Monday, June 20, 2016

6 cops, 2 others injured in Sarangani blast

From ABS-CBN (Jun 21): 6 cops, 2 others injured in Sarangani blast

Eight were injured in an explosion near the Municipal Health Center in Maasim, Sarangani Province.

Six policemen and 2 civilians were wounded in an explosion near the Municipal Health Center in the town of Maasim in Sarangani Province on Monday.

The wounded police officers were Police Inspector Danilo Abataya, deputy chief of police station, PO1 Almasir Tingkasan, PO1 Romel Badua, PO1 Sukran Donisa Sugod, PO2 Mark Victor Naya and PO1 Rowell Sobretodo.
Jetphunie Navales, a nurse at the health center, and Leonardo dela Peña, a tricycle driver, also sustained injuries.

According to the chief of Maasim police, the victims were on the streets to provide security as the town is celebrating the second day of Kestebeng Festival.

Based on initial investigation, one of the wounded policemen saw a man wearing a white shirt and riding a motorcycle throw an unidentified explosive near the waiting shed in the Municipal Health Center compound.

The injured police officers were brought to hospitals in General Santos City.

CAFGU member shot dead in Ifugao

From ABS-CBN (Jun 21): CAFGU member shot dead in Ifugao

A CAFGU member lays dead after he was shot by suspected New People's Army rebels in Tinoc, Ifugao
A member of the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) was shot dead last Friday in Ifugao.
Agustin Andres, 34, was killed in Sitio Ubo-ub, Binablayan in Tinoc while on his way to Nueva Vizcaya to deliver tomatoes.
Three unidentified men, believed to be members of the New People's Army, emerged from a tent used by laborers along the road and shot him when he passed by.
Congressman Teddy Baguilat said insurgency in Ifugao has always been a problem.
They are now hoping that the peace talk agreement next month will help resolve the problem not just in the province but in the entire country.
"The only way you could stop this war of attrition is to have a ceasefire and a comprehensive peace agreement. Hopefully, talagang pag nagwagi ito, talagang it can help," he said.

Duterte gov't eyes truce with Reds before SONA

From ABS-CBN (Jun 21): Duterte gov't eyes truce with Reds before SONA

CPP-NDF leaders Jose Maria Sison and Luis Jalandoni meet with Duterte peace negotiators led by Jesus Dureza in Norway. Thirdy Ado, ABS-CBN News

The Philippines and leftist rebels plan to declare a ceasefire before President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s first policy speech to Congress next month, a government negotiator said Tuesday.

The truce will be declared after formal peace negotiations resume in the third week of July, one week before Duterte's first ever State of the Nation Address, said incoming labor secretary Silvestre Bello, who is part of the negotiations.
The nearly half-century long Maosit campaign of the New People's Army (NPA), one of the world's longest running insurgencies, has claimed over 30,000 lives according to military estimates.

"After the formal resumption of the talks, both parties will declare a unilateral ceasefire," Bello said.

Informal talks resumed in Norway this month between the leftists' political wing, the National Democratic Front, and Duterte's emissaries, breaking a decade-long deadlock.

Duterte camp, NDF agree on resumption of formal peace talks

The rebels pulled out of negotiations under President Gloria Arroyo's government to protest the inclusion of their leaders in the United States and the European Union's lists of terrorist organizations.

Next defense chief eyes Davao solution in counter-insurgency drive

From ABS-CBN (Jun 21): Next defense chief eyes Davao solution in counter-insurgency drive
WASHINGTON - Retired General Delfin Lorenzana, the incoming National Defense chief of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, plans to replicate on a national scale the counter-insurgency drive that he and Duterte used in transforming Davao City into one of the country's safest areas.

In his first media interview since confirming his Cabinet appointment, Lorenzana shared that he was the battalion commander of Davao City during Duterte's first term as mayor in the 1980s, when the number of rebels in the south had reached a peak of 26,000.
Lorenzana believes their success in purging Davao City of criminals and insurgents can be repeated across the country,

"It’s a holistic approach: talking with, convincing the barangays and the people to cooperate and work with us and report to us the activities of the insurgents. This is actually cooperation between the military, police and the local government. Maganda 'yung cooperation namin," he said.

Lorenzana only confirmed that he will again work for Duterte as the National Defense Secretary on Monday.

Although surprised by his own designation, he is confident that he is up for the job. "I was surprised really, and a little bit concerned or maybe daunted because the job is too big but I think I can do it."


Lorenzana is currently the special presidential representative for Veterans Affairs of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, U.S.
Filipino-American residents believe that Lorenzana's stint as presidential envoy will help in matters concerning the relationship of the Philippines and the United States.

"With his experience working here in Washington DC, as a military attaché, at yung siya’y ating head of Veterans Affairs Office at the Philippine Embassy would play a crucial role in strengthening the bilateral relationship. Kasi he knows how things work here in Washington and he can be a go-between the new president and the Obama adminstration," said Eric Lachica of the U.S. Pinoys for Good Governance.

Sonny Busa, a former diplomat of the U.S. Department of State, added that Lorenzana is a "great friend of the U.S."

"If we [Filipino-American community] were to hand-pick a secretary of Defense, it would have been him. Of course, we didn’t do that but we got our wishes, so it just honors well for the future of the relationship. He’s the best man for the job," Busa said.

Chief among the issues that Lorenzana will face is the territorial dispute of China and the U.S.-backed Philippines on the South China Sea.

READ: China tells US to play constructive South China Sea role
Lorenzana is keeping mum on his plans for addressing the territorial row until he gets the full marching orders from Duterte.

The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1973 had said that Lorenzana, its alumnus, will make the country's defense position stronger by rebuilding military might.

AMID CHINA’S ASSERTIVENESS US navy chief hopes carriers deter East Asia destabilization

From GMA News (Jun 21): AMID CHINA’S ASSERTIVENESS US navy chief hopes carriers deter East Asia destabilization

The US Navy chief said on Monday he hoped the deployment of two aircraft carriers on a training mission in East Asia would deter any attempts to destabilize the region, where military tensions have risen amid China's growing assertiveness.

The US carriers John C. Stennis and Ronald Reagan began joint operations in seas east of the Philippines at the weekend in a show of strength ahead of an international court ruling expected soon on China's expansive territorial claims in the contested South China Sea.

