Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Marañon says Negros Occidental is peaceful despite rebel atrocities

From the Sun Star-Bacolod (Dec 30): Marañon says Negros Occidental is peaceful despite rebel atrocities

NEGROS Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said Tuesday that the province remains peaceful in the wake of the atrocities perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA).

“(Based on) our experience, the province is peaceful,” he added.

Marañon dismissed the claim of the NPA that the declaration of the province as “peaceful and ready for development” is just an “illusion.”

The governor reiterated his call on the rebels to come down and return to mainstream society.

“Life is hard in the mountains. Your children will have no future,” he said.

The Philippine Army had earlier said the recent travel advisory issued by the US Embassy to its nationals visiting southern Negros is not affecting the tourism industry in Negros Occidental.

Colonel Francisco Delfin, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade based in Murcia town, said the arrival of American tourists in the province is not affected by the travel alert, probably because of the peace efforts of the local officials.

“In fact, increase in tourist arrivals in the province has been (noticeable),” Delfin said.
The travel advisory issued on December 23 said it was based on recent statements by Philippine security officials regarding an increase in the Terrorist Threat Level to Level III (High) in seven cities and nine provinces across the country.

They indicated that provinces under increased terrorism alert are Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, Maguindanao, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Sulu, all in Mindanao; Palawan, southern Negros Island, and Boracay Island (Aklan), the US security message said.

Delfin said maybe the basis for such travel alert could be the recent series of encounters in southern Negros, but he added that Negros Island is generally peaceful.


NGCP tower in Lanao del Norte bombed

From GMA News (Dec 30): NGCP tower in Lanao del Norte bombed
A tower of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Baloi, Lanao del Norte was damaged after improvised explosive devices (IEDs) went off, a report on Unang Balita on Wednesday said.

Four IEDs were found in the tower, the military's 2nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade said.

Two of the IEDs, however, did not expode.

The tower was shut down by NGCP after the explosion as a safety measure.

NGCP personnel are still repairing the tower as of posting time.

The NGCP said this is the fourth tower bombed during the Christmas break.

The NGCP has received information that unidentified men are targeting to bomb other towers before the end of the year.

Authorities are investigating the bombing incidents.

Explosion rocks church and pub house in Cotabato City

From GMA News (Dec 30): Explosion rocks church and pub house in Cotabato City

[Video report]

Two explosions occurred in front of a church and a pub house in Cotabato City, a report on Unang Balita on Wednesday said.

The roof of the waiting shed of the United Methodist Church on Sinsuat Avenue was damaged due to the explosion on Tuesday. No one was hurt in the incident, the report said.

Meanwhile, an explosive device was hurled at a pub house in the city on Monday night.

Initial investigation of the police showed a man on a motorcycle threw an object at the establishment right before the explosion.

No one was reported hurt since the explosion was caused by a five-star firecracker and not an M-203 grenade launcher.

Cotabato police are investigating the series of bombing incidents in the city.


Joma Sison: 'I'll die with my boots on'

From Rappler (Dec 30): Joma Sison: 'I'll die with my boots on'

The founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines opens up about his health, why he is a 'refugee in orbit', and his views on some issues in his homeland

JOMA SISON. The founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines says his status in the Netherlands is a 'refugee in orbit.' Photo by Fritzie Rodriguez/Rappler

JOMA SISON. The founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines says his status in the Netherlands is a 'refugee in orbit.' Photo by Fritzie Rodriguez/Rappler 

UTRECHT, Netherlands – It is around 14 degrees in the sleepy town of Utrecht, over 6,000 miles away from scorching 30-degree Manila. Jose Maria Sison is dressed in a red sweater, spewing out tales of capitalism and marxism in between questions.

At 76, the founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines is hard of hearing. Behind his glasses, one eye is recovering from a cataract operation; the other, set to undergo the same procedure in January.

He is also wary of high blood pressure and pneumonia.

But the old man remains sharp, with his hands slightly pounding the table occasionally to stress a point. He shares his thoughts either with visitors or on Facebook, which he is fond of these days.

He sits comfortably, with a big flag of the National Democratic Front (NDF) hanging behind him. Beside the book shelves are bikes parked against the walls. Sison acts as a chief political consultant to the NDF.

Refugee in orbit

He is currently a “refugee in orbit,” he says, as he offers cups of coffee in the NDF information bureau. The office is used by the NDF negotiating panel and also serves as Sison’s home.

Refugees in orbit are those reshuffled from one host country to another, without a stable refuge. “I’m, in fact, grounded here,” he says.

Sison applied for political asylum, with the highest administrative court recognizing him as a political refugee in 1992. This makes him entitled to “absolute protection” under the European Convention on Human Rights.

“I cannot be sent out of the Netherlands, not even to a third country, because that would put me at risk of being sent to the country where I came from, where I face the possibility of torture, inhuman and cruel treatment,” Sison explains, recalling his suffering during the Marcos regime.

“After the Marcos period, I’m still ‘wanted.’ So many charges being made against me,” he adds. “Every time there is an incident in the Philippines involving the NPA, it’s listed as a case against me.” (READ: Joma Sison on 2016 elections)

Here is Sison’s take on a few issues in his homeland:

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program

Ang taktika raw diyan, alamin kung saan malakas ang NPA, tapos ‘yun ang bubuhusan nila ng pera,” Sison says. “Alamin nila sino kamag-anakan ng NPA, bibigyan nila ng special concession.

(The supposed tactic there is to determine where the NPA is strong, and to pour funds there. They would track down NPA relatives and give them special concession.)

Pero ang kabutihan para sa NPA, corrupt ‘yung burukrasyang militar. ‘Di talaga nag-spread ang pera, nag-iimbento ng indigents na binigyan ng pera.” (READ: COA report on 4Ps)

(The tactic there is to know where NPA is strong, then that’s where they put more money. They find out who are the relatives of the NPA, and give them special concession. But the good thing for the NPA there is that the military bureaucracy is corrupt. The money doesn’t spread, indigents receiving money are invented.)

The Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or conditional cash transfer is the Aquino administration’s flagship poverty reduction program. It provides cash grants to families as long as they send their children to school and health check-ups.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) releases the money to qualified beneficiaries.

SAF 44

“If ceasefire is maintained with the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) on the expectations of MILF will receive so much, will benefit so much from BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law), the ceasefire is maintained so that more troops will be placed in Eastern Mindanao,” Sison explains.

“Of course, [the plan] was upset when you have a stupid president, he appoints a suspended police general to be in overall command and no compassion for anyone. He was already told that the SAF (Special Action Force) will be put in danger in Mamasapano.”

“‘MILF was also not consulted, so there’s a problem,” he adds. “The plan to add more troops in Eastern Mindanao was upset.”

According to Sison, the government estimates that 40% of the total national strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) is in Eastern Mindanao, which is why more troops are to be deployed in the area. “They will concentrate 55 to 60% of the total strength, they will defeat [NPA], and that will inflict a crippling blow.”

