Friday, May 12, 2017

Philippine Communist Rebel Leader Arrested, Military Says

From Benar News (May 12): Philippine Communist Rebel Leader Arrested, Military Says


Guerrillas belonging to the New People’s Army, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, show off their arms in the outskirts of Bukidnon province in the southern Philippines, April 27, 2017  Froilan Gallardo/BenarNews

A ranking communist guerrilla leader wanted for a string of attacks in the southern Philippines has been arrested along with three others including a Christian bishop, authorities said Friday.

Rommel Salinas, identified as the secretary general of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Mindanao, was arrested by joint police and military operatives Thursday evening near the city of Ozamiz, about 1,200 km (750 miles) of the capital Manila, officials said.

Also arrested were Bishop Carlo Morales of the local Christian church Iglesia Filipina Independiente, his wife and the driver of the van the group rode in, local police spokesman Superintendent Lemuel Gonda said.

Authorities confiscated a hand grenade, mobile phones, battery packs, a city map and almost $2,000 from the four suspects, he said.

Brig. Gen.  Rolando Joselito Bautista, commander of the Philippine Army’s regional command, said Salinas was the top commander of the communists’ armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), and was believed to be in charge of sowing a range of terrorist activities in the region, from arson and extortion to killings and abductions.

Salinas was allegedly "involved in numerous high-profile crimes" and a local court had issued at least five warrants for his arrest.

Bautista said Salinas "was the most wanted NPA commander" in the western part of Mindanao, the country's southern third-largest island where both communist guerrillas and Muslim insurgents operate.

"Coordination work from the community, local government units, the national police and the army led to the capture of one of the highest-ranking CPP-NPA leader in western Mindanao," Bautista said.

The arrest of Bishop Morales ignited a furor in his church, during which the clergy ordered its members to immediately travel to the regional police office to demand his freedom.

“Those of you who can travel, go now to the Ozamiz police station,” said Bishop Antonio Ablon of the church's diocese in Pagadian City, also in the south.

The church also posted a photo of a handcuffed Bishop Morales in its social media page and said the four were not allowed to make any phone calls to seek legal assistance.

Ablon said Bishop Morales properly identified himself to the police, but was ignored. The church, however, did not explain why the bishop was with a top communist guerrilla wanted by the authorities.

"We find no reason that the good IFI Bishop of Ozamiz will be illegally arrested, handcuffed and illegally detained in jail. He had properly introduced himself as a bishop but was still accorded with maltreatment,” a church statement said.


Communist guerrillas patrol a remote town in Bukidnon province in the southern Philippines, April 27, 2017. [Froilan Gallardo/BenarNews]

Clashes continue elsewhere
The arrests came a day after four NPA rebels were killed in separate clashes with troops also in the south Wednesday, some two weeks after the gunmen attacked three rubber manufacturing facilities in the southern city of Davao, killing a civilian.

Senior Superintendent Raul Supiter, provincial police commander in the southern city of Sultan Kudarat, said fighting erupted when NPA rebels attacked a Marine contingent patrolling the area.

A 30-minute gunbattle ensued, resulting in the death of two rebels. Two other guerrillas were also slain in a firefight in the city of Malaybalay, about 1,500 km (937 miles) south of Manila.

While local government officials have condemned the series of rebel atrocities, the Philippines has insisted that the next round of talks with the communists would still go ahead later this month in the Netherlands.

The NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, has been waging a guerrilla campaign in the countryside since the late 1960s. Its numbers are believed to number more than 3,200.

Some 40,000 soldiers, rebels and civilians have been slain over the course of the conflict, and peace talks have been on and off since the early 1990s.

In February, the negotiations collapsed after the guerrillas killed several government forces in a series of attacks.

But President Duterte subsequently agreed to return to the negotiating table subject to several conditions, including the release of several officers the NPA has captured and for the rebels to agree to a bilateral cease-fire.

Terrorists threaten Islamic scholars in Cotabato City

From ABS-CBN (May 12): Terrorists threaten Islamic scholars in Cotabato City

The Ulama Summit began on Friday in Cotabato City despite a threat from a radical terrorist group, according to the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Bureau of Public Information.

The Dawla Islamiya, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, issued a statement threatening ulamas, or Islamic scholars, who will attend the event.

“To those who have Ulama relatives, warn your parents, brothers and children not to attend the said summit because if something happens to them along the way or in the end, don't tell us you were not warned,” the Dawla Islamiya statement said.

The group claimed that the summit would result in scholars branding Dawla Islamiya members as terrorists and that ARMM Governor Mujiv Hataman was using the ulamas for his personal agenda.
The Ulama Summit aims to emphasize that Islam must not and cannot be used to justify extremism and terrorism.

“Reeducation is necessary to rediscover Islam, specifically its underlying principles of justice, compassion, and peace,” the ulamas said.

Hataman earlier said the threat of violence and terrorism could further hamper economic growth in the region.

"While the economies of neighboring areas posted 4% to 6% growth last year, ARMM could only post less than 1% growth. This is because security threats pose limits in the region's economic expansion,” he said.

The summit will end on March 14.

Hunt for remaining bandits in Bohol targets 5-hectare mangrove area

From GMA News (May 12): Hunt for remaining bandits in Bohol targets 5-hectare mangrove area

Police and military troops have tightened security on an island in Bohol after residents reported sightings of the two remnants of the Abu Sayyaf Group members from Sulu who entered the province early in April for a supposed kidnapping mission.

GMA News stringer Leo Udtohan reported Friday that security forces have set up checkpoints around Pangangan (pronounced as Pang-ga-ngan) Island in Calape town, while Philippine Navy's Special Action Force teams have been conducting naval patrols.

Authorities tightened Pangangan Island's security on Thursday night after a resident reported that a shabby, skinny, unfamiliar man knocked on his door and begged for food.

Island residents have also reported sightings of two unfamiliar men, whom they believe were Abu Asis and Abu Ubayda, the remaining Abu Sayyaf Group members in the province being hunted by the police.

Troops have cordoned off a five-hectare mangrove forest area where the two were spotted in the past few days.

Residents said they began to suspect the presence of the two on the island when they noticed a strange paddle boat tied to a mangrove tree, and with a design different from the ones being used in the locality, Udtohan said.

They found out later that the boat was stolen from Calape town's Brangay Liboron.

After a series of deadly armed confrontations with security forces, the number of intruders at large in the Bohol province in Central Visayas was down to two men (identified as Abu Asis and Abu Ubayda), after the shooting to death of Saad Samad Kiram while in police custody on May 5 for trying to wrestle for the firearm of one of his police escorts.

Saad's death is now being a subject of investigation by the Commission on Human Rights.

Region 7 police director Chief Supt. Noli Taliño said earlier that the remaining two bandits were wounded in the clash with authorities that led to Saad's arrest.

Four government troops have been killed in clashes with the bandits since April 11. Of the more than 10 Abu Sayyaf intruders, only two have remained alive.

Soldier, NPA rebel killed in Samar clash

From the Manila Bulletin (May 12): Soldier, NPA rebel killed in Samar clash

Camp Ruperto Kangleon, Palo, Leyte –A Philippine Army soldier and a guerrilla of the New People’s Army (NPA) were killed in fighting between government troops and communist rebels on Samar island Thursday morning.

The clash took place on the boundary of Barangay Camayaan, Silvino Lobos in Northern Samar and Barangay San Roque, Matuguinao, Samar, according to First Lieutenant Cherry M. Junia of the Division Affairs Office of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division based in Camp Lukban, Catbalogan City, Samar.
Junia identified the slain soldier as Pfc Jaime C. Mabini of the 43rd Infantry Battalion.