Admiral John Richardson, the chief of US Naval Operations, told a Washington think tank it was not often the United States had two carrier strike groups in the same waters and it was a sign of US commitment to regional security.

He referred to a similar deployment of a second US carrier in the Mediterranean Sea last week, at a time when US officials are raising alarm over Russia's maritime expansion.

"Both here and in the Mediterranean, it's a signal to everyone in the region that we're committed, we're going to be there for our allies, to reassure them and for anyone who wants to destabilize that region," he told the Center for a New American Security.

"And we hope that there's a deterrent message there as well."


Richardson said China's large-scale land reclamation in the South China Sea and militarization of artificial islands extended its potential ability to deny access to a region with precision missiles and radar, something that "demands a response."

"Our response would be to inject a lot of friction into that system. Every step of that way, we would look to make that much more difficult," Richardson said.

The US Pacific Command said the Stennis and the Ronald Reagan started their dual operations on Saturday, including air defense drills, sea surveillance, defensive air combat training and long-range strikes.

A PACOM statement quoted Rear Admiral John D. Alexander, commander of the Ronald Reagan carrier group, as saying it was an opportunity to practice techniques needed "to prevail in modern naval operations."

"The US Navy has flown, sailed and operated throughout the Western Pacific in accordance with international law for decades, and will continue to do so," he said, referring to a series of freedom-of-navigation operations carried out by US naval ships in the region in recent month to challenge China's claims.

PACOM said the United States last conducted a dual carrier operation in the Western Pacific in 2014. Two carriers operated in the South China Sea and East China Sea in 2012.

10 outstanding soldiers named

From Malaya Business Insight (Jun 21): 10 outstanding soldiers named


MARINES Lt. Col. Wilfredo Manalang, who played a role in the government’s all-out war against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Central Mindanao in 2000, is among the 10 awardees in this year’s search for The Outstanding Philippine Soldiers.

Manalang is current commander of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 8 (MBLT 8) which is fighting the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf in the island province of Sulu.

The awardees were presented yesterday during a press conference in Camp Aguinaldo. Each of the awardees will receive P500,000 and a trophy on September 5 on Metrobank’s anniversary celebration.

The annual search being conducted by the Metrobank Foundation and Rotary Club Makati Metro is now on its 16th year.

The other awardees are Lt. Col. Eliglen Villaflor, T/Sgt. Danilo delos Santos, T/Sgt. Bernardo Tacbas, all from the Army; Intelligence Specialist Chief Fernando Junio Parcon, of the Navy; S/Sgt. Albert Eleazar, Marines; Lt. Col. Oliver Alina Banara, M/Sgt. Abel Idusma, and T/Sgt. Andersen Avellena, all of the Air Force; and Col. Jocelyn Turia, from the Technical and Administrative Services.

The citation for Manalang said: “With his expertise in intelligence security and combat, Lt. Col. Manalang developed strategies to help resolve conflict in Mindanao.”

“In year 2000, he led the clearing operations along the Narciso Ramos highway, a stretch from Lanao del Sur to Maguindanao know as the ground for rebel checkpoints,” the citation also read.

The operation at the Narciso Ramos Highway area led to the capture of three of the dozens of camps of the MILF during the all-out war declared by then President Joseph Estrada.

Manalang was also cited for an operation against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, where the BIFF and the MILF killed 44 members of the PNP-Special Action Force in January last year.

Manalang was also credited for accomplishments beyond the battlefield, including the conduct of sports clinics, feeding programs for the youth, and construction of comfort rooms and school buildings in Maguindanao and Sulu.

“He also facilitated Operation ‘Balik Ngiti’ in 2014 which helped 44 children with cleft lip and palate. These activities helped win back the trust of the people and strengthened civil-military engagements in Maguindanao and Sulu,” the citation added.

Eleazar was cited for helping save the lives of eight students of the Mindanao State University, who were held captive by rogue MILF rebels in 2004. He is currently assigned with the MBLT 6 in Sultan Kudarat.

“He also led several operations against the Abu Sayyaf, leading to the death of Khadaffy Janjalani, one of its highest leaders, in 2006,” his citation read. The Abu Sayyaf chieftain was killed in a military operation in Sulu in September 2006.

Villaflor’s citation said: “Fatherless at the age of seven, Lt. Col. Eliglen Villafor had to sell newspapers and scavenge for scrap metal as a young boy to help his mother make ends meet.”

Villaflor was credited for the improvement of facilities of the Special Forces School in Nueva Ecija while he was the school’s commandant. He is currently the chief of staff of the Special Forces Regiment.

“From a sorry state of the school at Fort Magsaysay, it has become the show window of the Philippine Army when it hosts foreign armed (forces) visitors for bilateral and multilateral exercises,” the citation also read.

During his stint as a United Nations peacekeeper, Villaflor negotiated the release of civilians abducted by Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights in 2012.

Before his current post, Villaflor was commander of the 4th Special Forces Battalion in Basilan. “He led the 4th Special Forces Battalion in retaking and recovery of other encampments and firearms in operations against the Abu Sayyaf,” it added.

Avoid purchase of refurbished military equipment, gov't urged

From the Sun Star-Manila (Jun 20): Avoid purchase of refurbished military equipment, gov't urged

AT LEAST two senators are urging the government to acquire brand new military equipment and to avoid buying refurbished units.

Senator JV Ejercito said that he wanted to make sure that the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would opt for acquisition of brand new military equipment as he vowed to scrutinize all the supply contracts of the DND and the AFP.

Ejercito is also contemplating to resume its investigation into the alleged anomalous P1.2 billion helicopter deal which the DND entered into with joint venture of Rice Aircraft Inc. (RAC) of the United States and Eagle Copter of Canada in 2012.

The DND, according to reports, was able to acquire only seven units while the AFP had only one, as they were forced to stop the negotiation on the supposed purchase of 21 refurbished helicopters.

Instead, the Philippine Air Force acquired new Bell 412 helicopters.

"We were not able to finish the investigation but since there was no committee report yet, I think the Senate can reopen this issue which will clearly send a message that anomalous deals will be scrutinized. Hindi po natin ito palulusutin lalo at nangyayari ito sa mga refurbished equipment," Ejercito was quoted as saying.

