at nailalantad ang mga pagpapanggap ng kontra-magsasakang rehimeng US-Aquino at naihihiwalay ito.

Higit kailanman, dapat ninyong isulong ang pakikibaka at tuparin ang mga tungkulin ng KASAMA-TK. Lalong isakatuparan ang pangunahing layunin ng kilusang magbubukid  na   kamtin ang tunay na repormang agraryo, ang pagbuwag sa monopolyo sa lupa, at pamamahagi ng lupa sa mga nagbubungkal na masang magsasaka. Ang problema ng pyudal at mapalyudal na pagsasamantala ay hindi malulutas kung wala ang pampulitikang pakikibaka para sa pambansang kasarinlan, demokratikong lakas ng anakpawis at industriyal na pag-unlad na kaakibat ng reporma sa lupa.
Dapat matatag at militante ninyong itaas ang pambansa demokratikong kamalayan ng masang magbubukid, at tuluy-tuloy na ilunsad ang mga anti-pyudal na pakikibaka na mahigpit na nakakawing sa  anti-imperyalista at demokratikong pakikibaka ng mamamayan.  Karapat-dapat na pundasyon ng pambansang kasarinlan at demokrasya ang alyansa ng mga magsasaka at uring manggagawa.

Nakikiisa at sinusuportahan namin ang inyong layunin na gawing paraan ang  ika-7 Kongreso ng KASAMA-TK para sa ibayong konsolidasyon ng pangrehiyong organisasyon ng mga magbubukid, pagtatampok ng mga lokal na pakikibakang masa at mga tagumpay na bunga ng sama-samang pagkilos, pagbibigay-pugay sa mga martir at bayani ng organisasyon, at higit pang pahigpitin ang pagkakaisa ng masang anakpawis kasama ng iba’t ibang sektor.

Mabuhay ang KASAMA-TK!

 Isulong ang  kilusang magbubukid at tunay na reporma sa lupa!

 Mabuhay ang pambansa demokratikong kilusan ng sambayanang Pilipino!

Bicol’s best soldiers off to Mindanao

From the Manila Times (Nov 29): Bicol’s best soldiers off to Mindanao

LEGAZPI CITY: Soldiers belonging from Army’s 42 Infantry Battalion regarded as the best government troops in the region were deployed to Mindanao on Sunday for a combat mission to augment the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) troops.

The 42nd Infantry Battalion will augment the forces conducting combat operations in the areas of Zamboanga, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi (Zambasulta) in compliance with President Benigno Aquino 3rd directive to step-up the campaign against different threat groups in Mindanao.

Aquino’s directive came following a series of attacks on government forcers and crime incidents perpetrated by members of terror groups in western Mindanao the past weeks.

This is not the first time that Bicol’s best soldiers were sent to Mindanao for combat operations against the lawless elements specifically the terrorist groups like Abu Sayaff, Quidilla said.

The region’s elite soldiers have been deployed to augment government forcers in similar situation involving lawless elements in the past.

Following their re-posting, the Army’s 901st Infantry Brigade under the command of Col. Claudio Yucot covering the provinces of Albay and Catanduanes, will assume responsibility for the internal security operations over the 4th and 5th districts of Camarines Sur. One Reconnaissance Company will also assume the vacated area of 42 Infantry Battalion in addition to 901st Brigade units.

“The redeployment of 42IB will not affect the counter-insurgency campaign of the 9th ID since Camarines Sur is now a peaceful province which was declared as conflict manageable and ready for further development (CMRD) 2nd quarter this year,” Quidilla added.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Thursday said more government troops will boost military and police forces in intensified operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) who were holding hostages in Sulu.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri has met with key military commanders in Mindanao to personally discuss the fresh offensives against the Abu Sayyaf and other threat groups in the region.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Supt. Agosto Marquez Jr., acting PNP regional director in Bicol, presided the send off ceremony for the soldiers at Naga Airport, with attendance by their respective families.

He said that he is confident that the 42IB is capable enough to face the challenges in their new mission having adjudged as the best battalion of the division.

500 troopers from Bicol sent to combat ASG in Mindanao

From the Manila Bulletin (Nov 30): 500 troopers from Bicol sent to combat ASG in Mindanao

Camp Angeles, Pili, Camarines Sur — Hundreds of army troopers stationed in Bicol have been deployed via C-130 military plane to Mindanao over the weekend, for a year-long tour of duty to combat threat groups particularly the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).
The 42nd Infantry Battalion (42IB) of the 9th Infantry Division (9ID) of Philippine Army in Bicol had a send-off for 500 uniformed men and women at the Naga Airport in San Jose, this town, witnessed by the soldiers’ families last Saturday

It is part of the military tradition to provide a formal venue for the officers, men, and dependents of the 9ID to bid farewell to the 42IB troops.
Lieutenant Colonel Joselito P. Pastrana said it took three trips for the C-130 to transport all the security forces to Pagadian City Airport in Zamboanga del Sur for their mission to crush terrorist elements and armed groups in the Southern Philippines.
The logistics support and other heavy equipment were transported ahead of time via a Philippine Navy vessel from Pasacao Seaport, Pasacao, Camarines Sur to Pagadian Seaport also in Pagadian City, Pastrana said.
The send-off ceremony was led by Brigadier General Ferdinand F. Quidilla, 9ID commander, with Chief Superintendent August M. Marquez, Jr., acting regional director of the Police Regional Office 5 (PRO5) as the keynote speaker.
It was also attended by Colonel Amador T. Tabuga Jr., commander of the 902nd Infantry Brigade and 9ID Multi-Sectoral Advisory Board (MSAB) member who gave their farewell remarks.
Quidilla said the 42IB was redeployed to the Western Mindanao Command (WesMinCom) areas of responsibility (AORs) to augment forces on combat operations in the ZAMBASULTA (Zamboanga, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi) area.
The intensified campaign against threat groups in Mindanao is being conducted in compliance to President Aquino’s directive following terrorist attacks in Paris, Mali, and Russia.
Meanwhile, the 901st Infantry Brigade (901IB), covering the provinces of Albay and Catanduanes, will assume responsibility for the Internal Security Operations over the 4th and 5th Districts of Camarines Sur and one Reconnaissance Company will also assume the vacated area of 42IB in addition to 901st Brigade units.

