Friday, June 23, 2017

Military cites 'strong indication' Omar Maute is dead

From ABS-CBN (Jun 23): Military cites 'strong indication' Omar Maute is dead

The military on Friday said there was a "strong indication" that Omar Maute, one of the two brothers who founded the terrorist group behind attacks in Marawi City, is already dead.

The report of Maute's possible death first reached the military two weeks ago, Lt. Col. Jo-ar Herrera, spokesperson of Joint Task Force Marawi, said in a press conference in Marawi City.

Maute was possibly killed during an encounter in an area considered as the Maute group's lair in the Islamic City, but government troops have yet to extract his body from the war zone, Herrera said.

Once confirmed, his death may be considered a blow to the Islamic State-linked terror group amid continuing government offensives a month into the siege.

The Maute brothers were among terror leaders known to have plotted attacks in Marawi last month, just before firefights erupted on May 23.

With Maute likely gone, his brother Abdullah may be the one now leading the group's operations, the military said.

Earlier this month, the brothers' parents- father Cayamora and mother Farhana- were arrested in separate police operations.

Meanwhile, Isnilon Hapilon, said to be the anointed ISIS leader in Southeast Asia, is also still alive and helping Abdullah lead the rebels, the military said.

Malacañang earlier announced a P5 million bounty for the "neutralization" of each of the Maute brothers, and another P10 million for Hapilon.

Speaking to reporters in Manila on Thursday, Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Eduardo Año also shared the information.

"Hapilon is still inside (Marawi), kaya nga siguro defying 'yung mga members nito, because Hapilon is still alive. But si Omar Maute, more or less mukhang patay na talaga itong si Omar Maute. Abdullah is still alive, still there, still inside Marawi," he said.

READ: Omar Maute likely dead, AFP chief says

News of Omar's possible death came a month since clashes began, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.

As of 6 p.m. Thursday, government placed the death toll at 375, among them 280 terror suspects, 69 government troops and 26 civilians.

Philippine Troops Gain Against Muslim Rebels but Face Aftershocks

From Voice of America (Jun 23): Philippine Troops Gain Against Muslim Rebels but Face Aftershocks

Damaged buildings and houses are seen as government forces continue their assault against insurgents from the Maute group, who have taken over large parts of Marawi city, Philippines, June 22, 2017.

Suspected NPA rebels burn ₱40-million equipment in Palawan

From CNN Philippines (Jun 23): Suspected NPA rebels burn ₱40-million equipment in Palawan

Suspected members of the New People's Army (NPA) set on fire ₱40 million worth of heavy equipment in San Vicente town in Palawan.

Police said a number of men, who identified themselves as NPA rebels, torched construction equipment, including dump trucks and backhoes on Monday at Sitio Ombo, Purok Pag-asa in Barangay New Canipo.

A similar incident happened in the same barangay, three kilometers away from Sitio Ombo, in Purok Pagkakaisa on Tuesday.

The police estimated the damage at ₱40 million.

The NPA has not officially taken responsibility for the incident. Authorities are still investigating.

Newington Builders, Inc. and Tagala Construction owned the equipment. Company officials told the police they received letters, supposedly from rebels, asking them to give revolutionary taxes.
The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines which has waged a 48-year-old insurgency, the longest-running armed rebellion in Asia.

Six BIFF men killed in firefight

From The Standard (Jun 23): Six BIFF men killed in firefight

SIX members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters were killed in a clash with government troops in Barangay Malagakit, Pigcawayan, North Cotabato on Wednesday, a military official said Thursday.

Capt. Napoleon Alcarioto, spokesman for the 602nd Brigade, said civilians told the military that the BIFF rebels retrieved the dead bodies and fled on board a motorized outrigger on the Ligusan Marsh.

Civilians also saw eight BIFF members who were wounded, Alcarioto said.

On the other hand, two members of the Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit were wounded during the exchange of gunfire.

“The situation is back to normal as most of the civilians particularly those residing along the highway are back at their homes while others are still in the evacuation centers,” Alcarioto said.

Classes at the Malagakit Elementary School, which the BIFF occupied for hours during the skirmishes, are still suspended.

Some 200 to 300 BIFF rebels swooped down on two military detachments in the villages of Malagakit, and Simsiman, and started firing at troops manning the posts on Wednesday.

The BIFF then forcibly entered and destroyed several houses in three villages, forcing civilians to flee to safer ground as fighting lasted for hours.

The BIFF withdrew under the cover of darkness, leaving a militiaman---Abraham Cutay and a civilian dead.

A military statement said 63 civilians were rescued by the Joint Task Force Central, which clashed with the BIFF rebels in North Cotabato.

RESCUED. An infant, one of the residents who were trapped when the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters took six teachers and six students hostage, is rescued by officials of Barangay Simsiman, Pigkawayan, North Cotabato on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. The hostages were students of Malagakit Elementary School, but the military later clarified that none of the hostages were students. Police said the firefight erupted after 300 ‘fully armed’ BIFF fighters attacked a barangay outpost in Barangay Malagakit and a Cafgu detachment in Barangay Simsiman, North Cotabato. Mark Navales

Soldiers from the 602nd Brigade advanced towards the Malagakit Elementary School to rescue the hostages, who were used as human shields, and engaged the fleeing rebels at about 6 p.m. Wednesday.

The rebels left 31 of their captives behind as they fled.

Thirty-two residents trapped in the crossfire left their homes and joined the rescued hostages.

Members of the 34th Infantry Battalion provided mortar fire support to the Simsiman Detachment in Barangay Simsiman, Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, and blockaded Barangay Malagakit, while troops from the 7th Infantry Battalion and the 34IB attacked the rebels.

Two BIFF members were held by the troops of the 22nd Mechanized Company, 2nd Mechanized Battalion, Mechanized Division, at a checkpoint in Butilin, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao at 9:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Troops found two sachets of shabu on the BIFF members.

Also on Thursday, a spokesman for the Philippine National Police said all field commanders have been ordered to review their camp defense plans to thwart any attacks by the New People’s Army rebels and terrorists.

The reminder came after NPA rebels ransacked a police station in Maasin, Iloilo province on Sunday morning, taking away several firearms from the police station including eight M16 rifles, four Glock 9mm pistols, five handheld radios, a base radio, and two laptops. The rebels also took P25,000 from the police station and a patrol car.

Malacañang on Thursday said the attack by the BIFF in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato was not a spillover from the Marawi siege.

“It’s not a spillover,” said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella. “It was an opportunistic action coming from the BIFF group. So it’s not connected in that sense.”

President Rodrigo Duterte had earlier warned that the Islamic State-inspired Maute group may engage in more bombing runs in the coming days in other parts of Mindanao.

In the aftermath of the Pigcawayan attack, Education Secretary Leonor Magtolis Briones on Thursday said schools and learning spaces are zones of peace, and said the safety of teachers and students is the foremost priority in the event of conflict.

Untrue: NDFP belies Duterte’s claim that 75% of NPAs are Lumad

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Jun 23): Untrue: NDFP belies Duterte’s claim that 75% of NPAs are Lumad

Six platoons of the 1st Pulang Bagani Company performs a tactical inspection during the 48th anniversary celebration of the Communist Party of the Philippines in Barangay Lumiad, Paquibato district in Davao City on Monday morning, Dec. 26, 2016. (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines belied the claim of President Rodrigo Duterte that 75 percent of the members of the New People’s Army are Lumad.

In a statement emailed to the media on Thursday, Maria Malaya, spokesperson of NDFP North Eastern Mindanao said Duterte’s statement was “a big lie, deceitful and provokes further attacks against the Lumad people.”
During his visit to the 401st Infantry Brigade in Butuan City on Saturday, June 17, Duterte told reporters that 75 percent of the NPAs are Lumad.
“75 percent of the rebels now, Lumads. Sila ang pinupusta ng NPA. Hindi ‘yung mga Bisaya, hindi ‘yung mga Ilonggo, hindi ‘yung mga Ilocano. Sila ang ginagawang sundalo (75 percent of the rebels now are Lumad. They are used as pawns by the NPA. Not the Bisaya, not the Ilonggo, not the Ilocano. They are the ones used as soldiers),” Duterte said.