Peace talks, retirement

What would make the peace talks with communist rebels successful in the coming years?

For Sison, it’s a leader who understands the position of the communist movement, which stands for “national independence and democracy.”

Sison adds that a secular-minded leader is crucial in the peace talks.

“[Someone who is] open to what is reasonable and just. Not those with religious conviction or ideological conviction that by all means you have to defeat the communists.”

Asked about the future, Sison says he still wants to explore the "socialist future based on the unraveling of neoliberalism and wars of aggression."

Will he be retiring soon?

"I wanted to step down from ILPS (International League of Peoples' Struggle) but they said for me to stay, so I did," Sison says.

"I'll die with my boots on," he quips.


Marine killed in Cotabato motorcycle shooting

From MindaNews (Dec 29): Marine killed in Cotabato motorcycle shooting

A Marine on his motorcycle was killed when ambushed by two suspects aboard yet another motorcycle here Tuesday morning. Four civilians were injured in an ensuing gunbattle, police said.

T/Sgt. Leopoldo Moncerena was reportedly on his way home for the holidays to Lebak in Sultan Kudarat from his base in Zamboanga City when shot along Sinsuat Ave. here.

The victim sustained several caliber .45 gunshot wounds, police said.

The suspects reportedly took away the victim’s backpack and rushed towards General Luna St.

Unfortunately for the suspects, a Special Forces intelligence operative was gassing up when they passed by, prompting the soldier to fire on the suspects. An exchange of gunfire ensured, and one of the suspects was injured, while one was able to escape but left the motorcycle behind.

The injured suspect, who identified himself as Johari Baknal Upam, said they ran after and shot the victim because the latter hit their motorcycle but did not bother to stop.

Police, however, are not convinced. They are now investigating if this case is related to the shooting of two soldiers in Marawi City earlier today.

This year alone, five soldiers have already been shot by hitmen aboard motorcycles.


Businesses lost P246.12M to NPA in 2015 - Eastmincom

From InterAksyon (Dec 30): Businesses lost P246.12M to NPA in 2015 - Eastmincom

New People's Army guerrillas celebrating the 47th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26. (photo by Edwin Espejo, InterAksyon.com)

Businesses in eastern Mindanao lost P264.12 million this year to attacks and extortion by the New People’s Army in the region, the military said Wednesday.

The Eastern Mindanao Command, in a statement, broke down the losses per quarter:
  • Q1 - P34.71M
  • Q2 - P34.58M
  • Q3 - P92.72M
  • Q4 - P84.11M
The rebels have mounted attacks on large extractive operations such as mining, logging and agro-industrial firms that either cause massive environmental damage or are accused of grabbing lands from farming and indigenous people's communities.

They also impose so-called "revolutionary taxation" on many businesses within the areas they operate in.

Major General Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Eastmincom commander, said these acts violate the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, which prohibits attacks on civilians and non-military targets, and urged the rebels to  “immediately desist from attacking development projects and legitimate business, which serve the interest and provide gainful employment to our people.”

The Eastmincom said it had ordered its forces to “institute measures that would enhance the security of vital industries, projects and businesses in its area of operations” and to coordinate with police, local governments and the security offices of business establishments.

It also urged businessmen to “report extortion activities by the NPA,” in anticipation of “a rise in extortion activities especially with the numerous development projects being implemented in the region and with the approaching election campaign season.”


Identity of rebel returnees in social media bothers PPOC

From the Baguio Midland Courier (Dec 29): Identity of rebel returnees in social media bothers PPOC

The Provincial Peace and Order Council asked the police to ensure the protection of beneficiaries and workers of the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP).

PPOC passed Resolution 2015-03 requesting the Philippine National Police-Cordillera not to release information that would compromise the welfare and safety of CLIP clients, partners, and workers.

This stemmed from a post in the social media that disclosed the name and age of former rebels and the person who accompanied them to surrender.

The resolution stated that the posting in social media of the identity of former rebels is a violation of security protocol as embodied in Sec. 10. (b) of the implementing guidelines of the CLIP for former New People’s Army members.

“Releasing names of former rebels is detrimental and has a negative effect on them, their families, and the person who accompanied them to surrender and the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office personnel handling the program,” the PPOC resolution stated.

It added it is important that names of the former rebels should be withheld from the press and social media to maintain social relationship, trust and confidence in the government, public services, and the community.

The PNP and the provincial government will handle CLIP information with confidentiality and follow information dissemination protocol to protect the safety of all concerned.

Keeping the identity of former rebels is a standard procedure of police or military to protect returnees from becoming targets of rebels who are not for their members to surrender to government.


Police investigates Lepanto bombing

From the Baguio Midland Courier (Dec 29): Police investigates Lepanto bombing

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Investigation is ongoing to determine the brains behind the bombing of a power line in Mankayan, Benguet.

The Provincial Police Office is still probing who could have masterminded the bombing that paralyzed the operation of the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation (LCMC).

Benguet PPO OIC S/Supt. David Peredo said that they are still looking at the involvement of interest groups, including disgruntled company employees and members of the New People’s Army.

Reports stated heavily armed men swooped from the mountains and allegedly bombed the power transmission lines of LCMC, inflicting heavy damages to the mining company.

The incident caused the collapse of the tower resulting in power interruption and disruption of the company’s operations.

LCMC told the police that two days before the bombing, unidentified men were seen around the area. The mining company also said it received an extortion letter at the start of the year. Because of this, the police are considering extortion as among the motives behind the bombing.

The LCMC tower is guarded by Warrior Security group, however, it was learned that there were no guards in the area during the bombing.


Pres. Aquino leads commemoration of Dr. Jose Rizal’s 119th martyrdom

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 30): Pres. Aquino leads commemoration of Dr. Jose Rizal’s 119th martyrdom

For the last time during his term, Pres. Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday led the nation in commemorating the 119th death anniversary and martyrdom of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.

Upon his arrival at 8 a.m. at the Rizal Park in Manila, the President received military honors and later joined by Vice President Jejomar Binay, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada and other government officials in raising the national flag.

After the flag-raising rite, the two newly acquired supersonic FA-50 lead-in fighter jets of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) conducted a high-speed pass.

Pres. Aquino also led the wreath-laying ceremony at the monument of Dr. Jose Rizal, his last before stepping down as country’s 15th President in June 30 next year.

After the ceremonies, the President joined the public in watching a five-minute fly-by of the PAF’s air assets that include 15 Marchetti SF 260 light military trainers, 10 Cessna T-41 Mescalero pilot training aircraft, eight Agusta Westland AW-109E attack helicopters and three Bell 412 utility helicopters.

The PAF’s new supersonic FA-50 fighter jets conducted another high-speed pass while the President was greeting the audience.

In his Rizal Day message, Pres. Aquino called on the Filipino people to become heroes in their own way and reaffirm their commitment to the righteous path agenda that he champions for the common good.

