Thursday, May 5, 2016

Chinese ambassador wants 'new chapter' with Philippines after sea row ruling

From the Philippine Star (May 6): Chinese ambassador wants 'new chapter' with Philippines after sea row ruling

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua said that the Philippines and China should focus on its bilateral relationship instead of its differences. File photo

China wants a "new chapter" with the Philippines regardless of the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration under the United Nations on the South China Sea case, a Chinese diplomat said.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jinhua said that the two countries should focus on "areas that we can benefit."

"Of course, we have differences. We hope that we can handle it properly and we should not let the focus be these differences," Zhao told members of the press on the sidelines of the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the European Union-Philippines relationship.

The Chinese diplomat added that China and the Philippines should instead focus on its bilateral relationship.

Zhao cited that China was able to resolve its territorial disputes with Russia and Vietnam through bilateral dialogue and negotiation.

"It did take a very long time for China and Vietnam to reach an agreement over land border, with Russia nearly half a century but these are treaties. They are binding," Zhao said.

Zhao added that the Philippines and China should not have a conflict with each other as they are friends, neighbors and partners.

"I hope that we can be wise enough, be patient enough to continue or to resume the bilateral talk so that we can find a solution that is agreeable to both sides," the Chinese diplomat said.

The Chinese diplomat noted that he is willing to personally meet with the next Philippine president to improve the relationship between the two nations.

"We have been following the remarks of the candidates. I think almost all of them emphasized their willingness to talk with China. They are willing to develop the economic and trade relations with China so let's see," Zhao said.

The international tribunal is expected to issue its ruling on the case of the Philippines against China this month. China has for the past years repeatedly stated its position that it would not be participating in the proceedings as it does not accept the arbitration.
The Philippines, meanwhile, will hold its general elections on Monday.

Poll-related NPA 'intimidation' reported in two Samar barangays –military

From GMA News (May 6): Poll-related NPA 'intimidation' reported in two Samar barangays –military

The military on Thursday said it has received reports of election-related "intimidation" being committed by communist New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Samar.

Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesman for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the incidents were reported in Brgy. Candomacol in Motiong town and in Brgy De-it in Matuguinao on Wednesday.

"The AFP has responded to these reports and to date continues to monitor threat groups including the NPA who have been terrorizing our communities on the ground," Padilla said.

In Motiong, 15 rebels allegedly threatened to execute barangay officials if the candidates the communist movement is endorsing lose in their respective areas, according to Padilla.

Padilla did not identify the candidates endorsed by the NPA, but said they were a "presidential candidate and a certain current member of Congress who is vying for a national post."

As a result, the neighboring barangays of Calapi, Bunga, and Malobago, all in Motiong, requested military presence, Padilla said.

Meanwhile, in Matuguinao town, some 20 rebels "hauled" around 30 residents, "all of which were political leaders of a mayoralty candidate that they (rebels) were trying to influence," Padilla said.

Padilla said nobody was reported hurt in the two incidents.

"I believe there was no gunfire... there was no violence that ensued so we are continuously following up on these reports and the necessary activities that need to be made to secure these areas so that people can freely chose who they want to vote for without being intimidated by these armed groups," he said.

Rebel returnee shot dead in Cebu

From GMA News (May 6): Rebel returnee shot dead in Cebu

A rebel returnee was killed in a shooting incident on Thursday in Cebu, a television report said Friday.

GMA News' Lou Anne Mae Rodina on Unang Balita identified the victim as Rene Cangmaong.

Citing initial information, Rodina said the victim was driving his motorbike in Tuburan town when suspect Luduvico Oroquero shot him in ambush.

Authorities caught up with Oroquero in a followup operation.

While in police custody, the suspect denied having a hand in the Cangmaong slay, but he yielded different types of firearms and ammunition, the report said.

Police are also looking into the possibility that the suspect is a member of private armed group, it added..

DND to acquire 189 metric tons of propellant powder

From Update.Ph (May 6): DND to acquire 189 metric tons of propellant powder

The Department of National Defense is acquiring 189 metric tons or an equivalent of three years supply of propellant powder worth PHP209 million.

This will be sourced from the General Appropriate Act Fiscal Year 2016 and Multi-Year Obligational Authority for Fiscal Year 2015.

The above-mentioned material fill the interior of an ammunition cartridge or the chamber of a gun or cannon, leading to the expulsion of a bullet or shell.

First delivery is for 63 metric tons is scheduled this 2016. Contract for this is worth PHP67,095,000.

Winning bidders are required to deliver the propellant powder within 120 days of Notice To Proceed (NTP).

Another 63 metric tons of propellant powder is scheduled to be delivered for Calendar Year 2017. Contract price is PHP69,778,800. Delivery must not be later than Jan. 31, 2017.

Interested bidders must have completed a similar project or contract within the last five years.

Pre-bid conference is slated this May 17, 10 a.m. at the DND-Bids and Awards Committee Conference Room, Basement, Left Wing, DND Building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Bid opening is on May 31, 10 a.m. on the same venue.

Indonesia, Malaysia, PH agree on enhanced security measures, intel exchange

From Update.Ph (May 6): Indonesia, Malaysia, PH agree on enhanced security measures, intel exchange  

Secretary of Foreign Affairs Jose Rene Almendras, Thursday, concluded a successful visit to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where he discussed with Indonesian and Malaysian counterparts enhanced security measures among the three countries to ensure unimpeded trade and commerce, particularly the safe movement of commercial shipping, goods, and people.

The Secretary went to Yogyakarta upon the invitation of the Indonesian government, which organized a trilateral meeting with the Philippines and Malaysia to tackle immediate maritime and security challenges affecting the three countries.

These include armed robbery against ships, kidnapping, transnational crimes, and terrorism in the region, particularly within maritime areas of common concern of the three countries.

The Secretary’s trip saw him meeting with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Foreign Minister Retno L.P. Marsudi.

“In meeting with civilian and military leaders of both Malaysia and Indonesia, I expressed the Philippines’ firm commitment to cooperate with them toward curbing lawless elements in maritime areas of common concern. I conveyed the message of President Benigno S. Aquino III of our openness to implement enhanced security measures to protect our people’s welfare and livelihood and ensure the continuation of commerce, trade and economic development in that region,” Secretary Almendras said.

Secretary Almendras added, “I am very pleased that, at the conclusion of the trilateral meeting, the three countries have come to an agreement and were able to issue a ‘Joint Declaration on Immediate Measures to Address Security Issues in the Maritime Areas of Common Concern among Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines’,” stating further that, “with this commitment to enhanced cooperation, I have been assured by Indonesia that vital shipping operations between our countries would soon be normalized.”

Indonesia is a vital source of coal for the Philippines’ energy needs, accounting for 96 percent of the country’s imports of said commodity.

