Thursday, April 13, 2017

Detained Kadamay members freed on bail

From Rappler (Apr 12): Detained Kadamay members freed on bail

The release of the 40 detained Kadamay members comes ahead of the courts’ closure for the Holy Week

DETAINED. Around 50 members of Kadamay are detained in Camp Karingal in Quezon City over charges of trespassing and coercion. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

DETAINED. Around 50 members of Kadamay are detained in Camp Karingal in Quezon City over charges of trespassing and coercion. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

After spending 9 days in Camp Karingal, the 40 Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) members who were detained over a housing protest were released on bail on Wednesday, April 12.

The release comes ahead of the courts' closure for the Holy Week.

Quezon City Police District head Chief superintendent Guillermo Eleazar confirmed the receipt of a release order for detained Kadamay members after 6:00 pm on Wednesday.

Earlier, Kadamay said the police employed “delaying tactics” to prevent their release – an accusation police officials denied.

“While they should have already been released on bail, authorities have been blatantly delaying the process so that they may be transferred to the Quezon City Jail,” Kadamay said in a statement.

Police arrested on April 3 some 80 members of Kadamay after they occupied a vacant housing area in Barangay Apollo, Tandang Sora, that was demolished last year before President Rodrigo Duterte took his oath. The oldest from the group is 83-year old Epifana Rufa. (READ: Daughter of oldest detained Kadamay member seeks mother's release)

The detained protesters face trespassing and coercion charges.

Kadamay chairperson Gloria Arellano said they occupied the area since they did see any project being built there 9 months after they were driven away. (WATCH: Kadamay's #OccupyPabahay: Anarchy or just cause?)

Delaying tactics?

KADAMAY questioned the police about the delay in the release of the certificate of detention for the detained members. Only 34 of the detained 40 were also officially recognized by the police.

“Kayo nang-aresto, kayo nanghuli tapos biglang hindi niyo pala kilala?” Arellano asked. (You arrested them. You detained them despite failing to identify all of them?)

Quezon City Police District head Chief superintendent Guillermo Eleazar denied Kadamay’s claim that the detainees have already posted bail.

“They haven't posted bail yet. Since the court only operated until afternoon today, Wednesday, they can't make it that is why they are requesting for them not to be transferred to the city jail as there is already commitment order from the court,” Eleazar explained in mixed Filipino and English.

Eleazar said that Gabriela Representative Emmi De Jesus and National Anti-Poverty Commission head Liza Maza visited Camp Karingal and requested the police to delay the transfer of the 40 Kadamay members to the city jail.

The police agreed despite a court order to transfer the detainees to the custody of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), according to Eleazar. “Iva-violate ang commitment ng order ng court. I will take the risk for their humanitarian concern. Pinagbibigyan na nga sila eh,” Eleazar added. (We will violate the commitment stated in the court order for humanitarian reasons.)

DSWD visit

On Monday, April 10, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Undersecretary Malou Turalde, together with some employees of the DSWD Central Office, also checked the condition of the 8 detained senior citizens.

SENIOR CITIZENS. DSWD Undersecretary Malou Turalde appeals for the release of the senior citizens for humanitarian reasons. Photo from DSWD

Turalde expressed concern over the senior citizens' plight. Their age ranges from 64 to 83.

“Sa kanilang dating sitwasyon ay mahirap na, ngunit mas malubha pa ngayong sila ay nasa Camp Karingal. Ang mga matatanda at may sakit ay naghihirap sa loob, kung kaya’t umaapela kami na sila sana ay palayain na, bilang malasakit sa kanilang katandaan at dinaranas na karamdaman,” Turalde said. (Their situation prior to detention is already difficult, and being detained at Camp Karingal is even more deplorable. We appeal for their release as a show of compassion considering their old age and well-being.)

Some of the detained senior citizens are suffering from heart ailment, hypertension, and diabetes. (READ: Taguiwalo appeals for release of detained elderly Kadamay members)

Bad or good intel: 5 questions on Abu Sayyaf presence in Bohol

From Rappler (Apr 13): Bad or good intel: 5 questions on Abu Sayyaf presence in Bohol

The military foils an Abu Sayyaf attack in Bohol. But it's hard to cheer when it let a notorious terrorist leader slip out of its watch.

Abu Sayyaf leader Muamar Askali and 10 of his men boarded 3 pump boats from Indanan, Sulu, the night of April 6, "insiders" told the military. When they went missing for several days, the generals got worried.

Four days later, on the night of April 10, residents of Inabanga town in faraway Bohol reported the presence of boats and heavily armed men who were purportedly welcomed into 3 houses owned by Muslim converts in the community.

A day later, at 5 am, clashes began between authorities and the terrorists led by the notorious Muamar Askali, the daring and media-savvy Abu Sayyaf leader who collected multi-million-dollar ransom money in exchange for their foreign hostages.

Askali was among the 6 terrorists killed. Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año congratulated his men for dealing a blow to the terrorist group they had been working hard to eliminate. He assured the public that the 5 remnant Abu Sayyaf are being pursued and no longer pose threat. (READ: 10 killed as gov't forces foil Abu Sayyaf attack in Cebu)

"Abu Rami is an Abu Sayyaf subleader and their known spokesman. Abu Rami is a young, aggressive, and upcoming leader of the Abu Sayyaf who has the potential of being the next leader of the group," Año said.

But it's hard to cheer for the military that let a notorious Abu Sayyaf leader slip out of its watch.

1. Was there good intel?

Año, a veteran intelligence officer, acknowledged the military could have done more with better intelligence information.

"It's very ideal if we are able to intercept them before they arrived in Inabanga, Bohol. But intelligence work is like solving a big puzzle. You only have bits of parts from one end to the other. Your job is to project or paint the picture," Año said.

When they received information that Askali and his men left Indanan on April 6, he said they had no idea where they planned to go.

"When we receive an intel report, we validate it. We cross-check. It's not like we're watching a CCTV and we see everything. We have to validate the intent of the Abu Sayyaf, whether they will go to Sabah, Palawan, Iloilo, or as far as Luzon. Those are the immediate questions," said Año.

They waited for the information on where Askali and his men were going. It came late. Meanwhile, the military put its units nationwide on heightened alert.

"Sometimes information would come late so you react late also. But still it’s not late because we are able to counter them," Año said.

2. What was the Abu Sayyaf's plan?

 INABANGA, BOHOL. The Abu Sayyaf Group led by Muamar Askali was reportedly welcomed by Muslim converts in the community

The alternate scenario, if the local residents did not report the presence of the armed men, would have been a national crisis that would again raise the international profile of the Abu Sayyaf and put the country in a bad light.

Año had pictured the Abu Sayyaf's plan in his mind. It was to be an Easter Sunday attack in a nearby resort in the wee hours of the morning. The local terrorist group had often taken advantage of the Holy Week break because of high tourist arrivals.

They arrived in Bohol on Monday, but they had to acclimatize to the area first, be familiar with the surroundings, and send the contacts to targeted resorts.

"Each boat is good for 10 to 12 persons. If they are 11, they are expecting another 4 or 5 persons per boat. That is 10 to 12 kidnap victims," he said.

Año said they tried to repeat their feat in Samal Island in September 2015. Askali's group kidnapped two Canadians and a Norwegian at an upscale resort in Davao province. Canadians John Risdell and Robert Hall were beheaded after failing to meet ransom demands. They released Norwegian Kjartan Sekkingstad after receiving US$638,000 in ransom.

"It's like Samal. Hindi kidnapping kaagad (It's not immediate kidnapping). It would take days, probably Easter. Our counteractions are very fast They were immediately neutralized," said Año.

