Thursday, May 11, 2017

MILF: “The long-term solution to end terrorism in Mindanao hinges on the success of the Bangsamoro peace process”: WestMinCom Chief

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May12): “The long-term solution to end terrorism in Mindanao hinges on the success of the Bangsamoro peace process”: WestMinCom Chief

“The long-term solution to end terrorism in Mindanao hinges on the success of the Bangsamoro peace process”, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr, WestMinCom Chief said Tuesday, May 09, Philippine News Agency reported.

Gen. Galvez is overseeing the government’s campaign against terrorist groups in the island.

He said that the military fully supports the Duterte administration’s peace agenda, particularly the implementation of the peace agreements the government has signed with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

“The outcome of the peace process has a direct correlation with our problem on terrorism,” Galvez told the Philippines News Agency.

Galvez said he recently met with the leaders of the Moro fronts, who relayed to him that terror groups in Mindanao are capitalizing on the delay in the implementation, especially the political track, of the peace agreements.

“IQ or Mohager Iqbal said that if the future of the BBL (Bangsamoro Basic Law) and the peace process between the government and the MILF and MNLF will be tentative, there is a big possibility they (terrorist groups) can recruit more,” he said.

A new draft Bangsamoro Law being crafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) created by Pres. Duterte is eyed to be approved within the year to give a legal foundation for the creation of a new Bangsamoro region that will replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). (Source: PNA)

LOOK: US, PH sailors do underwater demolition training to open supply lines

From Update Philippines (May 12): LOOK: US, PH sailors do underwater demolition training to open supply lines

Philippine Sailors prepare for an underwater construction demolition dive. US Navy photo

The United States and Philippine navy sailors conducted an underwater construction demolition dive training in support of Balikatan 2017 at Ipil Port in Ormoc City, Leyte, May 10, 2017.

“The demolition training prepares the U.S. military and Armed Forces of the Philippines to clear debris in ports and open up supply lines for victims of natural disasters and crises,” the US Navy said.

US sailors mark piles for demolition. US Navy photo

“Underwater demolition can help Philippine and U.S. forces provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations from the sea to remote areas of the Philippines,” US Navy added.

Balikatan is an annual U.S.-Philippine bilateral military exercise focused on a variety of missions including humanitarian and disaster relief, counterterrorism, and other combined military operations.  
US sailors mark a pile for demolition. US Navy photo

This year’s Balikatan started May 8 and will close on the 19th. This year US and Philippine military focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and counter terrorism.

PH Navy commits to deliver materials for Pag-asa repairs soon

From Rappler (May 11): PH Navy commits to deliver materials for Pag-asa repairs soon

But there is no timeline yet for the construction activities

The Philippine Navy has committed to deliver to Pag-asa (Thitu) Island the materials and equipment for much-needed repairs of facilities there before the rainy season.

"The timeline just for the delivery is before the rainy season so that the sea conditions will not be rough when we deliver our materials and equipment to Pag-asa," Navy chief Vice Admiral Ronald Mercado said on Wednesday, May 10.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who visited Pag-asa Island with other Philippine security officials in April, announced the allocation of P1.6 billion to fund long-delayed plans to repair facilities in the disputed island in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Lorenzana had said during his April visit that he wanted naval engineers to begin work immediately. (READ: PH plans for Pag-asa to test Duterte's friendship with China)

On Wednesday, Mercado said they have started to plan the implementation of Lorenzana's orders.

"We are planning how we are going to undertake the directive of Secretary Lorenzana to improve some of the facilities at Pag-asa. We are trying to improve the situation of our constituents there and our fishermen who take shelter at Pag-asa," he said.

It is not clear when construction is expected to begin. "As to the construction, we are not putting any timeline. Our focus right now is just to deliver the materials and equipment to Pag-asa," Mercado said.

It turned out the project to repair the facilities on Pag-asa, which was already bid out by the previous administration, would have to be renegotiated.

The Aquino government had allocated funds to repair the dilapidated runway there but kept deferring construction, concerned that it would affect the arbitration case the country filed against China.

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said there is no reason not to proceed with the repairs.

"It should be repaired. I don't see a problem repairing the runway," he said. "That runway was built even before the Declaration of Conduct was signed in 2002, the ASEAN-China Declaration of Conduct. That is just maintaining the runway."

‘Most wanted’ Western Mindanao NPA commander captured – Army

From InterAksyon (May 12): ‘Most wanted’ Western Mindanao NPA commander captured – Army

The military said soldiers and police captured what authorities described as the “most wanted” commander of the New People’s Army in Western Mindanao in Zamboanga del Sur province Thursday.

The Army’s 1st Infantry Division said Rommel Salinas, alias Venico, Beto, Carlos, Doming, Artem and Mark, was with Bishop Carlo Morales of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, also known as the Aglipayan church, the cleric’s wife Marie Teofifina Morales, and their driver Sadome Dalid in a van intercepted in Barangay Gango, Ozamis City around 6 p.m. by personnel of the 102d Infantry Brigade and the provincial police.

Salinas, allegedly a front secretary of the rebels’ Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee, is facing criminal charges for destructive arson, urder, frustrated murder, attempted murder and robbery in band.

A hand grenade was allegedly seized from him, the Army said.

Meanwhile, the IFI has protested what it called the “illegal” arrest and detention of Morales, his wife and driver.

A handcuffed IFI Bishop Carlo Morales is seen in this photo posted on social media by his supporters.

A statement signed by Bishop Antonio Ablon of the church’s Pagadian diocese said even Morales was indeed in the company of someone wanted by the law, “we find no reason that the good IFI Bishop of Ozamiz will be illegally arrested, handcuffed and illegally detained in jail” after “he had fully introduced himself as a Bishop.”

The church demanded Morales’ release, calling his arrest “a clear violation of human rights and on person who is a religious leader or a bishop that has an obligation to provide protection or sanctuary to a person who is in distress or politically persecuted.”

Mayor assails anew NPA as blast victim laid to rest

From the Mindanao Times (May 12): Mayor assails anew NPA as blast victim laid to rest

BLAST victim Larry Buenafe was laid to rest in a private ceremony at Forest Lake in Panacan yesterday. Mayor Sara Duterte, who condoled with the family of Buenafe, lambasted the rebel group anew yesterday.

“You cannot stop me from saying, ‘May you rest in peace, Larry,’” Duterte said in her Instagram post.

The communist group has assailed Duterte for using Larry’s death for propaganda, and even branded the mayor as “hypocrite.”

“When a civilian dies because of an IED blast, he is never a victim. We cannot demand justice,” Mayor Duterte said.
“Propaganda lang yan sabi ninyo (It’s all propaganda you said) and we are not allowed to grieve,” she added. “Ana man mo mag maghunahuna gud, tanan para propaGANDA lang (It’s what you are always thinking, all for propaganda).”

But Duterte said she is adamant in caring for Buenafe and his family because she is the mayor of the city.

Larry, a fish vendor, was a collateral damage in the attack staged by the New People’s Army (NPA) in the plastic and box plants of the Lapanday Food Corps. in Barangay Mandug around 2 p.m of April 29. On his way to deliver his goods, Larry was trailing a responding army armored vehicle when an improvised explosive devise went off at Mandug Road in Barangay Tigatto.

He died five days later but not without a word war between the mayor and a left-leaning organization.

The Pambansang Katipunan ng Magbubukid (PKM) claimed Duterte’s concern was self-service since her husband was the lawyer of the Lorenzo-owned Lapanday.
The mayor retaliated by calling the communist groups “bumbling idiots” and “selfish individuals.”

On May 3, the National Democratic Front (NDF) apologized for wounding Buenafe and offered to indemnify the victim who was then fighting for his life at the Southern Philippine Medical Center (SPMC).
“Ang anak ni Larry gusto mag-doctor, kamo pud muasikaso ani? Duna ba kaha mo scholarship sa inyong made up nga gobyerno? Wala pud, I’m sure (Larry’s kid wants to become a doctor, will you facilitate this? Does your made-up government have scholarship? None, I’m sure),” Duterte said in her post with the hashtag projectlarry.

Duterte reiterated that the NPA should be held responsible for his death.
The mayor also added that the City Hall has always been asked to pay the funeral bill of fallen rebels whom the guerillas were leaving behind during fights.

“Atimana ninyo, wag kayo magmaganda (Take care of them, don’t pretend to be good),” she said.

The NPA staged simultaneous attacks on April 29, a Saturday, against the Lapanday in three barangays in the city. They burned the plastic and box plants in Mandug, a plastic box in Bunawan and a ranch in Pangyan.

According to Lapanday, around 1,000 workers were displaced by the NPA attacks.

Troops, NPAs clash in Calinan

From the Mindanao Times (May 12): Troops, NPAs clash in Calinan

GOVERNMENT security forces and communist rebels at barangays Dominga and Dalagdag, both in Calinan District on Wednesday.
Lt. Col. Raymund Dante Lachica, commander of 3rd Infantry Battalion, told TIMES yesterday, that around 1:18 p.m. of May 6, while conducting clearing operation in Dominga, elements of 3rd IB encountered more or less 10 New People’s Army rebels believed to be members of Andoy Platoon, Pulang Bagani Command 1 under alias Banakon.