Sergio Osmena III, for his part, said the move to guard against the acquisition of second-hand equipment with questionable quality is a good move as second hand military equipment risks the lives of our Filipino soldiers.

"We should only buy equipment that can really help us and if the second-hand equipment is already 'unfit' for use of our soldiers, then it is useless," Osmeña said.

The inquiry carried out by the Senate blue ribbon last year failed to reach its conclusion as well as the filing of a committee report based on the hearings conducted by the Senators.

The P1.2 billion contract involving the acquisition of refurbished UH-1D helicopters for the Philippine Air Force (PAF) became controversial after a whistleblower, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) employee Rhodora Alvarez, came out to claim that RACI supposedly bagged the deal because it has been "tailor-fitted from the very start."

The DND terminated the contract after Senate blue ribbon chair Teofisto Guingona III held several hearings but was not able to finish the investigation until Congress adjourned sine die last June.

19th IB Commando troopers deploy in Mindanao

Just posted to Samar News (Jun 9): 19th IB Commando troopers deploy in Mindanao

19 IB send-off

Troops of 19th Infantry (Commando) Battalion ready for boarding the C-130 of Philippine Air Force during the Send-Off at DZR Airport, Tacloban City on May 29, 2016.

CAMP VICENTE LUKBAN, Catbalogan City A send-off ceremony was rendered to the members of 19th Infantry (Commando) Battalion at Tacloban airport on May 29, 2016.

The ceremony is a military tradition honoring its men on its deployment of forces in support to win the peace in North Cotabato under the operational control of 6th Infantry Division. Colonel Cesar M Idio, Assistant Division Commander, hand-over a Plaque of Appreciation to Lt. Col. Roberto Sarmiento, Commanding Officer of 19th IB, recognizing their valuable services in sustaining the peace in Eastern Visayas.

Col Francisco F Mendoza Jr. 802nd Brigade Commander historically mentioned that this is the second deployment of 19th IB in Mindanao area, since they participated in the AFPs campaign against rogue elements of MILF and other secessionists threat groups in Patikul, Sulu in November 2001.

Col. Idio reminded the soldiers to respect the human rights, maintain highest standard of discipline, give courtesy to the customs and traditions of the community and people as embedded in the Philippine Constitution.

Maj. Gen. Jet B Velarmino, Commander 8ID, said that the unit deployment in Mindanao is anchored on the AFPs quest for peace and development as embodied in “IPSP Bayanihan”.

8 people wounded in grenade attack

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jun 21): 8 people wounded in grenade attack

At least 8 people were injured in a grenade attack near a police station in Sarangani’s Maasim town in southern Philippines, reports said Tuesday.

It said among the wounded were 6 policemen, but it was unclear who carried out the attack which occurred on Monday evening on the eve of the town’s Catholic feast.

Police have made no arrest, but it launched an investigation into the blast to determine whether rebels or jihadist groups were involved in the attack. No individual or group claimed responsibility for the explosion that also left 2 civilians – Leonardo dela Peña and Jetphonie Navales.

The wounded policemen have been identified as Inspector Danilo Abayata, the deputy station commander, and his men PO2 Mark Victor Naya, PO2 Rowel Sobretodo, PO2 Rommel Bedua, PO1 Almasir Tingkasan and PO1 Sukran Sugod. They were rushed to hospital, although their conditions were unknown.

The attack coincided with continuing military operations against the jihadist group of Abdullah Maute and the communist New People’s Army rebels. Maute’s group had previously beheaded four people in Sarangani and Lanao del Sur province where they are actively operating.

The province is also a lair of the larger Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebels which signed an interim peace deal with Manila in 2014.

PNP urges Moslems in Basilan, Sulu to unite vs ASG

From the Manila Bulletin (Jum 19): PNP urges Moslems in Basilan, Sulu to unite vs ASG

The Philippine National Police (PNP) has urged all Moslems, especially those in Basilan and Sulu, to unite in driving away the notorious Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in their communities.

At the same time, the PNP leadership has also urged the public not to share the video purportedly released by the ABU Sayyaf Group which shows the actual beheading of Canadian Robert Hall on June 13.

Senior Supt. Robert Fajardo, head of the police’s Anti-Kidnapping Group (AKG), said what the ASG did on Hall was unacceptable since it was done during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

“This is the time when Moslems around the world focus on fasting, praying, giving charity, and religious devotion, refraining from violence, anger, greed, envy and lust,” said Fajardo.

With the beheading, Fajardo said the ASG only showed an anti-Islam action that must be condemned.

“Let all Muslims, particularly in Sulu, to unite para itaboy natin ang ASG na nanggugulo at hindi sumusunod sa sinasaad ng Koran.  Hindi na makatao ang ginagawang pagpugot ng ASG,” said Fajardo.

“This beheading is un-Islamic and inhuman. I appeal to our Muslim brothers to help us put a stop to this senseless beheading of innocent victims,” he added.

There are already proposals to place Sulu and Basilan under Martial Law to finish off the perennial problem on the ASG particularly their kidnapping spree.

For his part, PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Wilben Mayor said that the video of Hall beheading should not be spread by the netizens in their social media accounts.

“Don’t patronize, share barbaric videos of ASG. We would appreciate if the netizens would share with us any information about the spreading of this video.  But again, these terrorist acts shouldn’t be spread or patronized,” said Mayor.

Mayor said the Anti-Cybercrime Group (ACG) is working on the possibility of turning down the video to prevent the public from sharing it further.

“Our ACG is in-charge of that. We can have it deleted on the site because it has clearly no benefit. This is a very tragic and unfortunate incident,” said Mayor.

“We ask those who have technical capability in the social media to kindly delete or report any video that they would see in the internet,” said Mayor.

Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia Move Toward Patrols in Sulu-Sulawesi Seas

From The Diplomat (Jun 20): Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia Move Toward Patrols in Sulu-Sulawesi Seas (By

The three states have been redoubling joint efforts to address problems in the Sulu-Sulawesi seas.

Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia Move Toward Patrols in Sulu-Sulawesi Seas

Image Credit: Midori / Wikinmedia Commons
Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines agreed Monday to future steps as they explore conducting maritime patrols as part of a broader plan to tackle rising security challenges in waters bordering the three countries.