3. Why Bohol?

But why did the Abu Sayyaf target Bohol? Authorities are now investigating a resident, who married a woman from Lanao and converted to Islam, and one of those who allegedly welcomed the Abu Sayyaf to the community.

He escaped during the siege.

The Abu Sayyaf planned to attack the same route before, according to former Philippine Navy chief Alexander Pama.

"The ASG operating in Bohol? This is not surprising at all," Pama said in a Facebook post.

Pama said he was the commander of the Naval Task Group Stingray when intel provided them a "detailed sea jacking plan of a passenger fast craft plying the Siquijor-Dumaguete-Dipolog route" after the notorious Dos Palmas kidnapping incident in 2001.

"We, TG Stingray, were waiting for them to come up particularly in the Bohol-Siquijor-Dumaguete-Dipolog corridors. They never ventured up though. I guess we deterred and preempted their plans," Pama narrated.

Bohol is the perfect target because of the influx of tourists, said Año.

"If you look at the mind of the Abu Sayyaf, they are just simple people. They just want to get kidnap victims for money. Where can they get victims? They assess kung saan mas madali (where it is easiest). Nakita nila (They saw that) Bohol and Cebu are tourist destinations during the summer," Año said.

It was harder for them to operate in their traditional areas in the waters in southern Philippines because of the better coordination between the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

4. Did US have specific information about the planned attack?

On Sunday, April 9, the United States embassy issued a travel warning against Central Visayas. Año said part of the embassy's information came from the military.

"We monitored several plans and we shared that with our foreign counterparts. What they do with that information is entirely their own," said Año.

Año said both the military and the police have "for some time now" been following up on a "series of information" on the Abu Sayyaf's plans to target "tourist areas to sow terror and potentially abduct people.

While they downplayed the US advisory, Año said the Western Mindanao Command in Zamboanga City and the Central Command in Cebu had been "zealously" working with their local counterparts.

"On our part, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, we made these preparations as early as Friday. On Saturday we already sent alert warning memo to our troops. That's why mabilis 'yung reaction ng mga tropa natin (That was why our troops were quick to respond)."

4. Why deploy so many assets against 11 Abu Sayyaf?

KILLED IN ACTION. 2Lt Estelito Saldua belongs to the 47th Infantry Battalion that clashed with the Abu Sayyaf Group in Bohol. He is a member of PMA Class 2015.

When they confirmed the presence of the Abu Sayyaf in Bohol, Año called Centcom chief Lieutenant General Oscar Lactao to tell him that all assets were available to him.

They flew in from Manila a team from the Joint Special Operations Group (JSOG), the most elite among the military's elite units, along with several choppers to conduct air strikes against the small but heavily armed terrorists.

"At that moment, we still didn’t know the whole picture if there was really just 11 of them. As they say, when you fight an enemy, you should be prepared and make all available forces ready. 'Yung makita lang nila mag-surrender na sila sa takot (You want to impress them with your firepower and force them to surrender out of fear). If they choose to fight it out, we have very good air assets in our possession," Año said.

They did fight it out in Inabanga, Bohol. Three soldiers and a cop – including junior officer Second Lieutenant Estelito Saldua who graduated from the military academy only last 2015 – were killed.

Most of them were killed in the first salvo of the fight on Tuesday morning.

5. How can the military improve?

The Abu Sayyaf's foray into Bohol underscores the need to boost the assets of the Philippine Navy.

"Our country is an archipelagic nation. We really need naval assets to conduct maritime security. In our modernization program, the priority is the Philippine Navy," Año said.

The best operation

No matter its shortcomings, the military succeeded in foiling the Abu Sayyaf's planned attack in Bohol. The operation in Inabanga will surely win medals for the soldiers who saved the country from another internatioal embarrassment.

But the best military operations are those that don't really win awards, said Pama.

"Very good intel and effective deterrence will always be the best option although there will be no medals because there are no encounters. More importantly, however, there are no lives lost as in this incident."

Army dares left groups: File criminal charges

From the Mindanao Times (Apr 12): Army dares left groups: File criminal charges

CONDENMING “unfounded allegations” of left-leaning groups pinning government soldiers to the number of death of farmers in the provinces, the Army’s 10th Infantry Division has challenged communist drumbeaters to file charges in court instead of waging a propaganda.

Capt. Alexandre Cabales, the acting chief of the division’s public affairs office (DPAO), said groups identified with the National Democratic Front (NDF) should filed proper charges against the perpetrators – may be soldiers or civilians — before the appropriate government bodies so that justice could be served.

“We urge these NDF-allied organizations to go beyond their usual communist propaganda lines (by seeking) justice for these alleged victims through the rule of law and not through press releases and statements,” Cabales said.

“If the suspects of these alleged killings are members of the 10ID, we will welcome, cooperate and support the investigations and judicial process,” Cabales said.

The official said they do not condone any misbehavior or abuses of its members and will be very grateful to those who will help them purge the ranks from misfits.

From March 2 up to April 6, at least nine farmers in Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte were killed.

Reportedly killed were couple Ramon and Leonila Pesadilla in Compostela; couple Arlene and Arman Alcominar and Cora Lina in Laak; Pedro Pandagay in Mabini; Danilo Nadal and Edwin Catog in Pantukan; all in Compostela Valley and Elias Pureza in San Isidro, Davao del Norte.

Jay Apiag, Karapatan in Southern Mindanao Region spokesperson, said Pureza was the 23rd victim of such attack in the region in the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte. Apiag said the death of Pureza night have been carried by soldiers.

But Cabales said Apiag should to bring the evidence to the police, instead of waging a media campaign.

Police are still facing blank wall on its investigation as they could not establish the identity of the perpetrators due to lack of witnesses.

These NDF-allied groups should come forward and provide the police or any other government investigating bodies with the information or evidence they have,” Cabales said.

Otherwise, Cabales added, they should stop their “cowardly act of besmirching the good name of our soldiers, the 10ID and the AFP with their usual communist propaganda lies.”
“ Otherwise, it will only confirm the notion that the existence of KARAPATAN is to support the CPP-NPA armed struggle by undermining the successful efforts of the government against the communist violent insurgency through all these baseless and unfounded allegations,” he added.

Heightened alert

From the Mindanao Times (Apr 13): Heightened alert

5,000 cops and 1,500 soldiers deployed

LAW ENFORCEMENT units have raised their security alert in time for the observance of the Holy Week.Sr. Insp. Maria Theresa Gaspan, Davao City Police Office spokesperson, told TIMES yesterday police units have been deployed in public areas, among them churches to preempt possible terrorist threats. Gaspan said that police units will also help supervise the traffic, set up checkpoints in coordination with the Task Force Davao and the City Public Safety Command Center.
She added that about half of those 5,000 uniformed personnel that were deployed came from the police office while the others were security volunteers.

She added that the heightened alert is a preventive measure as the police unit has not received any information about any threat.

“We might not have received any report but let us not be complacent,” she said, adding that law enforcers have also intensified intelligence gathering by linking with other law enforcement units.

Gaspan also reminded the residents to secure their houses before embarking on a vacation. “If you are traveling, my caution is for you to be vigilant at all times and make sure that you entrust your homes to your neighbors,” she added.

She also urged the public not to share information about whereabouts in social media because unscrupulous individuals might take advantage.

Col Erwin Bernard Neri, Task Force Davao commander, added that the military has augmented his unit, doubling the number of soldiers deployed in the city to 1,500.

“We have added security personnel in terminals sea ports and airports and we have also intensified checkpoint operations,” Neri said.