A firefight lasted for about five minutes before the rebels withdrew.

On May 10, around 12:57 a.m., security elements of 3rd IB again clashed with the same group.

Lachica said while conducting clearing operation, traces of blood were seen in some households in said barangay.

He said as of yesterday, around 86 families evacuated due to the fear of being caught in the crossfire.

Joint elements of the army and the Philippine National Police are conducting hot pursuit operations against the escaping rebels.

Wanted: PHP33.8-M worth of OV-10 engine spares

From the Philippine News Agency (May 12): Wanted: PHP33.8-M worth of OV-10 engine spares

The Philippine Air Force (PAF) is allocating PHP33.87 million for the acquisition of spare parts needed for the repair and overhaul of the engine system of one of its Rockwell "Bronco" attack aircraft.

The parts are for PAF OV aircraft with tail number 679.

Pre-bid conference is at 11 a.m. on May 17 at the PAF Procurement Center Conference Room of Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.

Bid opening is at 9 a.m.on May 30 at the same venue, PAF bids and awards chair Brig. Gen. Nicolas Parilla said in a bid bulletin posted at the Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System.

The OV-10s are the PAF's premier ground attack aircraft. Some six to eight units are still in service.

ISIS In East Asia: Strategic Shifts And Security Implications – Analysis

Posted to the Eurasia Review (May 12): ISIS In East Asia: Strategic Shifts And Security Implications – Analysis (By Jasminder Singh and Muhammad Haziq Bin Jani)

As the Philippines battles with militant groups in Mindanao, ISIS supporters have reimagined the area as “Wilayah Asia Timur” as part of ISIS’ strategic shift in East Asia. ISIS terrorists in Southeast Asia may revert to crime and banditry as part of their so-called jihad.

Islamic State's flag
Islamic State's flag
In June 2016, ISIS released a video that recognised the pledges of allegiance of various miltant groups in Mindanao. In that video Isnilon Hapilon, leader of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) was recognised as amir of the ISIS groups. It also alluded to the conglomeration of ISIS elements in the Philippines. The A’maaq News Agency, an ISIS mouthpiece acknowledged the presence of ten such groups in six locations throughout Mindanao. This would include the four featured in the video, ASG, the Maute Group (MG), and Katibah al-Muhajir, a cell consisting of migrants from Malaysia and Indonesia.

At about the same time, An-Naba’, ISIS’ official weekly newsletter and other sources had begun reporting news of skirmishes and attacks, and the taking over of militant camps, as if they were engaging in regular warfare. On 24 November 2016, in an attempt at securing territory, MG planted the ISIS flag in front of the municipal hall of Butig, Lanao del Sur, in a siege that displaced close to three quarters of the population of the town. It took six days for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to push MG back into the hills.
Epicentre of Terrorism in Southeast Asia

In January 2017, following President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements, the AFP Chief of Staff ordered the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) to decimate terror groups in the area, including ASG and MG. Since the launch of the operations in Western Mindanao, ISIS has had to reconsider its strategy in Southeast Asia.

Firstly, ISIS no longer considers qital tamkin (conquering of territories) as the primary modus operandi of terrorism in the Philippines. While battlefield successes will be celebrated in its propaganda, the group understands that they are facing a Westmincom that is determined to wipe terrorism out of Mindanao in six months from January 2017.

In line with this shift in strategy, Daesh called on its terrorists and supporters to conduct theft or robbery of non-Muslims, claiming that it is permissible to take their lives as well as property. In the eighth edition of Rumiyah, the ISIS journal just released this month, Daesh encouraged any action – crime, warfare or terrorism – that causes economic harm on non-Muslims and their governments.

This strategy is familiar to various Jemaah Islamiyah-affiliated terrorist groups and their supporters in this region, including ASG, who have been carrying out attacks and robberies to obtain fa’i, wealth forcibly obtained outside of war using religious justification. According to ideologues like Abu Bakar Ba’ashir, fa’i would be used for terrorist attacks as part of their so-called jihad.
Larger Scope

Secondly, since the bar has been lowered for the distant “soldiers of the caliphate”, ISIS is able to assert a stronger image of its global reach by claiming responsibilities for attacks that happen in a larger scope of terrorist activities. This is reflected in the eighth edition of Rumiyah, in which ISIS dedicated an entire page to illustrate the operations by Daesh-affiliated terrorists. The infographics detailed statistics on the operations carried out in the Philippines. What has not gone unnoticed is Rumiyah’s referral to the terrorists as being part of the “khilafah in East Asia” instead of being specific about where the operations actually took place.

These strategic shifts had been duly communicated to ISIS-affiliated terrorists and supporters in the region. In recent weeks, online Daesh sympathisers have begun popularising the terms Wilayah al-Filibin and Wilayah Asia Timur (Malay: East Asia Province) using them interchangeably. Most recently, encouraged by ISIS news reports of the region, they have re-imagined al-Filibin as constituting the locus of ISIS’s operations in Sharq Asiya (East Asia).

As a result, new groups have formed with the idea that they would have to accommodate foreign fighters in their ranks. On 6 April 2017, the Jama’at al-Muhajirin wa al-Ansar bi al-Filibin (JMAF) was formed, pledging allegiance to Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, operating in Maguindanao, Cotabato and Davao, and led by Esmail Abdulmalik alias Abu Turaifi.
Local Insecurity, Regional Threat

While ISIS’ strategic shift in Southeast Asia could be attributed to AFP’s commitment to neutralise the terror threat in Mindanao, several domestic issues are withstanding. Firstly, one reason why militant groups pledged loyalty to ISIS is a sense of disillusionment with the peace deal negotiations. To be clear, ground sentiments, in areas controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), show strong support for President Duterte’s uncompromising stance against corruption, illegal drugs and ASG.

The majority of Muslims in Mindanao have invested hope in the peace deal and the Duterte administration, noting that criminal and narcotic activities have declined despite the nagging worry that corruption could be derail all these. The remaining minority with affiliations to bandits or small-time militias still view violent extremism as an attractive means for power or criminal-economic gain, especially when terrorist ideologues popularise the claim that fa’i is part of jihad.

Secondly, there is also concern that armed groups and corrupt politicians or government officials may link up with narco-criminals or Daesh-affiliated groups to perpetuate economics of insecurity in Mindanao. Political and family feuds may have encouraged support for or against terrorist groups. For instance, one cannot ignore the fact that Farhana Maute, MG’s matriarch, is believed to be involved in a political conflict with a Butig politician, or that MG was the Maute clan’s private extortion militia, before it started using ISIS imagery.

Thirdly, and most importantly, aside from Mindanao being a global village of “migrant fighters” from as near as Malaysia and Indonesia to as far as Morocco, the Duterte administration needs to devise specific strategies to intercept and deal with returnees from Syria and Iraq. This would be a déjà vu scenario of Southeast Asian fighters returning to the Philippines following the Soviet-Afghan War in the 1980s.

As a measure to pre-empt this threat, countries in the region have already agreed to share intelligence on returning militants since early 2016. If this issue is not addressed, new groups consisting of foreign fighters and returnees may continue to emerge despite military operations in Mindanao.

[Jasminder Singh is a Senior Analyst and Muhammad Haziq Jani a Research Analyst with the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research (ICPVTR), at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.]

24 NPA rebels surrender in Cordillera

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 11): 24 NPA rebels surrender in Cordillera

Lagangilang, Abra (Google maps)

As many as 24 rebels of the communist New People’s Army have climbed down the mountains of the Cordillera to surrender, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) said on Thursday.

The latest to yield was Catherine Cortez Cebuma of the guerilla front Montes in Abra province.

She has been placed under the custody of the 24th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Barangay Tagodtog in Lagangilang town on May 8.

She gave up an M-16 rifle and two magazines, a rifle grenade, and 60 rounds of 5.56 ammunition.

Nolcom said seven rebels surrendered in Abra and seven more gave up in Kalinga province, while 10 surrendered in Ifugao from March 31 to May 8.

Lt. Gen. Romeo Tanalgo, Nolcom commander, said the combined efforts of the local governments, the police, the military and community leaders would “finally lead the nation to a state of lasting peace and sustainable development.”

‘NPA attacks, erratic policies to kill PHL banana industry’

From Business Mirror (May 11): ‘NPA attacks, erratic policies to kill PHL banana industry’

Unreliable government policies that disregard established practices and contracts, extreme weather phenomena and the continuing attacks of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Mindanao threaten the banana industry.

Industry players and workers in the banana sector also warned the Philippines could be overtaken by other banana exporters if these concerns are not resolved soon.

“We used to be the world’s second-largest banana producer and exporter next to Ecuador. But today, the Philippines has been edged out by Costa Rica,” said Antero Sison Jr., president of Marsman Estate Plantation Inc. (Mepi).

“Ironically, this could be the best time for us to recover because of the increasing demand from large markets, like China, but unpredictable state policies are pulling the industry down,” Sison added.