Said Joint Declaration affirmed the commitment of the three countries to implement such measures as conducting patrols using existing and agreed-upon mechanisms, rendering immediate assistance for the safety of people and ships in distress within the maritime areas of common concern, facilitating timely sharing of information and intelligence, as well as establishing a hotline to facilitate coordination during emergencies and security threats.

The relevant Philippine, Indonesian and Malaysian agencies have also been instructed to meet as soon as possible and, subsequently, convene on a regular basis to implement and periodically review said measures and to formulate the Standard Operating Procedure for the cooperation among the three countries.

For this visit, the Secretary was accompanied by Vice Admiral Caesar Taccad AFP, representing the Acting Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the AFP, Philippine National Police, National Mapping Resource and Information Authority, and the Philippine Embassy in Jakarta.

Highest officials from Indonesia’s and Malaysia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry and Armed Forces attended the trilateral meeting.

Finally, Secretary Almendras also reassured the Indonesian and Malaysian governments that the Philippines continues intensified law enforcement operations on the ground in order to ensure the safe release of the remaining four Indonesian and four Malaysian abductees.

Military: Reds start harassing voters

From the Manila Times (May 5): Military: Reds start harassing voters

FOUR days before the local and  national elections, communist New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas in Samar province in the Visayas have started harassing people and threatening to harm them if they will not vote for a presidential and a senatorial candidate whom the rebel group is supporting, the military reported on Thursday.

Reports reaching the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, said two separate incidents of intimidation involving the NPA were recorded since Wednesday.

According to the reports, about 20 heavily-armed rebels hauled around 30 residents of Barangay De-it in Matuguinao, Samar, all of whom were political leaders of a mayoralty candidate.

In Barangay Candomacol, Motiong, Samar, around 15 fully-armed guerrillas were also monitored campaigning for a presidential candidate and a senatorial candidate.
“The group of rebels threatened to execute barangay [village] officials if their endorsed candidates lose in their respective areas. Further reports said  the residents in Barangay Calapi, Bunga and Malobago in Motiong requested additional AFP presence due to the NPA members in the area,” Col. Noel Detoyato, chief of the AFP Public Affairs Office, said.

He added that the AFP has responded to these reports and continues to monitor threat groups including the NPA that terrorizes the communities.

Meanwhile, Detoyato said that as part of the AFP’s mission to provide security support and assistance to the Commission on Elections (Comelec)  in the implementation of election laws, rules and regulations, various military units are at present active in providing convoy escort, patrols, clearing and security operations and joint checkpoint operations with the Philippine National Police.

“This is primarily to ensure the safe delivery of election equipment in different voting areas across the country,” he explained.

Meanwhile, security forces from the 47th Infantry Battalion successfully delivered to San Francisco, Puro, Tudela and Pilar towns of Cebu 97 Vote Counting Machines or VCMs, ballot box body and top cover, battery kits and four Consolidation and Canvassing System (CCS) kits.

“No untoward incidents were reported in all the operations that we have conducted to secure the delivery of election equipment,” Detoyato said.

Gabriela wants military pullout from IP community in Bukidnon

From the often pro-Communist Party of the Philippines online publication Davao Today (May 5): Gabriela wants military pullout from IP community in Bukidnon

Bai Ali Indayla
Gabriela Women’s Party nominee and Mindanao spokesperson Bai Ali Indayla. (Earl O. Condeza/ file photo)

A women’s group on Thursday demanded the military to pull out from a community of Lumads, or indigenous peoples in Bukidnon following the death of two Lumad farmers.

Gabriela cited the report from Katungod Lumad Alert as it identified the fatalities as Michael Sib-ot and six-year old Edjan Talian. The two were allegedly killed last April 27 by the military during an intensive military operation in Bukidnon.

Gabriela Women’s Party nominee and Mindanao spokesperson Bai Ali Indayla, in a statement, denounced the killing and demanded that those who were directly and indirectly involved in the incident must be “punished.”

According to Indayla, Sib-ot was accused of illegal possession of firearms and was gunned down after he tried to seek shelter in a nearby church.

“The child Talian was returning from fetching water when hit by bullets being fired by military elements who were reportedly randomly chasing and shooting other residents in their respective homes,” she said.

Indayla claimed that the military has “forced residents to report for meetings where the victims’ relatives were being forced to sign settlement agreements and self-incriminating admissions. People were pressured to join a government-sponsored organization, but victims’ relatives refused to sign.”

She said the military has no business to enter the community of the Lumad in Sitio Kaulayanan in Talakag. For Indayla, the act of military can be construed as a violation of International Humanitarian Laws and the UN Declaration on Indigenous People’s Rights.

Both laws ensured the protection of civilians and forbade military operations without the free, prior and informed consent of the affected community.

“Aquino has proven that until his last two months of power he will not relent on killings of indigenous peoples and their defenders. In protest, the people of Mindanao condemn and disown his Daang Matuwid, and we will make sure his anti-Lumad and anti-Moro clone Mar Roxas will have zero votes in Mindanao,” Indayla said.

China deploys folk singer to disputed Spratly Islands

From BBC (May 4): China deploys folk singer to disputed Spratly Islands

Blurry image taken from Chinese TV footage shows workers gathering near a Chinese military ship during a performance on Fiery Cross Reef in the South China Sea (May 2016)

Images of the performance revealed details of the islands

Her career has taken her round the world but popular Chinese folk singer Song Zuying's latest tour has taken her to new destinations - very new.
The military chanteuse entertained workers on Fiery Cross Reef in the Spratlys in the South China Sea.

It is the first stop in a tour of the disputed territory, where China has been reclaiming land and building military facilities on reefs.

Photos of the performance reveal multi-story buildings and a large warship.

Several Asian countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam, also claim sovereignty over the reefs and islands of the Spratlys.
China has been building artificial islands there, saying the structures are for civilian purposes, but neighbouring countries are concerned at their possible military use.

Q&A: South China Sea dispute

Popular Chinese military folk singer Song Zuying has performed around the world

Satellite images of Fiery Cross Reef (CNES 2015, Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image / IHS)

Satellite images of Fiery Cross Reef were published last year (CNES 2015, Distribution Airbus DS / Spot Image / IHS)

The performance by Song and a 50-strong troupe of navy entertainers included magic tricks and songs such as "Ode to the South Sea Defenders".

It took place in front of the People's Liberation Army's second biggest ship, using a large naval dock.

The BBC's Stephen McDonell says photos from the performance, which was first revealed on Tuesday by state media, show the extent of the infrastructure being built on Fiery Cross.

Images published by the South China Morning Post show large crowds of military personnel enjoying the show on Saturday against a backdrop of the new facilities.

China turned the reef into an artificial island through a massive dredging operation, and constructed buildings and an air strip.

Rival countries have wrangled over territory in the South China Sea for centuries, but tension has steadily increased in recent years.

 Map of the South China Sea

China's so-called "nine dash line" (here as a solid blue line) is the basis of all its South China Sea claims

NDF: Manggagawang Pilipino, magkaisa at makibaka laban sa imperyalismo at pahirap nitong mga patakarang neoliberal!