"May we all be inspired by Dr. Jose Rizal’s courage and intelligence, his sense of duty, hunger for knowledge, passion for reform, and undying love of country," the President said in his message released on Tuesday.

"Let us all be heroes in our own way, and reaffirm our commitment to the Daang Matuwid. Only by traversing this road towards fairness and progress can we translate our dreams into tangible realities for our people,” he added.

Pres. Aquino reminded the people about Rizal’s hard work and his sacrifices that contributed to the building of the nation and the kind of country that it is today.

He said the country celebrates Rizal Day every year to reflect on Rizal’s sacrifice to free the Philippines from the shackles of abuse and inequality during the colonial years under Spain.

He said that through Rizal’s writings and deeds, the country’s forefathers became a braver, more united citizenry, “both capable and determined to win the liberties we now enjoy”.

"Dr. Jose Rizal worked hard to pursue our independence, serving as a catalyst for change; his works remain relevant to this day, a reminder of a past when freedom seemed beyond our reach," the President said.

"Let us remember him on this occasion, along with other heroes who shared their strength and vision to make the Philippines the nation it is today,” he added.

December 30 has been declared by the government as a regular holiday throughout the country in observance of Rizal Day.


Newly acquired FA-50PHs equipped with airborne-radar

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 30): Newly acquired FA-50PHs equipped with airborne-radar

With its modern air-to-air radar systems, the newly commissioned FA-50PHs "Fighting Eagle" can do autonomous air patrols without relying on ground-based surveillance systems.

While not giving specifics, Philippine Air Force (PAF) Spokesperson Lt. Col. Enrico Canaya said the Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI)-made light-interim fighter aircraft can detect aerial intruders while on patrol.

This feature of the FA-50PHs has greatly boosted the air defense capabilities of the PAF which was degraded with the decommissioning of its Northrop F-5 "Tiger" jet fighter squadrons and Vought F-8 "Crusader" fleet, in 2005 and 1988, respectively.

The decommissioning was done due to air frame aging and lack of spare parts to keep the two planes on operational status.

WIth the deactivation of its two premier supersonic jet fighters, the PAF was forced to convert the SIAI-Marchetti S-211 jet trainers for an air defense role.

However, the S-211s are ill-suited for air defense work due to their slow speeds

The Department of National Defense earlier said that the radar systems onboard the F/A-50s is one of the many pluses why the Philippines opted to acquire 12 units KAI-made jet fighter over its many competitors.

The first two FA-50PHs were delivered last Nov. 28.

The Philippines has signed a PHP18.9 billion with KAI for the delivery of 12 FA-50PHs.

The FA-50PH has a top speed of Mach 1.5 or one and a half times the speed of sound and is capable of being fitted air-to-air missiles, including the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" air-to-air and heat-seeking missiles aside from light automatic cannons.

It will act as the country's interim fighter until the Philippines get enough experience on operating fast jet assets and money to fund the acquisition of more capable fighter aircraft.

The FA-50PH design is largely derived from the F-16 "Fighting Falcon", and they have many similarities: use of a single engine, speed, size, cost, and the range of weapons.

KAI's previous engineering experience in license-producing the KF-16 was a starting point for the development of the FA-50PH.

The aircraft can carry two pilots in tandem seating. The high-mounted canopy developed by Hankuk Fiber is applied with stretched acrylic, providing the pilots with good visibility, and has been tested to offer the canopy with ballistic protection against four-pound objects impacting at 400 knots.

The altitude limit is 14,600 meters (48,000 feet), and airframe is designed to last 8,000 hours of service.

There are seven internal fuel tanks with capacity of 2,655 liters (701 US gallons), five in the fuselage and two in the wings.

An additional 1,710 liters (452 US gallons) of fuel can be carried in the three external fuel tanks.

Trainer variants have a paint scheme of white and red, and aerobatic variants white, black, and yellow.

The FA-50PH uses a single General Electric F404-102 turbofan engine license-produced by Samsung Techwin, upgraded with a full authority digital engine control system jointly developed by General Electric and Korean Aerospace Industries.

The engine consists of three-staged fans, seven axial stage arrangement, and an afterburner.

Its engine produces a maximum of 78.7 kN (17,700 lbf) of thrust with afterburner.


NBI: TV crew’s attackers claimed allegiance to ISIS

From The Standard (Dec 30): NBI: TV crew’s attackers claimed allegiance to ISIS

Motorcycle-riding gunmen who shot at an ABS-CBN television crew based in Iligan claimed to be sympathizers of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation said  Monday.

Alex Cabornay, head of the NBI agents in Northern Mindanao, said four men riding in two motorcycles shot at the TV crew on a busy street in Banggolo, Marawi City a day after Christmas.

Cabornay said the ABS-CBN crew of three was unhurt, but the windshield of their service pick-up was shattered. The crew sought help from a nearby military camp and was escorted back to Iligan City.

Cabornay said NBI agents have launched a manhunt for the suspects, who have also figured in other crimes.

He said the group wanted to gain recognition—and financial assistance—from ISIS.

The three-man Iligan-based ABS-CBN crew headed by reporter Ronnie Enderes went to Marawi City to cover the bombing of an electrical tower in Rama-in, 13 kilometers from Marawi City. He was with cameraman Emelito Balansag and driver Garry Montecillo.

Enderes said his crew was already going home when they noticed that two motorbikes were tailing them.

“We tried to mislead the suspects by following various routes, but were later caught in Banggolo where one of the suspects fired at the driver and the other at the left side of our service vehicle,” he said.

“The car’s windshield was broken but the wheel was not hit. None of us was hit too. We were able to ask for assistance at the Army brigade in Marawi City,” he said.

Enderes, who has been a reporter for 16 years, said this was the first time he had been attacked.

Senator Francis Escudero  on Tuesday  condemned the attack and urged the authorities to speed up their investigation.

He said the assassination attempt on Enderes and his crew was “a serious attack against press freedom.”

“There is no doubt that the ambush was work-related. Although no one was seriously injured, it is important that authorities go after those responsible for the incident and put them behind bars, otherwise there will be no end to the culture of impunity against journalists,” he said.

This year alone, seven Filipino journalists have been killed; the latest among them is Jose Bernardo, a radio dwIZ correspondent and columnist for the tabloid Bandera Pilipino.

A lone gunman shot Bernardo in front of a restaurant in Barangay Kaligayahan, Quezon City on  Oct. 21. He suffered two gunshot wounds in the head and died on the spot.

Bernardo was the 32nd journalist to be killed under the Aquino administration and the third in Quezon City. Many of the killings of journalists remained unsolved.


New brigade commanders named (Some bio data)

From the Business Mirror (Dec 29): New brigade commanders named

TWO senior colonels were appointed to command two brigades assigned to the Lucena-based Southern Luzon Command, the unit spokesman said on Tuesday.

Appointed to command the Cavinti, Laguna-based 202nd Infantry Brigade was Col. Glorivine R. Dida, while Col. Fernando T. Trinidad assumed leadership of the 903rd Infantry Brigade in Castilla, Sorsogon.