As I noted recently, the Southeast Asian states have been redoubling joint efforts to address problems in the Sulu-Sulawesi seas following a series of kidnappings involving Indonesian and Malaysian sailors carried out by gunmen linked to the Abu Sayyaf Group which operates out of the southern Philippines (See: “Confronting Threats in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas: Opportunities and Challenges”). These include exploring conducting air and maritime patrols which they have been actively discussing.

Following an initial trilateral “2 +2” meeting of foreign ministers and military chiefs held in the central Java town of Yogyakarta, the three defense ministers met again in Manila on Monday to discuss how to move forward. As I noted previously, the joint statement at the May meeting had suggested that they would look to focus not just on collaborative endeavors like patrols, crisis centers and hotlines, but strengthening cooperation in emergency situations by setting out clear standard operating procedures (See: “Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia Agree on New Joint Patrols Amid Kidnappings”).

According to a joint statement at the meeting this week seen by The Diplomat, the three countries agreed in principle for their militaries and relevant agencies to explore several measures. The statement mentions areas of immediate interest to outside observers, including trilateral maritime and air patrols in maritime areas of common concern as well as other coordinated activities focused on maritime security.

But equally if not more importantly for seasoned watchers of Southeast Asian security, the statement also included references to how the three sides aim to develop what one official referred to as “the supporting infrastructure” to enable such patrols as well as military cooperation more generally. These include: a Trilateral Maritime Patrol Working Group to set operational guidelines for trilateral maritime patrols, with Maritime Command Centers in each country being responsible for deploying assets; joint military command posts at designated locations to include ad hoc military liaisons on board; a transit corridor to serve as designated sea lanes for mariners entering the maritime area of common concern; a trilateral database sharing mechanism; as well as information and intelligence-sharing.

The statement also urged the armed forces and relevant agencies of the three countries to speed up the finalization of standard operating procedures, which will be a key step for them to move towards more coordinated action. As I mentioned in my previous analysis on confronting threats in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seas, despite the increased momentum towards cooperation, initiatives like trilateral patrols could also face challenges with the three countries having remaining territorial and maritime disputes and needing to resolve nettlesome operational questions about such patrols, including their nature (whether joint or coordinated) as well as specific areas of operation.

Lahad Datu trial ends on July 26

From The Star Online (Jun 21): Lahad Datu trial ends on July 26

The 30-month trial of the 14 people accused of various offences linked to the 2013 Lahad Datu village intrusion will end on July 26.

High Court judge Justice Stephen Chung will deliver his judgment over two days on the fate of the 14 people, including a Malaysian.

Yesterday, he heard submissions from Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohd Dusuki Mokhtar and defence counsels Datuk N. Sivananthan and Abdul Ghani Zelika.

The charges against the 13 Filipino nationals came under Section 121 of the Penal Code for waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Section 130E for recruiting persons to be members of a terrorist group.
The other charges were under Section 130K for harbouring persons committing terrorist acts and Section 130KA for being a member of a terrorist group.

The 13 are Atik Hussin Abu Bakar, Basad Manuel, Habil Suhaili, Timhar Hadil, Ismail Yasin, Virgilio Ne-Mar Patulada @ Mohammad Alam Patulada, Basil Samuel, Salib Akhmad Emali, Al Wazir Osman @ Abdul, Tani Lahad Dahi, Julham Rashid, Datu Amirbahar Hushin Kiram and Norhaida Ibnahi, the sole female accused.
Habil died in April.

The Malaysian is Abdul Hadi Mawan, who is charged under Section 130KA.

All the charges were in connection with the armed intrusion of the seaside village of Kampung Tanduo in Lahad Datu in February 2013.

In his submission, Sivananthan argued that the evidence produced showed that there were grounds for the acquittal as there were doubts in the prosecution’s case.

He said there were discrepancies in the transcripts of the recorded telephone conversations.

Sivananthan, who represented the 13 Filipino nationals, said the prosecution also failed to link the telephones, allegedly used by some of the accused, by not producing the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) of the devices.

He said confessions given by most of the accused to a Sessions Court judge soon after their arrest three years ago were consistent in that they were tricked into coming to Sabah during the intrusion led by Agbimuddin Kiram, the brother of the self-styled Sulu sultan.

“They were duped into coming with false promises of identity cards and jobs. When they realised something was amiss, they were prevented from leaving,” Sivananthan said.

Earlier, Mohd Dusuki told the court that the evidence showed that the accused knew what they were doing in Sabah.

He said the accused also played a role in facilitating the skirmishes with Malaysian security forces personnel in Tanduo and Semporna between February and March 2013.

“The accused claimed that they were cheated into coming to Sabah for a job and to get Malaysian documents, but their actions suggest that they know what they were here for,” Mohd Dusuki said.

Mohd Dusuki said no matter how minor the role they played in the intrusion, they nevertheless should be held responsible for the incident.

SE Asian Nations Designate Security Corridor

From the Maritime Executive (Jun 20): SE Asian Nations Designate Security Corridor


Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines on Monday agreed to designate a transit corridor for commercial vessels crossing a maritime zone hit by a spate of hijackings by Islamist militants in the southern Philippines.

Nearly 20 Indonesian and Malaysian tugboat crew have been kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf militants this year, with Jakarta airing fears that the problem could reach levels seen off the coast of Somalia.

Alarmed at the frequency of attacks, port authorities in some areas of Indonesia, particularly Kalimantan on the island of Borneo, have stopped issuing permits to ships taking coal to the southern Philippines.

Indonesia is the world's largest thermal coal exporter and supplies 70 percent of the Philippines' coal imports.

"The ministers have agreed in principle to explore the following measures, including a transit corridor within the maritime areas of common concern, which will serve as designated sea lanes for mariners," the defense ministers of the three nations said in a joint statement after a meeting in Manila.

Analysts say $40-billion worth of cargo passes through the Sulu and Celebes seas each year, including supertankers from the Indian Ocean that cannot use the crowded Malacca Strait.

The three countries also agreed to step up air and sea patrols and escorts for commercial ships in the common maritime areas to fend off potential hijacks, kidnaps and robbery.

Philippine Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the leaders agreed to share the best practices evolved by Indonesia and Malaysia during a joint effort to patrol the busy Malacca Strait waterway against pirates, as a model for three-way cooperation with the Philippines.

It was the second meeting of officials of the three countries to tackle growing regional security challenges, after their foreign ministers met in Jakarta last month.

