Sunday, May 29, 2016

JTCF 7 hands over uniforms to selected players of JTCF team

From the 6th Infantry (Kampilan) Division Facebook page (May 26): JTCF 7 hands over uniforms to selected players of JTCF team

The Office of Joint Task Force Central (JTFC) 7 officially handed over the football uniforms to the 25 selected players of JTFC Team from 601st Brigade, 602nd Brigade, 1st Mechanized Brigade, and 1st Marine Brigade yesterday (May 25, 2016).

The 25 football players will participate in the Western Mindanao Command's “Football Festival 2016” to be held at EAAB, Zamboanga City on May 27-29, 2016 in line with the Football for Peace Program to enhance target youth's appreciation of peace and protect them from exploitation with categories of 14 under, 12 under, and 10 under.
The JTFC Team will participate in category level of 14 under.

Joint AFP - PNP in pursuit to peace

From the 10th Infantry (Aguila) Division Facebook page (May 27): Joint AFP - PNP in pursuit to peace

Mawab, Compostela Valley Province – Three (3) members of MBCC under Guerilla Front 2 of the New People’s Army was arrested during the joint intelligence operation between 71st Infantry Battalion and the Philippine National Police at Purok 2, Brgy Limbo, Maco, CVP on 24 May 2016.

Responding to the information from a concerned citizen, the 71st Infantry Battalion and the Compostela Valley Police Provincial Office immediately took action to confirm the veracity of the information. Upon reaching the area, the troops were fired upon by the Armed Lawless Group putting them in a defensive position from the enemy fires and immediately retaliated towards known enemy position where troops’ sighted them entering the houses as their cover.

Elements of 71st IB and the CVPPO jointly performed search operation which resulted to the arrest of the three (3) identified members of the New People’s Army and the recovery of one (1) unit caliber .45 pistol with SN 273176, one (1) claymore landmine, one (1) command detonator, one (1) hand grenade and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

“This is a clear manifestation of the effectiveness shown by your Philippine Army and Philippine National Police in the pursuit to law enforcement and the battle against banditry”. Lieut. Colonel Mercado said.

The Philippine Army will continue to be a steadfast partner in providing peaceful and sustainable development in the entire region.

ALG murders tribal chief in Davao City

From the 10th Infantry (Aguila) Division Facebook page (May 27): ALG murders tribal chief in Davao City

Paquibato District, Davao City - The communist armed lawless group (ALG) believed to be members of Pulang Bagani Company (PBC) 1 under alias Jingoy murdered a tribal datu in Davao City on Wednesday afternoon, May 25, 2016.

The victim was identified as Jaime Villanueva Sr., 40, resident of So Balite, Brgy, Salapawan, Paquibato District, Davao City. He was going to Ponciano Store when shot by two unidentified men. The victim was hit on his... head that caused his instantaneous death. Villanueva was a member of Civilian Active Auxillary (CAA) and formerly assigned at 16th DDS CAA Coy in Quiman-anao Detachment, Brgy Salapawan, Paquibato District under 72ib. His dead body now lies at Rivera Funeral home at Brgy. Lasang, Davao City.

The commander of 84th infantry battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Raymund Dante Lachica said, "In order to create intimidation to the people supporting the peace initiatives of the government, the ALG are making nuisance attacks against tribal leaders who hold great influence in their communities. He also added that they are making terroristic acts to sow fear to the people of Paquibato District after it was declared as Peaceful and Ready for Further Development (PFRD).

Photos: Civil Military Operations Battalion, 10th Infantry Division assist in distributing food packets

From the 10th Infantry (Aguila) Division (May 28): Photos: Civil Military Operations Battalion, 10th Infantry Division assist in distributing food packets


The Provincial government of South Cotabato in partnership with 27IB distributed food packs to El Niño affected populace of Brgy Lambangan, T’boli, South Cotabato on 25 May 2016.

Integration Phase of AFPCMOS Officers Online Course Begins

From the AFP Civil Military Operations School (May 16): Integration Phase of AFPCMOS Officers Online Course Begins


The Strategic Civil Military Operations (CMO) Online Course Class 10-16 of the Armed Forces of the Philippines CMO School (AFPCMOS) begins its four-day integration phase today. This is the part of the course where the students, who only interacted and knew one another through the exclusive internet site and closed Facebook page of the course which started in February, are gathered again to go through the last phase together. The integration phase leads to their graduation on Friday, May 20, 2016.

Strategic CMO Officers Online Course 10-16 undergoing Integration Phase of their course.

“Strategic CMO Officers Online Course 10-16 undergoing Integration Phase of their course.”

AFPCMOS Commandant, LTC EDGARDO V TALAROC JR assures that all the students will truly enjoy the integration phase, but at the same time appreciate and value the quality of learning they will undergo in the next few days. The fundamental lessons this week will be delivered by highly esteemed facilitators fastidiously chosen by the school administration.

AFPCMOS Commandant, LTC EDGARDO V TALAROC JR, is the first resource speaker on the first day of the Integration Phase and discussed Media Analysis.

“AFPCMOS Commandant, LTC EDGARDO V TALAROC JR, is the first resource speaker on the first day of the Integration Phase and discussed Media Analysis.”

Among the roster of capable resource speakers include DFA Spokesperson ASec Charles Jose; Magdalo Congressman Ashley Acedillo; Teach Peace Build Peace Foundation Chairperson Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman; Dr. Godofredo Señires, Dr. Bernadette Escobar, Prof. Renato De Castro, Jail Inspector Marc Francis Bauya and Cagayan De Oro Mayor Oscar Moreno.

Army in the market for 902,000 rounds of 7.62mm ball ammunition

From the Philippine News Agency (May 30): Army in the market for 902,000 rounds of 7.62mm ball ammunition

The Philippine Army (PA) is looking for suppliers capable of supplying it with 902,000 rounds of 7.62mm ball ammunition which will be used to arm its sniper rifles and medium machine guns.

The 7.62mm round is used both by infantry and on mounted and crew-served weapons mounted to vehicles, aircraft and ships.

The budget for the program is PHP38,335,000.

Pre-bid conference is scheduled at June 29, 9:00 a.m. at the Philippine Army Bids and Awards Committee Conference Room, Fort Bonifacio, Tagug City.

While receipt and opening of bids is on July 12, 1:00 p.m. at the same venue.

Public-private partnership key to quashing insurgency – Army

From the Manila Bulletin (May 29): Public-private partnership key to quashing insurgency – Army

For the Philippine Army (PA)’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), public-private partnership (PPP) is a key tool in wiping out the Communist insurgency in the Visayas.

This was the assessment made by the PA’s 3ID commander, Brigadier General Harold Cabreros.

Speaking during the 3ID’s 42nd founding anniversary here recently, Cabreros stressed how the Army has made a shift in focus in terms of its reducing the strength of the New People’s Army (NPA) and other breakaway Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) – allied or leaning groups in both Western and Central Visayas regions.

