Sunday, May 8, 2016

NPA attacks mayor’s property in Isabela; guard hurt

From the Sun Star-Bacolod (May 8): NPA attacks mayor’s property in Isabela; guard hurt

A SECURITY guard was injured in a gunfire after suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) raided the property of Mayor Enrique Montilla III of Isabela, Negros Occidental Saturday morning.

Inspector Joseph Partidas, deputy town police chief, identified the victim as Melvin Tovis, 49, of Barangay Libas, who is employed by Diamond Star Security Agency.

About 15 rebels took over a guard post, manned by three security guards, at the property owned by Montilla at around 10 a.m., Partidas said.

The rebels then disarmed the guards and took their .38 caliber revolver and shotgun.

Unknown to the rebels, one of the guards was able to send a radio message to their colleagues and asked for assistance.

The rebels, who were armed with AK-47 and M16 rifles, were heard shouting, “Mabuhay ang NPA!”

When the rebels were about to leave, Tovis and his companion arrived to rescue the other guards.

An exchange of fire followed, and Tovis was hit in his right leg. He was rushed to a hospital.

Partidas said the rebels fled towards a mountainous area.

He added that have yet to establish if the attack was politically-motivated as they are still conducting an investigation.

Police and the army are conducting pursuit operations.

Partidas said that after the attack, troops from the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police and the 11th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army were deployed to the town.

1 killed, 1 hurt in Basilan house shooting

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 9): 1 killed, 1 hurt in Basilan house shooting

A man was killed while another one was injured when armed men sprayed a house with bullets in Maluso, Basilan on Monday, the military said.

Colonel Andrew Bacala, commander of the 4th Special Forces Battalion, did not give details  and only said the incident took place in Barangay (village) Tubigan in Maluso.

“We found the old man dead. (His grandson) said armed men fired at their house,” Bacala said.
He said the military did not consider this election-related “because the victims’ family was not partisan.”

50 dead in poll-related violence since January 10

From the Philippine Star (May 9): 50 dead in poll-related violence since January 10

At least 50 people, or an average of nearly one person every two days, were killed during the 119-day election period since Jan. 10, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported yesterday.

The PNP released the data on election-related violence on the eve of election day.
PNP spokesman Chief Superintendent Wilben Mayor said that from Jan. 10 to May 8, the police recorded 146 “election incident concerns” in 18 regions nationwide.

“Out of 146 cases, 28 were validated to be election related. Out of this 28, 50 were killed, nine injured, and 43 unharmed, for a total of 67 victims,” Mayor said.

Out of 146 incidents, 60 cases were not election related, and 58 are suspected to be in relation to the run up to the elections, Mayor said.

Central Luzon topped the region having “validated” election-related incidents with five cases, followed by Cagayan Valley, Southern Tagalog, Central Visayas with four cases each, three in the Ilocos region, two cases each in Metro Manila and Northern Mindanao, and one each in Western Mindanao, Bicol region, Cordillera and Central Mindanao.

On Saturday, the last day of the campaign, four people were killed in separate attacks against two mayoral candidates in Isabela and Bukidnon provinces, reports said.
Authorities are also investigating the killing of a nine-year-old girl in Shariff Aguak town in Maguindanao.

Four people were also injured in the grenade attack just after rival political camps wrapped up their campaign.

Also on Saturday, a soldier was killed while six others were wounded in an attack by the communist New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Mapanas town in Northern Samar.

Troops from the Army’s 20th Infantry Battalion were escorting officials transporting the vote counting machines (VCMs) to be used for today’s elections when they were ambushed by the NPA along the Corazon Aquino highway in Barangay Manaybanay.

Two known supporters of a mayoral candidate in Balasan, Iloilo were shot dead yesterday.

Reports said the local police are still investigating if the killings are election related.
On the other hand, a policeman was injured when he tried to pacify supporters of rival mayoralty candidates in Mulanay, Quezon yesterday.

Mayor said last Saturday’s mitings de avance of the five presidential candidates held in various areas in Metro Manila were generally peaceful.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Grace Poe held their separate mitings de avance in Manila.

Administration candidate Manuel Roxas and Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago led their last campaign rally in separate places in Quezon City while Vice President Jejomar Binay gathered his supporters in a final pitch in Makati City.

Mayor said the five presidential candidates have been provided police security.
He added the PNP would also deploy additional policemen to polling precincts where the five presidential candidates are expected cast their ballots.

“But as of now we cannot really afford to provide additional, but we will rely on the security of the polling place at the same time their individual security which was already provided previously,” Mayor explained.

However, if any or all five presidential candidates request for additional security, Mayor said the local police would provide support.

Mayor reiterated the commitment of PNP chief Director General Ricardo Marquez that the national police will do their best to have honest, orderly and peaceful elections today.

“Our job is to provide security, assure a safe and secure elections, so we must concentrate now on the security of the polling places, that is the primary task right now,” he added.

Mayor added the PNP has completed its task in delivering the VCMs in some areas.
“Latest information from the national election monitoring action center said the latest delivery would be in Sulu this (yesterday) noon, This was based on the schedule given by the Comelec (Commission on Elections),” he said.

Mayor said the PNP has also augmented police forces in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in the Southern Tagalog region and Central Luzon.

“We have a total of 220 personnel that will form part of quick reaction force considering that based on the instruction of the Comelec, we have standby personnel to act as special board of election inspectors,” Mayor said.

The Comelec has passed a resolution appointing PNP personnel to act as substitute for teachers who refuse to perform election duties.

Torched bus

In Baguio City, congressional candidate Camilo Lammawin Jr.’s mini-bus, used in his campaign sorties, was burned at dawn yesterday in Tabuk City, capital of Kalinga province.

The fire was put out at around 2:56 a.m.

Unnamed perpetrators set fire to the Hino mini bus of Dupag Barangay chairman Samuel Banasan Sunal-ay at Purok 3, Bulanao Norte, Tabuk City, according to Kalinga police.

“This is very violent,” former Tabuk City mayor and now Kalinga provincial board member Lammawin said. “This is the very first time they did this in my political campaign.”

Political foes “even hire armed men and tried to harass my supporters,” Lammawin said.

He refused to name who among his political foes was behind the violence.
It is a three-cornered fight for the lone legislative district of Kalinga among Lammawin, Carlos Duyan and Vice Gov. Allen Jesse Mangaoan.

Only Abra in the Cordillera region has so far been declared under the control of the Comelec for today’s polls.

However, the poll body was earlier taking a close look at Kalinga because of some violent incidents in the province during past elections.