In 2002, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, which share maritime borders, signed a pact to stiffen security against growing cross-border attacks by Abu Sayyaf militants.

But they have not set up coordinated naval patrols, with navies operating in their own territorial waters.

Kidnappings over the last 15 years have made the Abu Sayyaf militants notorious, with extorted ransoms running into millions of dollars.

The seamen kidnapped this year were freed, with police and military officials saying at the time it was unclear if a ransom had been paid. The Philippines rarely publicizes such payments, but few believe captives are released without them.

There was no immediate comment from the Abu Sayyaf rebels.

Piracy near Somalia's coast has subsided after shipping firms hired private security details and international warships patrolled the waters.

Transit corridor to curb Abu Sayyaf hijackings

From the Straits Times (Jun 21): Transit corridor to curb Abu Sayyaf hijackings

Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines yesterday agreed to designate a transit corridor for commercial vessels in the seas between Sabah, the southern Philippines and Indonesia's Sulawesi Island.

The move is aimed at curbing a spate of hijackings by Islamist militants in the Sulu and Celebes seas.

Nearly 20 Indonesian and Malaysian tugboat crew have been kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf militants this year. Kidnappings over the last 15 years have made the Abu Sayyaf notorious, with extorted ransoms running into millions of dollars.

"The ministers have agreed in principle to explore the following measures, including a transit corridor within the maritime areas of common concern, which will serve as designated sea lanes for mariners," the defence ministers of the three nations said in a joint statement after a meeting in Manila.

The three countries also agreed to step up air and sea patrols and escorts for commercial ships in common maritime areas.
Philippine Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the leaders agreed to share the best practices evolved by Indonesia and Malaysia during a joint effort to patrol the Malacca Strait against pirates as a model for three-way cooperation with the Philippines.

It was the second meeting of officials of the three countries to tackle growing regional security challenges after their foreign ministers met in Jakarta last month.

In 2002, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines signed a pact to strengthen security against growing cross-border attacks by Abu Sayyaf militants. But they had not set up coordinated naval patrols, with navies operating in their own territorial waters.

Analysts say US$40 billion (S$54 billion) worth of cargo passes through the Sulu and Celebes seas each year.

Opinion: Incoming defense chief Gen. Delfin Lorenzana

From the Reveille column by Ramon Farolan in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 20): Incoming defense chief Gen. Delfin Lorenzana

 IN A recent article on US-Philippine relations, Ernest Bower, a senior adviser for the Southeast Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was quoted as saying that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s “seemingly warming up to China” is not a cause for any concern (“US closely ‘watching’ Duterte, says expert,” Front Page, 6/8/16). “What we are watching is who he selects to be in his Cabinet.” The article concludes by saying that “retired General Delfin Lorenzana’s designation as the next defense chief is considered to be a silver lining in what is apparently a shallow bench in the security cluster of the Duterte Cabinet.”

Among the incoming Cabinet members of the new administration, Lorenzana is probably one of the least known. Many of the other nominees held high profile positions in the past—Ben Diokno at budget, Leonor Briones at treasury, Sonny Dominguez at agriculture, Art Tugade at the Clark Development Corp., and Perfecto Yasay at the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the case of Lorenzana, he spent more than 10 years abroad serving as defense attaché, and presidential representative and head of the Office of Veterans Affairs at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC.

In his first interview with the media since the announcement of his designation, Lorenzana traced his roots to the Ilocos Region where his grandparents come from. Both mother and father are natives of Pangasinan. In 1936, they migrated to Mindanao, settling down in Cotabato (now Maguindanao) where Delfin was born. He grew up in Parang, attending Notre Dame High School, and later finished two years of college at Notre Dame University in Cotabato City before entering the Philippine Military Academy in 1969. After graduation from the academy in 1973, he joined the Philippine Army although his first choice of branch of service was the Air Force. An accident during his senior year resulted in vision problems bringing to an end his dreams of flying airplanes.

In 1998, as brigade commander of the 601st Infantry Brigade, 6th Division of the Philippine Army, he was responsible for the capture of kidnap for ransom leader, Tahir Alonto and his group with the safe recovery of several hostages. During the all-out Armed Forces of the Philippines offensive against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front from 1998 to 2000, he led operations resulting in the fall of three MILF camps aside from Camp Abubakar, and continued to maintain peace and order in his area of responsibility, enabling local and national government offices to pursue development projects without interference from lawless elements.

One of his more remarkable accomplishments took place in May 2001 when he served as commander of the Light Armored Brigade and concurrent ground commander of Task Force Libra. With three battalions of troops and assisted by Philippine National Police antiriot elements, he prevented the capture and occupation of Malacañang by pro-Erap forces attempting to unseat newly-installed President Gloria Arroyo. The slightest miscalculation or poorly coordinated reaction to aggressive moves by the Erap mob could have easily resulted in bloodshed and violence. Lorenzana’s cool and mature handling of the delicate situation saved the day for the nation.

Where is the Duterte connection?

In 1987, as head of the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion stationed in Davao City, he supported newly-elected Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in clearing the city of insurgents, sparrow units, and criminal syndicates. This close relationship has persisted through the years even when Lorenzana was no longer operating in the Davao area. An early working association with the mayor appears to be a common thread that runs through his appointees, particularly in the field of security and police operations.

* * *
Among the advocacies I have pursued in recent years is that of providing the chief of staff of the AFP and its service commanders with fixed terms of office in order to provide strength and stability in command for leaders of the organization. A fixed term of office would not preclude the commander in chief from terminating their services should they be found incompetent or corrupt. The revolving door policy of past presidents has damaged the institution more than anything else. General Lorenzana fully agrees with these ideas and will work to have this system in place in a Duterte administration.

In this regard, there are reports of a possible change of leadership in the AFP come June 30. General Lorenzana’s position is that there is nothing official from President-elect Duterte on this matter. If we are to make changes simply for the sake of change, we cannot expect positive results. We only add one more picture to hang on the wall reserved for AFP chiefs of staff at the GHQ building in Camp Aguinaldo.

Lorenzana’s immediate concern is the Abu Sayyaf problem in Basilan and Sulu. The beheading of the second Canadian national has been portrayed as a slap on the face of the incoming President, daring him to prove his toughness. Unless drastic action is taken we may not be able to save another foreign hostage from beheading. This time the victim is a Norwegian.

