Saturday, March 11, 2017

Binay makes rare public appearance at PNPA homecoming

From Rappler (Mar 12): Binay makes rare public appearance at PNPA homecoming

Politicians, businessmen, and even athletes join alumni of the PNPA during their homecoming    

CAVITE, Philippines – He showed up just in time for the traditional parade of his "adopted" class of 1987 at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) grounds here, and refused to be baited into commenting on current affairs.

Former vice president and defeated presidential bet Jejomar Binay joined senators and other public officials on Saturday, March 11, at the PNPA homecoming in Camp General Mariano Castañeda in Silang town.

Binay, an adopted member of the PNPA Class of 1987, tried his best to keep a low profile. “Paalam lang ako sa mga bro ko (I just need to talk to my classmates),” said the former vice president, who lost his 2016 presidential bid.

He refused to answer a reporter’s question about his assessment of the war on drugs of the man who defeated him, President Rodrigo Duterte.

Binay has been a fixture in the PNPA alumni homecoming, even serving as guest and honor and speaker several times while he was the sitting vice president.

His daughter, Senator Nancy Binay, also joined her adoptive class, the Class of 2005, during the parade.

The younger Binay isn’t the only senator in the class. Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, the ruling party PDP-Laban’s president, is also an "adopted" classmate of the “Marangal” Class of 2005.

Boxing legend Senator Manny Pacquiao also attended the alumni homecoming with his adoptive class, the “Patnubay” Class of 1995. Other adopted alumni of various classes included businessmen and even professional basketball player Alex Crisano.

The practice of “adopting” politicians happens both in the PNPA and the Philippine Military Academy (PMA).

PNPA graduates enter the government bureaucracy as Inspectors of the Philippine National Police, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, or the Bureau of Fire Protection. The PMA, meanwhile, is where most commissioned officers of the military are from.

Classes typically make a collective decision on whether or not to adopt a certain personality into their class.

PMA's woman topnotcher ran slowly, but took big strides

From Rappler (Mar 12): PMA's woman topnotcher ran slowly, but took big strides

Future navy officer Rovi Martinez also gets a lot of help from fellow women at the male-dominated military school

"At first I was weak," Rovi Martinez, valedictorian of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Salaknib Class of 2017, said, recalling her first months in the military school that did not accept women until 1993. She's only the second woman cadet to top a PMA class.

"I didn't meet the standards. I always failed when it came to running and sit-ups. I almost failed in everything physical in my first two months," Martinez, 23, told Rappler in an interview here on the eve of graduation day, when she is set to receive the presidential saber from President Rodrigo Duterte.

The PMA is an everyday test of the physical, mental, and emotional state of cadets, preparing them to become the top officers of the military. Women don't get a pass. They're all subjected to the same rigorous physical tests and exercises.

Martinez' rise to the top is a story of fate, determination, and overcoming personal weaknesses. It took a lot of help, too, especially from fellow women.

The class produced 8 women topnotchers, a feat that, Martinez said, their male mistahs also celebrate. "The accomplishment of one is the accomplishment of the entire class. Our male classmates are all very happy for us," Martinez said.

A moment of weakness

It was an everyday struggle for Martinez. "It was so hard, I just want the day to end, and the other day to come again. Eventually, I got used to it. I just wanted to finish and to graduate from the academy. I never aimed to be the Number 1. I just do my best in everything that I do in the academy," she said.

The transition period from civilian to military life is always difficult for cadets like Martinez who didn't exercise outside the academy. She remembered suffering stomach aches that she feared was appendicitis because there was no time to rest after meals.

They faced all these while upperclassmen would try to break them and have them quit, part of the mental challenges that cadets are regularly subjected to, to test their determination.

One day, Martinez did break and told her squad leader, "Sir, yes sir. I'll quit, sir." The surprised upperclassman let her have a heart-to-heart talk with her fellow female cadets, who reminded her of why she entered the PMA.

The PMA was her father's frustrated dream.

Mariel Martinez, a barangay councilor in Cabanatuan City, tried but failed to join the military and the police. "My father told me stories about his frustrations....He just said, 'Maybe hindi talaga ako para doon (I'm not cut out for the military).' Nagkaroon ako ng idea (I got an idea) when I was child. I thought I wanted to become one," Martinez said.

At that moment of weakness, Rovi thought the military wasn't written in her stars as well.

Her father's dream

It's a childhood dream she gave up when she enrolled at the Araullo University to take up accountancy. She was, in fact, doing well as presidential scholar. But fate wouldn't have her give up on the PMA.

She was on her 3rd year when she saw posters calling on Araullo students to take the entrance exam to the PMA. She finally did and changed her course.

The reminder uplifted her morale and strengthened her resolve to overcome the challenges. She stayed on and learned how to survive in the academy – juggling her time among academic requirements, physical exercises, and personal relaxation.

Her squad leader also joined her runs on the Borromeo Field. "I remember I was told: It's better to be slow, but you have the big strides, than to be fast because it would make you feel fatigued. I just practiced and practiced, and eventually I got used to the physical activites here," she said.

Joining the navy

Martinez will be joining the Philippine Navy. "Masaya ako sa Navy ako napunta. Para kaming small AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines). Mayroon kaming army sa Marines. Kung gusto mong maging pilot, mayroong Naval Air Group. Kung gusto mong maging kapitan ng barko, mayroon kaming vessels," Martinez said.

(I'm happy to be joining the Philippine Navy. We're like a small AFP. We have the equivalent of the army – the Marines. If you want to become a pilot, we have the Naval Air Group. If you want to become the captain of a ship, we have vessels.)

As topnotcher of the navy class, Martinez will also get a scholarship at the US Naval War College.

What future does she imagine for herself in the navy? Martinez said she'll take it slow like she did in the academy, but will make sure to take long strides.

"Naniniwala po ako (I believe) that I should live one day at a time and take one step at a time. I will do my best as junior officer of the Philippine Navy," she said.

She hopes to command a navy vessel and perhaps become the Flag Officer in Command (FOIC), the top post at the Philippine Navy. Or become the AFP chief of staff, the highest post in the military.

PH, NDF agree to resume formal peace talks

From Rappler (Mar 12): PH, NDF agree to resume formal peace talks

(UPDATED) The two parties also agree to reinstate unilateral ceasefire declarations within a month and extend the bail of the NDF consultants released last year

TALKS RESUME. Key negotiators fly to Utrecht to forge an agreement to resume peace talks. Photo courtesy of NDF

TALKS RESUME. Key negotiators fly to Utrecht to forge an agreement to resume peace talks. Photo courtesy of NDF

(3rd UPDATE) – Negotiators of the Philippine government and the communist National Democratic Front (NDF) were all smiles after they successfully forged an agreement to return to the formal negotiating table about a month after President Rodrigo Duterte scrapped the talks.

"The Parties shall continue the formal peace talks and reiterate their reaffirmation of all bilateral agreements and statements made in the GRP-NDFP peace negotations," read the joint statement signed Saturday afternoon, March 11, in Utrecht, The Netherlands (Saturday evening in Manila) after holding informal talks there.

The joint statement was signed by negotiators Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Hernani Braganza on the part of the government and Fidel Agcaoili and Benito Tiamzon on the part of the NDF. Chief presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza and NDF chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison are also among the signatories.
The backchannel talks were facilitated by Norway, the third party facilitator of the talks, and were held Friday and Saturday (March 10 and 11).