Mabini, who was wounded in the encounter, died later in hospital.

Junia said the soldiers recovered the body of a slain rebel.

A villager had reported to authorities about the presence of an armed group in the area. Responding troops had a 10-minute firefight with the rebels.

Junia said military units and civilian detachments in nearby communities were ordered to put up checkpoints to prevent the rebels from escaping.

On Wednesday, Army soldiers also clash with NPA rebels in Barangay San Antonio, Hilongos, Leyte, Chief Supt. Elmer C. Beltejar, Police 8 Acting Regional Director told Manila Bulletin.
No casualties were reported.

Mil-Oro disputes NPA claim of destructive operations

From the Business World (May 13): Mil-Oro disputes NPA claim of destructive operations

Mil-Oro Mining Corp., the operating arm of Hallmark Mining Corp. and Austral Asia Mining Corp., has disputed the claim of the New People’s Army (NPA) that it has been destroying a protected area and polluting the sea.

The company, with tenement in the Macambol and Cabuaya villages in Mati City, Davao Oriental, said in a statement that the armed communist rebels are merely justifying their attack on the mining site last May 5, destroying heavy equipment and company vehicles and taking firearms, ammunition and various gadgets.

The NPA’s Compostela Vallley-Davao Gulf command, in a statement on Monday, May 8, claimed responsibility for the attack, which they referred to as “punitive action against Mil-Oro Mining Corp.”

The environmental compliance certificate (ECC) of Austral Asia was among those suspended by former environment secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez in October last year.

The company, on the other hand, said, contrary to the claim of the rebels, their mining area is not within the Mt. Hamiguitan Range and Wildlife Sanctuary, a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site.

Mil-Oro said their area is six kilometers from the buffer zone identified by the provincial government.

On the NPA claim that the firm’s operations are destroying farms, Mil-Oro said there is no farm within its area of operations covering 28 hectares, where the company said it is also undertaking rehabilitation work.

The NPA said Mil-Oro’s nickel ore-mining operations “straddle almost 5,000 hectares of the protected areas of Pujada Bay and Mt. Hamiguitan range.”

The company also defended that its water discharge into the sea, saying this has been certified by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as within the allowable limits.

AFP claims many Abu Sayyaf casualties in Basilan battle

From ABS-CBN (May 12): AFP claims many Abu Sayyaf casualties in Basilan battle

Members of Joint Task Force Basilan, consisting of the 4th Special Forces Battalion and 3rd Scout Ranger Regiment, pose for photos after seizing an Abu Sayyaf camp site at Barangay Pamatsaken, Sumisip, Basilan on Thursday. The troops also recovered explosive components capable of making improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Photo courtesy of 4th Special Forces Battalion

No less than 20 Abu Sayyaf members on Thursday may have been killed in clashes with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Joint Task Force Basilan in Sumisip, Basilan, the military said on Friday.

In a statement, the AFP said intelligence reports estimate "no less than twenty (20) ASG fatalities from the combined airstrikes and indirect fires" at an ASG campsite in Brgy. Pamatsaken, Sumisip on Thursday.

The military, however, did not give any names or show images of the Abu Sayyaf fighters killed.

"Our troops were able to cordon the enemy due to the accurate and timely indirect fires and close air support delivered by our Artillery and the Philippine Air Force,” said Col. Juvymax Uy, leader of the Joint Task Force Basilan.

"Also, the information being volunteered by the populace and LGUs provided critical details to validate the intelligence we have on hand.”

The AFP seized the temporary encampment, which was believed to be harboring ASG Sub Leader Furuji Indama, where three live improvised explosive devices (IED) and 12 makeshift tents were found. One IED was detonated and inflicted minor injuries on two soldiers.

According to Uy, the ASG is running out of resources.

"We no longer experience the prolonged firefights with the ASG. This suggests that they have run out of ammunition and other supplies necessary to engage government forces. More than just resources, they no longer have the mass base they once enjoy,” he said.

The military said Naval Task Group Basilan also prevented the bandits from escaping by sea.

Last Saturday, four ASG members were killed in a battle here with the government.

Philippine Air Force’s FA-50 Jets' Strike Abu Sayyaf Camp, Kill 50 'Terrorists'

From Defense World (May 12): Philippine Air Force’s FA-50 Jets' Strike Abu Sayyaf Camp, Kill 50 'Terrorists'

Philippines FA-50 fighter jet

Philippine Air Force’s newly acquired FA-50 fighter jets bombed a camp of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) killing twenty terrorists in Sumisip, Basilan province.

The fighter jets “delivered deadly payload, inflicting heavy casualties to the ASGs.” Lt. Col. Andrew Bacala Jr., Army’s 4th Special Forces Battalion commander was quoted as saying Friday by UPDATE.PH Friday.

Artillery and mortar fires followed immediately after the airstrikes. "Joint troops from the 4th Special Forces and 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion launched a ground assault against the group of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Furuji Indama in Barangay Pamatsaken, Sumisip," Col. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, said.

The 4th Special Forces Battalion troops plunged downwards at the Abu Sayyaf camp and engaged the militants in a firefight just before dawn Thursday, Uy added.

“Our troops were able to cordon the enemy due to the accurate and timely indirect fires and close support delivered by our artillery and the Philippine Air Force’s [fighter jets],” Uy said.

“Also, the information being volunteered by the populace and LGUs (local government units) provided critical information to validate the intelligence we have on hand,” he added.

The troops overran the Abu Sayyaf camp seated on a hilltop before 10 in the morning Thursday,Bacala said. There were about 12 makeshift tents that could accommodate around 40 people.

“Heavy bloodstains were found in the vicinity, with intelligence reports saying no less than 20 ASG (members were killed) by the combined airstrike and indirect fires,” a military report said.

Balikatan 2017: PH, US troops conduct search and rescue exercises

From ABS-CBN (May 12): Balikatan 2017: PH, US troops conduct search and rescue exercises

Balikatan 2017 highlights humanitarian assistance & disaster response as well as counter-terrorism operations. Photo by Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News.

Troops from the Philippine and United States Army conducted urban search and rescue exercises in Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija Friday, as part of humanitarian assistance and disaster response (HADR) training for Balikatan (shoulder-to-shoulder) exercises 2017.

Simulating a disaster in the city, the two armies practiced search and extraction techniques for various scenarios. Some trained in building rescue, where a wounded individual needed to be rapelled down to safer ground. The troops then trained in the extraction of an injured person from a lower elevation, say a cliff or crevice.

Other troops trained in the extraction of the wounded from very confined spaces, using a specialized stretcher from the Hawaii national guard, and a plastic tube simulator through which the wounded person was pulled.

There were others who trained in building fast but sturdy support beams for a building in near-collapse, intended to keep victims and rescuers safe while the rescue is ongoing.
Captain Elmeterio Armada, team lead of the Philippine army's search and rescue contingent, said these trainings were useful as the Philippines prepared for "the Big One," or the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that may hit Metro Manila and provinces along the West Valley Fault.

The Philippine and US forces also exchanged notes on the rescue symbols they used. US Army specialist instructor Manuel Soco said this was necessary so American and Philippine troops would understand these symbols should the two sides end up working together in a real rescue scenario.

The US is among nations that readily sends troops to the Philippines to aid search, rescue and retrieval operations in disasters, notably in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

Military observers from the United Kingdom, South Korea, Singapore, Brunei, East Timor, and Thailand also came to watch the drills.