Dida is a member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1986, while Trinidad is a member of PMA Class of 1987.

The appointments put the two officers in line for their first stars.

Prior to his current position, Dida was the director of the Doctrine Center, Training and Doctrine Command based at Camp Servillano Aquino in Tarlac.
As a junior officer, Dida served as platoon leader, company commander and battalion intelligence officer duties in Mindanao. He was also a former commander of the 84th Infantry Battalion in the Visayas.
Dida replaced Col. Rodel Mauro R. Alarcon who is now the assistant commander of the Second Infantry “Jungle Fighter” Division based in Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal.
The 202nd Infantry Brigade provides internal security operations in Rizal and northern part of Quezon province.

Regarded as one of the military’s top and respected intelligence officers, Trinidad was the former assistant chief of staff for intelligence of the Army prior his appointment to 903rd Infantry Brigade. He was also the former commander of the 31st Infantry Battalion that is deployed in Camarines Sur and Norte.

Trinidad succeeded Col. Cesar M. Idio who is now the new assistant commander of the 8th Infantry “Stormtrooper” Division in the Eastern Visayas. The 903rd Infantry Brigade provides internal-security operations in the provinces of Sorsogon and Masbate.


MILF: BLMI conducts series of Comprehensive Capacity Building for Bangsamoro Potential Leaders in Zamboanga City

Posted to the MILF Website (Dec 29): BLMI conducts series of Comprehensive Capacity Building for Bangsamoro Potential Leaders in Zamboanga City

BLMI conducts series of Comprehensive Capacity Building for Bangsamoro Potential Leaders in Zamboanga City

The Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) in conjunction with community leaders, people’s organizations (PO’s) and Bangsamoro Religious leaders conducted series of Comprehensive Capacity Building Training Workshops on December 24-27, 2015 in Zamboanga City.
The program dubbed as “Comprehensive Capacity Building Training for Bangsamoro Potential Leaders” was aimed at capacitating and enhancing the Bangsamoro community leaders’ knowledge not just in peace-building endeavors but improving their personal integrity and interpersonal relationship which are viewed as integral elements of successful leaders, managers and peace advocates.

The first activity was held at Barangay Baliwasan, Zamboanga City on December 24-25 attended by local key leaders, with others coming from nearby barangays.

Resource lecturer, Mr. Tirso Tahir, BLMI Research Unit head focused his subject  on Leadership and Management in Islamic perspective…He emphasized its basic principles and practices inscribed in the Noble Qur’an and in Hadiths - The sayings and Practices of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

He also quoted some verses from the Noble Qur’an pertaining to leadership that said:

Allah said…“It is He Who hath made you (His) agents, inheritors of the earth: He hath raised you in ranks, some above others: that He may try you in the gifts He hath given you: for thy Lord is quick in punishment: yet He is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful…Al-Qur'an, 6.165 (Al-Anaam)

In the afternoon session, Tahir lectured on “Integrity” described as one of the core values that every individual must internalize.

He quoted Samuel Johnson who said that, “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.”

On the second-day, Mr. Tahir delved on “Parliamentary Procedures” upon the request of community leaders to familiarize themselves on its basic principles and practices they considered as very helpful and adoptable when conducting regular meetings and sessions.

UNYPAD student leaders Yusep Abduhasad and Zulfhikar Samsaraji facilitated the program.

On December26-27, another two-day workshop was also held in Barangay Tulungatung, west coast barangay of Zamboanga City. It was also attended by community leaders, Arabic Teachers and Youth leaders.

Youth leader Samsaraji lectured on “Bridging Leadership” where he emphasized the important concepts and elements of leadership in time of conflict and adversaries, its mechanisms and approaches on how to mitigate if not solve conflict in their communities.

Tahir presented his topic on Leadership and Management is Islamic perspective in a very comprehensive manner. He also used layman’s term to be easily understood by participants. He stressed that in Islam, leadership is Amanah (Trust) and further quoted various verses from noble Qur’an and Hadiths…

Abd Allah Ibn Umar (Allah be pleased with them) reported that the Messenger of Allah (SAW) Prophet Muhammad said: “Behold! Each of you is a guardian, and each of you will be asked about his subjects”

In the second day, Tahir lectured on “Integrity” and emphasized its essential principles that have correlations with Islam… Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said…"Allah does not look at your appearance or your possessions; but He looks at your heart and your deeds." (Abu Huraira: Muslim)

He also lectured on “Anti-corruption Initiatives and Preventions”. Corruption maybe committed by everyone when Integrity is low if not absent in them. Corruption is not only all about devouring people’s money but also the people’s trust and etc. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said…"Be not like the hypocrite who, when he talks, he tells lies; when he gives a promise, he breaks it; and when he is trusted, he proves dishonest." (Bukhari & Muslim)

Before the activity ended, Tahir gave updates on the current status of Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in congress. He urged the participants not to lost hope and must continue their peace-building advocacies despite its uncertainty in congress.

He expressed his hope that once enacted into law, the BBL can finally resolve the Bangsamoro question and address the Bangsamoro Peoples’ aspiration to right to-self-determination.

In their closing messages, the participants expressed their profound gratitude to the resource persons, BLMI and UNYPAD for conducting the capacity-building programs in Zamboanga City’s grassroots Communities.


DWDD: NEW LEADERSHIP // Col Dida is now the 202nd Brigade Commander

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 28): NEW LEADERSHIP // Col Dida is now the 202nd Brigade Commander

CAMP GEN MATEO CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal – In a Change of Command Ceremony presided by MGen Romeo G Gan AFP, Commander, 2ID, PA this morning, December 23, 2015, Col Glorivine R Dida INF (GSC) PA was now installed as the new Brigade Commander of 202nd Infantry Brigade, 2ID, PA.

The said activity which was attended by various dignitaries and local government officials started at around 8:30 AM and was held at Headquarters, 202nd Infantry (Unifier) Brigade at Brgy. West Talaongan, Cavinti, Laguna.

During the ceremony, MGen Gan expressed his trust and confidence to the newly installed Brigade Commander. “Col Dida, I am certain that you will lead the Unifier Troops well to keep the Brigade always in step with our Division, in pursuit of organizational transformation and lasting peace in our AOR. Rest assured that 202nd Brigade has the full confidence and all-out support of the 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division. I say, good luck, accomplish faithfully your mission and take care of our men under you,” said MGen Gan.

Col Dida, who is now leading the Unifier Brigade which covers the whole area of Rizal and North Quezon, is a member of PMA “Sinaglahi” Class of 1986. He was the former Director of the Doctrine Center at Training and Doctrine Command, Philippine Army prior to the assumption of his new post.

On the other hand, Col Rodel Mauro R Alarcon GSC (INF) PA, the outgoing Brigade Commander of 202nd Bde, 2ID, PA will be assuming post as the Assistant Division Commander of 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter) Division, Philippine Army.