The country’s export earnings from banana plunged to $440 million in 2015, from $1.1 billion in 2014.

“We can learn to cope with extreme weather phenomena, like El Niño and the La Niña, by applying and developing climate-resilient technologies,” Sison said.

“But no technological application can be developed against the inconsistency of the policies of the Department of Agrarian Reform [DAR],” he added.

Banana growers lamented the supposed attempts by DAR officials to scuttle legitimate and valid agribusiness venture deals between banana-plantation developers and agrarian-reform beneficiaries (ARBs). They said this is in “blatant disregard” of President Duterte’s policy of honoring all contractual obligations of the government.

“DAR officials, whether deliberate or not, have been contributing to the decline of the banana industry,” said Hernando Rivero, a member of the Davao Marsman Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development Cooperative (Damarbdevco).

The Damarbdevco has forged an agribusiness venture agreement with Mepi, which donated the land cultivated by members of the cooperative.

Agribusiness-venture agreements (AVAs) between cooperatives formed by ARBs and banana-plantation developers are among the most successful partnerships in the agriculture sector. The AVAs have enabled banana growers to earn more than farmers planting rice or other crops.

Sison said the DAR appears to be unconcerned over the plight of banana ARBs when its head, Secretary Rafael Mariano, ordered a blanket review of all AVAs or leaseback agreements despite these deals already upheld as legal, fair and aboveboard by government authorities and the courts.

The DAR has been after the cancellation of the AVA between Mepi and Damarbdevco.

“It saddens us to think the DAR doesn’t care whether our ARBs and other workers in our plantation lose their jobs. Their officials are indifferent to their plight, and couldn’t care less if our farmers and their families go hungry,” Sison said.


Hernani P. Geronimo, spokesman of Lapanday Foods Corp. (LFC), said the review of AVAs may have “emboldened” the communist insurgents to continue with their attacks against banana plantations.

“The attack launched by this lawless armed group last April 29 against two of LFC’s packaging plants and a farm in Davao City also displaced allied businesses that relied on the operations of our packaging plants,” Geronimo said.

“It also deprived Davao City and the national government of taxes that contribute to the well-being of the nation,” he added.

Geronimo said the NPA appears to be mocking Duterte, because many of the atrocities were committed in his home city of Davao.

“The attack on our plants will affect the export capability of the Davao region, as pointed out by the National Economic and Development Authority, since Lapanday is one of the biggest producers of Cavendish bananas in Davao,” Geronimo added.

86 families in Davao City flee after military, NPA clash

From the Sun Star-Davao (May 10): 86 families in Davao City flee after military, NPA clash

A TOTAL of 86 families were displaced and forced to evacuate after a firefight erupted between the government troops and the members of New People's Army (NPA) in Barangay Dominga, Calinan District, Davao City Wednesday dawn, May 10.

Captain Alenel Valles, Civil Military Operations (CMO) Officer of the 3rd Infantry Battalion, told SunStar Davao that the encounter happened at around 1 a.m., Wednesday, May 10, while the military forces were conducting clearing operations at that time and clashed with an undetermined number of communist rebels.

At 4 p.m., Wednesday, the encounter is still ongoing and at least nine soldiers were wounded-in-action (WIA) and two of them were in critical condition.

Contrary to reports of aerial bombing allegedly undertaken by the Philippine Air Force (PAF), Tactical Operations Group (TOG)-Davao commander Lieutenant Colonel John Ritchie Pabilona clarified that they were only providing Close Air Support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) troops on the ground.

The aircraft, MD520-MG helicopter, that provided the support is equipped with rockets and machine guns.

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) spokesperson Ma. Teresita Gaspan said they have already sent their police officers to augment and assist the troops fighting against the communist rebels in the outskirts of Davao City.

"Ang DCPO naman, we are prepared for that. In fact, we have deployment nanaka base sa Tugbok and platoon natin sa Mulig. They are tasked to assist the insurgency [there]," she said.

She also said they continuously conduct combat patrolling and focused monitoring operations under the Public Safety Company Center to ensure the welafre and security of the residents in the area.

Based on the press statement issued by the City Information Office (CIO), Barangay Captain Ivy Marie Lumandas immediately sought the assistance of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to address the needs of the evacuees who are affected by the armed struggle and who are temporarily sheltered in Barangay Dominga Hall.

Davao City Social Services Develpment Office (CSSDO) chief Maria Luisa Bermudo said they have already sent social workers to evaluate the needs of the families for individual release of food packs and assess their situation. They expect that the evacuees will stay out of their homes for several days.

2 NPA rebels, 1 soldier killed in Calinan clash

From the Sun Star-Davao (May 12): 2 NPA rebels, 1 soldier killed in Calinan clash

TWO members of the New People's Army and one government soldier were killed during an encounter that ensued in the villages of Dominga and Dalagdag, Calinan District, Davao City.

Captain Alenel Valles, Civil Military Operations officer of the 3rd Infantry Battalion (IB), told SunStar Davao that the identification of the slain communist rebels remained undetermined.

Valles also refused to divulge the slain soldier’s identity pending notification of the family. The body of the soldier was brought to St. Peter Funeral.

Also, there were nine other soldiers who were wounded and two are in critical condition at Camp Panacan Station Hospital inside the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao Command, Panacan village, Davao City.

It was reported that the firefight initially started last May 6 at 1:18 p.m. while the troops are conducting clearing operation and then engaged in a clash with about 10 rebels.

After the incident, it was again followed by another encounter last May 10 that resulted to almost 100 families fleeing their homes and seeking safety.

As of this Thursday, a pursuit operation is being conducted by the authorities to track down and apprehend the rebels.

‘NPA extorts P1.5-B annually in Eastern Mindanao’

From the Sun Star-Davao (May 12): ‘NPA extorts P1.5-B annually in Eastern Mindanao’

DAVAO Police Regional Office Director Manuel Gaerlan said the New People's Army (NPA) are allegedly collecting an estimated P1.5 billion annually from extortion activities in Eastern Mindanao, which covers Davao Region and nearby provinces, alone.

"Mr. (Jose Maria) Sison is claiming this is revolutionary tax [but] if this is a revolutionary tax then they (NPA) should be held accountable by the people," Chief Superintendent Gaerlan said.

"For 48 years, saan napunta yung mga kinolekta nilang revolutionary tax? May napagawa ba silang kalsada? May napagawa ba silang eskwelahan? Puro sa pockets lang ng kung sinu-sino," he added.

Gaerlan said some people may think that the group or its leaders are concerned with the welfare of the poor or the indigenous people when actually they are not.

"Minsan na bibiktima rin ang mga local officials akala nila totoong mga Pilipino ito na isinusulong ay kapakanan ng mga mahihirap subalitang gusto lang nila isulong yung kanilang sariling interes," Gaerlan said.

He added that the group does not want to stop their collection from extortion activities.

"Sila ang number one kotong syndicate ng Pilipinas... ultimong sa kaliit-liit na sari-sari store may kinokolekta sila (They are the number one extortion syndicate in the Philippines...they are even collecting from the small sari-sari stores),"

Gaerlan said, adding that those who are being extorted are forced to pay due to fear.

He said those who are not able to pay, like the businesses, the NPA will burn down their equipment.

"This is in pursuit of their extortion activities. Anong [kaibihan] nila sa ordinaryong tulisan or criminal syndicate? (What is their difference from an ordinary bandit or criminal syndicate?)" Gaerlan said.

He is urging business establishments or individuals who are being extorted to report to the police.

"Warning naming sa ibang business establishments na nagbibigay. Ok, nagbibigay sila pero sa isang iglap kung gusto kasunugan ng NPA, susunugin pa rin yan whether nagbibigay ka o hindi. Kung hindi na sila nakokontento sa binibigay mo..., pag hindi mo naibigay gusto nila susunugin nila equipment mo, planta mo," Gaerlan said.

He said that just like what Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said earlier on the attack of the NPA group to Lapanday facilities, their acts are acts of terrorism.

Gaerlan said that those who are really being affected by their activities are the workers of the establishment.

For example, he said if the group burns down the facility, the land of the owners is still there but the workers now do not have a place to work

NPA commander arrested in Ozamiz City

From GMA News (May 12): NPA commander arrested in Ozamiz City

A high-ranking New People's Army leader in Western Mindanao was arrested in Barangay Gango, Ozamiz City in Misamis Occidental on Thursday, the military said.

The military said the combined troops of the 102nd Infantry Brigade of the 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division, Philippine Army, and the Philippine National Police (PNP) of Ozamiz City arrested Rommel Salinas.
Salinas is allegedly the secretary of SECOM Sendong, Western Mindanao Regional Party Committee.

He was arrested based on five warrants of arrest for several crimes such as destructive arson, murder, frustrated murder, attempted murder, and robbery in band.

Salinas with three companions at the time of his arrest, Bishop Carlo Morales of the Aglipayan Church and his wife Maria Teofifina Morales, and their driver Sadome Dalid. They were on board a maroon Starex with plate number 151010.

The military said a hand grenade and personal belongings were recovered from Salinas.