Colonel Mike Page of the UK Royal Marines said the UK does not train much in HADR because they don’t experience natural calamities often. But observing exercises like these, he said, allows them to see how they could help another country should a disaster strike elsewhere.

Page also said the counter-terrorism exercises were crucial to observe, especially given terror attacks in the UK of late.

Counter-terrorism was the second theme of Balikatan 2017. These drills were not open to the public.

This morning, troops were taught how to clean hazmat suits after exposure to unknown and potentially dangerous chemicals. They had just come from a counter-terrorism exercise where a terrorist-held laboratory was breached, and they had to take samples of the chemicals that the terrorists had left behind.

Balikatan will run until October 19 with upcoming exercises such as island evacuations and civil military assistance from the sea.

Philippine troops hunt down Indon militants aiding local jihadists

From the Mindanao Examiner (May 12): Philippine troops hunt down Indon militants aiding local jihadists

Local jihadists are believed to be coddling at least 6 Indonesian militants who are all bomb experts that managed to sneak in southern Philippines to fight alongside their Filipino counterparts in Mindanao, the army said Friday.

It said security forces launched an operation aimed at preventing terror attacks by these foreigners who were reported to be working with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters under Ismael Abdulmalik and Salahuddin Hassan in the restive province of Maguindanao.

Major General Arnel dela Vega, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, said there were also reports that at least 8 Singaporeans and Malaysian militants are also in the region where security forces clashed recently with BIFF members in several areas in the towns of Salibu, Pagatin, Mamasapano and Shariff Aguak.

He said troops recovered assorted weapons and ammunition, including improvised explosives left behind by the BIFF. The war materials were also presented to journalists during a news conference presided by Dela Vega at the army headquarters in Datu Odin Sinsuat town.

The army insisted that at least 31 BIFF members were allegedly killed in the clashes, but troops recovered not even a single body of militants.

Benham Rise is now Philippine Rise, and a protected food supply zone – Piñol

From CNN Philippines (May 12): Benham Rise is now Philippine Rise, and a protected food supply zone – Piñol

The government asserts the country's sovereign rights over Benham Rise by renaming it "Philippine Rise."

Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol, the highest-ranking government official so far to visit the area, on Thursday said President Rodrigo Duterte had approved the name change in a Cabinet meeting on May 8.

Philippine Rise is a 13-million hectare undersea plateau that lies 216 km (135 miles) east of coast of Aurora province. The territory is wider than the island of Luzon.

Related: Things to know about Benham Rise

Duterte has designated the area as a "protected food supply exclusive zone," Piñol said.

Mining and oil exploration activities are prohibited in Philippine Rise, which is believed to be rich in natural gas, oil, and minerals.

"I defended to the President that rather than focus on searching for mining or oil activities (in the Philippine Rise), we have to protect it because I see a P25-billion (food supply) potential there," Piñol said in a statement.

He made this observation after visiting the area on May 6 together with scientists and members of the media.

Watch: Scientists, journalists journey into Benham Rise

Filipino fishermen who travel around 20 hours from Infanta, Quezon to Philippine Rise catch big fish like yellowfin tuna which can earn them as much as ₱15,000 (US$ 300) in the market.

Piñol said Duterte had also given the go signal for the construction of a research facility and a command post at Benham Bank – the shallowest portion of Philippine Rise.

A command post would also deter illegal fishing on the grounds, he added.

During Piñol's visit, the government set up 15 fishing devices called a "payao" to help local fishermen who use only wooden boats with no radar or fish tracking devices.

Each payao costs P200,000. The device is attached to an orange buoy with branches of palm trees, which attract fish.

Why rename?

Malacañang first bared plans to rename Benham Rise in April, after Chinese survey ships were spotted in the territory in March.

China has admitted its ship was in an area east of the country but only on innocent passage, saying it recognizes the Philippines' sovereign rights there.

Duterte in a speech last April said he wanted to "officially claim [Benham Rise] as ours" by renaming it.

The United Nations ruled in 2012 that the undersea plateau is part of the Philippines' exclusive economic zone. This means the country has the sole right to its resources.

Read: What you need to know about the Arbitral Tribunal's ruling

This is not the first time government renamed an area to assert the country's sovereign rights.

In 2012, former President Benigno Aquino signed an administrative order naming the country's exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea as West Philippine Sea.

Religious leaders in ARMM to tackle terrorism in a summit

From the Philippine Information Agency (May 12): Religious leaders in ARMM to tackle terrorism in a summit

Up to 300 ulama from within and outside the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) are expected to attend an anti-terrorism summit in Cotabato City starting May 12 to 14.

Dubbed ‘ARMM Ulama Summit Against Terrorism’, the event is initiated by the regional government in cooperation with the region’s ulama and in line with the Duterte administration’s statement that terrorism is an urgent and critical national security threat.

Governor Mujiv Hataman, as well as religious leaders, underscored that the threat of violence and terrorism could further hamper economic growth in the region. Even as reforms in the ARMM were introduced resulting in initial positive response from investors, recent security-related incidents in some areas could dampen business interest in the entire region.

The Maute Group’s terror attacks in Lanao del Sur show violent extremism’s new trajectory, compounded further by recent developments such as the Islamic State’s expanding influence outside the Middle East.

These developments would adversely affect high-impact programs and projects that ARMM has recently introduced all over the region benefiting mostly conflict-affected and low-income communities.

Ulama leaders have noted that the threat of violent extremism and terrorism is not solely the problem and responsibility of political leaders but of religious leaders as well since many terrorists misrepresent and misuse the Islamic faith to justify violence and terrorism, which tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims.

The ulama emphasized that Islam could not be used to justify violent extremism and terrorism. Reeducation is necessary to rediscover the Islamic faith, specifically the principles of justice, compassion, peace and harmony, they added. Working with stakeholders to prevent and counter violent extremism and terrorism is important in this regard.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte leads the list of invited guests and Gov. Hataman will be present during the summit's sessions. Others invited to the event are the ambassadors from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Singapore, and the United Nations' representative to the Philippines.

Despite the gains due to reforms that have been implemented and institutionalized in the ARMM, there is a continuing challenge when it comes to local security and governance. This includes sustainable development which requires an inclusive, comprehensive and sustainable approach.

The ARMM’s experience in campaigns and programs against extremism, as well as the draft communication for peace action plan would also be shared.

BRP Davao Del Sur's name honors province famous for Mt. Apo, PHL eagle

From the Philippine News Agency (May 12): BRP Davao Del Sur's name honors province famous for Mt. Apo, PHL eagle

The BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602), the country's second strategic sealift vessel, was named after the Philippine province that is famous for the majestic Mount Apo, as well as rare flora and fauna.

Calling the vessel ‘Davao Del Sur’ gives due recognition to the province as a “sanctuary of natural wonders and rarities, like the country’s highest peak Mount Apo, the most prized Philippine orchid Vanda Sanderiana, and the endangered Philippine Eagle", Philippine Navy (PN) spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna said Friday.

It is also a tribute to a former Navy vessel of the same name that was notable for its accomplishments during the 1980s, Lincuna said.

"Naming the vessel after Davao Del Sur is consistent with its predecessor, the BRP Tarlac (LD-601), which was also named after a province," he added.

The ship will be commissioned on May 30, during the Navy's 119th founding anniversary.

The ship arrived and anchored off Pier 13 at the Manila South Harbor last Monday after departing from the PT PAL (Persero) shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia last May 4.