CPP denies endorsing Duterte’s presidential

From the Philippine Star (May 9): CPP denies endorsing Duterte’s presidential bid             

The Communist Party of the Philippines yesterday said it is not endorsing Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential bid. KRIS JOHN ROSALES, file

Breaking its silence on the issue, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) yesterday said it is not endorsing Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s presidential bid.

Neither would it be “participating in the elections, more so in endorsing or supporting any of the presidential candidates,” the CPP said.

A labor federation also expressed doubts on whether Duterte would fight labor contractualization, also known as end of contract or “endo.”

Nagkaisa said only Vice President Jejomar Binay, Sen. Grace Poe, and administration standard-bearer Manuel Roxas II signed the covenant “calling for the repeal of the notorious and rampant contractual work scheme in the country.”

Earlier this week, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago claimed that Duterte is the “official candidate” of the New People’s Army (NPA).

But “contrary to Senator Santiago’s claims, Mayor Duterte is not being endorsed nor supported by the Party or the NPA,” said the CPP, the NPA’s political arm. 

Likewise, the CPP dismissed reports by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that NPA members in Samar are campaigning for Duterte. “These are pure lies.”

The CPP observed that “Duterte has espoused certain advocacies that strike a chord among the Filipino people and their national democratic forces, including calling for peace negotiations to address the roots of the armed conflict.”

However, the CPP added that “Duterte has mostly styled himself as an anti-crime crusader, a socialist and a radical in an effort to win over the people who long have been disillusioned with the rotten ruling system.”

The party said he has also advocated such counter-progressive neoliberal economic policies as expanding the public-private partnership program, banning unions and strikes, providing big bourgeois compradors with state-guaranteed profits, liberalizing trade and giving even more incentives to foreign investors.

The CPP said it also notes with keen interest Duterte’s promise to immediately declare a ceasefire to pave the way for peace negotiations if ever he wins. “Duterte’s promise, indeed, strikes a chord with the Filipino people who have long aspired for substantial progress in the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations after more than 15 years of being stalled.”

A Duterte presidency, the CPP said, “can push forward peace negotiations by upholding all previous agreements from the foundational The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992 to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) of 1998 and complying with the GRP obligations under the JASIG by ordering the release of all NDFP consultants and political detainees.”

Before NPA guerrillas in Davao last week, Duterte reportedly declared he would be the first “Left president” of the Philippines.

But the CPP believes Duterte’s rhetoric is done “in the hope of boosting his chances of gaining popular support,” thus the “radical sound bites. Talk is cheap especially during the electoral campaign.”

The CPP further explained that despite Duterte’s “radicalism,” he has yet to espouse “any fundamental shift from the general run of neoliberal economic policy of the past 30 or so years.”

 Rather, it added, “he has promised to expand privatization and deregulation and declared plans to provide state funds to Lucio Tan and his ilk of big bourgeois compradors; and liberalization of trade by allowing the dumping of surplus steel from China.”

3 shooting incidents reported in Bulacan town in 12 hours

From GMA News (May 8): 3 shooting incidents reported in Bulacan town in 12 hours

Three shooting incidents were reported in a town in Bulacan province in a span of just 12 hours, police reported Sunday.

Police recorded the first shooting incident at the residence of Joselito Antonio, chairman of Barangay San Roque at 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

Antonio he was warned by a cousin by phone that a man riding a motorcycle entered their compound.

When he went out to check, a man pulled out a gun and fired at his house.

Caloy Garcia, a relative of town mayoral candidate Ferdie Estrella, went to the local police station and brought a spent shell.

Garcia claimed that a motorcycle-riding man fired at his house in Barangay Cristo between 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

The complainant believes the supposed attack was related to politics.

Meanwhile, gunmen fired at the house of Ariston Mercado, chairman of Barangay Paitan, at around 9 a.m. Sunday.

Superintendent Satur Ediong, director of the Baliuag Provincial Police Office, said they are investigating the shooting incidents

Father and son killed in Pagadian gun attack

From GMA News (May 8): Father and son killed in Pagadian gun attack

Gunmen killed a barangay watchman and his son in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur on Sunday morning.

Police identified the victims as Gulbao Salibulan, 53 and his son, Daniel, 23. The victims were slain in Barangay Lison Valley at around 6 a.m.

"Wala namang kasalanan ang asawa at anak ko...wala naman talaga silang kasalanan. Ewan ko, bakit pa nila pinatay," Gulbao's wife Rosita said.

Police investigators suspect that the victims were killed because of their affiliation with a mayoral candidate in the city.

7 killed, 1 injured in Cavite shooting incident

From GMA News (May 9): 7 killed, 1 injured in Cavite shooting incident

A few hours before polling precincts opened on election day, 7 mwn were killed and one person was wounded in a shooting incident in Barangay Wawa III, Rosario town, Cavite province, according to a Super Radyo dzBB report.

DZBB Super Radyo ‎@dzbb
DEVELOPING: Seguridad sa Rosario, Cavite, mas pinaigting kasunod ng pananambang sa Brgy. Wawa na ikinamatay ng 7.

Rosario town police Supt. Rommel Javier said they are not discounting that the incident is election-related.

“Hindi pwede natin iwala yung anggulong ’yun kasi eleksyon ngayon,” he said.
“As of now, wala pang suspects pero may witnesses na tayo,” he added.

The Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) recovered 9-mm and M16 casings from the crime scene.

The man who survived the ambush is now in stable condition.

The CCTV footage that captured the time the vehicles left the crime scene is already in the hands of the authorities.

The names of the victims have not yet been released as of posting time.

Meanwhile, authorities have imposed heightened security measures in the town following the incident.

Two dead in Marawi City ambush

From GMA News (May 9): Two dead in Marawi City ambush

Two persons are confirmed dead as armed men fired at a convoy transporting election paraphernalia to Cabingan Elementary School in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur early on Monday morning.

Voting was temporarily suspended in the polling center while the vehicles in the convoy are still in the area, reports from Raffy Tima said on GMA News.

Reports said the school was also the same polling center where an M79 rifle grenade was set off in 2010 to scare off voters.

All the Board of Election Inspectors and the election paraphernalia have been secured by police personnel.

1 dead as shooting erupts during election melee in Maguindanao town

From the Philippine News Agency (May 9): 1 dead as shooting erupts during election melee in Maguindanao town

A voter died while a dozen others were injured after nearly a hundred supporters of two local candidates clashed on a polling precinct in Guindulungan, Maguindanao, earlier today.

Authorities identified the victim as Unsay Usop, a local voter, who was also accompanying a relative to vote at the Guindulungan Elementary School at the time of the incident.

Police probers are still trying to determine the cause of the free-for-all that broke out at the school shortly before 7 a.m. today.