The NPA in Zamboanga peninsula and nearby provinces, according to Philippine Army 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division commander Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito D Bautista, were allegedly involved in numerous atrocities nationwide especially in Mindanao particularly arson, extortion, killings, and abduction.

"Best coordination work from the community, LGU (local government unit), PNP, and the Army led to the capture of one of the highest ranking CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA) leader in Western Mindanao," he said.

Top NPA member in Western Mindanao arrested

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (May 12): Top NPA member in Western Mindanao arrested

The highest ranking member of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Western Mindanao was arrested by security forces in Zamboanga del Sur on Thursday, the military said.

Rommel Salinas was onboard a Starex van with his companions when he was arrested in Brgy. Gango, Ozamiz City at about 6 p.m., the Army’s 1st Infantry Division said in a statement.

The suspected communist rebel was with his wife Maria Teofifina Morales, Bishop Carlo Morales of the Aglipayan Church, and driver Sadome Dalid. He did not put up a fight when arrested.

They were brought to the Philippine National Police in Ozamiz City.

Salinas is identified by the military as a Front Secretary of the NPA – Western Mindanao Regional Committee and is reportedly involved in numerous high profile crimes.

He has five warrants of arrest for arson, murder, frustrated murder, attempted murder, and robbery.

CPP/Ang Bayan: Trabaho, disenteng sahod at pabahay

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (May 7): Trabaho, disenteng sahod at pabahay

 Sigaw sa Mayo Uno 2017

Tinatayang 100,000 manggagawa at maralitang lunsod ang bumuhos sa lansangan sa iba’t ibang syudad at bayan sa okasyon ng ika-113 Pandaigdigang Araw ng Paggawa noong Mayo Uno. Sa pangunguna ng Kilusang Mayo Uno, iginiit ng mga raliyista ang pagtatakda ng pambansang minimum na sahod, pagwawakas sa kontraktwalisasyon at pamamahagi ng libreng pabahay sa maralita. Ipinaabot din nila ang matinding pagkadismaya sa mga patakarang neoliberal ng rehimen.

Iginigiit ng mga manggagawa na makatarungan ang kanilang hinihinging pagtatakda ng pambansang minimum na sahod na P750/araw para sa mga manggagawa sa pribadong sektor at P16,000/buwan para sa pampublikong sektor. Alinsunod sa pananaliksik ng Ibon Foundation, ang gayong umento ay katumbas ng P447 bilyon o 27% ng kabuuang kita ng lahat ng mga negosyo ang hinihingi ng mga manggagawa. Nasa P1.63 trilyon kada taon ang kinita ng pinakamalalaking 1,000 korporasyon sa Pilipinas.

Ang pagtatakda ng minimum na sahod ay mangangahulugan ng dagdag na P8,332/buwan sa kasa-lukuyang sahod ng mga mang-gagawa o P108,316/taon, kasama ang 13th month pay. Kailangang-kailangan ang halagang ito para maibsan ang kahirapan nila at ng kanilang mga pamilya.

Kasabay ng paggunita sa ika-113 Araw ng Paggawa, ginunita rin ng mga manggagawa ang sentenaryo ng Rebolusyong Oktubre ng Russia na nagluwal ng pinakaunang sosyalistang estado sa pamumuno ng proletaryado. Ipinagdiwang din ng KMU ang ika-37 taong anibersaryo ng pagkakatatag nito. Naitatag ang sentro ng paggawa sa isang pagtitipon ng 30,000 manggagawa sa Quezon City sa ilalim ng diktadurang Marcos noong 1980.

Sa Metro Manila, umabot sa 50,000 mamamayan ang nagtipon sa Liwasang Bonifacio para sa programang dinaluhan ng mga kinatawan ng progresibong partido sa kongreso at myembro ng gabinete. Kabilang sa mga lumahok ang mga maralita mula sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng Metro Manila. Sumama rin ang malaking bilang ng mga maralita mula sa Bulacan na nagsagawa ng okupasyon ng mga bakanteng bahay sa Pandi noong nakaraang buwan. Lumahok din ang 200 magsasaka mula sa Madaum, Tagum City na nakikipaglaban para sa kanilang karapatan sa sariling lupa. Tumungo ang mga demonstrador sa embahada ng US para kundenahin ang mga patakarang neoliberal na ipinapataw ng US sa bansa, partikular ang pleksibilisasyon at liberalisasyon sa paggawa. Bandang hapon, tumungo ang mga raliyista sa Mendiola, harap ng Malacañang.

Sa Bicol, mahigit 15,000 myembro ng KMU at iba pang pambansa-demokratikong organisasyon ang nagmartsa sa mga sentrong lunsod ng Albay, Catanduanes, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Sorsogon at Masbate.

Sa Davao City, umabot sa 10,000 manggagawa, kabilang ang mga delegasyon mula sa iba’t ibang lugar ng Mindanao, ang tumungo sa Peo- ple’s Park para kausapin si Pres. Rodrigo Duterte ng GRP. Binalak nilang ihapag ang mga kahilingan ng KMU at masang manggagawang Pilipino.

Sa Crossing Calamba, Laguna, nagtipon ang 10,000 manggagawa mula sa iba’t ibang engklabo ng paggawa sa rehiyon sa pamumuno ng Pamantik-KMU. Bago ang programa, naglunsad ng mga pagkilos sa Sta. Rosa, Cabuyao, Los Baños at Calamba para manawagan sa mga residente na dumalo sa pagtitipon.

Sa Baguio, pulang-pula ang nagkakaisang hanay ng manggagawa at mamamayan sa paglaban sa mga neoliberal na atake sa paggawa. Sa Angeles City, libu-libo ang nagmartsa mula sa Clark Air Base tungo sa sentro ng syudad. Nagkaroon din ng mga pagkilos sa Tacloban, Cebu, Iloilo, Aklan, Bacolod, Cagayan de Oro, Butuan, Surigao at General Santos City.

Noong Abril 30, may 7,000 maralita mula sa Bulacan ang hinarang ng PNP sa Balintawak. Bumibyahe sila noon patungong Metro Manila para lumahok sa kontra-ASEAN na pagkilos sa araw na iyon at sa pagkilos sa Mayo Uno kinabukasan.

Noong Abril 30, naglunsad ng piket ang mga manggagawa sa harap ng embahada ng US kasabay sa ika-30 pagpupulong ng mga lider ng Association of Southeast Asian Nations o ASEAN. Pangunahing adyenda ng ASEAN ang pagbubuo at pagpasa ng Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership na magtutulak ng dagdag na liberalisasyon sa mga lokal na ekonomya at iba pang neoliberal na patakaran.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Lapanday, salot sa mamamayan

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (May 7): Lapanday, salot sa mamamayan

Hindi pa man napapawi ang usok mula sa tinupok na mga kasangkapan at gusali ng Lapanday Foods Corporation (LFC) sa Brgy. Mandug, Davao City noong Abril 2, kaliwa’t kanan ang ginawang pagkundena ng mga naghaharing uri sa inilunsad na aksyon ng 1st Pulang Bagani Battalion (PBB) laban sa mga pasilidad at ari-arian ng pamilyang Lorenzo.

Pinagtatakpan nila ang ilang dekadang pagpapasasa ng pamilyang ito sa pawis at dugo ng daan- libong magsasaka at manggagawa upang palakihin ang kanilang mga kumpanya. Noong 2011, kumamkam ng P127 milyong netong kita ang Lapanday mula sa mga plantasyon nito sa Mindanao.

Kasuklam-suklam ang pang-aagaw ng LFC sa lupa ng mga magsasaka na itinuring ng GRP na “benepisyaryo” sa ilalim ng CARP sa Madaum, Tagum City. Nasa Maynila ngayon ang mga magsasakang nakapailalim sa Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries, Inc. (Marbai) para igiit kay GRP Pres. Rodrigo Duterte ang kagyat na pagbibigay sa kanila sa lupa. Labis na mapang-api at mapagsamantala sa Marbai ang kontrata sa pagtatanim sa pagitan nila at ng Lapanday. Bukod sa obligado silang bilhin ang lahat ng binhi at pestisidyo sa Lapanday, lubhang binabarat ang pagbili ng kanilang produkto. Ang 13-kilong kahon ng saging na naibebenta ng Lapanday sa mga dayuhang kliyente sa mahigit P600 ay binibili sa Marbai ng P101 lamang na nagreresulta sa napakababang kita ng mga magsasaka.

Hindi nalalayo ang kaaba-abang kalagayan ng mga manggagawa sa mga pasilidad ng Lapanday. Halimbawa, sa mga planta nito sa Brgy. Mandug, Davao City, kumita ang kumpanya ng netong P105 milyon noong 2015.
Mayorya o 69% ng mga manggagawa rito ay kontraktwal kahit pa man lahat ng trabahong kanilang ginagawa ay esensyal sa operasyon ng kumpanya. Sa ngayon, malaking kasosyo na rin ang mga Lorenzo sa Hacienda Luisita na pagmamay-ari ng mga Cojuangco.

