Thursday, August 18, 2016

More women, kids being recruited by IS

From Free Malaysia Today (Aug 18): More women, kids being recruited by IS

Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflicts’ Jakarta Director Sidney Jones says recruitment of women is being carried out through marriages.


KUALA LUMPUR: More women and children in Asian countries are being recruited to act as Islamic State (IS) operatives, said Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflicts’ Jakarta Director Sidney Jones.

Such recruitment was carried out through marriages, she said at the Civil Society Conference on National Security here.

Jones’ institute looked at recent terrorism developments in Indonesia.

For instance, she said women, whose husbands were killed fighting for militant groups, rose in social status, with a lot of men wanting to marry a martyr’s wife.

Another concern was the emergence of role models in Indonesia.

“Whoever can spark an incident of terror in Southeast Asia will be revered.

“Some of these role models in Indonesia have cross-border history. Some of them establish links in prisons.

“After coming out of prisons, some of them re-establish their links in Basilan, southern Philippines,” she told participants who attended the conference.

Jones said one way to stop terrorists establishing links in prison was to stop corruption among officers in the prison.

She said this would help stop documents or handphones finding their way into the hands of prisoners who communicate with other terrorists.

Jones said migrant workers had also been a fertile ground to recruit and create networks for IS.

She said the majority of them were good people, trying to make money, but there were some who took the opportunity to establish links with terror groups.

She said with women and children being recruited, it was paramount to stop the threat.

Abu Sayyaf bandits release school teacher

From the Sun Star-Manila (Aug 19): Abu Sayyaf bandits release school teacher

The Abu Sayyaf bandits have released a public school teacher they seized on Tuesday in the province of Sulu, a military official said Friday.

Major Filemon Tan Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) spokesman, said the teacher, Adrina Bongil, was released around 10 a.m. Thursday in the village of Danag, Patikul, Sulu.

Bongil was fetched by her relatives to Jolo, the capital town of Sulu, after the bandits released her in the village of Danag.

Tan did not mention whether ransom was paid in exchange for the release of Bongil, a teacher of Tuup Elementary School located in the village of Taung, Patikul.

Bongil, 30, was seized by five Abu Sayyaf gunmen on Tuesday, August 16, while she was aboard a passenger jeep on the way to report to her school.

The bandits fled on foot, bringing along with them Bongil toward Sitio Macopa in the village of Kabbon Takas, Patikul.

Tan said Bongil was taken around 2:30 p.m. Thursday to the residence of Patikul Mayor Kabir Elias Hayudini.

He said the Joint Task Force Sulu troops proceeded to Hayudini's residence to conduct debriefing on the kidnap victim.

Elementary school teacher kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf freed in Sulu

From GMA News (Aug 19): Elementary school teacher kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf freed in Sulu 

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) on Friday said the teacher abducted on August 16 by the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was released the following day in Barangay Danag, Patikul, Sulu.

A news release of the Zamboanga City-based WestMinCom identified the kidnap victim as Adrina Bongil, a teacher from Tuup Elementary School.

The victim was reportedly abducted in Barangay Kan Ague, Patikul by four men armed with one M16 rifle, one M14 rifle, and one Caliber .45 gun. on Tuesday.

Upon her release the following day, she was brought to the residence of Mayor Kabir Elias Hayudini of Patikul, Sulu, where troops of the Joint Task Force Sulu met the victim to conduct a debriefing.

DESPITE DBM SAYING IT'S NOT POSSIBLE Duterte promises anew to double salary of cops, soldiers by December

From GMA News (Aug 17): DESPITE DBM SAYING IT'S NOT POSSIBLE Duterte promises anew to double salary of cops, soldiers by December

Despite repeated pronouncements by his budget chief that it is not possible, President Rodrigo Duterte once again promised 100 percent salary increases for men in uniform. Duterte made the vow at the 115th police service anniversary in Camp Crame.

"I have increased your salaries. You are the first, double your present salary. By December, you have gotten the full," he said.

"And I included the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the PDEA [Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency]... working and gambling with your lives facing criminals," he added.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno had previously said that the raise for law enforcers cannot be fulfilled because there is nothing in the 2016 national budget that can be realigned to increase salaries.

Duterte previously promised a pay raise for soldiers by August. Diokno had said this was not possible.

Diokno added that adjusting the salaries and improving the pension system of uniformed men would be "a huge cost that we probably have to think very carefully."

Euro Union warns of IS Mindanao expansion

From The Standard (Aug 18): Euro Union warns of IS Mindanao expansion

THE European Union on Wednesday expressed concern over the recruitment efforts of the Islamic State and other self-described jihadist groups in Southern Mindanao.

In a study cited by Tim Johnson, Asia program director for the International Crisis Group, the EU also warned the Philippines that, after watching at least three other peace talks, the people in Mindanao might lose faith in the process and return to guerrilla warfare or tip deeper into lawlessness in the “next few months.”
AFP file photo
“The next few months will make or break this process,” Johnson told reporters in a round-table discussion hosted by the EU delegation and attended by representatives from the government, civil society and non-government organizations.

“The new government came into office with the goodwill of all the key players in the South, but the honeymoon period will end and violent alternatives--including jihadi militancy and criminality--are available for those who become disaffected,” Johnson said.

He made the statement even as Malacañang said the formal holding of the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front will be on a “high-level,” with several ranking government officials being involved.

“The biggest development here is the development that the government is open for talks with the MILF, and having additional members of MILF  in the Bangsamoro Transition Committee,” Presidential Spokesman Martin Andanar said in a breakfast forum.

Other factions were invited to have seats aside from the MILF.”

Johnson also warned of the efforts by the IS and other jihadist groups to foment disorder outside the Middle East.

He said his team conducted a one-year study funded by the EU entitled “The Philippines: Renewing Prospects for Peace in Mindanao,” where they interviewed dozens of stakeholders from the government, the MILF, community activists and ordinary citizens.

He said the study found that the people from Mindanao were now being skeptical after witnessing at least three other proposed agreements founder.

He said that behavior might put the greatest danger to peace should the people return to guerrilla warfare or tip deeper into lawlessness.

Johnson then recommended to the Duterte administration that the most effective way of avoiding those dangers was to pass enabling legislation quickly that would quickly deliver at least as much autonomy as was promised by former President Benigno Aquino III.

He also said there was a need for the government to “move fast” with practical measures, including substantial financial support, to convince the skeptical people in Mindanao.

Families of NPA-captive police officials appeal for their release

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Aug 18): Families of NPA-captive police officials appeal for their release


Charlene Ongachen (left), wife of Police Chief Inspector Arnold Ongachen, and her mother-in-law Agustina, answers the questions from reporters during a press conference on Thursday, August 29, 2016 at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines Haran compound in Davao City. They appealed to the New People’s Army to release the police official who was taken as prisoner-of-war on May 29, 2016 in a raid in Governor Generoso Municipal Police Station in Davao Oriental province. (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/
The relatives of two police officials captured by the New People’s Army as its prisoners-of-war are hopeful that with the resumption of the formal talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines they will be released soon.
In a press conference at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines Haran compound here Thursday, August 18, Agustina Ongachen, mother of Police Chief Inspector Arnold Ongachen said they are hopeful that with the resumption of the peace negotiations, his son will be released by the NPAs.

