Friday, March 17, 2017

Philippine Navy official: NIR, Visayas safe from terror threat

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 16): Philippine Navy official: NIR, Visayas safe from terror threat

Negros Island Region (NIR) and other areas in the Visayas are still safe with no intelligence reports so far about the presence of terrorists, and different units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) want this status sustained.

This has led to the formation of the Joint Task Force Maritime Area Shield to counter terrorism and thwart terrorist attacks or kidnappings that will be resorted to by the enemy and to also support the campaign against illegal drugs and other threats, said Capt. Jorge Ibarra, base commander of the Naval Forces based in Lapu-lapu City and at the same time commander of the Joint Task Force Deter stationed in Dumaguete City.

However, he said there is big possibility of spillover because Mindanao is being harassed and as a result of a continuing military operation, the Visayas region would be their possible go-to-place.

Capt. Ibarra stressed there is no place for them in his area of responsibility in the southern portion under Joint Task Force Deter and Task Force Protect based in Boracay in the northern portion.

Docked at the port of Dumaguete right now is BRP Batak (LC 299) as part of an official mission with a coastal patrol craft BRP BRP Abraham Campo (PG-396) skippered by Cmdr. Sales.

LC-299 is an amphibious vessel skippered by Cmdr. George Sumpay while his executive officer is Lt. Cmdr. Steve C. Morata.

Capt. Ibarra was in Dumaguete City today for a meeting with members of the Maritime Safety and Security Task Force created under Task Force Leon Kilat of the province, as co-chairman along with the Philippine Coast Guard-Dumaguete.

While in Dumaguete, BRP Batak will be open to the public including children to see for themselves the capabilities of the Philippine Navy.

Aside from its primary role of being an amphibious vessel that will transport military hardware and personnel during wartime, it can also be used to transport relief goods and construction materials during calamities directly to the beach front of which it is designed.

It has enough space for the movements of rolling cargoes, like tanks and army vehicles, among others.

BRP Batak had just delivered relief goods to earthquake victims in Surigao.

Lt Cmdr. Morata said their guns are functional and operational because one of their main functions is maritime security.

Meanwhile, officers of BRP Batak and the patrol craft paid a courtesy call on Governor Roel Degamo at his office at the Capitol, after which a tour was conducted for the governor.

The governor said the province is secured from terrorist activities with their presence, after a briefing of the ship’s capabilities through a video presentation.

Local leaders, NGO tie up for peace in North Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): Local leaders, NGO tie up for peace in North Cotabato

Local leaders in North Cotabato and a non-government organization (NGO) have partnered to push for peace in communities rocked by armed hostilities in the area.

Local and provincial leaders in North Cotabato and officials of Balay Mindanao Foundation, Incorporated, an NGO based in Cagayan de Oro City, gathered here Friday to commence dialogues to achieve understanding and peace.

“Choose peace always, and in every opportunity that we have, we have to talk and listen to each other, and make peace as everyone’s business,” Ernesto Anasarias, founding director of Balay Mindanaw, told local leaders that include barangay, municipal and provincial officials.

Dubbed “Hisgutanay” (Visayan term for talks), the gathering was held at the rooftop of Aleosan Municipal Hall with North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Mendoza, Aleosan Mayor Vicente Sorupia and North Cotabato board member Rosalie Cabaya gracing the event.

Anasarias said “Hisgutanay” is focused on community peace conversation aimed to hear from barangay leaders and stakeholders their issues and concerns on the peace process between the government and rebel groups.

Anasarias urged barangay chairpersons and council members to conduct dialogues to secure peace, particularly in conflict-affected areas.

He stressed that dialogue "is always the best platform to listen to grievances and in looking for answers to end disputes."

Anasarias said he is much aware and appreciative of the peace initiatives of the North Cotabato provincial government in settling land conflicts and “rido” (family feud).

“We wanted to reaffirm the efforts of the provincial leadership in terms of peace building and quest for genuine peace,” he added.

Mendoza emphasized the importance of consensus building among barangay leaders as a tool to address peace and conflict issues.

“We have to build common trust through dialogues as we listen to each other’s sentiments,” she said.

Clan wars and land dispute involving local residents have affected the peace and development of remote places like Barangays Tapudok, Pagangan, Bagolibas, Lawili and Dungguan.

Anasarias urged residents to work together in the quest for peace even though they have different views for the sake of the communities.

Rochelle Y. Mordeno, executive director of Balay Mindanaw, said the barangay and grassroots leaders must be actively involved to achieve sustainable peace in the community.

PVAO head hails unsung heroines of WW2

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): PVAO head hails unsung heroines of WW2

The role of women during the Second World War that resulted to the country’s liberation from the Japanese Forces must not be forgotten.

This was underscored by Retired Lt. Gen. Ernesto Carolina, administrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) as he spoke during the 13th Iloilo Veterans Memorial Day held at the provincial capitol grounds here, Friday. The celebration has for its theme, “Honoring our Unsung Heroes.”

“When we say that we are celebrating the unsung heroes, let us also remember those women that also sacrificed, offered their lives and contributed to the freedom that we are enjoying today,” he said, stating that this occasion coincidentally is held as the country observes the National Women Month.

He explained that the Women Auxiliary Corps (WAC) started as Women Auxiliary Service (WAS) in Iloilo and organized by then Natividad Peralta, wife of Macario Peralta who led the revolt in Panay.

“Many of the unsung heroes of the war were women. They did their part attending to the wounded, gathering food to be brought to the frontline, gathering even intelligence and risking their lives, and a lot of them paid for it,” he stated.

Carolina, meanwhile, lauded the city government here for celebrating the Veteran’s Memorial Day. Iloilo, he said, is one of the “very few” areas in the country where the significant day for veterans is remembered.

“It is here in Iloilo where we have the most successful resistance movement in the Philippines during the war against the Japanese,” he said.