Posted to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Website (May 1): Manggagawang Pilipino, magkaisa at makibaka laban sa imperyalismo at pahirap nitong mga patakarang neoliberal!

Pamunuan ang sambayanan sa mga pakikibakang masa at armadong rebolusyon!
Mensahe ng PKP sa Mayo 1, 2016

Nakikiisa ang Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas sa mga manggagawang Pilipino sa paggunita sa Pandaigdigang Araw ng mga Manggagawa. Ngayong Mayo Uno, patatagin natin ang ating determinasyon sa pagsuong sa malalaking laban ng ating uri at ng buong sambayanan.

Buong tapang nating harapin ang mga pakikibaka para wakasan ang mga pahirap at mapaniil na patakarang neoliberal na bumubundat sa imperyalismo at sa kasabwat nitong naghaharing mga uri at nagpapalubha sa pagsasamantala at pang-aapi sa mga manggagawang Pilipino.

Sagadsarin ang mga hakbangin nitong anti-manggagawa: kontraktwalisasyon at pleksibleng mga iskema ng pag-eempleyo, pagbaklas sa minimum na sahod, todo-todong pagbabarat sa sahod at pagbabaklas sa mga pamantayan sa kaligtasan sa pagawaan.

Niyurakan ng mga patakarang neoliberal ang mga saligang karapatang-manggagawa. Ganap nitong binaklas ang karapatan sa regular na empleyo. Ginagamit ang bantang pagsisisante upang supilin ang karapatan sa pag-uunyon, kolektibong pakikipagtawaran at pagwewelga.

Walang patid sa araw-araw ang pagdurusa ng mga manggagawa. Matinding kahirapan at gutom ang bunga ng napakababang pasahod, pumapaimbulog na presyo, kawalan ng empleyo at maya’t mayang pagtatapos ng kontrata sa trabaho (“endo”). Milyun-milyon ang napupwersang maghanapbuhay sa ibayong dagat.

Sa kawalan ng disenteng tirahan, milyun-milyong masang anakpawis ang nagsisiksikan sa mga barungbarong. Walang maayos na patubig, sanitasyon at kuryente. Laganap ang sakit at epidemya. Naghahari ang mga sindikato sa droga at prostitusyon na pinatatakbo ng mga upisyal ng pulis at militar at kapwa nilang mga kriminal na burukratang kapitalista.

Sa ilalim ng neoliberal na patakarang “paghihigpit ng sinturon,” isinasapribado ang pampublikong kalusugan at edukasyon. Kaakibat nito ang pantapal na 4Ps para silawin ang masang anakpawis at gawin silang manhid sa kasamaang hatid ng pagkontrol ng malalaking kapitalista sa mga ospital at paaralan. Kinaltasan ang badyet sa pampublikong serbisyo at dinagdagan ang pondo para sa garantisadong tubo ng mga kapitalistang kasosyo ng gubyerno sa maaanomalyang kontrata sa PPP.

Tulad ng mga manggagawa, nagdurusa sa hirap at gutom ang masang anakpawis sa kanayunan. Laganap ang kawalan ng lupa. Walang tunay na reporma sa lupa. Itinulak ng mga patakarang neoliberal ang komersyal na bentahan sa lupa at ang produksyong pang-eksport. Kaliwa’t kanan ang pang-aagaw ng lupa ng mga asendero at malalaking plantasyon at pagpapalayas sa maliliit na magsasaka at pambansang minorya. Nagdurusa ang masang magsasaka sa usura at microfinance, mababang pasahod sa mga manggagawang-bukid, mababang presyo ng kanilang produkto at kawalan ng pagkakakitaan.

Napakalubha ng hirap at gutom laluna sa mga lugar na dumaranas ng kalamidad ng tagtuyot o salot ng peste. Walang libre at sapat na irigasyon at atrasado ang sistema ng produksyon sa agrikultura. Bingi ang reaksyunaryong gubyerno sa hinagpis ng masang magsasaka at pagtangis ng mga batang gutom sa kanayunan.

Upang panatilihin itong kaayusang neoliberal, ipinapataw ng imperyalismong US ang kapangyarihan nito sa Pilipinas, katuwang ang papet na rehimen. Pinatatag nito angpwersang militar sa pamamagitan ng pagtatayo ng bagong mga baseng militar, pagtatanod ng mga barkong pandigma sa karagatan ng Pilipinas at pagpapalipad ng mga jetfighter sa himpapawid ng bansa.

Sa harap ng krisis at pagpapahirap ng imperyalismo, walang ibang masusulingan ang masang manggagawa at sambayanang Pilipino kundi ang makibaka upang maipagtanggol ang kanilang kagalingan at hangarin para lumaya sa pambansa at panlipunang pang-aapi.

Marapat lamang na humalaw ng aral at inspirasyon sa mayaman na kasaysayan ng pakikibaka ng uring manggagawa at sambayanang Pilipino. Ngayong Mayo Uno, panghawakan natin ang sumusunod nating mahihigpit na tungkulin:

Buklurin ang malawak na hanay ng mga manggagawa! Bawiin ang organisadong lakas ng mga manggagawa na winasak ng mga atakeng neoliberal. Mapangahas na buuin at palawakin ang mga unyon at iba’t ibang mga samahang manggagawa.

Isulong sa buong bansa ang pakikibaka para sa pambansang minimum na sahod at pagtataas sa arawang sahod ng mga manggagawa at kawani! Makibaka para wakasan ang kontraktwalisasyon at iba’t ibang pleksibleng iskema sa pag-eempleyo. Puspusang isulong ang mga pakikibaka sa antas ng pabrika at interpabrika, o sa mga linya ng industriya. Iluwal ang kilusang protesta, kilusang welga at malawak na kilusang masa sa mga komunidad.

Pamunuan ang sambayanang Pilipino sa kanilang mga pakikibaka laban sa kahirapan, kagutuman at pambubusabos! Tumayo sa taliba ng pakikibaka laban sa liberalisasyon, pribatisasyon, deregulasyon, denasyunalisasyon at mga hakbanging nagpapahirap at nang-aapi sa bayan. Pagbayarin ang rehimeng Aquino sa pagpapataw ng mga patakarang neoliberal. Labanan ang hahaliling reaksyunaryong rehimen na magpapatuloy sa mga patakarang ito.

Mahigpit na makiisa sa pakikibaka ng masang magsasaka para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa at ikawing iyon sa paglaban sa mga patakarang neoliberal at sa imperyalistang pang-aapi at pandarambong.

Tuluy-tuloy na palakasin ang suporta ng mga manggagawa para sa armadong pakikibaka. Itaas ang rebolusyonaryong kamulatan ng masang manggagawa at ikintal sa kanilang kaisipan na tanging sa pagsusulong ng armadong rebolusyon mawawakasan ang naghaharing sistemang malakolonyal at malapyudal at matatamo ang hangaring pambansa at panlipunang paglaya.