Ansar Al-Khilafah In The Philippines: Name Change Rather Than Game Changer – Analysis

From the Eurasia Review (Nov 29): Ansar Al-Khilafah In The Philippines: Name Change Rather Than Game Changer – Analysis (by Joseph Franco)

Map of the Philippines with Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao, highlighted. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

Map of the Philippines with Sultan Kudarat, Mindanao, highlighted. Source: Wikipedia Commons.

On November 26, 2015, eight (8) members of the Ansar al-Khilafah in the Philippines (AKP), including an Indonesian national were killed in a joint law enforcement operation by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Marine Corps in the town of Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat province. The site of the clash, on the Mindanao mainland, was far from the usual stomping grounds of Islamist terrorist groups in the Philippines. The skirmish had been deemed by some pundits as a strong indicator of the arrival of the Islamic State (IS) or Daesh in the Philippines. However, this assertion is weakly supported by the socio-economic conditions in the southern Philippines. Instead of being a game changer, the AKP appears no different to other private armed groups (PAGs) in Mindanao who present an ideological façade to cover their criminal acts.

AKP Pledges to Daesh

SITE Intelligence first reported on the pledge of allegiance by the AKP to Daesh in August 2014. The group, claiming to hold sway in Saranggani province, appeared as a distinct entity from the Muslim secessionists in central Mindanao (the Moro Islamic Liberation Front [MILF] and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters [BIFF]) and the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in western Mindanao. The short 5-minute video showed a group of armed men, wielding weapons common to the private armies and militias in Mindanao, offering their bayah (pledge) in front of black banners associated with Daesh. This development was deemed by self-styled terrorism experts in Manila as proof positive of the ideological influence of ISIS.

But aside from this superficial demonstration of fealty credible evidence did not indicate operational link between the AKP gunmen and Daesh. For one, a bayah should be a reciprocal act between Daesh “central” and the purported Caliph, and those who pledged. Haphazard pledging as executed by the AKP further indicates the lack of awareness for Daesh’s own jurisprudence and practices. This ignorance of Islamic jurisprudence (the Deash’s purported version) underscored the unideological bent of Islamist militants in the Philippines. This one-way pledge was also consistent with the practice of the jihadist milieu in the Philippines, who seem to pledge allegiance to whichever international group was on the news, be it Jemaah Islamiyah or Al Qaeda in the previous decades.

All Conflict is Local

The life trajectory of Mohammad Jaafar Maguid (aka Commander Tokboy), the alleged leader of the AKP, is thus no different from the other former Muslim secessionists in Mindanao. Maguid was reportedly a member of the MILF, a secessionist group which had already signed a peace agreement with the Philippine government in March 2014. Taking a hardline stance against the talks, it would appear that Maguid was able to cajole former MILF members, and other armed but unaffiliated fighting age men to build the AKP. It can be argued that instead of being a trailblazer, Maguid was a latecomer to the post-MILF era, which saw the emergence of localised insurgent groups such as the BIFF.

In the absence of direct operational support from Daesh, the act of bayah only has one useful function for groups like the AKP—to create an image of ferocity for criminal activity. An inflated image for AKP allowed it to extort money from local businesses and to operate organised rackets like cattle rustling in the fertile agricultural areas of central Mindanao. By alluding to ISIS links, AKP members were able to strengthen their brand, even with their small personnel strength of around 20-50 armed members. Compared to private militias or armed clansmen in Mindanao with hundreds in their ranks, the AKP’s actual operational capability would be a drop in the bucket.

Prior to the 26 November clash in Palimbang, the AKP did not even engage in armed activities against the usual military or civilian targets, in contrast to Islamist groups such as the ASG and the BIFF. Neither were they capable of the cross-border kidnapping raids some factions of the ASG had launched against East Malaysian resorts. AKP initiatives were for profit-generation, extorting local farmers under the threat of IED attacks. It was the charges of banditry, not terrorist acts, which led the PNP to launch an operation against AKP. This very localised and parochial orientation, necessary to sustain the AKP’s day-to-day existence belies its grandiose claims of affinity to Daesh.

Denying Discursive Space to Daesh Imitators

The biggest potential policy mistake for the Philippine security forces is to play to the AKP’s discursive games. The Philippine armed forces’ policy of referring to the AKP as “bandits” is an astute step to ensure that the group’s image is not unduly strengthened. While the AKP may claim to be important supporters of the purported Caliphate, the reality on the ground suggests otherwise. AKP does not possess the ideological robustness of the “early” ASG nor the operational/financial resources of the now ransom-enriched ASG.