She said their family is also hopeful that the police official will be cleared in the investigations by the NPA because the issue of drugs accused against him is not true.

“We are very hopeful that he will be released. And I also thank his captors for not hurting him,” said Mrs. Ongachen.

She also said that they hope peace will be given a chance under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

“I hope that he will be released soon so his wife and children can be with him,” she said.  PCI Ongachen has two children.

The police official was taken by the NPA in a raid at the Governor Generoso municipal police station in Davao Oriental province on May 29.

Four days after the raid, the NPA released a statement saying that the raid was meant to “punish the protectors of drug trafficking in the area.”

It also claimed  that it found a sachet of shabu in the possession of the police chief during the raid.

PCI Ongachen’s wife, Charlene, 34, was also present during the press conference. She appealed to the NPAs to release her husband soon.

“Nagsusumamo po ako na sana po i-release na ang aking asawa para makasama na po namin siya (I appeal to them to release my husband so we can be together),” said Charlene.

Charlene also said that if her husband is involved in drugs, they would have been better off now.

“Kung involved po sya a drugs sana maginhawa na ang buhay namin ngayon. Tag-hirap po kami  (If he is involved in drugs, we would have a better life now but we are poor),” she said.

Meanwhile, Jenelyn Grande, wife of Police Officer 1 Michael Grande said that while her neighbors assure her that her husband will be safe, she still worries for him.

“Kampante ra ko pero nagguol pud kog maayo (I feel confident but I still worry a lot),” she told Davao Today in an interview.

Jenelyn hails from Banaybanay town in Davao Oriental.  She said their neighbors are telling her not to worry  because her husband will not be hurt.

“Kampante lang pud mi kay ana sila nga wala man na pasagdi, dili man hilabtan (We are calm because they told me that he will not be hurt),” said Jenelyn.

They have three children, one who is in Grade 1, the second was 3 years old and their youngest, 1 year old.

She said what she worries most is for their children who are still young.

She said her husband was captured on June 19 by the NPAs near the boundary of Lupon and Banaybanay towns in Davao Oriental. She said that she has received a text message from someone who identified himself as a member of the NPA and told her not to worry about her husband. She said that she was also told that a video of her husband will be released to assure her that he is safe.

But the video did not came until Thursday night. In a statement released on August 18, more than a month after the police officer was captured, the NPA said PO1 Grande of the Banaybanay Municipal Police Station was taken as a prisoner of war due to alleged reports that “he regularly received payoffs from illegal gambling in the area.”

Jenelyn said that for several weeks now their children who does not know the truth about their father’s situation, kept asking her when will he come home.

“Nanawagan ko sa mga NPA nga unta irelease na nila akong bana kay gagmay pa kaayo among mga anak unya luoy na kaayo sigeg pangita sa ilahang papa. Naghinaut mi nga unta i-release na nila (I appeal to the NPA to release my husband because our children are still young and they are always looking for their father. I hope that they will release them soon),” she said.

Both families are also calling on the government troops to suspend military and police operations when the schedule for the release of the two police officials is set.

UCCP pastor Rev. Jurie Jaime, convener of the Exodus for Justice and Peace, said they are optimistic that with the resumption of peace talks, the root cause the armed conflict will be addressed.

The government and the NDF  will resume their formal talks in Oslo, Norway on Monday, August 22.

Reds to declare unilateral ceasefire

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 18): Reds to declare unilateral ceasefire


The Communist Party of the Philippines is set to declare a unilateral ceasefire as a gesture of appreciation for the resumption of talks and the release of political detainees which was supported by President Duterte.

“To further boost peace negotiations, the CPP is set to issue over the next few days a unilateral declaration of ceasefire to the New People’s Army and the people’s militias,” the CPP said in a statement issued on Thursday.

The ceasefire, however, will only be initially implemented on the duration of the negotiations in Oslo from August 22-27, explained Fidel Agcaoili, spokesman of the NDF Peace Panel.
“It is a gesture of goodwill and appreciation,” Agcaoili said.

The appreciation of the CPP is for the release of at least nine detained NDF consultants.

“Revolutionary forces across the country celebrate the successive release from unjust detention of the first batch of peace consultants of the NDFP since yesterday (Wednesday),” the CPP said adding that it is expecting the release of the entire 22 detained consultants.

Despite the previous word war, the CPP proved that the special friendship between two parties remain with them publicly expressing their gratitude to Mr. Duterte.

“The CPP deeply appreciates efforts of the GRP President Duterte to comply with the obligations of the GRP under outstanding agreements with the NDFP in order to bolster the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations. The release of all NDFP peace consultants is a reaffirmation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and other NDFP-GRP agreements,” the CPP said.

“The release of all NDFP peace consultants will boost several-fold the confidence of the revolutionary forces in GRP President Duterte’s determination to work with the NDFP in peace negotiations,” it added.

The CPP said that it was encouraging President Duterte to continue with this, especially for the release of at least 550 political prisoners in the country.

“It can proclaim a policy of ending the dirty legal tactic of slapping trumped up criminal charges against activists which subject them to unjust and prolonged detention,” the CPP said.

These good acts of Mr. Duterte towards the peace process will not go unrewarded, the CPP remarked.

“In appreciation, the CPP reiterates its full support for the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations as a venue to discuss the roots of the armed conflict and forge agreements to resolve the urgent as well as strategic problems of the people in the socio-economic, political and cultural fields,” the CPP said.

Soldiers to NPAs: ‘Let us treat your comrades’

From the Manila Times (Aug 18): Soldiers to NPAs: ‘Let us treat your comrades’

Government troops pursuing fleeing New People’s Army (NPA) rebels they fought four days ago in Asipulo town in Ifugao are appealing to allow soldiers treat their wounded comrades.

“We value lives although the NPA [rebels]are considered the enemy of the State,” Lt. Col. Nicolas Quemado, commander of the Philippine Army’s 54th Infantry Battalion, said.

On August 14, the government troops and rebels fought for five minutes in Camandag barangay (village).

No one from the government was killed or wounded although the soldiers believed that a number of rebels were wounded.

Army Capt. Jefferson Somera, spokesman for the 54th Infantry, said villagers tipped them off on the presence of the rebels in Camandag, prompting a team of Army troops to head to the area and verify the information.

While closing in, the soldiers were met by volley of gunfire from the rebels, sparking the five-minute firefight.

Overpowered, the communist rebels reportedly withdrew, carrying with them their wounded, Somera said.

A backpack containing personal belongings, numerous medical paraphernalia, medicines, documents, a short magazine for an M16 rifle and an improvised claymore mine were recovered from the clash site.

“We encourage the NPA to leave their wounded comrades to local officials in the town,” Quemado said, adding that they will issue the rebels safe-conduct pass if necessary.

Asipulo is reportedly one of the towns in Ifugao where rebels under the Nona del Rosario Command of the NPA operate, although the military believes that the rebels come from nearby Nueva Vizcaya.

A platoon of soldiers was ambushed by communist guerillas in the same village a few years ago.

TNI chief urges employers not to pay ransoms to Abu Sayyaf

From the Jakarta Post (Aug 19): TNI chief urges employers not to pay ransoms to Abu Sayyaf

TNI chief urges employers not to pay ransoms to Abu Sayyaf

Ten Indonesian tugboat crewmen who were taken hostage by Abu Sayyaf militants in the Philippines are greeted by officials upon arrival at Halim Perdanakusuma Air Base in Jakarta on May 1. (AP/Dita Alangkara)

The government urged the employers of Indonesian sailors held captive by the Abu Sayyaf group not to pay ransoms demanded by the militants in exchange for the hostages, Indonesian Military (TNI) commander Gen. Gatot Nurmantyo said on Thursday.