DWDD: YEARENDER // Army ends 2015 with more armored assets, new rifles

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 28): YEARENDER // Army ends 2015 with more armored assets, new rifles

Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City–Modernization efforts of the Philippine Army (PA) ended with a bright note after it started distribution of its new 5.56mm R4A3 automatic rifles last September and 77 M-113A2 APCs (armored personnel carriers), earlier pledged, arrived last Dec.10 in Subic Bay, Zambales.

Another 37 are expected to reach the country by the third week of December, completing the 114 APCs commitment made by the US. Transfer of these surplus American APCs was made possible through the US Excess Defense Article (EDA) Program.

Another highlight for the PA is the testing of six units out of the 28 refurbished M-113A2 which are fitted with .50 caliber remote-controlled weapon systems last September 21. The six APCs were transported to Tarlac last July 8 as part of 28 APC refurbishment deal with Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit Systems Ltd worth Php882 million.

The remaining upgraded APC units will be arriving by 2016. Fourteen of the M-113s will be configured as fire support vehicles, four as infantry fighting vehicles, another four as armored recovery units.

And during the third week of September, the PA started distribution of its brand-new 5.56mm R4A3 rifles to ground units.

“By 2016, the PA envisions to be a well-equipped and respected Army in Southeast Asia, and a potent force that is ready and capable to address external threats,” PA commander Lt. Gen. Eduardo M. Año said.


DWDD: DIRTY TACTICS // AFP’s EastMinCom Condemns the PTC Scheme of CNN

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 28): DIRTY TACTICS // AFP’s EastMinCom Condemns the PTC Scheme of CNN


NSFA, Panacan, Davao City – The AFP’s Eastern Mindanao Command condemns in strongest term the extortion schemes perpetrated by the bandits under the CPP- NPA-NDF against politicians who will be conducting their campaigns in the areas of Eastern Mindanao. 
The CNN’s resorting to armed struggle utilizing threats, intimidation, terror and violence infringes upon the constitutional rights of the people to choose the best leaders who can bring real reforms through good governance.
These dirty tactics employed by the CPP-NPA-NDF are meant to delimit the candidates’ campaign activities in the countryside. 
EastMinCom again advises the candidates against giving in to the demands of the CNN bandits as the extortion money can be used to sustain the armed struggle through violence and intimidations against innocent civilians and properties. Also as consequence, this CNN extortion scheme hampers the delivery of government services and causing underdevelopment or non-development of far-flung communities.
EastMinCom also noted the hype delivered by NDF-Mindanao when the fact remains clear that for the whole of year 2015 alone, there has been a significant reduction in CNN capability in all parameters. 
With the help and efforts of the stakeholders, the number of regular NPA members in Eastern Mindanao was reduced by 17% or 344, majority through surrenders and the number of affected barangays was reduced by 27% or 152. 
Also for the same period, the NPAs high powered firearms were reduced by 148 and there were five (5) guerrilla fronts dismantled. 
The CNN decline in Eastern Mindanao is evidenced by its simple holding of anniversary celebration. 
Many of the stakeholders particularly those former rebels and victims of CNN atrocities have come out on the open to expose its dirty tactics; which include the radicalization of students and mobilization and exploitation of the IPs.

Maranaw peace activists: Stop spreading media ambush hoax

From the Philippine Star (Dec 29): Maranaw peace activists: Stop spreading media ambush hoax

Maranaw peace activists march on the streets of Marawi City to manifest indignation over Saturday’s ambush of a visiting ABS-CBN news team. Facebook

MARAWI CITY, Philippines - Peace activists on Monday called on local folks to refrain from spreading unfounded stories on Saturday’s ambush here of a visiting news team and help determine who the culprits were instead.
No one was hurt when gunmen opened fire on the vehicle carrying local ABS-CBN employees, reporter Ronnie Enderes, cameraman Emilito Balansag and driver Garry Montecillo, but the incident sparked public outrage and worsened the image of the city, now touted as the new crime capital of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

Maranaw peace advocates and representatives from different civil society organizations (CSOs) belonging to the Bangsamoro National Movement for Peace and Development (BNMPD) on Monday marched around to manifest indignation over the incident and express  sympathy to the Fourth Estate.

ARMM’s regional vice governor, Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman, condemned the incident and called “mindless” the motorcycle-riding gunmen who shot with handguns the pick-up truck of the ABS-CBN news team while at Banggolo District here.

Lucman called on his constituents and relatives in Maranaw royal clans to help the police identify the people responsible for the attack to hasten their prosecution.

“They should be prosecuted to achieve proper dispensation of justice. The attempt to harm these newsmen was both unconstitutional and un-Islamic,” Lucman said.

Agakhan “Bin Laden” Sharief, chairperson of the multi-sectoral BNMPD, said his group was saddened by the incident.

Sharief, a staunch supporter of the Mindanao peace process, said Maranaws are friendly to the Fourth Estate.

He said it is the media that helps disseminate their peace-building activities in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur.

Sharief, most known here as “Bin Laden” for his long beard, which is for him a personality trademark, urged the police to immediately resolve the incident.

Monday’s indignation rally here was jointly organized by Sharief and another popular peace activist, Drieza Abato Lininding, and their CSO supporters.

A bloc of journalists covering the ARMM regional police office in Camp S.K. Pendatun in Maguindanao province and members of Central Mindanao’s Kampilan Press Corps (KPC) had also condemned the incident.

Many members of the two groups, particularly those in the KPC, which covers the peace-building programs of the Philippine Army’s 6th Infantry “Kampilan” Division, are gun collectors and have strong advocacy for arming of journalists as protection from potential attackers.

The police, the military, reporters, local officials in Lanao del Sur and in Marawi City and in other ARMM provinces were irked with the Facebook blogs of a self-proclaimed Maranaw journalist circulating stories purporting that the vehicle of the ABS-CBN employees had figured in a prior road accident and that the attack was an offshoot of their having tried to run away to escape from liability.

Sources from the ARMM regional police office, among them Maranaw officers, said no one from among local probers still sifting through the crime scene, collecting statements from witnesses, found veracity on the assertion of the social media publicist-blogger.

“That was so irresponsible. So premature and whimsical and so heretic,” said a ranking police official in Lanao del Sur.

ARMM Gov. Mujiv Hataman, chairman of the inter-agency regional peace and order council, urged Marawi City and Lanao Del Sur residents to wait for the official result of the probe on the incident.

Hataman appealed for sobriety among members of the Fourth Estate in Cotabato City and surrounding provinces who were hurt by the ambush of their colleagues.

Hataman said his political deputy, Lucman, who is ARMM’s second highest elected official, and the regional local government department are closely monitoring the ongoing investigation on the incident


BIFF blamed for power tower bombings in Mindanao

From the Philippine Star (Dec 29): BIFF blamed for power tower bombings in Mindanao

Lost command rebels believed to be part of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighter (BIFF) have plotted to bomb more power pylons in Mindanao, according to authorities.