Carolina pointed out that the success of the movement here was boosted by the supportive political leadership. Peralta provided the military leadership and Tomas Confessor, governor during that period, provided political leadership, he added.

“We share in the pride of the people here. And I say that the pride has to be shared by all Filipinos because there is no such thing as regional pride but national pride,” he said.

The PVAO chief said that more than a hundred of the little more than 8,000 World War II guerillas who are still alive are from Iloilo.

“There is nothing that we can do to fully repay them. Maybe the least that we can do is make sure that the self-sacrifice, the patriotism, the love for country that they have displayed during the Second World War will be imbibed by our young people,” he emphasized.

“All we can really do is to extol and remember and pass the remembrance to our children in the hope they will emulate the bravery and gallantry if when the necessity of defending the country arises, said Iloilo City Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog, who hosted today’s celebration.

Commander Claro O. Daulo Sr, president of the 6th Military District World War II Veterans Association Inc. said that 1,421 veterans from Panay Island died defending the country.

Additional benefits, on the other hand, are provided by the Veterans Federation of the Philippines to their members, according to Rogelio Moran, regional vice president of the federation in Western Visayas.

These include burial assistance of PHP10,000 that will also benefit the spouse, PHP5,000 medical assistance, PHP50,000 cash incentive upon reaching 100 years old, scholarship for immediate family members of an indigent veteran and a PHP5 million livelihood fund for a district and post that can submit a viable proposal.

PVAO also provides the transfer of the PHP5,000 old-age pension to the veteran’s surviving spouse, PHP1,500 daily hospitalization benefit not to exceed 45 days and PHP20, 0000 burial assistance.

Meantime, veteran David A. Laibow also launched his book entitled ““Encounter on a Hillside” alongside an exhibit by artists Patrick Anthony D. Caballa and Lewis A. Alfaraz after the ceremony.

It was followed by a floral offering before the Gen. Macario Peralta Monument at the Sunburst Park, City Proper District and at the Philippine-American Cemetery along Commission Civil Street in Jaro District.

Friday’s celebration was a prelude to the March 18 celebration of the Liberation of Panay, Guimaras and Romblon.

Janette P. Faderan, head of the PVAO Western Visayas Field Service Extension Office, said that the celebration over the weekend will be highlighted by the distribution wheelchairs, canes and other benefits for the veterans and their surviving spouses.

Five veterans who have reached the age of 100 years old will also be given certificates and incentives.

Troops arrest 4 suspected Maute Group members

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): Troops arrest 4 suspected Maute Group members

The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) on Friday announced the arrest of four alleged members of the ISIS-inspired Maute Group in Lanao del Sur.

Maj. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, said the Joint Task Force ZamPeLan (Zamboanga Peninsula and Lanao) also recovered an improvised bomb, three high-powered firearms, a pistol and illegal drugs paraphernalia from the suspects.

Galvez identified the arrested Maute group members as Pao Panganga alias Pao Faizal, Alex Areg Bagul, Alisata Tumao Maute and Saadra Macapanton Madayan.

Galvez said the suspects were arrested in separate law enforcement operations at around 3 a.m. Thursday in the towns of Piagapo and Saguiran, Lanao del Sur.

He said the suspects are wanted for their alleged involvement in kidnapping, killings, carnapping, extortion and illegal drugs trade in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Lanao del Norte.

He said the suspects were also responsible for the killing last year of Supt. Abner Wahab Santos, the former Marawi City police director.

He said Panganga was involved in the series of kidnappings in Marawi City, more notably the abduction of Mindanao State university employee Omira Lotao last March 5.

“This remarkable law enforcement operation typifies the degree of intelligence gathering, information sharing, and precise planning and execution by different AFP and PNP units under JTF ZamPelan commander Maj. Gen. Gerardo Barrientos,” Galvez said.

He added the help from local government units and civilians is also crucial for the success of operations against criminals.

“We commend this civilian-military partnership. A united endeavor such as this translates to peace and security that in turn shall spur progress in that part of Mindanao. Security forces can best help rid the country of criminals and bring about peaceful (communities) if the people will help us,” Galvez added.

Central Luzon 3 RPOC sub-committee chairs named

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 18): Central Luzon 3 RPOC sub-committee chairs named

Members of the Central Luzon Regional Peace and Order Committee (RPOC) on Friday elected the three governors in the region to head the sub-committees on anti-criminality, internal peace and security and anti-illegal drugs.
The election of the new officers of the RPOC sub-committees was presided by its chairman - Governor Albert Raymond S. Garcia of Bataan.

Bulacan Governor Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado was unanimously elected as anti-criminality sub-committee chairman while Olongapo City Mayor Rolen C. Paulino was appointed as his co-chairman.

The Philippine National Police, meanwhile, was agreed to be the automatic vice-chairman, headed by Police Region-III Director Chief Superintendent Aaron. Aquino.

Pampanga Governor Lilia Pineda, on the other hand, was elected chairperson of the internal peace and security sub-committee while Mayor Ambrosio C. Cruz, president of the League of Mayors in the Philippines-Bulacan, was elected as co-chair.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines led by Major General Angelito De Leon of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army got the vice-chairmanship.

Meanwhile, Tarlac Governor Susan Yap was elected as chair of the sub-committee on anti-illegal drugs while Governor Czarina D. Umali of Nueva Ecija will serve as her co-chairperson. The said sub-committee will be vice-chaired by Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency led by Region-3 Director Juvenal Azurin.

The three committees are expected to perform their respective duties to maintain peace and order in the region that could help attract more investors and make Central Luzon a more business friendly region.

Japan maritime force personnel to deliver 2 TC-90s to PHL Navy

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 18): Japan maritime force personnel to deliver 2 TC-90s to PHL Navy

Pilots and flight crews of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSF) will be tasked to fly and deliver two of the five leased turbo-prop TC-90 aircraft to the Philippine Navy's (PN) Sangley Point air facility on March 27.