In the long run, much could be done to diminish the appeal of AKP and other iterations of armed groups in Mindanao. Referring to the black banners favoured by jihadists as an “IS flag” is both counterproductive and erroneous. The black banner is a generic symbol of the Muslim faith, unfortunately corrupted by Daesh. Conflating such symbol of faith with a terrorist organisation would only antagonise the moderate Muslim Filipinos. All told, the Palimbang clash underscored the AKP’s weaknesses and rendered shrill its threats.

[Joseph Franco is an Associate Research Fellow with the Centre of Excellence for National Securiy and a CSIS Pacific Forum Young Leader]

Panay tribe salutes, recognizes military’s social dev’t initiatives

From the Manila Bulletin (Nov27): Panay tribe salutes, recognizes military’s social dev’t initiatives

The Panay Bukidnon tribe of Iloilo recently named Maj. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guererro as honorary adviser in recognition of the military officer’s effort to bring the government and government services closer to the indigenous group.

In a ceremony held last week, Guerrero, commander of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, was adopted by the Panay Indigenous Peoples Organization (PIPOL) “for consistently and continuously empowering indigenous peoples (IPs), for the untiring efforts that bring harmonious relationship among the IP communities and the government sector.”

The Panay Bukidnons cited the many years spent by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) forging closer and stronger relation with tribe members in the mountains of central Panay, particularly in far-flung villages of Iloilo, Capiz and Antique provinces.

“The Army today is different. They open their camps for the IPs, they bring basic social services to our communities, and they have shown concern for us in times of disaster,” said PIPOL President Renato Casinao in the vernacular.

1,000 cops to secure Pemberton verdict day

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Nov 28): 1,000 cops to secure Pemberton verdict day


When Judge Roline Ginez-Jabalde of the Olongapo Regional Trial Court Branch 74 hands down her verdict on the murder of transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude on Dec. 1, at least 1,000 policemen will secure her and the court.

Senior Supt. Pedrito de los Reyes, city police director, said they would be on heightened alert next week, aware of the political and ideological issues surrounding the Oct. 11 murder of Laude.

US Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton has been charged with the crime. He has been held at the Joint US Military Assistance Group compound in Camp Aguinaldo, the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Quezon City.

As part of security measures, police would put up steel barriers around the court premises and outside the Hall of Justice.

The court had barred reporters from the premises during the trial that started in March.

“The number of police personnel is enough to cover the entire Hall of Justice and its immediate periphery,” De los Reyes said in a text message on Thursday.

Mayor Rolen Paulino last week said many residents and businessmen here are looking forward to the trial’s conclusion.

Regardless of the verdict, the court decision is expected to stir opposing views from the public, the mayor said. “Some people will certainly be happy about it while others will not be pleased,” he said.

“[The murder] is an isolated case and there’s no other way to go but to move forward,” he said.

Roberto Garcia, chair of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority, said the verdict would be crucial to the status of liberty (rest and recreation activities) for visiting US troops.

Last year, the US Pacific Command (US Pacom) canceled these activities of US servicemen in the Philippines after Pemberton was detained for Laude’s slaying.

The US Pacom eased up the rules in June and allowed US soldiers to leave their ships, although they were prohibited from entering the Subic Bay Freeport.

4 jihadist camps for ISIS recruits

From The Standard (Nov 30): 4 jihadist camps for ISIS recruits

FOREIGN jihadists linked to the Islamic State  have established four training camps in the forested ridges of Mindanao to train Filipino militants who are being recruited as fighters for the terrorist group, a government source privy to anti-terror operations told The Standard Sunday.

The training camps are located in Sarangani, Cararao in Lanao province, Barangay Tanum in Patikul, Sulu, and Palembang in Sultan Kudarat, where student recruits are being trained for military operations.

On Saturday, the Palace said there was “no credible threat” to the Philippines from foreign jihadists.

The recruitment of young fighters, mostly students, surfaced following the death of 22-year-old Datu Mongakang Dilangalen, nephew of former Maguindanao representative Digs Dilangalen on Friday in Palembang, Sultan Kudarat.

Clearing operation. Marines secure the alleged ISIS-influenced camp that they captured last week after killing at least eight jihadists in a firefight in the area. Mark Navales

The young Dilangalen was with 50 militants led by the Indonesian terrorist Ibrahim Ali Sucipto who engaged security forces in a four-hour gun battle on the outskirts of Palembang town. Sucipto and seven others were killed in the firefight.

“That’s how we knew there was an ongoing recruitment operation,” said Capt. Joan Petinglay, spokeswoman of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

The Dilangalen family identified Mongakang—known as Mongs—from a photo of the bodies of the slain militants, but refused to accept that he was a member of the terrorist group Ansar Khilafa Philippines.

The three other slain members of the AKP, according to the military, were Abdul Hali, Tatuh Sumail and Kira Sabiwang, all residents of Palembang town. It was still unknown where AKP leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid was.

Bai Princess Dilangalen Piang Abdulrakman said they knew that Mongs was leaving for General Santos City last June.

The outskirts of General Santos City and its border with Sarangani serves as the operational base of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter leader Basit Usman, who was also instrumental in the formation of Ansar Khilafa Sarangani, which later became the AKP.

The intelligence source said the training camp in Sultan Kudarat was adjacent to the area where Sucipto was killed.

“The Cararao complex in Lanao has long been established as training ground by the Jemaah Islamiya  through the partnership of AKP self-proclaimed leader Mohammad Jaafar Maguid and Sucipto,” the source said.