Several arrests were made but police is yet to determine the identity of the gunman at the ruckus.

Voting resumed an hour after the arrival of augmentation of state forces in the area.

In nearby Talitay town, masked armed men also gunned down another local resident identified Bayan Buisan around 2 a.m. today near a voting precinct in the locality.

The gunmen fled using darkness as cover for their escape.

1 dies, another hurt as blasts rock Maguindanao town

From the Philippine News Agency (May 9): 1 dies, another hurt as blasts rock Maguindanao town

Explosions hit this town Sunday night and Monday morning as voters prepare to cast their votes, military and police officials said.

Habiri Katapukan of Sultan sa Barongis, Maguindanao, was killed when a man fired rifle grenade toward the town public market where voting was taking place at 7 a.m. Monday.

Police also said Tarhana Manampan, also from Sultan sa Barongis, was injured during the grenade attack.

Before today's bombings, two rifle grenades were also fired in the same area but nobody was injured.

Soldiers and police officers are now securing the town center where the public market, covered court and terminal were located.

Voting was going on despite the explosions that preceded election process.

Soldiers and police officers are now occupying the voting precincts to control the unruly crowd, some carry sticks, wood and stones allegedly to prevent "flying voters" from coming in town.

Despite the rifle grenade attacks, voters continue to queue at covered court where voting was taking place.

UPDATE: 5 dead, 10 injured in Maguindanao poll-related violence

From the Philippine News Agency (May 9): UPDATE: 5 dead, 10 injured in Maguindanao poll-related violence

At least five persons were confirmed killed while 10 others wounded so far in Maguindanao election-related violence for the past 72 hours, the Army’s Sixth Infantry Division (6ID) reported.

Only last night (May 8), two separate explosions caused by rifle-launched M-79 grenades rocked the public market of Datu Unsay town, killing one and wounding four others,” Capt. Jo-anne Petinglay, 6ID spokesperson, said.Petinglay said they have yet to obtain the identity of the fatality and those injured in the twin explosion.

Subsequently, she said bonnet-wearing armed men gunned down a local resident, identified as Bayan Buisan around 2 a.m. today (May 9) near a voting precinct in Talitay town.

Police is still investigating the case, she noted.

Petinglay said the Talitay incident was followed by another shooting incident in nearby Guindulungan town of Unsay Usop, a local voter caught in the rumble between two political factions around 7 a.m. today.

She said the number of casualties as per 6ID records included the death of a nine-year-old girl on Saturday night (May 7) and wounding of three others during a mortar attack in Barangay Damalibi, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.

Amid the series of occurrence, Petinglay said the polling exercise Monday remains generally peaceful considering that the number of civilian casualties remain low compared to past elections in the province.

“The 6ID together with police forces in Central Mindanao are really trying our best to uphold peace amid all these unfortunate incidents,” she stressed.

2 hurt in Maguindanao blasts

From the Philippine News Agency (May 9): 2 hurt in Maguindanao blasts

Military units are now securing the town of Datu Unsay, Maguindanao after three explosions rocked the area wounding two civilians Sunday night.

The incident took place 8:55 p.m., said Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) public affairs office chief Col. Noel Detoyato.

Initial investigations indicated the explosions which rocked a public market in the town came from rifle grenades.

Wounded were Arnel Samad Sangkopan, 24 and Ali Zainal Sandal, 18.

All two were wounded by shrapnel blasts, Detoyato said.

Troopers from the 34th Infantry Battalion are now securing the area.

7 killed, another wounded in election day Cavite ambush

From Rappler (May 9): 7 killed, another wounded in election day Cavite ambush

Besides Cavite, incidents of violence also took place in Maguindanao and Cebu, a few hours before polls opened

Just a few hours before the polls open on Monday, May 8 for the 2016 Philippine elections, 7 people were shot dead and another was injured in an ambush in Rosario, Cavite.

P/Supt. Rommel Javier said in a radio interview that unidentified gunmen began shooting from a jeep and two motorycles at Brgy. Wawa 3, Rosario, Cavite at around 12:10 am.

"Wala pang witness na nakukuha para maituro kung sino ang nasa likod ng pamamaril. Ang lugar na ito ay malapit sa ilog, nasa boundary ng Tanza at Rosario.
(There is no witness yet who will point who is the person behind the shooting. The incident happened near the river and the boundary of Tanza and Rosario)," Javier said in the interview.

"Ang narekober pa lang ay basyo pa lang ng mga bala (What we have recovered so far are shells of the bullets)," he added.

Although the motive is still unknown, Chief Inspector Jonathan del Rosario said the shooting took place in an "area of concern" where there were reports of heated political rivalries. (READ: Precincts open; Binay, Marcos early voters)

The special election violence monitoring task force earlier reported that 15 people had been killed in election-related incidents since the start of the campaign period last January 9.

But del Rosario told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that many other cases of violence have yet to be fully linked to the polls.

Incidents of violence also took place in some areas of the country.

Councilor of Dumanjug in Cebu, Ely Amadora, reported that on Sunday night, May 8, he was shot by the alleged goons of Vice Mayor Efren Guntrano "Gungun" Gica, who is running for mayor under the Liberal Party.

Amadora, who is seeking re-election under One Cebu, was unhurt. Gica, however, denied allegations, saying it was reelectionist Mayor Nelson Garcia of One Cebu who shot him.

An unverified news report from GMA also said that 1 was killed and another wounded in rifle grenade blast in Datu Unsay, Maguindanao on early Monday, May 9.

About 54 millions of Filipinos are expected to cast their votes on today, May 9 to choose the country's leaders from the Philippine president down to town councilors.

Alleged ranking rebel nabbed in Davao City

From InterAksyon (May 9): Alleged ranking rebel nabbed in Davao City

An alleged leader of the New People's Army in Southern Mindanao was captured by security forces in Davao City a day before the elections.

Arnulfo Laborada Mantes, 45, allegedly the secretary of Sub-Regional Committee 5 and concurrent head of the Regional Political Military Academy, was arrested on the strength of warrants for murder and robbery in Barangay 76-A, said Captain Rhyan Batchar, 10th Infantry Division public affairs office chief.

Batchar said Mantes has allegedly planned and led several NPA operations in Bukidnon and Davao del Norte and was also engaged in extortion.

Chinese Navy conducting massive combat drills in West Philippine Sea

From Update.Ph (May 8): Chinese Navy conducting massive combat drills in West Philippine Sea

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLA Navy) will be conducting a massive combat drills in West Philippine Sea. According to official report from China Military Online, guided-missile destroyer Hefei, multi-role frigates Sanya, and supply ship Honghu sailed from a naval port in Sanya, Hainan Province last week.