Reinstate ceasefire, bail
The two camps also committed to reinstate unilateral ceasefire declarations within a month or before the 4th round of talks scheduled in the first week of April. This arrangement should hold pending the signing of a more stable joint ceasefire deal that will put in place rules for the military and the communists' armed wing New People's Army (NPA).

The bail of all the NDF consultants released last year will be reinstated and extended while those who were re-arrested will be released again.

The government also made commitments to release 4 other NDF consultants who remain in detention and up to 19 other prisoners based on humanitarian and other grounds. These should also happen before the 4th round of talks.

The list and pictures of CPP personalities who will enjoy immunity from arrest – under the Joint Agremeent on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) – will also be deposited next week. This was supposed to happen late in February before the talks collapsed.

Persuaded by congressmen

President Rodrigo Duterte revealed the backchannel talks earlier this week.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana also revealed later that Dureza and at least 3 NDF consultants were allowed to depart for Europe. They are Benito Tiamzon, wife Wilma, and Vicente Ladlad.

Duterte scrapped the talks in February after the communist armed wing New People's Army (NPA) withdrew from the 5-month-old ceasefire with the military.

Lorenzana said Duterte was persuaded to entertain the resumption of talks after about 100 members of the House of Representatives signed a resolution to push through with it.

But Lorenzana said government set conditions for the talks to resume. Aside from signing a bilateral ceasefire deal, the rebels are also expected to stop the collection of revolutionary taxes and release prisoners that include soldiers.

The joint statement made no mention of the two other conditions.

"President Duterte himself closely monitored the efforts taken by the negotiators while in Utrecht in the Netherlands in bringing about an early breakthrough in the talks," Dureza later said in a separate statement.

DOCUMENT: PH, NDF joint statement after Utrecht backchannel talks

From Rappler (Mar 12): DOCUMENT: PH, NDF joint statement after Utrecht backchannel talks

The Philippines government and communist rebels agree to resume formal talks. Here's a copy of the joint statement.

TALKS RESUME. Key negotiators fly to Utrecht to forge an agreement to resume peace talks. Photo courtesy of NDF

TALKS RESUME. Key negotiators fly to Utrecht to forge an agreement to resume peace talks. Photo courtesy of NDF

Negotiators of the Philippine government and the communist National Democratic Front (NDF) agreed to resume formal peace talks after holding backchannel talks in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Here's the joint statement signed on Saturday, March 11.

Ex-housemaid builds her dreams in the PMA, joins Navy

From Rappler (Mar 12): Ex-housemaid builds her dreams in the PMA, joins Navy
Graduating PMA cadet Meriam Libongcogon remembers taking a job to become a housemaid hoping that she could juggle work and college education. She entered PMA when that didn't work out.

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Her relatives didn't want her to become a soldier because it's too dangerous a profession. But Meriam Libongcogon, who was forced to become a housemaid at a young age to help her family, saw it as an opportunity to improve their lives.

Growing up in Cebu, she did not know about the opportunities at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) in Baguio City. The military school does not only offer college education for free, it also gives monthly allowances that cadets coming from poor families usually send back home.

"Ayaw po ng mama ko noong una kasi natakot siya kasi military. Pero nagpursige po ako. Hindi ako nakinig sa kanila. Marami po silang umayaw, pati po mga mga tiyahin ko at tiyuhin. Hindi po ako nakinig kasi alam ko pong opportunity ko na po 'yun," Libongcogon told reporters.

(My mom didn't want it for me at first because was afraid of what joining the military entails. But I persevered. I didn't listen to them. A lot of my relatives opposed my decision. But I didn't listen because I knew it was an opportunity I couldn't pass up.)

On Sunday morning, March 12, she will graduate alongwith her mistahs in the PMA Salaknib Class of 2017.

She recalled the time she reached Baguio City for the first time in 2013. Her only worry then was making sure she didn't get lost here. She began building her dreams and never once entertained quitting PMA despite the challenges, she said.

The school regularly tests cadets for their mental, physical and emotional skills to prepare them to become the country's top military officers.

A valedictorian when she graduated elementary school and a scholar in high school, Libongcogon was forced to take jobs at a young age to help support her family.

She took a job to become a housemaid in Cebu hoping that she could juggle work and college education. But taking care of her bosses' children took so much of her time. It didn't work out.

Luckily she met a PMA instructor visiting Cebu who encouraged her to take the exam in 2012. She worked as housemaid for the PMA instructor in Baguio City while waiting for the results of the entrance exams. When she made the cut, her life changed forever.

"Ang paghihirap hindi sagabal para matupad ang mga pangarap. Mag-persevere ka lang (Poverty doesn't not prevent us from fulfilling our dreams. We only need to persevere)," she said.

Libongcogon sees her dreams coming true. As she joins the Philippine Navy, she's looking forward to being able to build a house for her family in Cebu.

Duterte offers PTV-4 airtime to rebels, protesters

From CNN Philippines (Mar 12): Duterte offers PTV-4 airtime to rebels, protesters

President Rodrigo Duterte said Saturday that he wants the State-owned PTV-4 television network to be a space where people can express their grievances.

In a speech at the inauguration of the PTV-4 Cordillera Hub in Baguio City, Duterte said he would ask the network's management to offer airtime to everyone from ordinary protesters to the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

"There's no need for you to demonstrate and snarl traffic along the way because I urge you to come here, explain to the management, and (if) you have a valid grievance or reason, we will give (you) the time," he said.

"Mga [To the members of the] NPA, we'll give you the space. Sa mga Cordillera guys, welcome kayo [To the rebels in Cordillera, you are welcome]," he added. "No need to fight. Use it. It's the people's money and the people would gladly hear you."

Duterte said early this month that he was willing reopen peace talks with the communist rebels.

This comes after he had lifted last month a ceasefire with them, saying that the CPP's demand to release some 400 political prisoners was too much.

Duterte also opened the channel to Muslim rebels, which the government is working with to resolve rampant and long-running violence in Mindanao.

"If you think that you have to communicate to the whole of the Philippines what you are aspiring for, we understand that," Duterte said. "You have been deprived of your lands, we understand that. There has been historical injustice, we understand that."

Duterte also said the network could be used by government officials to respond to accusations hurled against them.

"If you are about to be criticized or (are) being criticized or have been criticized and you want to answer, I said a fair chance, the right to be heard. Remember that," he said.
PTV-4 not for personal use

The President said he does not intend to use PTV-4 as a public-relations agency, emphasizing that he wants to grant the government-owned network much leeway.

"There will never be a time that I will use PTV-4 or its allied services for my personal (affairs)," he said. "'Di ko na kailangan [I don't need it]. Just tell the people about me."

"I am ready to grant all government communication facilities the degree of freedom," he added.

"Bitawan namin kayo [We'll let you go] and act just like a private (network). Your template is really (the) BBC."

GRP-NDFP peace talks to resume in April

From the pro-CPP/NDF online propaganda publication Bulatlat (Mar 12): GRP-NDFP peace talks to resume in April

(BULATLAT FILE PHOTO)  Members of the GRP and NDFP panels resumed formal talks in Oslo, Norway, Aug. 22 (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva)

(BULATLAT FILE PHOTO) Members of the GRP and NDFP panels resumed formal talks in Oslo, Norway, Aug. 22 (Photo by Raymund B. Villanueva)

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) have agreed to continue the formal peace talks in a joint statement they issued Mar. 11 (at dawn, Mar. 12 Philippine time) in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

The two parties held informal talks on Mar. 10 to 11, with the Royal Norwegian Government acting as host and third party facilitator.