The companies operating the vessels must support the government’s stance, which is to strictly refuse giving money to the militant group, he said.

"If the government insists on not paying, then [none of us] should pay because as a nation we could be exploited," Gatot said in a statement on Thursday.

He asserted that Indonesia and the Philippine government had a robust commitment to put an end to criminal acts in the Philippine's Sulu waters, adding that the operation to secure the release of the remaining nine hostages would continue indefinitely.

Furthermore, Gatot believed the Philippine government under President Rodrigo Duterte was committed to ending the movement of Abu Sayyaf militants operating in the southern part of the Philippines.

MILF: Editorial -- Old wounds should heal

Editorial posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 17): Editorial -- Old wounds should heal

Old wounds should not be reopened anymore. They should be allowed to rest because even a slight touch will only rip them open. If the Department of Justice (DOJ) under the previous Aquino administration did not or failed to file criminal charges against those allegedly involved in the killing of 44 members of the Philippine National Police Special Action Force (SAF) is something worthy to ponder on. Why? Lack of time or they have second thought in filing it.
We are not saying that government cannot proceed in filing these cases. They are government and no one can dictate upon them. But our only wish is that for a government to be a just government, they should apply justice fairly to all. Weren’t the SAF commandoes not the attackers, ceasefire offenders, and which branded a partner in peace, the MILF, as enemy?

Before the Mamasapano tragic incident on January 25, 2015, the ceasefire agreement between government and MILF forces was holding firmly. In fact, violation was almost zero since President Benigno Aquino III assumed office in 2010. But in their planning and in the execution, the SAF deliberately and wilfully ignored the ceasefire agreement. Setting aside civility and moral accountability, they also treated their partner in peace-making, the MILF, as an “enemy”. More seriously, they did not inform the Philippine Army about the impending operation, and accused it of leaking information that caused the failures of previous attempts.  

The SAF, numbering 392, were operating in an area heavily occupied by MILF combatants and supporters. There were also other armed groups, including the BIFFs, in the vicinity. Therefore the extent of the risks of the operation was enormous and known very well. But it seemed the smell of success --- and the lure of dollars --- rode roughshod over all other considerations.

As a result, the operation was bungled. The scapegoat had thus to be found. The MILF was the ready whipping boy. But was it right for the SAF to blame the MILF for the blunder?  The MILF was the one attacked, it merely defended itself. Is not the rule of war, the ultimate truth in every war, is kill or be killed? And when someone is attacked, especially during night time, only two options are open: flee or fight. The MILF chose to fight it out; it was a case of survival, made more difficult by the fact that they did not know who were attacking them.

For the MILF, the incident should be viewed as a ceasefire violation. Clearly, the violators were the SAF, and therefore, pertinent provisions of the ceasefire should be applied in this incident.

But of course, we understand the mode of the hour. It was considered a national tragedy that shocked the nation. The cry for revenge was reverberating everywhere. When emotions run high and the fit of anger rules, sanity is left with very little space to move.  But we salute how the Aquino administration and the MILF satisfactorily handled the exploding situation. But the clear casualty was the non-passage of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) during the last 16th Congress.

We believe that when President Rodrigo Duterte repeatedly acknowledged that historic injustice was committed against the Moros (by the state), he was not only referring to the loss of their sovereignty and landholdings, and the death of thousands of Moros in the series of bloody massacres perpetrated against them by state forces, but also of the unfair application of justice. Why were the SAF commandos, the aggressors and violators of the ceasefire, hailed as “heroes”, and the MILF who defended themselves as “criminals” or traitors? (Never mind the BIFF and other private armed groups, they were not talking peace with the government and they don’t have ceasefire with it). Is it because of the so-called principle that only the state has the monopoly of the use of force and they can exercise this with impunity and without regard to any moral obligation attached to agreement they signed, say the ceasefire with the MILF?

We also believe that President Duterte, like former President Aquino, has a full grasp of what is just and what is fair play. As president, Duterte is the father of all the inhabitants of this country. Let us trust him and leave to his wisdom on how he handles this sensitive issue.

MILF: BLMI updates PO’s, CSO’s on GPH-MILF Peace Process

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 17): BLMI updates PO’s, CSO’s on GPH-MILF Peace Process

During the regular meeting of Lanaw-Lanaw Bangsamoro Community Producers Cooperative, a People’s Organization (PO’s) and Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s) held at Asta Madrasah in Tulungatung, Zamboanga City on August 14, the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute represented by Mr. Tirso S. Tahir, assisted by Phix of United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) updated the leaders and members of said organizations on the current status of the GPH-MILF Peace Process.

The meeting was hosted by Moro community leaders in Coastal Barangay of Recodo.

Organizational assessment and strengthening as well as member’s performance evaluation were among the agenda discussed.

Tahir also provided valuable inputs and motivations on the field of Islamic Leadership and Management.

“Corruption is a menace in leadership and management. Poverty, violence and other social decadence are offshoots of corruption. A low level of Integrity and weak faith of individuals are the prime causes of Corruption”, one of the organizers said.

Tahir told the participants that all of us are leaders, and we are inevitably accountable to both men and to our Creator, hence we must dispense the mandates and the obligations entrusted to us to where it is due with utmost diligence.

A CSO meeting was also held at Barangay Baliwasan in the afternoon attended by its key officers comprising Moro Community leaders from nearby barangays.

The meeting focused on organizational restructuring, commitment strengthening and competency build-up. Other related issues and concerns were also discussed.
Brother Phix talked on the concept of inclusivity and convergence of other stakeholders in GPH-MILF Peace-building under the new administration. Tahir touched on the salient features of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) and the proposed Bangsamoro enabling law, the BBL.

“Let us just be patient and hopeful that all signed peace agreements and its mechanisms are faithfully observed and implemented by both sides that will pave the way to the conclusion of Moro problem or question so that long lasting peace and development in Mindanao shall be attained”, Tahir said.

MILF: UBJP officers undergo Training of Trainers on Political Party Building & Dev’t

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 18): UBJP officers undergo Training of Trainers on Political Party Building & Dev’t

(A numbrt of) select officers of the United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) from Mindanao and island provinces underwent a four-day Training of Trainers on Political Party Building and Development at the City Garden Grand Hotel in Makati on August 15-18, 2016.

UBJP national committee members, provincial leaders, and representatives from the youth and Indigenous Peoples joined the activity which was aimed to strengthen the political party through capacitating the participants in spearheading their chapters in undertaking important activities geared towards firming up the UBJP.

The organizers, Konrad Adeneur Stiftung (KAS) and the Institute for Autonomy and Governance (AIG), invited experts in the field of political party building.

Among the topics discussed were the following: Building Political Parties as Stable Democratic Institutions, Importance, Content and Structure of Constitution and By-Laws, Purpose and Process of Political Platform Building, Tools for Issue Analysis and Drafting Local Political Platforms.

UBJP is a principled regional political party that works for the high interest of the Bangsamoro people.

