Thursday, August 3, 2017

Police claim 'resurgence' of ex-Alex Boncayao Brigade

From ABS-CBN (Aug 1): Police claim 'resurgence' of ex-Alex Boncayao Brigade

The Philippine National Police is monitoring the movements of some former members of communist hit squad Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade who have allegedly turned to Islamist extremism.

National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief, Director Oscar Albayalde, said police intelligence operatives have monitored some former RPA-ABB members who converted to Islam and are now in Manila.
“We’ve monitored a few of them who converted to Islam. As what we've observed in Mindanao, itong mga extremists, basically most of them are ‘balik Islam’. Although not all balik Islam are extremists,”
Albayalde said in a news conference in Malacañang.

“Matagal na yan. Because ABB has been declining, medyo hindi na rin aktibo yan, probably they are looking for another group that will support them.”

The RPA-ABB, a breakaway faction of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, carried out killings during its heyday. Some of its members had since turned to the folds of the law.

Albayalde said the police continue to monitor the movements of these former RPA-ABB members, but he assured the public that these individuals are not capable of carrying out a massive attack.

Metro Manila’s top cop revealed this as he shared NCRPO's preparations for the upcoming celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is currently being chaired by the Philippines.

Foreign ministers and senior officials from 27 countries will gather in Manila for the 50th SEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings at the Philippine International Convention Center on August 2 to 8.

Some 1,700 delegates are expected to be in the Philippines for the week-long ASEAN activities and meetings.

"We have done our part. Preparations have been made since last year. I think with all our efforts, we are very much ready to secure the leaders," he said.

Armed Forces of the Philippines: Sison a liar, deceiver, criminal

From Update Philippines (Aug 2): Armed Forces of the Philippines: Sison a liar, deceiver, criminal

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has doubted the claim of Communist Party of the Philippines(CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison that he and other ranking leaders of the rebel movement do not benefit from the extortion rackets being enforced by the New People’s Army (NPA).

AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año said Wednesday the CPP chair is expected to deny this vehemently.

“He will definitely disavow that because he is a liar. A master deceiver; a criminal. Only someone with such a vicious mind can hatch and execute a plan like the bombing of Plaza Miranda (which took place in Aug. 21, 1971) that caused the death and wounding of several innocent people,” the AFP chief stressed.

“Mr. Sison and other top leaders of the CPP-NPA will deny taking lion-share of the extortion money they exact from plantation owners, contractors, and business persons,” he added.

He added that the entire military, along with the rest of the nation, will be very surprised if Sison will admit to taking his share in the rebels’ extortion scheme, adding such illegal activities have no paper or money trails which can implicate the CPP founder and his cohorts.

“The local New People’s Army tasked to do the collection of “revolutionary tax” that resents that iniquitous sharing is likely to deny that Mr. Sison and other CPP-NPA honchos derive monetary benefits. They all are guilty of extortion, grave coercion, destructive arsons, and kidnapping,” Año pointed out.

The AFP chief also emphasized that Sison and his group has long since traded their ideology for money; principles for perks; cause for benefits.

“Their group has become a big burden to business and employment opportunities for the people. They should stop their false pretenses of being pro-people and pro-progress. Because they are in fact the anti-thesis to peace and development for the people,” he pointed out.

Earlier, the CPP founder said taxes collected by the NPA were voluntarily given by their supporters and these are used for social and economic programs for the people and maintenance of their fighting force.

Sison also said he gets nothing from this even as he stressed that his living and medical expenses in The Netherlands are provided by Dutch charitable organizations, his friends and relatives.

Marawi evacuees now more open to share experiences

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Aug 1): Marawi evacuees now more open to share experiences

National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission (NIHM) organizers in a press conference in Cagayan de Oro City on Monday, July 31 call on President Rodrigo Duterte to stop ​M​artial ​L​aw and hasten the reconstruction of Marawi City so that displaced residents could go back home. The organizers are fresh from their second wave of conducting distribution of relief assistance in evacuation centers in the Lanao provinces last July 27-29. From left: Arabic teacher Hasannoor Sarip, Aida Ibrahim of Tindeg Ranao, Vennel Chenfoo of Kalinaw Mindanao, and Amirah Lidasan, of Moro Christian People’s Alliance and also of Kalinaw Mindanao. (Jigger J. Jerusalem/
In the second wave of the National Interfaith Humanitarian Mission (NHIM), ​the ​internally displaced persons from Marawi City have opened to facilitators on their experience as the conflict there has stretched for more than two months, said a civil society organizer.

The first round of MHIM was conducted by Kalinaw Mindanao and other concerned nongovernment organizations mostly in evacuation centers in the towns of Pantar, Lanao del Norte and Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur on June 13-16, a few weeks after thousands of residents fled Marawi City following the series of fighting between government forces and armed extremists.

