Sunday, March 5, 2017

Vietnamese vessel evades armed gunmen, now safe in Malaysian waters

From The Star Online (Mar 6): Vietnamese vessel evades armed gunmen, now safe in Malaysian waters

A Vietnamese cargo vessel that managed to evade a speedboat carrying armed gunmen in Philippines waters has now been safely escorted to Sandakan.

MV Phu An, with 13 crewmembers on board and which was headed towards Sandakan, spotted a speedboat carrying at least six armed men tailing it in the waters off Pulau Boan, north of Sabah’s Turtle Island, on Sunday.

“The crew immediately changed course and alerted our authorities,” Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Datuk Wan Bari Wan Abdul Khalid said when contacted.

The Vietnamese vessel, with its cargo of foodstuff, entered Malaysian waters at about 4.30pm Sunday after making a Mayday call.

It was met at the border by a Malaysian navy vessel and escorted by KD Sri Tiga into Sandakan.

The speedboat carrying the gunmen has yet to be tracked down.

Malaysian security forces under Esscom have stepped up the alert along the nautical border with southern Philippines, especially with increased activity by Abu Sayyaf-linked groups seeking to kidnap victims for ransom.

Karapatan leads peace, medical mission in militarized villages

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Northern Dispatch Weekly (NORDIS) (Mar 5): Karapatan leads peace, medical mission in militarized villages

STO. NIÑO, Cagayan — The human rights group Karapatan – Cagayan Valley extended medical assistance to 150 indigents during the peace and medical mission conducted at Barangay Balanni of this town on February 25, 2017.

Residents of Barangay Balanni, Santo Nino, Cagayan converge at the barangay hall to avail of the medical assistance from Karapatan-Cagayan Valley. The area is subject to intense militarization by the 17th IB of the Philippine Army. Photo by Ramon Balan-eg

Thirty one medical doctors, nurses and student aides from various parts of the country conducted check-ups and prescribed medicines to those who needed it. Among the major causes of morbidity were respiratory infections, skin diseases, colds and flu.

One patient expressed gratitude to the peace and medical team for visiting their far-flung barangay. She has been suffering from a respiratory ailment and did not have the money to travel to the Rural Health Unit to seek medical services.

Members of Karapatan gave a lecture on basic human rights to those present and worked with those who complained or showed symptoms of psychological stress due to the continued militarization in the area.

According the locals who requested to remain anonymous for fear of retribution or harassment, a contingent of 150 fully-armed soldiers belonging to the 17th IB of the Philippine Army arrived on February 8 and occupied the Barangay Hall, Day Care Center, the Church and some residential houses located at the barangay center.

During the mission work the soldiers were dispersed around the area of the medical mission taking photos and asking for the names of the members of the mission. The soldiers intentionally detached their nameplates to hide their identities and refused to divulge the name of their commanding officer when asked.

It was gathered that an armed encounter between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the military occurred in the forested area of Balanni on February 8 resulting to the death of a soldier. Military reinforcement soon arrived, bolstering the number to around 300 soldiers conducting combat operations in Balanni and two other adjacent barangays.

The farmers complained that they could not go out and work in the fields for fear that they would be caught in the crossfire or be suspected of being an NPA rebel or sympathizer. “Nu kastoy lattan ti sitwasyon ket mabaybay-an ti mula mi. Kasanu ngayen ti panagbiag mi?” (if this situation persists, our crops would be neglected. What will then happen to us?), one farmer said.

The farmers here depend on their annual corn production which they market in Tuguegarao City, around two-hours drive away. Apparently the soldiers took advantage of the brief encounter to militarize the barangays as part of their war strategies against the rebels. This situation has however isolated the villages and has cut them off from necessities from the town centers including enough food supply and medical assistance.

There are no health facilities in the barangay and the people relied on whatever medical assistance that the Barangay Health Workers could extend to them. #

Gov’t all-out-war policy terrorizes Quirino folk

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Northern Dispatch Weekly (NORDIS) (Mar 6): Gov’t all-out-war policy terrorizes Quirino folk

MADDELA, QUIRINO — “Binalot ng takot ang mga mamamayan ng Quirino dahil sa pagdating ng 86th Infantry Battalion ng Philippine Army (IBPA).” (Terror engulfed the people of Quirino when 86th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army arrived.)

This was the conclusion of the advance team of a fact-finding mission launched by Karapatan Cagayan Valley and the Cagayan Valley Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (CAHRA) after troops from the 86th IBPA swarmed all over barangays San Martin, Manglad, Cabua-an, and Ysmael in this town as early as February 13.

The military presence in the four barangays forced at least 691 documented residents on February 18 to flee from their homes for almost five days.

Distress among peasants

“Mabutbuteng kami nu adda soldado ditoy,” (We are afraid -in terror- when the soldiers here) said Elena Taguiling, 49, a resident of Barangay Cabua-an.

Elena, is a native of Ifugao who migrated to Maddela in the 70s in search for land to till. She said that this is the first time she and her family had to evacuate.

She, along with 410 others from her barangay, evacuated to the town’s municipal gym, around 10 kilometers and two river crossings away from their village.

“Disturbance isuda a, mabuteng kami a maawan ti daga mi ket gapu ta adda ti militar,” (They are a disturbance, we are afraid that we may lose our lands because of the military’s presence) she said.

State forces entered Cabua-an as part of their all-out-war campaign against New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

Elena said government soldiers called for a meeting with the residents to explain their presence. “Kunada, adu nga NPA idtoy ayan mi ken in-interrogate da ti maysa a lider ti barangay,” (They, the soldiers, said there were many NPA rebels in our community, they even interrogated one barangay leader). she added.