This was confirmed by Navy spokesperson, Capt. Lued Lincuna, in an interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) Friday.

He said they are still to get the names of the Japanese pilots.

The JMSDF will formally transfer the TC-90s to the Navy on the same day.

Lincuna said the Navy will get the remaining three TC-90s before the end of the year.

The TC-90s will augment the existing Norman-Britten BN-2 Islander fleet, which the Navy uses in patrol, surveillance and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) and rapid assessment missions, he noted.

Last November, two Navy pilots and six air crew members left for Japan to start their TC-90 flight training.

The Department of National Defense (DND) earlier announced that the Philippines will re-equip the TC-90s as Japan had stripped them of some equipment, including their surveillance systems.

The country will pay Japan an annual fee of USD7,000 for each of the first four aircraft and only USD200 for the fifth, for a total of USD28,200, as stipulated in the lease agreement.

The department is also looking at the possibility of using the TC-90s for 20 years as the military upgrades its equipment.

The TC-90, which is part of the Beechcraft King Air aircraft family, was offered by Japan shortly after the Agreement Concerning the Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology was finalized last February 29.

The TC-90's patrol range is double those of small Philippine aircraft, which only have a maximum range of 300 km.

Ambassador Kim Honors Secretary Lorenzana with Inaugural Major General Albert Jones Memorial Award

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 16): Ambassador Kim Honors Secretary Lorenzana with Inaugural Major General Albert Jones Memorial Award

U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim awarded the inaugural Major General Albert Jones Memorial Award to Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana for his steadfast commitment and invaluable contributions to the alliance of the U.S. and the Republic of the Philippines.

The ceremony took place during the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group’s (JUSMAG) 70th anniversary celebration hosted at the U.S. Chief of Mission residence.

The Major General Albert Jones Memorial Award recognizes a U.S. or Philippine government official who has made significant contributions to the bilateral defense partnership.

General Jones first commanded the 51st Division of the Philippine Army in 1940, and then commanded the 1st Philippine Corps until his capture at Bataan in 1942. Of the 76,000 Philippine and American soldiers, Jones was the only general officer on the infamous death march. He was held as a P.O.W. for over two years, and was among the many who endured torture and starvation.

In testament to his grit, tenacity, and courage, Jones returned to the Philippines in 1946 to lead the U.S. military advisory mission in Manila, which evolved into JUSMAG a year later.

JUSMAG’s initial mission was to advise and assist with training and equipping the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Since then, the group has evolved to coordinating with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to develop all U.S.-Philippine military training activities.

Orders of President Duterte to add more patrols in the Benham Rise send strong message to foreign ships

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 16): Orders of President Duterte to add more patrols in the Benham Rise send strong message to foreign ships

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Thursday said after President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered two concerned government agencies to add more patrols in the Benham Rise, the message is clear that no one is allowed to send research vessels without seeking clearance from Philippine government.

In a press briefing, Acting DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo said President Duterte instructed the Philippine Coast Guard to lead in patrolling the area supported by Philippine Navy.

He said China ships, including their research vessel that were spotted in the area, moved at slow pace while Chinese Coast Guard and their Navy vessel were in a distance.

According to Manalo, the Philippines respect freedom of navigation to all foreign vessels who just want to pass the area.

“China has just reaffirmed the Philippine government that they respect our sovereign rights over Benham and President Duterte has already given his instructions to actively send more patrols in the Benham Rise area,” Manalo told reporters in a press briefing.

He said that they had constant communications with the Department of National Defense and the Department of Transportation vowed to give them updates on what was the latest on Benham Rise.

He said ships of any country could pass by Benham Rise without asking for clearance from our government because we do respect freedom of navigation .

“But the fact that this is within the jurisdiction of the Philippines, any foreign vessel should asked permission from the Philippines if they wish to undertake research,” he explained when asked if foreign vessels can just make research without informing Philippine government.

He added that exploring oil or extracting other forms of minerals within our jurisdiction was not allowed.

According to Manalo, Benham Rise is part of the Philippines' continental shelf and Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the Philippines has the sole right to explore, exploit and manage the natural resources of Benham Rise.

“It is very clear that it is within our territory under the 2012 United Nations ruling on this issue,” he stressed.

Asked about the note verbale the Philippines sent to China, he said the Philippines was still waiting for clarification why their ship passed by at slow pace which was not normal.

The Philippines' claim to Benham Rise, a 13-million-hectare area located east of Luzon island and believed to be rich in gas, was approved by the United Nations in 2012.

China's foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang had acknowledged the 2012 ruling of the United Nations but said “it does not mean that the Philippines can take it as its own territory.”

Geng confirmed Chinese vessels for “marine research” passed through Benham Rise, but insisted this was only in exercise of the principle of “freedom of navigation” and “right to innocent passage.”

U.S.-PHL cooperation leads to successful anti-trafficking operation in Cavite

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): U.S.-PHL cooperation leads to successful anti-trafficking operation in Cavite

The U.S. Embassy in the Philippines congratulates the Philippine National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) Anti-Human Trafficking Division for a successful operation resulting in the rescue of nine children and the arrest of Arlene and Emelinda Aringo for offering children for sexual acts in exchange for fees.

This operation was undertaken through close coordination between the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Manila, and HSI in Portland, Maine.

This operation was supported by the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the International Justice Mission, a non-governmental organization.

Arlene and Emelinda Aringo were arrested for violation of the Philippine Republic Act (RA) 9208, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003 as amended by RA 10364, a no-bail offense.

U.S. Government awards science, technology, innovation grants to Filipino scholars, universities

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): U.S. Government awards science, technology, innovation grants to Filipino scholars, universities

The United States government, through the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ United States Agency for International Development (USAID), recognized 10 research scholars and 37 grant recipients in science, technology, and innovation who support the Philippine government’s push for innovation-led and inclusive growth.