From purely warfare-related strategies, a paradigm shift has been made with the 3ID’s implementation of its bayanihan (cooperation) campaign since half a decade ago.

This bayanihan strategy involves PPP, that is, with the military joined by other public sector agencies, local governments, the academe, the religious sector, and countless other non-government organizations (NGOs) – in bringing socio-economic improvements and stabilizing peace and security in communities.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has declared insurgency-free status for Aklan, Antique and Guimaras provinces in Western Visayas as well as Bohol, Cebu and Siquijor provinces in Central Visayas.

The AFP has also elevated the provinces of Capiz, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, and Negros Oriental as peaceful and ready for further development. This means that the NPA’s strength has drastically reduced and paved the way for socio-economic developments in areas of these provinces that were once hotbeds of communist insurgency.

“We acknowledge that a purely military solution will never be enough to achieve peace,” expressed Lieutenant Colonel Ray Tiongson, 3ID spokesman.

Meanwhile, the 42nd anniversary celebrations will be highlighted with a visit by Major General Demosthenes Santillan, the Army’s vice commander, at Camp Peralta in Jamindan town, Capiz province on May 30, 2016.

Opinion: The ripe moment to break a mutually hurting stalemate

Yellow Pad Column by Ed Quitoriano in the Business World (May 29): The ripe moment to break a mutually hurting stalemate

Arguably, the promise of peace and the explicit message to deal with the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army) and the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) lent public endearment to the Duterte campaign. Compare that to the non-committal or fuzzy stance of other presidential candidates. Or worse, Mar Roxas unabashedly branded the NPA as the enemy that is not worthy of dialogue.

Duterte self-proclaimed himself as a leftist and a socialist although he later clarified that his socialism is simply ‘social’ that sounds like other socialisms such as social democracy found in Germany. But his cozy relationship with the CPP-NPA on the ground and his public statements defy the ideological fine lines between social democracy and the socialism of Marx and Lenin as well as the long-standing divide between social democrats and national democrats in the Philippines.

The CPP-NPA ignored Duterte’s version of socialism and instead leaned on his leftism. Besides what they had in common was fighting the administration candidate or the candidate of Tuwid na Daan.

After six presidential administrations of which only one managed to ink pieces of agreements such as the Hague Joint Declaration in 1992, Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law in 1998, is the Duterte period the ripe moment for finally negotiating a peace deal?

In “The Timing of Peace Initiatives: Hurting Stalemates and Ripe Moments” (The Global Review of Ethnopolitics, Vol. 1, No. 1, September 2001), William Zartman argues that resolution of conflict does not mainly depend on the substance of proposed solutions but also on timing. Thus, the notion of ripe moments and mutually hurting stalemates (MHS), which is anchored on the symbiotic relationship between them. But do the Duterte promise and the CPP’s initial positive response suggest a ripe moment based on mutually perceived hurt from a stalemate?

There are three conditions for the symbiosis to become real:

First, do the parties perceive the moment as ripe based on evidence? In Zartman’s view, ripeness is present when both parties perceive the hurt even if the evidence is flimsy.

Second, is there a way out of the zero sum game? Is peaceful negotiation with substance perceived as a beneficial way out?

Third, is there a strong and legitimate leadership that guarantees fulfillment of agreements?

Peace advocates share the challenge of analyzing the same conditions required of ripeness. The urge does not come mainly from the desire to end and transform the conflict. The urge should come from their self-assessment of the ripeness to intervene and contribute to the peace push.

The South African peace deal in 1994 stands out as a monument of ripeness and the MHS that started in the late 1980s. The African National Congress (ANC) was not in a position to seize power despite its ability to cripple the political establishment and economic system. On the other hand, the white government was not in a position to sustain itself and demolish the ANC, which had deeply embedded itself in the anti-apartheid social movement. Both parties mutually perceived the hurting stalemate.

The mining sector of the business community seized the moment and came in as a neutral low-key facilitator. Without preconditions, both parties engaged in informal talks, constantly spurred by the perception that it was the ripe moment. The peace deal was achieved without the formalities of a peace agreement. The resolution was shaped through patient exchanges away from media attention. When it was done, the peace deal was thrown back to the public, and the elections decided that the white government had to give way to a new dispensation.

But ripeness is not just a product of indeterminate, bloody, and costly escalation. It is also contextual and may present itself as a blessing in disguise. The 2005 Helsinki peace agreement (officially named as a Memorandum of Understanding) between the Government of Indonesia and the Free Aceh Movement or GAM was triggered by the mutual hurt from the 2004 Tsunami. The 2006 Peace Agreement between the Government of Nepal and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) was precipitated by the crisis and eventual collapse of a centuries-old monarchy.

The Philippine case is a Gordian knot.

The almost half-century insurgency of the CPP-NPA would tempt a non-participant or an affected party to say enough is enough. But does the CPP feel the hurt of a long stalemate?

After reaching a peak in 1987 and downward slide since then, the hurt tends to drive resurgence more than rethinking or an ideological pause. Protracted people’s war and seizure of power still underpin the behavior towards peace negotiations.

Duterte’s bold offers have engendered mixed reactions and interpretations. Senator-elect Risa Hontiveros expresses caution, based on lack of evidence of sincerity on the part of the CPP. Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Ramon Paje welcomes the idea and puts forward his view that the NPA, with legitimized gun possession, would be effective guardians of the forest.

Regardless of perception, an opportunity arises from the Duterte stance. But this opportunity is vulnerable to being spoiled by the cacophony of unilateral public statements.

The opportunity may not last long, either. Ripe moments are easily lost when battle lines are marked through the media instead of the negotiating table.

Learning from the South African process, the two parties can immediately prepare the ground for resumption of talks and move them away from offensives and counter-offensives through the media.

Pending the formal assumption to power and placement of new leaderships in the Executive, the Duterte camp can tap a neutral think group to help shape the format and content of the peace negotiations. It should be a multi-stakeholder group that includes minds from the academe, civil society, business, and those familiar with the workings of the legislative and judicial institutions. Once mandated, the think-tank should do its homework in gaining acceptance of the CPP-NPA.

[Ed Quitoriano is an independent risk and conflict analyst and a consultant to International Alert-Philippines.]

Armed men attack town hall, police station in Davao Oriental

From the Sun Star-Davao (May 30): Armed men attack town hall, police station in Davao Oriental

Armed men attacked the town hall and police station in Governor Generoso town in Davao Oriental on Sunday night, May 29.

The armed men were believed to be members of the New People's Army (NPA) but unconfirmed reports also point to a losing candidate with connections to a pirate group operating in the coastal town.

Initial reports reaching PNA Davao also revealed that the house of a newly-elected mayor of Governor Generoso was also strafed by the armed men.

Capt. Rhyan Batchar, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, confirmed the incident happened around 8:00 p.m. Sunday but could not provide more details because of the ongoing firefight.

Reinforcement from military forces could not enter the town due to landmine explosions in Barangay Talisay.