Lincuna said the vessel will boost the Navy's capability to conduct humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) missions alongside troop and cargo missions.

The BRP Davao Del Sur, launched on Sept. 29 last year, is the sister ship of the BRP Tarlac, currently the largest Filipino warship in commission.

A Makassar-class landing platform dock, BRP Davao Del Sur will serve as a floating command-and-control ship, especially in HADR operations, and as a military sealift and transport vessel.

The ship has an overall length of 120 meters, breadth of 21 meters, and draft of 5 meters and can carry a payload of 2,800 tons. It has a cruising speed of 13 knots, a maximum speed of 16 knots, and a minimum operating range of 7,500 nautical miles.

BRP Davao Del Sur can carry 500 troops, two rigid-hull inflatable boats, two landing craft units and three helicopters.

Soldier, 2 rebels killed in fresh clashes in Eastern Visayas

From the Philippine News Agency (May 12): Soldier, 2 rebels killed in fresh clashes in Eastern Visayas

A soldier died and two rebels were killed in two separate clashes between the Philippine Army and communist rebels in Leyte and Samar provinces this week.

In a statement issued Friday noon, the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Division confirmed that Private First Class Jaime Mabini, Jr. succumbed Thursday noon while undergoing treatment in a hospital in Northern Samar.

Mabini was seriously wounded during a 10-minute firefight between military troops and the New People's Army (NPA) in the boundaries of Camayaan village in Silvino Lobos, Northern Samar and San Roque village in Matuguinao, Samar around midnight Wednesday.

After the clash, soldiers found a dead body of an unknown NPA member near the encounter site.

In Hilongos, Leyte, government troops found on Thursday a dead body of a rebel and his wounded comrade a day after a firefight between soldiers and communist rebels in an upland village there, the statement said.

“An investigation is now being conducted to get more information on the background of the fatality and the wounded rebel,” Brig. Gen. Francisco Mendoza, Jr., commander of the Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade, told the Philippine News Agency on Friday.

The dead rebel was identified only as Arthur while the wounded was named Nilo Algerea, who is now recuperating at a public hospital.

The two rebels were found near the encounter site in San Antonio village. Mendoza believed that their companions left them to escape soldiers chasing them.

The Army in Eastern Visayas called for the active participation of the community in immediately informing nearby military units on the presence of NPA rebels in their areas.

The Army confirmed that communist rebels have been reestablishing their presence in remote communities in Eastern Visayas.

Eastmincom heightens alert amid US travel advisory

From the Philippine News Agency (May 12): Eastmincom heightens alert amid US travel advisory

The Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines has ordered its troops to be on heightened alert as terrorist groups may launch diversionary tactics on its jurisdiction.

Major Ezra Balagtey, chief of the information office of Eastmincom, said Friday the heightened alert took effect on Thursday evening, May 11.

The order followed a travel advisory previously issued by the US Embassy to its citizens to avoid visiting Palawan.

“While the travel advisory was specific to Palawan, the command had to raise the alert level in the area because of the possibility of terrorist groups shifting or diverting operations to Eastern Mindanao,” Balagtey pointed out.

He added that Eastmincom is also coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP), the local government units (LGUs) and other law enforcement agencies to take necessary measures to secure maritime, coastal and land areas against terrorist attacks.

“Eastmincom enjoins the public to be vigilant but calm and to immediately report to law enforcement units any suspicious-looking individual or activity in their vicinity,” he added.

He said that early morning on Thursday, the Naval Forces Eastern Mindanao already conducted drills and simulation exercises to test and evaluate their capability in responding to terrorism.

20 bandits 'killed' as fighter jets pound Abu Sayyaf camp in Basilan

From the Philippine News Agency (May 12): 20 bandits 'killed' as fighter jets pound Abu Sayyaf camp in Basilan

Twenty bandits were "killed" as the Philippine Air Force's newly acquired FA-50 fighter jets pounded and destroyed a camp of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Sumisip, Basilan province, military officials said.

Lt. Col. Andrew Bacala Jr., Army’s 4th Special Forces Battalion commander, on Friday said the fighter jets “delivered deadly payload, inflicting heavy casualties to the ASGs.”

“The ASGs were shocked. They abandoned most of their personal belongings and left unfinished meal at their encampment,” said Bacala, who led a ground assault on Thursday.

“The supersonic jet’s swooshing sound may have sounded as a whisper of death to the ASGs,” Bacala added.

Artillery and mortar fires followed immediately after the airstrikes.

Col. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, said joint troops from the 4th Special Forces and 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion launched a ground assault against the group of Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Furuji Indama in Barangay Pamatsaken, Sumisip.

Uy said that 4th Special Forces Battalion troops swooped down at the Abu Sayyaf camp and engaged the bandits in a firefight just before dawn Thursday.

“Our troops were able to cordon the enemy due to the accurate and timely indirect fires and close support delivered by our artillery and the Philippine Air Force's [fighter jets],” Uy said.

“Also, the information being volunteered by the populace and LGUs (local government units) provided critical information to validate the intelligence we have on hand,” he added.

Bacala said the troops overran the Abu Sayyaf camp seated on a hilltop before 10 a.m. Thursday. There were 12 makeshift tents that could accommodate around 40 people.

“Heavy bloodstains were found in the vicinity, with intelligence reports saying no less than 20 ASG (members were killed) by the combined airstrike and indirect fires,” a military report said.

The troops have recovered food supplies and bomb-making components capable of fabricating 30 improvised explosive devices (IED).

The Abu Sayyaf bandits, unlike in previous firefights, evaded the government troops as their resources are running low, Uy said.

“We no longer experience prolonged firefights with the ASGs. This suggests that they are running out of ammunition and other supplies necessary to engage government forces. More than just resources, they 'no longer have the mass base' they once enjoyed,” he said.

Uy disclosed that the information provided to them by ASG members who surrendered earlier yielded good results, particularly the whereabouts of the bandits.

The Naval Task Group Basilan also conducted maritime interdiction operations to prevent the bandits’ escape by sea as the ground troops launched the assault.

The military has intensified its operation following the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to address the ASG problem in six months, which started in January.

The military have so far killed at least 60 bandits across the island provinces of Basilan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.

'Balikatan' troops conduct HADR drills in Fort Magsaysay

From the Philippine News Agency (May 12): 'Balikatan' troops conduct HADR drills in Fort Magsaysay

Filipino and American troops on Friday practiced urban search-and-rescue and collapsed structure exercises in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija as part of the 33rd iteration of "Balikatan".

This year’s exercises will highlight humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) drills, including methods to rescue people trapped in collapsed structures, a common occurrence during massive earthquakes.

Philippine "Balikatan" spokesperson, Maj. Frank Sayson, said such exercises need to be practiced considering that the country is located in the "Pacific Ring of Fire", making it prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Some 2,800 Filipino soldiers, 2,600 American troops, 80 members of the Australian Defense Force, and 20 members of the Japan Self Defense Forces are joining the Balikatan exercises, which formally began May 8 and will end on May 19.

Incidentally, the Philippine Army's 525th Engineering Combat Battalion, which is based in Libis, Quezon City, will be one of the first units to be deployed should a major disaster strike Metro Manila and its environment.

The 525th Engineering Combat Battalion is the Army's premier HADR unit. An engineering battalion consists of 500 to 1,000 officers and enlisted personnel and is equipped with bulldozers, backhoes and other heavy construction equipment.

The 525th Engineering Combat Battalion was one of the first military units deployed to Leyte during the aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda on Nov. 8, 2013.