But Malaya said the President’s statement even provokes attacks against the Lumad.

She said the Lumad people are a minority in terms of the population, making up only “close to 7 percent.”
“In addition, the NPA operates in a large section of the mountains, plains, highways, coastal areas and town centers of the region’s five provinces and are the sources of Red fighter recruits. Thus, the Lumad people cannot comprise the larger number of members of the NPA-NEMR,” she said.

The NPA in NEMR operates in the Caraga region, which covers Agusan del Sur, Agusan del Norte, Dinagat Island, Surigao del Norte and Surigao del Sur.

Malaya said Duterte’s statement “provokes further attacks against the Lumad people as it is a component of the psychological operation of the US-Duterte regime to confuse, divide and pit the Lumad people against each other.”

She said the resources within the ancestral lands of the Lumad people are targeted by the local ruling classes and capitalists. She added that the Lumad’s land are constantly targeted by extensive land grabbing and large scale mining and plantations.

Malaya also said Duterte has already “offered the lands of Caraga and the entire island of Mindanao, particularly the ancestral lands of the Lumad and Moro people, for the projects and plans of foreign investors.” She said these projects and plans are connected with the declaration of martial law in Mindanao.

She said in order to defeat the NPA, the government is using the military campaign to mobilize the people against the revolutionary movement.

“It is similar to the ‘fish and water’ method. The people are apparently the water and the NPA, the fish. Poison the water to kill the fish. The enemy have been using violence and deceit to “drain the water.” They are using this action now against the Lumad people,” Malaya said.

Duterte also said the NPA continue to exploit the Lumad and offered them instead to become soldiers of the government.

“Kayong mga Lumad nasa NPA, kung mag-surrender kayo, I will take you in as sundalo sa Armed Forces of the Philippines. Parehong sweldo. Sundalo talaga, may sweldo, may trabaho. Diyan kayo sa NPA, magtiis kayo (Those of you Lumads who are with the NPAs, if you surrender, I will take you in as soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. You will receive the same salary just like the soldiers. If you remain with the NPAs, then suffer the consequences),” he said.

Duterte also said that he will talk with the NPAs and appealed to them to lessen its attacks.

“Kita mag istorya man ta. Ug gusto mo, tutal ug pagka human ani, mag amigo gyud kaha ta. Hinay hinay nalang mog pag engkwentro (We will talk, if you want, after this, we will be friends. Just lessen the encounters),” Duterte said in his speech during the 50th anniversary of Agusan del Norte in Cabadbaran State University last June 17.

The Communist Party of the Philippines said they anticipate the resumption of the fifth round of talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in two to three months.

The substantive agenda of the talks include the social and economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms and the end of hostilities and disposition of forces.

The meat of the peace negotiations is believed to be that of the resolution of the social and economic problems.

ESSCom lists 18 foreigners wanted for transborder crimes in ESSZone

From the Malay Mail (Jun 23): ESSCom lists 18 foreigners wanted for transborder crimes in ESSZone

 There is fear the foreign individuals on the list will escape to other countries following the military action taken by the Philippine government to combat the Maute millitants in Marawi City. — Reuters pic

There is fear the foreign individuals on the list will escape to other countries following the military action taken by the Philippine government to combat the Maute millitants in Marawi City. — Reuters pic

The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) has issued a new list of 18 individuals wanted for alleged involvement in transborder crimes in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) last year.

Its commander, DCP Datuk Wan Abdul Bari Wan Abdul Khalid, said all the individuals were foreigners, including the leader of Abu Sayyaf group in Basilan, who is also the so-called Islamic State Element chief in southern Philippines, Isnilon Hapilon, and the leader of the Maute Millitant Group in Marawai, Abdullah Maute.

“We fear that they will escape to other countries, including Malaysia via Sabah, following the military action taken by the Philippine government to combat the Maute millitants in Marawi City.

“We also suspect that they will enter the country by posing as illegal immigrants or fishermen,” he said in a statement here yesterday.

He said public with information about the individuals are requested to contact the ESSCom operation room at 089-863181 or via WhatsApp to 013-880 3585 or 019-230 5909 or to lodge a report at any police station for further action.

The 16 other wanted individuals are Hatib Hajan@Sawadjan, Alden Badge@Sayning, Apo Mike@Majan Sahidjuan, Marajan Asiri, Indang Susukan, Raden Abuh, Halipah Ibrahim, Salvador Muktadil@Badong, Ben Yadah@Ben Tattoh, Arrah Saminddih, Boy Intel, Berham Luthien@Vietnam, Sabri Madrasul@Salip Jul, Las Pangit, Sangbas and Salip Mura.

Military sees 'tactical alliance' between BIFF, Maute group

From GMA News (Jun 23): Military sees 'tactical alliance' between BIFF, Maute group

Officials on Friday said Wednesday's attack on Pigcawayan, Cotabato, by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) was not connected with the conflict in Marawi City, despite the group's likely "tactical alliance" with the Maute group.

"Ah yes, as far as tactical alliance is concerned, that is very possible and we have seen that in some operations wherein BIFF fighters are sending augmentation to not just Maute but also other local terrorist groups in the country," said East Mindanao Command deputy commander Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay during Mindanao Hour in Davao City.

Both Gapay and presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella agreed that the attack on Pigcawayan was not connected with the conflict in Marawi City.

 "The BIFF attack in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato yesterday has been assessed to have no connection to the ongoing Marawi rebellion," said Abella.

"It is seen as the BIFF's attempt to recover from more than two weeks of setbacks from ongoing operations of the AFP's 6th Infantry Division."

"It's not as serious as the one we’re fighting in Marawi because BIFF is contained in their stronghold in SPMS box and our troops there are doing very well in containing the BIFF," Gapay, for his part, said. Gapay, meanwhile, said operations against the BIFF continue despite the ongoing armed conflict in Marawi City.

"Being a local terrorist group is also a target of local operations. A dedicated unit is right now tasked to address this threat and just like our efforts against the Maute group, we will sustain our operations against the BIFF until they are decimated,” he said.

Gabriela’s Brosas wants rape threats by soldiers in Marawi probed

From InterAksyon (Jun 23): Gabriela’s Brosas wants rape threats by soldiers in Marawi probed

Marawi evacuating inset Arlene Brosas

Evacuating from the fighting in Marawi City. Base image from Reuters. Inset shows Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas.

Partylist lawmakers want reports of women being threatened with rape by the military if they don’t leave Marawi City, which is wracked by armed conflict, investigated.

“I have personally heard the stories of women who sought refuge in evacuation centers in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur after government troops threatened to rape them, as encouraged by no less than President Duterte in his public remarks,” Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas said.

“These are alarming accounts, which prove that the martial law and the President’s rape remarks have actually emboldened the military to dangle rape threats against women in Marawi City. We fear that there are actual victims of rape and we encourage them to speak out and seek justice,” she added.

The entire island of Mindanao has been under martial law for a month now, since Duterte’s declaration on May 23 following an attack by the Maute group in Marawi City. Thousands of families have evacuated to makeshift centers outside the city following the fighting.

Brosas visited the evacuation centers as a member of the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission conducted last June 14-15. The group was denied entry to Marawi City by the military.

“On top of its rights violations with the nonstop aerial bombardment of Marawi, the military is using rape threats as tool of war, coercion and harassment against women. Any sign of safety is elusive for the women particularly in Marawi City with armed men still on the loose and with soldiers eager to rape them,” she said.

Brosas, together with partylist Reps. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela, Antonio Tinio and France Castro of ACT Teachers, Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis and Sarah Elago of Kabataan earlier filed House Resolution No. 1085 seeking an inquiry by the House committee on human rights on the plight of displaced civilians in Marawi City and to look into the alleged rights violations committed by the military.

