Friday, June 16, 2017

AFP spox maintains relief mission to Marawi was prevented based on safety grounds

From InterAksyon (Jun 16): AFP spox maintains relief mission to Marawi was prevented based on safety grounds

Stalled Kalinaw relief convoy Marawi

A motor convoy carrying volunteers and supplies for a relief operation are stalled at a checkpoint on the approach to Marawi City proper. Photograph from Teddy Casiño.

Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla on Friday maintained that the military did not “block” the convoy of a relief mission intended for evacuees in Marawi City on Thursday morning.

Rather, Padilla clarified, the military just prevented the Kalinaw Mindanao National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission from entering Marawi City for their own safety.

“The roadblock that they were referring to is the checkpoint between Iligan City and Marawi. And we have not been allowing anyone else other than local government and other officials to come into Marawi because of the conflict that is ongoing,” Padilla explained at a press conference Friday.

Former Congressman Teddy Casiño, who was part of the relief mission along with Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate and Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas, said they had coordinated accordingly with the local government and the military about the mission.

Padilla replied, however, that the local government did not coordinate with the military about the mission, and even if the local government had done so, the military would not have recommended that the mission be allowed to push through.

“We have also requested all those who have been giving relief goods to channel the relief goods through the local government, which can then distribute it in the evacuation centers without the donors going to the danger zone,” Padilla added.

He reminded reporters at the press conference that an Australian journalist had been hit by a stray bullet Thursday inside the Marawi capitol, and the military did not want similar incidents to occur.

“So in the interest of safety, we’ve been working closely with local government and its social welfare arm and health arm to provide the services needed by the evacuees without having other people from the outside unnecessarily exposed to danger,” Padilla said.

“Your being Good Samaritans is well acknowledged, and your help will definitely get where it is intended. And that is guaranteed,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kalinaw Mindanao said in a press release that a driver of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, which was part of the mission, was “held” by the military at a checkpoint in Iligan City after dropping off volunteers in Linamon, Lanao del Norte.

Kalinaw Mindanao said the vehicle was checked by the military, and the driver was questioned about why he had several posters with him containing messages against martial law and aerial bombings.

Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law signed; ready for submission to President Duterte

From MindaNews (Jun 17): Draft Bangsamoro Basic Law signed; ready for submission to President Duterte

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) has completed its task to draft a Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and is ready to submit it to President Rodrigo Duterte as soon as he is avaiable to receive it.

“Tapos na and ready for submission,” BTC chair Ghazali Jaafar told MindaNews in a text message Friday.

The Bangsamoro Transition Commission completed on Friday, 16 June 2017, its draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, and is now ready to submit it to President Rodrigo Duterte. Photo courtesy of BTC Facebook

The BTC, originally composed of 11 nominees from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and 10 from the Philippine government (GPH), affixed their signatures on the draft BBL on Friday at the A.Venue Hotel in Makati. Commissioner Samira Gutoc of Marawi City, a government nominee, tendered her resignation in late May while the Marawi Crisis was unfolding, citing personal reasons and policy questions.

The BTC had scheduled a June 13 to June 16 meeting in the Makati hotel to finalize the draft BBL with the intention to submit it to President Duterte on Thursday, June 15 but BTC Executive Director Mike Pasigan told MindaNews they received no confirmation from Malacanang.

President Duterte’s appointments, however, were canceled this week. He failed to attend the Independence Day rites at the Luneta on Monday, June 12, and has not made any public appearance since. Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella on Wednesday night said Duterte is “well” and was “just getting needed rest after 23 intense days of supervising the Marawi situation.”

“We are waiting for the fixed schedule of our submission of the BBL to the President,” BTC chair Ghazali Jaafar told MindaNews Wednesday.

The new draft BBL consists of 114 pages and18 articles. The draft BBL submitted to the Office of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III on April 21, 2014 was a 97-page, 19-article document.

TWO CHAIRS. Ghazali Jaafar (in black suit), chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission and former BTC chair Mohagher Iqbal (in gray suit) hug each other after the completion of the new draft BBL on Friday, 16 June 2017 at the A. Venue hotel in Makati City. Photo courtesy of BTC Facebook

Asked how different the draft is from the draft BBL under the Aquino administration, Jaafar, who is also 1st Vice Chair of the MILF, told MindaNews:

“This new (draft) Bangsamoro law now accommodates all stakeholders in the areas of Bangsamoro — indigenous people, settlers or Christians, traditional leaders or sultans, women, youth and Ulama. Lahat sila meron (All of them will have) reserved seats sa Bangsamoro Parliament.”

Lawyer Raissa Jajurie, BTC Commissioner in the Aquino and Duterte administrations, told MindaNews Friday that the major changes include accommodating more “sectoral” concerns of “the youth, settlers, etc..” and accommodating the unimplemented provisions of the Moro National Liberation Font’s (MNLF) 1976 and 1996 peace agreements into the new draft BBL.

Commissioner Omar Yasser Crisostomo Sema describes the draft BBL as a “converged BBL” that will implement not only the 2014 Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) signed by the Philippine government (GPH) and the MILF, but will also be “implementing all peace agreements, resolving all contentious issues in the MNLF-GPH peace process.”

The passage of the BBL is expected to pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro, a new autonomous political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, as agreed upon by the GPH and MILF under the CAB.

Duterte had repeatedly said he would wait for the daft BBL to study it. He is expected to certify the draft Bangsamoro law as “urgent” when he delivers his second State of the Nation Address on July 24.

U.S. Pacific Fleet commander reaffirms commitment to PH, strong defense ties

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 16): U.S. Pacific Fleet commander reaffirms commitment to PH, strong defense ties

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift in discussion at the Taguig City Satellite Office in Bonifacio Global City. (Photo from U.S. Embassy)

The commander of the United States Pacific Fleet, Admiral Scott Swift, reaffirmed the U.S. Navy’s strong partnership and ties with the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

During his recent visit in the country, Swift met with Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano, Secretary of National Defense Delfin N. Lorenzana, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año, and Philippine Navy Flag Officer in-Command Vice Adm. Ronald J.S. Mercado.

Swift stressed the U.S. Pacific Fleet's commitment to addressing shared regional security concerns including counterterrorism and piracy, while highlighting the strong defense ties between the U.S. and the Philippines.

“The Philippine Navy is a valued and enduring ally of the U.S. Navy and a close partner of the Pacific Fleet,” said Swift. “I'm very pleased to have had the opportunity to visit with senior government and military leaders here in Manila.  We continue to build on the strong relationship we have and to reaffirm our commitment to working together to face shared challenges,” he added.

The long-standing alliance between the Philippines and the United States has contributed to peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region for more than 70 years.  As part of the security partnership, the United States supports the Philippines in its efforts to strengthen national defense, and improve its ability to respond to natural disasters, terror threats, piracy, and other transnational crimes.

Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to visit 4ID Advance Command Post in Butuan City

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 17): Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to visit 4ID Advance Command Post in Butuan City

In his third official visit in Caraga region, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will meet the uniformed men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines during a traditional “Talk to Troops” to be held at the 4th Infantry Division Advance Command Post (4IDACP) in Brgy. Bancasi at 3:00 p.m. today.

Upon his arrival, he will be ushered to the 4IDACP's Kalayaan Pastoral House for and shall pass the static display of recovered firearms from the New Peoples Army (NPA).

The President will then personally accord the Military Merit Medals with Bronze Spearhead Device to the soldiers with notable accomplishments on the aggressive fight against the local rebels.

He will be assisted by 4ID commander MGen. Benjamin Madrigal, Jr. and Col. Cristobal N. Zaragoza.

Also, PRRD will administer the donning of rank to Col. Zaragoza as he will be promoted from colonel to brigadier general. Afterwhich, PRRD will also join the troops in a boodle fight dinner.

In line also with the celebration of the 50th Founding Anniversary of Agusan del Norte, the president is expected to visit the Caraga State University in Cabadbaran City on the same day.

He will be received by Agusan del Norte Gov. Ma. Angelica Rosedell Amante-Matba. Some 1,500 Agusanons will be attending where the People’s Day celebration is also held and various government services will be availed.

PRRD to give merit awards to best performing soldiers

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jun 17): PRRD to give merit awards to best performing soldiers

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is set to give awards to the four Philippine Army personnel during his visit at the 4th Infantry Division Advance Command Post (4IDACP) in Brgy. Bancasi at 3:00 p.m. today.