Unlike the traditional political parties in the country which only activate during campaign season, UBJP also works for the socio-economic betterment of the Bangsamoro in between elections.

The party will serve as an institution that will usher the engagement of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in democratic political exercises once the BBL is passed which will eventually establish proposed Bangsamoro government.

The training is part of the initiatives under the Democratic Party Development-Bangsamoro, a project funded by the European Union and implemented by KAS and AIG.

KAS and AIG have been providing capability-building trainings for the UBJP regional officers and volunteers in the past months.

MILF: Maranaos urge gov’t to make BBL as template for federalism

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 19): Maranaos urge gov’t to make BBL as template for federalism

Maranaos from Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte urged the government to make the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as template for federalism, a form of government President Rodrigo Duterte is pushing as a solution to Mindanao conflict.

In a report posted at a social media by Drieza Lininding, an active peace advocate from Marawi, participants from the two Lanao provinces echoed their appeal during the General Assembly organized by Ranao Confederation for Peace supported by various civil society organizations held in Marawi City last Monday (Aug 15).

The BBL, a measure drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, is one of the fruits of more than 17 years of peace talks between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

It is also considered as a solution for the long clamor of Bangsamoro people for self-governance.

The Philippine Congress however failed to pass the legislation in the 16th Congress before the stint of former President Benigno Aquino III ended.

Speaking in behalf of the Front’s leadership, MILF Vice-chairman Aleem Pangalian Solaiman, underscored the importance of passing first the BBL before the country will go for federalism, the report said.

Solaiman said shifting to federalism requires longer and thorough debates. He added that the BBL which only applies to Moro dominated areas of Mindanao just needs passage by Congress.

Once the BBL is passed and approved through a plebiscite, the Autonomous Region In Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be deemed abolished and will be replaced by autonomous Bangsamoro political entity with more political and fiscal powers.

Agakhan "Binladen" M. Sharief , a Moro peace activist  and Chairman of the Bangsamoro National Movement for Peace and Development (BNMPD) recalled the promise of President Duterte during the campaign that “he will make the BBL as Template for Federalism.

Bangsamoro Development Agency Chairman Dr. Saffullah Diparuan also shared the same view. Dipatuan believes that the establishment of Bangsamoro government will spur development not only within but even outside the Bangsamoro territory.

The organizers also consider holding forum on BBL and Federalism in the coming days.

MILF: RHRC trains grassroots monitors on human rights and report mechanisms

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 18): RHRC trains grassroots monitors on human rights and report mechanisms

The Regional Human Rights Commission (RHRC) of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) held the three-day Training on Human Rights and Report Mechanisms for Grassroots Monitors at EM Manor Hotel and Convention Center in Cotabato City on August 16-18, 2016.

Community-based volunteer HR monitors from different towns of the ARMM actively participated in the activity which enhance their capability in monitoring violations of human rights particularly during conflict situations.

RHRC Chairman Abdulnasser Badrudin welcomed the delegates and cited the importance of grassroots monitors as watchdogs for any violations on the rights of the constituents of the ARMM.

Commissioner Alikhan Abuat, a Shariah Counselor, briefed the participants about RHRC and its mandates.

The participants learned the gender and other forms of sexual-based violence, torture and the grave child’s rights violation. They were also oriented on the obligation of the state to protect the rights of its citizens.

Part of the lectures were about the International Humanitarian Law and the Rights of the Internally Displaced Persons.

During the second day of the training, the discussion and workshop were devoted on Human Rights Documentation and Reporting Mechanisms.

Before the sessions ended, the participants planned their activities on how they will strengthen the monitoring of human rights violations in the respective communities.

They expressed gratitude to the organizers for the knowledge imparted to them.

MILF: Malaysian PM confident peace in Mindanao will be achieved under Duterte

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 19): Malaysian PM confident peace in Mindanao will be achieved under Duterte

During Monday’s courtesy call by OPAPP Sec. Jesus Dureza on Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Putrajaya, the Malaysian leader expressed confidence that peace in Mindanao will be achieved under President Duterte’s administration, according to a report by Philstar on August 18.

The Malaysian leader also reaffirmed his commitment to efforts in attaining peace and security in Mindanao as well as in the ASEAN region, the Philstar report said.

“The PM immediately said he is confident that under President Duterte, who comes from Mindanao, we will finally see peace in Mindanao and in the whole country,” Dureza said.

He said Najib also mentioned possible Malaysian economic contributions to help and support peace and development efforts in Mindanao.

Dureza said he extended Duterte’s gratitude for Malaysia’s support in the negotiations and Manila’s invitation to Kuala Lumpur to still help in the implementation of the Bangsamoro peace process.

Dureza said Najib also emphasized the importance of economic development in Mindanao to ensure long-lasting stability and the need for regional cooperation in order to address the growing threat of the Islamic State.

 “After briefing the PM on the Philippine peace roadmap, I informed him of the recent visit of President Duterte to Sulu to precisely and personally oversee and reiterate his directives to the Armed Forces to deal decisively with the terrorists and the Abu Sayyaf group and the need to instill and promote moderation to counter extremism,” he said.

CPP/NPA: NPA arrests abusive PNP officer in Davao Oriental

NPA propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 18): NPA arrests abusive PNP officer in Davao Oriental

Press Statement | New People's Army, Southern Mindanao Region
The New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao has declared arrested PNP officer PO1 Michael B. Grande, Badge No. 205727, as Prisoner of War in accordance with provisions stipulated in the Geneva Conventions and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
POW Grande, 29, was arrested by Red fighters belonging to the ComVal – Davao Gulf Sub-Regional Command in Lupon, Davao Oriental on June 19, 2016 and has since been under the custody of the NPA. His issued firearm was also seized. POW Grande was assigned in Banay-banay Municipal Station at the time of his arrest.

As a member of the reactionary police force, POW Grande has admitted to have mauled, harassed and intimidated at gunpoint several civilians in Banay-banay. Furthermore, along with the whole of the PNP in Banay-banay, he regularly received payoffs from illegal gambling in the area. He is currently being investigated for these violations and other possible crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement.

We assure the wife, children and relatives of POW Grande that he is being leniently treated by his custodians, as is the policy of the NPA toward captured enemy members. We encourage them to appeal to POW Grande’s superiors, especially GPH Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, to order a let-up on the AFP’s so-called rescue operations as they only endanger his security. We are releasing a short video footage of POW Grande in deference to his wish of assuring his family of his safety.

In arresting POW Grande, the NPA exercises its mandate to ensure the protection of the masses, especially the Lumads and poor peasants who bear the brunt of fascist and mercenary abuses of reactionary police and military forces. It likewise upholds the integrity of the People’s Democratic Government in guaranteeing that Red territories are safe from and free of violators of people’s rights.

As we anticipate the formal resumption of the peace negotiations, the NPA consistently shows its commitment to the process in its paramount adherence to international conventions and previous agreements such as the CARHRIHL. No other armed force in the country has unfailingly treated with leniency and respect its captured enemies and, in the face of relentless AFP and PNP attacks, safely and orderly turned them over to their families following due procedure of revolutionary justice system.

Below is the complete transcript of POW Grande’s footage:

Ako si PO1 Michael Ballenas Grande, nagpuyo sa Caganganan, Banay-banay, Davao Oriental, na-assign sa Banay-banay Municipal Police Station. Badge no. nako, 205727.
Nadakpan ko atong June 19 sa Bagumbayan, Lupon, Davao Oriental atbang sa Sterling. Ug kato akong kaso nga naka-agrabyado ko og tao, nangayo gyud ko og pasaylo ato tungod kay nakalapas gyud ko sa akong gibuhat.