Other residents said they had difficulty during evacuation, where at least two elderly women, one bed-ridden, had to be carried all the way to the evacuation site.

Civilians under attack

86th IBPA men, meanwhile, also harassed a local community leader in Cabua-an, according to a resident who, in fear, requested anonimity. The resident who witnessed the harassment said three groups of armed soldiers entered the community leader’s house and asked about the NPA’s whereabouts.

“Pinadapa at tinutukan ng baril,” (They made him drop to the ground face down and pointed a gun at him) the witness said.

The soldiers accused the victim to be an NPA sympathizer and asked who were the NPA rebels in their community. The communty leader was a former barangay captain of Cabua-an.

In Barangay Ysmael, the raiding soldiers forcibly took poultry and other produce from the community folk. Some soldiers barged into their homes to cook and badger the household folk with questions if they saw NPA rebels. The soldiers also drank gin at the village sari-sari.

‘No NPAs here’

Residents of the four barangays belied the military’s claim about NPA presence. In reminiscence one resident said that “the last time they ever saw NPA rebels in their villages was way back to the late 1990s.

“Ngayon lang namin naranasan magbakwit, wala kaming engkwentro ng NPA sa lugar namin. Matagal na noong huli,” (This is the first time we experienced an evacuation. We haven’t encountered any NPAs in our area recently.) they said.

That did not stop the entry of military troops to the barangays, however. Residents of barangay Cabua-an and Ysmael said they have heard volleys of gunfire on February 18 and 19.

Norma Bugbog from Cabua-an, said she saw tracer bullets shooting upward on February 19. She chose to stay behind in their village. She said the soldiers even slept in her grandfather’s blacksmith shop on the evening of February 19.

Another resident of Cabua-an also mentioned of a firefight in nearby Barangay Dihobatan that triggered the evacuations from their purok on the morning of February 18.

Locals of Barangay Ysmael said government soldiers in full battle gear aboard a 6×6 army truck arrived in their community the morning of February 18. At around 7:00PM they heard gunshots. Early the next day, Ysmael folk decided to gather in their barangay center for safety.

Calls for peace

According to Karapatan Cagayan Valley, peasants and ordinary people have long borne the brunt of the government’s “all-out war” against the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

In a press statement, Karapatan stressed that waging a war against the communist rebels will never address the roots of the armed revolution the CPP-NPA-NDFP has been waging for more than four decades now.

“Hindi marunong matuto ang gobyernong Duterte sa mga aral ng madugong kasaysayan ng Batas Militar, Total War at Low Intensity Conflict,” (The Duterte administration has failed to learn from the bloody history of Martial Law, Total War and Low Intensity Conflict) the statement read.

There is still room for peace though, the human rights group said.

“Sa kabila ng takot ay batid ng mamamayan ng Quirino at Cagayan ang kahalagahan ng peace talks bilang isa sa mga hakbang upang maresolba ang ugat ng armadong rebolusyon sa bansa,” (Despite their fear, the Quirino and Cagayan people know the importance of the peace talks as a step toward addressing the roots of the armed revolution in the country) the statement ended. #

Army creates new engineer brigade

From the Daily Tribune (Mar 6): Army creates new engineer brigade

To complement military combat operations and support government development projects in the countryside, the Army will be activating a new engineer brigade composed of more than a thousand troops.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda said that the newly organized 54th Engineer Brigade (EB) will be composed of 1,069 soldiers who will be among the almost 14,000 troops programmed to be recruited by the 85,000-strong command this year.

Miranda said that the Army will recruit a total of 13,910 new troops for 2017 to fill-up various Army units throughout the country, including 349 officers.

“This (activation of 54th EB) will further improve our capability in implementing government development projects in far-flung areas – like construction of road network, bridges and school buildings,” Miranda said.

Army spokesman Col. Benjamin Hao explained that 8,892 of those to be recruited are part of the 10,000 additional troops approved by President Duterte for the Armed Forces of the Philippines — the remaining will be allotted for the Navy and Air Force.

On the other hand, the 3,600 is the annual quota replacement in the Army while the 1,069 troops for the 54th EB has the go signal of the Congress.

“Most number of new recruits will fill-up the Army infantry, cavalry and artillery units. There are also recruits who will fill-up the engineer, communication, logistics, and other administrative functions of the Army,” Hao said.

Out of the total number of recruits, 10 percent is allocated for female recruits while five percent from the indigenous peoples.

Once recruited and becomes a trainee, the candidate soldier will receive a gross income of P16,852.00. If enlisted, the new Private will receive a starting gross income of P23,204.00 plus a number of allowances and benefits.

The Philippine Army will prioritize its recruitment in the following order:

· graduates of Military Science 43 and Advance ROTC,
· college graduates;
· those with 72 units and up in college;
· or high school graduates but possess technical and vocational skills needed by the Philippine Army.
An applicant must be a
· natural born Filipino citizen;
· at least 18 to 23 years old on the date of appointment as candidate soldier;
· at least 5’0" or 60 inches in height;
· single and without child;
· of good moral character;
· passed the Philippine Army Aptitude Test Battery / Armed Forces of the Philippines Service Aptitude Test;
· passed the pre-qualifying physical fitness test and physical medical exam;
· and must be physically and mentally fit for military training.

All interested applicants are advised to visit any Army Recuitment Centers located nationwide —Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila; Camp Lapu-Lapu, Cebu City; and Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City.

Applicants are also advised to bring with them identification cards, NBI clearance, and other pertinent documents.

They may also visit the Philippine Army Web site at for further details.

8 women in PMA Class of 2017 Top 10

From ABS-CBN (Mar 6): 8 women in PMA Class of 2017 Top 10

Seven of the top graduates of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2017. Photo by Micaella Ilao, ABS-CBN News

Eight women are graduating top of their class at the country's premier military school.