Noong 2011, ang kabuuang pagmamay-ari ng Lapanday ay umabot ng P5 bilyon. Bilang dambuhalang kumpanya sa Pilipinas na nagluluwas na pagkain, may sarili itong laboratoryo at pasilidad sa pananaliksik at pagpapaunlad. Dagdag pa, may sarili itong mga pribadong daungan at bodega para sa mga kliyente nito sa Singapore, Hongkong, Korea, China and Russia, Australia, New Zealand at sa Middle East.

Marahas na paghahari
Gaya ng lahat ng malalaking panginoong maylupa at kumprador, dalubhasa ang pamilyang Lorenzo sa paggamit ng dahas upang panatilihin ang kanilang kontrol sa libu-libong ektarya ng mga magsasaka at seguruhin ang kanilang dambuhalang tubo sa kapinsalaan ng kanilang mga manggagawa.

Noong Mayo 11, 2008, inaresto ng BHB si MSgt. Jose Manero, na noo’y hepeng upisyal pangseguridad ng Lapanday Foods Corp. Sampung matataas na kalibreng armas ang nasamsam ng mga Pulang mandirigma sa naturang aksyon. Habang bihag ng digma ng BHB, ibinunyag ni Manero ang laganap na pamamaslang ng Lapanday sa mga manggagawa at magsasaka sa kanilang mga plantasyon. Sa kabila ng kundisyon ng pagbayad ng danyos sa kanilang mga biktima para sa pagpapalaya kay Manero, walang ni isang biktima ang binayaran ng pamilyang Lorenzo.

Lason sa komunidad at kapaligiran

Noong taong 2000, ibinunyag ng isang pag-aaral na ang paggamit ng Lapanday Development Corp. (LADECO) ng mga nakalalasong kemikal ay nagresulta sa pagkamatay at pagkakasakit ng 150 pamilyang Manobo sa Brgy.
Kamukhaan, Hagonoy sa Davao del Sur. Mula pa noong 1981, walang lubay na gumamit ang LADECO ng iba’t ibang pestisidyo na lumason sa lupa at tubig at pumatay sa mga pananim, mga hayop at isda.

Ipinamamarali ng reaksyunaryong estado, laluna ng mga pulitikong sagad-saring tagapagtanggol ng naghaharing uri, na ang mga militanteng pag-aaklas ng mga magsasaka at taktikal na opensiba ng BHB ay nakapipinsala sa kapakanan mismo ng mga magsasaka at manggagawa. Ikinukubli nila ang katotohanan na sa harap ng ilang dekadang pagyabong ng mga kumpanyang tulad ng Lapanday, atrasado pa rin ang pambansang ekonomya at kabuhayan ng masa. Ang pinagmamayabang nila na hindi makatitinag ang aksyong pamamarusa ng BHB sa yaman ng pamilyang Lorenzo ay higit na patunay sa nakaririmarin na sukat ng kanilang pagsasamantala sa uring magsasaka at manggagawa.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: 2 POW, magkasunod na pinalaya

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (May 7): 2 POW, magkasunod na pinalaya

MAGKASUNOD NA pinalaya sa magkahiwalay na okasyon ang dalawang natitirang bihag sa digma (prisoner of war o POW) sa Mindanao nitong huling mga araw ng Abril.

Pinalaya ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan-North Central Mindanao noong Abril 29 si PO2 Anthony Natividad sa Dominorog, Talakag, Bukidnon. Tinanggap siya ng peace and order council ng Region 10 sa pamumuno ni Mayor Oscar Moreno ng Talakag at iba pang tagapamagitan sa pangunguna ni Bishop Felixberto Calang. Nadakip ng mga Pulang mandirigma si Natividad sa isang tsekpoynt sa Bukidnon noong Enero 29.

Pinalaya rin ng BHB-North-eastern Mindanao si Pfc. Erwin Salan sa Brgy. Camam-onan, Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte noong Abril 29. Daan-daang mamamayan ang dumalo sa programa kung saan ipinasa siya sa mga lokal na upisyal ng prubinsya at kay Bishop Rey Timbang ng Iglesia Filipina Independiene. Ang pagpapalaya kay Salan ay pinangunahan ni Kasamang Rey Calaste (Ka Oto), tagapagsalita ng Front Committee 16 ng BHB-NEMR.

Dinakip ng BHB si Salan noong Enero 29 habang nagsasagawa ng operasyong kombat sa Brgy. Budlingin, Alegria sa parehong prubinsya.

Ang pagpapalaya sa mga POW ay noon pang Pebrero idineklara ng Partido bilang pagsuporta sa usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng NDFP at ng GRP. Subalit dahil sa tuluy-tuloy na operasyong kombat ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) at pagtangging magdeklara ng suspensyon ng operasyon, naantala nang naantala ang proseso para sa ligtas na pagpapalaya sa mga POW.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Pagtanggal kay Gina Lopez, umani ng batikos

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (May 7): Pagtanggal kay Gina Lopez, umani ng batikos

UMANI NG kabi-kabilang batikos ang pagbasura ng Commission on Appointments ng Kongreso sa pagkakatalaga kay Regina Lopez bilang kalihim ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Gumamit ang malalaking kumpanya sa pagmimina ng milyun-milyong piso at impluwensya sa kongreso para tiyaking hindi maipagpapatuloy ang kanyang mga maka-kalikasan at maka-mamamayang patakaran sa DENR.

Ang pagbabasura ay resulta ng ilang buwang kampanya ng mga kumpanya sa pagmimina para tanggalin siya sa pwesto. Kabilang sa mga ipinalaganap ng mga upisyal at propagandista nito ang kunwa’y pagkalugi ng mga lokal na gubyerno kung isasara ang mga mina at pagkawala ng trabaho ng libu-libong manggagawa sa mga minahan. Magugutom diumano ang milyong mamamayang nakaasa sa pagmimina at gagastos lamang ng malaki ang gubyerno dahil tiyak na makikipagpukpukan sa korte ang mga kumpanya sa pagmimina sa korte laban sa mga kautusan ni Lopez.

Ang mga pagdadahilan na ito ay paulit-ulit nang napabubulaanan ng mismong mga estadistika ng gubyerno. Maliit, kundiman di-signipikante, ang naiaambag ng pagmimina sa pambansang produksyon at empleyo. Mas malaki pa ang naiaambag ng mga sektor na sinasalanta nito, tulad ng agrikultura at turismo. Gayundin, walang katotohanang may naiaambag ang mga ito sa kani-kanilang mga lokalidad sa pagkontra sa kahirapan.

Isang halimbawa ang kontribusyon ng Surigao Chamber of Commerce and Industry na ipinagmamalaking umaabot sa 32.5% ng lokal na GDP. Pero ayon sa pananaliksik ng Ibon Foundation, ang halagang ipinapasok nito sa lokal na gubyerno ay hindi nagbunsod ng pagtaas ng kalidad ng pamumuhay ng mamamayan. Katunayan, ang CARAGA, na may pinakamaraming minahan, ang pangalawa sa may pinakamaraming naghihirap sa buong bansa. Umaabot sa 40% ng mamamayan rito ang maituturing na naghihirap.

Sa pagkakatanggal kay Lopez sa DENR, nawalan ang mamamayan at rebolusyonaryong kilusan ng isang kaibigan sa GRP na handang ipagtanggol ang kalikasan at kabuhayan ng mamamayan. Gayunpaman, habang ipinagpapatuloy ang laban para rito, magiging kaibigan siya ng mamamayang Pilipino at ng pambansa-demokratikong kilusan.

Tinitiyak ng PKP sa mamamayan na magpapatuloy ito at ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa pagtatanggol sa mamamayan at kapaligiran na sinasalanta ng mapangwasak na pagmimina.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: 84 na armas, nasamsam ng BHB

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (May 7): 84 na armas, nasamsam ng BHB

WALUMPU’T APAT na armas ang nakumpiska ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) mula sa mga aksyong militar nito sa nagdaang dalawang linggo sa mga prubinsya ng Quirino, Cagayan, Iloilo, Bukidnon at sa Davao City.

Sa Davao City, tatlong magkakasabay na armadong aksyon ang inilunsad ng 1st Pulang Bagani Battalion (PBB) ng BHB-Southern Mindanao Region noong Abril 29 laban sa mga armadong tauhan at pasilidad ng panginoong maylupa-kumprador na pamilyang Lorenzo.

Inatake ng mga Pulang mandirigma bandang alas-2 ng madaling araw ang dalawang pabrika at isang rantso ng Lapanday Foods Corporation. Tatlumpu’t siyam na baril ang nakuha mula sa tatlong target na ito, bukod sa iba pang kagamitang militar.

Unang inatake ng 1st PBB ang box plant ng Lapanday Foods Corp. sa Brgy. Mandug. Halos kasabay nito ay ang pag-atake din ng isa pang yunit ng 1st PBB sa Macondray Plastic Plant na pagmamay-ari rin ng pamilyang Lorenzo sa Brgy. Bunawan. Sinilaban ng mga operatiba ng BHB ang dalawang gusali at mga pasilidad ng Lapanday. Pasado alas-3 nang umaga, nireyd ng isa pang yunit ng 1st PBB ang rantso at plantasyon ng mga Lorenzo sa Brgy. Pangyan sa Calinan District.