The said warships “will join forces in a certain water of the South China with submarines of the Nanhai Fleet Sea (South Sea Fleet) to stage a training exercise involving subjects of breaking through enemy blockage in a joint operation of surface ships and submarines, reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance,” the Chinese military said.

According to the report, the said drills will mark the beginning of the annual confrontation training exercises in the high sea and combat-readiness patrol.

Guided-missile destroyers Lanzhou and Guangzhou, multi-role frigate Yulin are also set to join the said combat drills. Lanzhou is currently participating in the on-going ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting–Plus (ADMM-Plus) Maritime Security and Counter-Terrorism Exercise.

Mentioned six Chinese warships will be divided into three combat groups to hold training exercise in the West Philippine Sea, the east Indian Ocean and the west Pacific Ocean. The Chinese military said all warships participating in the training exercise are all new type main battle ships of the Chinese navy.

The aviation units of PLA Navy South Sea Fleet, garrison troops in the Paracel and Spratly Islands and some units of the PLAN’s Beihai Fleet will also be involved in the exercise.

“The training exercise aims to test the combat capability of new main battle ships, submarines and the naval aviation force, enhance the integrated training of the command and information systems of the ship formation at sea,” deputy commander of PLA Navy South Sea Fleet Rear Admiral Zhou Xuming told PLA Daily.

NPA trainer arrested (Photo)

From Update.Ph (May 9): NPA trainer arrested


A ranking rebel leader from the New People’s Army (NPA)’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee was arrested by government security troops in Davao City Sunday.

Capt. Rhyan Batchar, 10th Infantry Division public affairs office chief, identified the arrested leader as Arnulfo Laborada Mantes, 45, Secretary of Sub-Regional Committee 5 and the concurrent head of the Regional Political Military Academy.

He was nabbed by military and police units at Barangay 76-A, Davao City.

Mantes was arrested for murder and robbery with violence against or intimidation of persons. He has also a standing arrest warrant for murder.

Mantes is known to have led and planned numerous NPA atrocities such as the burning of heavy equipment, murder of Army personnel and ambush of peace and development teams in several areas of Bukidnon and Davao Del Norte provinces.

He is also involved in extorting money from wealthy individuals, companies and even politicians.

Armed men snatch 10 Vote Counting Machines in Maguindanao school

From Update.Ph (May 9): Armed men snatch 10 Vote Counting Machines in Maguindanao school 

Police and military authorities here are hunting down about 20 men who barged inside the Maguindanaon Elementary School and forcibly took at least 10 Vote Counting Machines in Barangay Katuli, Sultan Kudarat town in Maguindanao.

Senior Insp. Esmael Madin, the town police chief, said the men forcibly entered the school premises and took the election paraphernalia at about 6:00 a.m.

Estellita Orbase, acting election officer of Sultan Kudarat town, said election in Maguindanaon elementary school where about 700 voters are waiting as the polls are yet to start as of 9:30 a.m.

It was not clear whether or not soldiers or police officers were deployed to secure the voting center.

Bombings rocked Sultan Kudarat a week before election in an attempt by a particular political candidate to put the town under Comelec control and scare the teachers serving as board of election inspectors.

At least two public schools have been bombed in Sultan Kudarat and eight schools in adjacent Sultan Mastura, Maguindanao.

MILF: Editorial -- May the best man/woman win!

Editorial posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 8): Editorial -- May the best man/woman win!

On May 9, the Philippines will elect a new president and vice president, alongside other positions. Right now, perhaps without exceptions, both candidates and their respective supporters, are jittery or nervous on what await them after tomorrow.

Our wish: May the best, nay good, honest man or woman, win! This is not boxing that a draw is possible.

Of course, we do not know who will win as president and vice president, respectively. However, if the surveys are to be believed, then Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will win hands down. In the vice presidency, it is a toss-up between Leni Robredo and Bong Bong Marcos. They are running neck-and-neck.

However, surveys are sometimes misleading, because only those people, not necessarily voters, who are completely free to express their choices are asked. There is virtually no pressures exerted to them, from leaders, or to what extent money can work on their minds. And second, surveys are conducted by people who like every one of us have also feelings, emotions, preferences, and are also subjected to external factors.

Popularity or acceptability of candidate, we know, is just one factor in winning. The other factors which may even be more effective in terms of delivery or getting of votes are machinery and logistics. Clearly, on both counts, former Secretary Mar Roxas has the edge. Jejomar Binay has also the machinery but we do not know about logistics. Report has it that until after April 15, he has not downloaded campaign funds to his allies and supporters, because his bank accounts are frozen.

As a revolutionary organization, the MILF will not endorse anyone from the five presidential candidates. The same is true with the vice presidential candidates. The only criteria we tell our people is to choose candidates who have clear agenda on Moros, peace process, and commitment to push the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) in Congress. We also tell them to use their brain wisely and not to be the slave of emotion. One cannot judge the goodness of people in one criteria alone but more so in examining their track record, including that of their roots or families. A lion will not breed a horse.

In many places especially in the provinces comprising the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), votes are controlled. Names of candidates to be voted are dictated and the scheme to do this are basically through the teachers serving the elections and barangay chairmen. To ensure compliance, threats and monies are used. Goons are not only used to coerce people but on many instances, they virtually take over precincts and vote wildly. The COMELEC should take notice of this closely.

In many instances, elections are used mainly to rubber stamp candidates who want to lead the people, even if they are not supposed to be the kind of leaders people want. Only a clean and honest elections can produce real leaders that reflects the will of the people. Truly, they are the leaders.

MILF: IMT-Mindanao Mission 11 Head MajGen. Datu Wira Zamrose Bin Moh. Zain visits Basilan

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Website (May 6): IMT-Mindanao Mission 11 Head MajGen. Datu Wira Zamrose Bin Moh. Zain visits Basilan

MajGen. Datu Wira Zambrose Bin Mohammad Zain, Head of the International Monitoring Team-Mindanao Mission 11 and some members of his team visited Barangay Magkawa Municipality of Albarka, Basilan on May 3, 2016.

The purpose of the visit was to monitor the situation in the province at the aftermath of the Baguindan incident where army soldiers clashed with alleged members of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on April 9, 2016.

"I just arrived in Mindanao about 50 days ago and I have visited major cities in Mindanao such as Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos City, Iligan City and others”, MajGen. Datu Mohd. Zain said.

"The tasks of IMT are not easy and with lots of challenges such as we shift every now and then to other areas, the BBL is pending and also the election period".