Alvarez reaffirms draft BBL as part of federalism plan

From the Business World (May 29): Alvarez reaffirms draft BBL as part of federalism plan

THE ESSENCE of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is what federalism is all about, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon D. Alvarez said.

Rep. Pantaleon D. Alvarez -- Raynan F. Javil
“If you read what’s on the BBL, that is the essence of federalism,” Mr. Alvarez said in an interview on the sidelines of a coalition agreement ceremony in Makati City, adding that Filipino-Muslims will still have their own entity under the planned federalism form of government.
“I was just reiterating what Mayor [Rodrigo R.] Duterte said during the campaign, on tape naman iyon, sabi niya isusulong niya ’yung federalism [that’s on tape, he said he will push for federalism],” he added.

Mr. Alvarez, who is expected to be the next Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 17th Congress, said the government can pursue the shelved BBL, alongside the move toward federalism.

“So if we will amend the Constitution, [we will include that in revising the Constitution because we will change] from a unitary to federal form of government,” he added.

Mr. Alvarez also said incoming president Rodrigo R. Duterte has delegated the concerns of the affected parties.

“The mayor, in fact, designated certain persons to [negotiate with our Muslim bothers], and separately, may mag ha-handle ng CPP [Communist Party of the Philippines] and NPA [New People’s Army], like the one on [the] peace panel.”

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) said in a recent editorial on its Web site,, that Mr. Alvarez’s previous statements about the BBL were a “non-starter,” being contrary to what Mr. Duterte had said during his meeting with them in February and in the last presidential debate in Pangasinan in April.

“On both occasions, Duterte assured the implementation of the CAB [Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro] and the passage of the BBL. He even said that he will consider the BBL as a template for federalizing the whole country,” the editorial noted.

The MILF added that a federal type of government will not resolve the Bangsamoro questions.

“There are peculiarities that are unique to the Bangsamoro but are not present in the other possible federal states, which are predominantly Christian, such as the issues of Shariah, madrasah systems, need for Bangsamoro police (which is still part of the Philippine National Police), etc.,” the editorial also said.

The MILF also asked Mr. Alvarez how he would address the issue of “MILF’s weapons and combatants, and the need to normalize the situation? The CAB has all the answers to these concerns.”

“We hope that he will come up with a more definitive articulation of his ideas on the GPH (Government of the Philippines)-MILF peace process,” it added.

Opinion: Heroes of the nation

Reville column by Ramon Farolan in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 29): Heroes of the nation

IN THE United States, the last Monday of May is celebrated as Memorial Day in honor of the men and women who died while serving in the US Armed Forces. The Philippines does not have a specific day devoted to honoring the men and women who died while serving in our Armed Forces. The closest commemoration we have is National Heroes Day, which is dedicated to the memory of all whose acts of courage and bravery contributed to our growth as a nation.

While watching a moving documentary on Memorial Day celebrations in America, my thoughts wandered to the ongoing conflict in Basilan, where our soldiers continue the fight against Abu Sayyaf bandits. We who live and work in the relative safety and security of Metro Manila often forget, or simply are unaware, that hundreds of young men are out there fighting our battles and oftentimes making the supreme sacrifice.

This is a story of two young men, one a Christian, the other a Muslim. Both were fighting a common enemy and, in the end, both paid with their lives. Their deaths took place many years ago, part of the terrible price we have had to pay for a conflict that has been going on for decades, and for which we seem unable to provide some lasting and just solution.

Lt. Rommel G. Reyes was the executive officer of the 2nd Marine Company, Marine Battalion Landing Team (MBLT) 2, one of several young officers sent to Basilan in the drive against the Abu Sayyaf terror group, whose jungle hideout was located in the Sampinit complex on the island. Sampinit is a heavily forested area, which provides good cover for guerrilla-type operations and has long been a base of operations for all kinds of lawless elements in the province.

Reyes, a Zamboanga City boy, was named after the famed German military commander, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Early on he had set his sights on joining the Philippine Military Academy. In preparation for this goal in life, he spent two years at Western Mindanao State University before taking the exams that would lead to a career in the Armed Forces of the Philippines. After graduation from the PMA, he joined the Philippine Navy’s elite Marine Corps. His choice of a naval career was a reflection of his love for the sea, nurtured as a young boy from the south.

Much of his brief career was spent with one unit, the MBLT 2, assuming many of the usual duties and assignments that junior officers are supposed to handle, they being low men on the totem pole of the military organization. Aside from being a platoon leader, he also served as unit mess and supply officer. But with the Marines, there is a lot of esprit de corps, pride and discipline that put them several notches above other units of the AFP. This was part of the magnet that attracted Rommel Reyes to the Marines.

Lt. Johnson S. Jadjuli was born in Indanan, Sulu, and finished high school at Hajji Buto School of Arts and Trade. He would attend Notre Dame of Jolo College before taking up the Marine Basic Officers Course at the Marine Training Center. Eventually Jadjuli was called to active duty as an ensign in the Philippine Navy, one of a limited number of Muslims in this branch of service. He would serve as mess and supply officer and handle other duties normally given to lower-ranking officers. He would also be the unit historian, in recognition of his literary skills and ability. In time, he would assume the key position as the weapons platoon commander, an indication of his growing responsibilities and effectiveness in small unit deployments.

Soon after his promotion to first lieutenant, Jadjuli would be designated as a company commander of the MBLT 6. After a while, he became company commander of the MBLT 2.

Here, the lives of Jadjuli and Reyes intersected, with the Muslim Jadjuli serving as company commander and the Christian Reyes as his executive officer.

Based on sketchy reports about their mission, it appears that a team of Marines, led by Jadjuli and Reyes, was spearheading an assault on the Abu Sayyaf lair in the Sampinit complex. In the firefight that ensued, Reyes was gunned down along with four other Marines; and in a counterattack, Jadjuli charged the Abu Sayyaf lines in a virtual suicide attack to save his comrades.

The official report on the action is quite terse: “Operating elements of MBLT 2 encountered undetermined number of heavily armed lawless elements at vicinity Grid Coordinates 924248 Sampinit complex; exchange of fire ensued for about two hours, after which enemy withdrew. Mortar barrages were delivered on enemy vantage portion, while troops conducted retrieval of casualties from encounter scene.” Among the casualties were Lt. Johnson Jadjuli and Lt. Rommel Reyes, both killed in action.
We remember our young heroes.

* * *
Last Friday, schoolchildren of Canadian American School in Makati City staged a musical program, “We Can Be Heroes,” in order to raise funds for orphans and children of AFP soldiers who were either killed or permanently incapacitated in combat. The special guests of the school were Maj. Gen. Daniel Casabar Jr., executive director of Hero (Help Educate and Rear Orphans) Foundation, and MSgt. Emiliano Hemongala Jr., a Marine Corps veteran who lost his right leg in combat against MILF elements in Lanao del Sur.

The children’s program consisted of musical numbers extolling their heroes, calling for peace and justice in resolving conflicts, and celebrating their global families. They come from different nations, including Australia, Canada, China, France, India, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Philippines. The event was able to raise a modest sum in support of AFP orphans.