Together with units of the Catbalogan-based 8th Infantry Division, the 525th Engineering Combat Battalion helped clear off debris along the roads leading to Tacloban City and other parts of Leyte.

Pemberton seeks reversal of conviction for Laude slay

From the Philippine News Agency (May 12): Pemberton seeks reversal of conviction for Laude slay

United States Marine Lance Cpl. Joseph Scott Pemberton, tagged in the killing of a transgender woman in Olongapo City in October 2014, seeks to reverse the ruling of Court of Appeals last April 3 affirming the ruling of Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 which found Pemberton guilty of homicide.

In 35-page motion for reconsideration filed by Pemberton through his lawyer Rowena Garcia Flores, he asked the CA's 16th Division to reverse its decision dated April 3, 2017 and also reverse the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 decision dated December 1, 2015.

Garcia-Flores urged the appeals court to consider the privileged and ordinary mitigating circumstances in imposing the penalty.

An affect of an ordinary mitigating circumstance is that the minimum period in case of divisible penalty provided by law for a particular crime shall be imposed while the effect of a privileged mitigating circumstance is that the penalty to be imposed shall be lower by 1 or 2 degrees than that provided by law for the crime.

The same motion said the appeals court has ‘cherry-picked’ the evidence to sustain the conviction of Pemberton.

The motion added that the CA disregarded other important evidence such as the necklace that Laude was clutching with a third set of DNA, missing money, different position of Laude from that of Pemberton’s description, among others.

“Here, the picture formed by the prosecution is neither convincing nor is it complete. It was not able to prove that when Pemberton left Laude, the latter was already dead. The Prosecution further failed to prove that no one else could have killed Laude, as the evidence undeniably proves that there was an intruder whose DNA was left on Laude’s neck; who stole Laude’s money; and whose necklace was left in the hand of Laude. The circumstantial evidence cannot be said to form an “unbroken chain” that “excludes all other [suspects]” but Pemberton.”

Pemberton also asked the appellate court to reduce the amount of damages for "loss of income" awarded to private complainant to less or equal to the current minimum wage in Zambales, which is PHP349.00 a day, and delete the award of exemplary damages.

Pemberton was found guilty of homicide for Laude's slay on December 1, 2015, and was sentenced to serve a jail term of 6-10 years.

He is serving his sentence in a detention facility inside the Philippine military headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

Last April 3, the 48-page decision penned by Associate Justice Marlenez Gonzales-Sison and concurred in by Associate Justices Ramon Cruz and Henri Jean Paul Inting, the CA’s 16th Division affirmed the ruling of Olongapo City Regional Trial Court Branch 74 which found Pemberton guilty of homicide and sentenced him to a maximum of 10 years of imprisonment and also ordered him to indemnify the heirs of his victim Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude, a Filipino transgender.

Pemberton has been meted a penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment after he was convicted of homicide. He was also ordered to pay PHP4.3 million for loss of earning capacity, PHP30,000 exemplary damages, PHP50,000 each for civil indemnity and moral damages.
The CA said for an unlawful aggression to exist, there has to be an actual physical assault or at least a threat to inflict real imminent injury.

Insurgency problem, 'unclear' DAR policies weaken PHL fruit exports

From the Philippine News Agency (May 12): Insurgency problem, 'unclear' DAR policies weaken PHL fruit exports

The continuing attacks and extortion activities by communist rebels in Mindanao and "unclear" policies on agribusiness ventures by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) are among the factors that further weaken the country's fruit export.

Industry players and workers in the banana and pineapple sectors have expressed growing concern over the atrocities committed by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels against fruit plantations in Mindanao, despite a much-publicized interim ceasefire supposedly forged between the government and communist insurgents in the Netherlands.

They have also lamented the attempts by some DAR officials to scuttle legitimate and valid agribusiness venture deals between banana plantation developers and agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs), in blatant disregard of President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy of honoring all contractual obligations of the government.

"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. 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," said Antero Sison Jr., president of Marsman Estate Plantation Inc. (MEPI), in a statement.

The country’s export earnings from banana plunged to USD440 million in 2015, down by about 60 percent from USD1.1 billion in 2014.

"We can learn to cope with extreme weather phenomena like the 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 DAR policies."

Hernando Rivero, a member of the Davao Marsman Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Development Cooperative (DAMARBDEVCO), for his part, said "DAR officials, whether deliberate or not, have been contributing to the decline of the banana industry, which has helped tens of thousands of agrarian reform beneficiaries significantly improve their living standards and that of their families."

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 that 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.

Alex Valoria, president and CEO of the Tagum Agricultural Development Co., Inc (TADECO), on the other hand, said on top of contending with NPA atrocities and unpredictable policies, the banana industry also has to deal with political concerns.

Valoria was referring to the quarrel between Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Rep. Antonio Floirendo Jr., which has dragged TADECO, owned by the Floirendo clan, into the mess.

Alvarez’s feud with Floirendo has prompted him to brand the JVA between TADECO and Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) as illegal and demanded that the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate the agreement.

TADECO and BuCor have a decades-long JVA to develop the Davao Prison and Penal Farm into a banana plantation primarily to help rehabilitate inmates and prepare them for reintegration into society.

"Our joint venture agreement with BuCor is a successful model for rehabilitating inmates who get to earn decent incomes that help them provide for their families while serving their sentences. This is a legally binding agreement that has proven to be aboveboard by the Congress, the Executive Branch and the courts. This arrangement would not have lasted this long if it has not been proven to be beneficial for all the parties concerned -- the government, TADECO and the inmates being rehabilitated inside the Davao penal farm," said Valoria.

"Now, all of a sudden, the JVA is being branded as void and illegal based on some legal hocus-pocus meant to satisfy political whims," he said.

"We cannot accomplish our goal of maintaining the global competitiveness of our banana industry if the government itself is the one sabotaging us. Investors can just pack, leave and relocate elsewhere. The ultimate losers here are the workers and their families," he added.

Meanwhile, Speaker Alvarez on Friday said that with only one more hearing before the House of Representatives closes its probe on the land deal between the BuCor and TADECO, the company has yet to present any convincing proof that the contract is legal.

The Speaker had sought a probe into the deal between BuCor and TADECO, owned by the Floirendo family, alleging it was not only contrary to law but also disadvantageous to the government.

The first joint hearing of the House Committee on Good Government and the Committee on Justice was held on May 9.

"Meron pang isang ini-schedule na hearing pagkatapos nito at ii-establlish natin kung ano talaga yung facts and then the committee will recommend kung anong mga kailangang batas na pwede nating gawin upang sa ganun maiwasan natin yung ganitong pagkalugi ng gobyerno," he said.

Testifying before the two committees, DOJ Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II said he adopted the findings in the preliminary report of the fact-finding panel tasked to investigate the controversial land deal, which declared the BuCor-TADECO deal as illegal.

Aguirre recommended that the deal be revoked by the President or for the BuCor to file an appropriate action in court to nullify the JVA.

He also recommended that the President issue a proclamation reclassifying the lands in question as alienable and disposable before the Bucor is allowed to enter into agreements for the concession of its property, subject to bidding requirements under the law.

Alvarez said the concerned committees may recommend the filing of plunder charges if they find sufficient evidence the government lost at least Php 50 million as a result of the BuCor-TADECO land deal.

"Kung mapatunayan natin na talagang yung gobyerno ay talagang napagsamantalahan ng pinakamababa yung Php 50 million ay baka pwedeng pumasok sa plunder since this involved a government official also in cahoots with other family members," he said.