In recogition to the meritorious perfomances of valiant military men in service, the President, to be assisted by MGen. Benjamin R. Madrigal, Jr. and Col. Cristobal N. Zaragoza, shall lead the awarding of Military Merit Medals to the following soldiers: 1Lt. Melvin Allan T. Medrano and 1Lt. Chenly Pasanting (3rd Special Forces Battalion); 1Lt. Gerald F. Gaston (29th IB); SSgt. Narding N. Pascual (26IB); and 1Lt. Aldim T. Viernes (26IB).

Also, PRRD will administer the donning of rank to Col. Cristobal N. Zaragoza as he will be promoted one rank higher from colonel to brigadier general.

The traditional "Talk to Troops" will then follow. Right after his message, he is expected to join a long table boodle fight, a military manner of eating, with soldiers and other guests.

525 soldiers from 82nd IB to augment forces in Marawi

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 16): 525 soldiers from 82nd IB to augment forces in Marawi

A total of 525 soldiers from the Philippine Army's 82nd Infantry Battalion (IB) based in Miagao, Iloilo will fly to Marawi City on Saturday to augment government forces in fighting the Maute group.

This was confirmed by 82nd IB Commander Lieutenant Colonel Venel Morga in an interview on Friday. He stressed that this would be the first time for troops from his battalion would be deployed to Mindanao.

Morga said the Armed Forces of the Philippines was aiming to "clear all the remaining packets of resistance and they are pushing the units forward".

The troops will fly to Marawi City via C-130 plane from the Iloilo International Airport at 6:00 a.m. Saturday.

Morga advised his men to be safe in their battle.

"Whatever training they received when they were still recruits, the tactics, techniques and procedures, they should recall and they should apply them because these training was done to ensure that their life will prolong and nothing will happen to them there," he said.

The troops are also advised to "limit unnecessary movements" once they are in the area.

Morga said that he did not allow his troops to bring their motorcycles with them to further assure their safety. According to him, motorcycle is one of the reasons why a lot of soldiers of the Philippine Army were ambushed or killed.

"So, to avoid this, their motorcycles will be left here so that unnecessary movement will be controlled," he said.

While the family of these soldiers cannot avoid apprehensions because of the recorded deaths of some soldiers in Marawi City since the clash started, Morga advised them to "keep praying that everything will be fine."

Meanwhile, Morga recalled that they were ordered to deploy troops in January last year when the conflict in Marawi City started.

But due to the big events in Western Visayas, especially the hosting of Boracay Island in Aklan and Iloilo City of some meetings of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Palarong Pambansa hosting of the province Antique, among others, Morga said that they hold in abeyance the deployment of his troops.

"Now, because of the present development, 82nd IB was identified as national ready deployable battalion. When the need arises, we will be deployed anywhere in the country," he further said.

Abducted Vietnamese escapes from Abu Sayyaf

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 16): Abducted Vietnamese escapes from Abu Sayyaf

A kidnapped Vietnamese sailor grabbed the opportunity and dashed to freedom on Friday as the government troops pounded the lair of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Basilan province.

Col. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, identified the Vietnamese sailor as Hoang Vo, the second mate of the Vietnam-registered bulk carrier Royal 16.

Uy said Vo was able to escape when government troops raided the lair of the ASG at around 8:30 a.m. Friday in the boundaries of Sumisip and Ungkaya Pukan towns in Basilan.

“The kidnapped victim was airlifted by an air ambulance and is now in Zamboanga City,” Uy said, citing Vo sustained bruises as a result of his daring escape.

The Abu Sayyaf bandits kidnapped Vo along with five other Vietnamese sailors when they hijacked the Royal 16 bulk carrier at 8.3 nautical miles southeast of Coco Island in Basilan province on November 11, 2016.

The Royal 16 bulk carrier, manned by 19 crewmen, was en route to Davao from Hai Phong in Vietnam when the Abu Sayyaf bandits, aboard on a speed boat, intercepted the vessel.

The other 13 crewmen who were left aboard the Royal 16 reported the incident to the authorities.

Vo’s five companions who remain in captivity included the Royal 16’s master, chief mate, third officer, bosun and assistant bosun.

Hijacking incidents involving foreign-owned vessels have spiked in the last quarter of 2016, prompting the Philippine military and that of Malaysia and Indonesia to initiate joint anti-piracy campaign.

On Monday, June 19, the Navies of the three countries are set to launch a tripartite maritime patrol in the Sulu Sea.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) chief, has said earlier that the joint patrol will also deter possible terrorists atrocities in the Sulu sea.

2 Abu Sayyaf bandits die in Tawi-Tawi clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 16): 2 Abu Sayyaf bandits die in Tawi-Tawi clash

The Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) on Friday announced two members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) were killed in a law enforcement operation in the province of Tawi-Tawi.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, identified the slain ASG members as Hamid Mohammad and Altasil Lakbaoin, both followers of the late Abu Sayyaf leader Abraham Hamid.

Galvez said they were killed in a brief firefight that ensued when they resisted the joint military and police team during a law enforcement operation around 9 p.m. Thursday in Barangay Tubig Tanah, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.

Galvez said the law enforcement support operations are continuously being launched by the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi headed by Brig. Gen. Custodio Parcon Jr., in coordination with the police and the local government to pre-empt illegal activities in the province.

“We believe that this operational accomplishment will leave no other option but to force remnants of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in Tawi-Tawi to return to the folds of the law and join the cause of the government against terrorism,” Galvez said.

A total of 83 members of the ASG were killed in the all-out military offensive since January 1, this year, here in Western Mindanao.

Of the total number, 14 were killed in Basilan; 62 in Sulu; and, seven in Tawi-Tawi.

“I take great pride in their (troops) dedication as our fight against these terror groups continue to reap positive results,” Galvez said as he congratulated troops Westmincom troops.

BIFF tries, but fails, to raise ISIS flag in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 16): BIFF tries, but fails, to raise ISIS flag in Maguindanao

Three suspected extremists were killed and five soldiers were injured in a series of clashes between government forces and extremists taking advantage of the hostilities in Marawi City to hoist the Islamic State flag on strategic spots in Maguindanao.

It was the fourth attempt of Maute Group-affiliated group Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Sitio Nanas, Barangay Pamalian, Sharif Saydona, Maguindanao on June 14.

The ISIS-inspired group, led by Commander Salah, whose real name is Salahudin Hassan, first attempted to film the ISIS flag raising in Shariff Saydona but it failed after the Army’s 19th Infantry Battalion engaged them in a fire fight.

Acting on tips from residents, personnel of the Army’s 19th IB backed by armored personnel carriers proceeded to the village where the armed men were gathering.

Another band of BIFF, under Nasrullah Omar, also traded shots with government forces but were driven away deep into the Maguindanao marshland.

Responding government troops also recovered ISIS flag tied to a bamboo pole the bandits left behind.

Another attempt by the BIFF to raise ISIS flag was reported in Barangay Kuloy, Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao but elements of 57th Infantry Battalion drive them away.

Another Army unit, the 23rd Mechanized Company, a unit of the 2nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, clashed several hours later with gunmen, one of them carrying an ISIS flag, at Sitio Maibunga in Barangay Malangog in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

Captain Arvin Encinas, speaking for the 6th Infantry Division, said recent operations against the BIFF were carried out based on reports of sightings by barangay officials.

”We laud the vigilance of village officials who vowed to prevent Marawi City like atrocities,” Encinas said

Encinas said another band of BIFF tried to raise black flag in Barangay Meta in Datu Unsay, also in Maguindanao. Moro farmers sighted the gunmen brandishing high powered guns in Sitio Batingao in Barangay Meta. The quickly alerted the Army nearby.

Encinas said the roles played by village officials prevented publicity by the terrorists. He urged the residents to continue cooperating with government forces to save lives and properties.

Misamis governor lauds military, police for arrest of ‘bomber’ in CDO

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 16): Misamis governor lauds military, police for arrest of ‘bomber’ in CDO

Provincial Governor Yevgeny Vincente Emano on Friday lauded the military and the police for the arrest of a suspected bomb expert of the Maute terror group in Cagayan De Oro City last Thursday.

Emano said that the arrest of Mohammad Noaim Maute, 22, a.k.a. “Abu Jadid,” in a boarding house in Cagayan De Oro City, has foiled the Maute group’s plan to sow terror in Misamis Oriental and Cagayan De Oro City.

A combined operatives of the Martial Law Special Action Group (ML-SAG) arrested the young Maute, a suspected bomb expert and relative of the Maute brothers who were leading the siege of Marawi City.