Magtungo sa kanayunan at sumapi sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan! Kailangan ng BHB ng daan-daang mga manggagawa, pati na mga kabataang-estudyante mula sa kalunsuran, para maging mga Pulang kumander at mandirigma ng BHB. Taglay ng mga manggagawa ang tapang, determinasyon, disiplina, kasanayan, kakayahan at siyentipikong kaalaman at pananaw na kailangang-kailangan ng BHB para sa lalong pagsusulong ng digmang bayan.

Manggagawang Pilipino, magkaisa at makibaka laban sa imperyalismo at pahirap nitong mga patakarang neoliberal!

 Pamunuan ang sambayanan sa mga pakikibakang masa at armadong rebolusyon!

MILF: Japan, MILF commitment remain despite non-passage of BBL

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 2): Japan, MILF commitment remain despite non-passage of BBL

Despite the non-passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Japan, thru the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (MILF) commitment to the peace process was once again witnessed with the turnover of 4 Quick Impact Projects (QIP) in the Lanao provinces last April 26-28, 2016.

Days after the historical signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) on March 27, 2014, then JICA President Akihiko Tanaka met with MILF Chairman Al-Haj Murad Ebrahim and both agreed that the gains of the peace process should be immediately felt at the levels of the communities. Out of this agreement and after a series of consultations with the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Socio-Economic Office headed by Dir. Engr. Mohajirin T. Ali, JICA’s proposal for the implementation of QIPs was approved with the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) as one of the implementing agencies.

Out of the several municipalities identified though out Mindanao, 4 from the Lanao provinces were selected to be beneficiaries. These were Tangkal and Munai of Lanao del Norte and Buadipuso-Buntong and Masiu of Lanao del Sur. All municipalities were recipients of a newly built modern Multi-purpose Hall.

Ms. Mamiko Nakada

Mr. Naoyuki Ochiai

During the turnover ceremonies, JICA Cotabato Project Office (CPO) Chief Naoyuki Ochiai and Mamiko Nakada expressed their hopes that the Multi-purpose Halls would be used as a venue for community gatherings such as consultations especially now that the BBL did not pass congress. They further hoped that the buildings be a witness to the realization and establishment of the new Bangsamoro government.

As for the BTC, Engr. Ali highlighted how development important is in the peace process. He also asked the people in the communities to remain positive despite the setback in the process. He cited the failed Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) that was struck down by the Supreme Court for being unconstitutional back in 2008, he said that something good came out of that unfortunate event and that is now the CAB which is substantially more than the MOA-AD.

For the BDA, Lanao Regional Manager Halil Amerol narrated how once those recipient municipalities were very much affected during the war-torn days of the armed struggle. That was the past, he said because the relationship now between the government and the MILF has shifted from adversarial to partnership. He also asked that the people take care of the new buildings as this would reflect the Bangsamoro’s capacity for sustainable governance.

The 4 turnover events were attended by representatives from the BTC including Commissioners Said Sheik and Talib Benito. Representatives from the LGUs also graced the events namely Tangkal Mayor Fatimah Tomawis and Buadipuso-Buntong Mayor Noron Dadayaan. The BBL was failed to pass this congress but the Bangsamoro people in general remain optimistic that it will pass with new administration.

MILF: MILF Kapalawan-SWC, BDA, PolCom jointly hold Islamic symposium

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 2): MILF Kapalawan-SWC, BDA, PolCom jointly hold Islamic symposium

Islamization is the first and foremost in the four major programs of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in its led Bangsamoro struggle so that on April 30, 2016, the MILF Kapalawan Province-Social Welfare Committee (SWC), Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) and Political Committee (PolCom) jointly hold Islamic symposium in Barangay Lanoon, Carmen, North Cotabato.

"Enhancement of Islamic Aqeeda and unity was the theme of the affair. The word Aqeeda is derived from the triconsonantal root "A-Q-D", which means to tie or not. Al-aqad, which is to tie something (firmly).

“Correct Aqeeda is the most important thing in Islam. It is what a person takes as religion. It is said, he/she has a good Aqeeda, meaning, having right belief. Aqeeda is an action of the heart, which is to believe and affirm something in the heart. That is why the organizers of the affair selected Aqeedah Islamia as the theme”, Ustadz Ismael Balayanan of BDA-PDC said in his overview of the program.

Part I of the program was a recital of some verses of the Noble Qur'an Al Kareem by Ustadz Abdulkarim Edris. Words of Wisdom were given by Ustadz Abdulraheem Cua, while the Vice Chairman of Kapalawan Province welcomed the participants.

The Provincial Director of Committee on Information, Kapalawan Province-MILF gave updates on the GPH-MILF peace process. He told the participants that the Moro people should not veer away from the "Path of Peace" as he urged them to support the Bangsamoro peace process.

The Moro people love peace more than anything else while preparing for the worse. The Information Director further elaborated to the participants that the struggle of the Moro forebears started from the arrival of Spanish colonizers in the Philippines in 1521 up to 1898. And from 1898, the Moros fought against another colonialist- the Americans from 1898 up to 1946.

And then their struggle continued without let-up from 1946 up to the present against the neo-colonial power- the Philippines. So that the Moro struggle in defense of their freedom and liberty against colonization, oppression, exploitation and extermination is already 495 years as of press time.

Aside from Islamic symposium, no less than the Chairperson of Social Welfare Committee, Central Committee-MILF proclaimed the newly appointed officers of Social Welfare Committee, Kapalawan Province.

She told the newly SWC officers that Bangsamoro women must bear in mind and inculcate in their hearts that they must work side by side with the Bangsamoro men marching forward the affairs of Jihad Fey Sabillillah towards our final destiny, in shaa Allaho Taala.

In his message, the Chairman of Kapalawan Province-MILF told the SWC officers, “Your appointment as officers of the Social Welfare Committee demonstrate our trust and confidence in you, and in recognition of your sincere and unselfish commitment to the Bangsamoro peoples' just and noble cause.

“It is therefore expected that in the performance of your tasks and responsibilities, you will faithfully adhere to the general policies and guidelines of the MILF as enshrined in the Glorious Qur'an and Sunnah of Nabi Muhammad (S.A.W). We trust that you will live up to the expectations of the Moro people and Jihad-fey Sabillillah, in sha Allaho Taala”, he added.

On the part of the representative from the BDA-Regional Management Office (RMO), Central Mindanao, he told the participants that the BDA came into existence by virtue of the GRP-MILF Tripoli Agreement of peace on June 22, 2001as the centerpiece of its relief, rehabilitation and development aspect.

As agreed by both parties, the MILF through Central Committee Resolution on June 2, 2002, created the BDA and asked the officers of the Bangsamoro Development Council, a civil society organization to run it, the BDA representative told the audience.

He added that the BDA is mandated to lead, determine relief and rehabilitation in conflict affected areas in Mindanao. Its vision is to enlighten, progressive, self-sustaining and healthy Bangsamoro communities living in harmony, dignity, justice, security, and peace.