Ayon kay Ka Rigoberto Sanchez ng BHB-SMR, ipinatupad ng 1st PBB ang hakbangin laban sa kumpanya ng pamilyang Lorenzo na mahaba na ang rekord ng pang-aagaw sa lupa ng mga magsasaka at Lumad, at pagsasamantala sa mga manggagawa. Nagkamal ng yaman ang mga Lorenzo mula sa matinding pagsasamantala at pang-aagaw ng lupa sa maraming panig ng bansa. Ang rantso nito ay kanlungan din mga tauhang sangkot sa mga pagpatay sa mga manggagawa sa plantasyon.

Nitong Abril 21, binayaran ng mga Lorenzo ang 700 armadong tauhan at kinasabwat ang lokal na pulisya upang harangin ang ilandaang magsasaka na kumilos para bawiin ang 145-ektaryang lupaing inagaw ng mga Lorenzo sa Brgy. Madaum, Tagum City. Noong Disyembre 12, 2016, pinagbabaril ng mga tauhan ng pamilyang
Lorenzo ang nagpo-protestang mga magsasaka.

Dagdag pa ng BHB-SMR, walang pakundangang sinisira ng mga kumpanya ng pamilyang Lorenzo ang kapaligiran. Inirereklamo ng mga komunidad sa palibot ng mga plantasyon ang talamak na paggamit ng Lapanday ng aerial spray at nakalalasong mga kemikal.

Humingi naman ng paumanhin ang BHB-SMR sa pamilya ni Larry Buenafe, ang manininda ng isda na aksidenteng tinamaan sa isina-gawang ambus ng BHB sa nag-respondeng mga sundalo. Naka-handa ang BHB-SMR na magbigay ng indemnipikasyon sa pagkamatay ni Buenafe.

Sa Mati City, Davao Oriental, walong armas ang nasamsam ng BHB mula sa mga gwardya ng mapaminsalang kumpanyang Oro Mining Corp. sa Brgy. Macambol noong Mayo 6, ala-6 ng umaga. Nakuha ang dalawang karbin at anim na shotgun. Kinumpiska at sinira din ng mga Pulang mandi-rigma ang siyam na heavy equip-ment ng kumpanya.

Sa Maddela, Quirino, 10 baril ang nasamsam ng BHB sa matagumpay na reyd sa municipal station ng Philippine National Police sa naturang munisipyo noong Abril 30, bandang alas-10 ng gabi. Namatay sa labanan ang upisyal sa paniktik na si PO2 Jerome Cardena.

Sa ulat ng Venerando Villacillo Command, anim na ripleng M16 at apat na pistolang 9mm ang nakumpiska ng mga Pulang mandirigma.

Anim na sandata naman ang nasamsam ng BHB-Cagayan Valley sa pagreyd sa sub-station ng PNP sa Brgy. Annafatan sa bayan ng Amulung West, Cagayan nitong Mayo 4, 5:15 ng hapon. Madaling nasukol ng BHB ang walong pulis na nasa detatsment sa mga oras na iyon. Makataong tinrato ng mga operatiba ng BHB ang dalawang pulis na sumuko at hindi na pinaputukan ang mga tumalilis. Nakumpiska ng mga Pulang mandirigma ang tatlong M16, isang M14 at dalawang pistolang 9mm.

Sa Bukidnon, dinis-armahan ng BHB-South Central Bukidnon (SCB)-North Central Mindanao Region ang Dasia Security Agency sa Purok 17, Hindangon, Poblacion sa Valencia City noong gabi ng Mayo 3. Nakum-piska mula sa ahensya ang dalawang AK-47, isang M16, tatlong shotgun at tatlong .38 kalibreng pistola.
Habang isinasagawa ang reyd, nagtsekpoynt ang isa pang yunit ng BHB-SCB sa kalsada. Nakakumpiska dito ng isang pistolang 9mm mula sa isang pulis.

Noong Abril 28, pitong myembro ng paramilitar ang sumuko sa Section 5 SCB. Dala nila ang pitong armas na kinabibilangan ng isang improvised M79 at mga bala ng grenade launcher, dalawang M14, isang Garand, dalawang shotgun at isang improbisadong M16.

Kinabukasan 7:30 ng gabi, dinisarmahan naman ng Section 3-SCB ang magkapatid na Edgar at Erick Ordinisa sa Nakabuklad, San Fernando, Bukidnon. Nakumpiska mula sa kanila ang dalawang karbin at isang shotgun. Ang magkapatid ay mga tauhan ni Valentine Ordinisa at ginagamit ang mga baril sa pananakot sa mga magsasakang dumadaan sa lupain ng kanilang amo.

Maliban dito, hinaras din ng parehong yunit ng BHB-NCMR ang nag-ooperasyong 60th IB noong Abril 23 sa Brgy. Bonacao, San Fernando.

Matagumpay ding nireyd ng BHB-Comval-Davao East Coast Subregional Operations Command ang detatsment ng 67th IB at 72nd IB sa Brgy. Aliwagwag, Cateel, Davao Oriental noong Abril 26. Isinagawa ang reyd bandang ala-5 ng umaga. Isang elemento ng CAFGU ang namatay at tatlo ang nasugatan sa labanan. Isang ripleng M14 ang nakumpiska ng BHB.

Sa Panay, tatlong magkakasunod na taktikal na opensiba ang inilunsad ng Napoleon Tumagtang Command laban sa mga yunit ng kaaway na nasa ilalim ng 3ID. Nitong Mayo 3, 1:15 ng madaling araw, inatake ng mga Pulang mandirigma ang punong himpilan ng Bravo Coy ng 12th IB sa Brgy. Pitogo, San Joaquin, Iloilo.
Bago nito, noong Mayo 1, pasado alas-12 ng hatinggabi, inatake rin ng isa pang yunit ng BHB-NTC ang patrol base ng Charlie Coy ng 82nd IB sa Sityo Insobrehan, Brgy. Igcabugao, Igbaras, Iloilo. Inatake rin ng BHB-NTC ang isang kampo ng 82nd IB sa Brgy. Igtalongon, Igbaras pasado alas-12 ng hatinggabi noong Abril 30.

Sa harap ng magkakasunod ng mga opensiba ng BHB, sinabi ni NDFP Chief Political Consultant Ka Jose Maria Sison na “kailangang depensahan ng mamamayan at mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa ang kanilang mga sarili at mag-opensiba saanman at kailanman maaari.”

Dagdag pa, sinabi ni Ka Joma na higit na nagiging mahalaga ang pagpapatuloy ng usapang pangka-payapaan. Mas makabubuti aniya na mag-usap at buuin ang interim joint ceasefire agreement kaugnay ng Comprehensive Agreement on the Social and Economic Reforms at amnestiya sa mga bilanggong pulitikal.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Paigtingin ang mga pakikibakang magsasaka

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (May 7): Paigtingin ang mga pakikibakang magsasaka

Mistulang inendorso ni Pres. Rodrigo Duterte ng GRP ang sama-samang mga pagkilos kamakailan ng mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid para angkinin ang kanilang lupa nang magbanta siya sa mga “oligarko” na, kung matapos nang tatlong buwan ay hindi sila magbabayad ng buwis, mananawagan siya sa bayan na sakupin ang kanilang mga lupain.

Nasa kay Duterte ang pagpapatunay na hindi hungkag ang kanyang mga salita. Dapat niyang isagawa ang kongkretong mga hakbang upang ipakita na hindi siya sumasakay lamang sa hinaing at hangarin ng bayan. Sa harap ng kabi-kabilang mga pakikibakang magsasaka sa buong bansa, dapat niya itong pangatawanan hindi matapos ang tatlong buwan kundi kaagad-agad.

Dapat pangalanan at tukuyin ni Duterte ang binabatikos niyang mga oligarko at ang mga lupang pampubliko na iligal nilang sinasakop.

Dapat rin niyang matanto na ang usapin ng tunay na reporma sa lupa ay hindi nalilimita sa mga pampublikong lupa. Ito ay usapin ng pagpapalaya sa milyun-milyong magsasaka mula sa pang-aaping pyudal at malapyudal sa pamamagitan ng pagbabaklas ng mga monopolyo sa lupa ng malalaking asyenda at plantasyon. Karamihan sa mga ito’y hindi lupang pampubliko kundi mga malalawak na lupaing agrikultural na pwersahang inagaw mula sa masang magsasaka.

Sa ngayon, hindi nakikita ng masang magsasaka na ginagamit ni Duterte ang kanyang kapangyarihan para kongkretong tulungan ang kanilang mga pakikibaka. Hindi pa siya nakikitang nagbibigay ng mapagpasyang suporta pabor sa mga magsasaka laluna sa pagharap nila sa mga nagmamatigas na malalaking panginoong maylupa at may-ari ng plantasyon na sumakop sa kanilang lupa. Ito ay kahit pa mayroon nang utos ng korte o ahensya ng GRP na isailalim ito sa reporma sa lupa at ipamahagi ito sa mga magsasaka.