Hero Foundation was organized during the incumbency of President Corazon Aquino and former AFP chief of staff Renato de Villa. The foundation is managed by a board of trustees chaired by Fernando Zobel de Ayala. For almost 28 years, the foundation has provided educational support for children left behind by our soldiers who gave their lives in defense of the country. A total of 2,557 children have benefited from the Hero program, and 1,054 of them have graduated from college. It costs P5,000 a year to support the education of a grade schooler, P8,000 a year to support a high school student, and P20,000 a year for a college student.

The foundation’s stipend program works in close cooperation with the AFP Educational Benefit System Office which identifies candidate families in need of financial assistance.

Basilan bombing foiled

From the Mindanao Examiner (May 29): Basilan bombing foiled

Police foiled a bombing attempt on Saturday in the restive province of Basilan in the Muslim autonomous region.

Police said it defused an improvised explosive assembled from a mortar round connected to a blasting cap and cell phone on a bridge in Lamitan City.

The explosive was in a black backpack when police bomb experts carefully disarmed it. The bridge was temporarily closed while policemen searched the area for more bombs, but found nothing.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the foiled attack, but Lamitan had been previously bombed by the Abu Sayyaf.

Basilan is a major stronghold of the rebel group in southern Philippines.

Satellite image reveals China has begun using drones with stealth capabilities in the South China Sea

From the Daily Mail (May 29): Satellite image reveals China has begun using drones with stealth capabilities in the South China Sea 

*Satellite images taken last month show deployment of a surveillance drone
*The Harbin BZK-005 drone doesn't appear to have been armed in the image
*Comes as tensions heighten around Woody Island in the South China Sea
*As well as China, Taiwan and Vietnam have laid claim to disputed territory

China has deployed a drone with stealth capabilities for the first time to a disputed island in the South China Sea, according to new satellite imagery. 

It comes as tensions escalate in the region of the disputed Woody Island, with China, Taiwan and Vietnam each claiming the land. 

The images, obtained from ImageSat International (ISI), show the deployment of the Chinese Harbin BZK-005 long-range reconnaissance drone. 

The drone doesn't yet have the capability to fire missiles, and it doesn't appear to be armed in the satellite images taken last month. 

The images, obtained from ImageSat International (ISI), show the deployment of the Chinese Harbin BZK-005 long-range reconnaissance drone
The images, obtained from ImageSat International (ISI), show the deployment of the Chinese Harbin BZK-005 long-range reconnaissance drone

However it can remain airborne for 40 hours, and is primarily used for surveillance.   

Further satellite images taken of the island show that HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles that had been stored in one site on the northern part of the island have been transferred to other locations.

The move has most likely been made to make them more difficult to destroy in the eventuality of an airstrike.  

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook has acknowledged that the Pentagon has ‘concerns’ about China’s behaviour in the region.

‘You’ve heard us talk at length [about] our concerns about militarisation in the South China Sea, not just by China,’ he said at a press conference.

 Further satellite images taken of the island show that HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles that had been stored in one site on the northern part of the island have been transferred to other locations
Further satellite images taken of the island show that HQ-9 surface-to-air missiles that had been stored in one site on the northern part of the island have been transferred to other locations

It comes as tensions escalate in the region of the disputed Woody Island, with China, Taiwan and Vietnam each claiming the land
It comes as tensions escalate in the region of the disputed Woody Island, with China, Taiwan and Vietnam each claiming the land

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Pictured, satellite imagery shows additional activity on the disputed Woody Island, including two launchers partially covered by camouflage nets
China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. Pictured, satellite imagery shows additional activity on the disputed Woody Island, including two launchers partially covered by camouflage nets

China first built a runway on Woody Island, which is located in the Paracel chain of islands in the South China Sea, in the 1990s
China first built a runway on Woody Island, which is located in the Paracel chain of islands in the South China Sea, in the 1990s

[Video: In November China Warned US to Stop Meddling in South China Sea]

It comes just the day after reports that China is planning to dispatch nuclear submarines into the Pacific for the first time, amid heightened tensions with the US.

The US has stepped up its deterrence measures around the South China Sea in recent months, due to an international territorial dispute.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims.

Washington has accused Beijing of militarising the sea after creating some 3,200 acres of artificial islands atop former rocks and reefs farther south in the Spratly Islands, while Beijing, in turn, has criticised increased US naval patrols and exercises in Asia. 

China first built a runway on Woody Island, which is located in the Paracel chain of islands in the South China Sea, in the 1990s.

MNLF: Guest Editorial: Memorandum to President Duterte from MNLF Reverend Absalom Cerveza

Posted to the Moro National Liberation Front Website (May 27): Guest Editorial: Memorandum to President Duterte from MNLF Reverend Absalom Cerveza






After hibernating for quite sometimes searching for the freshness and vigor of idealism and youth that included the possible solution by all peaceful means the nagging Philippines-Bangsamoro war in Mindanao, this representative of the Bangsamoro youth in Filipino-colonised Mindanao has again sought the advice and counsel of the Mindanaoan elders – Christian, Lumad and Muslim.

Today, the Bangsamoro youth are just inspired by the promising political events generated by the recent May 9, 2016 national elections. After all, under currently forced and oppressive Philippine colonialism, the colonized victims are affected sometimes by the political events dictated by ‘Imperial Manila’.

Parallel to a loud thunderbolt that registered a deluge of tsunami votes, a Christian Mindanaoan “political rock star” emerged triumphant on a platform of radical reformative change. His political rise has repudiated absolutely the Luzon-based colonialist land-grabbers that have continued the “rotten political system” of massive corruption and pork barrel system.

The reality cannot be lightly dismissed that the highly-centralized America-introduced decadent Philippine socio-economic political system has no doubt metamorphosed the disturbing Filipino-Moro war in Mindanao and the conflagrating AFP-NDF/NPA war throughout the whole region.

On these two devastating threat to security, peace and public order coupled with other social ailments marked by escalating mass poverty and hunger, massive corruption in government, drug trafficking/addiction menace, criminality, etc., the Manila government has only but introduced artificial and cosmetic preventive measures. Military Solution. Divide-Rule-Destroy. Cooptation-Accommodation. Monetary Dole-outs. Promises.  And more Promises.

Truth to tell, the Aquino II government incensed by its “daang matuwid” self-serving hype has only patronized war and injustice instead of peace and justice. Worst, just like its predecessors – the Marcos, Aquino I and Arroyo regime – it has betrayed again Mindanao peace.

Clearly, on this other malevolent crusade of ‘Imperial Manila’, it has only deceived both Chairman Murad Ebrahim-led Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and UMNO Prime Minister Najib Razak-led Malaysian government. It has also “taken for a ride” (quoting incoming Philippine Congress speaker Congressman Pantaleon Alvarez) the Filipino and Bangsamoro peoples, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member-states and the whole humanity.