In his own estimate, Alvarez believes the BuCor-TADECO land deal has prejudiced the government by as much as Php 106,167,191 per year.

DND, AFP update House on national security issues

From the Philippine News Agency (May 12): DND, AFP update House on national security issues

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Eduardo Año this week updated the House committee on national defense and security on the national security situation, the “three-tiered” Revised AFP Modernization Program, and the support they need for their legislative agenda.

The officials informed the committee, chaired by Rep. Amado T. Espino, Jr. (5th District, Pangasinan), that among the internal security concerns currently being addressed by the DND and AFP are the threats coming from the extremist groups such as the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)-identified local terrorist groups, the presence of foreign terrorists they are closely monitoring, and the extortion activities of leftists groups Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

At the onset, committee vice chairman Rep. Rozanno Rufino B. Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City) and Rep. Harry L. Roque (Party-list, Kabayan) asked Lorenzana and Año if they would prefer an executive session since they might have information that are highly classified or on the “need to know” basis.

But Lorenzana said they prefer an open hearing because the people deserve to know about the present national security situation.

The officials said successful military offensives resulted in the death, capture or surrender of top leaders of the above mentioned terror groups. The offensives weakened the terror groups, according to them.

They said the government will continue its assault so as not to give the terror groups a chance to regroup. They also expressed optimism that as the peace talks between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) gain headway, this will result in fewer skirmishes with government troops.

Rep. Aniceto D. Bertiz III (Party-list, ACTS-OFW) inquired on the status of the arrested and deported ISIS-linked Hussein Azo Aldhafiri, Winston Q8 operations manager, and his wife Raja Zina, who operated the terror group’s Philippine operations and siphoned off hundreds of millions of pesos from Taiwan-bound overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“This is a national security concern because we are talking about a big amount of money being used to fund a terrorist group. They have a nationwide operation and don’t need foreign funding from other terrorist groups because they are earning around Php 900 million per day,” Bertiz said as he submitted documents that could help authorities in their follow-up operations.

Bertiz said concerned agencies have yet to act on the still existing and 99 percent foreign-owned (a clear violation of the law) Winston Q8 company in Taguig despite its proven linkage and posing as an imminent threat to the country’s national security.

Bertiz also expressed concern on the database still being held by Winston Q8, bearing the names of OFWs which might be used against the workers in the future.

Espino agreed that the matter should be taken seriously as it is clearly a national security issue. “Nasaan na ba talaga ang mga kalaban? Sino ba talaga ang uma-attend sa mga kalaban? Terrorism na ito. Biruin mo, sarili nating mga OFW, na tinatawag nating mga heroes, nagagamit without them knowing it,” Espino said.

Lorenzana clarified that while they were involved in the monitoring and eventual arrest of the terrorist-linked couple, they are not the lead agency on the matter.

As to Roque’s question on the extent of ISIS presence in the country and the relation of the recent Quiapo bombing to local ISIS-linked counterparts, Lorenza said the Office of the National Security Adviser issues official statements related to terrorist presence.

On the external threats raised during the hearing, these include Chinese incursions and sightings of their vessels in the contested islands and waters of the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) and Benham Rise off the coast of Isabela in the Philippine Sea.

Rep. Gary C. Alejano (Party-list, Magdalo) said the country should have a clear overall strategy in the light of these incursions and reported harassment of Filipino fishermen.

He further said the relationship the President is building with the Chinese, and the plans he would like to pursue, including joint military exercises with China, would not renege on the country’s treaties with other ally countries and would benefit the country more.

On the Revised AFP Modernization Program, the AFP reported that the Horizon 1 Phase is about to end with expected deliveries of remaining air, maritime, land and cyberspace defense equipment and completion of remaining/ongoing projects.

Horizon 2 Phase will start from 2018 to 2022, while the third and last phase, Horizon 3, will commence starting 2023 to 2027.

AFP officers, however, said that there are factors that affect the implementation of the Horizon 1 Program such as the funding requirement, the trust fund whose implementation is still pending despite its clear provision in the law, and problems experienced with the procurement law, among others. They detailed their recommendations to the committee.

Espino and the lawmakers urged the AFP officers to submit all their legislative suggestions and priorities. They also advised them to work closely with the House, especially this coming long recess, so that the committee can study the proposals with them and come up with the necessary laws suited to the needs of the DND.

“Let’s go to the bottom line, starting with what is achievable. Isantabi muna natin ang mga ibang hindi naman natin kaya sa ngayon,” Espino said .

Meanwhile, Espino said the investigations on the procurement of old models of defense equipment, vehicles and other items are in order, recalling a similar fiasco in the Department of Transportation (DOTr) where incompatible carriages were procured and have remained useless until today.

CPP/Ang Bayan: 6 na sibilyan, pinatay ng AFP sa Masbate at ComVal

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (May 7): 6 na sibilyan, pinatay ng AFP sa Masbate at ComVal

Limang magsasaka, kabilang ang dalawang bata, ang pinatay ng mga nag-ooperasyong sundalo ng 9th ID sa dalawang insidente sa prubinsya ng Masbate noong Abril 15 at 20. Samantala, isang aktibistang Lumad ang muling pinaslang ng mga reaksyunaryong sundalo sa Compostela Valley.

Noong Abril 20, walang habas na pinagbabaril ng mga sundalo ng 3rd Scout Ranger Company sa pamumuno ni Lt. Karlito John Cabillo ang mga kabahayan sa Sityo Lubigan, Brgy. Panan-awan, Cawayan matapos silang magtamo ng mga kaswalti nang maka-engkwentro ang isang yunit ng BHB sa karatig na lugar. Namatay sa naturang pamamaril ang 71 taong gulang na si Lita Villamor Pepito, at dalawa niyang apo na sina Reden Luna, 9 , at Rechillen Luna, 11. Malubhang nasugatan naman ang asawa ni Lolita na si Paulino, 72 taong gulang.

Ayon kay Paulino at sa mga nakasaksi, buhay pa sana ang kanyang asawa matapos tamaan, ngunit nilapitan ito ng mga sundalo at tuluyang pinatay. Iligal ding inaresto ang ilang residente at gabi na nang pinalaya.

Noon namang Abril 15, brutal na pinaslang ng 2nd IB ang magkapatid na sina Titing at Bongbong Tagalog, kapwa magsasakang nakatira sa San Carlos, Milagros, Masbate. Pinatay sa bugbog si Titing habang tadtad naman ng bala si Bongbong.

Ayon pa sa mga residente, nagdudulot ng takot sa kanila ang walang habas na pagpapaputok ng mga sundalo. Karamihan sa mga residente ay umalis na sa lugar dahil sa takot. Noong Abril 16, bandang alas-10 ng umaga, isang sibilyan ang sinita ng mga sundalo, at pinatakbo papalayo habang pinapuputukan.

Iniulat naman ng mga residente sa katabing baryo ng Tigbao ang pagnanakaw ng mga sundalo ng 2nd IB ng mga alagang kambing at manok.
Sa Compostela Valley, pinatay ang aktibista at lider-Lumad na si Federico Pandi Plaza noong Mayo 3, alas-4 ng hapon sa Brgy. Poblacion, Maragusan. Si Plaza ay aktibo sa mga kampanyang agraryo bilang kasapi ng Hugpong sa Mag-uuma sa Walog Com-postela (HUMAWAC).
Bilang lider-Lumad, naging aktibo siya sa matagumpay na pagpa-palayas ng PDOP sa kanilang lugar.