Close watch. An Indonesian jihadist lies dead in an ISIS camp that Marines secured last week after killing him and at least seven other jihadists. Mark Navales

The Sarangani camp, the source said, was being used as a staging ground for kidnapping operations against potential targets by the Tanum Group, composed of Abu Sayyaf bandits led by Mohammad Askali.

 The Tanum Group was believed responsible for the abduction of three foreigners—two Canadians and Norwegian and a Filipina at a resort in Samal Island in Davao province.

On Saturday, military and police agents arrested one of the Abu Sayyaf bandits reportedly involved in the series of kidnappings in Malaysia and Tawi-Tawi, when he was involved in a car accident in Panamao, Jolo, in Sulu.

Gen. Alan Arrojado, chief of the Joint Task Force in Sulu, identified the ASG militant as Kadaffy Kamsa who was arrested at a hospital in Asturias, Jolo. He was charged with illegal possession of firearms and reckless imprudence resulting in physical injury.

Kamsa is being guarded for possible retaliatory action by the ASG.

Arrojado said Kamsa was with two other ASG members Badong Kamsa and Nixon Manda, who were able to escape from the scene of accident.

New terror group Ansarul Khilafa Philippines recruiting students

From GMA News (Nov 29): New terror group Ansarul Khilafa Philippines recruiting students

The new Mindanao-based terrorist group Ansarul Khilafa Philippines is recruiting students, a military spokesperson has confirmed.

"Nalaman natin na may ongoing recruitment nga," said Capt. Joan Petinglay, spokesperson of the Army's 6th Infantry Division and Joint Task Force Central.

Following the encounter between the military and the terror group's members in Palimbang, Sultan Kudarat last Thursday, troops recovered several students' identification cards.

Among the most prominent names on the IDs was that of 22-year-old Datu Mongkang "Mongs" Dilangalen, nephew of former Maguindanao representative Didagen "Digs" Dilangalen.

The young Dilangalen was among the eight members of the terror group killed during the encounter.

A report by GMA News' Ian Cruz on Balitanghali on Sunday said that the young Dilangalen's family identified him through the photo of one of the bodies of the slain suspects.

Bai Princess Dilangalen Piang Abdulrakman said in an interview with Cruz that her cousin told his parents that he was leaving for General Santos City last June.

The young Dilangalen returned home last August and talked with his mother over the phone a day before the clash, Bai Princess added.

"She must accept what might happen to him," Bai Princess said quoting the young Dilangalen as saying to his mother over the phone.

Indonesian bomb expert Ibrahim Ali a.k.a. Abdul Fattah, a known apprentice of slain Jemmah Islamiyah operative Julkifli bin Hir a.k.a. Marwan, was also among those killed.

The three other slain members of the group who have been identified by the military were Abdul Hali, Tatuh Sumail and Kira Sabiwang, all residents of Palimbang.

Stop the recruitment

Petinglay said that the military will draw up a plan to stop the ongoing recruitment.

"From here, we will forumlate plans together with the local government units at mga komunidad at sa mga parents ng mga kabataan dito.. ng mga IDs na narecover natin, upang matulungan sila," she said.

"Then para ma-stop din, para mapigilan kung may iba pang recruitment."

Petinglay, meanwhile, said that they have yet to determine if the Ansarul Khilafa Philippines has connections with the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Aside from the students' IDs, the military also recovered IS flags after the the Palimbang encounter.

The military, however, said that the presence of the flags at the site of the encounter do not necessarily mean that the group has links with the IS.

Security analyst Professor Rommel Banlaoi told radio dzBB in an interview on Saturday that Ansarul Khilafa Philippines has ties with the regional group, Malay Archipelago Unit for the Islamic State, which allegedly recruits members for the Islamic State.

The new terror group is led by Mohammad Jaafar Sabiwang Maguid alias Commander Tokboy, who was able to escape during the Palimbang encounter.

Wesmincom chief gives morale boost in military camp visits

From the Daily Tribune (Nov 30): Wesmincom chief gives morale boost in military camp visits

As part of the sustained efforts against enemies of the state in Western Mindanao, the commander of the military’s Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom) is now doing the rounds to various camps in the region to boost the morale of the troops and personnally issue his guidance.

Maj. Gen. Mayoralgo de la Cruz, commander of Wesmincom, has started visiting brigade headquarters in Western Mindanao, meeting with military commanders up to battalion, upon his assumption last week.

Maj. Filemon Tan Jr., spokesman for Wesmincom, said that De la Cruz’s visit to military camps was meant to boost the morale of the troops amid the intensified law enforcement operations against lawless elements, particularly the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group.

“General De la Cruz wants to personally relay to our troops the directive of the Commander-in-Chief President Aquino for the military to conduct relentless operations against lawless elements,” Tan said.

“The troop visits are also aimed at ensuring that the requirements of our operating units are met,” he added.

According to Tan, Wesmincom troops have been conducting intensified combat operations against the Abu Sayyaf group and other lawless elements in the area.

“The standing order from the Commander in Chief and the AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri is to conduct relentless opertions against lawless groups,” Tan said.

Yesterday, Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of Joint Task Group Sulu, announced the arrest of an Abu Sayyaf terrorist while confined at a local hospital in Jolo.

Nabbed was Kadaffy Kamsa, who is under the ASG band of Alhabsy Misaya tagged in the kidnapping and beheading of Malaysian Bernard Then.

Arrojado said that two other ASG members evaded arrest.

Kamsa, Arrojado said, was confined after suffering injuries during a vehicular accident.