Brosas was also among the petitioners urging the Supreme Court to nullify Duterte’s martial law declaration in Mindanao.

The resolution sought to look into alleged “abuses and excesses of the military” under the state of martial law.

THE MARAWI CRISIS, 1 MONTH AFTER | ‘Islam is not a religion of death,’ fellow Muslims admonish extremists

From InterAksyon (Jun 23): THE MARAWI CRISIS, 1 MONTH AFTER | ‘Islam is not a religion of death,’ fellow Muslims admonish extremists

The Manila Golden Mosque in Quiapo.
“There are two kinds of Muslims, the Muslim who follows the religion and the Muslim who uses the religion.”

This is how Anzano Ibrahim Macalawig, 39, described his brethren as he spoke to InterAksyon after praying the “Asr” or afternoon prayer in a Masjid or mosque on Salas street in Ermita, Manila.

Filipinos and foreigners pray in a Masjid, or mosque, on Salas St. in Malate, Manila.

It was Thursday, a day before the fighting broke out in Marawi between government forces and extremist gunmen from the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups, joined by a number of foreign fighters, marks its first month with no indication of when it will finally end.

The day hostilities began, President Rodrigo Duterte declared martial law over the whole of Mindanao.

While the bulk of Marawi’s 200,000 residents have fled, most of them now crammed into evacuation camps in nearby towns and urban centers, a number are believed still trapped in the Islamic city, large sections of which have been reduced to rubble by the fighting, which has been punctuated by air and artillery strikes.

The battle of Marawi has claimed more than 300 lives thus far, some 280 of these extremists, with the government losing 69 personnel, and more than 20 civilians, although fleeing residents have reported seeing scores of bodies as they escaped, indicating the final toll may be much higher. More than 400 government personnel have also been wounded.

Ibrahim works in Qatar and is the son of a diplomat from Marawi who has long been assigned to Middle East posts. He was only 5 when he left the country and first returned her when he was 12. Since then, “yearly na ang bakasyon namin (we vacation here yearly),” staying in their homes in Marawi and Cagayan de Oro City.

Although he has spent most of his life abroad, Ibrahim stresses, “Marawi is my home, diyan ako pinanganak (I was born there). As a Muslim, komportable ako dito at maganda ang weather (I am comfortable here and the weather is good).”

As fate would have it, he and his family were vacationing in Marawi when the trouble started but managed to slip through the checkpoints set up by the gunmen of the Maute group, reaching Cagayan de Oro after two hours. From there, they flew to Manila.

He acknowledged their good fortune, noting that it took some of their neighbors as long as 12 hours to reach Cagayan de Oro as they dodged the Maute Group’s checkpoints and crossfire.

Although safe now, Ibrahim says, “natakot kami, ngayon wala nang tao sa bahay namin (we are afraid, there is no one left at home).”

He laments that the Islam he knows has deep respect for people and other religions.

How then does he see the gunmen in Marawi? “Actually may respect for religion naman diyan noong araw pa, pero may mga dumadating na may utak na hindi maintindihan (Actually there used to be respect for religion before, but this has been tainted with the arrival of people with minds difficult to comprehend).”

Not a religion of death

“Kapag pumatay ka ng isang Muslim o Christian, parang pinatay mo na and buong mundo (When you kill a Muslim or a Christian, it is like you have killed the whole world),” Ustad Hajji Mohammad “Bebot” Ersad Malli, administrator of the Manila Golden Mosque, told InterAksyon.

Manila Golden Mosque administrator Ustad Hajji Mohammad “Bebot” Ersad Malli

His religion, he stressed, is not a religion of death.

“Ang Islam ay ginawa at ibinilin kay Propeta Mohammad para tayong mga Muslim ay maging mabubuting tao (Islam came to be and was entrusted to the Prophet Muhammad so that we Muslims can become good persons. It is a religion of peace,” he said.

“Pero ang ginawa ng Maute, sumisigaw ang aming damdamin, lalo na malapit na ang Eid. Sana magka-ceasefire (But what the Maute did, our hearts are screaming in outrage, especially with the advent of Eid. We hope there will be a ceasefire),” he added.

Eid is Eid’l Fitr, or the “festival of the breaking of the fast,” which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

“Walang panalo sa giyera (No one wins in war),” Malli said.

Then addressing himself to the extremists, he said: “Sa mga Maute, huwag kayo magpagamit, hindi ito religion of death, lahat dito ay talo (To the Maute, don’t allow yourselves to be used, this is not a religion of death, all of us lose with this).”

But he also noted “mahirap kalabanin ang mga taong ang tingin sa barrel ng baril ay Paraiso (it is difficult to fight people who see Paradise at the end of a gun barrel),” referring to the belief held by mujahideen of the heavenly rewards awaiting them if they die fighting for the faith.

Yet Malli is emphatic about his belief that the problem goes beyond religious extremism.

“Maraming sumasakay diyan — mga politikong desperado, drug lord — pera-pera lang din ‘yan, hindi puwedeng wala (Many are taking advantage of this — desperate politicans, drug lords — it’s also about money, it’s impossible there is none involved).”

He called on the government and the Maute to agree to a ceasefire and talk to resolve the conflict because aside from the growing death toll, including on the government side, and the rising cost of waging war, “maraming mga bata ang kawawa, ‘yung mga biyuda nila ang babata pa (many children are suffering, there widows are still very young).”

Malli himself is no stranger to the sufferings from war.

“Galing din kami sa giyera, noong burning of Jolo, tumakas kami damit lang ang dala namin (We also came from the war, the burning of Jolo, we escaped with only our clothes),” he said, referring to the burning of Jolo, Sulu during fighting between the Moro National Liberation Front and government forces in the seventies.

“Masakit ang maging biktima ng giyera, lahat po tayo apektado (It is painful to be a victim of war, all of us are affected),” he said. “Meron pang pag-asa, sa ngalan ng Islam, sa araw ng Eid’l Fitir, tigil putukan muna, mag-usap, itaguyod natin ang kapayapaan (There is still hope, in the name of Islam, on Eid’l Fitr, let there be a ceasefire, dialogue, let us promote peace).”

Students pray in Manila’s IQRA Kiddie Learning Center Inc. Integrated English and Arabic School.

Malli also said Duterte’s apology, albeit delayed, for what is happening in Marawi – the destruction of the beautiful city because of the fighting and air strikes – was welcome.

And while Duterte can be “very tactless pero dila lang ‘yun, naintindihan namin si Presidente (that’s his tongue, we understand the President).”

The way Malli sees it, Duterte’s hand was forced, “parang tinraydor, parang magulang ‘yan, iniwan mo ang bahay mo, pinasok ng magnanakaw, natural magagalit ka (it’s like he was betrayed, like a parent: you leave your house, thieves break in, of course you’d get mad).”

Papatayin ka nila

Rex Mao, 39, is from Marinaut in Marawi and has been living in Manila for the last 10 years selling DVD’s.

Rex Mao, 39, of Marinaut in Marawi sells DVDs.

His two older brothers, Bitoy and Tonton, who remained in Marawi, were trapped with their families for two weeks before finally managing to escape.

In a recent phone conversation with his brothers, he said he felt “awa at takot, syempre (pity and fear, of course)” and continues to worry for them because “walang mapagpadalhan ng pera kasi sarado ang mga padalahan (I cannot send them money because the remittance centers are closed).”

He does not hide his anger at the extremists.

“Masama ang loob ko dahil hindi na nila ginalang ang Ramadan (I am angry because they did not respect Ramadan),” Mao said. “Sabi ng kapatid ko, kapag hindi ka sumama, pagsasalitain ka ng salitang Muslim. Kapag hindi mo nabigkas ang Sura Al Fatiha, kailangan sumapi ka sa kanila. Kung hindi, papatayin ka nila, katulad ng ibinalita ng mga pulis. Kaya hindi sila lumabas, pasapiin sila (My brother said, if you didn’t join them, they would order you to speak Muslim verses. If you could not say the Sura Al Fatiha, you had to join them. If not, they would kill you, like what the police reported. That’s why they did not come out of hiding, because they would be forced to join).”