3 rebels, 2 of them minors, surrender

From the Mindanao Times (Apr 13): 3 rebels, 2 of them minors, surrender

TWO minors and another member of the New People’s Army surrendered to the Alfa Company of the 60th Infantry Battalion in Brgy. Sto. Niño,Talaingod, Davao del Norte on Tuesday.
Second Lt. Amadeuz Vincent John Celestial, civil military operations officer of 60thIB, identified the older rebel only as Marito, 27; while the minors were just 17 and 14.

The three, said Celestial, are members of the Ata Manobo tribe.

The military reported that the three first contacted a community leader in the area, who also happened to be a member of a paramilitary unit in the town.

The report said that a certain Jimboy recruited them with a promise of paying them salaries, something that never happened as they were made to join the rebel units in the Southern Mindanao Regional Command.
The minors claimed they decided to separate themselves from the rebel and gave up to authorities because their units did not treat them humanely. They also feared the possibility of getting caught or killed.

The military report said the three have undergone medical examinations and stress debriefing as the minors will also undergo special psychological debriefing.

Lt. Colonel Emmanuel Canilla, commander of 60th IB said he was disheartened with the NPA’s use of the minors.

Canilla said that it was a clear manifestation of the NPA’s disregard of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law which the rebel group also signed.

Last March, two other child soldiers of the NPA also surrendered to 60IB in Kapalong.

EastMinCom on heightened alert status to deter Abu, prevent NPA

From MindaNews (Apr 13): EastMinCom on heightened alert status to deter Abu, prevent NPA

The Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMincom) has placed all its units on heightened alert status two days after an armed encounter between military forces and the terrorist Abu Sayyaf Group in Inabanga, Bohol Tuesday.

In a press release, Maj. Ezra L. Balagtey, chief of Public Information Office of the EastMincom, said they raised the alert level to deter any possible diversionary act by the Abu Sayyaf and prevent members of the New People’s Army (NPA) from taking “advantage of the situation and conduct atrocities” while the communities are observing Holy Week.

He said their troops are closely coordinating with different local government units and other law enforcement agencies to strengthen the security of various communities, installations, and infrastructure while some of their personnel and equipment had been sent to Central Command on April 12 to provide additional naval capability in their operations.

On April 11, the same day of the encounter with the terrorist group in Bohol, the Tactical Operations Group (TOG) 10 of the Philippine Air Force based in Cagayan de Oro City dispatched two aircrafts and additional reinforcement to Bohol.

On April 10, a day before the Bohol attack, President Rodrigo Duterte was asked during a press conference at the Davao International Airport before he flew to the Middle East for state visits, if he had information similar to the US Embassy’s advisory against a possible terror attack in Central Visayas, particularly Bohol and Cebu.

Duterte replied: “I have read it, not from the military but from the newspaper. And besides kaya natin. Kaya natin (We can take care of this).

He said that during a debate at the Dela Salle University last year where only he showe dup among the Presdiential cnadidates, Duterte said he was asked how he would deal with terrorism and his answer as “harshly.”

In Northern Mindanao, Philippine National Police (PNP) 10 spokesperson Supt. Lemuel Gonda said security forces were also on full alert status and started monitoring the hospitals and clinics for possible presence of ASG members who escaped from Bohol.

11 Sayyafs fighters wanted in Sabah surrender in Philippines (Photos)

From the Mindanao Examiner (Apr 12): 11 Sayyafs fighters wanted in Sabah surrender in Philippines


Military photo shows Abu Sayyaf members following their surrender to the Western Mindanao Command in southern Philippines.

Military photo shows Abu Sayyaf members following their surrender to the Western Mindanao Command in southern Philippines.


The Philippine military announced Wednesday the surrender of 11 notorious Abu Sayyaf fighters wanted for piracy and kidnappings in Sabah in Malaysia; and gruesome crimes in southern Philippines.

Army Captain Jo-ann Petinglay, a spokesperson for the Western Mindanao Command, said two of those who yielded to the military were sub-leaders involved in cross-border raids in Malaysia’s eastern state of Sabah.

“Two notorious sub-leaders of the Abu Sayyaf group and nine more Abu Sayyaf bandits tagged in cross-border kidnappings and other nefarious activities surrendered to the troops of the Joint Task Forces Tawi-Tawi and Basilan under the Western Mindanao Command as all-out military offensives ensue in Mindanao,” she said.

Petinglay said the duo – Berong Sariol and Ben Sariol – were commanders of the ISIS-affiliate group operating in Tawi-Tawi. The others have been identified by the military as Jasim Dambong, Mujil Dambong, Magelan Langal, Kael Sariol, Nurhamin Sariol, Alhan Sariol, Amnisain Sariol, Akmad Sariol, and Benasil Sariol – all from Tawi-Tawi.

Both sub-leaders had been previously arrested by authorities in Tawi-Tawi’s Bongao town in May 2009, but freed due to the failure of law enforcers to present arrest warrants. All those who surrendered were also wanted in Sabah for piracy and kidnappings, the military said.

Petinglay said the Sariol group was tagged as behind the January 2008 brutal murder of a Catholic priest, Reynaldo Roda, in South Ubian in Tawi-Tawi and the April 2014 kidnappings in Sabah of Chinese tourist Gao Hua Yun and Filipina resort worker Marcy Dayawan, including Mayor Kuyoh Pajiji, of Tawi-Tawi’s Sibutu town in June 2003; and Korean ship captain Chul Hong Park and his Filipino crew Glen Alendajao, also in Tawi-Tawi last year.

“The Sariol group is wanted in Sabah for various piracy and kidnapping offenses,” she said, adding, all of them were being interrogated by the military before handing them over to the local police.

Just recently, one Abu Sayyaf member, Ferdauz Asgari, a follower of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Nurhassan Jamiri in Basilan province also surrendered to the 74th Infantry Battalion in Tipo-Tipo town. He also yielded a Garand rifle. The military said 16 Abu Sayyaf fighters had surrendered since January in Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, three of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

The government has not offered any amnesty to the Abu Sayyaf and other jihadist groups fighting for the establishment of a caliphate in the restive region.

On Tuesday, ssecurity forces killed at least 11 Abu Sayyaf fighters in fierce clashes that also left 3 soldiers dead and two more injured in Bohol province in central Philippines. Among those killed was a notorious jihadist leader, Muammar Askali alias Abu Rami, who was implicated in the beheading of several foreign hostages of the Abu Sayyaf in Sulu province.

The fighting erupted in the village of Ilaya in Inabanga town where civilians reported to the police the presence of heavily-armed jihadists who arrived in several speedboats. The Western Mindanao Command said it provided intelligence to its counterpart in the Visayas on the movement of the Abu Sayyaf.

It said continuous military operations against the Abu Sayyaf in Basilan and Sulu constricted or limited the capability of the group to mount ransom kidnappings or terrorism in the region and forced the jihadists to strike in other areas.

86IB holds series of security awareness fora

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 13): 86IB holds series of security awareness fora

The 86 Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army based in Jones, Isabela and in Nagtipunan, Quirino has embarked on a series of security awareness fora in Maddela and Jones secondary schools.

Lt Col Jose Vladimir R. Cagara, commanding officer, said the series of fora aims to inform the students about the programs and advocacies of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Cagara said through the conduct of such activities, youth's awareness about the ongoing activities of the New People’s Army in Maddela such as the recruitment of members from the youth sector will be heightened.

He said hundreds of  students and teachers from the Maddela Comprehensive High School, Dipintin National School and Dumabato Integrated School and Isabela State University in Jones, Isabela attended the series of fora.

“We believe that by educating  the youth about the government’s programs and enlightening them about some misleading information,  they will not become an easy  prey for  propaganda,” the commanding officer said as he urged the parents and teachers to guide them as the NPA groups are using some issues just to  lure the youth to join the organization.