The Philippine Military Academy Class of 2017 is led by a female valedictorian, Rovi Mairel Valino Martinez of Cabanatuan City.
The PMA Salaknib Class of 2017 top 10 are as follows:

1. Rovi Mairel Valino Martinez, Cabanatuan City
2. Philip Modesto Viscata, Ligao City Albay
3. Eda Glis Buansi Marapao, Baguio City
4. Cathleen Jovie Santiano Baybayan, San Fernando Pampanga
5. Carlo Emmanuel Manalasan Canlas, Pampanga
6. Shiela Joy Ramiro Jallorina, Bagabag Nueva Viscaya
7. Sheil Marie Calonge De Guzman, Manaoag Pangasinan
8. Joyzy Mencias Funchica, Butuan City
9. Resie Jezreel Arrocena Hucalla, Compostella Valley
10.Catherine Mae Emeterio Gonzales, Zamboanga City

Six of the top graduates of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 2017. Photo by Micaella Ilao, ABS-CBN News

They are set to graduate along with the rest of their batch on Sunday. Their graduation shall also mark President Rodrigo Duterte's first PMA graduation ceremony as a commander-in-chief.

Republic Act No. 7192 granted women in the Philippines equal access to the service academies, and the first batch of female cadets were accepted into the PMA on April 1993.

According to the official website of the PMA, the number of female cadets accepted has since been limited to not more than 5 percent of the total number of cadets entering the Academy at any one time.

Female cadets have graduated with the classes of 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2000.

The first female cadet to graduate top of her class is Arlene A. Dela Cruz of the Class of 1999. She had also received several awards upon her graduation, including the Presidential Saber, Philippine Navy Award, Navy Courses Plaque, Social Sciences Plaque, and the Humanities Plaque.

Malaysia arrests seven for suspected links to militant groups

From GMA News (Mar 6): Malaysia arrests seven for suspected links to militant groups

Malaysia has arrested six foreigners and one Malaysian for suspected links to militant groups including Islamic State, the police chief said on Sunday.
The Southeast Asian nation has been on high alert since suicide bombers and gunmen linked to Islamic State launched multiple attacks in Jakarta, the capital of neighboring Indonesia, in January 2016.
A grenade attack on a bar on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, in June last year wounded eight people. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks, the first of such attacks on Malaysian soil.
Malaysia has arrested hundreds over the last few years for suspected links to militant groups.
In the latest arrests made between Feb. 21 and Feb. 26, one Malaysian and one Indonesian were detained for planning to launch a large-scale car bomb attack using a "vehicle borne improvised explosive device," before leaving to join IS in Syria, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in a statement.
The two were part of an Islamic State cell that received instructions from Muhammad Wanndy Muhammad Jedi - a known Malaysian IS fighter in Syria.
One East Asian, with a fake student visa, had connections to an East Asian militant group that sends its members to Malaysia before heading to Syria to join Islamic State, Khalid said.
Four Yemenis arrested were suspected of being part of a Yemeni insurgent group. They were also part of a syndicate forging travel documents.
Police seized multiple international passports and 270,000 ringgit ($60,650) in cash in different currencies from the four.

Human rights non-issue in assistance to PH: USAID

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 5): Human rights non-issue in assistance to PH: USAID

Despite human rights issues hounding the drug war, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) assures that it will continue to work with the Philippine government.

“We do not condition our assistance,” emphasized Gloria Steele, USAID acting assistant administrator for Asia based in Washington, D.C.

“We work with the Philippine government and the communities and universities based on what the needs are,” said Steele.

“There is nothing political about it,” added Steele, who previously served as USAID mission director in the Philippines.

According to Steele, USAID has not terminated any of its programs since President Duterte assumed office last year and verbally attacked then US President Barack Obama for criticizing his administration’s war on drugs.

Steele said USAID will continue its partnerships with both national government agencies and local governments in addressing maternal and child health, education, disaster resiliency, climate change adaptation, challenges in trade, and human trafficking.

Steele also disclosed that USAID currently does not have any resources that can support Duterte’s drug war. However, she said that the Department of Health (DOH) discussed possible partnership in terms of creating drug rehabilitation facilities.

Never let your guard down, Duterte reminds troops

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 5): Never let your guard down, Duterte reminds troops

Government troops have been directed to remain on alert for possible rebel attacks whenever they leave camp.
In a recent visit to a military camp in Sulu, President Duterte ordered the soldiers not to put their guard down and stressed that they must “expect an ambush anytime” amid the rise of attacks by lawless elements.

“Huwag na kayo basta-basta lumabas ng kampo na maglakad-lakad parang namasyal. May resurgence tayo sa mga assassinations…Marami na rin akong sundalo na nawala (Do not just leave the camp and travel around. There is a resurgence of assassinations and I have already lost many soldiers),” the President told soldiers and officers gathered at Camp Teodulfo Bautista station hospital in Jolo, Sulu last Friday.
“Kasi minsan para kayong namamasyal. Expect an ambush anytime basta yan sa detachment, detachment… Pati mata mo malikot [Because sometimes you travel around. Expect an ambush anytime even those in the detachment. Keep a watchful eye out for them],” he said. “Wag kayong pa-kompyansa [Don’t be overconfident].”

Duterte said he was already hastening plans to acquire pistols for every soldier so they can bring them anywhere.