He further told the audience of the mission of BDA that is to determine, design, lead and manage, relief, rehabilitation and development projects in conflict affected areas in Mindanao through participative action. Some five hundred participants attended the program. The vice chairperson of SWC-Kapalawan Province was the Master of Ceremonies.

MILF: Decommissioned MILF combatants complete livelihood skills training courses

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 4): Decommissioned MILF combatants complete livelihood skills training courses

Undertaking an important step in their return to civilian lives, decommissioned combatants of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) graduated from their respective skills training courses at the Old Provincial Capitol in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao last Tuesday (April 25).

Around 133 former members of Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), MILF’s military wing, received their certificates of training completion from Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) which provided the training.

In his message, Commissioner Melanio Ulama of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) lauded the training graduates for their perseverance to finish the skills training courses.

During the media forum following the ceremony, Ulama said the MILF will continue giving education to the former combatants. “The process doesn’t end with the provision of the toolkits but they will be continuously educated with the proper technology and guidance on how to improve their projects,” he added.

“Some said the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is dead but it is not,” Ulama said and explained that the proposed legislation was just parked and its passage will be continued by the next administration.

Government of the Philippines Peace Panel Chair Miriam Coronel-Ferrer who graced the ceremony cited the important role of the decommissioned combatants in the implementation of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), a peace agreement signed by the Two Parties in 2014.

Last June, 145 former combatants and 75 high-powered weapons were subjected to decommissioning process.

The undertaking was part of the Normalization process that manifested the MILF’s commitment to abide with the CAB.

On the part of the Government, line agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Agrarian Reform and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will provide assistance to the former combatants to start up their livelihood activities.

Cookery, engine repair, dressmaking and electrical installation and maintenance were among the courses offered in the said training.

MILF: ARMM DILG Secretary: FBCSO must be non-partisan

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 4): ARMM DILG Secretary: FBCSO must be non-partisan

The Federation of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organization (FBCSO) must be non-partisan”, said Atty. Anwar Malang, Local Government Secretary of the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Atty. Malang was the guest speaker who represented Regional Governor Mujiv S. Hataman during the launching of the FBCSO on April 30, 2016 at Al Nor Conventiona Center, Cotabato City.

The remark was premised on the aspiration of the Bangsamoro people for self-determination as embodied in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL). This is crucial as compared to the nation’s mainstream CSOs because until and unless the aspiration had been realized, it must be asserted in every endeavour of the federation.

The federation was primarily organized in support to the peace process and for the passage of the BBL in the incoming 17th Congress. All-out advocacy shall be undertaken in rural and urban centers to push for the passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Law that once enacted shall entrench a new political entity called Bangsamoro.

Atty. Malang made the pronouncement before a crowd of more than 200 individuals who represented their respective organizations.

Abdullah P. Salik, Jr. who heads the federation has 115 civil society members and still growing in number. Other important guests during the launching were one Malaysian Officer of the International Monitoring Team (IMT), Executive Director Mahmod Ahmad of the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), and Mohagher Iqbal, Chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) and the MILF Peace Panel.

Iqbal explained the reason behind the non-passage of the BBL. He said the outstanding reason thereof was that anti-BBL in Congress are much stronger than the pro-BBL. The issue of shortage of time was an artificial reason. The fact was that the BBL was pending in Congress for more than one year.
The IMT officer meanwhile explained the nature and functions of their group, the IMT such as Six countries in the group; they are 37 individual members; International in character;  independent in their dealings; they monitor the ceasefire agreement; and they monitor the socio-economic and the civilian protection components.

MILF: UNYPAD Adopts Declaration in Support of GPH-MILF Peace process

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 4): UNYPAD Adopts Declaration in Support of GPH-MILF Peace process 

Pikit, North Cotabato – Participated by more than eight hundred officers from the different chapters through the country that comprise the National Assembly, which is the organization’s highest policy-making body, the UNYPAD 6th General Assembly culminated with an adoption of a historical declaration on the imperative of preserving and pursuing the gains of the GPH-MILF Peace process on May 01, 2016 at Pikit Central Elementary School, Pikit, Cotabato.

Presided by Dr Rahib L. Kudto, the organizations president, members of the National Assembly unanimously agreed to have a declaration underlining the need to fully implement CAB as a cornerstone of peace in the country and pass the agreed version of the BBL to address the fear that failure of passing it will beget wars and trigger violent extremism among youth which may inevitably continue to the detriment of the entire peace process.

Important content of the Assembly are as follows:

“Call upon whoever will run the next Philippine administration to preserve and pursue the gains of the GPH-MILF peace process and have the same as their top priority in their agenda”;

“Urge the 17th Congress to fully implement the CAB and pass the agreed version of the BBL”;

“Appeal to the Friends of the Peace Process and all the peace-loving citizens of the country to double their efforts in persuading our concerned leaders for the passage of BBL by the next administration”; and

“Call on one and all to neither engage in nor give credence to any disinformation campaign whose sole purpose is to derail the peace process but rather work hand in hand to let peace become a reality and not merely a dream in and for the Bangsamoro because the entire Philippine archipelago will benefit beyond doubt from the impact of peace in the Bangsamoro”.
In his message in the second day of the assembly 30 April, MILF peace panel chair in talks with the government at the same time Bangsamoro Transition Commission Chair Hon. Mohagher Iqbal told members of the assembly to continue developing more future leaders as it is an indicator of a successful leader.

“A leader is considered successful if he develops more leaders. Your President is a humble example”, he said.

“You are not successful if you develop no one”, he added.

“I urge you to work hard. Exert your efforts and prepare your selves because you are the next leaders to continue our quest for self-determination by pursuing what we had started”, he stressed.

Both provincial board members Hon. Dulia Sultan and Hon. Kelly U. Antao in their messages congratulated UNYPAD leadership for the success of the assembly where all chapters from different parts of the country met to discuss vital issues pertaining to the future operation of the organization.

Aside from congratulating UNYPAD for the successful holding of the general assembly, the third Party Monitoring Team (TPMT) members headed by its Chairman Former European Union Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Alistair MacDonald, Dr. Steve Rood of the The Asia Foundation, Hüseyin Oruç of International Humanitarian Relief Foundation based in Turkey and Karen Tanada of Gaston Z. Ortigas based in Manila, urged youth leaders to strengthen their advocacy in combating extremism and youth radicalism.

UNYPAD’s president Dr Kudto is a member of the TPMT.

Photos: Weapons and equipment confiscated during the arrest of key New People's Army (NPA) leader Ricardo Manili aka Ka Joker

From the 5th Civil Relations Group Facebook page (May 3): Photos: Weapons and equipment confiscated during the arrest of key New People's Army (NPA) leader Ricardo Manili aka Ka Joker

Photo: Ricardo Manili alias Ka Joker

From the 5th Civil Relations Group Facebook page (May 3) Photo: Ricardo Manili alias Ka Joker

Ka Joker is allegedly a top leader of the communist movement in Mindanao. He is reportedly the commanding officer of the New People's Army's (NPA) regional operational command.