He recalled that the members of the NPA are openly recruiting  would-be members by hanging tarpaulins in public places urging the youth to join the organization.

In the PNP’s Talakayan sa Isyung Pulis radio program, the Quirino Provincial Public Safety  Company 2nd Maneuver  Platoon based in Dipantan, Nagtipunan headed by Police Chief Inspector Jaime Benedicto, Jr. has reported that some pieces of paper bearing messages of inviting residents to become members of the NPA were scattered  in front of their camp recently.

Both the 86 IB and the 2nd Maneuver Platoon  assured that they have strengthened their programs to ensure peace and security as they also urged the residents to report to authorities any untoward incidents to pre-empt any plans to sow terrorism in their places.

Tagalog news: WESCOM, naka-heightened alert laban sa banta ng terorismo sa Palawan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Apr 13): Tagalog news: WESCOM, naka-heightened alert laban sa banta ng terorismo sa Palawan

Upang matiyak ang kapayapaan, seguridad at kaligtasan ng mga mamamayan ng Palawan sa ano mang gawain ng mga terorista, nagdeklara ng heightened alert status ang Western Command sa lalawigan.

Ang deklarasyon ay kasunod ng naganap na engkuwentro sa Bohol sa pagitan ng tropa ng pulis at sundalo ng pamahalaan at mga bandidong Abu Sayyaf.

Sa isinagawang press conference kahapon sa WESCOM headquarters, tinuran ni Lt. General Raul del Rosario, commander ng WESCOM, na pinalakas ngayon ng kanilang hanay ang pagmamanman upang maiwasan ang posibleng puntirya ng kidnap-for-ransom group (KFRG) lalo na sa mga lugar na dinarayo ng mga turista.

Ani del Rosario, nakahanda na ang kanilang naval at air assets at sinimulan na rin nila ang pagsasagawa ng random check point, pagpapatrolya at mas pinaigting na military visibility.

“Pinosisyon na natin sila sa key areas. We are wasting no time to come up with our coordinated actions. While the coastguard, the PNP are doing inspections on their respective areas, we are coming up with plans on how to conduct joint operations particularly on those prone areas like seaports, airports and other areas where there could be ASG or KFRG supporters (Hindi tayo nag-aaksaya ng panahon sa ating mga pinagsama-samang gawain. Habang ang coastguard at PNP ay nagsasagwa ng masusing inspeksiyon sa kanilang mga lugar, kami naman ay nagpaplano kung paanong mapagsasanib-pwersa, partikular sa mga lugar na prone sa mga taga-suporta ng ASG o KRFG gaya ng pier o paliparan)”, pahayag pa ng opisyal.

Kaugnay nito, nagsagawa rin kahapon ng pagpupulong ang interagency security na binubuo ng Philippine National Police (PNP), Maritime group, Philippine Coast Guard at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) na pinangunahan ng WESCOM Commander.

“Nandito kami to get our acts together to prevent terrorism happening in Palawan. While we have been vigilant in doing our respective jobs, it is best if we coordinate all our efforts together,” dagdag pa ni del Rosario.

Nanawagan din ang WESCOM ng pakikipagtulungan mula sa mga komunidad upang makatuwang ng pamahalaan sa pagsawata sa mga terorismong Gawain.

Troops pursue NPA rebels in North Cotabato

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 12): Troops pursue NPA rebels in North Cotabato

Government forces intensified Wednesday their operation against a band of New People's Army (NPA) rebels who recently attacked and seized officials of a remote community in North Cotabato province.

Elements of the 39th Infantry Battalion (IB) and North Cotabato police public safety battalion clashed Tuesday morning with about 50 NPA rebels belonging to Guerilla Front 53 in Barangay (village) Balite, Magpet town, said Lt. Colonel Harold Argamosa, 39th IB chief.

"Our combat operation will continue even during this Holy Week," he said.

Argamosa said the government troops were conducting combat operation against the NPAs who attacked the village of Mahongcog on Sunday. The communist rebels seized village chair Michael Lingaro and 10 of his "tanods" (village watchmen).

The rebels later freed the village chair and his men. About 32 assorted firearms were taken by the rebels from the village.

Argamosa said the Army suffered a fatality and two wounded in the one-hour firefight Tuesday morning in Barangay Balite, which is close to Barangay Mahongcog.

"The NPAs suffered a fatality and three injured," Argamosa said, adding that the wounded rebels were residents of the village recruited by the NPA before the clash.

About 200 families have fled to safer grounds with the local government of Magpet providing emergency assistance to the affected families. They were from the village of Balite who moved to the adjacent villages of Katindu and Anuling in nearby Arakan town, also in North Cotabato.

Argamosa said the attack in Barangay Mahongcog was well planned with the attackers coming in the village using Toyota Fortuner vehicles and passenger vans.

Argamosa vowed to continue pressing the rebels who he condemned "for taking advantage of the government's peace initiative to build forces and collect revolutionary taxes from innocent civilians."

Bohol incident sends Palawan on ‘heightened security alert’

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 12): Bohol incident sends Palawan on ‘heightened security alert’
The Western Command (WESCOM) and other law enforcement authorities in Palawan are now on “heightened security alert” following Tuesday’s clash in Inabanga town in Bohol between members of the kidnap terrorist group Abu Sayyaf and government troops.

At the same time, WESCOM called on the people of Palawan to “remain vigilant, calm, and immediately report any suspicious-looking individuals to the nearest AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippine) and PNP (Philippine National Police) stations for appropriate action.

“The key to a secure and safe Palawan is the collaborative and synergistic actions of all stakeholders,” said WESCOM commander Lt. General Raul del Rosario to the local press following and interagency law enforcement security meeting early Wednesday morning.

The WESCOM commander said that while they “have been vigilant in doing” their “respective jobs, “it is best” that “all efforts” of the military and other law enforcement agencies “are coordinated” in light of what happened in Bohol.

“We are all here to really get our acts together to prevent terrorism from happening in Palawan. While we have been vigilant in doing our respective jobs, it is best if we coordinate all our efforts. So far, what we have done is analyze the past experiences,” Del Rosario said, telling the local press that they had just briefed themselves regarding the Dos Palmas Island Resort incident in May 2001.

Included in the briefing were the sailing routes which could be “probable targets for the Abu Sayyaf and other kidnap-for-ransom groups,” and a review of the recent clash in Bohol.

“From here, we will draw our security posture in Palawan… based on all the lessons learned, and the things that we noted that the Abu Sayyaf did in Bohol,” he stated.

For WESCOM, Del Rosario said Tuesday’s incident in “Bohol was a success story because government troops were able to stop the plan of the Abu Sayyaf to kidnap their targets.”

Good lessons learned from the episode was the sharing of intelligence reports when there were indications that there were members of the terrorist group in Inabanga; second was the immediate reporting of the sightings by the barangay to the military and other law enforcement authorities; and instantaneous response by those that received the intelligence reports.

“While we speak, we have been dispersing our naval assets. It’s already done; we’ve prepositioned them in key areas… areas that are frequented by tourists considering the season… we have deployed our assets. Our air assets are also on standby,” he said.

Del Rosario stated further that they are coming up with plans on the conduct of joint operations, particularly in susceptible zones, such as seaports, where there could be Abu Sayyaf or kidnap-for-ransom group supporters.

Since resorts, especially those located on remote islands in Palawan are considered vulnerable areas, where kidnappings could be done, Del Rosario said that as early as December last year, they have been coordinating with resort owners and managers, and their security personnel to ensure WESCOM knows their security protocols.

“Last December, there were already reports that kidnappings could be done, and even during that time we already started coordinating with resort and hotel owners’ security personnel to advise to report immediately any suspicious activity or personality, and we exchanged contact numbers or hotline numbers,” he claimed, adding they intend to talk to them again to review the SOPs (standard operating procedures) that were established with them in the past.