BTC convenes to work on draft Bangsamoro law

From the Philippine Star (Mar 6): BTC convenes to work on draft Bangsamoro law

The inaugural two-day session in Cotabato City of the newly expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission started Monday morning. John Unson

Members of the newly expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) convened here Monday for a two-day maiden session.
The main objective of the BTC is to craft a congressional measure needed to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) with a Bangsamoro entity based on a peace compact between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
The BTC’s two-day session at EM Manor Hotel here is being presided over by its figurehead, Ghazali Jaafar, the first vice chairman of the MILF’s central committee.
The reconstituted BTC was launched in Davao City last month by President Rodrigo Duterte, replacing the originally only 15-member group led by the MILF’s chief negotiator, Mohagher Iqbal.
The output of the commission Iqbal had led, the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, was disapproved by Congress for containing unconstitutional provisions.
Besides Jaafar, the MILF has 10 more members in the new BTC, where the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the national government have three and seven representatives each, respectively.
The three MNLF officials in the expanded BTC, lawyers Omar Sema and Firdausi Abas and former ARMM assemblyman Hatimil Hassan, belong to a group not hostile to the MILF.
A smaller MNLF faction led by Nur Misuari is rabidly opposed to any convergence with the MILF in charting a common peace roadmap that can put closure to the now four-decade Moro issue.
Peace talks between the government and the MILF started on Jan. 7, 1997. Both sides had crafted a final compact, the March 27, 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro, which aims to replace ARMM with a more politically and administratively empowered Moro-led regional government.
The ARMM cannot be deactivated without any imprimatur from Congress owing to its being covered by a congressional charter, the Republic Act 9054.
The MNLF signed a final peace agreement with Malacañang on Sept. 2, 1996, but is not contented with how past presidents complied with some of its sensitive provisions.

Top military commander in Sulu vows to finish Abu Sayyaf

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 5): Top military commander in Sulu vows to finish Abu Sayyaf

“Once we have started it, we have to finish it!”

These were the fighting words of Army Col. Cirilito E. Sobejana, a decorated combat officer who was awarded the Medal of Valor, the highest military award, for leading his men, though outnumbered, in a mortal combat against the Abu Sayyaf in Maluso, Basilan on Jan. 13, 1995, killing 42 terrorists, body count.

In a phone conversation with this writer, Sobejana, who recently assumed his post as the new commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said the all-out war on terror ordered by Armed Forces chief of staff Gen. Eduardo Aňo will be sustained until the Abu Sayyaf will be crushed.

The offensive against the terrorist group was launched days before the terrorists had announced they would behead their German hostage Jurgen Gustav Kantner if the PHP30 million ransom demand would not be paid by February 26.

But the government has maintained its no-ransom policy and ordered the military to launch an operation in a bid to rescue Kantner.

However, the rescue operation failed and the German hostage was beheaded by the Abu Sayyaf last week.

The headless body of Kantner was only recovered Saturday in Sitio Talibang, Barangay Buanza, in Indanan, Sulu. His severed head was also retrieved by government forces.

Sobejana vowed that there will be no let-up in the military operation against the Abu Sayyaf, “So far, we have killed 14 Abu Sayyaf terrorists, body count. On our side we suffered 30 wounded in action but their wounds are superficial,” Sobejana said.
“My soldiers were hit by shrapnel from M203 grenade launchers,” he added.

Sobejana said “artillery fire from 105mm howitzers are being used to pound the retreating Abu Sayyaf. This is being supplemented by aerial fire delivered by the Air Force and naval gunfire from the Philippine Navy.”

Sobejana said the Joint Task Force will press the fight to wipe out once and for all the Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

Communists still top security threat – Esperon

From the Philippine Star (Mar 6): Communists still top security threat – Esperon

“It is communism that is the number one threat. Because the communists here want to change the way of life of the Filipinos. They want to force their way even if they are outdated already,” National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said yesterday. File photo

The communists are still the country’s top security threat, according to National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.

“It is communism that is the number one threat. Because the communists here want to change the way of life of the Filipinos. They want to force their way even if they are outdated already,” Esperon said yesterday.

The communists have been waging an insurgency since 1968 – which the military said has claimed 30,000 lives – to overthrow the government.

Aside from the communists, Esperon added the problem of illegal drugs, extremism, terrorism, corruption, secessionism and even the alleged destabilization plots, as among the other threats the country currently faces. 

“Illegal drugs because it is destroying the very fiber of our society, the very core, our families. Illegal drugs wastes so much of our resources, our Filipino values, our youth,” he said.

Esperon stressed the brand of communism the leftist groups are pushing is an old issue.

“The problem with these communists is that they are still talking about imperialism when we are no longer a colony. They are talking about feudalism and fascism, when we are not fascists. I think the communists should also update themselves on what they really want,” he said.

He said even China, which is the leading communist country in the world, has opened up to foreign markets and to the idea of capitalism.

Esperon however said that even if communists pose the biggest national security threat, there are political solutions to the problem.

He cited President Duterte’s efforts to achieve lasting peace and unite the country under one flag.

Esperon mentioned in particular the resumption of peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Duterte restarted peace talks with the communist rebels that had been on and off for 30 years.

The two sides separately declared ceasefires in August, and the informal arrangement largely held as they continued discussions in Rome last month.

The communists terminated their self-declared truce after accusing the government of failing to release all political prisoners and encroaching on rebel-held areas.

Duterte replied by scuttling the peace talks and declaring an all out war against the communist rebels.

During his visit to Camp Teodulfo Bautista in Jolo, Sulu last Friday, Duterte reminded the troops to “expect an ambush anytime” from the rebels.

“Do not just leave your camps to stroll around,” Duterte told the troops.

“We have a resurgence of assassinations, Sparrows … many soldiers have died. Expect an ambush anytime,” Duterte said, referring to the notorious special partisan unit of NPA hit men.
The President advised soldiers to go out in groups and avoid being complacent about their safety.