The GRP and the NDFP have also agreed to forge an interim bilateral ceasefire, but only after issues and concerns raised by both parties during their six-month unilateral ceasefire, which was terminated shortly after the third round of talks earlier this year.

In the meantime, parties agree to reinstate their unilateral ceasefire in time for the third round of formal peace talks in the first week of April.

The latest development comes amid statements by President Duterte who has been on a war footing, following the deaths of government troops in successful tactical operations by the New People’s Army (NPA).

Three days ago, Duterte reiterated an all-out war against the New People’s Army and gave the AFP marching orders to “drop bombs,” and “flatten the hills,” following the NPA ambush in Bansalan where four policemen died. The NPA, for its part, said it was a successful tactical operation against the police personnel, who retaliated with “numerous return of fire” for at least 10 minutes.

In February, the Communist Party of the Philippines terminated their unilateral ceasefire following the encroachment of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in communities in the guise of a “peace and development” operation. This was consequently followed by Duterte’s termination of the GRP’s ceasefire and declaration of an all-out war against the New People’s Army and the re-arrest of freed NDFP consultants.

Safety of freed NDFP consultants

In the joint statement, the GRP committed to release NDFP peace consultant Ariel Arbitratrio, who was arrested in Davao City, shortly after the termination of the unilateral ceasefire and ensured the safety and liberty of other NDFP peace consultants who were released from detention to participate in the peace talks, in accordance with the reactivated Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (Jasig).

Jasig provides protection from arrest, surveillance and other forms of harassment for members and consultants participating in the talks.

According to the joint statement, the GRP committed to take “necessary measures including the extension or reinstatement of their bail, as the case may be, and other legal remedies to enable their (NDFP peace consultants’) free and unhindered movement.”

The GRP also gave commitment that the four remaining detained peace consultants will be able to participate in the fourth round of talks, as well as for the release of 19 political prisoners based on humanitarian grounds. This was a reiteration of their commitment in the Rome Joint Statement dated Jan. 25.

Representatives of the GRP and the NDFP are scheduled to deposit for safekeeping the reconstituted list and pictures of Jasig holders of NDFP documents of identification on Mar. 14.

The fourth and fifth rounds of formal talks are slated in April and June, respectively.

MILF considers Piñol no longer ‘anti-Muslim’

From the Manila Times (Mar 10): MILF considers Piñol no longer ‘anti-Muslim’

SHARIFF AGUAK, Maguindanao: The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) now considers Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol as a friend of the Muslims and is no longer “anti-Muslim” as previously perceived by the Bangsamoro.

Piñol, former North Cotabato governor, entered for the first time the MILF main territory – Camp Darapanan – in Sultan Kudarat town to bring the agricultural programs of the Duterte administration.

It can be recalled Piñol was on the opposite side of the government in the peace process in Mindanao in late 2000. He used to trade barbs on air particularly over radio stations raising a different stance on the peace process and the development of Mindanao.

But now as Duterte’s agriculture secretary, he bravely stepped into the MILF camp, not to discuss disagreements over peace issues but how to improve farmers’ lives, especially among MILF families long neglected by the government.

It was Piñol who spearheaded the petition before the Supreme Court that nullified the controversial Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) in 2008 between Manila and the MILF.

Because of this stance, the MILF branded Piñol as “anti-Moro.”

But on Wednesday, MILF Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and Ghadzali Jaafar, MILF vice chair for political affairs with whom Piñol traded barbs in the past met harmoniously.

While they may have opposing views, Piñol and Jaafar used to work together in the 70s at DXCM-AM Radio in Cotabato City.

Hence, Pinol’s visit to push for President Duterte’s agriculture program removed the impression that they were “mortal enemies.”

Jaafar and Piñol hugged each other as if they did not exchange harsh words in the past.

“It’s not easy to move forward without facing our past,” Piñol said as he spoke before MILF leaders and former Moro combatants.

“The bottom line is we are here to bring government agri program to your people,” he added.

Murad said the MILF hierarchy were surprised to learn that the Department of Agriculture (DA) was to hold the graduation rites of 362 farmer beneficiaries inside the MILF identified territory.

“At first there was reluctance since many perceived Piñol to be anti-Muslim. But now, he is a friend of Muslims,” Murad said.

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Philippine Rice Institute (Philrice) have partnered with the DA to help former MILF combatants-turned farmers by providing them the training on agriculture and giving them tractors and other farm machineries.

PNP chief urges resumption of GRP-NDF peace talks

From MindaNews (Mar 11): PNP chief urges resumption of GRP-NDF peace talks

The government and the National Democratic Front must resume peace negotiations that have been stalled since early last month after both sides terminated their unilateral ceasefire declarations amid mutal accusations of bad faith, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa said Friday.

De la Rosa, 55, told reporters during the launch of the Regional Women and Children’s Protection Desk at Camp Quintin M. Merecido that he was already frustrated over the endless fighting and he wanted to see it end before he retires from service next year.

The mandatory retirement age for soldiers and police is 56.

PNP Director General Ronald Dela Rosa delivers a message on March 10, 2017 during the turnover of a shelter donated by the Rotary Club of Downtown Davao for the Women and Children’s Protection desk of Police Regional Office XI. MindaNews photo by Manman Dejeto

“Walang Pilipino na gustong pumatay ng Pilipino. Ilang years na yang peace talk, peace talk nayan, wala pa rin nangyari, sige pa rin, tuloy tuloy pa rin, but still kahit frustrated na tayo ako mag-reretire na. (No Filipino wants to kill a fellow Filipino. Peace talks have been held for years but, it seems nothing has happened. The fighting continues, but still even if we are already frustrated and I’m about to retire.) I’m still giving peace a chance,” he said.

“Kung pwede mag-usap magusap tayo para… mahirap naman ito, sige lang tayo patayan (If we can talk so that… This is difficult, we’re always fighting),” he said.

“Wag kayo gumawa ng karahasan, wag kayo manunog ng mga heavy equipment ng plantations, construction firms na hindi nagbibigay ng pera. (Do not do violence. Do not burn heavy equipment of the plantations and construction firms who do not give money),” he said.

On the intention of the NDF to release six captives being held by the NPA, Dela Rosa called it “one of the gestures of goodwill”.

“One of the acts of goodwill pero hindi lang yan ang kinakailangan natin (but that’s not the only thing we need). Commitment talaga while naga-peace talk wag kayo pumatay ng police, wag kayo pumatay ng sundalo (We need commitment. While there is peace talk, do not kill a police, do not kill a soldier),” he said.

The NDF identified the six captives as Pfc Edwin Salan, captured in Alegria, Surigao del Norte on January 29; Sgt. Solaiman Calucop and Pfc Samuel Garay, captured in Columbio, Sultan Kudarat on February 2; PO2 Jerome Natividad, captured in Talakag, Bukidnon on February 9; and two alleged paramilitary members Rene Doller and Carl Mark, both captured in Lupon, Davao Oriental on February 14.

In a statement on March 9, NDFP peace negotiating panel chair Fidel Agcaoili said the NDFP has approved their release.

“Discussions have been going on since between third party peace facilitators and the GRP Panel. The POWs should have been released as early as 2 March but arrangements on their safe and orderly release, as well as those of the third party peace facilitators, local government officials, ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) representatives and the custodial forces, have still to be worked out,” he said.

“On the Bansalan (Davao del Sur) incident, we still have to confirm if this was done by the NPA command in the area. There are peace spoilers around. And people should not forget that there is no ceasefire in place at the moment, and that AFP and PNP troops have been going into villages and violating people’s rights in their combat and intelligence operations, including murderous Tokhang operations,” Agacaoili said.