If requests for additional security personnel are from WESCOM, he said, an evaluation will have to be done to determine the nature of the problem before a plan is created with other law enforcement agencies.

On standby to provide quick response are naval and coast guard floating assets, special operations units of the Philippine Navy (PN) and troops from the PNP and the Philippine Marines.

Where they are exactly deployed was not given in details by Del Rosario. “They are now in position,” he said.

Lawyer and Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) chair Atty. Teodoro Jose Matta, who was also at WESCOM, said that for the provincial government, Governor Jose Alvarez’ direction is “not to have a repeat of the Dos Palmas Island Resort incident.”

“Ever since the peace and order program was spawned, the initial instruction of the governor was not to have a repeat of the Dos Palmas incident. Added to that, since way back, we have intensified our barangay networks. This is through various provincial government agencies not just the peace and order program; mostly, rescue and then of course, livelihood programs, where we have touched based with the barangays. However, this is not full proof. That is why maybe after this meeting, we will reestablish our connections with the crucial barangays, and then maybe, establish a communication network where any stranger, who goes in may be relayed to the various agencies,” he said.

Asked where the crucial areas are in the province, Matta said they are still discussing and they do not want the information out.

“Some of these areas remain under deliberation whether or not we treat them as critical/crucial areas,” Matta stated.

CPP/NPA-SM: NPA ruse disarms brgy. captain, paramilitary group in North Cotabato, seizes 32 firearms

NPA propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Apr 10):
NPA ruse disarms brgy. captain, paramilitary group in North Cotabato, seizes 32 firearms

Rigoberto F. Sanchez, Spokesperson
NPA-Southern Mindanao

10 April 2017

Without firing a single shot and posing as enemy troops, Red fighters of the Mt. Apo Sub-Regional Command-NPA in Southern Mindanao disarmed a barangay captain and his men, confiscating 32 firearms and other military hardware in Brgy. Mahongkog, Magpet in North Cotabato yesterday, April 9, at around 9:00 in the morning.

There is absolutely no truth to the AFP’s pathetic and desperate claims that the NPA unit abducted Brgy. Captain Michael Lingaro and his men or used them as “human shield” following the successful disarming.

In fact, Lumad and peasant masses, rejoice the NPA’s punitive action against the paramilitary group that has long been used by the AFP in its counter-insurgency and anti-people campaign.

The confiscated arms cache is composed of 2 M16 rifles, 1 M4 Bushmaster assault rifle, 2 M14, 2 Garand, 4 Carbine, 2 M79 grenade launchers, 4 .45 caliber pistols, 2 9mm pistols, 1 Uzi sub-machine gun, 12 shot guns, 91 assorted magazines, 12 vests and 4 military radios.

Red fighters talked to the masses and explained the purpose of the successful disarming before they safely withdrew from the barangay.

It is evident that the fascist enemy is weaving tales in the media in order to smokescreen its direct recruitment of civilians for counter-insurgency and anti-people campaign. Lingaro and his group are being used by the Army’s 39th IB to conduct counter-revolutionary terror on civilians in the hinterlands.

Prior to the disarming operation, masses reported that during the conduct of the Army’s PDOP (Peace and Development Outreach Program) operations in Mahongkog last year, not only did the 39th IB know of the existence of these firearms but also encouraged their use for counterrevolution and anti-people activities.

It is in the interest of pursuing just and lasting and peace that the AFP is prevented from further arming and using civilians against their fellow Lumad and peasants in the countryside. The NPA, especially in Southern Mindanao, will continue to launch disarming operations as part of its duty of protecting the masses and defending its territories under the auspices of the People’s Democratic Government.

CPP/NPA-NEMR: NPA-NEMR will not launch offensive actions during Holy Week

NPA propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Apr 10):
NPA-NEMR will not launch offensive actions during Holy Week

36th IB PA and 3rd SFB Attacks Against the NPA in Surigao Del Sur, a Failure

Ka Ariel Montero, Spokesperson
NPA-Northeastern Mindanao

10 April 2017

The military operations launched by not less than 140 troops of the 36th IB PA and 7th coy 3rd SFB PA in the mountain areas of Marihatag and San Agustin, Surigao del Sur since April 5 until the present, totally failed. Two enemies (2) were killed and four (4) were wounded during this attack against the NPA-Front 19. Red fighters struck them three (3) times within one day in Brgy. Mahaba, Marihatag, Surigao del Sur. This happened last April 7, 2017 at 1:30 and 2:00 in the afternoon and at 11:00 in the evening. Last April 9, 2017 at 7:00 in the morning, enemy troops were seen exiting Brgy. Hanipaan, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur with their casualties.

Intending to cause damage to NPA-Front 19 and destroy the people’s unity, the 36th IBPA and 3rd SFB PA launched sustained military operations in several towns of Surigao del Sur. These military operations were successfully frustrated by the revolutionary forces and the NPA through conscious and active defense especially in the absence of a ceasefire declaration.

The 4th in the series of peace talks in the Netherlands finished last April 3-6, 2017. Among those settled upon was the agreement for a joint interim ceasefire. However, it will only take effect after the formulation of the common guidelines and ground rules for implementation and upon the formal declaration of a ceasefire by the NDFP and GRP. Thus, at present, there is no standing ceasefire.

On the other hand, the Regional Operational Command of the NPA-North Eastern Mindanao Region commands all NPA units within its area, to desist from launching offensive actions during the Holy Week from April 13 to April 16, 2017. The NPA will carry this out in respect of the Christian communities’ observation of the sacred Holy Week and for the orderly conduct of activities related to this celebration.

However, the people and the revolutionary forces must remain vigilant against the devious actions and plans of the AFP and PNP. Recall the incident in Sitio Iyao, Anticala, Butuan City last March 29, 2013 during the Holy Week activities of “Panaad 2013” where the 3rd SFB PA and PNP shot and killed two CAFGU members, Ariel Andojoyan and Ernie Darasin, to accuse and malign the NPA. If the the AFP/PNP can conspire against the NPA even during the Holy Week which is a sacred day for Christians, how much more during the continuing NDFP-GRP peace talks.

We know that the die-hard puppets of the US in the AFP and Duterte regime are trying hard to sabotage the peace talks. They strongly defend the interests of their foreign masters and local ruling class against the substantive issues related to the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio- Economic Reform (CASER). Thus, they will continue to find ways to harm the revolutionary movement and the legitimate demands of the Filipino people.

Therefore, all NPA-NEMR units and revolutionary forces must strongly follow the command of the ROC-NEMR. But, we should also remain firmly on active defense and be always ready against the attacks of AFP forces and to daringly confront these. Constantly frustrate these attacks and strive to inflict damage to the enemy.

We also call on the people and concerned sectors for peace, to be vigilant and expose the AFP/PNP’s malicious schemes to derail the significant achievements of the peace talks. Exert efforts to support the peace talks, advance the sectoral demands and continue to demand Duterte to fulfill his promises.

Expose and defeat the nefarious schemes of the AFP/PNP!

CPP/NPA: Continuing military operations impede release of POWs

NPA propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Apr 12):
Continuing military operations impede release of POWs

Ka Oris, Spokesperson
New People’s Army

12 April 2017

Continuing offensive military and police operations in the Socskargen area have impeded the New People’s Army (NPA) from releasing two prisoners of war. A turnover program set for yesterday was cancelled because continuing AFP and PNP operations put the safety of the POWs, their families and third party facilitators at risk.