Nito lamang nagdaang mga linggo, naging tampok ang inilunsad na mga aksyong masa sa mga plantasyong hawak ng Lapanday ng mga Lorenzo sa Davao Norte at sa Hacienda Luisita ng mga Cojuangco (kasosyo rin ang mga Lorenzo) sa Tarlac. Kapwa sa Luisita at Lapanday, hawak ng mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid hindi lamang ang katwiran, kundi maging ang mga ligal na papeles ng GRP na sumusuporta sa pag-angkin nila sa lupa.

Nabigo ang mga magsasaka ng Luisita at Lapanday na makapwesto sa kanilang lupa. Dismayado sila sa kulang na kulang na suporta ni Duterte. Sa Lapanday, tumunganga lamang ang lokal na pulis at walang ginawa sa harap ng 700 armadong gwardya na ginamit ng mga Lorenzo para pigilan silang angkinin ang kanilang lupa, kahit pa kasama na nila si Sec. Paeng Mariano ng DAR. Mga armadong gwardya rin ng RCBC ang humahadlang sa pagpasok ng mga magsasaka at manggagawang bukid sa kanilang lupa sa Barangay Balete sa Hacienda Luisita.

Idinidiin lamang ng mga karanasang ito na dapat pag-ibayuhin pa ng masang magsasaka ang kanilang pakikibaka para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa sa ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte. Nananawagan ang Partido sa masang magsasaka na paigitingin ang kanilang mga pakikibaka para igiit ang pagbabaklas ng Hacienda Luisita at lahat ng iba pang mga asyendang pyudal at mga plantasyon. Dapat ring paigtingin ang kanilang kolektibong paglaban upang ibasura ang lahat ng tinaguriang “agribusiness venture agreement” at iba pang mga iskema na humahadlang sa mga magsasaka na pusisyunan, kontrolin at pakinabangan ang kanilang lupa.

Dapat rin silang makibaka upang makabalik sa mga lupang inagaw sa kanila tulad sa Hacienda Looc at Yulo King Ranch. Dapat isulong ang pakikibaka sa mga lupang may bungkalan para igiit ang kanilang karapatan sa lupa.

Sa mga lugar na nasa ilalim ng kapangyarihan ng demokratikong gubyernong bayan, ipagpapatuloy ng mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa ang pagtupad sa minimum at maksimum na programa sa reporma sa lupa. Binubuo sa lahat ng lugar sa kanayunan ang Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid (PKM) upang buklurin ang mga walang lupa o kulang sa lupang mga mahihirap at panggitnang magsasaka. Ang PKM at mga kaanib nitong organisasyon ang pangunahing pwersa ng kilusan para sa tunay na reporma sa lupa. Kasama ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) inilulunsad nila ang rebolusyong agraryo upang ibagsak at wasakin ang kapangyarihang pyudal ng mga despotikong panginoong maylupa at patuloy na itayo at palaganapin ang demokratikong gubyernong bayan sa antas baryo, interbaryo o munisipal, distrito pataas.

Bahagi ng pagsusulong ng rebolusyong agraryo ang paglulunsad ng mga armadong hakbangin laban sa mga despotikong panginoong maylupa at mandarambong at mang-aagaw ng lupang mga burgesyang kumprador, katulad ng inilunsad ng BHB laban sa mga Lorenzo. Layunin ng gayong mga hakbangin ang idiin sa mga tulad ni Lorenzo na may katapat na parusa ang ginagawa nilang walang pakundangang paglupig, pagsasamantala at pang-aapi sa mga magsasaka, manggagawang bukid at mga manggagawa. Hangga’t kakayanin, ilulunsad ng BHB saanman ang mga hakbangin laban sa malalaking despotikong panginoong maylupa at burgesyang kumprador bilang pagsuporta sa pakikibaka ng masang magsasaka.

Ipagpapatuloy ng demokratikong gubyernong bayan ang pagpapatupad ng programa sa tunay na reporma sa lupa bilang pagtugon sa pangunahing kahilingan at pangangailangan ng masang magsasaka. Ang pagsasakatuparan ng tunay na reporma sa lupa ang pangunahing dahilan kung bakit patuloy na lumalapad at lumalalim ang suporta ng masa sa kanilang rebolusyonaryong gubyerno. Sa ilalim ng programa sa reporma sa lupa, isinasakatuparan ang mga hakbangin para sa libreng pamamahagi ng lupa saan man ito kakayanin pati na ang pagtatanggol sa lupaing ninuno ng katutubong mamamayan. Ipinatutupad rin ang patakaran para ibaba ang upa sa lupa, ibaba ang interes sa pautang, itaas ang produksyon at kita ng mga magsasaka. Kaakibat din isinasagawa ang mga programa para sa literasi at edukasyon, kalusugan at iba pang serbisyong pampubliko.

Ang usapin rin ng tunay na reporma sa lupa at pambansang industriyalisasyon ay kabilang sa mga pangunahing programa na iginigiit ng NDFP sa pakikipag-usapang pangkapayapaan sa GRP. Iginigiit ng mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa na mabuo ang isang kasunduang maglalaman ng komun na programa para sa repormang agraryo at mga repormang sosyo-ekonomiko na ipatutupad nang magkahiwalay o magkasama sa kani-kanyang saklaw ng kapangyarihang pampulitika.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP: Lapanday farm workers must press land struggle after Duterte visit

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (May 10): Lapanday farm workers must press land struggle after Duterte visit

Communist Party of the Philippines

10 May 2017

The visit yesterday by GRP President Duterte to the Mendiola protest camp-out of farm workers of Madaum, Tagum City is a boost to their struggle to claim the 145-hectare land being controlled by the Lorenzo family’s Lapanday Food Corporation through so-called “agribusiness venture agreements.”

With the Duterte visit, the Lapanday farm workers belonging to the Madaum Agrarian Reform Benefiaries Inc. (Marbai) must press on with their struggle to assert their rights to the land and put an end to the oppressive and exploitative agribusiness arrangements with the Lorenzos. They have long been in possession of GRP documents declaring them to be “agrarian reform beneficiaries” which, however, has been practically nullified by the banana contract-growing arrangements they were made to enter.

They are surely encouraged by the Duterte visit to assert their land claims. It raises their expectations that GRP President Duterte will go beyond rhetoric and put his full weight behind the Department of Agrarian Reform which under peasant leader Sec. Paeng Mariano had ordered the installation of the Marbai farmers. The DAR was, however, forced not to proceed with the installation last April 18 after the Lorenzos employed 800 armed guards to stop the farmers from claiming their land even as the local police force stood idly by.

Instead of being discouraged, the Marbai farmers have shown greater determination to press with their struggle. They have exhibited militance, persistence and courage in their struggle and have drawn attention and widespread support which the GRP president himself cannot ignore.

Through their collective action and determination to raise their issues at Mendiola, they have laid out the challenge for the GRP president to either support their struggle or side with the big bourgeois comprador and landlord Lorenzos. The Filipino people await the Lapanday farmworkers to return home and rally their whole community and their supporters in order to bring down the Lorenzo’s guarded gates and fences which have prevented them from taking over their lands. They demand the Duterte regime to extend full support to their demands.

The Party calls on the Filipino peasants to be inspired by the struggle of the farm workers of Lapanday, as well as the militant struggles of the peasants of Hacienda Luisita, in order to generate militant peasant struggles nationwide and demand the dismantling of feudal haciendas and big plantations.
The peasant masses and farm workers have long demanded implementation of genuine land reform in Hacienda Yulo, Hacienda Roxas, the Yulo King Ranch, Hacienda Dolores and scores of other haciendas in Ilocos region, Cagayan Valley, in Tarlac, Mindoro and Palawan, Panay, Negros, Leyte and other provinces as well in millions of hectares plantations run by the big bourgeois compradors and their foreign big capitalist partners.

They must take the full benefit of having peasant leader Ka Paeng as head of the DAR to press their struggle for genuine land reform. They must hold the Duterte regime to its commitment in peace negotiations with the NDFP to support free land distribution and support the peasants in the occupation of lands held by the big oligarchs.

At the same time, the Party calls on the poor and landless peasant masses and farm workers to wage agrarian revolution by joining the New People’s Army and their revolutionary organization Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid. In doing so, they can help in strengthening and expanding the foothold of the people’s democratic government under which priority is given to land reform and the overthrow of the despotic power of the big landlord oppressors and the reactionary military and police forces.

CPP/NPA-Sierra Madre: AFP officers are lying through their teeth again to cover up their battlefield losses in the hands of NPA red fighters

New People's Army propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (May 9): AFP officers are lying through their teeth again to cover up their battlefield losses in the hands of NPA red fighters

Armando “Ka Mando” Jacinto, Spokesperson
NPA-Sierra Madre (Rosario Lodronio Rosal Command)

9 May 2017

Once again, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) officers, namely Major General Rhoderick Parayno, commander of 2nd Infantry Division-PA and Lt. Colonel Christoper Tampus, Commander of 1st IB-PA are lying through their teeth to cover up their battlefield losses in the hands of NPA red fighters in North Quezon.