The presence of 10 battalions consisting of over 5,000 troops in the area is not going to change matters. Past experience has shown that pouring more troops into the battlefield makes for great headlines, but they have never produced the desired results. If we cannot solve the problem of kidnap-for-ransom activities being carried out in our backyard, how do we expect to confront the big bully in the neighborhood? In the eyes of the world, we have failed miserably against some 300 or more so-called bandits.

A new approach is called for. We might have to set aside concerns for human rights and due process, at least for the time being. Unconventional methods are needed to address unconventional situations. Our people will accept this approach for a limited period, but the AFP must produce positive results before patience runs out. That is also the message from the recent elections; people don’t care much about nice guys. They would rather have simple folks who may be rough on the edges but who are capable of delivering on basic needs, particularly security and order.

General Lorenzana has a golden opportunity to set things right. From what I see, the President-elect tends to allow his appointees the widest leeway in running their respective departments. With his military background, his negotiating skills and experience, plus graduate work in operations research at Ateneo, strategic studies at Australian National University in Canberra, and in business economics at the University of Asia and the Pacific, Lorenzana should be able to provide new directions and encourage fresh ideas and initiatives that would enable the department to better confront the challenges we now face as a nation.

Gruesome fate for lumad family on Mt. Katalawan

From the Manila Bulletin (Jun 19): Gruesome fate for lumad family on Mt. Katalawan

BRUTAL KILLING — Government authorities dig through loose soil on the slopes of Taguikan Creek in Barangay Binicalan, San Luis, Agusan del Sur where a lumad man, his wife and his brother were hastily buried in a shallow grave by unidentified attackers last June 5. The man’s three children remain missing even as his 10-year-old son was able to survive the massacre and pinpoint to lawmen the place where his parents and uncle were killed. (Photo courtesy of 4th COMB)

BRUTAL KILLING — Government authorities dig through loose soil on the slopes of Taguikan Creek in Barangay Binicalan, San Luis, Agusan del Sur where a lumad man, his wife and his brother were hastily buried in a shallow grave by unidentified attackers last June 5. The man’s three children remain missing even as his 10-year-old son was able to survive the massacre and pinpoint to lawmen the place where his parents and uncle were killed. (Photo courtesy of 4th COMB)
The attack on the Bocalas family was swift and brutal.
Father Lando Bocalas, his five-month pregnant wife Julina, and his brother Mancolobe were gunned down by still unidentified lawless elements in Mount Katalawan, Barangay Binicalan in San Luis, Agusan del Sur last June 5.
Three of Bocalas’ children – Rosalyn, 8; Bahanan, 6; and Bayubasan, 4 – have been reported missing.
This tragic tale was relayed by Lando’s eldest son who was able to hide after the initial volley of shots that ambushed the Talaandig family at Taguikan Creek.
The 10-year-old boy, whose name was withheld by authorities, trekked across Mount Katalawan for several days and was able to make it back across the border to Bukidnon where he was able to recount his family’s fate at the Cabanglasan municipal police station.
From what the boy told them, police authorities gathered that last June 5, the Bucalas family left their home at Purok 3, Barangay Freedom, Cabanglasan, Bukidnon on their way to Mount Katawalan.
It was while they were traversing Taguikan Creek when they were attacked by the heavily armed men.
Based on the boy’s account, a rescue and retrieval operations were conducted by both the military and police in the area.
“It took almost four days of hike in the mountainous area just to reach Taguikan Creek where the bodies of the victims were retrieved,” said First Lieutenant Karl Jan S. Devaras, Public Information Officer (PIO) of 4th Civil-Military Operations (Kasaligan) Battalion (4th CMOB).
The bodies of Lando, Julina and Mancolobe were found by the soldiers and policemen in shallow graves at 8 a.m. on June 9. The three children were not to be found.
“The initial investigation conducted by the combined ground troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and local authorities showed that the perpetrators of this barbaric incident were Armed Lawless Groups (ALGs) operating in the area,” the 4th CMOB officer said, in a phone interview with Manila Bulletin yesterday.
After the recovery of the bodies of the slain Bocalas family members, troops from the Eighth Infantry Battalion (8th IB), the PNP and local authorities started hot pursuit operations against the ALGs operating in the area.
Top mission for the pursuing troops would be to recover the Bocalas children, according to Devaras.
Motive for the killing has yet to be determined by the police investigating team in San Luis town, he added

Aircraft carriers show US commitment to PH

From ABS-CBN/ANC (Jun 20): Video: Aircraft carriers show US commitment to PH
Foreign affairs expert Richard Heydarian believes that U.S. aircraft carriers' patrol in the Philippine Sea shows Washington's iron-clad security commitment to the Philippines and its allies in the region.

"We’re gonna have a new president soon and new administration, so I think the US is also trying to signal that they’re gonna be a very important security partner for us," Heydarian told ANC's Dateline Philippines on Monday.
READ: US aircraft carriers start drills off PH

The USS John C. Stennis and the USS Ronald Reagan started conducting air defense drills and sea surveillance operations east of the Philippines during the weekend.

Heydarian, a political science professor and author of the book "Asia's New Battlefield", said China's strong military presence in the region, especially in the disputed West Philippine Sea, can only be matched by that of the United States'.

"There are indications that China may build military facilities on the Scarborough Shoal, which is only 120 nautical miles away from Luzon area, and China also calls it an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the Spratly chain of islands," he said.

"We are closely reaching a moment of truth that's why it is important for the United States to show force because it's the only power that can really match China's growing military footprint in the area and I think the United States is making it clear they are willing to play this game of chicken with China until China blinks," he added.

Heydarian said China would protest the growing American military force in the region.
"Clearly, from the Chinese point-of-view, we are the ASEAN provocateurs and the United States is interfering in issues that are completely bilateral between China and the Philippines," he said.

But he said this opinion may not be shared by many other countries in the region.

"I don’t think that’s how other countries feel. I think majority of countries around the world…in one way or another are very supportive of growing American military presence in the area," he said.

He attributed this to the strong presence of the U.S. forces in the area for the past seven decades, and that it is China which is challenging the status quo.


Heydarian also highlighted Washington's important role once the Philippines' arbitration case against China has been decided, because "the arbitration outcome is binding, but it’s not enforceable."
"The arbitral tribunal itself doesn’t have the ability to enforce it and China’s gonna ignore it, so it’s really up to the United States its naval muscle, and that of its allies to implement it," he said.