Ayon sa Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region, si Plaza ang ika-21 biktima ng mga pamamaslang sa mga aktibista sa rehiyon. Itinuturong salarin ang mga sundalo ng Armed Forces of the Philippines na tumatarget sa mga lider-magsasaka na aktibo sa mga pakikibakang masa.

Samantala, naglabas ng mga pagbabanta sina Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte at Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte laban sa mamamahayag ng Radyo ni Juan na si Dodong Solis.

Personal na mga atake ang tugon ng magkapatid na Duterte sa mga komentaryo ni Solis hinggil sa tunggaliang agraryo sa pagitan ng mga magsasaka at ng Lapanday Foods Corp. at ng aksyong militar ng BHB laban sa pamilyang Lorenzo.

Nagpahayag ng pagkabahala dito ang National Union of Journalists of the Philippines. Ayon sa grupo, nakakaalarma ang mga atake at pagbabanta ng mga Duterte lalupa’t may rekord si Sara ng pananakit at pagpapahiya sa publiko.

[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: Pananakop ng imperyalismo sa buong daigdig

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (May 7): Pananakop ng imperyalismo sa buong daigdig

Katangian ng imperyalismo ang pananakop. Kung sa lumang kapitalismo ay malawakan ang eksport ng mga kalakal, sa panahon ngayon ng imperyalismo, o monopolyong yugto ng kapitalismo, mas karaniwan ang eksport ng kapital, at nagbubunsod ito ng paghahati-hati ng daigdig sa pagitan ng malalaking monopolyong korporasyon at sa pagitan ng mga imperyalistang kapangyarihan.

Sa akda ni Lenin na Imperyalismo, ang Pinakamataas na Yugto ng Kapitalismo, isinulat niyang ang sobrang kapital ay gagamitin hindi para sa pagpapataas ng istandard ng pamumuhay ng masa sa isang bayan, dahil mababawasan ang tubo ng mga kapitalista, kundi sa pagpapalaki ng tubo sa pamamagitan ng pag-eksport ng kapital sa mga atrasadong bayan. Sa mga bayang ito, madalang ang kapital, mura ang lupa, hilaw na materyales at lakas-paggawa.

Nagbabagu-bago ang paghahati batay sa lakas ng bawat monopolyong korporasyon at sa bayang kumakatawan sa kanila. Halimbawa, noong 1884 hanggang 1914, sa merkado ng internasyunal na kartel ng asero, lumiit ang bahagi ng Great Britain mula 66% tungo 53.5%, samantalang lumaki ang Germany mula 27% tungo 28.8%, at Belgium mula 7% naging 17.67%. Bandang huli ay nabahaginan ang France, at noong 1905 ay nakibahagi pa ang United States Steel Corporation ni J.P. Morgan, ang pinakamalaking korporasyon ng asero sa US.

Paraan din ng eksport ng kapital ang pagpapautang. Ang kapital na ipinauutang ng mga monopolyo kapitalista ay nakatakda kung saan gagamitin. May kasabay itong mga kontrata tulad ng pagbili ng armas, teknolohiya, makinaryang gagamitin, o mga pangkonsumong kalakal mula lamang sa nagpautang na bansa o korporasyon, o kaya’y doon din magsusuplay ng hilaw na materyales. Kaya’t habang tumatabo ng tubo mula sa utang, kumikita pa ang mga monopolyo kapitalista mula sa pagbenta ng mga produkto nito.

Noong 1910, ang dalawang dating imperyalistang bayan, England at France, kasama ang dalawang umuusbong na imperyalistang bayan, United States at Germany, ang nagmamay-ari ng halos 80% ng kapital sa pinansya ng buong mundo. Wari ba’y sila ang usurero ng buong daigdig.

Lalo pa itong tumingkad pagkatapos ng Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig (WWII) nang itayo ang International Monetary Fund, na kontrolado ng mga imperyalistang bayan, para masistematisa ang pagpapautang sa mga atrasadong bayan. Sa bawat pautang ay nagtakda ito ng napakasahol at napakabigat na mga kundisyon sa mismong estado ng pinauutang na bayan.

Paghahati ng mundo sa pagitan ng makapangyarihang mga bayan
Kinokontrol ng bawat monopolyong kumbinasyon ang lahat ng pagkukunan ng hilaw na materyales upang maipagkait ito sa kanilang kakumpitensya, laluna ang mga nauubos na likas na yaman tulad ng langis, mina, karbon at lupa. Hinahawakan nila hindi lamang ang mga dati nang natuklas na rekurso, kundi pati ang mga potensyal pa, dahil napakabilis ng pag-unlad ng teknolohiya. Para sa kanila, ang ngayong walang silbi ay maaaring mapakinabangan bukas, mabuhusan lang ng teknolohiya at kapital. Garantiya ito laban sa anumang panggigipit ng kakumpetensya, kabilang na ang pagbubuo ng mga batas na nagtatatag ng monopolyo ng estado.

Kung mawalan ng kasarinlang pulitikal ang atrasadong bayan at mamamayan, tiyak na madulas ang paghuthot ng tubo. Ipinakikita ito sa paglitaw at paglaganap ng mga kolonya, na tuwirang hawak ng imperyalistang estado, at ng mga malakolonya, mga bansang nagpapakilalang nagsasarili ngunit sa katotohanan ay sakal ng imperyalistang estado sa ekonomya, pulitika at kultura. Sa pagtatayo ng isang tutang gubyerno, binabansot ng imperyalista ang ekonomya, dinarambong ang likas na yaman, pinipiga ang murang lakas-paggawa ng uring anakpawis, at binubulok ang kaisipan ng mamamayan upang tanggapin ang kanilang paghahari.

Mula 1884-1900 ang matinding pananakop ng pangunahing mga bayan sa Europe. Noong 1900 ay nakolonisa na ang 90.4% ng Africa, 98.9% ng Polynesia, 56.6% ng Asia, 27.2% ng America (hilaga hanggang timog), at ang buong Australia.

Sa panahong ito rin sinaklot ng US ang Pilipinas, sa pamamagitan ng isang digmang mapanakop na pumatay sa halos sangkanim (1/6) ng populasyong Pilipino. Naging maingay ang pagtutol rito ng mamamayang Amerikano, bagay na pinansin ni Lenin kung kaya nabanggit niya ang Pilipinas sa kanyang akda.

Simula pa lamang ng siglong 1900, naubos na ang bukas na teritoryo sa hibang na pananakop ng oligarkiya sa iba’t ibang bayan. Sa panahon ng imperyalismo, ganap na ang pagkakahati-hati ng daigdig. Nagbabago lamang ang pagkakahating ito kapag naaagaw ng isa ang teritoryong pagmamay-ari ng iba.

Ang imperyalismo ay katumbas ng digmaan

Ang dominasyong sinisikap ng mga imperyalistang estado ay umaabot pati sa pinakaindustriyalisadong mga rehiyon. Hindi lang ito para sa sariling pagpusisyon, kundi para pahinain at bakuran ang kakumpitensya at makamit ang hegemonya.

Ipinakita ni Lenin na pang-ekonomyang dominasyon ang batayan ng imperyalismo, ngunit sistema itong sumasaklaw maging ng pulitika at kultura, at militar na pagpusisyon sa buong daigdig. Ang paligsahang ito para sa dominasyon ay nagtutulak sa walang tigil na pakikidigma o paghahanda para makidigma.