Emano expressed his gratitude to President Rodrigo Duterte for placing the entire Mindanao island under Martial Law as the necessary means to address the rebellion and terrorist activities in Mindanao, the country’s second largest island.

“I am optimistic that the incessant drive of the military and the police in the crackdown on terrorists in this embattled island, we will again reclaim peace and order in Mindanao. I am with you (military and police),” Emano said.

He said the provincial government would be willing to share its part while urging the public to support the authorities in pursuing lasting peace in Mindanao.

Emano also cautioned the public against making unfounded information through social media and other networking sites, in order to avoid confusion and conflict against credible report and information.

Maguindanao IDPs harassed by BIFF now safe: Army

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 16): Maguindanao IDPs harassed by BIFF now safe: Army

More than 90 percent of 700 families displaced by government offensives against the outlawed ISIS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) have returned home.

The internally displaced persons (IDPs) are now in their respective homes after the Army provided them security and transportation from public schools in Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao.

The IDPs, who have to endure both floods and armed hostilities, are now safe, according to Army Capt. John Encinas, spokesperson of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division.

We are preventing publicity by the BIFF, thus clashes erupted Thursday and Friday,” he said.

Encinas said the ISIS-inspired BIFF tried, but failed, to raise the black flag in the towns of Shariff Saydona, Shariff Aguak, Mamasapano and Datu Salibo due to active government forces' reaction to residents’ tip that armed men were massing in the four towns.

”We laud our village officials, they are doing great jobs,” Encinas said.

Six BIFF fighters have been killed in the Maguindanao Army-led operation since the Marawi siege. One of them was believed to be an Indonesian jihadist.
Encinas said Brig. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, 6th ID chief, is determined to crush the BIFF in Maguindanao.

‘Significantly degraded’ terrorist forces no longer capable of launching Marawi-like attacks — AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 16): ‘Significantly degraded’ terrorist forces no longer capable of launching Marawi-like attacks — AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday assured that terrorist forces in Mindanao have been considerably weakened that they could no longer mount an attack that is similar in scope to what they did in Marawi City.

Safe to say, I can tell you, they (Maute group) don’t have the capacity to do what they did in Marawi anymore. Their capabilities have been significantly degraded,” said AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. during the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañang.

“So any kind of action of that extent will not happen in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro. And we are taking up proactive measures to ensure that even an attempt to sow some confusion or sow terror in these areas by small actions will be prevented,” he said.

The military official made the assurance amid reports that a number of militants have managed to escape from Marawi City and are now in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro.

Padilla acknowledged that some militants may have slipped through the security cordon by mingling with fleeing evacuees but assured that heightened security measures are in place to secure the outlying communities.

“That’s why we have coordinated with local government and other security partners to heighten their security posture. So there is a heightened security measure that is employed or enforced now in Iligan and Cagayan de Oro to check and to watch closely any possible movements of suspicious persons so that communities remain safe,” he said.

He also reminded the public, particularly citizens in areas of concern, to be partners of increasing the security posture by being vigilant, alert, and watchful of their surroundings.

“And again, I would like to emphasize, even if I sound like a broken record, that every citizen should be part and should be responsible for watching over their surroundings and cooperating with government in that matter,” Padilla said.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Mindanao under martial law after fighting broke out between security forces and members of the Maute terrorist group on May 23.

The fighting started when security forces attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf senior leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was reportedly appointed by the Islamic State as its “emir” for Southeast Asia.

The AFP said the clashes prevented a bigger attack that the terrorists had planned, as confirmed in a confiscated video which showed Hapilon and Maute group leaders Omar and Abdullah are planning the takeover of Marawi City.

At least 26 civilians and 59 government troops have died since the clashes erupted.

Meanwhile, 225 extremists, including several foreign Islamist militants, have been killed.

Measures to de-escalate South China Sea tensions seen to improve ASEAN-China ties

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 16): Measures to de-escalate South China Sea tensions seen to improve ASEAN-China ties

The Philippines expects relations between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members and China to improve on the back of two “early harvest measures” meant to de-escalate and manage tensions in the disputed South China Sea (SCS)/West Philippine Sea.

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Asst. Secretary for ASEAN Affairs Hellen De La Vega cited the ministries of foreign affairs (MFA) to MFA hotline between ASEAN and China.

“In layman’s term, it means that if there is a maritime incident happening in this area, ministries of foreign affairs from each member state can call each other and say there is something going on. Please disengage or something like that,” she said during the ASEAN2017 dialogue on political-security pillar on Friday.

De La Vega said MFAs successfully tested the hotline last March.

She noted the other measure was the code of unplanned encounters at sea (CUES), which she described “if you meet at sea and it is not planned, you have this framework or platform.”

The DFA official said the two “early harvest measures” on ASEAN relations with China signified that “we have come to a point where we are co-engaged in building trust and confidence.”

De La Vega said there are other areas of cooperation under the framework of ASEAN-China, both economic and socio-cultural pillars.

She added the dispute with China is “not the sum total of our relations, whether it is going to be at the bilateral level, this Philippine-China, or even at the level of ASEAN-China.”

Countries that have made competing claims over parts or all of the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea were the Philippines, China, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.

ASEAN members and China completed the framework on the code of conduct for managing the dispute in the South China Sea on May 19 in Guiyang, Guizhou Province in Southwest China.

De La Vega said they expected to submit the completed COC framework to the Foreign Ministers of ASEAN and China during their meeting in Manila in August for their consideration.

PHL, Malaysia, Indonesia to boost fight vs terrorism, extremism

From the Philippine News Agency (Jun 16): PHL, Malaysia, Indonesia to boost fight vs terrorism, extremism

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday said he will meet foreign ministers and security officials of Malaysia and Indonesia here next week to discuss enhancing cooperation in fighting against terrorism and extremism.

“We will be talking about enhanced cooperation so how we can deal with it tripartite with Indonesia and Malaysia. And how ASEAN can play a more major role in preventing the spill over from Iraq and Syria,” he told reporters.

Cayetano did not give the specific date of the meeting, noting this is still being arranged.

“But the aim is to make it a group effort, an inter-country effort, team effort, rather than each country fending off extremism by themselves,” he said.

The DFA official added that Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi proposed holding the meeting and Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman immediately agreed to the idea.

The meeting of the three countries comes at a time of intensified fighting between Philippine government forces and terrorists in Marawi City. The siege of Marawi started May 23.

To help fight vs terror, NDFP urges suspension of Mindanao NPA operations vs AFP, PNP

From InterAksyon (Jun 17): To help fight vs terror, NDFP urges suspension of Mindanao NPA operations vs AFP, PNP

Marawi smoke billows

Smoke billows from a burning building in Marawi. (photo by Romeo Ranoco, Reuters)

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines said Saturday it has recommended that the Communist Party of the Philippines order the New People’s Army in Mindanao not to carry out attacks on government security forces to allow them to “concentrate” against extremist groups in Marawi City.

The NDFP, which represents the rebels in peace talks with government, made the recommendation as it reiterated “our previous declaration that we stand firmly with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in opposing and fighting terrorism, terrorist groups and acts of terrorism.”

“We condemn and are resolved and determined to counteract the Maute, Abu Sayyaf and Ansar Al Khilafah Philippines (AKP) groups which are wreaking havoc in Marawi City,” it said, adding it was “ready to discuss and agree in detail with the GRP on how ceasefire, coordination and cooperation can be achieved in Marawi City by both forces unilaterally keeping safe distances between each other.”

At the same time, it said the “level of counteraction against terrorism, as well as the nature, scope and duration must be appropriate and proportional to the degree of danger, threat and/or harm and mayhem being committed by the terrorist groups” and should “cease in order to allow normalcy and full respect for human rights as soon as possible” after the threat has ended.

Vietnamese hostage escapes as air, artillery strikes pound Abu Sayyaf in Basilan

From InterAksyon (Jun 17): Vietnamese hostage escapes as air, artillery strikes pound Abu Sayyaf in Basilan

Medical personnel treat Hoang Vo, a Vietnamese sailor who escaped his Abu Sayyaf captors in Basilan and was recovered by the military. (Westmincom photo handout)

A Vietnamese sailor held for more than seven months by the Abu Sayyaf escaped from his captors in Basilan as government forces pounded the extremists with air and artillery strikes Friday, the Western Mindanao Command said.

Hoang Vo, a crew member of the MV Royal 16, was recovered by troops of Joint Task Force Basilan at the Sumisip-Ungkaya Pukan Complex “following an airstrike launched against the group of Furudji Indama,” Westmincom said in a statement.