READ: SC justice sees favorable ruling in arbitration case

Heydarian also warned the incoming Duterte administration regarding pursuing bilateral talks with China.

"If the incoming Duterte administration wants to reach out to China, it’s possible the Chinese in exchange may ask the Duterte administration not to further expand bilateral security relations with the United States, not to allow greater American military presence within the Philippine areas of control and jurisdiction," he said.

Heydarian added that the Philippines may use the favorable ruling as a leverage and extract certain concessions from China "because clearly, China is in a panic mode," and will try to de-legitimize the arbitration proceeding.

He said the Philippines my ask China to "give me concessions—you have to allow our fishermen and ships to have better access across our economic zone and do not build military facilities on Scarborough."
Heydarian said bilateral talks should only be pursued once the verdict is out because "what’s the point in having bilateral talks if you have no leverage or whatsoever?"

"But it’s important that Duterte will not give way to China and will not give in too much concessions also in exchange for any prospect China’s concessions within our economic zones," he said.

#AnimatED: Defeating the Abu Sayyaf

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 20): #AnimatED: Defeating the Abu Sayyaf

The Abu Sayyaf (ASG) has beheaded 3 foreign hostages in recent months, 2 of them Canadians and one Malaysian. Before this despicable rampage, the kidnap-for-ransom group also killed a Filipino hostage.

They committed these barbaric acts not in the name of religion or their twisted interpretation of Islam but because the deadlines for the payment of multi-million pesos in ransom had passed.

An Australian hostage who was released by the Abu Sayyaf in 2012, after more than a year in the jungles of Mindanao, has narrated his story, saying that money was what his captors were after.

We will see more of these killings by the ASG – which started out as a radical Islamist group with ties to al-Qaeda and morphed into a group of bandits cloaking itself with the mantle of the Islamic State – if they are not defeated. Two more hostages are being held captive, a Norwegian and Filipina.

The Abu Sayyaf has even become more brazen, expanding its criminal operations to the seas. They hijacked vessels plying the waters at the intersection of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines and kidnapped crew members.

In May, they released 10 Indonesian sailors whom they kept hostage for a month after ransom was paid.

The military has been going after the Abu Sayyaf for years but there is little to show for their vaunted offensives.

The hard truth is: no amount of ammunition and military maneuvers can emaciate the criminal gang for as long as they enjoy the support of the community and the local government officials. The support is rooted in relationships – Abu Sayyaf members have a network of families and relatives that provide them protection – and money.

The kidnappings have become a lucrative business, embedding the Abu Sayyaf into the local economy of Sulu. Cash is shared with residents, corrupt officials and military commanders.

Prominent Muslims have called out local politicians for their failure to decisively act against the Abu Sayyaf. The National Ulama Conference of the Philippines decried the “insensitivity” of the “regional, provincial, municipal, and barangay” officials and blamed them for their “lack of cooperation with the PNP and the AFP to eliminate this terrorist group.”

For his part, Mujiv Hataman, governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, said “its time for the government to hold them [local officials] accountable and responsible."

We agree. This constant charade in Sulu, for example, has to stop – when victims are released at the doorstep of a local government official as if he should be praised, rather than questioned, for the series of kidnappings in his province.

As a local official who has lived in Mindanao, President-elect Rodrigo Duterte knows the political and physical terrain of Sulu and Basilan, lairs of the Abu Sayyaf. He knows that barangay captains, mayors and governors have a pivotal role to play in defeating the lawless Abu Sayyaf.

It is now up to Duterte to deal with this crisis.

Incoming AFP chief says Duterte not leading PH to communism

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 20): Incoming AFP chief says Duterte not leading PH to communism


Lieutenant General Ricardo Visaya, commanding general of the Southern Luzon Command. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

Outgoing Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Ricardo Visaya on Monday brushed off talk that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte is “slowly moving the country to communism.”

“His talking to different anti-government groups/organizations, his offer of Cabinet posts to the Communist Party are due to his dream of creating change which leads to true peace,” Visaya was quoted as saying during his farewell visit to troops in Camarines.

“If he really wanted the country to become communist, then why did he designate many former military men to his Cabinet?” he said at the meeting with field commanders.

READ: Duterte: I’m a socialist, not a communist; last card

Visaya is believed to be the strongest contender as the next chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and will assume the post on July 1.

His statement comes as Cabinet posts were offered to members of the Communist Party of the Philippines by the incoming Duterte administration.

The National Democratic Front and the incoming administration also held preliminary talks in Norway last week, ahead of the formal talks in July. Possibilities of a  ceasefire with the New People’s Army and the release of political prisoners were discussed.

READ: Duterte gov’t, communist rebels open new peace talks

Despite this, Visaya told the troops to continue their “military pressure” against the NPA.

“Until no official and clear-cut guidelines have been issued, until no formal talks have been made, we continue with our current operations in Bicol,” said Visaya.

“Remember that the NPA announced that they will increase tactical offensives against government forces until the last day of the Aquino administration,” he added.

The incoming AFP chief also reminded the troops not to be misled by talk of military unrest.

“Do not believe in coup rumors because there is no coup,” he added.

Instructions from Duterte

During the same meeting with commanders, Visaya also tackled President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s instructions when he visited him in Davao.

The outgoing Solcom commander told the troops that Duterte gave focus for the AFP to address the persisting Abu Sayyaf Group threats in Mindanao, the military’s support to law enforcement operations of the PNP, and the nationwide anti-illegal drug campaign.

He emphasized that the AFP will be strict on illegal drugs.

Abu Sayyaf took four more Malaysians? Rumours, says IGP

From the Malay Mail Online (Jun 20): Abu Sayyaf took four more Malaysians? Rumours, says IGP

The Inspector-General of Police said Malaysian intelligence have not received any reports to confirm the allegation. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

The Inspector-General of Police said Malaysian intelligence have not received any reports to confirm the allegation. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa 

Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar refuted today rumours that four more Malaysians have been taken hostage by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group in the southern Philippines, days after four Sarawakians were released.

The Inspector-General of Police said Malaysian intelligence have not received any reports to confirm the allegation.