The report came out after steel tower No. 4 of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), which carries power line of 138-kilovolt Agus 2 located in Barangay Nangka, Baloi, Lanao del Sur, was bombed Monday morning.

The explosion, which failed to topple down the steel pylon, brought power interruption to vast areas of different cooperatives.

Beth Ladaga, NGCP corporate communication officer for Western Mindanao, said at least eight steel towers were planned to be bombed by lawless elements over the holiday season based on intelligence reports.

She said the explosion in Baloi was the fourth attack so far since December 24.

“We appealed to the public specially those localities where our power towers are located to help us monitor to avert any power interruption,” Lagada said.

She also made an appeal to government security forces for assistance in resolving security issues involving transmission lines.

Ladaga did not say if the NGCP were receiving extortion demand from any lawless group which prompted the bombings.


Bomb lobbed at videoke bar in Cotabato

From the Philippine Star (Dec 29): Bomb lobbed at videoke bar in Cotabato

COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Unidentified men on Monday night lobbed a small improvised explosive device (IED) in a roadside videoke pub here, sending drinkers, some of them so drunk, running for their lives.

Workers of the Kulolot Videoke House along a highway west of the city told probers the IED, fashioned from a 40 millimeter shoulder-fire projectile rigged with a blasting mechanism, failed to explode.

Responding police and Army bomb experts managed to dispose the IED off safely.

The establishment is near the busy Alnor Commercial Complex, which has restaurants, a hotel and a newly-opened shopping mall.

Investigators are yet to identify the two men behind the bungled bombing attempt.

Bomb experts have not confirmed too if the IED was real, or hoax, only meant to scare customers of the bar.


Troopers engage communities in pre-Christmas activities

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 29): Troopers engage communities in pre-Christmas activities

LAGANGILANG, Abra -- The 24th Infantry (Wildcat) Battalion of the 7th Infantry Division concluded its first pre-Christmas activities for a Cause on December 14 and 15 at its headquarters in Sitio Barbarit, Brgy. Tagodtod this town with support and participation of stakeholders.

On the first day was the Basketball Friendship Games joined by Lagangilang Municipal Police Station, Tagodtod Youth and 77thCivilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).

Aside from engaging community dynamics, the troopers also led the Road Run and tree planting to intensify their role in mitigating and combating the adverse effects of climate change.

Another featured activity was pinning of rank insignias to battalion personnel in recognition of their meritorious service for the country. Tineg Mayor Corinthia Crisologo accompanied Lt.Col. Monib Mamao, 24th IB Commander, in the pinning ceremony.

The new Officer’s Mess Hall donated by the local government of Tineg was also inaugurated.

 Since the 24th IB has just assumed command post after the 50th IB here last October, the Wildcat Troopers started to establish good tidings and develop rapport with the community.


3ID chief wants closer ties with mediamen

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 29): 3ID chief wants closer ties with mediamen

Among the initial wish list of newly installed 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) commander Brig. Gen. Harold N. Cabreros is to meet and know the tri-media practitioners in Panay and Negros Islands soon.

“Maybe we could schedule a fellowship to know each other and make ourselves accessible with each other,” Cabreros said during a first media interaction before he officially assumed as the 3ID’s top official in a ceremony last Dec. 23 at Camp Gen. Macario Peralta, Jr. in Jamindan town.

Cabreros predecessor, now Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom) chief Maj. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero,  initiated media-friendly initiatives like Army Transformation Roadmap orientation seminar, boodle fightwith mediamen, socialization and the active operation of the Division’s Public Affairs Office (DPAO), among others.

“Usually the new commander continues the plans initiated by the outgoing commander,” he stressed.

Cabreros has been the EastMinCom deputy commander prior to his 3ID assignment.

The change of command ceremony was graced by Philippine Army commanding general Lieutenant General Eduardo Año as the Presiding General Officer and guest speaker.


Hiligaynon News: 3ID commander gusto mapalapit sa mga katapu sang media

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 29): Hiligaynon News: 3ID commander gusto mapalapit sa mga katapu sang media (3rd Infantry Division commander will be closer to the media)

Nagpahayag sang interes si Brig. Gen. Harold N. Cabreros nga bag-o nga commander sang 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) sang Philippine Army nga makilala ang mga katapu sang media sa rehiyon bilang una nga mga inisyatibo sang iya pagdumala sang 3ID.

“Mahimo nga makatalana kita sang pagtililipon sa media agud nga magkakilala subongman madasig naton nga ma-kontak ang tagsa-tagsa,” ang pahayag sang ika-35 nga commander sang 3ID nga naka-base sa Kampo Heneral Macario Peralta, Jr. sa banwa sang Jamindan.

Matandaan nga madamu nga mga inisyatibo nga ginpatigayon ang liderato ni Maj. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero sa iya ti-on nga 3ID commander kapareho sang orientation seminar nahanungod sa Army Transformation Roadmap, boodle fight kaupod sa mga brodkaster kag manunulat, aktibo nga operasyon sang Public Affairs Office sang Division (DPAO) kag madamu nga iban pa.

Ginpabutyag dugang ni Cabreros nga iya igapadayon ang mga naumpisahan nga plano kag mga aktibidades ni Maj. Gen. Guerrero nga karon amo na ang commander sang Eastern Mindanao Command.

Samtang ang “Change of Command Ceremony” sang nagligad nga semana ang gintambongan ni Lt. Gen. Eduardo Año nga Commanding General sang Philippine Army bilang dinapit nga bisita, humalambal kag Presiding General Officer.


PNP deploys 88 SAF elements in Samar

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 29): PNP deploys 88 SAF elements in Samar

No less than the PNP Chief Ricardo Marquez deployed some 88 Special Action Force (SAF) Team in Samar to arrest the spate of violent situation in Samar especially in Calbayog City.

The shooting incidents have led some netizens to call the city ‘Killbayog’ instead of Calbayog, to which Mayor Ronald Aquino and Secretary Mel Senen Sarmiento of DILG felt slighted.

“Please do not call our city ‘killbayog,’” Aquino pleaded  to the media. Today too, with the presence of PNP Chief Marquez, Sarmiento expressed the same sentiment.

Sarmiento urged the members of the civil society who came for a consultation with him and the Chief PNP to help each other bring back the time in Calbayog, sometime in the 90’s when the politicians can campaign peacefully and feel totally secure.

As Marquez faced the media and the civil society today, he asked them, if they ‘feel the presence’ of the security forces at work.

As the audience seemed silent, Marquez assured them that his team composed of generals and high ranking police officers will focus on Samar to make peace happen.

“We are committed and dedicated to solve this problem,” referring to the violence in the city.

The Chief PNP said they will employ deliberate effort to solve the crimes by waging a resolute campaign to operate on loose firearms, focused campaign on wanted persons and guns for hire.

The problem on the peace and order situation in the city has prompted the police leadership to focus on the area.

The 88 special action force team will be deployed early next year while the city is presently constructing their barracks.