The grants and scholarships were awarded by USAID’s Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) project, which boosts science and technology research in the Philippines to stimulate inclusive economic growth.

U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim personally acknowledged the individual scholars and the research grant recipients.

“Our grantees represent the best scientific minds in the Philippines,” said Ambassador Kim. “We look forward to the results of their research projects that will upgrade industries, generate jobs and investments, and build skills and capacities in communities, academic institutions, and companies.”

Today’s awards included 24 PHP5 million (USD100,000), one-year research grants to Philippine universities to undertake collaborative research with U.S. universities on disciplines that contribute to high-growth sectors, including electronics, chemical industries, alternative energy, agri-business, and information technology.

USAID also funded 10 prototype development research grants, valued at PHP1.15 million (USD23,000) each, and three innovation development grants that address human development challenges, valued at about PHP4 million (USD80,000) each.

The universities who received research grants include University of the Philippines-Diliman, Western Philippines University, University of Southeastern Philippines, and the Technological Institute of the Philippines.

USAID’s USD32 million Science, Technology, Research, and Innovation for Development (STRIDE) Project is the U.S. government’s largest higher education project in the Philippines.

The five-year project strengthens the Philippines’ capacity for innovation-led inclusive growth through strengthening applied research capabilities in Philippine universities and industries, and bolstering human capacity development in science, technology and innovation (STI).

To date, the project has awarded approximately USD5.5 million in collaborative science, technology, and innovation research grants to more than 20 universities around the country.

It has awarded 56 scholarships to Filipinos to study in U.S. universities, provided advanced technical training to scientists and researchers, and brought 28 U.S. professors to visit the Philippines.

STRIDE is also establishing 10 knowledge and technology transfer offices at select universities in the Philippines.

USAID’s STRIDE project is implemented by RTI International, in collaboration with sub-grantees including the William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan, Florida State University, Rutgers University, and local non-profit Philippine Business for Education.

Retirement honors given to PNP's 2nd top official

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): Retirement honors given to PNP's 2nd top official

The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Friday granted retirement honors to PNP Deputy Director General for Administration Francisco Uyami, Jr., the PNP's second highest official.

According to PNP Public Information Office (PIO) chief and spokesman Senior Supt. Dionardo Carlos, the retirement honors for Uyami in Camp Crame, Quezon City were for his mandatory retirement on March 19, 2017 upon reaching the age of 56.

PNP Deputy Director General Ramon Apolinario is expected to assume the position to be vacated by Uyami.

The position of Deputy Director General for Operations, the third top-most position in the PNP, will be taken over by Deputy Director General Fernando Mendez, Jr.

This will leave vacant the fourth highest PNP position, that of The Chief Directorial Staff (TCDS).

The candidates for the position of TCDS are PNP chief Director General Ronald "Bato" Dela Rosa's "mistahs", or classmates at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA), Police Director Archie Gamboa of the Directorate for Comptrollership (DC) and Police Director Ramon Purugganan of the Directorate for Personnel Records and Management (DPRM).

Australia allots additional AUD40M for peace initiatives in PHL

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): Australia allots additional AUD40M for peace initiatives in PHL

The Australian government has approved additional funds amounting to AUD40 million for peace initiatives in the Philippines.

The amount is beside the funding assistance for the Education Pathways for Peace in Mindanao (PATHWAYS), which will be implemented in Bangsamoro areas with a grant of AUD90 million.

The additional AUD40 million funding was announced Friday by Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop during the launching of the PATHWAYS project at the Marco Polo Hotel here.

Bishop said the additional fund will help the government of the Philippines in its peace initiatives in the next six years.

“Australia continues to be the partner of the Philippines,” Bishop said.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza was thankful for the additional assistance as this would help the government implement projects not only in the Bangsamoro but also in other conflict-affected areas in the Philippines.

Dureza cited the aid is timely because they are now initiating discussions of establishing a new facility named Mindanao Peace and Development Trust Fund, which will cover all areas affected by armed-conflicts.

Dureza revealed that the National Democratic Front (NDF) will also be forming a committee to work on short and medium-term development strategies for insurgency-affected areas. The committee will be headed by NDF consultant Luis Jalandoni, while Dureza will sit for the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP).

The NDF and OPAPP will work as managers for the project implementing team.

Dureza noted the NDF agreed to the value of doing development projects while peace negotiations are ongoing.

He said the funds that the Australian government will bring in for the peace process can be managed through the Mindanao Peace and Development Trust Fund.

In an interview on the sidelines of the launching, Nigel Bruce, First Secretary of the Australian Embassy, said the projects that will be covered by the AUD40 million fund will still be discussed with the Philippine government through OPAPP.

Bruce said the Australian government had just approved the funds to support the peace process in the Philippines.

Improving conditions for peace and stability is one of the Australian Aid (AusAid) programs in the Philippines. For 2015-16, the Australian Official Development Assistance to the Philippines was estimated at AUD84 million (PHP3 billion).

Australia is a consistent contributor to the Mindanao Multi-Donor Trust Fund to support economic and social recovery and promote effective governance in conflict areas.

Among the programs funded by AusAid is the two-year Building Autonomous and Sustainable Institutions and Communities in the Bangsamoro (BASIC), which helps improve the capacity of institutions and support the role of women in peace building, among others.

Troops helping Kitcharao LGU in providing aid to civilians displaced by NPA attacks

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 16): Troops helping Kitcharao LGU in providing aid to civilians displaced by NPA attacks

Military units are now helping the local government of Kitcharao in Agusan del Norte in aiding 89 families displaced by three unprovoked New People's Army (NPA) attacks on Barangay Hinimbangan last March 15.

In a statement, 2nd Lt. Ashley Mae Del Rosario, 29th Infantry Battalion civil-military operations officer, said the rebels decided to attack the said community are hosting troops conducting development support and security operations in the locality.