NDF/NDF-Rizal: Dalawang Katutubong Dumagat patay sa All-Out War ng Rehimeng Duterte

NDF-Rizal propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Mar 3): Dalawang Katutubong Dumagat patay sa All-Out War ng Rehimeng Duterte (Two Indigenous Dumagat dead in All-Out War of the Duterte Regime)

Katarungan para kay Edwin Agnote at iba pang biktima ng Oplan Kapayapaan ng Rehimeng Duterte

Arman”Ka. Arms” Guerrero
NDFP-Province of Rizal
Marso 3, 2017

Muli na namang pininsala ng “All Out War” ng Rehimeng Rodrigo Duterte ang ordinaryong mamamayan. Dalawang katutubong Dumagat ang pinatay ng mga sundalo ng Rehimeng Duterte na kabilang sa 80th Infantry Battalion-PA. Walang awang pinagbabaril ng mga tropa ng 80th IB-PA ang 2 sibilyan na kabilang sa mga Katutubong Dumagat at Remontados kahapon, Marso 2, 2017 bandang alas 10 ng umaga.

Ang katutubong si Edwin Agnote kasama ang isa pang Dumagat ay inabot sa kanilang taniman sa Sitio Dapis, Puray, Montalban, Rizal ng mga nag-ooperasyong tropa ng 80th IB-PA. Agad silang hinuli at pinaratangang mga kasapi ng NPA. Sa kabila ng pagsasabi nila ng totoo na sila ay ordinaryong sibilyan at hindi myembro ng NPA ay binaril pa rin sila ng mga militar. Niratrat ng mga sundalong armado ng matatataas na kalibre ng baril ang katawan ni Edwin Agnote at isa pang Dumagat na kasama niya. Matapos patayin ay naglabas ng pahayag ang 2nd ID-PA sa pamamagitan ng Public Information Officer nito na si Army Captain Xy-son Meneses na sina Edwin Agnote na tinawag nilang “Ka. Egay” ay mga tagasuporta ng NPA at NPA din ang pumatay sa kanila. Malinaw sa mga sundalo na sibilyan si Edwin Agnote pero pinatay pa rin nila at para pagtakpan ang kanilang krimen ay ibinintang sa NPA ang pagpatay para pasamain ang imahe ng NPA sa mata ng publiko at mamamayan.

Subalit malinaw pa sa sikat ng araw ang katotohanan na mga sibilyan ang kanilang pinatay. Hindi maitatago ng kanilang mga nilubid na pahayag ang katotohanan. Tinatawagan namin ang mga myembro ng “press” at “mass media” alamin ang katotohanan batay sa tunay na pangyayari. Inaanyayahan namin kayo na pumunta sa Puray, Montalban para magsiyasat at alamin sa mga residente ang tunay na nangyari. Maari silang magsimula sa pagtatanong sa mga opisyal ng barangay sa nasabing lugar.

Nananawagan din kami sa mga nagmamahal sa kapayapaan at katarungan sa bayan ng Montalban at sa lalawigan ng Rizal na kondenahin ang atake sa mga katutubong Dumagat at Remontado at mga “extra-judicial killing” na bumibiktima sa mga Katutubo at ordnaryong sibilyan. Dapat na palayasin ang mga berdugong tropa ng 80th IB-PA sa Lalawigan ng Rizal at ipatigil ang “All Out War” ng Rehimeng Duterte dahil ang tunay na pinipinsala nito ay ang mga Katutubo at mga ordinaryong mamamayan na pangunahing nakatira sa mamamayan.





NDF/NDF-FSMR: NDF-Far South Mindanao: Kaugnay sa Pagpapalaya sa mga Bihag ng Digmaan

NDF Far South Mindanao Region propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Mar 1): NDF-Far South Mindanao: Kaugnay sa Pagpapalaya sa mga Bihag ng Digmaan  (NDF-Far South Mindanao: Related to the Release of the Prisoners of War)

Marso 1, 2017

Pahayag ng National Democratic Front – Far South Mindanao Region (NDF-FSMR) Kaugnay sa Pagpapalaya sa mga Bihag ng Digmaan

Ang lahat ng yunit komand ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) sa Far South Mindanao Region (FSMR) sa patnubay ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas (PKP) ay mahigpit na tumatalima sa batas ng digmaan sa pandaigdigang saklaw alinsunod sa itinatadhana ng Geneva Conventions at ng Protocol I nito.

Sa mga karanasan ng pagdakip sa mga bihag ng digma, seryosong ipinatutupad ng BHB ang wastong pangangalaga sa sinumang opisyal at tauhan ng armadong pwersa ng Gobyerno ng Republika ng Plipinas (GRP) na kalahok sa digmaang sibil. Gayundin, taimtim na sinusunod ng NDFP ang mga kasunduang nilagdaan nito buhat pa nang simulan ang Usapang Pangkapayaapan sa panahon ng Rehimeng US-Corazon Aquino. Itinataguyod din ng buong rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang Paggalang sa Karapatang Pantao at Internasyunal na Makataong Batas o CARHRIHL na nagbigay daan sa pagpapalaya sa ilang daang bihag-ng-digma o Prisoners of War (POW) na nasa maayos na kalagayan.

Kaalinsabay ng deklarasyon ng Gobyernong Duterte ng All Out War laban sa PKP-BHB-NDFP ay ang muling pagkapinid ng Usapang Pangkapayapaan. Ngunit, hindi lingid sa kaalaman ng lahat na kahit hindi ito tahasang dinedeklara, nangyayari na sa kanayunan at maging sa mga progresibong pwersa at mga ordinaryong sibilyan na nasa kalunsuran ang matitinding psychological warfare, harassment at pagpatay.