Less than a week after De la Cruz assumed office as Wesmincom chief, Marine forces in Sultan Kudarat engaged a group of self-proclaimed terrorists identifying themselves with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS, killing eight members of the so-called Ansar al-Khalifa Philippines in Palimbang town.

One of those killed was Indonesian Abu Fattuh, raising suspicion that the group was a terror cell.

Labor, Farmers Groups steaming hot over APEC’s dream of inclusive economy

From the periodically pro-CPP Bicol Today (Nov 26): Labor, Farmers Groups steaming hot over APEC’s dream of inclusive economy


Labor and farmers groups have accused the 2015 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit of hypocrisy in calling for an inclusive economy while excluding groups who are supposed to benefit from such an economy.

“The APEC Summit is inclusive only for big corporations. Labor unions, farmers groups, representatives of poor and marginalized sectors who want to air their issues and concerns to APEC are not even allowed to walk along Roxas Boulevard,” lamented Bong Labog, chairperson of the Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center (May First Labor Center or KMU).

“APEC’s so-called inclusivity is the biggest global political deception in the 21st century,” said Rafael Mariano, chairperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines or KMP).

“This is exemplified in the absence of genuine social justice measures like land reform and agricultural development in the agenda. Worse, farmers’ voices and opposition to APEC-induced land grabbing and plunder are being silenced by governments’ curtailment of peasant rights to protest,” he said.

“Instead, on top of APEC’s agenda is the full-blown liberalization of economies for the increased dumping of agricultural surpluses and the intensification of plunder of our land, water, forests, and mineral resources by developed countries and for the benefit of big landlords and foreign agribusinesses,” said Mariano.

According to Labog: “APEC’s thrust is to attack workers’ rights, that’s why it refuses to involve labor formations that genuinely represent workers. Even workers’ freedom of expression is being curtailed when we exercise it during the meetings.

He explained that APEC’s thrust of “investing in human capital” is “dictated solely by big foreign capitalists and governments subservient to them.”

The KMP and KMU are among several groups planning to launch protest actions in time for the APEC Summit this week.

Political detainee Eduardo Serrano: acquitted, but not yet free

From the periodically pro-CPP Bicol Today (Nov 29): Political detainee Eduardo Serrano: acquitted, but not yet free

Political detainee Eduardo Serrano with his lawyer, family and friends. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Political detainee Eduardo Serrano with his lawyer, family and friends. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Political detainee Eduardo Serrano is acquitted for the crime charges slapped by the military, but he cannot go scot-free as he will have to face trial for other alleged crimes filed in two QC courts.
The Quezon City Regional Trial Court-Branch 100 yesterday acquitted political prisoner Eduardo Serrano from the charges of multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder.

Judge Editha G. Mina-Aguda stated in her decision that, “… in the view of the failure of the People to prove the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, judgement is hereby rendered acquitting accused Rogelio Villanueva @Ka Makling @ Eduardo Serrano of the crime charged.”

Serrano is among the 20 peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

The court’s decision was based on the witnesses’ testimonies, which it said are, “either imagined or trumped-up.”

Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said the acquittal of Serrano puts into question the many other trumped-up criminal charges against the political prisoners, specifically the NDFP peace consultants who have become victims of the government’s practice of criminalizing political acts.

To date, there are 555 political prisoners in jail, all facing similar cases like Serrano.

In October, the QC RTC Branch 98 Judge Marilou Runes-Tamang ruled that accused Rogelio Villanueva is not the same person as Eduardo Serrano; and Serrano should therefore be immediately released.

The Branch 98’s October resolution said Serrano’s arrest and detention for 11 years is an “outright mockery of the basic human rights on due process of law which is enshrined in our Constitution.”

Serrano’s identity and that of Rogelio Villanueva was not considered by the QC-RTC Branch 100 as the “most critical” in coming up with its decision, but “whether the identity of the accused in whatever names he is known, as the assailant was sufficiently established by the prosecution.”

The prosecution, the Court said, was not able to prove “beyond iota of doubt” that the accused was in any way involved in the crime.

Serrano still faces two more similar trumped-up criminal charges of multiple frustrated murder at the QC RTC Branch 215 and kidnapping at Branch 97.

“We appeal to QC RTC branches 215 and 97 to immediately resolve these cases to bring home Serrano for Christmas,” Palabay said as she also warned of the regime’s maneuvers to keep Serrano in jail such as coming out with more trumped-up charges against Serrano, “similar to what the regime did to recently convicted peace consultants Leopoldo Caloza and Emeterio Antalan.”

PH youth group to push through with trip to Pag-asa Island

From ABS-CBN (Nov 29): PH youth group to push through with trip to Pag-asa Island