In line with the April 6, 2017 Joint Statement signed by the NDFP and GRP, and the February 18 declaration of the CPP, the NPA custodial unit, in cooperation with third party facilitators, had planned to release the POWs in time for Easter. The AFP and PNP, however, have stubbornly refused to heed the clamor for their units to stand down and suspend offensive operations to provide the opportunity for such a turnover.

The POWs who were set to be released yesterday are Sgt. Solaiman Calucop and Pfc Samuel Garay who were captured by the NPA in Columbia, Sultan Kudarat last February 2.

By ordering their troops to continue offensive operations, the officers of the AFP and PNP are exhibiting zero concern for the safety and welfare of their men who are in the custody of the NPA as well as for the third party facilitators who are helping arrange the release of the POWs.

It is for the safety of the POWs that they are publicly turned over to the custody of third party facilitators who can serve to verify the treatment and respect of the rights of the POWs by the custodial unit in accordance with international conventions. Without such facilitation by third party entities, the POWs can be subjected to violence and harm by the military or police or other groups who desperately aim to disparage the NPA.

The NPA urges the GRP to order its military and police forces to stand down and suspend offensive operations in the areas to be identified by third party facilitators in order to pave the way for the safe and orderly release and turnover of the POWs.

The NPA is also set to to release three other POWs in Bukidnon and in the CARAGA region.

CPP: Media Advisory on the Social Media Censorship of the CPP

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Apr 11): Media Advisory on the Social Media Censorship of the CPP

Philippine Revolution Web Central
Communist Party of the Philippines

11 April 2017

On April 8, Facebook took down the PRWC page which has served as one of the social media platform of the CPP and the Philippine revolutionary movement. This is clearly a case of Facebook censorship and intolerance, contrary to its declared principles of “diversity” and its espousal of an “open and connected world.”

We are demanding Facebook to bring back the PRWC page, all its posts and its community of more than 10,000 Followers.

It is highly likely that the social media attacks against the CPP is being coordinated by the Philippine and US governments. The Facebook takedown is not the only attack against the PRWC’s social media organization. Two days after the PRWC FB Page takedown, the PRWC’s Instagram account, where images of the Philippine revolution are posted, was also deleted without warning or explanation.

This act of censorship against the CPP is not an isolated case. Other revolutionary or progressive organizations and personalities have been arbitrarily taken down as well by Facebook.

We hope you could also help us generate public awareness of the issue of Facebook censorship of the CPP. Below is the open letter of the PRWC to Facebook
and the Facebook Philippines.

In the meantime, we ask the Philippine mass media and the alternative media movement in the country to Like and Follow the protest page to continue to receive information from the CPP, the NPA
and other revolutionary forces.



Dear Facebook and Facebook Philippines,

Despite our efforts over the past days to communicate with Facebook, we have received no reply to our demand for an explanation or information why the PRWC page ( was taken down last April 8.

Contrary to its declared its mission “to make the world more open and connected” and be a platform of “diversity of (a) global community,” Facebook has practically censored the CPP and the Philippine revolutionary Left, at a time that the PRWC has succeeded in building a considerable community within Facebook.

The takedown of the PRWC’s FB page was carried out just after it had exposed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for churning out fake news in the mass media and social media. In particular, the PRWC page exposed as fake news the claims of the AFP of armed encounters with the New People’s Army (NPA) to justify the killings of unarmed peasants in the countryside and widespread violations of human rights.

The PRWC takedown was carried out right after it had just exposed and resisted as well the efforts of the US-supported military and defense establishment to spoil the peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) representing the revolutionary forces.

Over the past months, the PRWC page has served as a communication tool to convey to the public the views of the CPP as well as daily news of the struggles of the broad Filipino masses for social justice and peace.

It would seem that the PRWC page, as an information platform for the CPP and revolutionary Left, has become less tolerable to the purveyors of fake news after it had built a considerable community of more than 10,000 Likes and Followers. The horde of paid trolls of the AFP, which have targetted the PRWC page non-stop, have become less effective in overwhelming the PRWC page with their cuss-filled hate posts against the CPP and the revolutionary forces.

The takedown of the PRWC is Facebook censorship of the CPP revolutionary Left. With it, the Facebook community of members and supporters of the revolutionary left, the Philippine media and the interested public have been effectively denied of a source of news and information reflecting the views of the CPP and its related organizations.

The PRWC page must be put back online, with all its previous posts and records of Likes and Followers. The community built around it deserves nothing less.

As a privately-owned platform, Facebook, of course, has the prerogative of doing anything within the realm of its service, including to censor political views and suppress the right to free speech and expression. However, having become a major means of public communication and platform for information exchange, Facebook must respect the public good, including the community’s right to choose what to read and believe in.

Vim Montes
Media Liaison, CPP Information Bureau

MILF: Pres. Duterte to certify as urgent a harmonized Bangsamoro bill

From the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Apr 11): Pres. Duterte to certify as urgent a harmonized Bangsamoro bill

President Rodrigo R. Duterte said he was planning to certify as urgent a harmonized version of the Bangsamoro law proposed by the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) faction under Nur Misuari, and the draft document to be crafted by the 21-member Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) in a bid to end the decades-long Moro armed struggle in Mindanao, a report by Manila Bulletin said on April 10.

The expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) will submit to President Rodrigo Duterte a draft Bangsamoro law on May 15 or May18 so he can study it before submitting to Congress by June 2017.

After a thorough review, Pres. Duterte will certify this as urgent and include it in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24.

In a press conference before his departure to the Middle East Monday, Duterte said he will meet with the GPH negotiating panel, along with the peace negotiating panels of the MNLF faction under Misuari and MILF chairman Al-Hajj Murad Ebrahim to consolidate their respective proposed drafts of the Bangsamoro law, the Manila Bulletin report also said.

 “I know that he is supposed to be in prison, at some point in time, we cannot forever be quarreling with enemies… I want the wars between Filipinos ended. I cannot wage a war against my own people,” he said.

On March 30, BTC chair Ghazali Jaafar, who is also MILF 1st Vice Chair, said that the GPH must deliver a “political solution to end the Bangsamoro armed struggle by fully implementing the 2014 CAB through the passage of a acceptable enabling law in Congress.

“This is a political problem and it can only satisfy the Bangsamoro people pagna deliver ang political solution,” he said.

He said that he appreciated the efforts of the government in trying to solve the issues through economic means in order to trigger development in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) but said what the Bangsamoro people want are self-determination and their own Bangsamoro government.

MILF: Tarbiyyah presents 1st Strat Plan on Bangsamoro Education, Culture Dev’t to SouthMin Azatidz

From the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Apr 12): Tarbiyyah presents 1st Strat Plan on Bangsamoro Education, Culture Dev’t to SouthMin Azatidz

The Tarbiyyah Committee presented the First Strategic Plan on Bangsamoro Education and Culture Development to Asatidz (Madrasah teachers) of Southern Mindanao on March 19, 2017 at the Audio-Visual Room of Mindanao State University in General Santos City.

Around 250 Azatidz including some Madrasah education stakeholders from the City of General Santos and Sarangani Province were present in the event that was organized by the local Tarbiyyah Committee.

Conceptualized in 2002, the strategic plan was crafted starting in 2015 by the 19 members of the Tarbiyyah Technical Working Group (TWG) with the support of Bangsamoro Development Agency, UNICEF and BEAM-ARMM.

The plan is anchored on the 1976 GRP-MNLF Tripoli Agreement which stated that the “Authorities of the autonomy in the South of the Philippines shall have the right to set up schools, colleges and universities, provided that matters pertaining to the relationship between these educational and scientific organs and the general education system in the state shall be subject of discussion later on.”