After suffering another defeat in yesterday’s encounter with the NPA troops that resulted in one soldier killed and two seriously wounded government troops with the NPA forces suffering zero casualties, the AFP officers once again spew lies against the NPA fighters by announcing to the public and the media that “the NPA rebels carried several of their wounded comrades during their escape” when the truth is that the NPA suffered zero casualties in the firefight. The also claimed that the soldiers were in the area to check on the complaints of NPA abuse and extortion when the truth is that they are already in a month long offensive combat operations, wantonly encroaching in the CPP-NPA controlled territory as part of their all out war against the people and NPA forces in Mount Sierra Madre . It’s true that the people in the area have complaints regarding abuse and extortion. But it’s not against the NPA but against the government soldiers who are mulcting the poor farmers and charcoal makers and those who does not give in to their demands were not permitted to pass the military checkpoints and their products are being confiscated, destroyed or sold to the military favored buyers. The people in the area also detests the military protection being given to the landgrabbers and corrupt DENR personnel who are conniving with the landgrabbers. The actual firefight is a clear proof that the NPA forces were aware of the government troops arrival in the area and were prepared for battle, thus resulting in three casualties on the government side while the NPA suffered no casualty. The people were joyful with the NPA victory. They said that they finally found justice that they long deserved.

The AFP officers continue spreading lies to the public and to the media to cover up for their defeat. They are feeding fake news to malign the NPA and to justify their attacks against the revolutionary forces and the legal progressive movement. Another lie that they were spreading was to justify their illegal arrest of Jaquiline Alog last May 3, 2017 in San Juan, Batangas whom they presented to media and the public as a ranking official of CPP in Southern Tagalog holding the second top position of the NPA in Calabarzon region though they knew that she was a member of the legal progressive movement. We categorically state the fact that there is no Jaquiline Alog in our rooster of NPA personnel and that she must be released immediately to her family and all other political prisoners.

Army confirms rebel efforts to renew presence in Leyte

From the Philippine News Agency (May 11): Army confirms rebel efforts to renew presence in Leyte

The Philippine Army confirmed that communist rebels are trying to re-establish their presence in Leyte after a clash between government troops and armed rebels in an upland village of Hilongos, Leyte early morning on Wednesday.

The encounter in a peaceful town in the southern part of Leyte province is a proof that the New People’s Army (NPA) is making efforts to reorganize their movements, said Brig. Gen. Francisco Mendoza, Jr., commander of Army’s 802nd brigade in Leyte.

The military reported that concerned villagers tipped the troops on the presence of about 25 NPA members in upland San Antonio village while asking for revolutionary taxes from locals around 6:40 a.m. on Wednesday.

After the clash, military troops recovered two AK-47 rifles, six magazines, 158 live ammunition, two bandoleers, assorted food stuffs, medicines, and subversive documents.

“There was no casualty on the government side, but there were some who were wounded from the side of our enemy,” Mendoza said in a mobile phone interview Wednesday night.

Hilongos town has been considered as rebel-free area for decades. Recent sightings of rebels are part of NPA’s long term effort to strengthen their presence in Leyte, Mendoza said,

“We established checkpoints along possible entries and exits of withdrawals of the enemy and to verify possible accommodation of wounded enemy in nearby hospital,” Mendoza added.

Hilongos town Mayor Albert Villahermosa said the local government and communities had been working together to prevent recruitment of new rebels.

"The group tries to re-establish in the area that they once reigned in the 1980s, but they find difficulty in penetrating considering that the people have learned their lessons," Villahermosa told PNA.

Hilongos is a second class town, 138 kilometers south of Tacloban, the regional capital.

BIFF death toll in Maguindanao offensives rises to 31 -- military

From the Philippine News Agency (May 11): BIFF death toll in Maguindanao offensives rises to 31 -- military

The military claimed Thursday that 31 members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have been killed in the continuing law enforcement operations in Maguindanao province.

Capt. Arvin John Encinas, spokesperson of the Army's 6th Infantry "Kampilan" Division, said the focused military operations in the adjoining towns of Talayan, Guindulungan and Datu Piang, all in Maguindanao, were aimed at neutralizing BIFF leader Ismael Abubakar and his men, including suspected Indonesian members of Jemaah Islamiah.

Encinas said the BIFF fatalities "were initially pegged at 20 but after validation, the number rose to 31" following five days of air and ground assaults.

Aside from Abubakar, alias "Commander Bungos," the focused military offensives are also targeting Ismael Abdulmalik alias Abu Toraype and Salahuddin Hassan alias Orak.

Encinas said that at least six Indonesian experts on bomb-making are allegedly with the group.

He said that Abubakar has been involved in different criminalities and atrocities in Maguindanao and the nearby provinces of Sultan Kudarat and North Cotabato since the BIFF was formed in 2010.

Encinas said the Army and the local leaders of the adjoining municipalities are validating reports that Abubakar was among the fatalities.

He lauded the different stakeholders, including the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, for supporting the military's campaign to neutralize the BIFF.

In line with the peace process, he said the MILF gave way for the military operation to avoid a misencounter with government troops.

Amid the offensive operations, the military also put up checkpoints and mobile patrols to ensure the safety of commuters traversing the highway from Cotabato City to Isulan, Sultan Kudarat.

"The BIFF usually resorts to roadside bombings to divert the attention of military units pursuing the bandits in the so-called SPMS box," he said.

SPMS refers to the adjoining towns of Salibo, Pagatin (Datu Saudi Ampatuan town), Mamasapano and Shariff Aguak, all in Maguindanao's second district.

Encinas stressed that the focused military operation was launched with utmost consideration on the primacy of the Mindanao peace process.

Westmincom gears up for ‘Brigada Eskwela’ and ‘Brigada Masjid’

From the Philippine News Agency (May 11): Westmincom gears up for ‘Brigada Eskwela’ and ‘Brigada Masjid’

The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) is preparing to launch a series of activities to support the Department of Education(DepEd) and Muslim communities, including areas affected by armed conflict.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, on Thursday said the different military units will assist the public schools in the conduct of the “2017 Brigada Eskwela” in preparation for the opening of school year 2017-2018.

The Brigada Eskwela aims to foster the spirit of “bayanihan” (cooperation) among stakeholders to make schools conducive and comfortable for the learning of students.
“The armed forces wish to extend assistance to educational institutions and encourage the Filipino youth to value literacy. We believe that this is one of the solutions to extremism in conflict-affected areas, where there is a large number of out-of-school youths who become combatants,”
Galvez said.

The participation of the military in the Brigada Eskwela has become a traditional practice. Every year, soldiers in all areas of the country coordinate and work together with the DepEd, teachers, school administrators and parents in cleaning and repairing classrooms.

The joint endeavor serves as a venue for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to reach out and give service to the next generation of leaders that will take different roles in the future.

For 2017, Galvez specifically directed all units under his command to implement another important activity that he hopes will become integral in all AFP units.

Galvez said the “Brigada Masjid,” which will be launched next week and before the Ramadan season starts, will be recommended to be institutionalized among military units nationwide.

Just like the “Brigada Eskwela” concept, Galvez said “the new endeavor intends to utilize military units to assist our Muslim brothers in cleaning and repairing mosques (masjid) in their respective areas to prepare for the upcoming Ramadan season.”

He noted that the 4th Special Forces Battalion and the 104th Infantry Brigade “have received positive response from the Muslim community they are serving” when they initiated and implemented the Brigada Masjid. The two military units are based in Basilan province.

“This year, we want to implement both the Brigada Eskwela and Brigada Masjid in a wider scale. We will launch the activity and conduct it within Western Mindanao,” he said.

“We hope that our brothers will give the soldiers of Westmincom a chance to become part of this religious celebration. We can see that Brigada Masjid is a very good venue to promote cultural understanding and harmony,” he added.

Army's ‘Tabak’ Division recruiting 500 soldiers

From the Philippine News Agency (May 11): Army's ‘Tabak’ Division recruiting 500 soldiers

The 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division, the "premier unit" of the Philippine Army, is recruiting 500 soldiers to beef up its forces as offensives continue against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Maute terror group.

Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the 1st Infantry Division, said the recruitment is part of the Philippine Army’s "transformation roadmap" to beef up its personnel nationwide.

For this year, the Philippine Army is set to recruit 10,000 personnel nationwide.

Bautista said that applications will be accepted starting this month. The oathtaking ceremony and training is scheduled to be held in October.

He said applications are open to all aspiring soldiers who must possess the following qualifications: natural-born citizen of the Philippines; at least 18 to 26 years old before the date of appointment as a candidate soldier; at least five feet in height; single and without a child; with good moral character; physically and mentally fit for military training; and, with at least 72 units in college, or, if a high school graduate, must possess technical skills needed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The candidate soldiers must pass the pre-qualifying physical fitness test and physical medical examination, and submit the following documents: original copy of Transcript of Record and Diploma for college graduates; Form 137 for high school graduates; and, original copy of birth certificate with official receipt from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).

“All those who are interested can proceed to the nearest [Army] brigade and division headquarters for inquiries,” Bautista said.

The Philippine Army reiterates that no monetary requirement was set for the filing of application.