DWDD: RESPECT THE DIGNITY OF LIFE | AFP ask Citizenry Not to Spread ASG Video

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (May 5): RESPECT THE DIGNITY OF LIFE | AFP ask Citizenry Not to Spread ASG Video

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon CityThe leadership of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has asked the help of the citizenry not to help in the propagation of video materials from the bandit group Abu Sayyaf.

According to BGen Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesperson, “We respect the dignity of life, we respect the privacy of families,” and the spreading of this video materials will only dignify the cause of the bandit group and their kidnapping and terror activities.

Padilla stressed that the AFP continues operate to secure the safety of the hostages who still remains in the hands of these bandits in the southern part of the Philippines.

Last April 25, the ASG continued with its threat of killing Canadian John Ridsdel after their ransom deadline lapsed.

Just last May 3, the bandit group released a new video containing renewed threats of beheading on their remaining three hostages taken last year from the Island Garden City of Samal in Davao Del Norte.

In the video, the remaining Samal hostages, Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad, Canadian Robert Hall and Marites Flor, Hall’s Filipina girlfriend, are shown sitting on the ground on what seems to be a coconut plantation, with six gunmen standing behind them.

“We have not stopped, we have not let up with their on-going operations, and we will not cease doing this until we have been able to make these personalities, bandits, criminals accountable for their actions” Padilla added.

DWDD: SAFE 2016 II EMC now ready to ensure safe conduct of May 9 elections

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (May 5): SAFE 2016 II EMC now ready to ensure safe conduct of May 9 elections


The Davao City-based Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) announced that all its units are now ready to ensure the safe conduct of the coming May 9 elections.

Major Ezra Balagtey, EMC spokesperson, said they will be doing this in coordination with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).

The EMC is tasked to secure Region 10, 11, and 13 and parts of Region 10 and 12.

“On several occasions, inter-agency meetings were conducted between the Armed Forces of the Philippines, PNP and the COMELEC to fine tune election security plans and preparations that will create an environment allowing the people in the mentioned regions to cast their votes,” Balagtey added.

Aside from the synchronized troop deployment between the EMC forces and PNP, the readiness requirement includes the activation of election monitoring action centers and quick reaction teams at all levels.

EMC facilities and equipment were also readied for utilization if the COMELEC so requires.

DWDD: POLITICAL PROPAGANDA | Video of Alleged Military Officials vs Presidential Candidate

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (May 5): POLITICAL PROPAGANDA | Video of Alleged Military Officials vs Presidential Candidate

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – “Purely political propaganda”, this was the statement made by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson BGen Restituto Padilla on the social media post on alleged military officers campaign against a presidential candidate.

In an interview by DWDD with BGen Padilla, he stated that in an election season, numerous political propaganda both for and against certain candidates is expected to surface from all fronts and parties.

General Padilla reiterated that the mandate of the AFP and the instruction of the acting Chief of Staff Gen Glorioso Miranda is clear that all officers and enlisted personnel should stick with their mission and remain non-partisan on ths political exercise.

The AFP leadership trust that its men and women remain professional in the conduct of their duty to God, Country and their Fellow Filipino, especially in their duties during the coming May 9 National and Local election.

He added that this kind of videos remains a propaganda material for those who wish to stain the image of the organization and entice them into partisan politics.

An investigation will be conducted by the AFP as to the group, party or individuals involved in the production of the said video as to make them accountable for their actions.

Likewise, he called on all peace-loving Filipinos, specially the netizens, to refrain from entertaining similar videos as this will only dignify/glorify the groups wrongdoings. AES / MCAG

AFP denounce video of alleged military officials against Duterte

From Update.Ph (May 6): AFP denounce video of alleged military officials against Duterte  

alleged afp officers

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) reiterated its non-partisan and apolitical stance on Thursday.

AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla aired this after a video came out in the Internet showing a man in battle dress uniform and hat denouncing Mayor Duterte for his alleged communism ties.

He added that the man is not a legitimate AFP personnel and efforts were now underway to track and charge the latter with appropriate sanctions.

“Again I would like to reiterate there have been various news and reports that have come out trying to sway the AFP into making announcements, either denying or supporting certain parties or candidates, again we appeal to all concerned citizens or concerned groups please respect the non-partisan role of your Armed Forces, we are not here for one particular person or party, we are here to serve the entire nation, so please respect the non-partisan nature of the AFP,” Padilla said.

“Hence we strongly deny that these are members of your Armed Forces, they are not, they are impostors, and the chief-of-staff (Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda) has given strong directives to look into the origin of all these materials and find these personalities so that they can be punished because these are punishable by our laws,” he added.

(Updated) Palparan on Duterte: 'It's fake bravery'

From Rappler (May 6): (Updated) Palparan on Duterte: 'It's fake bravery'

In what may perhaps be one of the greatest ironies in an already surreal election season, the man called the Butcher of Southern Luzon is now castigating Mindanao’s Punisher

DETAINED. Senatorial candidate and retired Major General Jovito Palparan. Photo by Carlo Gabuco / Rappler
DETAINED. Senatorial candidate and retired Major General Jovito Palparan. Photo by Carlo Gabuco / Rappler

In what may perhaps be one of the greatest ironies in an already surreal election season, the man called the Butcher of Southern Luzon is now castigating Mindanao’s Punisher.

“I am retired Major General Jovito S. Palparan Jr, 65 years old, going 66 in September. I am a retired army officer, and jobless as of now.”

Palparan is being held without bail for the kidnapping of University of the Philippines' students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño. He denies the charges, and is running for a senate seat.

The former soldier has collected a number of monikers under his belt. Butcher, hangman and godfather are only a few. Under his command, in every area where he led his battalions, the list of murdered activists and alleged communists rose in number. He has been accused by progressive groups of ordering rape, murder and various forms of torture that include waterboarding, beatings, and mutilation.

Palparan went into hiding before he could be arrested. He was caught after a manhunt that lasted almost three years. (READ: People of the Philippines versus Jovito Palparan)

His single-minded crusade against communists has been compared to Duterte’s war on crime. Duterte has long been linked to the Davao Death Squad, a vigilante group that allegedly targets criminals in the city.

The comparison has been rejected by both candidates, both of whom hail from Mindanao.
Duterte calls Palparan "the pathetic former army general who sees things red because of his bloodshot eyes."

Palparan calls Duterte a coward and an egomaniac who "likes to be adored."

"He stands for nothing," Palparan said. "He does not have principles"

In a three-hour interview with Rappler on Thursday, May 5, at a military detention center in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, the former major general was contemptuous of Duterte's strongman image.

“I knew it, he’s just trying to be cool,” Palparan said. “What Duterte wants, that he’s going to kill the criminals, he’s just trying to be cool.”