Ug mensahe nako sa akong pamilya nga dili angay mabalaka kay isip usa ka POW o Prisoner of War sa NPA, nagatamod gyud sila og balaod sa gubat nga dili gyud angay dagmalan ang bihag nila sa gubat. Ug gimaayo gyud ko nila og tratar diria isip usa ka bihag nila.

Mensahe nako sa gobyerno ni Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, nga ipatuman na gyud tong hinabing pangkalinaw nga peace talk, nga ipatuman pud niya ang SOMO ug SOPO kay para sa hapsay sa akong pag-relis. Ug akong kahimtang karon diri, maayo gyud kaayo. Gimaayo gyud ko nila pag-atiman, pagtratar isip usa ka bihag diri sa gubat.
Maayong adlaw ug maayong buntag sa inyong tanan. Daghang salamat.

I am PO1 Michael Ballenas Grande, residing in Caganganan, Banay-banay, Davao Oriental, assigned in Banay-banay Municipal Police Station. My badge no. is 205727.
I was arrested on June 19 in Bagumbayan, Lupon, Davao Oriental, in front of Sterling. Regarding my case for which I assaulted another person, I am sincerely apologizing for the violation I have committed.

My message for my family is to not worry about me for as a POW or Prisoner of War of the NPA, they adhere to the rules of war which is to not harm a prisoner of war. They treat me well as their prisoner.

My message for Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s government is to resume the peace talk, and to undertake the Suspension of Military Offensives (SOMO) and Suspension of Police Offensives (SOPO) for my orderly release. My situation here is well. They treat me leniently as a prisoner of war.

Good day and good morning to everyone. Thank you very much.


CPP: Celebrate the release of NDFP peace consultants

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (aug 18): Celebrate the release of NDFP peace consultants

Revolutionary forces across the country celebrate the successive release from unjust detention of the first batch of peace consultants of the NDFP since yesterday. The CPP anticipates the release of the rest of the 22 NDFP consultants by today or tomorrow so that they can participate in the scheduled resumption of peace talks in Oslo, Norway on August 22-27.

The CPP deeply appreciates efforts of the GRP President Duterte to comply with the obligations of the GRP under outstanding agreements with the NDFP in order to bolster the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations. The release of all NDFP peace consultants is a reaffirmation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and other NDFP-GRP agreements.

Even as the CPP welcomes the release of all NDFP consultants, it urges the Duterte regime to empty the GRP’s prisons of all political prisoners which number almost 550 nationwide, most of whom are peasants and workers. It can proclaim a policy of ending the dirty legal tactic of slapping trumped up criminal charges against activists which subject them to unjust and prolonged detention.

The release of all NDFP peace consultants will boost several-fold the confidence of the revolutionary forces in GRP President Duterte’s determination to work with the NDFP in peace negotiations.

The CPP considers the release of all NDFP consultants as an act of goodwill by GRP President Duterte. In appreciation, the CPP reiterates its full support for the NDFP-GRP peace negotiations as a venue to discuss the roots of the armed conflict and forge agreements to resolve the urgent as well as strategic problems of the people in the socio-economic, political and cultural fields.

The CPP extends its full support to the NDFP Negotiating Panel ably chaired by Luis Jalandoni and advised by CPP founding chairman and NDFP senior political consultant Prof. Jose Ma. Sison.

To further boost peace negotiations, the CPP is set to issue over the next few days a unilateral declaration of ceasefire to the New People’s Army and the people’s militias.
The CPP foresees continuing struggle and alliance with the Duterte regime as the Filipino people are confronted daily with problems of joblessness, landlessness, rising costs of living, low wages and income, militarization and so on.

The CPP hopes that mutual efforts by the NDFP and the GRP under Duterte will accelerate peace talks with unprecedented speed and surpass the amount of issues that will be covered and resolved.

(L-R) NDFP consultants Kennedy Bangibang, Ruben Saluta, Tirso Alcantara, Alan Jazmines, Renante Gamara, Ernesto Lorenzo and Jaime Soledad raise their clenched fists as they are welcomed by supporters, Aug. 17. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / Bulatlat)

(L-R) NDFP consultants Kennedy Bangibang, Ruben Saluta, Tirso Alcantara, Alan Jazmines, Renante Gamara, Ernesto Lorenzo and Jaime Soledad raise their clenched fists as they are welcomed by supporters, Aug. 17. (Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea /

Crisis averted as China ship sails away

From The Standard (Aug 19): Crisis averted as China ship sails away

AT LEAST 13 detained consultants of the communist National Democratic Front have been granted bail to allow them to join the resumption of the peace talks between their group and the government in Oslo on Aug. 20.

 The fishermen’s group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas praised their release on Thursday.

“Peace is in the air and we can smell it,” group spokesman Fernando Hicap said in a statement. 

“The release of these peace consultants is a very good start toward the just and lasting peace that everyone longs for.”

In Cagayan de Oro City, Archbishop Antonio Ledesma hosted a dinner Wednesday night in his house for NDF consultant Alfredo Mapano and his family and friends.

Ledesma hosted the dinner just hours after Mapano was released from the Misamis Oriental Provincial Jail to join the peace talks in Oslo.

Jaime Soledad, another NDF consultant, was acquitted of murder last week, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

Those allowed to post bail and were recently released were Adelbert Silva, Maria Concepcion Araneta-Bocala, Tirso Alcantara, Ariel Arbitrario, Kennedy Bangibang, Alex Birondo, Winona Birondo, Renante Gamara, Eddie Genelsa, Alan Jazmines, Ernesto Lorenzo, Alfredo Mapano and Ruben Saluta, Palabay said.

CPP chairman Benito Tiamzon and his wife, CPP secretary general Wilma Tiamson, who were detained in Quezon City after their arrest in Cebu in March 2014, will lead the other NDF consultants in Oslo.

They will be joined by former Rep. Satur Ocampo, Fidel Agcaoili and Edre Olalia.
Presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza will lead the government panel in the talks along with Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III and former Alaminos, Pangasinan Mayor Hernani Braganza.

Palabay dismissed the reports that 20 NDF consultants had already been out on bail.
“We are still working on their papers,” she said.

Some lower courts had not yet issued a bail order, she said.

Judge Florencia Abbu ordered the temporary release of Mapano despite his failure to post a P100,000 bail for his robbery-with-homicide case.

Mapano’s lawyer, Francisco del Castillo, said Abbu decided to release his client after consulting with the Supreme Court.

Mapano had posted bail in Malaybalay City for the 11 counts of murder, frustrated murder and car theft raps against him.

Del Castillo said Mapano was with his family at the residence of Archbishop Antonio Ledesma in Cagayan de Oro City Wednesday night.

The NDF requested Mapano’s release so he could help in the peace process because of his experience on political and constitutional reforms. He was the former CPP head in Northern Mindanao.

The NDF said President Rodrigo Duterte was bent on granting amnesty to all political prisoners to end the 40-year-old communist insurgency.