Thus, moving on to discuss some tangible points toward peace solution to the worsening endless Philippines-Bangsamoro war in Mindanao, the youth dynamic idealism has to be harnessed and sharpened to critique the controversial issue.

On this lightning water-shed, the crystal lens of the Bangsamoro youth has this time around spotlighted on the known “man of God” and spokesman of Mindanao peace – Reverend Absalom Cerveza of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).


On the novel quest to contribute positive ideas towards the final resolution to the Mindanao war, the Bangsamoro youth also in the past took the liberty of writing U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama. He was directly asked how he could help solve peacefully the Philippines-Bangsamoro war in Filipino-occupied Mindanao that has been raging for almost half a century now.

 It was pointed out to him that the naked historical injustice committed by the U.S. government was the fabrication of the “Philippine Republic” in 1946. In global history, the so-called Philippine Republic illegally and immorally annexed the Bangsamoro homeland of Mindanao, Sulu and Palawan (MINSUPALA) and the Igorots’ Cordillera Region (‘Mountain Province’).

The Christian American-Filipino sinister conspiracy glorifying then colonial land-grabbing has today resulted in restiveness and hostilities in the two ancestral homelands of the Indigenous Peoples of this part of the world.

On this note, the American president responded with somewhat a positive attitude, insinuating that the possibility of achieving Mindanao peace and ending Mindanao war could be effectively initiated by a third party.

As a face-saving devise that America could not publicly admit, but could not directly help, could the “third party” refer to be the United Nations (UN), Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), European Union (EU), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other active peace advocating Non-Government Organizations (NGOs)?

Surely, all these truth-and-peace-advocating international organizations have already outlawed and banned ‘colonialism’ in all its ugliest form. But, unfortunately, most of them have become supportive of pro-war governmental establishment at the expense of the oppressed and colonized humanity.

In continuing today the Bangsamoro youth’s initiative to help find a curative ‘blue pill’ towards Mindanao peace, the Bangsamoro Freedom Solidarity (BFS) has sought the counsel of foremost Mindanaoan freedom fighter Reverend Absalom Cerveza. He is recognized as the official spokesman of the MNLF peace panel and trusted leader of the MNLF Christian members. The BFS also found out that Reverend Cerveza was the first Christian MNLF member nominated and elected Prime Minister of the Bangsamoro Republik that was proclaimed in 2001.

As a respected freedom fighter whose commitment to the MNLF-launched liberation struggle for independence and self-determination of the Lumad and Muslim natives as well as conscious Christian settlers of Mindanao has become his passionate vocation in life, Reverend Cerveza has given his piece of mind to solve the Mindanao conflict. He has directly addressed his unsolicited but timely advice to the present highest Mindanaoan national government leader – President-elect Rodrigo R. Duterte.


This is the first unsolicited “Memorandum” for presumptive President Rodrigo R. Duterte from Reverend Absalom Cerveza. And possibly too from the oppressed and colonized Bangsamoro people suffering under ‘Imperial Manila’ brand of colonialism.

Aside from being the first official MNLF coordinator for Lumad, Christian and Muslim affairs in Mindanao, Reverend Cerveza also served the oppressed Bangsamoro people as the first elected Prime Minister of the Bangsamoro Republik. The independent Bangsamoro government was declared by the MNLF-sponsored Bangsamoro People’s National Congress of different sectoral representatives held in Cabatangan Complex, Zamboanga City, on April, 2001.

Consequently, the burning sentiments of the Bangsamoro general assembly for independence and self-determination was concretised by a formal petition addressed to the Kopi

Anan-led United Nations Organization. The official petition was submitted to the New York-based UN Decolonization Committee by the MNLF legal representative for international affairs – Atty. Ely Velez Pamatong – on December 10, 2001

This was after the betrayal of Mindanao peace by Philippine colonialism under President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who did not implement the September 2, 1996 GRP-OIC-MNLF Jakarta Peace Agreements. The Arroyo regime instead unilaterally created the farcical 5-province Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), transforming it merely into the “cheating capital of Philippine elections”, according to Philippine media.

Under the Arroyo watch, the first political robbery in national scale was transacted by the Benjamin Abalos-led COMELEC by stealing the presidency from the perceived winner – the legendary Philippine movie king Fernando Poe, Jr. The broad daylight political robbery was legitimized by the joint Philippine Congress pork barrel-conscious ‘lawmakers’ with the proclamation of “comelected” President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo during the night tide unholy hour in Batasan Pambansa halls.

Assessing the current events evolving around the incoming Duterte government, Reverend Absalom Cerveza has called on presumptive President Rodrigo Duterte to sincerely solve the decades-long Mindanao war. He has reminded the first Mindanaoan Philippine president that the Filipino-Moro conflict is an embedded and deep-seated colonial structure that smocks of glaring “historical injustices” (borrowing the words of then Davao City Mayor Digong Duterte) against the Lumad and Muslim natives as well as conscious Christian settlers of Mindanao.

He emphasized that a comprehensive permanent solution to the Mindanao problem should be seriously considered and not used only for political dramatic hyperbole as shown by the Luzon-based pro-war and anti-peace pseudo-leaders or colonialist dealers.


As a progressive MNLF Christian leader, Reverend Cerveza has reminded the incoming Duterte government on the precautionary words of Chairman Reuben R. Canoy of the Mindanao Independence Movement (MIM). In 1975, the Mindanaoan patriotic freedom fighter and martyred hero once said:

“With the inauguration of the Commonwealth in 1935 and the attainment of full Philippine independence in 1946, it was assumed that the Mindanao policies instituted by past colonial regimes would be scrapped…To the dismay of the Mindanaoans, the Manila government turned out to be a worse colonizer.”

Thus, it’s never surprising why ‘Imperial Manila’ has had been looked upon by the oppressed Indigenous Peoples as an oppressive colonial government sharing the same war-freak tag of the past Spanish, American and Japanese colonialist invaders.

On the saddest plight of the Muslim natives of the Bangsamoro homeland, an Igorot thinker, Joseph F. Fallon, in 1987 clearly illustrated:

“At the start of the U.S. occupation of Moroland in 1913, the Muslims represented approximately 98% of the territory’s population. Virtually all of the land was owned or occupied by the Moros. As a result of half a century intensive, systematic Filipino colonization, the Moros are now a dispossessed minority in their own land. They constitute only 40% of the current population (Filipino sources claim they are just 22%), own less than 17% of the land, most of it barren land in remote, mountain areas, and have had 80% of their people reduced to the status of landless tenants…After so many decades of abuses and betrayal, for the Moros and Igorots to trust Manila and to remain with the Philippines would not only be naïve, it would be suicidal.”

The tragic reality today is the manufacturing and continuation of the fake autonomous ARMM and so-called autonomous Cordillera Region as the most impoverished and depressed colonies of the Manila-based “Christian Filipino colonialist slavers”, who only take pride in perpetuating the colonial slavery of the colonized natives of Mindanao and Cordillera (source: ‘Bangsamoro Historical Notes’).