Another legal basis is the Section 1 of Article XV of Republic Act 6734 which stated, “The Autonomous Region shall establish, maintain and support a complete and integrated system of quality education and adopt an educational framework that is meaningful, relevant and responsive to the needs, ideals and aspiration of the people in the region.”

Section 2 of the same article further stated, “The regional educational system shall develop curricula that are relevant to the economic, social, political, cultural, moral and spiritual needs of the people in the region.”

The TWG said that the plan is attuned to the needs and aspirations of the Bangsamoro for an education suitable and appropriate with their cultures and beliefs.

The team also said that during the consultation workshops that were conducted, there were impressions that there is lack of Aqeeda in the current education system and lack of Taqwah among leaders in the education sector.

Among the problems identified during the consultations were the following: Parents and the learners little knowledge on the value of education: State acted violence and aggressions to Bangsamoro since 1968 to present; Inaccessibility of schools; Deteriorating quality of education in the ARMM; Low education performance due to teaching inefficiencies, and mismanaged resources; and Fraud and corruption.

The stakeholders of the consultations hoped that the Ministry of Bangsamoro Education will be realized in the envisioned Bangsamoro Government.

They envisages a “Balanced and quality education for all,” having a “Reputable, distinctive, dynamic and equitable educational system which adheres to local and global standards.”

They further hoped that the Bangsamoro education system will develop versatile Bangsamoro human  resource equipped with revealed and  acquired knowledge, respect to diversity, gender sensitive and committed to  service and excellence and will produce graduates that are competent in both Arabic and English languages.

If realized, the Bangsamoro Education Ministry shall consist of seven bureaus namely Islamic Education, Higher Education, Basic Education, Science and Technology, Culture & Heritage, Arts & Sports and Administrative & Finance.

“Once the Bangsamoro Autonomous Government will take place, and peace and order become stable, it is expected that an influx of international aid will come in, local and foreign investments will soar-up that will lead to a quantum improvement in the economy, so that the needed budget for the education can already be easily met,” the crafters of the strategic plan stated.

The Asatidz were thankful for the efforts of the TWG for coming up with the essential plan to advance the Bangsamoro Education.

The Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro signed by the government and the MILF in 2014 seeks the establishment of the autonomous Bangsamoro government with more fiscal and political powers through the enactment of a Bangsamoro Basic Law by the Philippine Congress.

Currently, the expanded Bangsamoro Transition Commission is drafting another version of BBL or an enabling law where the provisions of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the Moro National Liberation Front will be incorporated.

MILF: ‘Educating the public on Bangsamoro history can help the peace process succeed’: peace advocate

From the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Apr 13): ‘Educating the public on Bangsamoro history can help the peace process succeed’: peace advocate

A woman leader and peace advocate cited the importance of educating both the Bangsamoro and Filipino people on Bangsamoro history to gain massive support for the success of the peace process.

“It is important that majority of the people in the country should understand our history, sentiments and aspirations,” said Sittie Roaida Ismi, a delegate from Sulu who attended the Women Organization Movement in the Bangsamoro (WOMB) Strategic Planning Workshop held in General Santos City on April 8 and 9.

Thirty-two (32) Moro women leaders from different regions of Mindanao and island provinces who represented their respective organizations joined the activity.

The delegates learned the highlights of the Bangsamoro history from Professor Raby Angkal, a prominent lecturer and peace advocate from the academe.

In his presentation entitled “Understanding Bangsamoro History Undermines Prejudices,” Angkal related how the Bangsamoro people resisted and fought hard to defend their homeland from the intrusion of the Spaniards, Americans and Japanese.

He also tackled the highlights of the Bangsamoro peace process from past to present between the government of the Philippines and the two Moro fronts, the Moro National Liberation Front and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

Ismi disclosed it was her first time to hear the extent of the devastation and sufferings of Bangsamoro people. “Learning the facts of our own history really awaken us,” she said.

“We understand why we resisted,” she said and added “now we need to inform others of our struggle to have our own government.”

The woman leader is confident that non-Moros will become supportive to the Bangsamoro peace process “once they understand our sentiments.”

The workshop was supported by The Asia Foundation. It generally aims to lay down plan of action of the respective Bangsamoro women organization towards the realization of Bangsamoro aspirations through peaceful means.

WOMB is consortium of Bangsamoro women organizations mostly engaged in peace advocacy


DWDD: AFP, PNP Create Joint Civil-Relations Committee

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 10): AFP, PNP Create Joint Civil-Relations Committee


CAMP AGUINALDO, Quezon City – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) signed a Joint Letter Directive creating the Joint AFP-PNP Civil Relations Committee (JAPCRC) at the AFP General Headquarters, Friday, April 7.

“The JAPCRC shall coordinate and synchronize AFP Civil-Military Operations (CMO) and PNP Community Relations (PCR) to better implement our peace and development programs particularly in conflict-affected communities,” Colonel Edgard Arevalo, AFP Public Affairs Chief said.

Major General Melquiades L Feliciano, AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for CMO and Police Chief Superintendent Noel G Constantino, Acting Director for PCR signed the letter directive with key officials from the AFP and PNP in attendance.

The JAPCRC was patterned on the existing Joint AFP-PNP Intelligence Committee (JAPIC) and will support the proposed Revised National Joint Peace and Security Coordinating Center (JPSCC) Organization.

“This serves as a venue for us to strengthen mechanisms for the integration and collaboration of our efforts for joint civil relations operations; with the end view of realizing the Filipino’s aspirations for peace, security, stability, and progress,” PCSupt Constantino said.

The JAPCRC aims to ensure efficient, responsive and coordinated civil relations efforts in support of national security and development objectives. It will also recommend areas where the AFP or the PNP shall take the lead or support role in the conduct of joint civil relations activities.

Another function of the JAPCRC is to coordinate civil relations aspect of all AFP-PNP law enforcement, internal security, and counterterrorism efforts. The functions will be replicated at the area, regional, and provincial levels.

Among the activities to be conducted under the joint effort are strategic crisis communications; creation of joint quick response teams during emergencies; conduct of joint training activities, medical, dental, veterinary, and engineering civic action projects; and joint humanitarian civic assistance.

“Public support and good community relations are crucial to the successful performance of military and police functions. Both the AFP and the PNP acknowledge this and have long sought the support and assistance of the civilian populace in the performance of their different but interrelated mandates,” Colonel Arevalo said.

“It is imperative that the AFP and PNP work closely and support each other in addressing all threats to national peace and security and at the same time, it is necessary for both organizations to maintain their legitimacy among the people they serve,” General Eduardo Año, AFP Chief of Staff said

Through the creation of the JAPCRC, we hope to further establish a stronger and more active relationship with our people and stakeholders in building a better and peaceful nation,” General Año concludes.

DWDD: Abu surrenders to troops in Basilan

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 10): Abu surrenders to troops in Basilan


Headquarters, Western Mindanao Command, Camp Navarro, Calarian, Zamboanga City-  A member of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and known follower of sub-leader Nurhassan Jamiri surrendered to the troops of the Joint Task Force Basilan last Saturday (April 8).

Abu Sayyaf member Ferdauz Asgari, a.k.a Mammong, surrendered to the troops of the 74th Infantry Battalion in Poblacion, Tipo-Tipo, Basilan last Saturday.

Asgari also surrendered his Caliber.30 M1 Garand rifle (Springfield) and a clip loaded with eight live ammunition.

“The recent surrender only manifests that the pressure employed by the military and the coordination made by the Joint Task Force Basilan with the local government and the people of Basilan have compelled the Abu Sayyaf bandits to surrender to the government forces,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., Commander, Western Mindanao Command.

“I commend the men and women of the Joint Task Force Basilan, led by Colonel Juvymax Uy, for this achievement, which is a result of the intensified conduct of focused military operations in the province.”