Umigting ang opensiba ng AFP at PNP matapos ang pahayag ni Duterte sa layuning magapi ang papalakas na pagkakaisa ng mamamayan na lumalaban sa mga ugat ng suliranin ng lipunan.

Gayunpaman, patuloy ang pagsusumikap ng buong rebolusyonaryong pwersa na ipatupad ang mga napagkasunduan sa pagitan ng reaksyunaryong gobyerno at manawagan ng sinseridad sa bahagi nila, lalu na’t lumalawak ang panawagan ng mga mamamayan at mga kaanak at pamilya nina POW Solaiman G. Calocop at POW Samuel C. Garay, Jr. na nasa pangangalaga ng custodial unit ng Mt. Alip Sub-regional Operations Command ng FSMR. Batid ng Partido ang pighating nararamdaman ng mga mahal sa buhay ng mga POW sa ilang linggong pagkawalay sa mga ito.

Sa ganitong kalagayan, nakahanda ang NDF-FSMR na tumugon sa panawagang pabilisin ang pagpapalaya sa mga bihag bilang pagdinig sa mga kahilingan at panawagang ito. Naiparating na rin ng NDF-FSMR ang mga nilalaman at kaugnay na panawagan nito sa mga indibidwal, organisasyon, taong-simbahan at iba pa na umaaktong Local Third Party Facilitators.

Ngunit hindi ito mangyayari hanggat nananatili ang presensya at operasyong militar sa mga eryang saklaw ng NPA-FSMR sa mga probinsya ng Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental at South Cotabato. Ang presensya ng mga ahente ng estado ay laging nagreresulta sa kaguluhan at paglabag sa karapatang pantao.

Nitong Pebrero lamang, walang habas na nambomba at namaril sa mga komunidad ang mga nag-oopereyt na sundalo sa ilalim ng 73rd IB sa Brgy. Datal Anggas, Alabel, Sarangani Province. Binalot ng matinding takot at ligalig ang mga mamamayan na humantong sa maramihang paglikas mula sa kanilang komunidad. Apektado ang mahigit dalawang daang (200) kabahayan kalakip na nito ang mga komunidad sa boundary ng Davao Occidental. Walong (8) sibilyan ang dinakip at pinaratangang mga kasapi ng BHB, at magpahanggang ngayon ay nananatili ang ganitong kalakaran sa nasabing lugar.

Dagdag pa rito, kumikilos at nag-oopereyt din ang mga pwersa ng 27th IB sa mga erya ng Sarangani at South Cotabato, habang ang 39th IB ay may presensya sa Sultan Kudarat at Davao del Sur.

Hangga’t pinatitindi ng AFP ang kanilang mga operasyong militar, hindi maaring ipaubaya na lamang ng BHB ang kaligtasan at kapakanan nina POW Calocop at POW Garay sa kamay mismo ng organisasyong kanilang kinabibilangan.

Nasa mga kamay ngayon ng GRP ang kalayaan ng dalawang bihag ng digmaan na nasa kostudiya ng FSMR.

Ka Efren Aksasato

NDF/NPA-Panay: Exact Justice, get the 61stIB pay its crimes against the people!

NPA propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Feb 28): Exact Justice, get the 61stIB pay its crimes against the people! 

February 28, 2017

The Coronacion Chiva “Waling-Waling” Command of NPA Panay Region strongly condemns the shooting and the slaughter of two farmers by 61stIB/PA scout platoon troopers in Sitio Maknoy, Brgy. Jebaca, Maayon, Capiz last February 24. Killed were Lorendo Borres and Ian Borres, while Andy Borres, Alimar Borres, and Perto Cargo had survived. They are all residents of the said village. Ian’s body was riddled with 32 gunshot wounds, what a brutal killing indeed.

Instead of getting his men take the responsibilities of the crime, Col. Leonardo Peña, 61stIB/PA Commanding Officer shamelessly boasted that the killed farmers were NPA members, despite the fact the families and friends of the victims owned them as civilians, and they are now seeking for justice.

Lately, the AFP has intensified civilian killings on their military operations not only in Panay but across the country sowing terror among the people especially in the countryside. There have been 15 victims on the record for the month of February 2017. True to their nature as anti-people, they concocted lies on the victims as NPA members, planting in them weapons or explosives and show the mass media their “achievements” as what they did in Capiz.

Currently, the 301st Brigade launches psywar operations in more than 45 villages of Panay where army troops are staying. They combine combat operations, terror campaigns and trying to deceive the people.

The recent ruthless killing of two civilians in Brgy. Jebaca shows the 61stIB as butcher and fascist as it boasted itself as “Hunter Battalion”. A week before the incident, another unit from the 61st IB wantonly fired their weapons in Brgy. Cabatangan, Lambunao. The civilians got terrified and evacuated themselves out of the barrio proper. These crimes add up to their long lists of grave violations of human rights and international laws of war. This also shows the blatant lies of the AFP on their “Oplan Kapayapaan” that is no different with the Oplan Bayanihan.

The Coronacion Chiva “Waling-Waling” Command extends deep sympathy and joins in grief with the victims’ families, relatives and friends. Don’t let fears consume us, but instead we should be brave and steadfast enough in seeking for justice.

We call on the people to take courage in exposing the whole truth of the incident and other abuses of the 61stIB and AFP and confer with human rights organizations. We should stand up united in our efforts and demands to exact justice for the victims, and get the criminals pay their crimes at a high price.

The NPA being the real army of the masses, will continue to discharge their duties and render revolutionary justice for the victims of fascism and protect the well-being of the masses against the abusive AFP-PNP and other oppressive state apparatuses. But we can only attain social justice through advancing our people’s war until victory.