Commenting on the controversial PGH-MILF-Malaysia Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and the MNLF-OIC-GRP Jakarta Peace Agreements, Reverend Cerveza has viewed the two agreements as substantial roadmap to Mindanao peace.

While the BBL was crafted with the direct collaboration of the Filipino and Malaysian colonialist leaders with the end view to find per se “just and lasting peace” for war-torn Mindanao (yet both parties have hidden agenda on its final outcome), the 1996 peace agreement on one hand served an acid test for the Filipino colonisers to show strong political will to solve the decades-long Mindanao conflict.

Reverend Cerveza has diagnosed that both Philippine and Malaysian colonialism have hidden agenda on the final outcome of the GPH-Malaysia-MILF peace parley that led to the Framework Agreement on Bangsamoro (FAB), Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro (CAB) and finally BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law).

From the beginning, it was observed that the hidden motive of Malaysian colonialism under exPrime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was just to divide the Bangsamoro freedom fighters, pitting the MNLF against its splintered group MILF.

It’s common knowledge that the MNLF under a Tausug (Suluk) leader Chairman Nur Misuari could never compromise on the status of Sulu Sultanate-owned North Borneo. Until today the North Borneo territory has been forcibly colonized by the federal Malaysian government justifying “under its sovereignty” the immoral possession of the colony. But, in truth, similar to Philippine’s thievery, the proclaimed “sovereignty” is based on land-grabbing because North Borneo was leased to a commercial British Company represented by Gustavus Baron Overbeck and Alfred Hill. The Sulu Sultanate-owned territory was leased to a private British Company during the reign of Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo (SSNB) on January 22, 1878.

The SSNB sovereign ruler decided to lease Sulu Sultanate-owned North Borneo to the British Company in order to raise monetary resources in purchasing war weapons needed to defend the Sultanate domain against the piratical Spanish colonialist invaders.

North Borneo was never leased neither to the British government nor to the federal Malaysia government that was only founded in 1963 after gaining independence from British colonial rule.

In recent modern history, the continued Malaysian land-grab on the Sulu Sultanate-owned North Borneo resulted to the 2013 Lahad Datu (Sabah) war between the federal Malaysian soldiers and royal forces of the Sultanate of Sulu and North Borneo.

Now under Prime Minister Najib Razak, it is perceived that violent hostilities may erupt anytime in the future between the Tausug colonized victims and Malaysian colonisers. This cannot just be discounted if the federal Malaysian government would remain indifferent to conduct peaceful dialogue with the legitimate owners of North Borneo to peacefully settle the immoral land-grabbing controversial issue.

As the case nowadays, the federal Malaysian government could just silence any Filipino colonialist president with Sabah wealth money to shut up related to the Sulu Sultanate-authorized Philippine claim.

Lately, the Najib government, which is constantly under attack for possible liquidation by ex-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, has cut off any barter trading commercial transactions between the Mindanao-based Tausug Muslims and Sabah merchants. The lame reason given is to stop the rampant kidnappings in Sabah waters and remote places without seriously investigating that the abductions could be “inside job” as revealed by two Malaysian officials in the past.  


On resolving the continuity of destructive Philippine colonialism in the Bangsamoro homeland, Reverend Absalom Cerveza has expressed “strong political will “ and “good judgment” as golden key to achieving just and permanent Mindanao peace. He has lamented the lost opportunity given in history to the present Aquino government that was the ideal dream of the late Filipino peacemaker, statesman and national hero, Benigno ‘Ninoy’ Aquino, Jr.

Ninoy Aquino once said: “Study the lessons of history before it is too late…If you are not sincere, how many will die.”

Instead of using the “peace process” to sincerely guarantee lasting and durable peace in war-ravaged Mindanao, the Aquino government only toyed with “peace process” orchestrated by the notorious Office of the Peace Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP).

It proudly conspired with corruption-wracked Najib government to stage series of Kuala Lumpur peace talks in drumbeating Mindanao peace, but at the end of the day shrewdly betrayed it.

Undersecretary Jing Deles, the OPAPP only took pride in Malaysia-sponsored window-dressing Kuala Lumpur peace talks and the disbursement of pork barrel “pamana” funds as monetary dole-outs to deceive and divide the Bangsamoro people and freedom fighters.

Worst, the Aquino regime chose to continue the Mindanao war and totally ignored the GRP-OIC-MNLF September 2, 1996 Jakarta Peace Agreements that the Ramos government tried hard to implement with the establishment of Tripoli agreement-mandated 13 province and 9-city Southern Philippines Council for Peace and Development (SPCPD).

Unfortunately, the political will initiative of President Fidel V Ramos was undermined by succeeding presidential war-mongers, President Joseph E. Estrada and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who patronized “all-out war” colonial strategy   rather than sincere peaceful dialogue.

Thus, deception, treachery and promises only became the hallmark of the Aquino government and OPAPP in dealing with the MNLF freedom fighters, MILF “hopefuls” and federal Malaysian government.

Unmindful of the ominous violent events surrounding the March, 2013 Sabah war and the September 2013 Zamboanga City war, the Aquino government remained insensitive to seriously solve the Philippines-Bangsamoro war in Mindanao. It never paid any slightest attention to the Philippine Sabah claim to help the Muslim Tausug owners of North Borneo. Instead, it continued the clearest conspiracy with Malaysian colonialism to hoodwink the Filipino and Bangsamoro sectors as well as MILF “hopefuls” with the imagined implementation of Malaysia-brokered peace agreement BBL.

However, with the hidden monetary funds of Sulu Sultanate-owned North Borneo changing colonial hands and gaining complete trust and confidence of the MILF freedom fighters, the Aquino government has only to “shoot two birds” with one bullet. That was the master plan to neutralize dead (or alive) one single “Malaysian terrorist” (Marwan) with the Malacanang-designed Mamasapano invasion in Mindanao. The rest now is ridiculous history.

On this controversial end, Reverend Cerveza could only hope with a fervent prayer that the Duterte government would learn the moral lesson in Philippine and Bangsamoro history that Mindanao peace, although betrayed repeatedly by ‘Imperial Manila’, could be the monumental legacy of a Mindanaoan president in world history.

Certainly, it can never be doubted that Mindanao peace is to end the “suffering, misery and agony” of the Muslim and Lumad natives, and too the concerned and conscientious Christian settlers.

MILF: ‘Be an inspiration and role models’: Aussie diplomat tells Bangsamoro scholars

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 27): ‘Be an inspiration and role models’: Aussie diplomat tells Bangsamoro scholars

An Australian embassy official urged the Bangsamoro youth who have graduated and will study under the In-Country Scholarship Program (ICSP) of the Australian Government “to be inspiration and role models to fellow Moros” during the recognition of graduates and scholarship contract signing ceremony held at Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City, last Friday (May 20).

“I hope that you will serve as inspiration and role models to your fellow Moros in pursuit of higher education and service to your communities,” said Timothy Smith, First Secretary of Australian Embassy, addressed to 10 ICSP1 graduates and 51 ICSP2 grant recipients who will take their post graduate studies in partner academic institutions from 2016-2018.