In a separate statement issued on March 10, the NPA Regional Operations Command in Southern Mindanao owned up to the ambush in Bansalan.

“The New People’s Army Regional Operations Command in Southern Mindanao commends the successful tactical offensive by a squad of Red fighters belonging to the Mt. Apo Subregional Operations Command during a 15-minute ambush, which seized four firearms and subdued a PNP unit engaged in armed operations in Brgy. Sibayan, Bansalan, Davao del Sur on March 8, 2017,” it said.

It said the NPA carried out an order “to exact revolutionary justice against Marlon Lomantas, a former AFP soldier turned active intelligence agent of the 39th IB and a known drug trader and user in Brgy. Sibayan, Bansalan.”

The slain PNP personnel were identified as PO1 Rholly Benelayo, PO1 Joey O Narvaza, PO1 Saro S Mangotara, all from Bansalan Municipal Police Staion, and PO3 Jeden Mei Rabor, a member of Scene of Crime Operatives.

Wounded in the ambush was PO3 Allen Arnado.

Dureza announces resumption of GRP-NDF peace talks; ceasefire restored

From MindaNews (Mar 12): Dureza announces resumption of GRP-NDF peace talks; ceasefire restored

The peace process between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front (NDF) is back on track, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced Sunday from Utrecht, The Netherlands, where backchannel talks were held March 10 and 11.

“I am pleased to announce that the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the Communist Party of the Philippines/ New People’s Army / National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/ NDF) which broke down weeks ago, are now back on track again,” Dureza said in a five-paragraph statement he posted on his Facebook wall.

“Almost there,” Dureza said when MindaNews checked on the progress of the backchannel talks at 11:17 p.m. Saturday in the Philippines (4:17 p.m. in Utrecht).

Dureza said the unilateral ceasefire declared by both parties last year but terminated in early February “is deemed restored and reinstated but will be made effective only as soon as the respective forces of both sides are duly informed but definitely before the next round of talks in April, 2017.”\\The GRP and NDF peace panels at the end of the third round of formal talks on January 25 had scheduled the fourth round of formal peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway on April 2 to 6.

Dureza said the restoration of the unilateral ceasefire is a “prelude to an interim bilateral ceasefire that needs further meetings between the two sides to determine and agree on rules, necessary guidelines and mechanisms.”

He said both parties are expected to “start discussions on the bilateral ceasefire” in the fourth round of talks in April.

Page 1 of the March 11 Joint Statement signed at the end of the two-day backchannel talks in Utrecht, The Netherlands, indicating the GRP-NDF peace process is back on track. Document posted by Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza

Armed clashes intensified during the month-long period without a ceasefire, leading to several deaths and injuries on both sides and displacement of civilians.

The parties had tasked at the end of the first round of formal peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway on August 26 last year, its respective ceasefire committees to “reconcile and develop their separate unilateral ceasefire orders into a single unified bilateral agreement within 60 days” from August 26.

The Joint Statement issued on March 11 said the fifth round of talks will be held in June.

Dureza said the effectivity of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) that Duterte ordered terminated “has been restored to enable the NDF consultants and their staff who were in jail or otherwise constrained, to physically surface and join in the peace work.”

The March 11 Joint Statement also said the government agreed to “release a rearrested consultant, ensure the safety and liberty of all the consultants, as well as undertake the necessary measures, including hte reinstatement of their bail, as the case may be, and other legal remedies to enable their free and unhindered movement.”

NDF consultant Ariel Arbitrario was arrested in a checkpoint in Davao City on February 6, barely 15 hours after Duterte announced in Cagayan de Oro his order to arrest NDF consultants who had earlier been freed temporarily to participate in the peace process.

It also said that the government reiterated its commitment in Rome to “ensure the participation” of four detained consultants in the fourth round of talks and thereafter” and shall also work for the release of 19 political prisoners “based on humanitarian or other grounds” on or before the April talks.

Jorge Madlos, NPA spokesperson, announced on February1 that they were lifting the unilateral ceasefire effective 11:59 p.m. on February 10. President Duterte responded by lifting the unilateral ceasefire effective February 3, following reports four soldiers were killed in Bukidnon and Davao Oriental just hours after Madlos’ announcement on February 1. Duterte on February 4 announced he would end the talks and on February 5 dubbed the CPP-NPA-NDF as a “terrorist group” and NDF chief consultant Jose Ma. Sison, his former Professor in Political Thought, a “terrorist.”

The GRP and NDF completed the third round of formal peace talks in Rome on January 19 to 25 and in a Joint Statement on January 25 announced that their ceasefire committees (CFCs) would meet “meet again during the period on February 22-27, 2017 in The Netherlands simultaneous to the opening of the bank safety deposit box account for safekeeping of the JASIG documents of identification.”

The March 11 Joint Statement said the parties had scheduled the “deposit and safekeeping” of the reconstituted list and pictures of JASIG holders of NDF documents of identification on March 14.

Dureza said Duterte “closely monitored the efforts taken by the negotiators” in Utrecht.

Page 2 of the March 11 Joint Statement signed at the end of the two-day backchannel talks in Utrecht, The Netherlands, indicating the GRP-NDF peace process is back on track. Document posted by Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza

The two-page March 11 Joint Statement was signed by government peace panel chair Silvestre Bello III and NDF peace panel chair Fidel Agcaoili, and members Hernani Braganza (GRP) and Benito Tiamzon (NDF).

The signing was witnessed by Dureza, Efren Moncupa and Francisco Lara for the  GRP;  Sison, Wilma Tiamzon and Vicente Ladlad for the NDF; and Elisabeth Slattum for the Royal Norwegian Government, the third party facilitator of the GRP-NDF talks.

3 Mindanawon women among Top 10 PMA graduates

From MindaNews (Mar 11): 3 Mindanawon women among Top 10 PMA graduates

Three Mindanawon women from Butuan City, Compostela Valley and Zamboanga City are among the Top Ten who will graduate from the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) on Sunday.

All three of them are joining the Philippine Air Force while a male cadet from Lanao del Sur, this year’s recipient of the Chief of Staff Saber, will join the Philippine Navy.

President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in Baguio City Saturday for Sunday’s graduation ceremonies.
Eight of the Top Ten in PMA’s Class Salaknib are women, led by class valedictorian Cadet First Class Rovi Mairel Valino Martinez of  Cabanatuan City.
Cadet First Class Joyzy Meneias Funchica of Butuan City, number 8. Photo courtesy of the Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera
Cadet First Class Resie Jezreel Arrocena Hucalla of Compostela Valley, number 9. Photo courtesy of Philippine Information Agency-Cordillera

Cadet First Class Catherine Mae Emeterio Gonzales of Zamboanga City , number 10. Photo courtesy of Phiilppine Information Agency-Cordillera

Muslim youth leader, Badjao top PNPA grads

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Mar 11): Muslim youth leader, Badjao top PNPA grads

Macdum Enca and Midzfar Omar. Photos from Facebook
Macdum Enca and Midzfar Omar. Photos from Facebook

Cadets from Mindanao dominated this year’s top 10 graduates of the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA).
Cadet Macdum Enca, who is leading the 144-member graduating Masidlak class, said his “passion to help” drove him to enter the police academy in Silang town in Cavite province.

In high school, the Cotabato City-raised Enca joined the nongovernmental organization United Voices for Peace Network that helps poor families in conflict areas in Mindanao.