He assured the Samarnons that with their help and cooperation, the police will be able to neutralize the criminals and bring justice to the victims of violence.

Just yesterday afternoon, despite the presence of PNP and army officials, a fish vendor was shot to death by an unidentified gunman.


More MNLF coops receive hauler trucks

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 28): More MNLF coops  receive  hauler  trucks

Thirteen more  Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) cooperatives  have  received  hauler  trucks recently.

The latest  beneficiaries of the  PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA)-funded  project  were  cooperatives in  Sulu  and Tawi-Tawi, according to the Regional Agriculture and Fishery  Division of the  Department of  Agriculture  in the  Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

ARMM Executive Secretary Atty. Laisa Masuhud-Alamia and DA-ARMM Regional Secretary Alexander Alonto, Jr. led  to turnover  ceremony of the vehicles to the recipient cooperatives at the ORG Compound in Cotabato City on December 22.

DA-ARMM PAMANA Program Focal Person Engr. Guiomla Satol said  the beneficiaries in Sulu were Bud Kaha Agricultural Cooperative in Indanan, Kasambuhan Multi-Purpose Cooperative in Patikul, Tandu-Tanduh Agri-Marine Cooperative in Panamao, Saladong Agri-Marine Producers Cooperative in Siasi, Silangkan Agri-Marine Producers Cooperative in Parang.

Kambing Agri-Marine Producers Cooperative in Kalinggalang Caluang, Angkaya Agricultural Producers Coop in Maimbung, Lahing-Lahing Agri-Marine Producers Coop in Omar,  Bud Daho Agricultural Producers Coop and Tandu Bagna Agri-Marine Producers Coop in Patikul.

Each got a six-wheeler KIA Bonggo hauler truck  worth Php350,000.

Meanwhile, cooperative   recipients in Lanao del Sur were the Pagayawan Urban Poor MPC in Pagawayan, Salipongan Producers Cooperative in Balindong and Frontline National MPC in Poona Bayabao.

Given to them  were six-wheeler  Isuzu  Elf trucks  worth Php800,000 each.

For this  batch of  trucks, the PAMANA Program of  DA spent  Php6.050 million.

Since November, PAMANA has  already distributed almost Php 24 million worth of similar assistance to  37 MNLF cooperatives  in Maguindanao, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi at Lanao del Sur.


Hiligaynon news: Wala operasyon batok sa NPA tubtob Bag-ong Tuig

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 30): Hiligaynon news: Wala operasyon batok sa NPA tubtob Bag-ong Tuig (No operations against the NPA until the New Year)

Kasunod sa pag-obserbar sang Paskua, si Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ricardo A. Marquez,  nagdeklarar sang suspensyon sang opensiba (SOPO)  batok sa New People’s Army (NPA) sa bilog nga pungsod sugod tungang gab-I sang Disyembre 23, 2015 tubtob tungang gab-i sang Enero 1, 2016.

Bilang kabahin sang tuigan nga tradisyon, ang  SOPO gina-obwerbar kag ginarespeto sang tanan nga mga units kag tinawo sang PNP nga nagamando sa pagdumili sa mga tropa sa pag-una sang opensiba batok sa NPA.

Ang  SOPO  wala nagasakup sang normal nga pagpatuman sang laye lakip na ang pagserbe sa mandu de aresto.

Sa pagkilala sang duna nga kinamatarong sa pagpangapin sa ila lawas, ang tanan nga mga units nagapabilin nga naga-aligmat kag nagamentinar sang mataas nga     pagpangandam sa pagresponder sa ano man nga mga pagpanghangkat.

Suno sa  PNP Chief,  dugang nga pagpangamdam kag  tikang sa pagpanghanda ang dapat obserbahan agud malikawan ang mga pag-atake sang mga NPA sa importante nga mga instalasyon kag mga estasyon sang polis, katulad sang mga insidente sa Barangay New Eden, Pangantucan, Bukidnon sadtong Disyembre 12, 2015 kun sa diin ang mga tinawo sang Pangantucan Municipal Police Station gin ambush samtang nagaresponder sila.

Ang PNP  magapadayon sa pagpatigayon sang aktibo nga mga tikang sa pagdepensa katulad sang mga patrol sa seguridad agud magproteksyunan ang mga kampo sang PNP, estasyon, importante nga instalasyon kag mga sibilyan nga komunidad, rota sa seguridad kag pagpabaskug sang mga depensiba nga posisyon.

Sa nagligad, ang mga  PNP units  nagpatigayon man sang pag muzzle taping sang mga armas, kasunod sa gindugangan nga mga pagpaniguha sang PNP batok sa illegal nga pagpalupok sang mga arams sa sini nga Paskua.


DSWD, KALAHI-CIDSS carry out annual monitoring, evaluation forum

From the Philippine Information Agency (Dec 30): DSWD, KALAHI-CIDSS carry out annual monitoring, evaluation forum

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office 10 gathered the regional Kapit Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (KALAHI-CIDSS) National Community Driven Development (NCDDP) staff to its three-day Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Forum at Chali Beach Resort on December 14-16.

Deputy regional program manager Teofreda Dingal expressed her congratulations to all area coordinating teams who have strived to complete the important milestone of the program, “We know this is not an easy job but you have sustained your commitment to work the department, the annual forum is a venue for all the key staff to sit down together and share information, data, initiatives and best practices in your respective area of assignments.”

KALAHI-CIDSS aims to empower communities through their enhanced participation in community projects that reduce poverty by providing seed funds for community infrastructure, common service facilities, capability-building initiatives, and improve governance by providing training programs and capacity strengthening for local government units (LGUs) as local institutions.

Among the goals of this program is the improved delivery of basic services that will likely impact on better community health, sanitation and welfare to enhance human development, and alleviate local poverty.

Regional Monitoring Evaluation Specialist Gemina G. Lopez said that the objective of the Annual Monitoring and Evaluation Forum include the presentation of the status of the Area Coordinating Teams (ACT) in terms of database, increase skills in handling of computer units for an efficient database management, venue for information sharing, best practice and initiatives, and give due recognition to ACT and Municipal Database Managers (MDMs) in their exemplary performance and contribution.

Lopez also stressed that to fully appreciate the importance of an accurate database, one must be diligent and efficient with their respective tasks to be able to tell the story of each municipality and barangay covered in the KALAHI-CIDSS program.

The 135 participants were treated to a series of skills enhancement lectures such as efficient data encoding, files/records management, data quality assurance, data and system recovery, keeping your personal computer or laptop among others.

Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte Area Coordinator Binladin Tiolo shares his learning insights on the forum saying that “As a newly hired area coordinator of the KALAHI-CIDSS NCDDP, the annual monitoring and evaluation forum provided a venue for sharing and learning from other municipalities which can be replicated in our covered municipality, especially on improving data management techniques and innovations to assure efficient delivery of quality data.”