His message could serve as reminders to different stake holders especially the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) & the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that should there be misunderstanding on the ground, they should be settled immediately in their level so that small problem shall not get bigger.

“Allow us to take care of  the top level, while on the ground must be taken care of by  ground commanders especially in Basilan where situation is very critical due to the presence of lawless elements like terrorist groups”, the IMT Head said.

MajGen. Datu Moh. Zain further said that, “BIAF commanders should always coordinate with their counterpart in the AFP to ensure peace and stability in this region and so that the issue on BBL will be settled soon in shaa Allah”.

IMT responsibility is to observe and monitor but I always speak beyond that to make sure the peace process would not be spoiled by those people who are against it.

If I go back to Malaysia I will speak to the Malay people and of course ask them to support the process. I’ll explain to the different sectors, NGOs and etc. and I'm sure the BBL will become a reality".

Their meeting with the BIAF members lasted for less than an hour. They were accompanied by Col. Rolando Jocelito D. Bautista, GSC, 104th Brigade Commander.
Col. Bautista was given a part in the program but due to their hectic schedule he cancelled his message and went back to Zamboanga City by chopper.

MILF: Upland Rice-Based Farming Technology Transfer Program for the Bangsamoro launched in Camp Darapanan

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Website (May 6): Upland Rice-Based Farming Technology Transfer Program for the Bangsamoro launched in Camp Darapanan

Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao – To be implemented by five (5) agencies namely Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Philippine Rice Research Institute-Midsayap (PhilRice), Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), and the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI), the project called “Upland Rice-Based Farming Technology Transfer Program for the Bangsamoro” was launched at the MILF Administrative Camp in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on Wednesday, May 4, 2016.

Sammy Al Mansoor, Chief of Staff of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF)-Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) welcomed the delegates from the five agencies. “This camp is the nerve center of MILF, discussions are taking place here, leadership assembly attended by millions of Bangsamoro people was held here,” he said.

“The first fight or encounter between our forces and the AFP where brother Al Hadj Murad Ebrahim was wounded also took place in this village of Darapanan,” he continued.

Dr Sailila Abdula, Branch Director of PhilRice-Midsayap said that other collaborating agencies to help the smooth implementation of the program are Department of Agriculture and Fishiries (DAF-ARMM), University of Southern Mindanao (USM), Mindanao State University (MSU), Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Institute (DA-ATI) and local government units (LGU’s).

The program is under the Comprehensive Capacity Development Project for the Bangsamoro (CCDP-B) with the objective to improve the living standards of the Bangsamoro people in the target sites through agriculture.

“The program will start this April 2016 until March 2018. There are seven (7) municipalities covered by the project such as Matanog, Buldon, Barira all in Maguindanao, Balabagan, Butig, Kapatagan, and Marogong, Lanao del Sur,” Abdula elaborated.

The project will capacitate farmers, ‘ulama’ (Islamic Scholars) and other religious leaders and Municipal Agricultural Officers. It swill also integrate the concept of religion or spirituality with agriculture.

JICA-Philippine Office Senior Representative Ms. Yuko Tanaka said “The project is very important because it is JICA’s priority of promoting peace and development in Mindanao.”

Naoyuki Ochiai, Head and Chief Leader of JICA Cotabato Project Office revealed that prior to this project, along with JICA Study Team and CCDP-B BTC Socio-Economic Office went to visit two MILF Camps, Bushra in Lanao del Sur and Abu Bakar in Maguindanao for site visits. And they saw that the areas have potentials for farming and fishing activities.

Ochiai said that last February there was another exposure of 12 MILF farmers in municipality of Matungao, Lanao Del Norte to have actual field study visit in the demo-farms and fishpond in CD-CAAM project in the area.

He said that their exposure is not the end for the farmers but just a beginning for them,” Ochiai told the participants as he promised that this new project is the realization of activities for the Bangsamoro farmers.

On the other hand, Engr. Mohajirin T. Ali of the BTC-SEO clarified that this project is not part of the normalization process, and it is just a continuation of CCDP-B, a parallel efforts with all other programs aiming for peace and development in Mindanao.

Part of the project launching is the 1st Technical Working Group meeting presided by Engr. Ali. Significant agenda on how to ways forward was discussed that include Planned activities and schedule of implementation for 2016, Roles of each involved agency in the project implementation and other related matter.

MILF: MPA urges leaders, authorities to allow volunteers free access to information during May 9 elections

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Website (May 6): MPA urges leaders, authorities to allow volunteers free access to information during May 9 elections

During a meeting at Pagana Restaurant in Cotabato City on May 5, 2016, the Maguindanao Peace Advocates (MPA) urged  key leaders and the authorities  to allow volunteers  free access to information in the upcoming May 9 elections to help prevent election-related violence (ERVs).

Dr. Samsodin “Mahdie” C.  Amellah, MPC Chairman said that the coalition organized in 2013 have 23-member organizations in Central Mindanao mainly to help prevent election-related violence during the upcoming elections.

Despite some isolated bad experiences by MPA last 2013 elections, the group once again consolidated their members knowing that election watchdogs has vital role in maintaining peace and order before, during and post- election period.

Amellah said that the Commission on Election (COMELEC) has given the green light to the Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other sectors to perform their mandates as non-partisan watchdogs during the election.

Abdul Maguid Andong, Chairman of KABALIKAT CIVICOM said that the AFP and PNP are ever ready to help save voters and volunteers in case emergencies arises or their securities are at risk.

“PNP PRO-ARMM also a long time partner of (MPA) assured to remain non-partisan. It has already dispatched thousands of its personnel to prevent untoward incidents”, said PSSUPT Rodelio B. Jocson,  DRDO-PNP PRO-ARMM during an interview by ABS-CBN Central Mindanao.

Dr Anwar Saluwang, Director of UNYPAD-DMC encouraged the Bangsamoro people to go out and exercise their right of suffrage on the bases of the candidates’ platform for peace in support to the GPH-MILF peace process.

Dr Saluwang discouraged voters from accepting money from candidates instead make a social contract to ensure that promises and/ or commitments are not broken.

Abraham Pino,  Vice Chairman of MPA also appealed to winning candidates especially in Maguindanao Province to maintain a permanent provincial -capitol as he observed that resources are wasted because opposition candidate for provincial governor  who wins the election will construct another capitol in a place or location of his own choice.

MPA and other concerned agencies such as the Cotabato City Coalition for Change 4C’s based in Cotabato City, and CCCOM based in North Cotabato urged candidates and their supporters to maintain good  and smooth relationship with their opponents before, during and post- election period.

 The MPA, 4Cs and CCCOM are supported from Asia Foundation.