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A Filipino youth group will push through with its plan to sail towards Philippine-held territories in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) despite opposition from military and defense officials.
Kalayaan Atin Ito, a volunteer group composed mostly of young members, said it will push through with its plan to sail towards Pag-asa Island on Tuesday, a day after its original schedule.
According to the group, the arrival of some volunteers from Visayas were delayed due to bad weather, prompting them to move their schedule by a day.
"The flights of some volunteers were cancelled due to weather conditions in Visayas. Due to this development, we need to adjust our schedule. We will wait for all volunteers until Tuesday," said Mariel Ipan, one of the group's volunteers, adding that the voyage will push through.
The group earlier said the voyage will involve 10,000 volunteers, mostly from the youth sector. The voyage aims to help the government assert its claims in the disputed territories. The plan was for volunteers to board 81 boats, representing all the provinces.
When asked how many will join the voyage, Jimson Ahaja, the group's coordinator in Sulu, said they are still waiting for all the volunteers from different provinces.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Command chief Vice Adm. Alexander Lopez earlier opposed the plan due to the voyage's possible negative implication to the ongoing territorial dispute.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin also asked the group not to push through with the voyage because of the bad weather in the area.
The group, however, reiterated that they will push through with the voyage, adding that what they are doing is for the country.
"We are optimistic that the DND and AFP will understand and eventually support our voyage because this is in support to the government's effort to assert our right in our own sea," Ipan said, commenting on the opposition of DND and AFP officials.
"Our voyage will proceed. There is no law that prohibits us from fighting for our right in a peaceful manner and within the bounds of the law. It's time for us to unite and help each other. This is a fight for the entire Filipino people," she added.
Ipan also said they will follow the advice of the military and local government officials.
"We will comply with the number of people that can be accommodated by Kalayaan municipality since that is the advice of Mayor (Eugenio) Bito-onon," Ipan said.

NDF: Order sa pagsuspende sa tanang mga opensibang operasyon sa mga yunit sa NPA sa walo (8) ka lungsod sa Eastern Masamis Oriental alang sa luwas ug hapsay nga release sa prisioner-of-war nga si PFC Lupiba

Propaganda press release posted to the NDF: Order sa pagsuspende sa tanang mga opensibang operasyon sa mga yunit sa NPA sa walo (8) ka lungsod sa Eastern Masamis Oriental alang sa luwas ug hapsay nga release sa prisioner-of-war nga si PFC Lupiba

Press Statement
November 19, 2015

Pinaagi sa paningkamot sa Local Third Party Facilitators ug sa Local Crisis Committee sa Misamis Oriental nga nagatabang sa pamilya ni PFC Lupiba, nakaabot sa kasayuran sa National Democratic Front of the Philippines sa North Central Mindanao Region (NDFP-NCMR) nga ang 403rd Brigade sa 4th ID sa AFP pinaagi sa commanding officer niini nga si Col. Jesse Alvarez, nagpakanaug og mando nga STAND DOWN ngadto sa iyang mga tropa aron maandam ang dalan sa luwas ug hapsay nga pag-release kang PFC Lupiba.

Subay niini nga kalamboan, ang NDFP-NCMR nagapakanaug og mando sa tanang yunit sa New People’s Army (NPA) nga anaa naga-operate sa walo (8) ka lungsod sa Eastern Misamis Oriental nga mao ang Claveria, Balingasag, Lagonglong, Salay, Sugbungcogon, Kinoguitan, Talisayan, ug Medina sa PAGSUSPENDE SA TANANG OPENSIBANG OPERASYON gikan sa alas dose (1200h) sa tungang gabii sa Nobyembre 19 ngadto sa alas dose (1200h) sa tungang gabii sa Nobyembre 24.

Kini nga order sa ceasefire nagpasabot sa temporaryong pag-undang sa mga aksyong militar sa mga hingtungdang mga yunit sa NPA batok sa bisan unsang yunit o indibidwal nga mga membro sa AFP-PNP-CAFGU sa nahisgutang mga erya. Apan ang tanang hingtungdang mga yunit kinahanglang magpabiling anaa sa postura sa aktibong pagdepensa sulod sa gitakdang panahon sa ceasefire, kanunayng mag-alerto ug dili magduha-duha sa sa pagdepensa sa kaugalingong pwersa ug mga masa sulod sa erya kung ugaling may ilunsad nga sekretong pagpangatake ang mga tropa sa AFP ug kapulisan o kaha sa pagpakgang sa bisan unsang pagsulay sa paghimo og bangis nga pagpasipala sa katawhan.

Sulod niini nga panahon, ang tanang hingtungdang mga yunit sa NPA gimanduan sa pagpadangat sa report ngadto sa taas nga komand sa bisan unsang mga kalamboan sa field alang sa husto ug tukma sa panahon nga pagtasa ug mga direktiba subay sa kahimtang.

Human sa pag-release sa POW, ang tanang nalambigit nga mga yunit sa NPA mobalhin ngadto sa relatibong luwas nga pusisyon ug andamon ang ilang kaugalingon ug mga masa sa erya batok sa laing hugna sa bangis nga pagpangatake sa mga pwersa sa kaaway, ilabina human sa paglibkas sa gitakdang panahon sa ceasefire.
Alang sa Regional Executive Council,

 Cesar Renerio
North Central Mindanao Region

NDF-Bicol: Sumukong 9 na NPA, Desperadong Kampanyang Saywar ng 9th ID Philippine Army

Propaganda statement posted to the NDF Website (Nov 23): Sumukong 9 na NPA, Desperadong Kampanyang Saywar ng 9th ID Philippine Army 

Sa nakaraang linggo namayagpag sa pagtatambol ang 9th Infantry Division Philippine Army na nakapagpasuko daw sila ng siyam (9) diumano mga kasapi ng New People’s Army (NPA) sa Albay. Magarbo at iskriptado ang inilunsad na Press Conference at mga Interbyu para ipintura sa isip ng mamamayan na nalansag na nila ang Rebolusyonaryong Kilusan, Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas at Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa probinsya at rehiyon.

Opensibang saywar ito upang bigyang kaseguruhan ang mga dayuhang mamumuhunan na dumalo sa Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) sa Manila na malayang-malaya na nilang dambungin ang likas yaman ng rehiyon, wala nang banta ng pagtutol at armadong paglaban mula sa mamamayan. Kaalinsabay, mabigyan kaagad ng mataas na grado si BenGen Ferdinand F Quidilla na papantay sa sinasabing “malaking tagumpay” ng lumisan na dating Division Commander. Gumawa ng gimik ng pagpapasuko para makuha ang malaking pondo sa ilalim ng programa ng Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) ng kanilang dibisyon.