The Sura Al Fatiha is the first chapter of the Q’uran.

A neighbor of their family, said Mao, fled only after a bomb struck their house, killing one person.

Mao also admitted another brother was among the detainees of the Marawi city jail who were freed by the Maute group during the first week of the fighting. He said he has yet to get in touch with this brother and convince him to surrender.

The missionary’s wife

Fatima (not her real name), a native of Marantao, Lanao del Sur, sells socks, cellphone chargers, and bags in Cainta, Rizal.

‘Fatima’ sells her wares in Cainta, Rizal.

Her husband is a missionary who attended a “johor,” a gathering of local and international Islamic missionaries convened in Marawi by the Tablighi Jamaat, a Sunni missionary movement, days before the attacks.

He left Cainta on May 15 and on May 20, he and 10 others were assigned to different mosques as part of the conference.

The missionaries, dressed in traditional clothes, chanced on a government checkpoint in Bumbaran town the day the fighting broke out, Fatima said.

“Napakagmalan silang mga (They were mistaken for) terrorists,” she said. “Ang ginawa nila, nang pinakamataas na Imam, pagkatapos magpakita ng mga ID, mga dokumento, dinala sila sa Wao. Sabi ng Imam, umuwi na kayo sa Manila (What they did, what their Imam did after they had shown their identification and other documents was take them to Wao (town). The Imam told them to go home to Manila).”

However, she said, it took them weeks to do so.

Her husband finally returned Wednesday last week. But most of her relatives remain in Marantao.

Fatima, too, is angry at the Maute group and their allies.

“Sino ang hindi magagalit? Kung talagang Muslim sila, hindi nila dapat ginawa ‘yan, kasi parang mahal na araw naming ‘yung Ramadan (Who would not get mad? If they were truly Muslim, they shouldn’t have done that because Ramadan is like our Holy Week),” she said.

“Hindi talaga maka-Muslim ang ginawa nila. Hindi naman sila ginugulo ng mga Christian (What they have done really does not benefit Muslims. The Christian have done nothing against them),” she added.

Now, Fatima worries that Muslims may feel the backlash of the extremists’ actions, citing allegations that the Maute group had been stockpiling their weapons and ammunition in mosques, which she fervently disputes, and worrying for her husband the missionary because of his preference for traditional clothes.

Australia sending 2 surveillance planes to help fight vs extremists

From InterAksyon (Jun 23): Australia sending 2 surveillance planes to help fight vs extremists

A Royal Australian Air Force Orion aircraft prepares to take off from RAAF Base Pearce near Perth. (Reuters file)

Australia’s defense force said on Friday it will send two military surveillance aircraft to assist Philippine soldiers fighting extremists to regain control of Marawi City.

“The Government of the Philippines has accepted an Australian offer of two Australian Defense Force AP-3C Orion aircraft to provide surveillance support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” said an emailed statement from Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne.

“The regional threat from terrorism, in particular from Daesh and foreign fighters, is a direct threat to Australia and our interests,” she said in the statement, referring to Islamic State by one of its Arab acronyms.

The seizure of Marawi five weeks ago by extremist groups and the security forces’ dogged fight to regain control of it has claimed 369 lives already, according to official estimates.

It has also alarmed Southeast Asian nations which fear Islamic State — on a backfoot in Iraq and Syria — is trying to set up a stronghold in Mindanao that could threaten the whole region.

Indonesian and Malaysian warships launched joint counterinsurgency maneuvers with Philippine vessels in waters nearby.

The United States has deployed troops near the besieged city, although they are not fighting there, and also provided a P-3 surveillance plane to assist the forces engaged in battle.

Australia’s statement condemned the attack on Marawi but gave no details about where the aircraft would be deployed.

This week, security forces made a renewed push to retake the city, aiming to clear it by the weekend Eid’l Fitr festival.

On Thursday, the military said about 100 armed militants remained in Marawi , confined to an area of about one square kilometer, down from the estimated 400 or 500 fighters who seized the city on May 23.

BIFF leave threats vs Duterte in Cotabato village as archbishop slams desecration of church

From InterAksyon (Jun 23): BIFF leave threats vs Duterte in Cotabato village as archbishop slams desecration of church

Government troops deploy against BIFF gunmen in Pigcawayan, Cotabato. (image from News5 video)

“Sho(o)t to kill ka namin Du30, kahit sa(an) ka humingi ng tulong Du30 ay hindi mo kami kayang ubusin (We will shoot to kill you Duterete, wherever you ask for help Duterte you can never wipe us out).”

These words, alongside curses and threats to target Davao City next were scrawled on blackboards and walls, next to scattered belongings and defaced portraits of President Rodrigo Duterte left in the school at Barangay Malagakit, Pigcwayan town, Cotabato province after gunmen of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters retreated from the village they had occupied on Tuesday.

Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo also condemned what he called “the wicked desecration of the Catholic chapel of Malagakit in the parish of Pigcawayan and most especially of the Sacred Hosts that were kept there for the Catholic faithful.”

The BIFF’s incursion into Malagakit triggered clashes which left two government militiamen and a number of the gunmen dead, and sent hundreds of residents fleeing.

BIFF spokesman Abu Misrie Mama claimed their action was in retaliation for continued military operations despite the observance of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. At the same time, he stressed that they had nothing to do with the Maute group, which is engaged in the month-old crisis in Marawi City.

In a statement, Quevedo called the desecration of the chapel “irreligious acts that cry out to heaven” akin to “the desecration of a mosque and the sacred Qur’an by non-Muslims.”

“Both desecrations are gravely sinful,” he said.

The prelate challenged the BIFF to “punish its members who perpetrated the odious desecration in Malagakit and educate all its members in strictly respecting other religions” if it sought “an image as a respecter of all religions.”

At the same time, he urged “the Catholic faithful of Malagakit to restore the sacredness of their chapel and ask all the faithful of the Archdiocese to pray for peace and harmony among all believers of different religions.”

The Mautes of the Philippines: From monied family to Islamic State

Posted to InterAksyon (Jun 23): The Mautes of the Philippines: From monied family to Islamic State

Photos of several suspected terrorists from the Maute clan. From left -- Cayamora Maute, Farhana Maute, Abdullah Maute, Omarkhayam Maute and bottom row, from left --Mohammadkhayam Maute, Abdulrahman Maute, Abdul Azis Maute, and Hamza Maute/Photos released by the Cebu City Police Office

Before they formed one of the most dreaded militant groups in the Philippines and pledged loyalty to Islamic State, the Mautes were a wealthy, political family in the southern region of Mindanao, largely influenced by the matriarch, Farhana.

Soft-spoken and reserved, 60-year-old Farhana Maute owns property in Mindanao and in Manila, and runs a construction business, say people who know the family and security analysts who have scrutinized its background.

Almost unknown two years ago, the Mautes are now the biggest and most deadly among Islamic State groups in the southern Philippines and are at the forefront of a month-long battle with the military for control of Marawi, a Mindanao town. Regional governments fear that the brutal urban warfare, in which 360 people have been killed, reflects Islamic State’s intention to establish a caliphate in Southeast Asia.

Farhana Maute was related to politicians in her hometown of Butig, near Marawi, and was considered somewhat of a kingmaker because of her wealth and influence. And like many clans in the lawless area, the Mautes maintained a private militia that included Farhana’s seven sons, the analysts said.

When the Mautes got involved in a dispute with Butig Mayor Dimnatang Pansar over the award of civil contracts, it erupted into a brutal clan feud, a clash so common to Mindanao it has its own name, rido.

Other militant groups in the southern Philippines joined the Mautes, and they formed a joint front in Marawi against government troops.


Joseph Franco, a research fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies who has worked with several Philippine military chiefs, said that early last year, the Mautes projected themselves as followers of Islamic State, or IS, to “spook and coerce the Pansars”.