ICSP is implemented by the Philippine Australia Human Resource and Organizational Development Facility (PAHRODF).

Launched in June 2012, around 99 postgraduate scholarship grants under the ICSP1 were awarded to targeted professionals based in Mindanao majority are coming from conflict affected areas.

The scholarship grant recipients were endorsed by the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA), Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) and the Department of Education- Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“The ICSP is focused in conflict affected areas in Mindanao with the view to building a body of educated Moros who can provide services to the communities and be experts in their fields,” Smith said and added, “The Australian government believes that education is the essential elements for future prosperity.”

He explained, “This is one of the reasons why the key focus area for Australian Aid program in the Philippines is basic education and higher education through scholarship.”

The embassy official said the Australian scholarship is aimed to develop leaders and to build stronger institutions that can drive development.

“Australia sees support to education is complementing other efforts in the pursuit of peace and development in the Bangsamoro region,” Smith pointed out and related that his country has been supporting peace and security in this country for 20 years now.

He said that the successful peace process can create a condition for security and economic development in Bangsamoro “bringing about an improvement to the lives of people who live there.”

“Being awarded a scholarship is one initial step towards a well-rounded education. You can’t succeed without hard work, perseverance and commitment,” Smith said.

He added, “The ICSP has provided the opportunity to you, graduates and new scholars to be instruments of change and development in your respective communities and organizations.”

“Australia hopes that what you learned will benefit not only the Bangsamoro specifically but the Philippines as a whole.”

BDA Chairman Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan and BLMI Executive Director Sheikh Mahmoud Ahmad also graced the occasion and gave their inspirational messages.

MILF: Study shows 97.8% of Maguindanaon farmers, entrepreneurs prefer Shariah-base microfinance

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 27): Study shows 97.8% of Maguindanaon farmers, entrepreneurs prefer Shariah-base microfinance

(A study) conducted by a Moro Non-Government Organization (NGO) revealed that 97.8% of Maguindanaon farmers and entrepreneurs prefer Shariah-based micro-financing (SMF) over the conventional financing.

The research entitled “The Feasibility and Acceptability of Shariah-based Microfinance (SMF) in Maguindanao” was undertaken by Katabanga Development Foundation for Peace and Development Advocates, Inc. (Kadtabanga) and Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) from October 2015 to January 2016.

“This study investigates how the Islamic microfinance would work in Maguindanao setting, particularly on its acceptability and viability,” said Prof. Nasruddin Buisan, the lead researcher of the study.

The study result was presented to different SMF practitioners during a planning workshop on May 17-18, 2016 at Lake Sebu, South Cotabato under the auspices of the PEF.

Buisan said although SMF is new to the province of Maguindanao, there is very high preference of the said financing system wherein only 2.2% of the respondents said they prefer the conventional or interest-based financing scheme.

The study also revealed that the 2.2% do not have clear understanding on Islamic financing.

In terms of acceptability, 41.9% said SMF is very acceptable, 47.3% said it is acceptable while 10.8% said it is fairly acceptable.

Fifty-three (53) farmers and 41 entrepreneurs from Alamada and Tuka in Sultan Kudarat, Kauran in Ampatuan and Manungkaling in Mamasapano all part of Maguindanao province were the respondents of the said study.

The respondents said their sources of loans are cooperatives (46%), local traders (30%), local moneylenders (12%), family and relatives (12%), friends (2%), and land owners (2%).

Farmers who avail loan through “Bonega system” wherein local traders provide loan in the form of farm inputs or consumer goods are required to sell the farmers’ produce to their lenders. These traders buy the agri-products of the borrowers at lower price and sell their goods at higher prices.

Another system of loan practiced in Maguindanao is called Angkat Financing System usually for rice farmers wherein for every P1,000 cash availed by the borrower, he will pay same amount to the lender plus additional three sacks of rice for every P1,000 borrowed.

According to Ustadz Akman Abtahi, a lecturer on Islamic Financing, the two systems manifest unjust dealing to the borrowers and clearly those do not conform with Shariah.

SMF or commonly called Islamic Financing is anchored on the conditions that transactions should be interest-free, profit and loss sharing, free from ambiguity or uncertainties and no Haram (forbidden) items in the trading.

Kadtabanga is one of the dew organizations offering SMF targeting poor households in Maguindanao with the support of the PEF.

MILF: BDA staff underwent Resource Mobilization and Procurement Training at UP Diliman

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 28): BDA staff underwent Resource Mobilization and Procurement Training at UP Diliman

(In order) to broaden the skills and knowledge of the Bangsamoro Development Agency (BDA) workforce to provide better services to the Bangsamoro people, four staff of BDA Central Management Office (CMO) underwent an intensive Resource Mobilization and Procurement Training at the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman in Quezon City on May 23-27, 2016.

The 5-day capability-building training was handled by experts from the Center for Policy and Executive Development (CPED), National College of Public Administration and Governance (NCPAG) at UP, the country’s premier university.

The four BDA-CMO staff who joined the training were Hamodi Lao Tiboron, Finance Head, Marifa M. Agar, Admin Head, Rauf Ali Sabdula, Internal Control Officer and Procurement Officer Warda Mohamad.

Grateful for the inputs acquired, Tiboron said the knowledge from the training can be shared with fellow Bangsamoro in advancing the Muslim society in the country.
 “May the Almighty make us more useful for our agency, homeland and Muslim Ummah,” the BDA finance chief said.

 “This (training) was timely because BDA is gearing up to strengthen its system with the overarching goal of institutionalization,” Agar said.

“The resource mobilization strategies taught to us are very relevant because it triggered us to think about sustainability mechanisms for grassroots development interventions in the conflict affected areas,” she explained.

The BDA Admin chief said, “We are hoping that even small interventions will create ripples and produce greater impact in setting an enabling environment for the peace process.”

She also disclosed their plan to re-echo the said training at the regional level starting July this year.

BDA Chairman Dr. Saffrullah Dipatuan said during a recognition of Bangsamoro scholars at Davao last Friday underscored the importance of education in the empowerment of the Bangsamoro people.

When asked by development partners about the agency’s priority needs Dipatuan said, “We always say that our number one need is education.”

BDA is the development arm of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Front represent the Bangsamoro in peace negotiation with the Philippine Government.

Since its creation in 2002, BDA has been in the frontline in bringing capability-building initiatives and development projects to the conflict affected communities of Mindanao and the island provinces.

Various international development partners like United Nations agencies, World Bank, Australia, Japan and European Union have been engaged with BDA in implementing projects that provide the basic needs and helping in the socio-economic development of the target poor communities.

BDA workforce from the CMO and Regional Management Offices facilitate various capability-building trainings for the People’s Organizations at the grassroots which are capacitated and strengthened to handle project management.