Iskriptado at likha moro-moro lamang ng mga palpak na ahente sa saywar ng dibisyon ang nangyaring pagpapasuko. Malaking panloloko sa mga taga-media at mamamayan ang siyam (9) na ipineresentang sinasabing “rebel surrenderee” na isa lamang sa kanila ang inihayag sa pakunwaring rasong panseguridad. Ang sinasabing Ka Rolex ay dating kasapi ng NPA na umalis sa hukbo dahil sa kawalan ng matibay na kahandaan, pananaw at paninindigan sa sakripisyo, kahirapan at lubusang paglilingkod sa rebolusyon. Nagpakita ng kagaspangan ng ugali at pabalik-balik sa hukbo dahil sa mga disiplinang hindi nito matanggap. Ilang taon na itong nagbalik sa buhay sibilyan at naging ordinaryong masang matyagang nag-uuling sa Manito, Albay at Bacon, Sorsogon. Ipinahamak at pinahuli ito ng patrydor ng isang nakilalang CAFGU sa Sto. Nino, Bacon, Sorsogon noong 2013. Ginipit at binantaan ng mga humuli ng opisyal na sundalo na makipagtulungan sa kanila at pinagawa ang iskriptadong mga salaysay upang siraan ang target na kadreng militar ng bagong hukbong bayan sa probinsya.

Wala itong ipinagkaiba sa mga nauna nang mga maingay na pagtatambol ng mga diumanong pagpapasuko sa Catanduanes noong 2010 at Sorsogon noong 2014 na napatunayang mga dating NPA na ginipit kung hindi man pinaboran at binulok ng mga opisyal ng 83rd infantry Batallion at 31st Infantry Batallion Philippine Army.

Pinasubalian na ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa pamamagitan ng matutunog na taktikal na opensiba ng mga kumand ng probinsya sa ikatlo at ikaapat na kwarto ng taon, matabunan ang pagkatalo sa labanan mula sa mga bigwas ng mga yunit ng BHB pagpasok ng ikalawa at ikatlong kwarto ng taong 2015. Sa pagpasok ng buwan ng Setyembre at Oktubre 2015 tinugunan ng BHB ang pagmamalabis ng Project Development Team Operation (PDTO) at paglaban sa imperyalistang patakaran ng US-Aquino sa Neo-Liberal sa isinagawang pulong ng APEC Manila nitong Nobyembre 18, 2015.

Nais muling ilinaw ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan na nanatiling matapat ito sa makauring tungkuling maghubog ng sarili bilang tunay na hukbo ng sambayan. Gamitin ang puna at pagpuna sa sarili bilang mabisang sandata sa paghuhubog. Bigyan ng mataas na pagtupad sa alituntunin at disiplinang bakal ayon sa sinasaad ng 3-8 ng bagong hukbong bayan.

Ipagtagumpay ang digmang bayan!

Mabuhay ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan!

 Maria “Ka Roja” Banua

WATCH: Philippine Air Force's new fighter jets arrive

From the Philippine Star (Nov 29): WATCH: Philippine Air Force's new fighter jets arrive

The first two FA-50PH units the Philippine government ordered from manufacturer Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI) arrived Saturday in Pampanga to join the Philippine Air Force.

Lead aircraft NR 001 touched down at 10:23 a.m. (Philippine Standard Time) at the Clark Air Base in Angeles City, shortly followed by another aircraft with tail NR 002.

National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Hernando Iriberri welcomed the Korean crew of the country's new fighter-trainers.

Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Delgado was also among the cheering crowd at the airport.

The Department of National Defense last year closed the deal with KAI for 12 units of the two-seater jets for P18.9 billion.

Suspected Abu Sayyaf member nabbed in hospital

From the Philippine Star (Nov 29): Suspected Abu Sayyaf member nabbed in hospital

A suspect and purported member of militant Abu Sayyaf group said to be behind kidnappings was arrested inside a hospital by the armed forces' Joint Task Group Sulu in Asturia, Jolo. Google Maps

An Abu Sayyaf member, tagged in various kidnapping incidents, was arrested Saturday inside a hospital in Jolo, Sulu while two of his companions escaped, a security official said.

Police intelligence unit operatives of Jolo Municipal Police Station tracked down and arrested Kadaffy Kamsa about 5:20 p.m. on Saturday while confined inside the Integrated Provincial Health Office hospital in Barangay Asturias.

Brig. Gen. Alan Arrojado, commander of the Joint Task Group Sulu said Kamsa's companions, identified as Badong Kamsa and Nixon Manda, however, escaped after sensing police operatives in area.

He said Kamsa, a suspect in the kidnapping of two Malaysians among other victims, was confined in the hospital after he was involved in a vehicular accident.

The police and military forces have been monitoring hospitals for possible presence of Abu Sayyaf members wounded in previous military operations.

Government forces have also tightened security of medical practitioners who might be held captive by the terror group and brought to the jungle to help attend wounded militant members.