Isang digmaan ng mga imperyalista ang Unang Digmaang Pandaigdig noong 1914-1918. Isa ito sa pinakamarahas at mapaminsalang digmaan sa kasaysayan ng Europe at ilang taon lang matapos ay sinundan pa ng WWII noong 1939-1945 kung saan nasaklaw ang Pilipinas. Pagkatapos ng digmaan, lumaki ang teritoryo ng US.

Ang binansagang Cold War matapos ang Ikalawang Digmaang Pandaigdig, ang mga digmang agresyon sa Vietnam at Korea, hanggang sa mga gerang proxy ngayon sa Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, at marami pang bayan sa Africa ay mga gera para sa muling hatian ng mga teritoryong imperyalista. Naglulunsad ng iba’t ibang tipo ng hayag at tagong gera ang mga imperyalistang estado para sa dominasyon sa mundo. Maliban sa dati nang mga imperyalistang kapangyarihan tulad ng Great Britain, France, Germany at US, pumasok na rin sa eksena ang mga bagong kapangyarihang Russia at China. Gumastos ang mga ito sa militar ng $1,686 bilyon noong 2016, kung saan pinakamalaki ang US na $611 bilyon.

Ayon sa US Department of Defense noong 2016, maliban sa mga nanggegerang sundalo sa Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait at Syria, may 150,560 tauhang militar ang US sa labas ng kanilang bansa. Sa datos din ng US Joint Chiefs of Staff, nakikialam o nandirigma ang special operations forces sa 134 bayan.

Imperyalismo ang kaaway ng buong daigdig

Labis ang pang-aapi’t pagsasamantala ng imperyalismo hindi lang sa manggagawa sa sariling bayan kundi sa mamamayan sa mga kolonya at malakolonya. Ang paglilinaw ni Lenin sa katangian ng imperyalismo na pinatunayan ng tagumpay ng Rebolusyong Oktubre ay nananatiling makabuluhan sa lahat ng nagsisikap lumaya mula sa kuko ng imperyalismo sa kasalukuyang panahon. Ang kinasasadlakang krisis ng kapitalistang daigdig ngayon dulot ng walang-kabusugang kasakiman ng mga monopolyong kapitalista, ang paghihirap at kapinsalaang dulot nito sa mamamayan, ay nagpapatunay na nananatiling makabuluhan at mahigpit na panawagan ng panahon ang pagrerebolusyon bilang natatanging landas sa paglaya. Sa inspirasyon ng Rebolusyong Oktubre ng 1917, tungkulin ng manggagawa at mamamayan sa buong daigdig na muling padaluyungin ang kilusang anti-imperyalista laban sa naghihingalong kaaway.

[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.]

MILF: UBJP-Buluan Holds Orientation, Assessment

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May11): UBJP-Buluan Holds Orientation, Assessment

Buluan Maguindanao- United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) conducted orientation and assessment attended by Municipal Executive Officers, and Barangay Chapters’ Executive Officers to assess the current condition and status of the party in the barangay level held May 9, 2017 at Eastern Kutawato Islamic Institute (EKII) in said municipality.

Thor Guialil, UBJP Chairman of Buluan, Maguindanao said in his opening statement, “ Strengthening our barangay chapter is very important. We have to understand that there is a necessity for UBJP Officers to undertake continuous peace activities in the barangay level in order to gain peoples’ support.

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

Abdula narrated the Bangsamoro armed struggle from 1968-1997 and the all out-out wars imposed on the Bangsamoro by past presidents, and the 2008 offensive launched by Comdr. Bravo and the late AleemAmeril Umbra at the aftermath of Supreme Court’s junking of the MOA-AD.

Abdula also mentioned the various signed peace agreements, particularly the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamaoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) that when translated into law shall establish a new political entity called Bangsamoro.

Abdula stressed, ”On this stages of our struggle to regain our long lost freedom and self-rule, the UBJP plays an importantly role in the organization and mobilization of the Bangsamoro Masses, help support the peace process to ultimately achieve peace, harmony and progress in this part of the country.

MILF: UBJP holds 1st Provincial Assembly in Marawi City

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (May11): UBJP holds 1st Provincial Assembly in Marawi City

Marawi City, 07 May 2017. United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP), a political party established by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, held its first historic assembly at the MSU Dimaporo Gymnasium, Marawi City yesterday attended by more than 10,000 participants from the different municipalities of Lanao del Sur.

“UBJP towards a transparent and accountable Bangsamoro Governance” is the theme of the assembly.

 The mammoth crowd is unprecedented especially for a newly created political party that has no funding of its own. Officers, members, supporters and sympathizers trooped to the MSU main campus in Marawi City where participants started to gather as early as 7:00 o’clock in the morning.

 At the strike of 12:00 noon, the number of those officially registered is 10,259. The secretariat decided to use blank sheets of bond paper after they run out of official registration sheets.

 If number is an indication, then, the gathering is an overwhelming success. Invited guests were impressed by the fact that participants stayed until past 12 noon when the last speaker was able to deliver his message. While there were some who went out momentarily to answer the call of nature or be able to minimize their pangs of hunger, everyone made sure they came back shortly to complete the event to its finish.

 An estimated 2-3 thousand participants were refused entrance into the jam-packed gymnasium as there were no more seats available. They chose to listen to the speakers in their parked vehicles or around the gymnasium, thanks to a very good sound system.

 UBJP is a regional political party in Mindanao organized by the MILF in compliance with the provision of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro. It is an organization that will serve as a political front in anticipation of the envisioned Bangsamoro government that will be established once the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is enacted by congress. The political party was officially registered and accredited by COMELEC in May 2015.

 Dr. Saffrullah M. Dipatuan, UBJP Lanao del Sur Provincial Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, underscored in his message before the assembly that: “the UBJP is a political party organized not only to win elections but an organization that will work 24/7 for the realization of a transparent and accountable Bangsamoro Governance.” He further said: “This is the only way that we can promote and achieve social justice. Even if the Bangsamoro government is finally established, it does not mean that our struggle has ended.”

 Dr. Dipatuan also said that one of the principal reasons for the emergence of so-called violent extremism in Mindanao is the non-implementation of signed peace agreements. In this connection, he called on the government to immediately pass a CAB-compliant BBL that will immediately lead to the establishment of a Bangsamoro government, which should be followed by a shift to a federal form of government where the Bangsamoro is one of the component states of the future Federal Republic of the Philippines.

 Dr. Dipatuan assured the assembly that the UBJP will work for the promotion of a graft and corrupt-free governance where the people are living in a peaceful and prosperous way of life in a state or sub-state coexisting harmoniously with its neighbors.

 In his Keynote Address, Hon. Sammy Al-Mansoor Gambar of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), who is also the incumbent UBJP Secretary General and BIAF Chief of Staff, congratulated the officers and members of UBJP Lanao del Sur for a very successful assembly. He explained in detail the reasons why the MILF Central Committee decided to create UBJP.

 H.E. MGEN Datuk Masrani Bin Paiman, Head of Mission of the International Monitoring Team (IMT-12) based in Cotabato City, delivered a very enlightening Inspirational Address.

 Cmdr. Janati S. Mimbantas of the Northeastern Mindanao Front of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) reiterated the full support and commitment of the entire forces of the BIAF under his command composing of 7 BIAF Base Commands to the UBJP since he believe that “UBJP can transform our old and rotten society to a new and prosperous society, transform our stark poverty to richness and abundance, change our sorrows and pains to delight, comfort and happiness, change our darkness that entangled us for centuries to a brighter future and lasting peace.”

 Representatives of different sectors and organizations took turns expressing their strong support and commitment to the advocacies of UBJP.