Vo was one of six crewmen of the MV Royal 16 who were seized southeast of Sibago Island in Basilan on November 11 last year. He was listed earlier by the Coast Guard as the second mate of the vessel.

“Vo, 28 years old and a resident of Nghe An, Vietnam, was found by our troops with a wound on his back,” TF Basilan commander Colonel Juvymax Uy said, adding the escaped hostage was in stable condition after being given medical attention.

The Vietnamese found his opportunity when his captors “dispersed due to the airstrike and artillery fires delivered by the troops.”

The soldiers also recovered four rifles.

The Abu Sayyaf is holding 26 captives, 21 in Sulu and five in Basilan.

DWDD: Vietnamese hostage rescued by troops in Basilan, 2 Abus neutralized in Tawi-Tawi

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jun 16): Vietnamese hostage rescued by troops in Basilan, 2 Abus neutralized in Tawi-Tawi


The combat operations conducted by the Joint Task Force Basilan under Colonel Juvymax Uy resulted in the rescue of a Vietnamese crewman held by the Abu Sayyaf Group for more than seven months.

Hoang Vo, a crew member of MV Royal 16, was recovered by operating troops at the Sumisip-Ungkaya Pukan Complex, following an airstrike launched against the group of Furudji Indama in Basilan at around 8:30am today (June 16).

Vo escaped from the hands of the Abu Sayyaf members, who dispersed due to the airstrike and artillery fires delivered by the troops.

The rescued victim was promptly given medical attention by the medical team of the Joint Task Force Basilan and is currently in stable condition.

“Vo, 28 years old and a resident of Nghe An, Vietnam, was found by our troops with a wound on his back,” said Colonel Uy.

“We continually put pressure to these remaining bandits in order to force them to surrender or release their victims,” he added.

The victim was abducted by the Abu Sayyaf on southeast of Sibago Island in Basilan on November 11, 2016.

The Abu Sayyaf is holding 26 captives, 21 of whom are in Sulu and five of whom are in Basilan. Vo was held, along with five other Vietnamese nationals, by the Basilan-based Abu Sayyaf members.

Meanwhile, joint operations of the military and police yielded to the neutralization of two members of the Abu Sayyaf and kidnap for ransom groups after the latter resisted arrest in Tawi-Tawi yesterday (June 15).

Soldiers of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi, under Brigadier General Custodio Parcon, Jr., and composite elements of the police launched a law enforcement operation against remnants of the group of the deceased Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Abraham Hamid.

A brief exchange of gunfire ensued after the bandits resisted arrest, killing two Abu Sayyaf members, who were identified as Hamid Mohammad and Altasil Lakbaoin.

Said operation was conducted in Attubig Tanah, Bongao, Tawi-Tawi at around 9pm yesterday.

Law enforcement support operations are continuously being launched by the Task Force, in coordination with the police and the local government, to pre-empt illegal activities in the province.

“We believe that this operational accomplishment will leave no other option but to force remnants of the Abu Sayyaf members in Tawi-Tawi to return to the fold of the law and join the cause of the government against terrorism,” said Lieutenant General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr., Commander of the Western Mindanao Command.

Since January 1, 2017, 83 Abu Sayyaf members were killed in the all-out military campaign against terrorism in Western Mindanao. Of this number, 14 were killed in Basilan, 62 in Sulu, and seven in Tawi-Tawi.

“We congratulate our troops from the Joint Task Forces all over Western Mindanao,” added Lieutenant General Galvez.

“I take great pride in their dedication as our fight against these terror groups continue to reap positive results.”

MNLF Secretart General: Statements by a Jhon Pertacolin about the MNLF are false

Posted to the Facebook page of MNLF Secretary General Ustadz, Murshi Ibrahim (Jun 11): Statements by a Jhon Pertacolin about the MNLF are false

Brothers and sisters in the World of Facebook, the write up published by Jhon Pertacolin that we in the MNLF have withdrawn our commitment of support to Martial Law and leadership of President Duterte are unfounded and baseless; we strongly disowned, denounced and condemned such statements as hypicritical, sinister and dubiously wicked. He is a great liar and imposter claiming as a MNLF Director of Peace Advocacy when in fact he is not. So his tongue and hands deserve to be severed.

MNLF-IIO: False statements from fake MNLF Facebook page

Posted to the Moro National Liberation Front International Information Office (Jun 9): Fake MNLF Statements

The one MNLF Leadership of Prof. Nur Misuari disowns these statements coming from a FAKE MNLF FB Page.

Wala pong statement coming from Chairman Nur Misuari in relation doon sa post na yan {see image}

The MNLF Nur "Maas" Misuari continues to support the peace advocacy of the Duterte Today PRRD against all forms of terrorism.

Image may contain: text

MILF: Editorial--Gambling Is Haram (prohibited)

Editorial posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jun 8): Editorial--Gambling Is Haram (prohibited)

One’s gain is another’s loss. This is the nature of gambling!

Gambling is addicting as drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, prostitution, and other vices. We do not need to have this bathetic conclusion to make after the horror at the Resorts World Manila on June where 37 people died from a lone gunman’s madness.  

Islam had already forewarned us of this more than 1400 years ago.

Why did Islam prohibit gambling?

We cannot answer this question sufficiently. We need an authority on Islam to answer this for us. Below is the opinion of one of the foremost scholars of Islam of our time, in the person of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi.

Qaradawi is an Egyptian Islamic theologian based in Doha, Qatar, and chairman of the International Union of Muslim Scholars. He is best known for his program, al-Shar??a wa al-?ay?h ("Sharia and Life"), broadcast on Al Jazeera, which has an estimated audience of 60 million worldwide. He is also known for IslamOnline, a website he helped to found in 1997 and for which he serves as chief religious scholar.

Qaradawi has published more than 120 books, including The Lawful and the Prohibited in Islam and Islam: The Future Civilization. He has also received eight international prizes for his contributions to Islamic scholarship, and is considered one of the most influential such scholars living today.

Herein under is what he has to say:

1. The Islamic teachings urge the Muslim to follow Allah's directives for earning a living, to use natural laws and direct means for the attainment of his objectives, and to employ such causes to produce the desired effects. Gambling, which includes raffling or the lottery, on the other hand, makes a person dependent on chance, 'luck' and empty wishes, taking him away from honest labor, serious work and productive effort. The person who depends on gambling loses respect for the laws of causation which Allah has established and commanded people to use;

2. In Islam, an individual's property is sacred; it may not be taken from him except through lawful exchange or unless he gives it freely as a gift or in charity. Accordingly, taking it from him by gambling is unlawful;

3. It is therefore not surprising that gamblers develop hatred and enmity towards one another, although they may claim that losing does not trouble them. There is always a winner and a loser. The loser may seem composed but behind his composure is frustration, anger, and regret: frustration due to disappointment, anger at the loss of money, and regret for not having played a winning game;

4. Gambling has its own compulsion. The loser plays again in hope of winning the next game in order to regain his earlier losses, while the winner plays again to enjoy the pleasure of winning, impelled by greed for more. Naturally, luck changes hands, the loser becomes the winner and the winner the loser, and the joy of winning changes into the bitterness of loss. Thus the gamblers may persist at playing the game, unable to bring themselves to leave it; this is the secret of the addiction to gambling; and

5. Because of this addiction, gambling is a danger to the society as well as to the individual. This habit consumes gamblers' time and energy, making them non-productive idlers and parasites on society, who take but do not give, who consume but do not produce. Moreover, due to his absorption with gambling, the gambler neglects his obligations towards his Creator and his duties towards his community. It often happens that a gambling addict sells his honor, religion, and country for the sake of the gaming table, since his devotion to this table dulls his sense of values and kills all other devotions.

He also pointed out the correctness of the Qur'an in mentioning drinking and gambling together in its verses, since their harmful effects on the individual, the family, and society are very similar. What is more like alcoholism than addiction to gambling? This is why one usually is not found without the other. Again, how correct the Qur'an is when it teaches us that both of these, drinking and gambling, are inspired by Satan, that they are akin to idolatry and divining by arrows, and that they are filthy and abominable habits which must be shunned: 'O you who believe, truly intoxicants and gambling and divination by arrows are an abomination of Satan's doing; avoid them in order that you may be successful. Assuredly Satan desires to sow enmity and hatred among you by means of intoxicants and gambling, and to hinder you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. Will you not then desist?' (Al-Ma'idah: 90-91)"

MILF: MILF Volunteer At The Forefront Of Saving Civilian Lives In Marawi

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jun 12): MILF Volunteer At The Forefront Of Saving Civilian Lives In Marawi

A Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) volunteer is at the forefront of saving the lives of civilians caught in the fierce fighting between government forces and the Islamic State (IS)-inspired Maute group and Abu Sayyaf in Marawi City, an online Philstar report said on June 12.
Oshama Ali has been involved in the rescue of 217 civilians trapped in hostilities in Marawi city since he volunteered for the risky job last week.