Tiolo also said,  “It is very important to note that reports are nothing without relevant data backed up, the forum helped us to better understand how important data management is in our work, we have a lot of gathered data from every Community Empowerment Activity Cycle (CEAC) activity but if the team does not know how to manage data, it’s nothing.”

“The recognitions we have received during the forum does not guarantee that we perform well, it is however a big challenge to do more, do better and be stronger,” Tiolo says.   

The closing ceremony of the forum paved way for the recognition of several outstanding ACTs and MDMs.

The Most Responsive Municipal Database Managers were Alejandro Arellano of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte; Catherine Ycoy and Janice Olano of Lala, Lanao del Norte, and Junel Uayan of Sagay, Camiguin.

Meanwhile, the Most Responsive Area Coordinators were Arline May Pacudan of Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental; Carolyn Caw-it of Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte; Ian Putong of Alubijid, Misamis Oriental; Jabbar Usman of Mambajao, Camiguin; Mary Crisa Ebcay of Sagay, Camiguin; and Gilmar Yamba of Panaon, Misamis Occidental.

Certificates of recognition recognition were also given to the top 10 area coordinators in their support to the success of the Municipal Talakayan: Irene Pulangas of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte; Carolyn Caw-it of Kolambugan, Lanao del Norte; Grace Lindo of Bonifacio, Misamis Occidental; Ruth Quilab of Calamba, Misamis Occidental, Ellen Paulo of Sinacaban, Misamis Occidental; Potri Taha of Malitbog, Bukidnon; Jurafe Lagradilla of Guinsiliban; and Marsha Alone of Catarman, Camiguin, and Subaida Parnan of Matungao, Lanao del Norte.

The Flash Award is given to the area coordinating teams who submit their reports on or before the deadlines: ACT of Sagay, Camiguin; ACT of Kibawe, Bukidnon, and ACT of Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.


Maranaos indignant over attack of TV journalists

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Dec 28): Maranaos indignant over attack of TV journalists

Maranaos are indignant over the ambush Saturday of a news crew of ABS-CBN in Marawi City.

On Monday afternoon, over a hundred mostly Maranao youth activists staged a lightning march in the city's Banggolo district where the ambush happened.

This is to show our disgust and condemnation of the attack, said Drieza Lininding of the Bangsamoro National Movement for Peace and Development.

The activists distributed flyers to passersby and pedestrians that bore messages urging the Maranao people to condemn and not tolerate the attack.

"Media (practitioners are) our friend, not our enemy," read one flyer and banner.

"Let us prove to the international community that we are media friendly and that they are safe here," Lininding urged the Maranaos.

"We may not agree with how media practitioners depict our struggle for self-determination and our fight for the Bangsamoro Basic Law, but the media in northern Mindanao have been kind and fair with us," Lininding explained.

Liningding disclosed that they are also gathering pieces of information and clue to identify the suspects.

Aga Khan Shareif, a Moro peace builder, told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro by phone that during a meeting with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front of the two Lanao provinces on December 27, the group vows to help investigate in finding out the culprit of the attempt on the lives of the ABS-CBN news team.

The ABS-CBN news crew escaped physically unscathed from the ambush but they suffered psychological trauma.

They were following up on the bombing of a transmission tower in Ramain, Lanao del Sur on December 24 when motorcycle-riding men followed them and chanced to stage the attack in Marawi.

Local journalists who usually cover Lanao del Sur are confounded by the attack which is not usual in the province despite its unstable security situation.


Reds in Bukidnon laud peasant struggle

From the often pro-CPP Davao Today (Dec 29): Reds in Bukidnon laud peasant struggle

SOMEWHERE IN BUKIDNON PROVINCE – Hundreds gathered and cheered as the host recounted the “victories” of the peasant movement in the region during the 47th founding anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines here on Saturday.

The celebration started with the singing of communist hymn, Internationale, and followed by a play which paid tribute to the ‘martyrs’ of the New People’s Army.

Another skit was played showing different struggles and mass actions of the peasants this year, which started when drought hit several municipalities in Bukidnon on January 2015. The drought left thousands of peasants with nothing to farm and to eat.

On June 12, farmers from Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Kitaotao (KMK) rallied in front of Kitaotao Municipal Hall and the National Food Authority warehouse in Maramag demanding for 3,000 sacks of rice.

Related Story: Bukidnon farmers to receive 3,000 sacks of rice after protest

Red tagging

But the farmers did not only received support for their cause, they also received threats which they call as “psywars”, tagging them as NPA members.

Ka Theo of the NPA’s Mt. Apo Operations Command said that they lauded the victories of the peasant movement in their area of responsibility.

“Ang kahakog sa gobyerno ang nagtukmod sa mga mag-uuma na musukol og maningil (The greed of the government has pushed farmers to fight and claim what is theirs),” Ka Theo said.

Last August 27 in White Culaman, Kitaotao, Bukidnon, 15 farmers were forced to board a military helicopter and were taken to Maramag after they were accused of being NPA members.

A farmers group in the locality said that “subversive documents, bombs, and other materials, were planted” to justify their arrest.

The arrest led several community members to flee their communities and find shelter at the nearby church in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato and in Davao City.

Related story: 15 farmers, including minor arrested in Bukidnon, forced to board helicopter

Ka Theo said that since the series of attacks against the community, more and more people are joining their ranks.

“In this front alone, our number will double as 2016 approaches,” he said.

For this year, Ka Theo said, more barrios (villages) are added in their area of responsibility.

The Front 53 of the New Peoples Army, according to Ka Theo, is now covering 90 villages in the municipalities of Bukidnon and North Cotabato.


Raps filed vs. 2 suspects in ambush of TV news team in Marawi City

From GMA News (Dec 29): Raps filed vs. 2 suspects in ambush of TV news team in Marawi City

Complaints have been filed against the two suspects in Saturday's ambush of a local TV news crew in Marawi City, police said Tuesday.

The suspects were identified as Yusop Sangcad and Nasser Masurong, residents of Barangay Lilod Madaya.

According to Chief Inspector Parson Asadil, Marawi City Police Station chief, the two were identified by witnesses.

Asadil filed a case of attempted murder against the two before the City Prosecutor's Office there on Monday.

"We already created a Task Group to conduct further investigation on the incident and to immediately arrest the suspects," he said.

Three members of a news team of ABS-CBN Iligan City were ambushed in Marawi City last Saturday afternoon, while they were working on a follow-up story on the recent bombing of a tower of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines.

Attackers on motorcycle shot at the Ford pickup (WMW 435) of the crew, who were identified as Ronnie Enderes, reporter; Emilito Balansag, cameraman; and Garie Montecilio, driver.

The three were unhurt in the incident, the police report said, adding that two empty shells of cal-.45 handgun were recovered from the crime scene.

Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao Gov. Mujiv Hataman condemned the attack and ordered an investigation of the incident.

In a statement, ABS-CBN News said it was relieved that the whole crew was unharmed. It urged the authorities to investigate the attack and "bring the perpetrators to justice soonest."