Crisis averted as China ship sails away

From The Standard (Aug 19): Crisis averted as China ship sails away

A CHINESE Coast Guard ship sailed 73 to 100 nautical miles within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone near the Scarborough Shoal off Masinloc, Zambales, recently, and an official said Thursday that had been normal in the past―but not anymore.

“With the new Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling, it has been established that [that area] is part of our exclusive economic zone,” Coast Guard Chief William Melad said.
“We can now go there and fish anytime we want.”

Melad was reacting to questions about a report about the new incursions by Chinese vessels on the country’s EEZ despite the PCA ruling rejecting China’s claims to the West Philippine Sea.

It appeared that China’s newest incursion happened three weeks ago.

Beijing has continued to defy the PCA ruling, which is gaining more and more believers who are  questioning China’s real intentions in the vital sea lane where $5 trillion worth of cargo pass each year.

Melad said Chinese vessels could claim “innocent passage” but they had no right to fish within Philippine territory or to prevent Filipino fishermen from fishing in their traditional fishing grounds.

On Thursday, Melad led his men in a turnover ceremony in Manila for a search-and-rescue vessel lent by the Japan International Cooperation Agency to the Coast Guard.

Tokyo has been helping the Coast boost its maritime and surveillance equipment to defend and protect its territory from China’s bullying. Japan has its own maritime dispute with China in the East China Sea.

Melad said his men and the men from the Chinese vessel had an exchange of radio messages, and then the Chinese sailed away.

“It was very polite. They introduced themselves and we introduced ourselves,” he said.

“We had been patrolling the area and assisting our fishermen. That was why our ship was there. It is within our exclusive economic zone.”

Panatag fishermen get protection

From Malaya Business Insight (Aug 19): Panatag fishermen get protection

THE Coast Guard has deployed ships to conduct patrols at the disputed Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal off Zambales to ensure the safety of Filipino fishermen at the shoal which is under the de facto control of China.

“Our intention really is to protect our fishermen, that’s our primary objective,” Coast Guard commandant Rear Adm. William Melad said yesterday.

The patrols were launched after a UN arbitral court invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim in the South China Sea. The complaint was lodged by the Philippine government in 2013 after China gained control of the shoal following a standoff.

In a July 12 ruling, the tribunal said China has “unlawfully” prevented Filipino fishermen from pursuing their livelihood by interfering with traditional fishing activities at the shoal. It said fishermen from other countries are also free to fish at the shoal.

“We are doing that to a certain extent. Definitely, it is our intention to protect them and to allow them to be able to fish again within the declared traditional fishing ground in Bajo de Masinloc,” Melad said, referring to the other name of the shoal.

Asked up to where the Filipinos are allowed to fish, Melad said: “Within the area, near the area, in keeping with the (ruling of the) arbitral court and we are committed, along with other agencies, to protect them.”

He implied the patrols were launched more than three weeks ago.

Melad noted that during one patrol, Coast Guard ships saw a Chinese Coast Guard ship near the shoal.

Coast Guard spokesman Cmdr. Armand Balilo said the Coast Guard and Chinese ships merely introduced themselves to each other.

Chinese ships have been driving away Filipino fishermen from the shoal since gaining control of it in 2012, the last one occurring two days after the UN court handed down its ruling.

NDFP Visayas consultant given temporary freedom

From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 18): NDFP Visayas consultant given temporary freedom

Maria Concepcion Araneta-Bocala, the peace consultant for the Visayas of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, was granted temporary freedom yesterday for her to join the resumption of talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the Communist Party of the Philippines, in Oslo, Norway.

Bocala, who is also the spokesperson of the Communist Party of the Philippines regional committee in Panay Island, was released from prison in Iloilo City after posting bail of P400,000 for illegal possession of explosives and ammunition, murder, and two rebellion charges.

The peace talks in Oslo, Norway will be held August 20-27.

Bocala will fly to Manila tomorrow to process other legal documents and the visa for her Norway trip.

Bocala said that the peace talk will revolve on topics about socio-economic reforms, political reforms, and the disposition of forces.

She said she will bring before the peace panel issues such as the high unemployment and will push for subsidy for farmers, free education for students, minimum wage increase, improved social services, free hospitalization and medicines, among others.

Bocala was arrested August 2015 in Molo, Iloilo City, by joint forces of the Philippine Army's 3rd Infantry Division and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 6.

After the peace talks, Bocala is expected to return to the country and to report directly to the court.

The government peace panel is committed to thorough but accelerated peace negotiations with the NDFP.

“We take a cue from the President (Rodrigo Duterte). Our efforts are geared towards that direction (thorough discussion but in an accelerated way),” Librado said yesterday.

The GRP panel gets inspiration, openness and guidance from the President that the talks could be sustain within his six-year term, given his full commitment to achieve a just and lasting peace.

In the resumption of talks in Oslo, Librado said both panels are expected to fast track the remaining three substantive issues, namely the socioeconomic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and the end to hostilities and disposition of forces.

The panels will discuss the affirmation of previously signed agreements, accelerated process for negotiations, including the timeline for the completion of the remaining substantive agenda, reconstitution of the JASIG list, amnesty proclamation for the release of all detained political prisoners subject to concurrence by Congress, and the Mode of Interim ceasefire.

Antonio Arellano, who is the newest member of the government panel, emphasized on sustained peace negotiations, saying the government under the Duterte administration cannot afford to be a failed state.

Arellano is optimistic there are enough solutions to issues which are expected to be raised during the negotiations, under existing laws.

He said the Oslo talks would be a beginning of new negotiations, given that the peace talks with communist movement have been stalled several times.

The resumption of the GPH-NDF peace negotiations is getting support from various sectors.

The League of Cities of the Philippines gave its full support to the resumption of the peace negotiations with all armed groups in the country as one of the priorities of the Duterte administration.

The LCP noted that the "protracted people's war" being waged for more than 46 years has resulted in the displacement of tens of thousands of rural folks, specifically the indigenous peoples, fisherfolk, farmers and farm workers, and the rural poor.

They cited Duterte's determination to end the armed conflict by addressing its root causes of poverty, injustice, lack of opportunity for the poor, and exploitation of the basic sectors perpetuated by the elite/oligarchs.

Indonesia naming part of South China Sea as Natuna Sea

From Update.Ph (Aug 18): Indonesia naming part of South China Sea as Natuna Sea

In a bid to maintain its sovereignty in the region, Indonesia announced on Wednesday evening that it will seek to change the name of the South China Sea to the Natuna Sea in the area within 200 miles of its Natuna Islands.

Ahmad Santosa, the Chief of Task Force 115, an agency combating illegal fishing, said the proposal will “be given to the United Nations,” adding that “if no one objects…then it will be officially the Natuna Sea.”

The plan would involve renaming the sea surrounding the Natuna Islands, which lie to the northwest of the Indonesian part of Borneo, within their 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

The islands’ mayor, Hamid Rizal, said the change was aimed at helping people to understand that section of the sea belongs to Indonesia, and to help fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Indonesian waters.

On Wednesday, Indonesian Independence Day, authorities sank 60 vessels – 58 foreign boats and 2 domestic vessels – because of such fishing. Most of these were in the Natuna area, which is often claimed by China as a traditional fishing ground.

The same day, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Affairs, Susi Pudjiastuti, said “my ministerial role is dealing with fish and all natural resources from the sea. I do not talk about sovereignty of political territories. I am talking about sovereignty over fish and ocean marine resources. As long as the fish are swimming in Indonesia’s EEZ, they are Indonesian fish. If someone takes it from there, it is illegal.”