PH vs China: Why a win for Manila benefits the region

From Rappler (Nov 28): PH vs China: Why a win for Manila benefits the region

Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal says a ruling striking down China's 9-dash line will be a victory not just for the Philippines but also for other claimant countries 

 GLOBAL INTEREST. Seven countries send observers to the arbitral tribunal hearings at The Hague on the Philippines' historic case against China. File photo from the Permanent Court of Arbitration

GLOBAL INTEREST. Seven countries send observers to the arbitral tribunal hearings at The Hague on the Philippines' historic case against China. File photo from the Permanent Court of Arbitration

What do Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam have at stake in the Philippines' historic arbitration case against China over the South China Sea?

A leading maritime law expert explained that more countries sent observers to the second round of hearings at The Hague because the tribunal's ruling will have implications beyond the Philippines, especially on other claimant countries.
Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, said a ruling striking down China's 9-dash line will affect how other claimants deal with Beijing.
“If that claim is granted, we can say that the Philippines will have achieved victory even if the remaining claims are not. Why? Because the 9-dash line is ultimately the source of all these problems. If the tribunal declares it to be illegitimate, then China's negotiating position and arguments in dealing not only with us, but with its neighbors will be seriously undermined,” Batongbacal told Rappler.
A 48-member Philippine delegation is at The Hague to argue the merits of Manila's claims after the tribunal ruled in October that it has the power to decide the case. The hearings last from November 24 to 30, with a final ruling expected in mid-2016.
Batongbacal said that a ruling declaring the 9-dash line invalid under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) will strengthen the negotiating position of the Philippines and other claimant countries.
He cited Vietnam, which figured in a standoff with China last year after Beijing sent an oil rig about 120 nautical miles off its coast, in what Hanoi considers its exclusive economic zone. It led to the worst breakdown in Sino-Vietnamese ties since a brief border war in 1979.
“It's on the same basis, the 9-dash line. In those respects, the situation of the parties are similar. Vietnam would be able to use the findings of the tribunal as well in its dealings with China. In that way, Vietnam's hand will be stronger as well,” Batongbacal said.
China uses the 9-dash line to claim practically the entire South China Sea. The Philippines calls the parts it claims as the West Philippine Sea.
Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan also have claims to the strategic waterway, believed to sit atop vast deposits of oil and gas.
Indonesia also recently asked China to clarify its claims over the sea, warning that it could take Beijing to court over the dispute. Indonesian President Joko Widodo called for a de-escalation of the dispute in a regional summit in Malaysia over the weekend.
“Indonesia actually is interesting because it is not a claimant but it has been experiencing very similar activities, acts of assertion from China with respect to fishing in waters close to the Natuna islands. If that happens again, Indonesia can actually bring China to court,” Batongbacal said.
The professor said the same thing goes for Malaysia, which has been experiencing interference from China in its oil and gas activities off Borneo.
As for new observers Australia and Singapore, their interests lie in freedom of navigation in a sea where $5 trillion in shipping trade passes through each year.
“All the ships that go to Australia between the Asian mainland, particularly China, have to pass through the South China Sea. On the other hand, Singapore, being a port state, it's entirely dependent on shipping and that passes through the sea. They do have an important interest in keeping the sea stable, safe for commercial shipping,” Batongbacal said.
LOSS UNLIKELY. Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal says it's unlikely the Philippines will lose all its claims in its arbitration case against China over the South China Sea. Photo by Ayee Macaraig/Rappler

LOSS UNLIKELY. Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal says it's unlikely the Philippines will lose all its claims in its arbitration case against China over the South China Sea. Photo by Ayee Macaraig/Rappler
'Environment claims have chance of winning'
Batongbacal laid out different scenarios for the final ruling called the arbitral award.
He said the Philippines can lose all 15 of its claims but the scenario is unlikely as some arguments have “a very good chance” of being granted.
These include the claim that China's fishing and reclamation activities violated UNCLOS provisions to protect the marine environment. Another is the claim that Chinese law enforcement vessels' activities against Philippine ships endanger safety and life at sea.
“Those obligations exist regardless of where you are at sea: whether you're at territorial sea, the high seas, those safety obligations apply. Those kinds of claims stand a very good chance of being granted,” he said.
The second scenario is to have a mixed ruling, where some claims are granted while others are not.
The third possibility is for the Philippines to win all its claims, with the tribunal invalidating the 9-dash line and Chinese activities.
“Certain activities will clearly be defined to be illegal and illegitimate, therefore, China has to stop them.”
'South China Sea the ultimate loser'
World leaders including US President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced support for arbitration as a means of peacefully settling the dispute. Manila is banking on international opinion to pressure Beijing to comply with a ruling unfavorable to China.
Yet Batongbacal said these statements of support will have no immediate impact on China.
“China has never bowed to international pressure. All you need to do is look at Tibet. Look at all the human rights issues being raised against China, the dissidents. What international pressure does however introduce is it's like sowing winds of change in China. That decision-makers and policymakers become aware that they need to be more careful in their policies and activities towards the region,” he said.
“That will cause them to take different tracks on their strategies, on their dealings, how they deal with these other countries, and that is where the change will come.”
With China vowing to defy a ruling, Batongbacal said the Philippines will likely turn to its treaty ally, the United States, and other members of the international community to balance Beijing's military weight.
Washington began sending warships and planes near China's artificial islands in October to challenge Beijing's claim that these features generate maritime rights.
In the long-term, Batongbacal foresees increased military presence in the region as the US continues its freedom of navigation patrols, and as the claimant countries try to engage in their own resource exploration and exploitation activities.
“Ultimately, the loser will actually be the South China Sea – not even the countries but the sea itself. We're going to see those resources subject to the so-called tragedy of the commons because every other country will be racing to try to exploit its resources before the other one does.”