The attacks forced 89 families or around 357 individuals to evacuate and seek shelter at the gymnasium of Barangay Crossing, Kitcharao.

29th Infantry Battalion soldiers are coordinating with the town's officials to address the basic needs of the displaced families in the area.

PAF allocates PHP82.5-M for FCR spare transmitter

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): PAF allocates PHP82.5-M for FCR spare transmitter
The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is allocating some PHP82,543,000 for the acquisition of one transmitter needed for unscheduled maintenance of the fire-control radar (FCR) of one of its South Korean-made FA-50PH "Fighting Eagle" jet fighters.

The money will be sourced from PAF General Appropriations Act CY 2017, said Department of National Defense Bids and Awards Committee (DND BAC) chair Assistant Secretary Josue S. Gaverza in bid bulletin posted at the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System.

Winning bidders are required to deliver the parts within 540 calendar days from the receipt of the Notice to Proceed.

Bidders should have completed, within the last five years, a similar contract.

A pre-bid conference is scheduled on March 23, 10 a.m. at the DND-BAC conference room, basement, left wing, DND Building, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City, which shall be opened to all interested parties.

While bid opening is on April 6, 10 a.m. at the same venue.

An FCR is a radar that is designed specifically to provide information (mainly target azimuth, elevation, range and range rate) to a fire-control system in order to calculate a firing solution (i.e., information on how to direct weapons such that they hit the targets.

DWDD: 6th ID units alerted for possible retaliatory BIFF bombing attacks

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): 6th ID units alerted for possible retaliatory BIFF bombing attacks

Units of the Maguindanao-based 6th Infantry Division are now on alert for possible Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) bomb attacks following a bombardment on the lawless elements lair early this week.

Capt. Arvin Encinas, 6th Infantry Division public affair office chief, said the discovery of improvised bombs at the BIFF lair in Barangay Tee, Datu Salibo town, could mean that the bandits have more in store.

He issued this statement when asked what threat the group of BIFF commander Salahudin Hassan alias "Bungos" could still pose after the air strikes and artillery on its lair earlier this week.

No bodies were found on Monday and Tuesday's strike but ground troops, conducting follow-up operations, recovered four improvised explosive device and information that two BIFF members were killed.

Encinas said the group of Hassan is known to have carried out several bomb attacks in Central Mindanao in the past.

Abu Toraype alias "Muawiya," an Indonesian leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah seen with Hassan, had previously mingled with foreign bomb experts Abdulbasit Usman and Zulkifli bin Hir alias "Marwan".

Hassan and Toraype were seen at the lair and were the subjects of the operation, but neither were found after.

PNP-CITF NHQ now 100% operational

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 17): PNP-CITF NHQ now 100% operational

The Philippine National Police Counter-Intelligence Task Force (PNP-CITF) National Headquarters (NHQ) in Camp Crame, Quezon City is now 100-percent operational.

PNP-CITF spokesman Chief Insp. Jewel Nicanor on Friday said they have completed the recruitment of 100 personnel assigned to the NHQ who will concentrate in running after scalawag policemen in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Nicanor added that they are now working on the establishment of regional CITF Headquarters (HQ) for their nationwide operations, with 90 personnel assigned in Luzon, 60 in the Visayas and 40 in Mindanao.

The PNP-CITF official said they have nearly completed the recruitment of the 90 personnel to be part of CITF-Luzon.

Nicanor added that the operations of the regional units could possibly begin in May this year.

As of Friday, the complaints involving policemen outside of the NCR are temporarily being forwarded by the CITF to the regional directors concerned for appropriate action until the respective CITF regional units have become operational.

DWDD: Government troops encounters five NPA in Camarines Norte

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 15): Government  troops encounters five NPA in Camarines Norte


On March 15, 2017, at around 5:30 AM today troops of 9th Infantry Division encountered five NPA members at Sitio Public, Brgy Itok, Capalonga, Camarines Norte.
The firefight lasted for five minutes.

The encounter resulted to the recovery of 1 M16 A4 rifle, 3 magazines with ammunitions, personal belongings and one (1) unidentified cadaver.

Brigadier General Rolando Manalo, Commander, 902nd Infantry Brigade, Philippine Army said the encounter happened after information received from the community that a group of armed men was sighted in the area.

DWDD: NPA attacks Community: 89 Families Displaced

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 16): NPA attacks Community: 89 Families Displaced

agusan del norte

DEL PILAR, CABADBARAN CITY – The New People’s Army (NPA) attacked the community of Brgy. Hinimbangan, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte forcing eighty-nine (89) families to displace and evacuate at the Municipal gymnasium of Brgy. Crossing, Kitcharao, Agusan del Norte on March 15, 2017.

The NPAs ruthlessly fired upon the community that has troops from 29th Infantry (MATATAG) Battalion who are conducting development support and security operations also known as Bayanihan Team Activities(BTA) in the area. After three (3) consecutive harassments by the NPA in the barangay, a total of 357 civilians were forced to evacuate because of the threat posed by the said terror group.

According to the residents, NPAs forced the school faculty to cancel their classes and some (NPAs) have indiscriminately fired upon the houses in the community.

LTC GLENN JOY U AYNERA, the Battalion Commander of 29th Infantry Battalion said that “Once again, the NPAs have violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect to Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which is the only document that was duly signed by the GRP and NDF when they indiscriminately attacked the said community that caused the eventual and force evacuation of the people. Our troops were there to help the LGU in identifying the needs of the community in order to alleviate their living condition. However, this terroristic attack of the NPAs sowed fear among the people in that community. Rest assured that together with the PNP we will defend the community and will bring back the peace and order in the area.”

On the other hand, the troops of 29IB coordinated with the Local Government Unit of Kitcharao to address the basic needs of the displaced families in the area.

Likewise, they also distributed relief goods and food packs together with the Municipal Social Welfare Development.