MILF: CBCS, UBJP-Sarangani holds Provincial Candidates Forum to guide Moro voters

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Website (May 7): CBCS, UBJP-Sarangani holds Provincial Candidates Forum to guide Moro voters

In a bid to help its Bangsamoro constituents choose whom to vote in the upcoming May 9 Elections, the Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS) and United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP)-Sarangani Province Chapter held the First Provincial Candidates Forum held at the gymnasium of Barangay Tuyan, Malapatan, Sarangani Province on April 29, 2016.

More than one thousand participants from the seven municipalities of Sarangani comprised of Moro community leaders and ordinary constituents that included women, Asatidz (Madrasa teachers), professionals, and youth gathered to listen to the platforms of the provincial candidates.

Two gubernatorial candidates namely Steve C. Solon (incumbent governor) and Juan Domino, two bets for the vice-governor position, Willie Dangane and Dr. Elmer de Peralta, and Elson Formoso who aspires for congressional seat showed up and discussed their platforms particularly for the Bangsamoro of the province.

Candidates for Board Member, Moro, Indigenous People and Christian and mayoralty candidates of Malapatan also joined the voters’ education activity.

The organizers related to the candidates and the audiences the history, sentiments, aspirations and recommendations of the Bangsamoro People in Sarangani.

Among the recommendations shared to the candidates were establishment of Muslim public cemetery in every town, Musallah in terminals, hospitals and schools, development program for the Bangsamoro, and scholarship and training for Moro youth.

The audiences asked the candidates their stance on the peace process and the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

All the candidates shared their plans geared towards the development of the people of the province regardless of their faiths.

They also urged unity, understanding and harmony to strengthen peace and development of the province.

UBJP-Sarangani Executive Officer Tommy Nawa said they plan to hold provincial consultation among the Muslim constituents of the province to identify the issues and concerns as well as the proposed solutions that will be presented to those who will win the local elections.

He hoped the winning candidates will keep their promises and implement programs and policies that will benefit the Muslim constituents.

The provincial government of Sarangani supports the weekend Madaris education, sponsors annual Madaris Musabaqa (intramurals), and provides food for Eidul Fit’r celebration. It also sponsors provincial Iftar every year.

Among the Moro tribes living in Sarangani are Maguindanaon, Iranun, Tausug, Sangir, Maranao, and Kaagan. Sarangani is located at the south-western part of Mindanao.

MILF: UBJP SouthMin guides members on choosing candidates to vote

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 7): UBJP SouthMin guides members on choosing candidates to vote

The United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) –Southern Mindanao (SouthMin) Officials met yesterday (May 5) with its provincial and municipal officers from SoCSKSarGen area to provide guidelines on how to choose candidates to be voted in the upcoming May 9 National and Local elections.

UBJP SouthMin Vice President Mohagher Iqbal and Admin Officer Cris Guialal shared to the UBJP SouthMin local officers the mechanisms in critiquing national and local candidates.

According to the guidelines, for the national candidates, voters should try to check the candidates’ platforms on the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)/Peace Process, Implementation Process, Attitudes and Characters (both plus and minus), and their Associates.
For the local candidates, the local UBJP officers were advised to look at the programs of the candidates, their support to the peace process and closeness or treatment to their Moro constituents.
In the critical analysis to the five presidentiables on Moro issues, the BBL and peace process as seen during the last presidential debate, it has shown that: Former Secretary Mar Roxas has clear commitment to solve the Moro problem; Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has clear commitment and conviction to solve the Moro problem; Senator Grace Poe wants inclusive peace process but never mentioned of BBL and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB); VP Jejomar Binay has no policy instead he mentioned that poverty is the root cause of conflict in Mindanao; and Senator Miriam Santiago has mentioned only the Tausog customs and tradition and Shariah law.
Duterte mentioned that BBL can appease the Moro people during the debate. Santiago has already declared BBL as unconstitutional. Binay during his True State of the Nation Address described the BBL as a symbol of the Aquino Administration’s inefficiency. Roxas has signed a covenant with the Civil Society Organizations to push for BBL in Congress once elected president.
To give the audiences better look at the presidential aspirants, the video of the last presidential in Luzon was shown.
Details on the presidential candidates’ attitudes, characters, relation with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and their Associates were also discussed.
Iqbal, who also chairs the MILF Peace Panel, reiterated the Front’s “hands off policy” on the Philippine elections and said the organization does not stop its followers from exercising their right to vote.
He advised the audiences to make their critical and objective analysis to the candidates and weigh who deserve their vote. 

19IB: At war against global warming

Recently posted to Samar News (Apr 16): 19IB: At war against global warming

 19th Infantry Battalion tree planting

Soldiers of the 19th Infantry Battalion during the tree planting activity at the military reservation in Brgy. Santol, San Miguel, Leyte on April 12, 2016.

The military reservation in Brgy. Santol here will soon be filled with trees as soldiers of the 19th Infantry Battalion frequent the area for its tree planting activities.

On Tuesday, April 12, a team of soldiers led by Staff Sergeant Christopher Cabadsan planted around 200 acacia seedlings in a vacant section of the 175 hectare-reservation.

This venture by the 19th Infantry Battalion is a call for everyone to do their share in environmental protection.

“Planting more trees so far is the best practice in mitigating the impact of global warming”, Lt. Col. Roberto Sarmiento, the Commanding Officer said.

Accordingly, each soldier is required to plant at least 10 trees every year in compliance with Philippine Army's commitment to the National Greening Program (NGP).

19th Infantry Battalion records show that around 10,000 seedlings were planted in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), in the coastal and timberland areas of Ormoc City, Carigara, Babatngon, Palo, and Kananga all in the province of Leyte last year.

For this year, the 19th Infantry Battalion aims to launch a total of 22 tree planting events in its area of responsibility which covers the entire province of Biliran and the northern part of Leyte province, including the cities of Ormoc and Tacloban.

8ID MSAB holds meeting for peace and development in Eastern Visayas

Recently posted to the Samar News (Apr 18): 8ID MSAB holds meeting for peace and development in Eastern Visayas

8ID MSAB at cuatro islas

The 8ID commander with MSAB members in diving suit during the meeting and team building at Cuatro Islas, Inopacan, Leyte from April 15-16, 2016.

April 16, 2016

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan CityThe 8th Infantry (Stormtroopers) Division successfully conducted a board meeting and team building activity with Multi-Sector Advisory Board to strengthen the fulfillment of the Army Transformation Roadmap by 2028 at Cuatro Islas, Inopacan, Leyte on 15 to 16 April 2016.