“I kind of developed the sense and passion for helping other people,” said Enca, 22.

The fourth of six siblings, Enca is the first in the family who will join the Philippine National Police (PNP). His father, Yacobnor Enca, 59, is a civil engineer while his mother, Zainab, 60, is a public elementary school teacher.

Enca took up electronics and communications engineering at the University of Southeastern Philippines as a scholar of the Department of Science and Technology, but dropped out after a year when he learned that he passed the PNPA entrance exam in 2012.

Before joining the academy, he also became part of a one-year student exchange program of the nonprofit American Field Services Intercultural Programs in St. Louis, Missouri.

There, he said, he was able to observe foreign culture and in turn, introduce the culture of Filipino Muslims.

“Being a Muslim should never be a hindrance to our desire to help. Whether a Christian or a Muslim, it doesn’t matter to the Almighty,” he said.

Cadet Midzfar Omar, 21, the second top ranking cadet, is joining the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP).

As a child, he remembered their house by the shore in Tawi-Tawi, like those of other Badjaos known for their sea dwellings.

“When things got a little better, we eventually built a house on land,” Omar said.

His father Mohammad Nuhil, 54, works as a cashier at the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, while his mother Suaida, 46, is a housewife. He is fourth of eight children.

After graduating at the Mindanao State University Science High School, Omar said he wanted to take up medicine but he knew his family could not afford it.

He grabbed the opportunity for free college education when he qualified to the police academy.

Omar said he was driven to get a degree and was thankful to his parents for supporting him.

“Only through education that Badjaos can show that we are not inferior; that we, too, can excel,” he said.

Other top graduates are: Janace Elcid Pascua Layug (Tondo, Manila), third; Juan Paulo Alday Porciuncula (Sta. Maria, Bulacan), fourth; Harley Glenn Bacarro Galpo (Cagayan de Oro City), fifth; Sailani Bacarat Armama (Cagayan de Oro City), sixth; Michael Salendab Daunotan (Sultan Kudarat), seventh; Ian Rey Canen Diolanto (Polomolok, South Cotabato), eighth; Michael John Suniega Sentinta (Isulan, Sultan Kudarat), ninth; and Maysy Villaflor Cataquiz (Quezon), tenth.

Sans SOMO, SOPO​: ​P​eace advocates say release of NPA prisoners ‘too risky’

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Mar 11): Sans SOMO, SOPO​: ​P​eace advocates say release of NPA prisoners ‘too risky’

In this file photo, Senator Manny Pacquiao with church leaders who acted as third party facilitators wait as a member of the New People’s Army prepare the release orders of its two prisoners in August 2016. (Earl O. Condeza/
Church leaders are calling for the government troops to declare a suspension of military operations for the safe release of two soldiers held captive by the New People’s Army in North Cotabato province.

Bishop Redeemer Yanez, of the Diocese of Koronadal of the Iglesia Filipina Independent said they were engaging the local government units as third party facilitators to call for the safe and immediate release of Sergeant Solaiman Calocop and Private First Class Samuel Garay of the 39th Infantry Battalion. The two were taken as prisoners by the NPAs Mt. Alip Sub-Regional Operations Command.
Yanez said last week they handed their letter to the Army. The group called on the NPAs to release the prisoners and for the government troops to suspend military and police operations. But Yanez told Davao Today in a telephone interview that there is no response yet on their letter.

He said they are hopeful that next week, the provincial government of North Cotabato will take up the issue during their session to support the call for the temporary suspension of military.

In a statement on March 1, Ka Efren Aksasato, spokesperson of the NPA in Far South Mindanao, said they are ready to release the prisoners, however, he said this will not happen until the military maintains their presence and operates in the provinces of Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental and South Cotabato.

Yanez said without a SOMO or SOPO, their facilitation for the release of the prisoners of war is “too risky.”
“Without it, the two parties might have an armed encounter and for us, as third party facilitators, it will be risky for our security. Even the politicians who want to help out would not agree of the risk without SOMO and SOPO,” he said.

The Sowing the Seeds for Peace met last Tuesday with Governor Emmylou Taliño Mendoza and Vice Governor Shirlyn Macasarte.

Bishop Rody Juan of the United Methodist Church said the government officials pledged to “work parallel with us.”

“Next week, hopefully, by God’s grace, the two prisoners of war will be released,” he said.

Juan also appealed to the NPA not to launch offensive attacks against government troops after four police officers were killed in an ambush in Bansalan town, Davao del Sur allegedly perpetrated by the NPA.

He said the attacks could affect the level of trust and confidence on both sides.

“Nakakaapekto ito ng malaki (on the peace talks), kasi parang nawawalan ng trust (This affects greatly on the peace talks, it could affect trust),” he said.

Duterte on March 3, said he was ready to resume the peace negotiations with the Communists. He said the NPA should release all its prisoners and stop collecting revolutionary tax. The two parties are currently holding backchannel talks in a bid to resume the peace negotiations as scheduled next month.

As its gesture of support for the resumption of talks, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines announced on February 17 that they will release the six prisoners of the NPA in Mindanao.

Water Wars: Sun and Sand in the South China Sea

From Lawfare (Mar 10): Water Wars: Sun and Sand in the South China Sea

Progress on a Code of Conduct, as China’s Tourism Plans Move Forward

Paracel Tourism Edit (1 of 1).jpg

Chinese tourists pictured on a cruise to the Paracel Islands last year. (Photo: Liu Zhen via South China Morning Post)

China claimed progress on a Code of Conduct for the South China Sea this week, and the country’s bold plans to turn the Paracels into a tourist haven took steps forward.

In Beijing, Hainan provincial delegates unveiled preliminary plans to begin tourism flights to the Paracels, and a Chinese cruise ship made its maiden journey from Sanya to the island group, carrying 308 Chinese passengers. A remarkable video produced by the South China Morning Post shows passengers, who paid between $500 and $3,000 and passed a “political screening test,” taking in a South China Sea documentary and participating in a Chinese-flag-raising ceremony. Also depicted in the video are the austere conditions of Chinese civilians who are paid to occupy the islands.

The ship’s voyage is a further step toward routinizing civilian access to the islands, where cruise operator Hainan Strait Shipping says tourists “can play beach volleyball, dive, fish and take wedding photos.” China intends to maintain a continued civilian presence on the islands in order to support their legal claims and administrative dominion over the disputed island region.

In a press conference during the Fifth Session of the 12th National People's Congress, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced that a China-ASEAN joint working group successfully produced a draft Code of Conduct (COC) for the South China Sea (SCS). While the draft COC has not been made publicly available, senior officials with Chinese government-affiliated research institutes have said that it would call for a halt in the militarization of islands and require all countries to stop installing offensive weapons, but would grant leeway for countries to maintain defensive weapons.

Wang said that tensions in the SCS have significantly abated over recent months due to efforts by the working group members, and added that “if someone should try to make waves and stir trouble, they will have no support but meet the common opposition of the entire region.” He went on to praise Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte for “appropriately [handling] the South China Sea issue and actively [improving] relations with China.” Duterte, if not always others in his administration, has struck a conciliatory tone with the Chinese and downplayed the significance of maritime conflict.

Holding the chairmanship of ASEAN this year, the Philippines agreed to fast-track discussions and work towards a COC that garners the unanimous consent of all ASEAN parties. The first China-ASEAN “Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea” was signed in 2002.