Susi added that Indonesia only has a fishing rights agreement with Malaysia in the Malacca Strait. She highlighted that Indonesia does not recognize any traditional fishing ground, referring to Chinese claims in Natuna’s waters.

All 3 US Global Strike Command bombers conduct ops in South China Sea, Northeast Asia

From Update.Ph (Aug 18): All 3 US Global Strike Command bombers conduct ops in South China Sea, Northeast Asia

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit fly over Guam after launching from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for an integrated bomber operation Aug.17, 2016. US Air Force photo

A U.S. Air Force B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer and B-2 Spirit fly over Guam after launching from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for an integrated bomber operation Aug.17, 2016. US Air Force photo

“History was made,” the United States Air Force said after all three of its Global Strike Command’s strategic power projection bombers – the B-52 Stratofortress, B-1B Lancer, and B-2 Spirit – conducted their first ever integrated bomber operation in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region August 17.

According to US Air Force, in the past all the three bombers were independently deployed to US Pacific Command’s area of responsibility, however, this was the first that all three “flew a formation pass over Andersen Air Force Base [in Guam], dispersed and then simultaneously conducted operations in the South China Sea and Northeast Asia.”

“This mission demonstrated the U.S. commitment to supporting global security and our ability to launch a credible strategic defense force,” said US Air Force 36th Wing commander Brig. Gen. Douglas Cox.

US Pacific Air Forces (PACAF) earlier said the B-1 Lancer, which arrived at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam August 6, will replace the B-52 in support of PACOM Continuous Bomber Presence mission. The CBP bomber swap between the B-1 and B-52 is occurring throughout the month of August as the B-1s return to support this mission for the first time since April 2006.

Furthermore, PACAF said in addition to the CBP bomber swap, three B-2s arrived to to conduct a Bomber Assurance and Deterrence deployment. The CBP mission and BAAD deployments are part of a long-standing history of maintaining a consistent bomber presence in the Indo-Asia-Pacific in order to maintain regional stability, and provide assurance to our allies and partners in the region.

Army’s 10ID turns 10

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 18): Army’s 10ID turns 10

The 10th Infantry ‘Agila’ Division (10ID), the youngest in the Philippine Army, celebrates today its 10th year founding anniversary at their headquarters in Mawab, Compostela Valley Province, with the theme, “10th ID @ 10: A Decade of Service for Lasting Peace in Southern Mindanao.”

Highlighting the celebration was the inauguration of the 10ID’s new facilities including their main gate, the tactical operations center and the technical intelligence company building.

Former 10ID commander and now commanding general of the Philippine Army, LtGen Eduardo Año and current 10ID commander MGen Rafael Valencia led the unveiling of markers of the the new structures, while their wives, Jean Jocelyn Maria Año and Teresa Valencia cut the ribbon as ceremonial opening of the facilities.

In his speech, Lt. Gen. Año promised to give another P33-million worth of hospital building to the division.

“Within the year, we will start the construction of a P33-million hospital for 10ID, P25-million for the building and P8-million for the equipment, so that our soldiers will get the necessary health and medical services that they deserve,” Año said.

He also stressed that he is proud to be a part of the Agila division, though the youngest division in the army but it has proven its value through different successes.

He added that for the first semester of the year, the division reported the neutralization of 144 personalities of the New People’s Army and confiscation of 76 assorted firearms.

During the program, the division also honoured its seven former commanders namely, MGen Ernesto Boac (Ret), MGen Jogy Leo Fojas (Ret), MGen Reynaldo Mapagu (Ret), MGen Carlos Holganza (Ret), MGen Jorge Segovia (Ret), MGen Ariel Bernardo (Ret) and LtGen Año.

Present during the anniversary celebration were Davao del Norte Governor Anthony del Rosario, Davao Oriental Governor Nelson Dayanghirang, Davao Oriental former governor and now First District Congresswoman Corazon Malanyaon, Compostela Valley former governor and now Board Member Arthur Uy, and Compostela Valley Congresspersons Maricar Zamora and Ruwel Peter Gonzaga.

According to the Division Public Affairs Office, the Agila Division was created through HPA General Orders No. 355 dated August 9, 2006 and was activated as division on August 16 holding a temporary headquarter at Camp Panacan, Davao City.

The division moved to its present headquarters at Camp General Manuel T. Yan, Sr. in Brgy. Tuboran, Mawab on February 9, 2011.

Army honors gallant personnel in 10th ID anniversary

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 18): Army honors gallant personnel in 10th ID anniversary

Some 11 military and CAFGU personnel of the 10th Infantry Division earned combat and non-combat awards during the division’s 10th year anniversary program today at Camp General Manuel T Yan Sr in Mawab, Compostela Valley.

As bravery for their outstanding service during combat, Cpl Brandy Barrometro and Cpl Roy Juanitez earned Gold Cross awards, while 2Lt Andrew Ollasic and Sgt Ronito Dotosme gained Military Medals with Bronze Spearhead Device.

On non-combat awards, LtCol Louie Demaala got the Gawad sa Kaunlaran; 1Lt Roel Manuel with Silver Cross Medal; and Cpl Rany Paler and Cpl Winny Viña with military merit medal each.

The division also awarded their best military personnel during the anniversary program. 1Lt Israel Damasco was conferred as the Best Junior Officer award; Cpl Alvin Pandia garnered the Best Enlisted Personnel; and CAA Roque Makaiwa was adjudged as the Best CAFGU Active Auxiliary.

Seven infantry battalions were also recognized in their adherence to the Army Governance Pathway. The battalions were 25th IB, 27th IB, 28th IB, 39th IB, 60th IB, 67th IB and 72nd IB. Also, the 1001st, 1002nd and 1003rd infantry brigades were awarded with complaint status in their Army Governance Pathway.

PMA offers Samarnons to lead the armed forces

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 18): PMA offers Samarnons to lead the armed forces

The Philippine Military Academy (PMA) is offering young and passionate Samarnons a chance to be an officer of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

In PIA’s Huruhimangraw Radio Program aired at MBC-Aksyon Radyo-DYMS, Captain Ian Fabellon of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army, announced that a team of PMA cadets and officers are in Samar for the campaign and to conduct  examination on Sunday, August 21, 2016 at the Samar State University, Mercedes Campus, Catbalogan City.

“This is your chance not just to be an ordinary soldier but an officer,” said Fabellon. In PMA, a cadet already receives his salary the moment he is sworn in as a PMA cadet, he added.

The cadet is trained for four years in the academy where he receives the best military education.

If interested, one must be a natural-born Filipino, stands at least 5 feet for both male and female, Physically fit, with good moral character, single and has never been married. The applicant must be a high school graduate on or before April 2015, prior to the implementation of K-12, has no administrative nor criminal case and should have been born from April 1, 1995 to April 1, 2000.

Presently, the PMA team is doing the rounds of information drive in universities and colleges in the whole Eastern Visayas.

PRRD leads PNP’s 115th Police Service anniversary, awards outstanding policemen, units

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 18): PRRD leads PNP’s 115th Police Service anniversary, awards outstanding policemen, units

President Rodrigo R. Duterte  led the awarding of outstanding police officers and units during the 115th Police Service anniversary of the Philippine National Police. held at Camp Crame yesterday.