“In the first NHIM, it was very difficult for us to reach out because [their emotions were very raw] and most of them are afraid to speak out during the first few days of the implementation of the martial law,” said Amirah Lidasan of the Moro Christian People’s Alliance, and convener of Kalinaw Mindanao.

Kalinaw Mindanao has been carrying out interfaith responses to crisis-torn areas in Mindanao, including massive displace​ments​ cause​d​ by the all-out war campaign of the then Estrada administration in Central Mindanao in 2000, in Sulu and Basilan by the Arroyo government in 2005, and in Central Mindanao in 2008 following the rejection of the memorandum of agreement on ancestral domain (MOA-AD).

Lidasan ​said the evacuees found it hard to recount their ordeal in the first few days of the Marawi siege.

“For those who wanted to get their (IDPs) stories, it was very difficult. But in the second wave of the NIHM, they already felt comfortable with us. That have felt a sense of solidarity with us,” she added.

In fact, she said, those who had interactions with the NIHM have organized themselves and are acting as leaders in the evacuation site, even helping humanitarian agencies in the distribution of relief goods to their fellow evacuees.

“These organized IDPs are a big help to help to us in facilitating the evacuees’ experience, [especially on] repression and threat” in the hands of state agents while staying in the temporary shelters.

Aida Ibrahim, conven​e​r of the group Tindeg Ranao, one of the NGOs assisting in the NIHM, said their visit to the evacuation sites in Pantar and Saguiaran have proven to be fruitful based on the satisfaction of the IDPs who received the relief goods they handed out.

In Saguiaran, the NIHM gave out 600 relief packs to three sites in the Poblacion covered court, People’s Plaza and the municipality’s central elementary school. At an Islamic school in Pantar, IDPs received cooking pots, pails and bottles of water, she said.

At the evacuation sites in Iligan City, the NIHM distributed fresh vegetables to the IDPs.

“The processed food (canned goods) donated to them has proven to be unhealthy and had made their children sick. That’s why we chose to given them fresh vegetables,” Ibrahim said.

One of the most pressing concerns of the IDPs, she said, is the lack of services and the feeling of insecurity in the evacuation sites, most especially on health and the presence of the military in the areas.

“Evacuation centers are supposed to be zones of peace but the evacuees are afraid because of the presence of uniformed men,” she said.

She said all the evacuees want is to live in peace in their temporary shelter, but most of all, to be able to go back to their homes in Marawi.

In Cagayan de Oro, what the evacuees need aside from food is cash to be used for their children’s schooling, said Arabic teacher Hasannoor Sarip.

Sarip said he was able to talk to many of the evacuees staying in their relatives in the city. He found out that they are finding it hard to send their children to school here because of financial constraints.

The IDPs also want to earn money for their family could not provide for them due lack of employment or business opportunities.

As of August 1, there are about 55,627 families of 226,598 individuals living in Northern Mindanao who are either staying in 35 evacuation centers or with their relatives, said the Department of Social Welfare and Development-10 (DSWD-10).

The agency said the total cost of assistance extended to IDPs has reached P149 million, P138.300 million of which come from DSWD-10.

Of the total amount, P107.922 was allocated for family food packs and P30.477 million for non-food assistance.

Troops advance in Marawi as another Maute stronghold falls

From Rappler (Aug 3): Troops advance in Marawi as another Maute stronghold falls

Troops continue to press forward against local terror groups in Marawi City as they regain control of another enemy stronghold, the Safrullah M. Dipatuan (SMD) General Hospital or Safrullah Hospital, located at the heart of the battle zone.

The buidling previously served as headquarters for the groups that seek to establish a caliphate in the city where the Islamic State (ISIS) will rule. (READ: Terror in Mindanao: The Mautes of Marawi)

A Rappler source on the ground said it took at least a week to flush out the terrorists from the heavily guarded building. Two soldiers were killed in the operations and several were wounded from IED explosions.

The military retook control of the building on Tuesday, August 1. But clearing the different floors of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) took a while and was only completed Wednesday morning, August 2.
In the afternoon, Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año flew to the war zone and and wore his armor vest to visit troop positions that were only 300 meters away from the enemies.
A previous triumph in the battle zone – the recovery of the Mapandi Bridge – was also marked by the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to the headquarters of the 103rd Brigade. (WATCH: The battle for Marawi's bridges)

Used to fighting in the jungles, Filipino soldiers found the urban terrain in Marawi City a difficult challenge. A total of 116 soldiers have died since the clashes erupted on May 23.

As troops get closer to the enemy line, the military braces for desperate attempts from the terrorists, including possible suicide attacks.

The war has entered its 3rd month. The military said clashes are confined to 3 villages although several areas remain cut off.

The war displaced nearly 400,000 people from Marawi City and adjacent towns.