In Other News… 


Just days after President Donald Trump requested a sharp increase in defense spending, China announced that it would raise its military budget by “about 7 percent,” the smallest increase in nearly a decade. The reduced rate of spending growth reflects the country’s slowing economic performance. Even so, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang proposed an increase in forces dedicated to “offshore locations,” which include islands in the East and South China Seas.

Three Chinese warships returned to port this week after a 25-day voyage during which they performed drills and traversed the South China Sea, East China Sea, and the East Indian Ocean. During this year’s National People’s Congress, retired general Liu Xiaojiang advocated a shift in focus from land to naval forces, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi appeared to take a hard line against U.S. Navy activity in the South China Sea region, saying, “China will never allow the hard-won stability [in the South China Sea] to be disrupted again.”

Finally, China this week unveiled the world’s largest offshore drilling rig, a Chinese-constructed semi-submersible vessel capable of exploring, among other remote locations, the deep waters of the energy-rich South China Sea.
United States

The Department of Defense released its fiscal year 2016 Freedom of Navigation (FON) Report this week. During that period, the United States conducted FON operations challenging the maritime claims of 22 countries, including China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam. Among the most commonly challenged practices was a requirement for prior notification of foreign military vessels transiting through a country's territorial seas.


Japan's Air Self-Defense Force scrambled fighters jets last Thursday after 13 Chinese military aircraft were spotted flying through the Miyako Strait between Japan's southern islands of Okinawa and Miyako. The Japanese Defense Ministry said the Chinese aircraft did not violate Japanese airspace. The aircraft, which included fighters, bombers and early warning aircraft, flew through the Strait in conjunction with a large Chinese naval drill in the East China Sea.


The Taiwanese navy displayed new plans for an “Amphibious Landing Helicopter Dock Ship” at an indigenous shipbuilding exhibition, the first such public presentation since the navy unexpectedly scrapped a previous plan last year. According to the listed specifications, the ship would be able to accommodate at least six large helicopters at the same time, would have a top speed of 30 knots, an actively electronically scanned array radar, and an advanced sonar system, and would be armed with an OTO Melara 76mm gun and an air defense missile system. A helicopter carrier could also potentially provide a platform for vertical take-off and landing warplanes that the Taiwanese military has considered purchasing, including Harriers, V-22 Ospreys, and the new F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter. The plan represents only the navy's vision and remains subject to government approval and funding capacity.


Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana, along with other top Philippine government officials, visited the USS Carl Vinson on Saturday, as the aircraft carrier continues its South China Sea patrols.
Separately, in remarks to the media on Thursday, Lorenzana expressed alarm over Chinese vessel activity in Benham Rise, within the Philippines exclusive economic zone and considered part of the country's continental shelf. Lorenzana said that he suspects the Chinese were conducting seabed survey missions in the area, and that he ordered the navy to drive away any Chinese vessels seen in the area in the future. He also alluded to a Chinese plan from last year to start reclamation activities in the Scarborough Shoal, which is within the Philippine EEZ but controlled by the Chinese coast guard. The United States intervened, Lorenzana said, and was able to dissuade the Chinese from crossing what would be a “red line” for both the Philippines and the United States.


A Vietnamese freighter evaded an attack by pirates near the Turtle Islands off the coast of Sabah, reaching Malaysian territorial waters where the vessel was met by forces from Malaysia's Eastern Sabah Security Command and escorted to port. The Turtle Islands are located in the Philippine province of Tawi Tawi, approximately 130 nautical miles west of where a deadly attack on a Vietnamese vessel occurred two weeks ago.


Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, in Jakarta for the Indian Ocean Rim Association summit, clarified that there is no plan to conduct joint military patrols with Indonesia in the South China Sea. Referencing comments Indonesian President Joko Widodo made last month after the two countries agreed to restore military cooperation, Bishop said Widodo was not “talking about joint exercises as such, he was talking about cooperation in maintaining freedom of overflight and freedom of navigation through the South China Sea."

Analysis, Commentary, and Additional Information

The Navy’s FY 2016 FONOP report generated a wide range of responses this week. Ankit Panda commended the Navy’s even-handed approach to challenging territorial claims in the South China Sea, but Joseph Bosco’s take on the report was darker, parsing its language to draw the conclusion that the U.S.’s operations last year actually had the effect of conceding territory to China. In Foreign Policy, Ely Ratner of the Council on Foreign Relations proposed concrete measures the Trump Administration could take to turn it’s tough but capricious rhetoric on China into action, saying, “There’s a right way to get off on the wrong foot with China.”

Forbes contributor Ralph Jennings shed light on how economic dependence on China drives Brunei’s non-confrontational approach to South China Sea disputes. In the Naval War College Review, Lyle Morris of the RAND Corporation discussed the evolving role of coast guards in both contributing to and managing SCS disputes, concluding that to reduce tension and build trust, the the countries of the region should create a multilateral coast guard forum with both information-sharing and operational components. Finally, Patrick Cronin and Seongwon Lee make the case for South Korea to take on a larger role in Southeast Asian security affairs, highlighting its critical interest in protecting the free flow of commerce through the region.

Sayyaf takes Sulu teacher as AFP readies jungle base

From The Standard (Mar 12): Sayyaf takes Sulu teacher as AFP readies jungle base

SECURITY forces are tracking down the whereabouts of a public school teacher who was kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf bandits in Sulu on Friday, a military official said Saturday.

Col. Cirilito Sobejana Jr., Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said Jolo National High School teacher Ibrahim Potong, was driving his motorcycle on the way home to Maimbung town when he was waylaid and taken by the bandits on Friday afternoon.

He said troops have been immediately alerted to locate and rescue the teacher and they are coordinating with the victim’s family “to gather more information about Potong.”

With Potong’s abduction, the number of hostages in the hands of the Abu Sayyaf has increased to 32, including 26 foreigners.

Meanwhile, the Defense department underscored the need to put up a permanent jungle base in the hinterlands of Jolo and Basilan to decimate the Abu Sayyaf and deny space for its future operations.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana conceived of deploying a full division of troops in Jolo to respond to civilian concerns over the threat of the ASG.

“We will also station a permanent commander there in Jolo. Maybe we will transfer one division there in Jolo,” Lorenzana said as he predicted the “strategic defeat” of the ASG by June this year.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
Lorenzana’s plan gained support from a security expert, who said the plan will greatly help in defeating the ASG and foiling their resurgence.

“The idea is to occupy the jungle by highly-trained fighters, establish advance command posts and rear command posts in different strategic locations in the mountain ranges of Jolo which would eventually prevent ASG encampment,” the security expert who requested anonymity said.

He said the troops will stay in the mountains permanently supported with adequate food and ammunition supplies.

“The concept is that military is the predator and not only dependent on sighting-operate strategy against the ASG, but more on jungle base command structure designed to deny future existence of the enemy,” the expert explained.

The jungle base theory will have to be supported by the local community and coordinated with maritime authorities.

So far, the ongoing military offensive has scored 23 dead bandits including four close relatives of key Abu Sayyaf commanders while several others were critically wounded in several engagements in Sulu and Basilan.

Meanwhile, the defense secretary said that the Navy will start its joint patrol with Malaysia and Indonesia in the boundary of the country’s southern backdoor in May or April in order to negate kidnappings by the Abu Sayyaf Group.

“We are going to inaugurate that,” he said. “Also, we are going to create a task force in Bongao [Tawi-Tawi] to be headed by a two-star general. We have enough fastboats, some ships and aircraft, and maybe drones. We’re acquiring drones to patrol the area,” Lorenzana added.