The President was assisted by PNP chief Director General Ronald ‘Bato’ M. dela Rosa and Usec.Catalino Cuy representing Interior and Local Government Secretary Ismael ‘Mike’ Sueno handing out plaques of recognition to the awardees in a ceremony held at Camp Crame in Quezon City.

Senior Superintendent Valeriano T. de Leon of the Police Regional Office 11 in Southern Mindanao led the individual awardees. He received Medalya ng Kasanayan and Achievement award being the Best Senior Police Commissioned Officer for Administration

Supt. Reynald E Ariño of the elite PNP Special Action Force also received Medalya ng Kasanayan and Achievement award for being the Best Senior Police Commissioned Officer for Operations.
Other individual awardees are: Senior Inspector Lito T. Pirote of the PNP Anti- Illegal Drugs Group – Best Junior Police Commissioned Officer;  Senior Police Officer 1 Mhay M Rubio of the Police Regional Office 3 in Central Luzon- Best Senior Police Non-Commissioned Officer;   PO2 Jonathan G. Robles, also of the PRO 3 – Best Junior Police Non-Commissioned Officer; ·  Non-Uniformed Personnel Rosana D. Tupaz of the PRO6 in Western Visayas – Best Non-Uniformed Personnel (Supervisory Level); and NUP Mary Jeanne D.L. Nadres of the PNP Directorate for Plans-  Best Non-Uniformed Personnel (Non-Supervisory Level)
Unit awardees are: the Police Regional Office 2  headed by Chief Supt. Gilbert C. Sosa– Best Police Regional Office; the PNP Special Action Force headed by Chief Supt. Benjamin M. Lusad as Best
National Operational Support Unit; the PNP  Information Technology Management Service  headed by Chief Supt. Edwin Jose G. Nemenzo  as Best National Administrative Support Unit; the Bulacan Police Provincial Office  headed by Senior Supt. Romeo M. Caramat Jr. as Best Police Provincial Office; the Iligan City Police Office  headed by Senior Supt. Leony Roy G. Ga as Best City Police Office;
The Sta. Rosa City Police Station  headed by Supt. Giovanni S. Martinez as Best Component City Police Station; the  Nagcarlan Municipal Police Station  headed by Chief Inspector Leopoldo M. Ferrer Jr. as Best Municipal Police Station; the Regional Public Safety Battalion 13 headed by Supt. Chito G.  Bersaluna as Best Regional Public Safety Battalion;
The Pangasinan Provincial Public Safety Company  headed by Supt. Virgilio C. Pascua Jr. as Best Provincial Public Safety Company; the Zamboanga City Public Safety Company  headed by Supt. Arston D. Limos  as Best City Public Safety Company; the Women And Children Protection Desk of PRO 11 in Southern Mindanao headed by Chief Inspector Jacqueline A. Antero as Best Women And Children Protection Desk; the Regional Police Human Rights Desk of PRO 3  headed by Supt. Hercules P. Ileto as Best Regional Human Rights Desk; the  Police Strategy Management Unit of the Cordillera Police headed by Cordillera Deputy Regional Director for Administration, Chief Supt. Robert G. Quenery as Best Police Strategy Management Unit; and the Regional Special Training Unit of PRO 2 in Cagayan Valley headed by Supt. Jojo S. de la Cruz as Best Regional Special Training Unit.
President Duterte also presented Special Awards to: the Police Regional Office 5 headed by Chief Supt. Melvin Ramon G. Buenafe for being the unit with most members of private armed groups neutralized during the election period (regional level); the Cebu Police Provincial Office headed by Senior Supt. Jose B. Macanas for being the unit with most number of firearms accounted, seized.

Lopez optimistic about military and police's new role as environmental protectors

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 19): Lopez optimistic about military and police's new role as environmental protectors

Environment Secretary Gina Lopez hopes to put the image of the military and the police on a more positive light with their new role as "protectors of the environment."

 Lopez said the country's security forces play a crucial role in the newly created anti-environmental crime task force led by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), which will go after environmental offenders and ensure strict implementation of environmental laws and regulations.

The DENR recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with other key government agencies, including the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, for the creation of the task force called "A-TEAM Kalikasan."

Lopez said their new role in environmental protection will help erase the bad image of soldiers and policemen as bodyguards of influential politicians and businessmen and make them guardians of the nation's wealth and the environment.

"The [military and the police] were being used as bodyguards for big business interests. I want to shift that and work together with them, to work with the farmers, to work with the indigenous people, because my experience with the military has been only very good and we need to shape that," Lopez said.

Lopez said she views the military and the police as partners in development. "I think of we do that and we all work together with the civil society, I don't see why we can't make a difference."

Other parties to the MOA are the Department of National Defense, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the Department of Transportation, and the Philippine Coast Guard.

The task force aims to respond to the clamor for social justice, especially among the indigenous peoples who complain about land grabbing and the negative impacts of mining and illegal logging to the environment and their livelihoods.

Lopez expressed high optimism and expectation that the task force will succeed in its mission. "I am counting on three things from you -- will, heart and integrity," Lopez told the members of the task force.

"Yes, we will make things happen. In the immediate future we will see a much, much better Philippines because enforcing is really number one and let’s make it good," she added.

PH welcomes JICA’s support to maritime safety

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 19): PH welcomes JICA’s support to maritime safety

The Philippines welcomed the assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to the country’s maritime safety with the arrival of “Tubbataha”, the first of the ten 40-meter Multi-Role Response Vessels (MRRVs) for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).

“The cooperation aims to build the capacity of the Philippines in boosting maritime safety for socio-economic development. As an archipelago, the Philippines will benefit greatly from the Japanese ship,” said JICA Chief Representative Susumu Ito.

The MRRVs was part of Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) agreement with the Philippines signed during the ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in Tokyo in 2013. JICA signed a Japanese ODA loan agreement with the Republic of the Philippines amounting to ¥18.732B in December 2013.

PCG chief Rear Admiral Melad lauded the Japanese government for the continuous and unwavering support to the PCG’s capability development programs.

The vessel was named after Lighthouse Tubbataha which is located in Tubbataha Marine National Park, Palawan.

JICA’s cooperation will help augment the PCG’s fleet operations and contribute to the Philippines’ maritime safety by quickly and appropriately responding to maritime incidents, such as search and rescue, maritime law enforcement, monitoring, pollution control, and disaster response, Ito added.

The MRRVs from Japan utilize a hybrid structure and special welding technique that gives speed, stability, and sea-worthiness of vessels for maritime safety. Deliveries of the remaining vessels are expected every quarter until 2018.

The Philippines has been prone to maritime accidents and crimes due to passenger and freight transport volumes. In 2015, PCG data shows that 474 maritime accidents have been recorded, more than twice of the 220 reported cases in 2008.

Since the 1990s, JICA has long supported the initiatives of the PCG. Among the other projects undertaken by JICA and the PCG are provision of rescue equipment, training facilities, communication systems, and maritime safety equipment. JICA has also trained 600 PCG personnel for effective operations for maritime safety and security. In 2014, JICA extended ¥1.152 billion grant aid to PCG to install a satellite-based communication system, and Vessel Traffic Management System (VTMS) to manage vessel movement and port traffic. An expert from the Japan Coast Guard has been also dispatched to PCG as part of a technical cooperation.