The 8ID MSAB aims to promote good governance, organizational and operational excellence, resource generation, public relation and to develop policies and procedure, for the successful implementation of the ATR on its objective to become a world class Army that is a source of national Pride by 2028.

Col. Jose H Narciso GSC (INF) PA, Chief, Governance Strategy Management Office together with Ms. Caidic presented to the board the Plans and Programs of the Command on peace and development efforts in order to be more capable, responsive, reliable and professional to its mandate of serving the people of Eastern Visayas.

Pastor Victor M. De Paz, said that the MSAB and the Army must impart ideology during the series of lecture to the youth sector that includes character reformation, to become a better citizen of our country.

On the other hand, Vivian Poblete urged the support of MSAB through linkages and partnership with key sectors in providing them Subject-Matter-Expert (SMEs) in the on-going community based skills and development training for out of school youth and local populace in Las Navas and other Municipalities in Northern Samar.

However, Miss Caidic persuaded the member to documents all best practices of the soldiers in “Oplan Bayanihan” in order to generate more support, linkages and partnership both from external and internal audiences to sustain the ATR vision.

The ATR is a shared responsibility and achievable through MSAB collaboration so we can generate more inputs for us to be more effective servant soldier in Eastern Visayas, Major General Velarmino said.

Soldier on Comelec duty killed by NPA rebels

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 8): Soldier on Comelec duty killed by NPA rebels


A soldier was killed while another was wounded on Saturday afternoon in an ambush by communist rebels in Gamay town, Northern Samar, after delivering vote counting machines (VCM) in another town.

Killed was Private First Class Louiden Quebec of the 20th Infantry Battalion based in Catubig town, Northern Samar.

Private Michael Cagata was wounded and was rushed to the rural health center in Mapanas.
Captain Ian Andres Fabellon, chief of the public affairs office of the 8th Infantry Division, saidthat no VCMs were taken by the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.
He said the soldiers were assigned to secure the VCMs that were delivered to Mapanas town in time for the May 9 polls.

After delivering the VCMs, they were heading back to their base in Catubig past 3 p.m. on Saturday when their vehicle hit a land mine planted by NPA rebels in Sitio Mamhot, Barangay Manaybanay, Gamay town, according to a  report received by the Police Regional Office in Eastern Visayas (PRO-8).

After the land mine exploded, at least 30 rebels fired at the soldiers. An exchange of gunfire ensued, the report said.

The rebels retreated to the mountains.

Responding policemen from the Mapanas police station recovered one plastic container, four white gallons covered with black cloth and around 100 meters of black electrical wire.

DWDD: BANTAY HALALAN 2016 | 4ID Ready for a Safe and Secure Presidential Election

From DWDD the AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (May 8): BANTAY HALALAN 2016 | 4ID Ready for a Safe and Secure Presidential Election


CAMP EVANGELISTA, Cagayan de Oro City (DWDD) The 4th Infantry “Diamond” Division has prepared its troops for deployment for a safe and secure upcoming May 9 Presidential election yesterday May 5, 2016.
Days before the election, the Division has established its Election Monitoring Center (EMAC) inside the camp to ensure the monitoring of election-related activities and security efforts within the Area of Responsibility (AOR).
Furthermore, the Division has deployed troops in the different provinces of Regions 10 & 13 to support the PNP counterparts primarily to man the joint PNP-COMELEC-AFP Election Monitoring and Action Centers and deployment of AFP/PNP to secure the communities. Aside from that, 4ID created Quick Reaction Teams stationed inside the camp if the need arises.
MGen Benjamin R Madrigal Jr AFP, Commander 4ID said, “Your Philippine Army is ready for a safe and secure Presidential election. The troops deployed in the different areas of 4ID is committed to serve the people of Mindanao to have a peaceful and fair election.”

DWDD: BANTAY HALALAN 2016 | NPA Ambushes Mayoralty Candidate Supporters in Isabela

From DWDD the AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (May 8): BANTAY HALALAN 2016 | NPA Ambushes Mayoralty Candidate Supporters in Isabela

GAMU, Isabela (DWDD) – A hot pursuit operations conducted by 86IB resulted to the arrest of a suspected member of the NPA at Brgy. Namnama, Jones, Isabela on May 7, 2016.

Earlier on same day, 86IB hotline received a cell phone call from Brgy Captain Rhoda Anunciacion of Brgy I, Jones that their group was harassed by unidentified armed rebels at BrgyNamnama, Jones, Isabela. Accordingly, NPA rebels fired assault rifles on their convoy of vehicles leaving 3 people dead and 4 others wounded.

Immediately, soldiers of 86IB responded and conducted hot pursuit operations. Vigilant residents in the said place of incident cooperated and revealed intelligence. The troops trace the NPA rebels and series of encounters transpired at Brgy Namnama and Brgy San Sebastian.

Aside from the captured suspected member of NPA, several items were also recovered and were accounted as follows: Cellphone Cherry Mobile; External Hard Drive Samsung (250 G) and cable memory; One (1) USB (Philip); Two (2) Sim card (Smart and Talk and Text); Memory Card SanDisk; One (1) Icom (Baofeng); Two (2) Hammock Camouflag; Two (2) Poncho ( Black); Four (4) pcs improvise Clamor mine; One (1) Magazine for M14; One (1) Trigger; Mechanism for M14; One (1) Charger Hand Held; Three (3) Batteries; Cable antenna.

Meanwhile, Major General Lysander Suerte, the Commander of 5th Infantry Division commended the troops and instructed them to continue protecting the people and ensure a peaceful elections in Jones. 5DPAO / MCAG

DWDD: AFP Stands by You! | Respect Soldiers Non-Partisan Stand

From DWDD the AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (May 8): AFP Stands by You! | Respect Soldiers Non-Partisan Stand

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) The Armed Forces of the Philippines has called on the public to respect its non-partisan stand during elections and never involve them in politics.

According to AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, all sides must respect the organization for being apolitical at all times because its interest is every Filipino, so they don’t take sides.

The statement was issued after a video was uploaded on YouTube of men in military uniform and presenting themselves as “Network of Officers to Defend the Republic”, claiming membership from the AFP and PNP, declaring a presidential candidate as a supporter and puppet of the Communist.

Previous to that, another video of men in military uniform with firearms threatened to execute members of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) and survey firms should there be widespread cheating in the May 9 elections.

In an interview by DWDD with BGen Padilla, he stated that these videos are considered as mere propaganda and are meant to discredit the AFP and PNP. It is to be expected that during this season, propagandas from different political groups would arise for different purposes.

Padilla added that these men are impostors and are not members of the AFP or PNP, since all our soldiers are professionals and would stand by their beliefs and would never hide their true identities.