MILF: BDA-CenMin RMO invites individuals, families and organizations to upcoming 29th MBD

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front website (May29): BDA-CenMin RMO invites individuals, families and organizations to upcoming 29th MBD 

The Regional Management Office (RMO) of Bangsamoro Development Agency-Central Mindanao (BDA-CenMin) invited individuals, families and organizations in Cotabato City and neighboring localities to be part of the upcoming 29th Muslims Blood Donation (MBD) to be conducted on May 29, 2016 at RM Office located in # 23 Jasmin Street, RH6. Cotabato City.

In a conversation via cellular phone with Nazneen Biruar-Piang, R.N, MBD Regional Coordinator, by BDA-CenMin Communication Group (ComGroup) last May 24, 2016, she said, “The invitation for this activity is being strengthened and its scope expanded to be able to maximize as much as possible the number of blood unit deposits in preparation particularly for the approaching month-long fasting month of Ramadhan where blood supply usually decreases”.

“In this regard, the BDA-CenMin is targeting a collection of at least 500 blood units”, Biruar Piang also said.

In the MBD Partners’ Meeting at RM Office dated May 25, 2015, Biruar-Piang also expressed the need of support of various stakeholders particularly healthy Muslims by sharing their blood in order meet the said target.

Dr. Sherjan Kalim, Blood Bank Chairman of Cotabato Regional and Medical Center (CRMC) also invited the public through 99.0 Voice FM in Cotabato City on May 26, 2016 urging everyone to support the upcoming 29th MBD as part of their sincere service to anyone that needs blood.

“Our blood, which only God creates is greatly needed to serve anybody regardless of their tribe, religious, organizational and political affiliations,” Dr. Kalim emphasized.
Badrudin Sendad, a staff of BDA-CenMin and a regular blood donor emphasized to listeners of 99.0 Voice FM that support for the 29th MBD does not only mean blood donation because anything of help to the activity will do like vehicle, food, cash, etc.

“Vehicles will be utilized to transport donors from their place of origin to the venue, while food will be for the consumption of donors, volunteers and visitors and, cash is all-encompassing kind of support for the success of MBD because it can be used for fuel of vehicles, food and all other necessary expenditures”, added Sendad.

Amot Pulalon, MBD Assistant Regional Coordinator also said, “As part of strengthening our invitation for this activity, we expanded our invitation by including other organizations and agencies not only in Cotabato City but also in neighboring localities through hand-carried invitation letters signed by Ustaz Abdulrasheed Ambil, Regional Manager of BDA-CenMin.”

“We are, at the same time, making other ways of inviting everyone through text brigade and by telling our family members, friends and neighbors,” Pulalon stressed.
“With the utmost commitment of donors and other concerned individuals to achieve strong unity and support in sharing their precious blood, saving lives is maximized to the strongest possible way, thus let us support the 29th MBD”, Sendad stressed.

MILF: ‘Quick Impact Projects are living testimony of peace’: BDA Executive Director Yacob

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May 29): ‘Quick Impact Projects are living testimony of peace’: BDA Executive Director Yacob

Jolo, Sulu – Twenty quick impact projects (QIPs) for the Bangsamoro communities implemented in conflict affected-areas in Mindanao were completely turned-over to its recipient communities in Central, Eastern, Northern, Southern, and Western Mindanao regions. 

A multi-purpose hall building that forms part of the QIPs under the Comprehensive Capacity Development Project for the Bangsamoro (CCDP-B) of the Bangsamoro Transition Socio Economic Office (BTC-SEO) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was awarded to the people of Barangay Mungit-Mungit, Talipao, Sulu on May 25, 2016.

“This (QIPs) is a living testimony of peace and so let’s celebrate the day and the days to come in shaa Allah (If God wills) and called it a success,” said a statement by BDA Executive Director Mohammad Yacob read before the community residents by Jodsbarie Compania, a representative of BDA Central Management Office in the ceremony.
Yacob is referring to quick impact projects such as multi-purpose hall buildings, school buildings, and warehouses with solar driers implemented in both Bangsamoro core and non-core territory areas.
“The purpose of this activity is to bring together all stakeholders of the project to realize that peace really exists in Bangsamoro areas”, Yacob said in his message.
Yacob thanked the partners involved in the projects.
Norodin Salam, Project Manager of the CCDP-B mentioned three significant things to remember, the first he said, is that these projects are fruits of peace, second is the observance of respect, and third is analyzing the situation.
“We must hold on to these fruits of peace, we’ll never let this lost from us,” he said.
“The GPH-MILF Peace Process’ 17 years and beyond made many positive changes in our communities,” Salam said.
Salam however said that this development was not measured by infrastructure project alone like the building that was constructed. “But it is measured with symbiotic relationship between and among peoples in the community”, he added.
Salam said: “We need to observe respect; respect our leaders, the MILF Central Committee and its peace panel. Whatever they may decide, we must respect that because that is good for us”. 
In analyzing the situation he said, “We must be observant. We should observe whatever happens in our community and respond to it accordingly”.
Malik Caril of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (MILF-CCCH) who has been escorting the team said that,  “In achieving change, “change must come first within oneself and in the community”.
On the other hand, Kasan “Jun” Usop, Jr was tasked to deliver the message of JICA Cotabato Project Office Head and Chief Leader Naoyuki Ochiai. 
“The 20 project sites were chosen because they were the most neglected and most affected by conflict in Mindanao hence, it is only fitting that these communities shall reap early the dividends of peace”, said Ochiai. 
“The JICA extends appreciations to BTC, BDA who made regular monitoring and coordination with LGUs (MLGUs and BLGUs) including MILF political committees, the contractor and local consultants, peoples’ organizations and community members,” Ochiai said in his statement read by Kasan, Jr. 
Ochia highlighted that the projects will not be completed successfully without the support and cooperation of all stakeholders.
“From now on, we hope that this multipurpose hall will be a place that will witness a milestone in the life of people here in Mungit-Mungit…a place that will serve as a classroom where students can study their lessons and where community residents can improve skills and capacity through trainings…and open for Muslims, Christians and Indigenous Peoples”, Ochiai said in his statement.
 “This place will also be utilized for community gatherings like consultations in order for residents to fully understand the current situation with regards to peace process.
This place will witness how Bangsamoro unites for the realization for the establishment of Bangsamoro government”, Ochiai further said.
Nodora Halil, BDA Community Organizer said “This is a very important project for us so we have to take good care of it”.
Other speakers who extended their message of support were Masnuna Sali, President of the Paghambuuk (United) Peoples’ Organization; Liuk Manny Tulawie, Barangay Chairman of Mungit-Mungit, Talipao; Hadji Basaron Kamlon,  MILF Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG)-Western Mindanao and Prof. Alih Sakaluran Aiyub, Project Coordinator for Building Foundation of Governance of the CCDP-B.
The CCDP-B is a partnership development capacity building program between the BTC and JICA signed in 2013 and being implemented for three years until 2016, however it is extended until 2019. 
 It recently revised its components such as Building Foundation of Governance, Public Service Delivery, and Development Plan for the Bangsamoro.