NDF: Comments by Fidel V. Agcaoili, Chairperson of NDFP Panel on certain news items

Posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Mar 9): Comments by Fidel V. Agcaoili, Chairperson of NDFP Panel on certain news items  

Both sides agreed to hold secret backchannel talks as early as the first week of February. For some reason, these have been delayed till now. In this regard, we have kept our end of the bargain not to reveal the plans or issue any statement that would upset these.

The objective of the backchannel is to bring about the continuation of the talks in order to hold the scheduled fourth round in April to discuss important matters, including JASIG, CASER and CAPCR. The release of the POWs has been approved in a statement by the revolutionary leadership on 27 February. Discussions have been going on since between third party peace facilitators and the GRP Panel.

The POWs should have been released as early as 2 March but arrangements on their safe and orderly release, as well as those of the third party peace facilitators, local government officials, ICRC representatives and the custodial forces, have still to be worked out.

On the Bansalan incident, we still have to confirm if this was done by the NPA command in the area. There are peace spoilers around. And people should not forget that there is no ceasefire in place at the moment, and that AFP and PNP troops have been going into villages and violating people’s rights in their combat and intelligence operations, including murderous Tokhang operations.

Also, the NPA recently suffered casualties of four dead in a raid by the military’s 2nd Jungle Fighter Company on 7 March in San Andres, Quezon province, as well as in other places.

NDF/NPA-ROC: Desperate 30th IBPA troops fired upon each other, killing one and wounding another

New People's Army propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Mar 10): Desperate 30th IBPA troops fired upon each other, killing one and wounding another  

March 10, 2017

30th IBPA CO Lt. Col. Amaro’s statement that an encounter ensued between his troops and the NPA-Front 16 in Budlingin, Alegria, Surigao del Norte last March 8, 2017 at around 8:30 in the evening, is a big lie. Not one among the NPA forces were in the area during that time. The gunfire came from his own troops. It is obvious that the 30th IB troops implementing COPD fired upon each other during their patrol on that night which resulted in the killing of Pfc. Jhon Francis Rivera and the wounding of Pfc. Windyl Daayata.

The 30th IBPA troops were afraid of their own shadows after they heard that the NPA will attack their camp in the Multi-Purpose Barangay Hall in Budlingin. The enemy immediately patrolled the area but they began firing a mere 20 meters away from where they were encamped. The incident shows the failure of their civil military operations through COPD/PDOP in the said barrio as they do not feel safe. Their abuses and violations of human rights committed against the residents is backfiring.

Because Lt. Col. Amaro is responsible for the blunder, he then made up lies to hide his shame. This has been his and the AFP’s fabrication to smear the NPA and the entire revolutionary movement. In fact, they have been spreading written lies in the barrios of Malimono, Surigao del Norte to tarnish the revolutionaries. This is part of their psywar and desperate attempts to repress the continuing advance of the revolutionary movement in Surigao del Norte, in the region and the entire Philippines.

The enemy cannot defeat the advance of the people’s struggle for their rights and interests as long as the exploitative and oppressive system which brought about widespread poverty and suffering for the Filipino people exist in the Philippines. Only the national democratic revolution line of people’s war will bring about the achievement of national and social liberty from the domination of imperialism, feudalism and burucrat capitalism. On the other hand, we give peace talks a chance to expose the root causes of the civil war in the Philippines and creat an agreement for the good of the people.

Therefore, the people will continue to struggle for their class demands such as genuine land reform, higher wages, secure livelihood, free and effective social services and others. Continue to expose the lies, deceit and brutality of the AFP/PNP and the reactionary regime committed against them.

Ka Ariel Montero
Regional Operational Command

CPP/NPA-Palawan: Hinggil sa Pamamarusa sa San Andres

New People's Army propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Mar 9): Hinggil sa Pamamarusa sa San Andres

Salvador Luminoso
NPA-Palawan (Bienvenido Vallever Command)

9 March 2017

Inilunsad ng mga kagawad ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa ilalim ng Bienvenido Vallever Command ang pamamarusa sa kompanyang San Andres na nagsasagawa ng malawakang pagpapatanim ng Palm Oil sa lalawigan ng Palawan. Ganap na ika-1:00 humigit kumulang ng madaling araw ng sunugin ng BHB ang tatlong heavy equipment ng naturang kompanya na kinabibilangan ng isang backhoe, isang bulldozer at isang dumptruck.

Ang pamamarusa ay isinagawa bilang tugon sa mahigpit na kahilingan ng mga naging biktima ng kompanyang ito. Ang San Andres na katuwang ng Agumil ay nagtatago bilang isang huwad na kooperatibang Calasagen Cooperative upang magmukhang kaakit-akit sa mga magsasaka at katutubo na sumali sa kooperatiba na sa kalaunan ay matutuklasan nilang isa palang manlilinlang na kompanyang pag-aari ng malaking dayuhang kapitalista .

Ang mga kasong nakahabla sa hukumang bayan laban sa San Andres ay kinabibilangan ng mga sumusunod:

1. di maayos na kundisyon sa trabaho ng mga manggagawang bukid
2. panloloko sa sahod, laging may isang buwang hindi binabayaran bukod pa sa mababang pasahod
3. Panlilinlang gamit ang kooperatiba at pangangamkam ng lupain ng mga magsasaka ang maging ang mga lupang ninuno ng mga katutubong PalawÕan
4. Hindi pagbabayad sa binibiling lupa na nakuha dahil sa matamis na pangako
5. Paninira ng Kalikasan(paghuhukay, pagbubuldos)

Ang mga nabanggit na dahilan ay sapat na basehan upang iatas ng hukumang bayan sa Bienvenido Vallever Command ang disisyong pamamarusa na kagyat namang ipinatupad ng BVC matapos na matanggap ang atas.

Ipinapaabot ng BVC sa malawak na masa ng sambayanang Palawe–o ang mahigpit na pasasalamat sa ibinigay nilang pagtitiwala sa kanilang tunay na Hukbo, ang hukbo ng sambayanan na walang iba kundi ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan o New PeolpleÕs Army na nasa pamumuno ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas(PKP). Umasa kayo na hindi namin bibiguin ang inyong mga kahilingan, kahilingang ipagtanggol ang inyong mga karapatan laloÕt sa usapin ng pag-aari sa lupang inyong pinagyayaman at pinagkukunan ng kabuhayan.

Mabuhay ang mamamayang Palawe–o!

 Mabuhay ang CPP/NPA/NDF!

 Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!

 Mabuhay ang Rebolusyon!

CPP/NPA-North Eastern Mindanao: Mga Tropa sa 30th IBPA desperadong nag-unay, usa patay ug usa samaron

New People's Army propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Mar 10): Mga Tropa sa 30th IBPA desperadong nag-unay, usa patay ug usa samaron

Ka Ariel Montero, Spokesperson
NPA-Northeastern Mindanao
10 March 2017

Dakung bakak ang gipamahayag ni Lt. Col. Amaro, CO sa 30th IB PA, nga adunay nahitabong enkwentro tali sa iyang mga tropa ug sa BHB-Front 16 didto sa Budlingin, Alegria, Surigao del Norte niadtong Marso 8, 2017 sa alas 8:30 sa gabii. Walay bisan usa ka pwersa sa BHB sa maong lugar niining panahona. Ang binuthanay naggikan lang sa iyang mga tropa. Sa ato pa, tataw nga desperadong nagka-unay ang mga nag-COPD nga tropa sa 30th IB atol sa ilang pagpatrolya niining gabhiona nga miresulta sa pagkapatay ni Pfc. Jhon Francis Rivera ug pagkasamad ni Pfc. Windyl Daayata.