The Butcher

For over a decade, Palparan’s face has been printed on the posters carried at protest rallies and pelted with dripping tomatoes.

“I’m not saying I’m a blameless guy, because I’ve made mistakes,” he said.

PAYMENT IN BLOOD. Linda Cadapan, mother of disappeared UP activist Sherlyn Cadapan, speaks at a rally before the NBI where Jovito Palparan is being held. Photo by Patricia Evangelista/Rappler
PAYMENT IN BLOOD. Linda Cadapan, mother of disappeared UP activist Sherlyn Cadapan, speaks at a rally before the NBI where Jovito Palparan is being held. Photo by Patricia Evangelista/Rappler

Reports from the United Nations, Human Rights Watch and the government-appointed Melo Commission show that “not blameless” may be an understatement. (READ: The Most Wanted Man in the Country)

Jovito Palparan is the same man lauded by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for his crusade against “our enemies.”

“In the provinces under the control of the Armed Forces’ Seventh Division Jovito Palparan continues to battle our enemies,” Arroyo said during her 2005 State of the Nation Address. “He will not back down until the communities he serves are released from the darkness of fear, able to rebuild their lives in the dawn of justice and freedom."

Palparan is not permitted to leave detention to campaign. He has accepted he will not win. It does not matter, because his candidacy can now be a platform for sending a message to presidential front runner Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.

“I wasn’t going to speak. I wasn’t going to ask. The problem is I don’t want to be silent anymore. I know this – I’m also a law enforcer just like him, so nobody can say I don’t know the truth.”

The people who choose Rodrigo Duterte, says Palparan, “do not know Duterte."

“He’s just being advertised as someone who is just macho. He created his own image, his own persona. He's a coward. He befriends people who have power.”

Life in jail

Today, Jovito Palparan sits inside a room at a detention center. The room is small. There is a table and a few plastic chairs. One window opens to the distant towers of McKinley Road.

He is wistful as he looks out the window. He says he misses the freedom to eat where he can. McKinley has good restaurants.

He wakes up late every morning for breakfast and exercise, then sits waiting for lunch. There is television in the afternoon, and conversation with the other detainees. Sometimes he cooks, whenever there are supplies from friends and family. Then dinner, the primetime news shows, then bed. It is the same every day, unless there are scheduled hearings and he wakes up early in the morning for the two-hour trip to the Regional Trial Court Branch 15 in Malolos, Bulacan.

He had hoped to campaign before the elections, but the denial of his bail put paid to his plans. His son took a video of him one day reciting his campaign platform, but his lawyer advised against its release.

“He said it may have been libelous. I said, I’m already in detention, what’s a libel case to me?”

DETAINED. Jovito Palparan in detention at Fort Bonifacio. Photo by Carlo Gabuco/Rappler
DETAINED. Jovito Palparan in detention at Fort Bonifacio. Photo by Carlo Gabuco/Rappler 

The divide between Duterte and Palparan is largely on the issue of the communist agenda.

"Duterte makes friends with the NPA [New People's Army]," said Palparan. "He makes friends with the Ampatuans. The NPAs are terrorists, but he doesn't make use of them, instead he befriends the terrorists and he befriends the army also."

"Yes, I coddle the Reds," Duterte said in an earier statement. "They are Filipinos after all. I also coddle the other Filipinos who have been categorized to belong to the 3 other major colors representing the national flag – blue, yellow and white." (READ: Duterte to Palparan: I embrace Filipinos of all colors)

Duterte has gone so far as announce he has managed to convince the Communist Party of the Philippines, through its exiled chairman Jose Maria Sison, to declare a ceasefire once he becomes president.

“I talked with Sison last night on Skype,” Duterte said on April 27, less than two weeks before the elections. “The military in the other room did not know I was talking to Sison. Since 1970 I'd been listening to Sison because I was among the first members of the Kabataang Makabayan. Now, I am 70 years old, still there is war. He was my teacher, so I told him, sir, please come home, let's talk. We are always at war, what will happen? So he promised to me if I win the presidency, he will come home and I will bring him here, let's have a program.”

Duterte’s platform includes an end to crime within 3 to 6 months. He says he will do whatever it takes, and has gone so far as to promise the deaths of at least 50,000 criminals by the end of his term. He is careful to differentiate criminals – described as rapists, drug lords, and murderers – from members of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the CPP.

DIGONG. Philippine presidential front-runner candidate Rodrigo Duterte (C) states his political platform in front of his supporters during a campaign in Manila on April 23, 2016. Photo by Noel Celis / AFP
DIGONG. Philippine presidential front-runner candidate Rodrigo Duterte (C) states his political platform in front of his supporters during a campaign in Manila on April 23, 2016. Photo by Noel Celis / AFP

“One is for pocket,” he said, “and the other one is ideology.”

It is a delineation that Palparan denounces.

He agreed communists are different from criminals, but it is because he believes criminals are less dangerous.

“They want something, so this can be addressed by some programs in the government. So that's why criminals go off and on, different people in one time, so it takes a short period of time and other syndicates will come out. It's not a sustained effort of the same group of criminals, unlike the NPA."

The NPA, says Palparan, is a highly organized group of terrorists. He calls their programs “deceiving,” misleading innocents into joining their efforts. Although he says he has always been willing to negotiate "if they are sincere," he says they are armed and "will kill when people don't follow them."

“It's a lot more dangerous than criminals,” he said. “Criminals want money, and after they get money, they enjoy, and sometimes that’s it.”

Duterte, in an earlier statement, called Palparan's stance against him "a perfect example of the bigotry which has afflicted our country like a scourge."

Davao: ‘Not a paradise'

Palparan also rejects Duterte’s claim of competence, and his presentation of Davao as “exhibit A.” (READ: The Imagined President: The Punisher)

“There are always incidents in Davao,” he said. “It’s not true that Davao is a model for anti-crime or anti-drugs. It’s not a model, it’s just a story, it’s just propaganda, it’s just promoting ego of the mayor but people don’t know that.”

“Davao is not a paradise. There are drugs. There are criminals. There’s killing of whoever’s enemy, and there’s the NPA. Police have been kidnapped there, how can you call it a paradise if your own police are being kidnapped by your NPA friends?”

Five Davao police officers, including a precinct commander, were abducted by members of the NPA less than a month before the elections. (READ: NPA rebels abduct 5 Davao police officers)

Palparan said the reason that Duterte has not been charged is because his targets don’t have the ability to stand against him. “He always has an excuse whenever he backs down.”

“When his ego is threatened, people will die, but those are the kind of people who can’t fight back, can’t accuse him because they don’t have the capability,” Palparan said. “Davao is not a paradise, that’s why there’s a military task force there, because there’s a threat there. The MILF [Moro Islamic Liberation Force] parade around his city and he lets them because he’s afraid. He’s afraid of the Ampatuan clan. The media asks him, ‘Mayor, why are the Ampatuans displaying their guns and wandering around?’ He said, 'President Arroyo couldn’t disarm them, how could I?’”