Justice for the victims of military violence!

Julian Paisano
Political Department
Coronacion Chiva Waling-Waling Command
NPA-Panay Region

MILF: BIAF holds Orientation on Ceasefire Agreement

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Mar 5): BIAF holds Orientation on Ceasefire Agreement

Sheikh Abdulfataq Delna with the BIAF National Guard and 109th Base Command has been embarking on advocacy program in their area of jurisdiction with the holding recently of an Orientations on Ceasefire Agreements with the Theme “Winning Just and Dignified Peace Through CAB Implementation” held at Markaj Dawah Al Islamia Darussalam,  Sisiman, Lutayan ,Sultan Kudarat  last March 1 , 2017.

ShiekAbdulfatah Delna welcome the guests and reminded more than 200 BIAF Officers and Field Commanders in attendance  to gain learnings on the ceasefire agreement, adhere and respect it, and be a model and disciplined Mujahedeen that can contribute to the success of the GPH-MILF Peace Process.

Sheikh HussainAbdulwahab, MILF CCCH Member, IMT  Team Site was the main resource speaker who reminded the participants that maximum observance of discipline and following religiously  the  ceasefire  agreement is the responsibility of the BIAF.

He stressed that every BIAF member must religiously follow the agreement and to avoid violating it to show commitment as Mujahedeen and Bangsamoro Muslim.

Sheikh Nasrudin Musa, explained the Islamic Aquidah . He stressed that cooperation, understanding and strong unity of Bangsamoro Mujahedeen is the key to their success in achieving the ultimate goal of peace and development in the Bangsamoro Region.

Professor Esmael A. Abdula, Executive Director of Kalilintad Peacebuilding Institute Inc. and BLMI Steering Committee member explained the stages of the Bangsamoro Struggle for Right to Self Determination, and the gains of the GPH-MILF Peace Process.

Abdula narrated the Bangsamoro armed struggle from 1968-1997 and cited the bloody war during Martial Law, the Estrada – All-out war of April 2000 &  Gloria Arroyo– All-out war  of February 11, 2004 and the 2008 offensive launched by Comdr. Bravo and the late AleemAmeril Umbra at the aftermath of Supreme Court’s junking of the MOA-AD.

Abdula also mentioned the signed agreements, particularly the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamaoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), signed on March 27, 2014 that recognized the legitimacy of the cause of the Bangsamoro people in Southern Philippines and provided for the creation of a Bangsamoro new political entity.

Abdula also mentioned the “Continuity and Ways Forward of GPH-MILF Peace Process under the New Administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Other speakers were Shiekh Norodin Calimbol, ,Shiek Moctar Guiamalon and other prominent BIAF officers.

Couple who donated land for lumad school murdered - SOS Network

From InterAksyon (Mar 3): Couple who donated land for lumad school murdered - SOS Network

Members of the SOS Network stage a picket to protest the forced closure of lumad schools due to militarization of indigenous people's communities. (file photo)

A couple who donated land to host a school for indigenous children in Compostela town, Compostela Valley province were murdered in their home Thursday night, March 2, the Save Our Schools Network reported.

In an alert, SOS said Ramon Dagaas Pesadilla, 59, and his wife Leonela, 55, both members of the Compostela Farmers Association, were shot dead by unidentified gunmen in their home at the Gawad Kalinga Housing Project in Barangay Osmena around 9 p.m. Thursday.

Neighbors of the couple said the killers forcibly entered the house and then opened fire.

The Pesdaillas had donated some land for the lumad school Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center at Spur Dos, Barangay Ngan in Compostela, SOS said.

Human rights groups have reported an upward trend in human rights violations against indigenous people ever since fighting resumed between communist rebels and government forces following the termination of both parties' unilateral ceasefires early last month.

In Mindanao, many lumad communities have been caught in a recurring cycle of human rights violations and displacement because they are suspected of supporting the rebels or are staunchly opposed to the entry of extractive industries such as mining and commercial logging and plantations within their ancestral lands.

Communities that host lumad schools have been especially targeted by state security forces who openly accuse the educational institutions of fomenting sympathy for the communist revoltuoary movement.

Among the more recent incidents, according to human rights group Karapatan, was the arrest last month of seven farmers from the Kaolo tribe in Sitio Tangis, Barangay Datal Anggas in Alabel town, Sarangani.

Karapatan said the farmers were picked up from their homes by troops of the Army's 73rd Infantry Battalion, who accused them of being New People's Army members, on February 12, a day after a reported clash with communist rebels near their village.

Detained at the Alabel police jail, the farmers were charged before the local prosecutor's office for furstrated murder and illegal possession of firearms only on February 15.

And in Maddela town, Quirino, Karapatan said a fact-finding mission documented the forced displacement of 691 persons from at least three villages after the deployment of troops from the 86th Infantry Battalion on February 18.

PREEMPTED | Military presence totters human rights fact-finding in Montalban

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 5): PREEMPTED | Military presence totters human rights fact-finding in Montalban

Reports reaching Manila indicated that a "quick reaction mission" of 75 individuals, led by staff from the Southern Tagalog branch of the human rights alliance Karapatan and dispatched to Barangay Puray, in the town of Rodriguez, Rizal was unable to accomplish its objective due to the reported preemptive presence of military elements in the area.

According to an advisory issued by Karapatan, the team was on foot, starting off at 11 a.m. of March 3, 2017.

It was organized to look into initial reports that two Dumagat farmers were killed in the course of military operations on March 2 involving elements of the Philippine Army 2nd Infantry Division near Barangay Puray.

As the team made its way into the afternoon, they received reports of continuing military presence nearby.