Daw nalisang sa ilang kaugalingong anino ang mga tropa sa 30th IBPA sa mga nanggawas nga istorya-istorya nga sulungon sa BHB ang ilang kampo nga anaa sa Multi-Purpose Barangay Hall sa Budlingin. Nagpatrolya gilayon sa palibot ang kaaway apan 20 metros pa lang gikan sa ilang gikampohan nagkabinuthanay na. Ang maong panghitabo nagpakita nga pakyas ang ilang civil military operation pinaagi sa COPD/PDOP sa maong baryo kay dili man sila kampante sa ilang kaugalingon. Ang mga pang-abuso ug paglapas sa tawhanong katungod nga ilang hinimoan ngadto sa mga lumulupyo misumbalik ra usab kanila.

Tungod kay tulubagon ni Lt. Col. Amaro ang maong kapalpakan, naggamagama dayon kini og mga bakak aron tabunan ang iyang kaulawon. Sagad na kining ginahimo niya ug sa AFP aron dauton ang BHB ug ang tibuok rebolusyonaryong kalihukan. Gani nagsabwag pa sila karon og mga sinulat nga mga bakak didto sa mga kabaryohan sa Malimono, Surigao del Norte nga nagdaut sa mga rebolusyonaryo. Kabahin kini sa ilang saywar ug desperadong lakang aron pugngan ang padayong pag-asdang sa rebolusyonaryong kalihukan sa Surigao del Norte, sa rehiyon ug sa tibuok Pilipinas.

Mao nga, dili kayang pugngan sa kaaway ang pag-asdang sa pakigbisog sa katawhan alang sa ilang katungod ug interes, samtang magapadayong magtunhay ang mapahimuslanon ug madaugdaugon sistema sa Pilipinas nga nagdulot sa halapad nga kapobrehon ug pag-antos sa katawhang Pilipino. Bugtong ang linya lamang sa nasudnon demokratikong rebolusyon pinaagi sa gubat sa katawhan ang maghatag og katumanan sa nasudnon ug katilingbanong kagawasan gikan sa pagdomina sa imperyalismo, pyudalismo ug burukrata kapitalismo. Apan sa pikas bahin gihatagan og luna ang panaghisgot pangkalinaw aron ugkaton ang gamot hinungdan sa gubat sibil sa Pilipinas ug makamugna og kasabutan alang sa kaayuhan sa katawhan.

Busa, walay hunong nga ipanghingusog sa katawhan ang pakigbisog alang sa ilang makihut-ong nga pangayo sama sa tinuod nga reporma sa yuta, taas nga suhulan, kaseguruhan sa panginabuhian, libre ug maayong katilingbanong serbisyo ug uban pa. Padayong ibutyag ang mga bakak, pagpanglingla ug kabangis sa AFP/PNP ug sa reaksyonaryong rehimen ngadto kanila.

CPP/NPA-Southern Mindanao: Bansalan NPA ambush exposes AFP-PNP duplicity, shows justness of people’s war

New People's Army propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Mar 10): Bansalan NPA ambush exposes AFP-PNP duplicity, shows justness of people’s war

Rigoberto F. Sanchez, Spokesperson
NPA-Southern Mindanao

Press Release
10 March 2017
The New People’s Army Regional Operations Command in Southern Mindanao commends the successful tactical offensive by a squad of Red fighters belonging to the Mt. Apo Subregional Operations Command during a 15-minute ambush, which seized four firearms and subdued a PNP unit engaged in armed operations in Brgy. Sibayan, Bansalan, Davao del Sur on March 8, 2017.

Humiliated in the face of defeat and supremacy of guerrilla tactics, the enemy desperately attempted to twist the facts of the incident to conceal the bare-faced rottenness of the AFP’s counter-insurgency plan Development Support and Security Plan Oplan Kapayapaan.

The battle report submitted by the Mt. Apo Subregional Operations Command showed the NPA unit’s mastery of terrain, correct reading of the enemy situation and the superb use of guerrilla tactics in a swift tactical offensive directed against a fascist PNP unit that, along with the AFP, had perpetrated and continue to perpetuate the atrocious human rights and international humanitarian law violations in Davao del Sur and North Cotabato provinces.

On March 8, at 2:20 am, the NPA unit carried out an order to exact revolutionary justice against Marlon Lomantas, a former AFP soldier turned active intelligence agent of the 39th IB and a known drug trader and user in Brgy. Sibayan, Bansalan.

An NPA platoon was positioned at the mountainside of Brgy. Sibayan in order to frustrate military and police operations in the area. Another squad took position nearby. The NPA command was in anticipation of police and military operations to be coordinated by the 39th IB. At 6:15 am, heavily armed police personnel aboard two mobile PNP vehicles were dispatched, apparently to reconnoiter and clear the area before deploying its soldiers.

The first police vehicle passed by the NPA ambush position site at 6:35 am. The NPA squad desisted from striking when it saw civilians riding in motorcycles were in close proximity to the moving PNP vehicle. The second police vehicle passed by subsequently. At 7:10 am, the NPA squad, positioned eight meters from the road, proceeded to ambush the passing mobile vehicle. After the initial five-second volley of gunshots, the NPA commander called for the enemy troops to surrender and lay down their arms.

The PNP personnel, however, retaliated with numerous return of fire. A wounded police officer jumped off from the vehicle. It took ten minutes of an exchange of fire before the NPA squad succeeded in subduing the PNP unit before cautiously approaching the PNP mobile
vehicle to seize two M16 rifles and two 9mm glock pistols. At 7:25 am, the NPA 14-man squad safely withdrew from the ambush site.

Shamefaced by the aftermath of the successful NPA ambush against its troops, the PNP hierarchy peddled the dubious line and outrageously melodramatic declaration that the PNP unit was a “non-tactical police team” overwhelmed by a superfluous NPA force which seized all six of its total firearms. It is a vain attempt to cover-up the fact that an armed PNP unit on offensive operation was effectively neutralized by a 14-man NPA unit. Seizing the initiative as a matter of principle of guerrilla warfare, the NPA unit was able to induce the enemy into a well-laid ambush and attack the enemy’s weak force by the NPA’s relative superior force. In subduing the PNP unit, the NPA aims to win a battle of quick decision by demobilizing its moving targets and
wiping out the enemy swiftly.

In the wake of the Bansalan ambush, the Army’s 73rd IB, PNP Regional Public Safety Battalion, PNP Special Action Force and the 39th IB are now again scouring the countryside. Along with the PNP, these are the same forces that have no qualms whatsoever about their daily bloodbath, victimizing civilians and unarmed suspects alike, under the auspices of Oplan Tokhang and the GRP’s all-out war. The PNP troops in Bansalan are in the thick of the GRP’s counterinsurgency campaign, actively surveilling revolutionary organizations and personalities, harassing unarmed Lumad and peasants and contributing greatly in intelligence to target Red fighters and NPA units.

Mandated to defend the masses as its true army and in strict adherence to the tenets and protocols of war, the NPA will continue to exact revolutionary justice and wage tactical offensives anywhere and anytime in the countryside and areas under the People’s Democratic Government. Tempered in the long running guerrilla warfare in the country, the Red fighters will continue to deliver heavy blows against the enemy, seize arms to increase the number of its full-fighting units and advance the level of people’s war.