“Despite the incident, we are still thankful that the people in that community still vows to fully support the development programs of the government especially that it will benefit their families. With this, the 29th Infantry Battalion will continue its efforts in solving the insurgency situation that hinders the peace and development in the area.” Ltc Aynera concluded.

DWDD: CRSAFP Celebrates its 66th Anniversary

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Mar 17): CRSAFP Celebrates its 66th Anniversary


Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City– The Civil Relations Service Armed Forces of the Philippines celebrates its 66th Anniversary.

AFP Public Affairs Office Chief Marine Colonel Edgard Arevalo welcomed the stakeholders and awardees.

Arevalo said that this is a splendid occasion to recognize individuals and organizations that never fail to help CRS on attaining its mission.

Looking back on CRS’ history, Brigadier General Ronnie Evangelista, Commander,CRSAFP, said that he will continue the legacy of the past 35 Commanders of CRS, and with the help of each and every personnel, they will reach the goals of CRS.
Evangelista also introduced the awardees.

The awardees were as follows:

Best Civilian Employee – Mark Miranda CE

Best Enlisted Personnel –Sgt. Ellaine Duran

Best Officer – Lt. Col. Marlowe Patria

Best Unit – 7th Civil Relations Group,CRSAFP

Stakeholders and partners who never ceased to show support were also present in the event and they were given certificates of appreciation for their unending effort.

Bantay Bayanihan, React-CRS, DENR National Capital Region, Hope Inc., Mr. Rolly Canon of DWDD Kanyon, ICEP, Yes for Peace Movement, and Teach Peace Build Peace Inc.

As a proud Radio Station, our very own Mr. Rolly Canon, program host of KANYON is also an awardee for his invaluable service rendered as volunteer radio commentator.

Major General Melquiades Feliciano, Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations spearheaded the said event as a guest of honor and speaker. He also expressed his gratitude to these individuals and organizations.



MILF: Editorial -- Moro statesmen needed

Edirtorial posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Mar 16): Editorial -- Moro statesmen needed

In this uncertain times, self-less leaders are needed; those who think and act for the sake of the common good and higher interests of their people. They are who exhibit great wisdom and ability in the directing the affairs, say of the Bangsamoro people. They are what we must refer to as statesmen.

But statesmen are hard to find these days, the Bangsamoro people not excluded. But as revolutionaries, whom we call leaders of the MILF and MNLF, they are very many. They spent their lives in the service of their people and the cause they are fighting for.

Statesmen and revolutionaries, the real ones, are similar in at least one respect. They both work for the interest of the people – and not for themselves. They discriminate what is good for themselves and what is good for everybody --- and they choose the latter even if it is painful.

At present, a better deal in the form of a better law is under discussion by the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC). Its membership draws from various sections of the people in the proposed Bangsamoro political entity. Except for the faction headed by Nur Misuari, the MNLF is represented by three of its leaders, who are all capable and articulate.

Time is too short for the BTC to be able to submit the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to Congress through the Office of the President. The BTC just held its first session last March 6-7. It has yet to decide on its internal rules, assignment of committees, and the working draft of the BBL. On top of these, the BTC has yet to secure the release of its funding. The first session was only funded by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

We are not faulting anyone for the delay. But a reality check must be ensured. To expect the BTC to work and accomplish something beyond its capacity is like forcing a child to do a man’s work.

Our view is that the BTC had accepted the challenge but it also expects all the help needed especially from government. It also expects that no one from among its membership will rock the boat and becomes obstructionist.

The call for statesmanship is more directed to the members of the BTC. Every member thereof is capable or leader in his or her right; and many had served government on various capacities. All in all, there are six lawyers, five from government and one from the MILF. Seven of the 11 commissioners from the MILF are part of its central leadership. Of course, they never worked in government, except those who served in the previous BTC, and most of them have not finished college or acquired degrees. But surely they know what they want, and they are clearly guided. They can also deal with everybody on the basis of parity of esteem.

Success in crafting and passing a good BBL will be reaped by the Bangsamoro people especially the generations yet to come. The rest of the populations will also benefit therefrom, because there will be peace in our midst.

Failure, on the other hand, has direct bearing on the GPH-MILF peace process especially on the issue of decommissioning of MILF weapons and combatants. Thirty per cent of the MILF weapons and combatants will be decommissioned after the ratification of the BBL. The rest will be decommissioned later, subject to arrangements agreed by the parties, which are contained in the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB).

We are not saying there will be war in Mindanao. Nobody wants war. What we are saying is that missing the MILF as partner of government by passing the BBL will be a great opportunity to miss. For 19 years since 1997, the MILF has proved to be a real partner in peace. Most of the wars or fighting were initiated by government.

MILF: 362 Moro Farmers in Camp Abubakar graduate as beneficiaries of CCDP-B project upland rice based-farming

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Mar 16): 362 Moro Farmers in Camp Abubakar graduate as beneficiaries of CCDP-B project upland rice based-farming 

Three Hundred Sixty two (362) Moro farmers from the municipalities of Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur areas covered by Camp Abubakar, a former controlled territory of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and recognized by the government under the peace process graduated from a training on upland rice-based farming technology, leadership, and management last March 8, 2017.

The farmers coming from Matanog, Buldon and Barira, Maguindanao and Kapatagan, Balabagan, and Marogong, Lanao del Sur received their certificate of completion signed by Sailila E.Abdula, the Executive Director of Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice); Alexander G. Alonto Jr., Regional Secretary, DAF-ARMM; Susumo Ito, Chief Representative, JICA Philippines; and Ghadzali Jaafar, Chairman of the BTC.

The program is under the Comprehensive Capacity Development Project for the Bangsamoro (CCDP-B) which was concluded in December with support from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with Bangsamoro Transition Commissions’ Socio-Economic Office (BTC-SEO).