 “No, those are all mere rumours. We ourselves did not pick up intelligence that our citizens were kidnapped and the Philippine authorities have also not given us any confirmation. “So until today, they are unable to give us any confirmation, so I assume that that is a rumour that such an incident happened,” he told reporters at the national police headquarters in Bukit Aman.

Last week, a Philippine media agency reported that another four Malaysians were snatched and taken to the Sulu province on June 16, just days after the four Sarawakian hostages were freed.

News of the alleged fresh kidnapping incident by Abu Sayyaf militants came amid the a storm of rumours online that a handsome ransom had been paid to the terror network to secure the release of the four.

The government has insisted that no ransom was paid but Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who oversees the police force as the home minister subsequently confirmed that RM12 million was given by the Special Branch to unidentified Filipino welfare groups to secure the release of the Sarawakian hostages.

Khalid, however, later denied the exchange happened as reported, and said the police had merely accompanied the family to the southern Philippines to hand over the money directly to an unknown “third party” who helped negotiate the foursome’s freedom.

Khalid also claimed ignorance when asked if the money was indeed for ransom.

Brothers Wong Teck Kang, 31, and Teck Chii, 29, their cousin Johnny, and an unrelated friend Wong Hung Sing, 34, were abducted from a commercial barge, MV Massive 6, in the waters off Pulau Ligitan on April 1 while returning to Tawau, Sabah, after sending a cargo of wood to Manila. Abu Sayyaf gunmen freed the four hostages on June 8

Son laments brutal killing of NPA ma in Paquibato encounter

From the often pro-Communist Party of the Philippines online publication the Davao Today (Jun 20): Son laments brutal killing of NPA ma in Paquibato encounter

Nilo, 22 said he was about to file his leave of absence from work to join his mother’s birthday celebration next month.

But his return from Cebu, where he is working, came early as his mother, Elenita Garing was killed on June 9 in Barangay Lumiad, Paquibato district here.

Elenita Garing is a member of the New People’s Army who was last seen captured in an encounter on June 9 along with Will Biliran aka Joel. The two were found dead the next day.

Nilo, the second eldest son, said his mother was able to text him on June 9 asking for load.

Elenita left  four children, the youngest is 20 years old.

A copy of the police blotter obtained by their family indicated that an armed encounter happened between some 29 members of the NPA at 5:00 pm on Thursday, June 9.

Three bodies of the NPA were recovered on the next day, including that of Grace Quimbo aka Mary Jane.

In an interview with Davao Today on Wednesday, June 15 in Baguio District here, Nilo said based on their initial information, his mother was seen tied in a basketball court in Barangay Lumiad with a guy companion.

“They said by night time they were taken to another place. And by morning their bodies were found,” Nilo said. He said her mother was tortured.

“Naay bali ang tuhod, naay pinusilan ang tuhod sad. Mga bun-og sa lawas, unya gisi sa nawong (Her knee was broken, she has a gunshot on her knee. Her body bore bruises and her face was damaged),” Nilo said.

Elenita’s face was unrecognizable. Nilo said they were able to identify her because of her tattoos.

Possible rape

Nilo said he was told by witnesses that the underwear of her mother was found in the place of the incident.

“Nakita ang iyahang panty sa panghitaboan. So possible na rape (It was possible that she was raped),” he said.

The National Democratic Front, in a statement also said Elenita was raped.

“They were brutally tortured and summarily killed. Their bodies bore torture marks and were dumped in a ditch. Ka Milo was raped by the enemy,” NDF spokesperson Rubi Del Mundo said.

Del Mundo said: “On June 9, Red fighters of the 1st Pulang Bagani Battalion of the New People’s Army engaged troops belonging to the 72IB-AFP and the paramilitary Alamara forces in a firefight at around  4:00 in the afternoon in Sitio Palangag, Brgy. Lumiad, Paquibato.”

“Quimbo was martyred during the battle. Joel aka Will Biliran and Elenita aka Milo Garing were captured by the enemy after the two Red fighters were separated from the unit,” Del Mundo said.

Del Mundo said residents in Paquibato saw Biliran and Garing with the Army troops at around 8:00 pm in Barangay Lumiad.

For autopsy

Reverend Jurie Jaime, convener of the Exodus for Justice and Peace, a group composed of peace advocates that serves as third party facilitator, said that they are assisting the Garing family to ensure that an autopsy will be carried out.

He said the family plans to have the funeral on Saturday, June 18, but he said “they are willing to extend the wake and wait for the conduct of the autopsy.”

“There is a violation of the international humanitarian law here. And if that will be proven by the investigations, the perpetrators should be held accountable,” he said.

Geneva Convention

Based on the Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions relative to the treatment of the Prisoners of War: “Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.”

The Convention which is also adopted by the Philippine government prohibits “(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture.”

It also prohibits “(d) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”

The same violations are found in Chapter 3, Section 4 of Republic Act 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity”.

If found guilty, a person shall be penalized with reclusion temporal in its medium to maximum period and a fine ranging from P100,000 to P500,000.

“When justified by the extreme gravity of the crime, especially where the commision of any of the crimes specified herein results in death or serious physical injury, or constitutes rape, and considering the individual circumstances of the accused, the penalty of reclusion perpetua and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P1 million shall be imposed,” the law said.

Mother’s birthday

Nilo said two days before the incident, he and his mother were exchanging messages about her birthday on July 27. She would be turning 49.

Nilo said he is familiar with the involvement of his mother as an NPA.

“Lisud gyud siya pugngan pero naa man gyud syay gibarugan (It’s hard to stop her because she is fighting for what she believes in),” he said.

But despite her involvement in the armed movement, Nilo said she was a good mother to them.

“Family first gyud si mama, wala gyud mi masaway niya (She always put her family first, we only have good things to speak of her),” he said.

He said her mother did everything to send them to school.

Even if  they already knew of the dangers of her mother’s involvement, they cannot accept the way she was treated.

“Sakit lang kay gi-ingon ana pa ba (It’s very hurtful that they did that to her),” he said.
Nilo said because of the incident, he finds it is proper that there are people who are taking up arms.

“After ani nga panghitabo makaingon gyud ko nga sakto lang nga naay taong mo-barog gyud sa ilahang baruganan kay og ing-anion ra diay ang mga kabus,” he said.

The family said they will file a case before the government to seek justice for the death of his mother.