“That tactical use of terrorist imagery took on a life of its own,” he said. “And now we have this Maute Group, who call themselves IS-Ranao.” Ranao is an old name for the Lanao region of Mindanao, where Marawi and Butig are located.

Although known to be a deeply religious Muslim, there was no evidence that Farhana Maute was radicalized, Franco said.

“She is only a businesswoman,” a former military officer who lives in Marawi told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But, her clan was involved in a bitter political dispute with the mayor of Butig. And that probably got her into trouble.”

Two of the sons, Omarkhayam and Abdullah, had been educated in the Middle East, but it is uncertain when they morphed from being scions of a wealthy family to becoming hardened Islamists. [nL3N1J61PU]

Still, Farhana Maute was related to the former military head of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), a rebel group that the government signed a peace deal with in 2014. She was deeply influenced by him, said Rommel Banlaoi, a security expert who advises the Philippines police.

“Many Muslims in Mindanao, strictly speaking, they already have what I call embedded radical ideas,” he said, adding that the Mautes provided a training camp for associates of the MILF near Butig.

“They were criminals who morphed into militancy,” Banlaoi said of the Mautes.

Other analysts said at least some of Farhana’s wealth would have been diverted to the Maute Group’s alleged illicit activities.

It was not possible to seek comment from the Maute family.

Both Farhana and her husband Cayamore, an engineer, were arrested earlier this month in separate parts of Mindanao and it was not immediately clear who their lawyers were.

The sons are believed to be fighting in Marawi.

Islamic State’s news agency, Amaq, has said its fighters control large parts of Marawi City, but has not commented specifically on the Maute.

Mohamad Ampuan, a Marawi native who has settled in Manila, said he knew Farhana Maute and several of her sons, and believed they were primarily religious-minded. He said he had not seen any of them since 2010, when he moved north.

Ampuan was speaking in a bazaar selling mobile phones and accessories in the crowded Novaliches suburb of Manila, where Philippine military intelligence reports have said Farhana or some of her sons owned stalls. All the stall-owners in the Salam Bazaar are from Marawi, but Ampuan said the family did not own any property there.

He said Farhana was fluent in Arabic and English and he considered the Mautes a “royal family”.

“The Mautes are fighting for Allah,” he said. “They want a society faithful to Allah.”

Marawi residents and analysts said Farhana has considerable influence on her sons, perhaps more than her husband, Cayamore. He has two other wives.

“She is the central figure, but not in terms of planning and preparing attacks,” said Rohan Gunaratna, a regional counter-terrorism expert. “The mother and father are patrons of the group, but father less, mother more.”

A neighbor, Marawi city councillor Khana-Anuar Marabur Jr., said the Mautes were “good people back then”, before they started the current round of violence in Marawi.

He said Farhana was a good mother, and was generous and approachable.

“The father is strong,” Marabur said. “He is like the tiger. But someone owns the tiger.”

Public warning AFP:Stop spreading unverified reports

From the Mindanao Times (Jun 23): Public warning AFP:Stop spreading unverified reports

THE ARMED Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will impose a stricter implementation on communication security procedures to prevent leaking internal reports that may cause public panic.

Speaking during yesterday’s AFP-PNP press conference, Brig. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, spokesperson of Martial law in Eastern Mindanao Command (EastMinCom), also urged the public not to spread unverified information.
Gapay said they have been receiving raw reports on threats and plans of terrorists to attacks major cities in Mindanao as diversionary attacks to ease the pressure in Marawi City.

He said each raw report is being verified by their operating unit, and the information will only be disseminated publicly once it is confirmed.

“Maybe along the way, there were some leaks that cause panic to the civilians,” Gapay said citing the recent spread of false threat report in Metro Manila.

He said they are reviewing their standard operating procedures to avoid the dissemination of raw and unconfirmed reports coming from their end.
Gapay said government security units, such as AFP and Philippine National Police, have corresponding sanctions to violators of communication security procedures. Those who violated the protocol, he said, will face administrative case and the penalty will be based on the gravity of the offense.

He said that they are reminding their personnel not to post sensitive information on social media, particularly on Facebook, to avoid causing false alarm.

With this, Gapay also urged the public not to spread unverified reports, especially sharing such on Facebook.

“We know some of you have already received such information,” Gapay said. “Let’s not forward it immediately.”

He said some sectors who like to create panic in the city may post such false reports.

As much as possible, Gapay said they want a daily “interaction and forum to inform the public on what’s happening.”

Gapay asked the public to always be vigilant so law and order will be maintained.

Mere possession of terror propaganda materials included in proposed law

From the Mindanao Times (Jun 23): Mere possession of terror propaganda materials included in proposed law

LAWMAKERS want to expand the two proposed anti-terror ordinances to include the mere possession of propaganda material.

Councilor Bernard Al-ag said the committee on laws, privileges and ordinances, which he chairs, pushed for the amendment as they will present the measure to the City Council next week for deliberation and apparent approval.

During the committee hearing, it was agreed to include the word “possession” instead of having only the phrase “manufacture and distribution of propaganda material.”
The proposed anti-ISIS ordinance covers the prohibition of the following acts:

membership of ISIS or allied local terrorist groups;

recruiting another person to membership in the ISIS or to its allied local terrorist groups whether that person is recognized or not by the ISIS leadership;

adhering to and professing express support to the ISIS or its allied local terrorist groups;

manufacturing, distributing, and possessing any reading material, propaganda, paraphernalia such as flag, clothing, sticker that are related to ISIS or its allies; and

failing to report ISIS-related activities to the authorities.
If approved, violators will be fined P5,000 and/or will serve one-year imprisonment.
In the second proposed ordinance initially aims to punish the act of leaving suspicious unmarked bags.

But the committee now amended it to “the act of leaving suspicious unmarked and unattended bags.”

Davao City Policy director Alexander Tagum pushed for the amendment as “criminal elements might opt to mark or name their bags” so they could escape liability.

It was also agreed in the committee hearing to give the specified and concrete definition of “public places” in the ordinance, as this should include airports, seaports, malls, parks, hotels, community centers, roads, streets, sidewalks, and all other public places defined by the law.

Councilor Nilo Abellera Jr., who chairs the committee for peace and public safety, said the passage of the ordinance will lessen the reports on unattended bags.

“Maiiwasan ang loko-lokong iwan ng bags,” he said.

It was also found during the committee hearing that Task Force Davao, DCPO, and the Central 911 have responded to more than 100 calls since September last year from the concerned public reporting about suspicious baggages.

Councilor Al-ag said the unmarked bags left in public places is a common problem that many cities in the country experienced.

“It causes a lot of disturbances in the community,” he said.

TFD commander Erwin Neri said the crafting of the ordinances is a welcome development on their end as they are mandated to secure the city against terrorism.

“The ordinances are timely and relevant to prevent terrorism and to lessen false alarms on the public,” he said.

Malaysia tightens border security due to Sayyaf, Maute threats

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jun 23): Malaysia tightens border security due to Sayyaf, Maute threats

Malaysia tightened its security for fear that ISIS militants fighting security forces in the Philippines may escape the government offensive and slip into Sabah.

It also included Abu Sayyaf chieftain and local ISIS leader Isnilon Hapilon, and jihadist militant Abdullah Maute on its wanted list along with other commanders Idang Susukan, Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan, Majan Sahidjuan and Salvador Muktadil – all implicated in cross-border kidnappings over the years, according to the Malaysian newspaper The Star.

It said the tight security was ordered by the Eastern Sabah Security Command under Datuk Wan Abdul Bari Abdul Khalid, who also appealed to Malaysian citizens to stay vigilant and report suspicious persons to authorities.

Hapilon and Maute were among a group of jihadist leader who occupied Marawi City in southern Philippines on May 23 in an effort to put up an Islamic State province in the restive Muslim region of Mindanao. Some of the jihadist leaders, including Omar Maute and Malaysian Mahmud bin Ahmad had been reported killed in the clashes, although the military is yet to recover their bodies.