In a news release issued by JICA Philippine Office, it says that the said training is part of JICA’s Comprehensive Capacity Development Project for the Bangsamoro that aims to boost agriculture and improve public service delivery in Mindanao’s conflict areas.

Secretary Emanuel Piñol of the Department of Agriculture was the keynote speaker during the graduation ceremony.

BIAF Chief-of-Staff Sammy Al-Mansoor, in his welcome message, said: “It is good to note that this has been the product of peace process, and without it, this would not be possible. The presence of Secretary Manny Piňol today is also a proof of a successful peace process and the most important to note is that without JICA, represented by Mr. Susumo Ito, and the PhilRice headed by Dr Sailila, with the support of DA, we will face hardship in making this possible,”

Dr. Sailila of PhilRice expressed his deep appreciation to MILF leadership for their cooperation.

“The difference with the usual FFs is the inclusion of leadership and management by BLMI, and for sustainability aspect, the values transformation education, because we believe that agriculture is not only a social obligation but a religious obligation and hoping that you wouldn’t forget everything you have learned in this training”, Sailila told the farmers.

JICA Representative Ito pointed out that Mindanao has a great economic potential from the rest of the country. “Mindanao is an island with great economic potential. It is one of the largest producers of some of the Philippines’ agro-based products and its investment portfolio grows year after year,” he said.

“JICA believes that the challenges in Mindanao’s inclusive development can be overcome. We believe that peace and sustainable, equitable development can be realized since we began supporting Mindanao through the ARMM Social Fund for Peace and Development and J-BIRD or Japan-Bangsamoro Initiatives for Reconstruction and Development nearly ten years ago,” Ito said.

“Through working together and innovating continuously, we can all make Mindanao’s agriculture sector a strategic growth driver. It will not only help secure food for your families, it will also create jobs in your communities,” Ito said further.

“Ultimately, no matter what role you play in Mindanao’s peace and development, you may be a farmer, a trainer, whatever role you may have, all of you individually and collectively, have to do it to the best of your abilities in order to succeed. Your achievements in these trainings represent an important step in making people in conflict areas realize the dividends of peace and have a better life,” he pointed out.

Ghazali Jaafar, MILF Central Committee 1st Vice Chairman, and also Chairman of the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) pointed out the program is part of Jihad. “May Allah reward you as this is part of Jihad. It is an obligation towards Allah. Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) also did this, and as Muslim, we should follow his footsteps,” said Jaafar. “Our elders have been farming for a very long time, and they have their own technology and they succeed, what more now that we have the modern technology, just continue doing this as part of our Jihad”, he urged the farmers.

Maguindanao Gov. Toto Mangudadatu, has promised to support the program.

He said “In our side in the local government unit, we will never get tired in supporting the Bangsamoro because this is ours.”

DA Sec. Piñol, have cleared himself to MILF from being an anti-Moro and acknowledged that he was beaten twice in his gubernatorial race in North Cotabato because of the MILF.

Piñol is remembered by Moros as a peace spoiler especially the aborted signing of 2008 Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) that resulted to a renewed conflict in Maguindanao and Lanao areas that uprooted almost a million people.

“I know many of you are mad at me. You call me anti-Moro and I know many of you made my face as a target paper; on the issue of me being anti-Moro, name a Moro whom I’ve killed?” said Piñol.

Meanwhile, DA Secretary Pinol, after clearing his role before as Governor and his new task as Secretary said “My new role now is Secretary of Agriculture and I will perform this role to the best of my ability; I am here to show you that in my new role, we are altogether. Now that you know me, I wish we can talk on what to do and how to move forward.”

He said that President Duterte was with him in Japan, and signed a marketing agreement with Farm Mine, a Japanese company that supplies agricultural products in very huge supermarket in Japan.

“In that contract, they needed 20Million boxes of Cavendish bananas every year. Meaning, we need to plant bananas five to six thousand hectares, the condition, they would like to help the peace process, they said, they will source out from the Philippines if it is from former CAAM and former MILF areas. I told Mr. Chairman, this is an opportunity for us,” Pinol said.

“I came from South Korea, meet the officials of DOLE South Korea, they need 30M boxes of Banana every year, that is 7thousand hectares from the MILF areas and also help the peace process. I told Chair Murad that I would like to change the usual things happened here wherein big companies came and rented the lands and will pay the owner for 13-15K per hectare/per year and be given jobs,” he said.

“The President would like the Bangsamoro to organize themselves into a corporation that will own this banana plantation in partnership with the management and we, DA can give financial support because there are available funds for the peace process,” he said.

Piñol said that President Duterte would want to liberate the Bangsamoro from the bondage of poverty. “Not that all the time, their lands will be used for rental only”, Piñol relayed this message of Pres. Duterte. “He wanted to change the lives of the Bangsamoro,” Piñol said. He also promised agricultural support to the MILF farmers.

The MILF Chairman Murad responded positively to the gesture of Sec. Piñol.

“Before this, they have asked me two things, first, if it is allowed to hold the affair in Darapanan, and I said yes; second question is if it is okay to invite Sec. Piñol because he is anti-Muslim and I said yes, invite him and we will turn him to Pro-Muslim. A friend of Muslim,” Murad conveyed to the farmers.

“Let’s not rehash the past and move forward for the future,” Murad said.

On the other hand, on the peace process, Murad is optimistic that the peace process will succeed soon with Duterte administration. “During the launching of the New BTC, I said this is the second chance in peace process, I am being optimistic of this second chance because our President is from Mindanao, Senate President is from Mindanao, Speaker of the House is also from Mindanao, and a lot of his Cabinet Secretaries are also from Mindanao; they can all understand us; This is the best chance for us in Mindanao to be advance.

He congratulated the agencies who have exerted their supports, the farmers, and he said: “I would like to congratulate all the graduates. May we achieve the aspiration of the Bangsamoro, that is to bring back to us our self-determination. We are the one to develop our homeland. Our land is our only wealth.”