Osama told Philstar that, “Everybody is afraid to venture into the area where fighting is ongoing. But the objective is to deliver humanitarian aid and save lives. Because if you manage to save lives, it’s a big deal for us (in the MILF).”

In the latter part of last month, a safe route for civilians trapped in Marawi or “Peace Corridor” was agreed upon in a meeting between MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza and President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City.

For the GPH-MILF Peace Corridor, the MILF leaders chose Oshama to act as team leader for the Joint Coordination, Monitoring, and Assistance Center (JCMAC), the body that protects the Peace Corridor.

The JCMAC is composed of volunteers from the government, MILF, and Non-Violent Peace Force tasked to provide a safe route for affected civilians.

Oshama has also been serving as a member of the Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) prior to his appointment to JCMAC.

Oshama admitted having encountered difficulties in bringing trapped civilians to a safer place since last June 4, the day he started his work along with other volunteers.

JCMAC volunteers rescued at least 179 civilians on the first day (June 4) and on its second attempt last Thursday, JCMAC brought 38 more civilians to safety.

Oshama, however, brushed aside the difficulty and the danger to his life in fulfilling the mission of the JCMAC, said the Philstar report.

Another report by Philstar said, four more trapped civilians were rescued by Peace Corridor volunteers from the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), in coordination with the AFP-Western Mindanao Command units under Commander Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr. early yesterday in the city’s Bangolo area.

The three Maranaos and one Christian have been trapped in Barangay Moncado Colony, Marawi City since the start of the conflict.

NDF: Martial Law in Mindanao fits into U.S. imperialist strategy for domination in Asia and the Pacific

Propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Jun 12): Martial Law in Mindanao fits into U.S. imperialist strategy for domination in Asia and the Pacific  

Press Statement
12 June 2017

Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao further proves that the country’s much-vaunted “independence” is all along a complete sham. Why? It is because Duterte’s bases for declaring martial law in Mindanao fits right into the scheme of US imperialism to further strengthen and maintain its military, political and economic hegemony in the country and the Asia-Pacific region.

It further bolsters its Asia Pivot military strategy to counter aggressive steps taken by China in asserting its political and economic supremacy in Asia, more specifically in the South China Sea. Apart from already establishing military structures in the Kagitingan islands, China, after Duterte’s official visit there, committed to invest in multi-billion dollar infrastructure projects in the country, such as the ambitious Mindanao Railway, the Chico River dam and other projects.

With Duterte’s inclination towards China and even Russia, it is not surprising for the US to make a counter move to assert its dominance. With pro-US military generals, such as Lorenzana, Ano, Esperon, etc., behind Duterte, US imperialism is assured of the reactionary government’s unwaivering loyalty to its political and economic interests in the region.

What role does martial law play in this? First, let us be clear. The so-called “Marawi siege” of the Maute terror group – the act of “rebellion” used as basis by the Duterte government for declaring martial law — was in fact a counter-response to the massive joint AFP-PNP operations on May 23, 2017 to capture local terrorist leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was said to be linked with ISIS and was hiding in the area. Therefore, in truth, the declaration of martial law in Mindanao was actually based on a counter-attack that the AFP and PNP caused themselves.

And to justify these operations, it did not take long after the initial clash between government troops and Maute for AFP’s spin doctors to manufacture the hype that “Maute Group’s attack on Marawi City” and that “ISIS was behind it.” By around 10 that evening, Pres. Duterte, who was in Russia, declared martial law.

Note that to make martial law defensible, Lorenzana, et al had to dangle the notion that ISIS was behind all this. But what is ISIS? ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Daesh in Arabic) is a terrorist group developed, funded and armed by the US to overthrow regimes in Middle East countries that are no longer allies and run counter to US imperialist interests, similar to what the US did in Libya.

Similar to how they used the Abu Sayyaf Group before, the “Maute-Hapilon-ISIS” link is the golden ticket used by Duterte’s pro-US generals to justify wielding extraordinary political powers through martial law. Ultimately, they can now impose and enforce, without any impediment whatsoever, neoliberal policies that favour the business interests of the local ruling classes and their US imperialist master.

The US Armed Forces have already confirmed that they are directly participating alongside AFP/PNP operations in Marawi City.

As clashes in Marawi City turn more violent in its third week, innocent civilians, more than anyone else, are at the losing end in these on-going battles. Thousands have been forced to evacuate from their homes and suffer without any livelihood in far and ill-supplied evacuation centers, where children are hungry and getting sick by the day. Much of the aid intended for the evacuees do not reach them because roads and passage ways are being heavily controlled by AFP and the PNP.

While the people of Marawi City and Lanao del Sur suffer under the continuing attacks by the AFP, the rest of Mindanao reels under the iron grip of Martial Law, which has already subjected peasants, workers, Lumad and other sectors to clear-cut violations of basic human rights and civil liberties.

There is an atmosphere of fear and intimidation because of martial law. More AFP/PNP checkpoints are set-up all over and subjecting all citizens to strict searches, demanding that IDs be shown and failure to do so requires to have their names listed in a logbook. The AFP/PNP warned against staging protests which they deem as anti-government and threaten them with arrests. Martial law is taking its toll against the people with increasing cases of warrantless arrests, harassment, intimidation and extra-judicial killings.

The NDFP-Mindanao calls on the people in Mindanao and the entire nation to unite, demand from the Duterte government to cease from committing these rights violations and for the immediate lifting of martial law.

The entire revolutionary forces in the island, through the NDFP-Mindanao, are against all forms of terrorism that cause senseless and unspeakable harm to the lives and irreparable damage to the livelihood of countless innocent civilians. Terrorist groups do not in any way serve the interest of the people to liberate themselves from the oppression and exploitation in a semicolonial and semifeudal society. They, however, serve the interests of US imperialist forces in its aggression for global domination against the struggling peoples of the world, which makes them an obstacle to the revolutionary aspirations of the Filipino people.

Thus, the NDFP in Mindanao urges all revolutionary forces and the people in Mindanao and the rest of the country to continue to struggle against the onslaught of martial law as it subjects the people in Mindanao under stark repression and plays into the over-all strategy of US imperialism for global hegemony, which tramples on national sovereignty and genuine independence.

(sgd) Ka Joaquin Jacinto

NDF: NDFP pays tribute to Baltazar ‘Bal’ Pinguel

Propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Jun 15): NDFP pays tribute to Baltazar ‘Bal’ Pinguel


The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) renders full honors to Baltazar “Bal” Pinguel, the firebrand of the First Quarter Storm!

Ka Bal served the people through the national democratic movement as best as he could, in hard struggle and self-sacrifice.

Hailing from a poor family in Samar, he became an activist while studying Political Science at the University of the Philippines in Diliman. He was part of the Sandigang Makabansa progressive slate for the UP Student Council elections. That early, he was already making his mark as an intellectual, devouring books and periodicals and frequently engaging in passionate discourse.

He later joined Kabataang Makabayan (KM) and was its designated spokesperson because of his exceptional oratorical skills. Wearing his trademark black jacket and wire-rimmed glasses, he would not only agitate but educate the crowd during rallies, and lead it in spirited marches to the US Embassy or Malacañang where the demonstrators often ended up clashing with anti-riot policemen and Metrocom troopers. He was instrumental in many a nationalist awakening.

As a student leader on campus, he played an important part in rallying and organizing the students against the Marcos fascist invasion of UP in February 1971. Ka Bal was one of the most courageous “communards” of the Diliman Commune, agitating the students from the frontline, literally shooting fireworks at the military helicopters that hovered around the barricaded campus and then broadcasting fiery commentaries on DZUP.

When martial law was declared, he was one of hundreds of activists who went underground or joined the armed struggle in the countryside.

Ka Bal was first assigned to do guerrilla zone building in Southern Tagalog. He was later arrested, tortured and imprisoned at Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna. Shortly after, he took part in a daring escape and rejoined the revolutionary mainstream.

In 1974, he was assigned to Samar where he served as the political officer of one of the first NPA guerrilla units, and became a member of the first District Committee in the island. As such, he directly participated in building the foundations of the armed struggle in Samar. By the end of the 1970s, Samar had the distinction of leading the way in advancing the armed struggle against the US-Marcos dictatorship nationwide.