Filipino security officials said Malaysian and other foreign militants are fighting the military in Marawi alongside the local ISIS group. They claimed that security forces had killed over 200 militants, including dozens of foreign fighters, but troops recovered just about 45 bodies. At least 62 soldiers and about two dozen civilians were also killed in the violence that gripped the country and forced President Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.

The United States also sent a P-3 Orion spy plane to help the local military pinpoint hiding places of militants in Marawi. The military said at least 400 militants are still holed out in the besieged city and that 600 civilians remain trapped in Marawi and this is on top of about 240 people, including a Catholic priest, being held by jihadists. Washington sent a small group of Special Forces soldiers to Marawi to help Filipino army commanders in intelligence gathering.

Australia said it will also deploy a pair of spy planes to help the Philippine government in defeating the local ISIS group. It fears that the radical influence of ISIS poses a serious threat to the security of the South East Asian and Asia-Pacific regions.

CPP/NPA-ST: On the NPA Quezon’s military action against the 85th IB in Catanauan

NPA-Southern Tagalog propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 20): On the NPA Quezon’s military action against the 85th IB in Catanauan

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

20 June 2017

The Melito Glor Command–New People’s Army Southern Tagalog extends its revolutionary greetings to the Apolonio Mendoza Command–New People’s Army Quezon for successfully launching its counter tactical offensive last June 18 in Brgy. Ajos, Catanauan, Quezon against elements of the 85th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.

The firefight began at around 10:45 PM wherein 10 casualties were accounted on the side of the reactionary government forces. On the other hand, the Red fighters sustained none. Amidst the blatant defeat of the AFP, only 2 casualties, both of whom were corporals, were admitted by the reactionary government; another desperate attempt to cover up their inherent failure.

Prior to this, relentless offensive military operations against the NPA were conducted by 100 armed troops of the 85th IBPA for four consecutive days. Since June 15, numerous peasant communities in Brgy. Ilayang Ilog, Villa Nacaob, Sta. Elena, Mabini, and San Rafael in Lopez town were subjected to human rights abuses such as violent searches, interrogations and harassment that caused terror among the people.

Since Duterte’s all out war declaration last February, the military has conducted offensive actions against the revolutionary forces that has caused casualties on the side of the NPA. These military offensives have persisted and even intensified after the red alert status declaration of the Southern Luzon Command in the Southern Tagalog and Bicol regions. And the NPA’s action last June 18 was a response to military offensives by the 85th IBPA as a form of self-defense to defend the people and its ranks against further attacks by the AFP.

As true vanguards of the people’s interest, the NPA will continue with its active defense so long as the AFP persists in putting at risk the lives and interests of the Filipino people. With this, the MGC NPA – ST implores the Filipino people to continue its wide revolutionary support in forwarding the people’s democratic revolution. Only in its victory shall the people truly enjoy genuine peace and prosperity.

CPP/NPA-Palawan: Aksyong Pamamarusa ng BHB-Palawan sa Newington Construction Company

NPA-Palawan propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 20): Aksyong Pamamarusa ng BHB-Palawan sa Newington Construction Company

Salvador Luminoso, Spokesperson
NPA-Palawan (Bienvenido Vallever Command)

20 June 2017

Pinarusahan ng isang yunit ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa ilalim ng BVC ang Newington Construction Company na pag-aari ng pamilyang Gardiola na taga lalawigan ng Batangas. Ang pamamarusa ay inilunsad noong ika-19 ng Hunyo sa pagitan ng ika-10:00 at 10:30 ng gabi sa barangay New Canipo San Vicente Palawan. Isinagawa ang pamamarusa bilang tugon sa mahigpit na kahilingan ng mga mamamayang apektado sa operasyon ng naturang kompanya. Sa pamamarusa ay nasunog at ganap na napinsala ang 4 na dumptruck, 3- backhoe, 1- grader at 1- pison na pag-aari ng Newington nang wala isa mang sibilyan ang nadamay.

Ang Newington ay malaon ng nagpapagamit at kasabwat ng mga kurap na pulitiko upang makakuha ng malaking kontrata sa mga proyektong may kaugnayan sa mga pagawaing pambayan(public works)na proyekto ng nasyunal at lokal na pamahalaan tulad ng mga kalsada, tulay at ibapang katulad nito. Sangkot din ito sa mga illegal quarrying na kung saan ay nakapipinsala sa kalikasan at sa buhay at ari-arian ng mamamayan.

Sa Palawan, ay ganitong mga kaso ang reklamong nakarating sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan na idinulog ng mga taong apektado at biktima ng kompanyang ito sa kanilang walang pakundangang operasyon at bilang tugon ay kagyat na inatasan ang BVCupang agarang isagawa ang pamamarusa.

Sa aksyong ito ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan ay nagpaabot ng pasasalamat ang mamamayan sa lugar na napinsala ng naturang kompanya. Higit na humigpit ang pagtangkilik sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan dahil ito lamang ang hukbong magtataguyod sa kanilang mga demokratikong interes.

Mabuhay ang mga Palaweño!
Mabuhay ang CPP/NPA/NDFP!
Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino!
Mabuhay ang Rebolusyon!

CPP/NPA-Panay: READ: Aksyon Radyo Iloilo’s Interview of Ka Julio Montana, spokesman of Coronacion Chiva Waling-waling Command, NPA about the raid on the Maasin PNP Station on June 18

NPA-Panay interview posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 20):
READ: Aksyon Radyo Iloilo’s Interview of Ka Julio Montana, spokesman of Coronacion Chiva Waling-waling Command, NPA about the raid on the Maasin PNP Station on June 18

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

20 June 2017

AKSYON JOHN PAUL TIA: Why did you raid the Maasin PNP?

KA JULIO MONTANA: The PNP as an institution is part of the state machinery to implement the all-out war against the movement in the whole country. That’s the first. They take part in the implementation of tation of Oplan Kapayapaan against the revolutionary movement. Our attack is more of getting their farmhands from them. The NPA is the army of thhe poor, the firearms are taken with the people’s support, and our armory comes from their institution.

The people have long been complaining about this police station’s extortion and their support for the proliferation of drugs and gambling but they are afraid to speak out. That station is a legitimate target.

JPT: Have you identified the names of these policemen?

KJM: Just ask the people. For our part, we have no right to broadcast that. It is not only in Maasin but in many towns here in Panay that drugs proliferate and illegal gambling is tolerated. The protectors come from their ranks themselves.

JPT: There have been towns confirmed by the PNP in the past that are possible targets of your offensive actions, can we confirm if the following are really your targets – San Joaquin, Miag-ao, Tubungan, Igbaras, Leon, Alimodian, Maasin, Janiuay, Lambunao, Calinog, Passi City, San Enrique, San Rafael and Lemery?

KJM: The PNP as an institution is part of our legitimate military targets. This means that the whole PNP, is part of our military target. Wherever they are, as long as the situation warrants, we will strive to achieve our gains. Not only the PNP but also the AFP, CAFGU, paramilitary, even the leaders of illegal syndicates that deal on drugs, gambling and other crimes are part of NPA targets.

JPT: Before, did the movement have any actions against those who deal in drugs?

KJM: Since 2007 until now, even before Duterte, not only the Napoleon Tumagtang Command but under the Coronacion Chiva Waling-Waling, even the Nonito Aguirre Command, Jose Percival Estocada Command, all continue to campaign against drugs. In Tubungan, the NPA raided a notorious drug dealer’s marijuana plantation and dis-armed him.

JPT: Is the NPA force really this big at present? Was it really 50-60 strong that raided the Maasin PNP?

KJM: I will not divulge the actual number of our members who carried out the offensive. The increase of NPA strength can be attributed the the situation of the people, the system of extreme oppression, poverty and neglect of the regime, that created the NPA recruitment.

JPT: Mostly the youth?

KJM: The NPA is strictly implementing among its ranks to accept those who are 18 years old and above, the age that is most vigorous, that is the army that is daring in defending the people in whatever field of battle.