DWDD: Patrolling troops clash with Abus in Basilan

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 10): Patrolling troops clash with Abus in Basilan


A heavy armed confrontation ensued between patrolling troops of the Joint Task Force Basilan and members of the Abu Sayyaf Group in Sumisip, Basilan early this morning (April 10).

Personnel of the 4th Special Forces Battalion, who established a detachment in Barangay Cabcaban, Sumisip, Basilan, encountered the said Abu Sayyaf bandits while they were conducting security patrol in the said area at 7:15am.

At around 7:45am, the engaging troops were reinforced by the 1st Special Forces Company, who were being fired at by the withdrawing bandits as the troops were traversing the said temporary patrol base in Barangay Cabcaban.

As of press time, pursuit on the evading enemy forces is currently being conducted by the Special Forces following bloodstains left by the fleeing bandits.

As a result of the earlier engagements, five (5) members of the Civilian Active Auxiliary (CAA) sustained wounds, while three (3) CAA members were killed in action. Six (6) other soldiers were also wounded during the second encounter.

Eight (8) of the wounded were brought to Zamboanga City for further medical attention at the Camp Navarro General Hospital (CNGH) of the Western Mindanao Command, while three (3) were admitted in a hospital in Basilan.

“Our engaged troops have recently established a detachment in Barangay Cabcaban in response to the call of the local government of Basilan to secure the area from the threats posed by the Abu Sayyaf bandits. Our soldiers are on security patrols when the encounter occurred,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., Commander, WestMinCom.

“The military will continue to secure the area and work with the local chief executives to contain the Abu Sayyaf bandits in the barangay,” added Lieutenant General Galvez.

“This incident will not stop us from doing our mandate, in order to free the community from the terror these bandits are causing the people.

DWDD: Army dons star ranks to 13 new generals

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 11): Army dons star ranks to 13 new generals


FORT BONIFACIO, Metro Manila – Thirteen senior officers of the Philippine Army donned with their new star ranks during the flag raising ceremony held here Monday, April 10, 2017.

Promoted to Major General was Arnel B. Dela Vega, Commander of the 6th Infantry Division.
Promoted to Brigadier Generals were Felipe B. Bejar Jr., Commander of the 51st Engineering Brigade; Perfecto M. Rimando Jr., Commander of the 801st Infantry Brigade; Glorivine R. Dida, Assistant Deputy Commander of the 2nd Infantry Division; Fernando T. Trinidad, Commander of the 903rd Infantry Brigade; Francisco F. Mendoza Jr., Commander of the 802nd Infantry Brigade; Felicisimo C. Budiongan, Assistant Deputy Commander of the Mechanized Infantry Division; Ramiro Manuel A. Rey, Commander of the Special Forces Regimen (Airborne); Arnulfo C. Matanguihan, Commander of the 302nd Infantry Brigade; Nixon M. Fortes, Commander of the 103rd Infantry Brigade; Milfredo M. Melegrito, Commander of the 702nd Infantry Brigade; Jose C. Faustino Jr., Commander of the 501st Infantry Brigade; and Manolo M. Samarita, Commander of the 602nd Infantry Brigade.

 Lt. Gen. Glorioso V. Miranda, the Commanding General Philippine Army, led the ceremony with the HPA-based officers, enlisted personnel, and civilian employees as the audience.

DWDD: Army installs new heads for its three key offices

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 12): Army installs new heads for its three key offices


FORT BONIFACIO, Metro Manila – Three key army offices in the Philippine Army were installed with new leaders during a joint change of chiefs of office ceremony held here Monday, April 10, 2017.   
The offices of the Army Internal Auditor, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Reservist and Retiree Affairs G9, and the Army Chief Public Affairs now have their new heads after the promotions and retirement of their former chiefs.
The Acting Army Internal Auditor Col. Edgar F. Nigos replaced Col. Jose Ely D. Alberto. Alberto has been promoted as the chief of the Office of the Defense Reforms of the Department of National Defense.
Nigos is a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class of 1988. He has a master’s degree in Management major in Public Administration. He also served as the commanding officer of the 84th Infantry Battalion of the 7th Infantry Division in 2012 to 2013. Prior to his post, he was formerly the Deputy Army Internal Auditor.
Assistant Chief of Staff for Reservist and Retiree Affairs Col. Alexis Noel C. Bravo replaced Col. Nicolas V. Pasion who will be retiring from the service on May 7, 2017.
Bravo is a member of the PMA class of 1990. He also has a master’s degree in Public Management major in International Development and Security. He was the commander of the 72nd Infantry Battalion, 10th Infantry Division in 2013.
Lastly, Acting Army Chief of Public Affairs Ltc. Ray C. Tiongson replaced Col. Benjamin L. Hao. Hao has been promoted as the Chief of Staff of the Training and Doctrine Command of the Philippine Army based in Camp O’Donnell, Capas, Tarlac.
Tiongson is a member of the PMA class of 1997. He obtained a master’s degree in Business Administration. Prior to his post, he was the Deputy Chief, Army Public Affairs. He also served as the chief of the Division Public Affairs Office of the 3rd Infantry Division from 2013 to 2016.
The joint change of chiefs of office ceremony was led by Maj. Gen. Robert M. Arevalo, Army Chief of Staff. Arevalo congratulated the newly appointed chiefs and wished all the best for the outgoing officers with their new assignments.
The officers, non-commissioned officers and civilian employees from the said offices stood as spectators during the event.

NPA delays release of two soldiers after gov’t continues offensive vs. Reds

From GMA News (Apr 12): NPA delays release of two soldiers after gov’t continues offensive vs. Reds

The New People's Army has delayed the release of two soldiers who have been held captive in Sultan Kudarat since the government has yet to suspend police and military operations against the communist rebels in Mindanao.

NPA spokesperson Jose "Ka Oris" Madlos said Sgt. Solaiman Calucop and PFC Samuel Garay, who were captured in Columbia town last February 2, could have been set free in time for Easter Sunday.

"A turnover program set for yesterday was cancelled because continuing AFP and PNP operations put the safety of the POWs, their families and third party facilitators at risk," Madlos said in a press statement.

"The AFP and PNP, however, have stubbornly refused to heed the clamor for their units to stand down and suspend offensive operations to provide the opportunity for such a turnover," he added.

Calucop and Garay were two of the four prisoners of war named by the National Democratic Front, the political arm of the Communist Party of the Philippines, who will be released if the government heeds their call for a 10-day suspension of combat operations.

The NDF said the release of the POWs was in line with its commitment on February 19 as regards to the NPA's release of six uniformed personnel in their custody as a "positive gesture" for the fourth round of peace talks with the government which ended on April 6 in The Netherlands.

On March 25, the NPA released two of the six, namely CAFGU Active Auxiliary personnel Rene Doller and Carl Mark Nucos in Mati City, Davao Oriental.

Madlos said the continued offensive operations against the NPA only shows that the AFP and the PNP has "zero concern for the safety and welfare of their men who are in the custody of the NPA as well as for the third party facilitators who are helping arrange the release of the POWs."

"It is for the safety of the POWs that they are publicly turned over to the custody of third party facilitators who can serve to verify the treatment and respect of the rights of the POWs by the custodial unit in accordance with international conventions," Madlos said.

He added the POWs can be the subject of violence from groups who disparage the NPA if they are not released without the presence of a third party facilitator.

Madlos then renewed the Reds' call for the government to suspend offensive operations in Mindanao to pave the way for the release of the POWs.

"The NPA urges the GRP to order its military and police forces to stand down and suspend offensive operations in the areas to be identified by third party facilitators in order to pave the way for the safe and orderly release and turnover of the POWs," he said.