Arrested again in 1980 in Cebu City, he was detained for five years at Camp Bagong Diwa before being released in 1985. He briefly joined the legal democratic movement, helped found the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) and became its secretary-general after Lean Alejandro’s death in 1987. In 1989, suspected military agents attempted to abduct him. He sought political asylum in the US in 1992, where he became involved in various justice and peace campaigns as program director at the American Friends Service Committee, and as one of the leaders of United for Peace and Justice, a broad US-based coalition against the American invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ka Bal continued to serve the national democratic movement in various capacities, never losing touch with comrades in the homeland or abroad. An adviser to BAYAN-USA, he last joined his fellow activists in a rally in front of the Philippine consulate in New York City to protest the dictator Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Ka Bal’s untimely death cannot erase his legacy as a fiery agitator and propagandist who scorched the oppressors and exploiters and enlightened and enlivened the masses.

CPP/NPA-Southern Mindanao: Police officer held as NPA prisoner; NPA offensive vs. 16th IB in Paquibato

NPA-Southern Mindanao propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 15): Police officer held as NPA prisoner; NPA offensive vs. 16th IB in Paquibato

Rigoberto F. Sanchez, Spokesperson
NPA-Southern Mindanao (Merardo Arce Command)

12 June 2017

The New People’s Army units in Southern Mindanao continue to firm up its battle positions while defending the rights of the people in the territories of the People’s Democratic Government. The NPA is even more constrained to do so in the face of GRP Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s adamant dictatorial bluster and the rising fascism of his regime amid the Martial Law imposition and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

On June 9 at 4:30pm, the 6th Pulang Bagani Company and the Guerrilla Front 18 of the NPA Subregional Operations Command took as Prisoner of War SPO2 George Canete Rupinta, 52, Badge Number: 080699, in Brgy. Tagugpo, Lupon, Davao Oriental. Seized from his possession was a 9mm handgun. While giving lenient treatment as POW, the NPA’s custodial force has placed Rupinta under investigation for the anti-people activities of his police unit in Lupon.

In contrast to the AFP which has escalated its atrocious anti-people operations and all-out war in both urban centers and the countryside, the NPA carries out peace and order campaigns in its areas of jurisdiction against fascist forces, local tyrants and legitimate military targets. While AFP forces ravage Marawi City in the guise of neutralizing the Maute Group, it carries out warrantless arrests against innocent Moro civilians, indiscriminate aerial bombardments, destruction of homes and livelihood and dislocation of hundreds of thousands of residents. In contrast, the NPA imposes special operations against legitimate military targets like Rupinta while remaining obedient to the protocols of war and/or international humanitarian law.

The NPA has also continued waging battle against the enemy. On June 11, the NPA’s 1st Pulang Bagani Battalion engaged the forces of the 16th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in Brgy. Paradise Embac. Reports reaching the NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command said nine soldiers were killed while six others were wounded in Sunday’s encounter.

The AFP had the temerity to say that they were responding to the reported atrocities in the area when they engaged the NPA yesterday in Paquibato, a shameless propaganda blitz to cover up the fascist acts perpetuated by members of the Joint Task Force Haribon, especially in the last 19 days of Martial Law.

Initial reports from the field also showed that two civilians were wounded after the military strafed a house in Paradise Embac yesterday. One of the civilians was still in critical condition. The same Army battalion in Paquibato had also been responsible of mauling, ransacking of houses and other abuses.

The NPA anticipates being even more hectic in defending the rights of the masses as more flagrant abuses are expected to be committed by the AFP under Duterte’s Martial Law. Last week, proposals have been made by the Davao City councilors to increase the number of Army battalions and the training and deployment of Special Civilian Armed Forces Auxilliary Units in Davao City. It is outrageous for the civilian bourgeois government to practically give its reins to the military authority and surrender civilian supremacy in the name of the AFP’s all-out war. The city council’s move warrants a thorough condemnation by all peace-loving citizens in the city.

Indeed, the weight of asserting the human rights and peace now rests more heavily on the hands of the struggling people and the revolutionary forces. There is the relentless effort of the Duterte regime—its officials and apologists—to deodorize the evils of Martial Law rule and make it a norm. Today’s independence day celebration by the reactionary state reminds and gives stern warning to sift the true from the false and learn from the lessons of history. The Marcos regime was the best recruiter for the NPA.

CPP/NPA-ST: Presensya ng tropang US sa Marawi City, magdudulot ng higit na kaguluhan sa bansa

NPA-Southern Tagalog propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 12): Presensya ng tropang US sa Marawi City, magdudulot ng higit na kaguluhan sa bansa (Presence of US troops in Marawi City causing more chaos in the country)

Jaime “Ka Diego” Padilla, Spokesperson
NPA-Southern Tagalog (Melito Glor Command)

12 June 2017

Mariing kinukundina ng Melito Glor Command-New People’s Army Southern Tagalog ang presensya ng pwersang militar ng US sa Marawi City sa panahon ng Martial Law sa Mindanao at masugid na operasyong militar ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sa lugar.

Sa dalawang linggong labanan ng AFP sa Maute, kinumpirma ang presensya ng mga tropang Amerikano at partisipasyon nito sa labanan sa anyo ng gawaing paniktik at paggamit ng mga US drones sa Mindanao. Samantala, hindi iniuulat ang bilang ng mga sundalong Amerikano, anu-anong mga kagamitan at sasakyang pandigma ang ipinasok at kailan sila dumating sa bansa.

Ang mga aksyong ito ay malinaw na pakikialam sa panloob na problema ng bansa at magdudulot lamang ng higit na kaguluhan. Maaalalang ang US mismo ang nagpondo sa grupong ISIS na naghahasik ng teror sa iba’t ibang mga bansa. Ang US-CIA rin ang nagpakana sa presensya ng Abu Sayyaf Group sa Bohol, Central Visayas, kasabwat ang AFP para bigyang katwiran ang presensya ng tropang Amerikano sa Lanao at ang pagtatayo ng mga pasilidad-militar. Nais ng US na bigyang katwiran ang panghihimasok sa mga bansa tulad ng Pilipinas lalo’t nais nilang payukurin si Duterte sa mga planong neoliberal at polisiyang pang-ekonomiya.

Ginagamit ngayon na tabing ang digmaan kontra-terorismo sa Mindanao upang makapanghimasok ang mga sundalong Amerikano at yurakan ang kalayaan at pambansang soberanya ng bansa sa pinalaking kaaway at multo ng rehimeng Duterte na Maute Group.

Dapat labanan ng mamamayan ang nagpapatuloy na panghihimasok-militar ng imperyalismong US sa bansa. Sa paggunita ng ika-119 taon ng Huwad na Kalayaan sa Hunyo 12, dapat imarka ng mamamayan ang malalaking kilos-protesta na naggigiit ng pambansang soberanya at kalayaan laban sa patuloy na kontrol ng US.

Hindi kinakailangan ang tulong mula sa US o deklarasyong Martial Law upang makamit ang isang tunay na malayang bansa na ligtas sa anumang uri ng terorismo. Kayang harapin ng sambayanang Pilipino ang anumang banta ng terorismo nang walang panghihimasok ng US basta’t seryoso ang gobyernong Duterte na lutasin ang ugat ng panlipunang ligalig.

Marapat lamang na bigyang katuparan ni Duterte ang kanyang mga retorikong pahayag laban sa gobyernong US. Dapat agarang ipawalambisa ang anumang hindi pantay na tratado ng Pilipinas sa US tulad ng Enhanced Defense Cooperative Agreement (EDCA), Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) at mga katulad nito.###

CPP/NPA-Batangaas: Pagpatay sa Mayor ng Balete sangkot ang mga Sindikatong Militar

NPA-Batangas propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 15): Pagpatay sa Mayor ng Balete sangkot ang mga Sindikatong Militar (Killing of the Mayor of Balete involved a Military Syndicate)

Itigil ang Operasyong Militar sa Kanlurang Batangas!

Apolinario Matienza, Spokesperson
NPA-Batangas (Eduardo Dagli Command)
14 June 2017

Pinatay si Mayor Jovencio Hidalgo ng bayan ng Balete sa pamamagitan ng pag-isnayp noong gabi ng ika-10 ng Hunyo sa bayan niya sa isang basketball court habang nanonood ng isang laro. Sa kabila ng maraming bodyguards siyang kasama ay nakuhang siyang patamaan ng isang isnayper. Ligtas na nakaalis ang mga birador na sumakay sa isang getaway van. Ang lugar na pinag-iwanan ng van ay sa Brgy. Sampaga, Balayan at ang mga bumira ay umakyat paitaas.