According to Karapatan Southern Tagalog, the QRM team received information that soldiers were poised to confront them at Sitio Dapis. The buzz from the community was that they should reconsider pushing on due to the military presence in the area and along the QRM's route.

The team decided to seek refuge in a school house at Sitio Quinaw, Brgy. Puray for the night.

The party reported feeling alarmed throughout the night, as they observed military presence around the school, hearing footsteps and seeing light teams being flashed in the areas surrounding the school and community. They couldn't report by mobile phone as signal was weak in the area, the Karapatan advisory related.

In the morning of March 4, the team was advised by barangay officials and residents to discontinue their trip to Sitio Dapis, as the soldiers were waiting for them there.

"They, instead, documented reports and narratives from residents at nearby Sitio Quinaw, and started their trek back to Montalban town proper, gravely considering the safety of those in the QRM."

On their way back, soldiers reportedly "continued to hover around their path, as residents in the area have continuously reported to them."

"The QRM members were able to reestablish contact with Karapatan regional and national offices by 9 p.m. of March 4. All 75 members of mission are safe and accounted for."

Karapatan staff from its Southern Tagalog and Rizal chapters intend to continue looking into reports of apparent human rights violations in line with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) counter-insurgency program, Oplan Kapayapaan.

Philippines, Japan conclude 3rd Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue

From the Philippine Information Agency (Mar 5): Philippines, Japan conclude 3rd Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue


The Philippines and Japan successfully concluded the 3rd Vice-Ministerial Strategic Dialogue (VMSD) on 01 March 2017 at the DFA Headquarters in Pasay City.

Undersecretary for Policy Enrique A. Manalo, head of the Philippine delegation, welcomed Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Takeo Akiba and the delegation from Japan. The two sides had a fruitful and constructive discussion on matters of mutual interest, with particular emphasis on this year’s chairmanship of ASEAN by the Philippines and Japan’s support for proposed joint commemorative activities in celebration of ASEAN’s 50th Anniversary. Both sides discussed progress on their economic cooperation after the successful visits of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to Japan in October 2016 and of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to the Philippines in January 2017.

Both sides discussed regional developments, including regional peace and stability, and developments in the South China Sea, East China Sea, and the Korean Peninsula. They also exchanged views on US policy towards the Asia-Pacific region.

The Philippines and Japan continue to enjoy a Strengthened Strategic Partnership since the agreement on September 2011 was upgraded in June 2015.

The 4th VMSD will be hosted by Japan in Tokyo.

20 ASG bandits killed in 2-week intense military operations in Sulu, Basilan

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 5): 20 ASG bandits killed in 2-week intense military operations in Sulu, Basilan

Relentless military operations against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the island provinces of Sulu and Basilan have so far killed 20 bandits, the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) here said on Sunday.

On Saturday, the military reported that 16 Abu Sayyaf members have been killed, while four were apprehended in the span of two weeks. The bandits’ death toll increased to 20 on Sunday, following a pre-dawn operation that resulted in the killings of four more bandits.

“These successes would not be possible if not for the swift reaction of the troops and the help of the informants,” Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, said in a statement on Sunday.

“Our troops are more than motivated to go after these bandits who know nothing but to victimize innocent civilians for their own personal gain,” Galvez added, who oversee the operations of military against terror groups in the entire Western Mindanao and Central Mindanao.

Col. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of the Joint Task Force Sulu, said Sunday’s operation was carried our upon a tipped off from civilians, who informed them of the presence of the Abu Sayyaf bandits in Talipao.

“Heavy firefight erupted shortly after the marines arrived in the area about 4:30 this morning. The Abu Sayyaf bandits immediately scampered to different directions when the fighting started and immediately fled the area of encounter,” Sobejana said.

Troops recovered the bodies of the four slain Abu Sayayaf members, and recovered seven high-powered firearms.

“As of press time, skirmishes are still ongoing with the marines on hot pursuit operation to the fleeing Abus,” Sobejana said.

On Friday, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte visited Jolo to show its support to the ongoing military operations and boost the morale of its troops.

The president gave medals to the 18 wounded military personnel inside a military hospital.

“The awarding and the personal visit of the President to our wounded soldiers motivated them more to fight these bandits,” Galvez said.

Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, Westmincom information officer, said there is a possibility that the numbers of the slain Abu Sayyaf bandits could rise further as the military continue its operations in the two island provinces.

Galvez said the military intensified its operations against Abu Sayyaf bandits following the beheading of Juergen Gustav Kantner on February 26.

Kantner is a German national, who was kidnapped by the bandits at the high seas of Sulu on November.

Kantner remains were found by the raiding troops in Sulu on Saturday.

At present, there are still a handful of kidnapped victims, including foreigners who were brought in Sulu, military officials said.

However, despite the intensified military operations, kidnaping activities still persists following the abductions of a couple that are into coconut farming in a remote coastal village of Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte.

Zamboanga Peninsula’s regional police reported that unidentified armed groups abducted the victims as Jose Duterte, 62, a coconut farmer and his wife Jessica Barazon Duterte, 52, residents of Barangay Sta. Maria, Siocon town.
The couple is not related to President Duterte, police clarified.

Prevailing pattern shows that the kidnappers abducts their victims in some parts of Western Mindanao and turned it over to the Abu Sayyaf in the island provinces of Basilan and Sulu, security officials have noted.

Although most of its founding leaders have already been killed, a new emerging generation has emerged -- an indicator that Abu-Sayyaf group has still an influenced over their areas.

Kidnapping and abduction activities are not uncommon in southwestern Mindanao area, where Abu-Sayyaf Group and other kidnapped-for-ransom gangs actively operate despite the heavy presence of security forces.