11 militants killed as troops close in on Maute positions

From the Philippine Star (Aug 2): 11 militants killed as troops close in on Maute positions             

Government troops aboard their armored personnel carriers head to front line to continue their offensive against Muslim militants, in Marawi, southern Philippines Monday, May 29, 2017. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, file
At least 11 members of the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group were killed as government forces closed in on a terrorist-controlled area in the commercial district of Marawi City.
The military said the fresh fatalities were a result of the assaults staged Tuesday.
Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, spokesperson of the military's Western Mindanao Command and Joint Task Force Marawi, said those killed were part of the defenses deployed by the Maute Group, which has laid siege to some parts of the capital of Lanao del Sur since May 23.
“The fresh fatalities was a result of the different encounters in the main battle area as our forces were drawing closer to the remaining occupied positions of the terrorists,” Petinglay said.
Security forces have so far killed 502 terrorists since fighting in Marawi began.
Petinglay said no casualties have been reported on the government side in the latest assaults.
The government forces’ casualty count remained at 114 soldiers and police officers killed. At least 45 civilians have also been killed since the fighting erupted in May.
“Our forces have adopted tactics as part of the force protection in the battleground,” Petinglay said.
The military is optimistic ground forces are drawing closer to liberating Marawi from the Maute Group as troops continue to breach positions held by the militants.
Petinglay said ground forces continue to move in cautiously as the area has been heavily rigged with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by the terrorists.
She said many of the IEDs have been detected, disarmed and recovered by advancing forces.

4 terrorists killed in clash with MILF in Maguindanao

From the Philippine Star (Aug 2): 4 terrorists killed in clash with MILF in Maguindanao

The MILF members were checking out reports of militants converging in their community when the clash happened.
Four militants were killed in a gunfight with guerrillas of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in Sharif Saidona town in Maguindanao on Wednesday.
Two MILF guerillas, Kamsa Karinda and Naim Museco, were wounded in the encounter, and are now both confined in a hospital.
Military officials told reporters Karinda and Museco were in a group out to check on the reported convergence in Barangay Pusaw, Sharif Saidona of extremists led by Ismael Abdulmalik and his coddlers, among them a key suspect in the infamous Nov.23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre.
Abdulmalik was a henchman of slain Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir, most known as Marwan, who trained him in the fabrication of improvised explosive devices before he was killed by personnel of the police’s elite Special Action Force in nearby Mamasapano town, also in Maguindanao, on January 25, 2015.
Barangay folk told reporters the hostilities erupted when Abdulmalik and his companions, operating in the fashion of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, attacked the approaching MILF guerrillas, provoking a running firefight.
Four were reportedly killed among the followers of Abdulmalik, whom locals identified only as Guiday, Maing, Gadu and Lucman, all adolescents.
Lt. Col. Gerry Besana of the Army’s 6th Civil-Military Operations (CMO) Battalion on Wednesday said information relayed to them by community elders indicated that the MILF’s move against the radical Abdulmalik and his followers was in keeping with its existing interim security agreements with the government.
The 6th CMO Battalion is a component unit of the Army's 6th Infantry Division.
The government and the MILF are bound to mutually cooperate in neutralizing terrorists and criminals in potential flashpoint areas by the Agreement on General Cessation of Hostilities negotiators from both sides crafted in 1997.
Besana said combined guerillas from the MILF’s 118th Base Command led by Abdulkarim Sinumagad and the 105th Base Command under Hadji Ali Omar were involved in the effort to flush the terrorists out of Barangay Pusaw.

Shots fired at Maguindanao governor's chopper

Sharif Saidona is adjacent Datu Salibo town in Maguindanao, where gunmen attempted last Saturday to shoot down a chartered helicopter carrying Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu.
The third-termer provincial governor, then on his way to the Army’s Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao, was nearly hit in the head by one of the 7.62 millimeter slugs fired at the chopper.
The police initially suspected that BIFF gunmen could be responsible for the attack.
The two factions in the BIFF, one led by Imam Karialan and the other by Imam Bongos, denied any involvement in the incident.
Commanders in both outcast militant blocs told reporters that a third group, led by suspects in the Maguindanao massacre, shot the governor’s rented helicopter using customized rifles fitted with scopes.
Mangudadatu is a party to the prosecution of the perpetrators of the massacre, the country’s worst election-related violence ever that resulted in the death of his wife, Genalyn, and 57 others, among them 32 journalists.
Community sources told reporters the gunmen who shot the governor’s rented helicopter were seen with Abdumalik shortly before the hostilities in Barangay Pusaw erupted on Wednesday.
Abdulmalik started as a commander in the BIFF but bolted last year, along with companions Salahudin Hassan, Bashir Ungab, Nasser Adil and Ansari Yunos, and formed an independent group claiming allegiance to ISIS.
They have even started using the black Islamic State flag when they roam around to collect money from hapless villagers and foment public hatred to government using poverty and underdevelopment in Moro communities as talking points.