The acting AFP Chief of Staff General Glorioso Miranda has ordered the forming of an investigating team to look into the origin of these materials and the personalities or group behind them so they can be punished under our laws.

Currently, the AFP and PNP is focused in supporting the COMELEC in ensuring a safe and fair national and local elections.

Padilla reiterated to all concerned citizens to respect the non-partisan role of the organization, since they serve the whole country. Your AFP Stands by You! AES / MCAG

DWDD: PRE-ELECTION CLASH | Army, NPA Encounter in Oas, Albay

From DWDD the AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (May 7): PRE-ELECTION CLASH | Army, NPA Encounter in Oas, Albay

CAMP GUILLERMO NAKAR, Lucena City (DWDD) – Three (3) days before the elections, at around 5 p.m. of May 6, a squad of the 2nd Infantry Battalion encountered three (3) NPAs in Brgy Casinagan, Oas, Albay while on combat patrol.

The five (5) minute firefight yielded no casualty on both sides, however, the troops recovered one (1) bandoleer, 5 M16 magazines and a back pack at the encounter site.

As the election nears, Army units continue to conduct Internal Security Operations targeting the NPAs in order to preempt them from conducting atrocities that may disrupt the elections. PIO SOLCOM / MCAG

DWDD: IN COMMAND | COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista met with AFP Area Commanders thru a teleconference

From DWDD the AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (May 7): IN COMMAND | COMELEC Chairman Andres Bautista met with AFP Area Commanders thru a teleconference

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – “….orderly, honest and credible. And I think this is where the Armed Forces, the PNP and the COMELEC share a joint objective. We are supposed to be non-partisan, we are neutral, we are here to implement and effect the will of the majority. That we allow people to campaign, we allow people to present their flatforms, their discussions on important issues facing the nation in the hope that our people, our voters are informed about whom they think should be the best leader both in the national and the local. But after all is said and done, we at COMELEC are duty bound to respect the will of the majority. That regardless of our personal positions, our role really is ministerial.

Kaya nga makikita nyo siguro po yung aming slogan nitong darating na halalan ay ‘Tamang Boto, Tamang Pagbilang’ – na ang tungkulin ng bawat botante ay bumoto ng tama, ang responsibilidad ng COMELEC ay bumilang ng tama. Kailangan na kailangan natin yun, and in the end, I know also that after the processes provided by law are followed then it is now the responsibility of the Armed Forces together with the PNP to keep the peace and maintain law and order and, hopefully, this will further strengthen our democratic processes. So, maraming salamat po sa inyong tulong para siguraduhin na magiging maayos, mapayapa at kapanipaniwala and ating darating na halalan. Maraming salamat General Miranda.”

Poll violence begins in Mindanao

From the Mindanao Examiner (May 8): Poll violence begins in Mindanao

Unidentified gunmen barged in a house early Saturday and killed a politician running for mayor in the southern Filipino province of Bukidnon, reports said.

It said at least 10 gunmen stormed the house of Armando Ceballos in the town of Lantapan and peppered him with bullets. The raiders escaped after the killing.

Ceballos was running independently against Ernie Devibar, of the political party called Bukidnon Paglaum. Police were investigating the killing and would not say whether the attack was politically motivated or carried out by communist insurgents who are actively operating in the province.

Police recovered many bullet shells believed fired from an M14 and M16 automatic rifles. It did not say whether Ceballos was alone in the house at the time of the attack. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the murder.

Zamboanga Peninsula 

In Zamboanga Peninsula, villagers have reported that armed goons, some of them pro-government militias, had been harassing them into voting for some politicians in the provinces.

In the towns of Tampilisan, Godod and Polanco, many civilians have moved out from their villages due to the presence of gunmen.

But in Buug town in Zamboanga del Sur province, armed men were spotted hanging around on a roadside store. They were brandishing automatic weapons and pistols. A video of the gunmen, some of them were just wearing slippers and clad in denim pants and t-shirts, were spotted at Alimanza Store.

The video clip was posted on Facebook and could be accessed on this URL:

It was not immediately known why the police and military failed to detect the presence of the gunmen in the town. 


Meanwhile, tension is running high in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Maguindanao – both in the restive Muslim autonomous region, after supporters of warring politicians threatened each other ahead of Monday’s elections.

Liberal Party Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao is running against an influential politician, Datu Ali Midtimbang, who is allied with the equally powerful Ampatuan clan under the United Nationalist Alliance.

Mangudadatu publicly promised a victory at all cost for presidential candidate Mar Roxas, while Midtimbang is campaigning for Vice President Jejomar Binay, also a presidential aspirant.

While in Lanao del Sur, Gov. Bombit Adiong, also a Liberal Party member and on his last term, is campaigning too for Roxas, but the province is a known bailiwick of Davao City Mayor and presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte, of the PDP-Laban Party.

Adiong is running for vice governor with his elderly mother, Soraya, as the governor against Marawi City Mayor Fahad Salic, who survived a recent ambush in Cagayan de Oro City.Both Mangudadatu and Adiong are known political lords in their province.

Army, police hunt down suspects in Maguindanao twin grenade attacks

From the Philippine News Agency (May 8): Army, police hunt down suspects in Maguindanao twin grenade attacks

Police and military authorities deployed for poll duties in Maguindanao are now hunting down the persons responsible in rifle grenade attacks in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao that killed a nine-year old girl and hurt her parents and siblings Saturday night.

"We are helping the local police of Shariff Aguak in tracking down the suspects," Capt. Joann Petinglay, 6th Infantry Division spokespeson, said.

"We cannot say if it was election related, we are investigating," she told the Philippine News Agency.

Two blasts rocked Shariff Aguak town, home of the Ampatuan clan during the last day of campaign period Saturday.

Shariff Aguak, one of the towns considered by the Commission on Elections as possible “area of immediate concern" for Monday’s polls, was the former capital of Maguindanao.

The first blast believed to be from rifle grenade occurred at past 7:30 p.m. and nobody was hurt. The second came at past 12 midnight when the residents were already asleep.

Petinglay identified the fatality as 9-year-old Puti Mandigan who was killed on the spot. Injured were her father Wahid, 38, mother Bae, 37 and siblings Arabai, 7 and another unidentified brother.

Responding police and military infantrymen rushed the victims to the Maguindanao provincial hospital.

Scene of the Crime Operatives and Army bomb experts found fragments of M-203 rifle grenade and M-79 grenade at the blast sites.

Political rivalry has been intense in Shariff Aguak where Sajid Ampatuan, the son of former Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr, is running for town mayor against a relative.

Ampatuan, one of the accused in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, was out on bail.