“We are building our future. Whatever we do is our future. We have to struggle, we have to work hard in order to build our future,” Chairman Murad said.

NDF-Sison: Prof. Sison appreciates President Duterte for agreeing to continue GRP-NDF peace negotiations

Propaganda statement by Jose Maria Sison posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Mar 15): Prof. Sison appreciates President Duterte for agreeing to continue GRP-NDF peace negotiations

Press Statement
15 March 2017

As founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and as Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in the peace negotiations between the Government of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP, I wish to express deep appreciation to President Rodrigo Duterte for deciding to continue the peace negotiations and enabling the GRP to proceed with the scheduled 4th round of formal talks in April as agreed upon by the GRP and NDFP Negotiating Panels during the 3rd round in Rome on 25 January 2017.

It is in the people’s interest for the GRP and the NDFP to pursue the forging of a peace agreement. The peace agreement should uphold the sovereignty and independence of the Filipino people, strengthen democracy for the exploited and oppressed people, create the conditions for economic development through land reform, national industrialization and expansion of social services and benefits, promotion of patriotic and scientific culture and peace and development in a multipolar world.

The foundations for these can be achieved within the current term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
I wish to inform the public that I have been hospitalized for some time but under the care of a team of medical specialists and other health workers. I am on the way to full recovery. I am presently helping in the preparations for the 4th round of the formal peace talks and hope to participate actively during the 4th round.

Thank you for your attention.

(Sgnd) Prof. Jose Maria Sison

CPP/NPA-Camarine Norte: On the fake news of an encounter between the NPA and the Philippine Army on March 15 in Barangay Itok

New People's Army propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Mar 16): On the fake news of an encounter between the NPA and the Philippine Army on March 15 in Barangay Itok  

The statement of the 9th ID, Philippine Army (PA), that a member of the New People’s Army was killed and the PA was able to confiscate arms, bullets and personal belongings during an encounter in Sitio Public, Barangay Itok, Capalonga this Wednesday, March 15, 2017 is a huge lie.

There was no encounter between the Philippine Army and any unit of the Armando Catapia Command of the New People’s Army in Camarines Norte. This was also refuted by the residents of Barangay Itok. According to the initial investigation, a civilian farmer by the name of Obina (last name) was accused as being a member of the NPA and was executed by elements of the 9th ID, under a certain Sgt. Hernandez, in Barangay Mactang, a nearby barrio.

This act of violence is part of the unjust all-out war under the bogus Oplan Kapayapaan (Operation Peace) of the Duterte regime. According to the revolutionary newspaper Ang Bayan, since the declaration of Oplan Ka­pa­ya­pa­an, a minimum of 3 farmers per week have been slain by the state’s armed forces.

Like the past operational plans of the previous regimes, this proves that the fascist government has complete disregard for the lives of innocent civilians. As a matter of fact, false accusation and execution of civilians has long been a part of the terrorist mode of operations of the Philippine Army to instill fear in the common people, in its futile and failed target of steering away the people from the revolutionary movement. It is also part of the hustle of submitting reports of so-called “successful” operations, so as to cover up their failure in defeating the NPA.

The Armando Catapia Command condemns this terrorist act. We call upon the people, including the local media and human rights advocates, to demand truth from the 9th ID, under Maj. Gen. Manolito P.Orense, and the 902nd Infantry Brigade, under Brig. Gen. Rolando C. Manalo, the one who submitted the false report. Expose the truth and fight for justice for the slain farmer and his family.

Carlito Cada
Armando Catapia Command
New People’s Army – Camarines Norte

CPP/NPA-SM: NPA seizes 15 firearms in Kidapawan PNP scalawag raid

New People's Army propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Mar 15): NPA seizes 15 firearms in Kidapawan PNP scalawag raid

Rigoberto F. Sanchez, Spokesperson
NPA-Southern Mindanao

16 March 2017

Without firing a single shot Red commanders and fighters of New People’s Army’s Mt. Apo Sub-Regional Command swiftly carried out a raid seizing 15 firearms on an arms cache of a PNP scalawag at around 1:00 in the afternoon in Brgy. Mateo, Kidapawan City, March 15, 2017. The NPA’s daring disarming operation was conducted in close proximity to the command headquarters of the Philippine Army’s 39th Infantry Battalion and several minutes away from the city police headquarters.

Seized from the house of PNP/CIDG confidential agent Reynaldo V. Dinampo were four M4 Bushmaster rifles, 2 M14 rifles, 1 Ultimax light machine gun, 2 M203 grenade launchers, 1 shotgun, 1 KG9 sub-machine gun, and 4 calibre .45 pistols, assorted ammunitions and magazines and various other military hardware.

The Southern Mindanao NPA Regional Operations Command acknowledges this punitive action against Region 12’s top brass in the PNP and the CIDG who have for years immensely profited from the illegal arms trade. With the protection of mercenary police scalawags, Dinampo and his network of dealers smuggle arms and ammunition for private armies of warlords, big landlords and compradors, big bureaucrats and fanatic paramilitary groups in North Cotabato, Far South and Central Mindanao and some parts of Davao Region. The same weapons have targeted Lumad and peasants in the countryside, and other civilians and members of progressive groups.

The masses in North Cotabato celebrate this recent disarming operation by the Red army as fitting revolutionary justice against the fascist PNP that opened fire at thousands of protesting Lumad and peasants, killing 3 and severely wounding others, on April 1 last year in what is notoriously known as Kidapawan massacre.

NPA units will continue to punish, disarm and dismantle arms trade made into milking cows by the ruling class and its armed forces at the expense of millions of poor Filipinos. While the AFP and the PNP engage themselves in all-out war, Oplan Tokhang and large miners and plantations, the NPA strives to launch more victorious tactical offensives for the benefit of the Filipino masses.