THE CANDIDATE. Palparan in detention. Photo by Carlo Gabuco
THE CANDIDATE. Palparan in detention. Photo by Carlo Gabuco 

'Follow the law’

Palparan denies there are similarities between himself and the mayor of Davao.

"They call me The Butcher because the militants say I kidnapped, or when they say I kill. I don't kill. I perform clean-up strategies and people die because they fight back... Duterte's killing isn't for order. He does it for himself for the applause, for the fear, so it's ego. It's for his own purpose because he doesn't really have to kill."

Duterte has said in speeches that he would issue pardons to policemen and soldiers who kill criminals, as they are on his “personal order.”

“He says he’ll kill all the criminals,” Palparan said. “So people say, okay, they’re just criminals. It’s like he decided on all the criminals already, but really he can’t do that. He knows he can’t. There are laws and many will be angry because you are a president, not a king – you have to follow the law. You cannot decide all by yourself."

The man who became the face of extrajudicial killings during the Arroyo regime is calling out the danger of extrajudicial killings under a Duterte administration.

“When you are the president, your boss will be the people, and there is a law you have to follow. So if you say 'I’ll kill all of them,' you’ll disregard the law and the sentiment of the people."

Palparan has choice words for the mayor, although he does not believe Duterte deserved the post – “he supported the communists in Davao City, so nobody else could campaign in their territories” – much less the presidency.

“Mayor, if you become president, my hope is that you will stand by your claim of fearlessness, because that claim of fearlessness is fake. That’s fake bravery. It’s not bravery when you don’t go after people in the lowest elements – whether they’re Ampatuans or MILF or NPA. You should have done that before, but now you’re going to be president because you’re successful in promoting yourself.”

Palparan was generous with his advice should the mayor become president. Address corruption. Limit campaign spending. Reform the Commission on Audit. Make high quality the standard for public bidding instead of lowest offer. Uphold the rule of law.

“Hopefully, you will get people to your side who believes in our Constitution, and who will defend our Constitution – and you should also defend the Constitution.”

Inspiring their consituents

At the height of Palparan’s popularity, the former commander of the 7th Division of the Philippine Army insisted that communism “has got to vanish.”

He called it “a monstrous and bad idea” that “should not exist.” A communist, he once said, could be distinguished by body language – and that all moderates become communists in the end.

“I encourage people victimized by communist rebels to get even,” he told media before his arrest.

“The killings are being attributed to me, but I did not kill them, I just inspire the triggermen.”
The same sort of ideological commitment is present in the Duterte campaign.

No criminal can be rehabilitated, Duterte told Esquire. In his city, every criminal is “a legitimate target for assassination.”

"You know, guilt is personal," he said in 2005. "Guilt is personal. There is no guilt by association just because I’m the mayor talking here nonsense. Each time I threaten them, there's always a qualification: "You terrorists, fuck you, I'm going to kill you!’ As you see, they end up dead."

If anything, there is a fundamental quality to both strongmen. Both are charismatic men who have the capacity to inspire their constituents.

The retired general would like it known that he is not against helping Duterte should the mayor he called a coward win the presidency.

“Even if you’re not desirable as a president, I hope you become desirable for the sake of good governance. I would say if you need me, I will be there, but if you don’t I won’t volunteer. I’m just saying this. I won’t volunteer, but if you ask for me, and there’s sincerity – though you may just call me and then put me in danger – I’ll think about it.”

Palparan said he would have volunteered to join Duterte’s new government for the sake of the people, “but it might be too ironic.”

Police commander killed (in) Zamboanga shooting

From the Mindanao Examiner (May 5): Police commander killed (in) Zamboanga shooting

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The remains of Senior Inspector Mirdan Usama. (Ely Duymaboc)

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A police commander was killed and another wounded after they were allegedly shot by the group of a mayoralty candidate in Zamboanga del Norte province in southern Philippines, police said on Thursday.
Police said Senior Inspector Mirdan Usama, leader of the 1st Maneuvering Platoon of the Regional Public Safety Battalion 9, was killed in the attack late Wednesday that also wounded another officer, PO1 Jimmy Panganiban, in the village called Camul in Tampilisan town.
Usama and two other officers were trying to intercept a pickup truck where armed men had been spotted after they earlier ran into a police checkpoint. But instead of stopping the truck, its passengers opened fire on the policemen and sped away only to be intercepted by security forces at a road block set up on the highway.
The passengers of the truck, according to the police, turned out to be the group of Alson Chan, who is running for mayor in Tampilisan town, and three of his bodyguards.
“They have been arrested, all four of them, including Chan, who are the prime suspects in the killing of Senior Inspector Usama,” a police investigator in the case, SPO1 Paipa, told the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner by phone from his headquarters in Tampilisan, adding, they are still investigating the incident.
Usama was rushed to the Sibud County Hospital in Titay town in the neighboring Zamboanga Sibugay province, but died from his wounds. “PSI Mirdan A. Usama sustained gunshot wounds that caused his death,” a separate police report said. “Suspects are now detained at Tampilisan municipal police station for further investigation.”
The body of Usama was brought to a funeral house in Zamboanga City on Thursday. There was no immediate statement from Chan about the shooting.

Bomb explodes outside house of Basilan governor

From the Mindanao Examiner (May 5): Bomb explodes outside house of Basilan governor

The five governors of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – Sakur Tan, of Sulu province; Jum Akbar, of Basilan; Esmael Mangudadatu, of Maguindanao; Sadikul Sahali, of Tawi-Tawi; and Mamintal Adiong, Jr. of Lanao del Sur.

The governors of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao – Sakur Tan, of Sulu province; Jum Akbar, of Basilan; Esmael Mangudadatu, of Maguindanao;  and Mamintal Adiong, Jr. of Lanao del Sur; and former Tawi-Tawi Governor Sadikul Sahali (left).

A homemade bomb went off outside the house of Basilan provincial governor Jum Akbar, a political ally of Sulu Vice Governor Sakur Tan, who (is running) for governor in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, reports said.

It said the blast occurred on Wednesday night in Isabela City, the capital of Basilan – one of 5 provinces under the volatile Muslim region. Akbar was not in the house when the bomb exploded and there were no reports of casualties. One of her security escorts has confirmed the bombing to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner.

The regional police did not release any media reports about the bombing, but television giant ABS-CBN said Akbar’s son Al-Qaid, who is running for governor in the province was inside the house, although he was unhurt in the blast. Other reports said the blast may have come from a fragmentation grenade after investigators reportedly found debris believed to be part of its fuse.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Akbar has pledged her support to the candidacy of Tan, a member of the Liberal Party, and is largely popular in Basilan.

Akbar’s husband, Congressman Wahab Akbar, was one of 4 people in a bomb attack outside the House of Representatives in 2007.  Akbar’s family implicated several politicians in the province in the assassination of the lawmaker.