Walang ibang may kakayanang gumawa ng pagbirang ito kung hindi ang mga sindikatong militar na kakumpitensya niya sa mga iligal na transaksyon tulad ng paihi, gun running at diumano’y drugs. Ganito ang gawi ng mararahas na sindikatong militar na kapag nasalang ang kanilang interes ay hindi mangingiming pumatay. Ang sinakyang van ay nakilalang gamit ng mga pulis.

Planado ang ganitong pagdadala ng kanilang getaway van para mailihis ang tunay na mga kriminal at ituro sa New People’s Army ang ginawang pamamaslang. Inoperasyon ng laking platun ng pasistang militar ng 730th Combat Group ng PAF at mga elemento ng Philippine Army ang Brgy ng Coral ni Lopez. Inosente ang mga residente ng barangay at walang kinalaman sa naganap na patayan kaya hindi makatarungang isakripisyo ang katahimikan at malayang pagsasaka sa lugar.

Ang kasalukuyang kalagayan natin sa buong lalawigan ng Batangas ay may nagaganap na ‘De facto Martial Law’ kahit na ang deklarasyon ay sa Mindanao lamang dahil sa krisis sa Marawi sa grupo ng mga Maute. Palagian na ang malawakang checkpoint kahit wala pang naganap na patayan sa bayan ng Balete.

Tinutuligsa ng NPA Batangas sa ilalim ng Eduardo Dagli Command ang operasyong militar partikular sa Coral ni Lopez sa bayan ng Calaca, gayundin sa lahat ng bayan sa Batangas. Kung ito’y magpapatuloy, maoobligang tugunin ng BHB ang kahingian ng mamamayan na maglunsad ng kinakailangang mga taktikal na opensiba para ipagtanggol ang mamamayan na ang hangad lamang ay tunay na reporma sa lupa.

Itigil ang mga operasyong militar laban sa mga inosenteng sibilyan at sa nakikibakang mamamayan sa Batangas!

Pagbayarin nang mahal ang pasitang militar mula sa 730th Combat Group ng PAF at Philippine Army sa Batangas na may mga utang na dugo!

CPP/NPA-Panay: Paratang sa NPA na Protektor ni Previndido isang malaking kasinungalingan!

NPA-Panay propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 15): Paratang sa NPA na Protektor ni Previndido isang malaking kasinungalingan! (Allegations that the NPA is the Protector of Previndido is a big lie

Ka Julio Montana, Spokesperson
NPA-Panay (Coronacion Chiva “Waling-Waling” Command)

15 June 2017

Isang maitim na propaganda laban sa NPA at tabing sa kanilang inutil na pagsugpo sa iligal na droga. Ito ang pangunahing layunin ng 82nd IBPA, PNP-PRO-6 at PDEA sa kanilang paghahabi na gawa-gawang kwento na ang notorious na druglord na si Richard Prevendido ay tinatago daw ng NPA. Wala itong pinag-iba sa iba pang mga kasinungalingan na inihahasik ngayon ng AFP at PNP para pagtakpan ang kanilang palpak na kampanyang kontra-droga, lumalalang mga kalagayan ng paglabag sa karapatang-tao, at pilit na pagpapatupad ng batas militar sa iba pang bahagi ng bansa gamit ang histerya ng “anti-terror” at anti-Moro.

Mariing kinukundena ng Coronacion Chiva “Waling-Waling” Command ng NPA-Panay ang ipinalabas sa midya ni Police Director Tuzon ng Iloilo Police Provincial Office (Iloilo PPO) na NPA daw ang protektor sa kilalang druglord na si Richard Prevendido, kung bakit hindi pa nila nahuhuli hanggang ngayon.

Malisyoso naman si Vener Murga, Commanding Officer ng 82nd IB PA ng magdeklarar na maaring nasa 1st District ng probinsya ng Iloilo ang nasabing druglord.

Ang NPA ang pinakamadaling sangkalan at dahilan ng kanilang inutil at kapalpakan sa paghuli ng nasabing druglord na mismong matataas na mga opisyal ng PNP ang protektor, kasabwat ang armadong grupo ng RPA-RBB.

Hindi nagtatago ang NPA ng sino man at ano mang mga sindikato at mga kriminal! Hindi nito pinapahintulutan na maging sanktwaryo ang organisasyon at teritoryo nito sa sino mang mga sindikato. Ito ay dahil labag at makasisira ito sa tunay na interes ng mamamayan.

Gayunman, patuloy na inilulunsad ng NPA ang sarili nitong kontra-druga at kontra-sindikatong kampanya noon pa man, sa saklaw na teritoryo na ginagalawan sa Panay. Pinatunayan ito ng mga inilunsad na kampanyang kontra-droga sa Silangan at Timog na bahagi ng Panay. Ito ay pareho ng pagdis-arma sa grupo ni Darwin Celiz sa Cuartero, Capiz, at nitong huli ang sa mga Longno sa Dumarao na may tinatagong armas ng mga sindikato; ganundin ang pagkabuyagyag ng mga tauhan at opisyal ng 8ndIB na imbolbado sa pagbebenta at paggamit ng nakaka-adik na droga. Tuloy-tuloy rin na sinusulong ng NPA ang kampanyang edukasyon sa masa laban sa nakaka-adik na droga.

Kaya, sa simpleng salita, kung walang mga kasabwat na matataas na mga opisyal sa AFP, PNP, PDEA at mga korap na politiko, matagal nang nahuli itong si Prevendido dahil imposible siyang hahayaan na lamang ng NPA na makapagtago saan mang sulok ng base nito.

CPP/NDF-Bicol: Hinggil sa Gawa-gawang Pahayag ng 903rd IB sa Insidente ng Pagsuko sa Masbate

NDF-Bicol propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 15):
Hinggil sa Gawa-gawang Pahayag ng 903rd IB sa Insidente ng Pagsuko sa Masbate (Concerning the False Statement of the 903rd IB on the Surrender Incident in Masbate)

Maria Roja Banua, Spokesperson
NDFP Bicol Region (Region V)

15 June 2017

Mariing kinukundena ng NDF-Bikol ang 903rd IBgd. sa pagtugis at sapilitang pagpapasuko sa 19 na sibilyan sa Masbate nitong Hunyo 13. Walang katotohanan ang pahayag ni Brig. Gen. Fernando Trinidad na ang naturang mga residente ay mga aktibong kasapi ng BHB na kusang sumuko sa kanilang upisina. Ayon sa Jose Rapsing Command BHB-Masbate, wala na sa serbisyo ang 19 na pinasuko at matagal nang namumuhay bilang mga sibilyan ngunit patuloy silang tinarget ng pandarahas ng militar at sapilitang ihinarap sa madla bilang mga surrenderee. Ito ay malinaw na paglabag sa karapatan ng mga sibilyan sa ilalim ng Protocol II ng Geneva Conventions at Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL) na kapwa sinang-ayunan ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan at ng gubyerno ng Pilipinas.

Alam ng 9th IDPA na lalong lumalakas ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa Kabikulan kahit matapos ang iba’t ibang taktikang ginamit nila laban sa mamamayan. Nagsasagawa sila ng mapanalasang operasyong militar sa kanayunan upang takutin at pasunurin ang masa. Gayundin, naglulunsad sila ng mga mapagpanggap na operasyong sibil militar (CMO) upang hamigin ang loob ng mga Bikolano. Ngunit sa kabila ng lahat nang ito, bigo ang dibisyon sa pagpapahina sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa kanayunan at kalunsuran. Isang malaking kabalintunaang sa kabila ng mga hungkag na deklarasyon na conflict manageable na umano ang kalakhan sa mga prubinsya sa rehiyon ay idineklara ng Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) ang red alert status bilang paghahanda umano sa pag-igting ng mga taktikal na opensiba sa buong rehiyon. Patuloy na nahihintakutan ang mga militar sa lakas ng BHB at ng mga taga-suporta nito. Hindi magkandamayaw ngayon ang dibisyon sa pag-apula sa tumitinding pagbabalikwas ng mamamayang Bikolnon kung kaya binabalingan na lamang nito ang paglikha ng mga gawa-gawang insidente ng engkwentro o pagsuko. Dahil sa desperasyong kahit paano ay may maipakitang datos at maisalba ang kanilang imahe, itinututok ng kasundaluhan ang kanilang kabagsikan sa terorismo at pasismo laban sa mga sibilyan.