I wish to correct what [PRO6 DRDO SSupt Christopher] Tambungan said about us stepping on the head of a policeman. In truth, the police were neutralized, they were put on hand-cuffs, made to drop to the ground and their rights as captured enemies were respected. What Tambungan did when he choked the chief is worse than what he says as stepping on the head. We prohibit our forces from hurting any of our targets when they have been neutralized.

JPT: How many policemen were really in the station when you overran it?

KJM: Just ask the policemen who were there at the actual incident. They had many lapses. But what the policemen did was correct when they did not fight to prevent the situation from getting any worse. They knew the municipal hall was already under our control. We greatly respect the policemen who did not fight to minimize casualties. We ensure that in all tactical offensives, the security of the civilians and their property are ascertained, that they will not be harmed.

JPT: You took only the firearms?

KJM: We took only firearms, 11 armalites and 4 pistols and other military equipment such as handheld radios.

JPT: How about the tablets, cellphones and bracelet?

KJM: That’s not true. It is possible some things were taken inadvertently and put in the bags. But if we see in the inventory that personal things were taken, we assure the owners not to worry for these will be returned to you.

JPT: You did not hurt anyone? You fired your weapons?

KJM: A successful operation, that’s one without firing a shot. All our operating groups did was to handcuff them and make them lie on the ground to keep them out of harm’s way. Those stories, those were made up by Tambungan.

JPT: What you call the successful raid, how important is it to the NPA?

KJM: The confiscated weapons will go to our new recruits.

JPT: Is there someone supposedly being subjected to extortion by someone identifying himself as Frank Fernandez? *

KJM:* We really have a comrade named Frank Fernandez in the Negros Island Region. But I want to make it clear that the movement exacts revolutionary tax – from those who have businesses, in infrastructure. The taxes we collect from them go to strengthening our army. The sending of taxation letters, that is done formally and not only through cellphone. There are so many pretenders who use our name.

JPT: Is it possible that Frank Fernandez, is in Negros but he sends letters here to Panay for his revolutionary tax collection?

KJM: That does not happen.

JPT: The military has long been saying you are a spent organization. What show of force are you doing for the military?

KJM: It is the military that is saying that the NPA is a spent force but if you look back, the NPA has already carried out many operations against the AFP that has rendered them many casualties. In truth, they conceal their failure against the increasing strength of the revolutionary movement.

JPT: Is the ordinary policeman in danger now from the movement’s renewed offensives?

KJM: The PNP as a state machinery for all-out war against the movement together with the AFP is part of our legitimate targets for making them account for their crimes in their indiscriminate bombings of the poor, their extrajudicial killings.

CPP/NPA-Quezon: Dalawang Matagumpay na Aksyong Pamamarusa ng NPA sa Quezon

NPA-Quezon propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 21): Dalawang Matagumpay na Aksyong Pamamarusa ng NPA sa Quezon

Ka Cleo del Mundo, Spokesperson
NPA-Quezon (Apolonio Mendoza Command)

21 June 2017

Binabati namin ang mga yunit ng Apolonio Mendoza Command ng New People’s Army na nagsagawa ng matatagumpay na aksyong militar noong gabi ng June 18, 2017.

Ang aksyong militar ay bahagi ng pamamarusa sa kapitalistang kumpanya ng Globe Telecom sa patuloy nitong di-pagkilala sa mga patakaran ng demokratikong gubyernong bayan sa lalawigan. Bago mag-alas otso ng gabi, matapos inyutralisa ang security guard, pinasabog ang mga kagamitang nagpapaandar sa communication tower ng Globe na nasa Bgy. Tuhian sa bayan ng Catanauan.

Bandang 10:30 ng gabi, tinambangan naman ng isa pang yunit ng NPA ang 6×6 trak ng 85th IBPA sa Bgy. Pala-Ajos sa bayan din ng Catanauan. Nasapul ng command detonated explosive ang trak na may lulan ng di-bababa sa 24 na sundalo.

Ayon mismo sa Southern Luzon Command ng Armed Forces of the Philippines, nagtamo sila ng kaswalti sa naturang insidente. Dalawang sundalo ang inamin nilang nasugatan, habang pinabulaanan ito ng mga ulat ng residente at kagawad ng barangay na hindi bababa sa 10 ang sugatan at may isang patay na sundalo.

Taliwas rin sa pahayag ni Major Virgilio Perez, tagapagsalita ng Solcom, walang naganap na palitan ng putok sa pagitan ng sundalo nila at ng mga NPA. Ang putukan na tumagal ng 15-minuto ay indiscriminate firing na nagmula lamang sa mga sundalo para pagmukhain na nagkaroon pa ng labanan.

Wala namang kaswalti sa bahagi ng NPA.

Ang mga aksyong militar ay pagtalima rin ng AMC-NPA-Quezon sa pambansang panawagan na biguin ang all out war ng AFP laban sa rebolusyunaryong kilusan sa ilalim ng Oplan Kapayapaan.

CPP/NPA-Camarines Norte: Magkasunnod na Opensiba ng NPA, Paglaban sa maka-US na AFP

NPA-Camarines Norte propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 21): Magkasunnod na Opensiba ng NPA, Paglaban sa maka-US na AFP

Carlito Cada, Spokesperson
NPA-Camarines Norte (Armando Catapia Command)

23 June 2017

Noong Hunyo 21, 1:02 am, inasolt ng mga Pulang Mandirigma mula sa Armando Catapia Command (NPA-Camarines Norte) ang patrol base ng 902nd Infantry Brigade ng 9th Infantry (Spear) Division, PA sa Barangay Dumagmang, Labo, Camarines Norte. Sa labanang tumagal ng 3 oras at 40 minuto, isa ang napatay at apat ang sugatan sa hanay ng AFP, habang walang kaswalti sa panig ng NPA. Isang K3 machine gun din ang nasamsam mula sa AFP.

Kasunod nito, bandang 6:00 ng umaga, pinasabugan ng command-detonated explosive (CDX) ang 2 trak na may lamang di bababa sa 15 sundalo na magre-reinforce sana sa Barangay Dumagmang. Isinagawa ang demolisyon sa distansyang mga 400 metro mula sa detatsment ng 9th IB sa Barangay Mahawan-hawan, Labo. Nagkaroon ng palitan ng putok na umabot ng 10-15 minuto. Sa hanay ng kaaway, isa ang kumpirmadong patay na pinangalanang Corporal Rey Lota, at apat ang sugatan. Walang kaswalti sa panig ng NPA.

Kaugnay ng paggamit ng CDX, iba ito sa ipinagbabawal sa Ottawa Treaty na landmine na sumasabog kapag nasagi, naapakan o nadaanan. Ang CDX na ginagamit ng NPA ay sumasabog lang kapag pinindot ng nakatalagang bomber ang trigger ng blasting machine. Kaya nasusuri muna ng kumand ang sitwasyon bago i-atas ang pagpapasabog ng bomba. Lehitimong sandata ito sa digmaan, di tulad ng airstrikes ng AFP, na walang pinipili.

Ang mga opensibang ito ay bahagi ng paglaban ng Armando Catapia Command sa patuloy na all-out-war na kampanya ng Armed Forces of the Philippines at ang itinutulak nitong Batas Militar, na nagbigay daan sa panghihimasok ng US sa Mindanao. Ang pagtindi ng opensibang operasyon ng maka-US na AFP sa all-out-war ay nagresulta sa kaliwa’t kanang paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Sa pagdeklara ng Batas Militar, binigyan ng higit pang kapangyarihan ang utak-pulburang AFP sa pagpapatuloy ng panunupil at pandarahas nito sa mamamayan.

Upang salagin ang pasismo ng AFP at depensahan ang masa, inatasan ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan na maglunsad ng paparaming taktikal na opensiba. Napatunayang walang ibang masasandigan ang masa kundi ang rebolusyonaryong hukbo nito, lalo pa’t ipinakita ni Duterte na siya’y sunud-sunuran na lamang sa AFP na haligi ng US sa Pilipinas.

Nananawagan ang Armando Catapia Command sa lahat ng yunit nito na ipagpatuloy ang paglunsad ng taktikal na opensiba upang itaguyod ang karapatan at interes ng masa. Sa pamamagitan ng pagpapalakas ng rebolusyonaryong armadong pakikibaka, lumalakas din ang kapangyarihan ng masa upang itaguyod ang kanilang karapatan upang kamtin ang kalayaan at kapayapaang nararapat na sa kanila.

CPP/Sison: JMS on poll survey firms like Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia

Propaganda statement by Jose Maria Sison posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 21): JMS on poll survey firms like Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia

Jose Maria Sison
Founding Chairperson
Communist Party of the Philippines

21 June 2017

The most unfair and stupid thing that opinion poll survey firms like Social Weather Station and Pulse Asia is to ask at random 1000 to 4000 or even less people whether they trust or not the revolutionary forces like the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

In the first place, people who sympathize with the revolutionary forces do not trust SWS and Pulse Asia poll surveyors and distrust them as possibly intelligence and psywar agents of the reactionary state. Subjecting the revolutionary forces to poll surveys premised on how good and just is the rotten ruling system is unfair and stupid and is blatantly cheap propaganda.

Those who own and control the SWS and those who hire them have long poisoned the political environment with the notion that the revolutionary forces are evil and can be trusted only if they are destroyed militarily and surrender in violation of the revolutionary cause of the oppressed and exploited people.

Those spreading distrust for the revolutionary forces are trying to spoil the peace negotiations and inflame the civil war. They harp on the point that the revolutionary cannot be trusted and that the reactionary state must continue to carry out an all-out war policy.

So be it, that is their self-fulfilling prophecy, because they are not interested in social, economic, political and constitutional reforms but merely in a protracted and indefinite ceasefire agreement as a device for cooptation, capitulation and pacification of the revolutionary forces and the people.

CPP/Ang Bayan: Editorial - Heed the cries of Marawi and Mindanao

Propaganda Editorial from the English edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 21): Editorial - Heed the cries of Marawi and Mindanao

Ang Bayan, Editorial
Communist Party of the Philippines

21 June 2017

As the AFP siege and occupation of Marawi and the imposition of martial law in the entire Mindanao drag out, the fog of disinformation and deception grows thicker. Military officials, Duterte and his spokesmen and instigators, daily weave tall tales that seek to bury the truth.

They cook up all sorts of stories about Marawi and control the flow of information. Gun in hand, the AFP issues threats against anyone who will release information, through the media or the internet, that they deem damaging to their image or helping those forces they call enemies or rebels.

It is the task of the revolutionary movement to unearth and reveal the truth about the siege and destruction of Marawi as well as about the imposition of Mindanao martial law which the Duterte regime, the AFP and the US seek to bury.

The war which Duterte and the AFP brought to Marawi City is styled as a war against the so-called Maute Group. Duterte himself claims that the Mautes are involved in drugs, are terrorists or “ISIS.”

In fact, the war was ignited after the AFP soldiers raided the city of Marawi on May 23. They were part of an operation believed to be run by the US military to capture “foreign terrorist” Abu Sayyaf-leader Isnilon Hapilon and pocket the $5 million reward money. Like the 2015 botched Mamasapano operation, the deluge of soldiers in Marawi City was met with resistance by various armed Moro groups, including the Mautes, a prominent family from Butig, Lanao del Sur.

Almost a month has passed since the AFP besieged Marawi, yet it has failed to crush what it calls a “small terrorist group.” In war, a “small” group cannot persist in continuous battle if it has no broad support among other armed groups, leaders and people in the area.

For some time now, armed groups have been coming to Marawi, center of Moro culture and commerce. These are among the emerging Moro groups who wish to pursue the Bangsamoro armed revolution. Some armed groups, like the Mautes, once belonged to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), an organization whose leaders have declared they will no longer wage war.

Some of these groups are furious at the US military and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which they denounce for meddling in local politics. The GRP-AFP-US stoke armed rivalries among clans to divide the Moros and weaken their resistance. US military presence has been building up since 2003 when the US declared the Bangsamoro area as the “second front in the war against terror.”

Arming themselves is the Moro people’s response to their continuing national oppression under the GRP. The Moro people continue to be subjected to the GRP’s duplicity, oppression, violence, rape, punishment and dispossession through its men in the AFP.

Many of these groups are dismayed at the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) being
crafted by the GRP and MILF and some groups in the MNLF. Among the key issues confronting the Moro people is the question of Bangsamoro resources. Hundreds of hectares of land are being coveted by foreign big capitalists and their local partners to turn into plantations.

The Duterte regime is pushing for BBL amendments to attract the Moros to
surrender their arms and subsume themselves to the GRP, AFP and US military. A bloody war, like the destruction of Marawi, is what Duterte promises to those who would not unite with his plan.

The various armed Moro groups emerging are being brought together in various ways by Islam and the Shari’a Law (like the MILF before). Some of their leaders look up to the ISIS (in the Middle East), a group supported and funded by the US to overthrow the elected Assad government in Syria. But for the armed Moro groups, the basic issue behind their taking up of arms is the struggle against oppression and for self-determination.

Like the imperialists, the Duterte regime is fanning “black scare” or Islamophobia (fear of Islam) to justify the oppression of the Moros and obscure their socio-political issues. Duterte labels the present Moro armed resistance as “extremism” even when they have long waged armed struggle for their welfare and rights.

Even without solid basis (except for flying the black flag which is the
universal symbol of Islam), he claims the armed fighters are under the ISIS. Muslims are automatically suspected of “terrorism.” Moro communities in Davao City and in Manila are subjected to surveillance. Muslims in Marawi are subjected to AFP stringent restrictions.

Not even Duterte can deny that the prolonged resistance in Marawi indicates the unity of the Moro people and the armed groups. This is being buried by supposed reports of armed attacks against civilians. Such attacks should be denounced, if true. To gain the people’s support, one must avoid harming civilians and train weapons only against the armed enemies.

Duterte insists that because of “extremism”, a communal war among clans is inevitable. On the contrary, the war ignited by Duterte in Marawi will only bring about greater unity among the Moro people and will push them to open another chapter in the armed struggle for their right to self-determination.

MARTIAL LAW TRAMPLES on the rights of millions of people. Cases of police and military abuses are on the rise. The people are fed up with restrictions against their freedoms and denial of their rights. Under martial law, the AFP’s all-out war against the people has worsened.

The Party strongly denounces the Duterte regime for the US and AFP’s relentless bombing and destruction of Marawi. People’s homes have been plundered and destroyed. The AFP insists only 26 civilians have been killed, while there are reports stating that at least one thousand bodies have been brought to funeral homes.

The Duterte-AFP-US siege of Marawi has resulted in a grave humanitarian crisis. More than three hundred thousand from the city and neighboring towns have been forced to evacuate and currently are without homes or livelihood.

Duterte has virtually unleashed a genocide against the Maranaos and Moros of Marawi. With Mindanao martial law powers, Duterte has fed Marawi to his wild beasts in the AFP hoping to tame the military. The banner of the “war against terror” which Duterte raised is now being used by the US to expand its presence and intervention in the Philippines.

Duterte has declared his plan to impose martial law across the country. The Party and entire revolutionary movement will oppose this rigorously.

The broad masses in Marawi demand justice for all the lives killed by the bombs and cannons and for all their stolen possessions. The Filipino and Moro people must make the Duterte regime account for all the destruction dealt in Marawi.

Everything must be done to help the people of Marawi during their evacuation and in their struggle to return to their city; unite and join their struggle to be justly recompensed for all the damages resulting from the siege of their city.

The Party calls on the entire Filipino and Moro people: Heed the cries of Marawi and Mindanao. End the AFP’s siege and occupation of Marawi! End martial law in Mindanao! Pull out AFP and American troops from Marawi! Make Duterte, the US and AFP pay for all their crimes against the Moro people!