Nananawagan ang NDF-Bikol sa mamamayang Bikolnon na labanan ang nag-uulol na pang-aatake ng kasundaluhan sa rehiyon. Dapat singilin at pananagutin ang berdugong militar sa kanilang mga paglabag sa karapatang tao. Sa halip na ipagpatuloy ng 9th IDPA ang paghahasik ng terorismo at pasismong militar, dapat tumalima ito sa mga nauna nang napagkasunduang probisyon at internasyunal na batas na pumuprotekta sa karapatang tao kapwa ng mga kombatant at ng mga sibilyan.

Makaaasa ang taumbayan na mananatiling tapat ang lahat ng yunit ng BHB at ang buong kilusan sa pagsusulong ng makatwirang digma ng mamamayan sa harap ng hirap, sakripisyo at kamatayan. Hindi mapipigilan ni mapahihina ng samu’t saring bitag ng pasipikasyon at kapitulasyon ng estado ang paninindigan ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan na tumindig kasama ng masang api sa pagkamit ng tunay na kalayaan at kapayapaan sa pamamagitan ng rebolusyon. Gagap ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan na ang walang pag-iimbot na pagsuporta at paglahok ng masa sa digmang bayan ang mapagpasya sa katuparan na hinahangad na kalutasan sa kahirapan.

CPP/CNL: On The Marawi Siege

Christians for National Liberation (CNL) propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 15): On The Marawi Siege

Renmin Malaya, Spokesperson
CNL National Executive Committee

15 June 2017

As the country’s flag was being raised in Marawi City with the singing of the national anthem for the celebration of the 119th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence (June 12) from Spanish colonialism, aerial bombing was simultaneously heard, thick black smoke was seen at a distance .

We, the Christians for National Liberation (CNL) denounces in the strongest possible terms the meddling of the American forces on the AFP military operations against a small Muslim group creating havoc in this part of Mindanao. From the dailies and television news we came to know that the Department of National Defense (DND) and the United States embassy in Manila admitted the presence of US troops in Marawi for “technical assistance” after an American P3 Orion surveillance plane was recorded flying over the besieged city. US troops were already in Marawi even before the Maute group laid siege to the city on May 23, as they had a military facility at a nearby AFP camp.

For us at CNL, this is a blatant violation of our sovereignty as the US continues its intervention in the country’s internal affairs. They feed intelligence information to the AFP through remote-control by training the AFP in aerial surveillance, targeting, electronic eavesdropping and communications. Two years ago, it is still fresh from our memory that the United States also took part in the bungled police operation in Mamasapano Maguindanao, that led to the death of 44 Special Action Force (SAF) . A week ago, four (4)armed US troops were photographed in Marawi standing beside a pickup truck, flying a drone, despite assurances by government officials, especially Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, commander of the armed forces Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), that the Americans had “no boots on the ground.”

Data we gathered from fellow church people as basis for the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission in Marawi revealed that there are at least 235,000 internally displaced persons in Lanao del Sur alone due to the all out war, including 1,536 from President Roxas North Cotabato, 1,200 Blaans in Matan-ao Davao del Sur and undetermined number of Moro civilians in Shariff Saydona, Mustapha and Mamasapano towns of Maguindanao province. A family from Brgy. Raya Madaya was trapped including a child who died of hunger while his starving family resorted to eating their blankets. The death toll from the AFP troopers to date reached 58, and 31 Maute killed, 1,613 civilians rescued, thousands wounded/injured and 45 still missing. Even our country’s journalists covering the siege reported that their vehicles were being hit by sniper fire and wayward bullets as the AFP uses rocket-propelled grenades and bombs. (source: Bureau of Public Information-ARMM Crisis Management Committee June 13, 2017)

As Christians we were saddened for taking the Catholic priest, 10 worshippers and three church workers with several churchgoers as hostage. It is also disheartening to see the city downtown area reduced to ruins. If the violent siege continue we foresee Marawi will be the next Aleppo Syria. We pity the families from Marawi and to see them scared to be hit by stray bullets and bombs, run for safety, but some were not spared, still they were hit and got killed (19) , while some were held as human shield, some (1,000) were trapped, and only a few were rescued . There is no electricity in the city, and most of the 200,000 inhabitants have fled. This situation is like a living reminder of what our fellow countrymen went through four decades ago especially those who have lived through the dark years of martial law in the ‘70s till the ‘80s.

We find it very alarming that the President who is the commander in chief does not know that his military and security officials like Department of National Defense(DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and Armed Forces Chief of Staff Eduardo Ano have already asked assistance from a country that he has continually hit as a hypocrite and is only looking out for its own self-interest. He professed ignorance of US military assistance for the Marawi operations, saying it was the DND which decided about the matter.

His declaration that he will just be thankful for the AFP and DND to allow US military presence in Marawi contrasted with how vigorously he denounced the alleged presence of foreigners. In doing so, he has affirmed his complicity with the intervention of a foreign military power. President Duterte’s anti-US rhetoric for an independent foreign policy, is not serious. It is also quite disturbing that he is not enforcing the ruling of The Hague Arbitral Tribunal to defend the territorial integrity of our country with the disputed South China Sea in order for the government to acquire financial aid from China, knowing that the country is a rising imperialist power.

We call on President Duterte and his administration to reject the supposed support from the US, like the war armaments used to “wipe out” the Maute and to “flatten the hills” where they are hiding , because it is always with strings attached, but also because it does not reflect well on his pronouncements for an independent foreign policy. While the people of Marawi suffer under the continuing attacks by the AFP the rest of Mindanao also suffer from the iron grip of Martial law subjecting farmers, workers, Lumads and other sectors from violations of their basic human rights and civil liberties.

CNL therefore is calling on the people of Mindanao and the entire nation to unite and demand from the Duterte government to stop committing human rights violations. We call on church people from all faith denominations and CNL forces to extend humanitarian assistance to the victims of the Marawi siege and from the other parts of Mindanao. Let us continue to struggle against the onslaught of Martial Law as it violates people’s rights and tramples our national sovereignty and genuine independence. Immediately lift Martial Law!

CPP/NDF-FSM: 39th IB’s mendacity on the killing of 2 NPA fighters

NDF-Far South Mindanao propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 15): 39th IB’s mendacity on the killing of 2 NPA fighters

Ka Efren Aksasato, Spokesperson
NDFP Far South Mindanao

15 June 2017

The military’s account that Ka Lope (Regie Dacera) and Ka Radin (Edson Arcayena) died in a legitimate encounter in Purok Pomelo, Brgy. Malasila, Makilala is a flagrant lie to cover up the murder of the two Red fighters. This yarn devised by the 39th IB as an excuse for their callousness is a shameless fibbing to conceal their barbaric act.

Ka Lope and Ka Radin are defenseless when they were accosted by the soldiers under the 39th IB Alpha company at around 10:00 o’clock in the evening in June 10. They couldn’t have resisted arrest but the soldiers perfidiously shot them. Their heads and bodies are riddled with bullets. Aside from the gunshot injuries, they also bore cuts, contusions and bone fractures indicative of torture.

This ferocious offense is a complete disregard of the protocols of war, and a blatant and grave breach of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the laws espousing the protection of human rights. The victims are likewise denied of their right to due process of law and defend their selves in court.

The NDF-FSMR strongly condemns this inhuman exploit of the 39th IB.

We express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of the victims at the time of their grief, pain and injustice.

Even without the imposition of martial law, the 39th IB soldiers are notorious for military abuses. This is attested by the lengthy list of violations and bloody crimes they perpetrated against the people. With Duterte’s martial law, the fascist troops are at loose in carrying out greater abuses with even greater impunity, while civil and political rights of the people in Mindanao are gravely being curtailed.
The executors of this crime, the 39th IB led by Lt. Col. Harold Argamosa, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Duterte regime who is the real tyrant behind these ploys, are accountable and must be punished for the recurring offenses, injuries, and injustices they wreak onto defenceless victims and innocent civilians.

The NDF-FSMR and the entire revolutionary forces and masses in Far South Mindanao convey our highest respect for the people’s heroes, Ka Lope (Regie Dacera) and Ka Radin (Edson Arcayena). We express our warmest Red salute to these brave martyrs who resolutely fought for the people and the revolution. Both heroically faced all adversities and sacrifices in the path of serving the poor and the oppressed that they love so much. They will always live in the hearts of the comrades and the masses.