ISIS threat looms over Manila meet

From The Standard (Aug 3): ISIS threat looms over Manila meet

THE United States, one of three nations which provided surveillance aircraft for the government in Marawi City, envisions a dangerous level of threats from the Islamic State to the Philippines and other Asian countries, a senior official from Washington has said.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson projected such threats ahead of his four-day Asean tour intended to formulate a mechanism that would address the ISIS threats.

‘‘We see elements of ISIS in the Philippines, as you’re aware, gaining a foothold. Some of these fighters have gone to the Philippines from Syria and Iraq,” Tillerson told a press briefing at the White House Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).

ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and is an extremist militant group that rules by Wahhabi/Salafi law.

In Arabic, the group is also known as Daesh. An example of ISIS is the terrorist group that is known for kidnapping western journalists and aid workers as part of their tactics.

The two other countries which have provided surveillance aircaft are Australia and Japan.

Tillerson, who will have a five-day official travel to Manila, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur starting this weekend, told reporters they were currently in dialogue with officials in the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore to address the threats and how to prevent them.

‘‘I think our next steps on the global war to defeat ISIS are to recognize ISIS is a global issue,” Tillerson said.

In Manila, Tillerson is to participate in the Asean Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit Ministerial, the US-Asean Ministerial, and the Lower Mekong Initiative Ministerial conferences.

During these meetings, Tillerson will meet with his counterparts and discuss several issues including the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maritime security, and counterterrorism.

After his engagement in Manila, Tillerson will then fly to Thailand to visit the tomb of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and engage Thai officials on the enduring US-Thailand partnership and regional issues.

In Kuala Lumpur, he will meet officials to discuss strengthening cooperation on issues regarding the 60th year of US-Malaysia bilateral relations.

Officials said Tillerson’s trip reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to further broaden and enhance U.S. economic and security interests in the Asia-Pacific region.

In related developments:

• President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night briefed the Senate and House leaders during a three-hour meeting about renewed terror threats posed by the ISIS in Mindanao that would require an additional 20,000 soldiers.

Senator Franklin Drilon told reporters: “He [the President] informed us of the renewed threats because the Secretary of National Defense has requested for additional manpower and, therefore, that would require budgetary allocation.”

“And he [President] is looking for a closer regional cooperation in the neighboring countries, particularly Indonesia,” said Drilon.

Asked abouf fhe seriousness of the new threats, Drilon said based on the President’s briefing, “ it appears to be serious..There’s a real threat.”

“From what I understood, around three areas are under threat,” said Senator Vicente Sotto III who refused to identify the areas under new terror threats.

‘‘I’d rather wait for the President to tell you. The issues are very sensitive and I’m not authorized to divulge,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson also said he gave assurances in terms of legislation and were willing to help the President quell the threats.

He said this could be done by increasing the troop ceiling of the AFP and the PNP.

“We’re talking here of something like 20,000 more troops for the AFP and around 10,000 for PNP,” added the former PNP chief.

The President placed Mindanao under martial law last May 23 after clashes erupted between government troops and the Maute terrorist group in Marawi City. It was extended until the end of the year.

The meeting, also attended by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas, was held two weeks after Congress, in joint session, approved the President’s request to extend martial law in Mindanao until December 2017.

• Intelligence reports gathered in Mindanao suggested a concerted effort by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Abu Sayyaf Group and some groups of rogue Moro rebels eyeing “sympathy attacks” in some key cities in Mindanao, similar to what the Maute Group and ASG did in Marawi City the AFP was battling to date.

Military sources, speaking on condition they would not be identified, confirmed the “terror plots” being monitored in Mindanao.

In May 2015, the MILF claimed responsibility in Usman’s death in Guindulungan, Maguindanao, more than three months after Marwan was killed by the Special Action Force in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

The January Mamasapano incident claimed the lives of 44 SAF men after they were ambushed and pinned down “pintakasi style” by MILF rebels and private armed groups.

Meanwhile, the shooting of a helicopter Saturday which carried Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu was a challenge to a growing campaign against terrorism in Central Mindanao.

Mangudadatu said the chopper was on a flight altitude of about 1,000 feet (304.88 meters) when the single-shot attack occurred.

The governor had boarded the chartered flight of the Aerworkz-owned helicopter, hit by a single bullet probably fired from an M-14 rifle, police said.

Ground police investigation blamed the attack on a Bangsamoro Freedom Fighters faction which has reportedly pledged allegiance to the ISIS, along with the Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups.

The pro-ISIS BIFF faction is a breakaway group reportedly under Abu Torrete.

Sr. Supt. Agustin Tello, provincial police director, said initial probe had narrowed down the possible point-of-origin of the trajectory bullet to those from BIFF groups in their areas.

Mangudadatu told police he was to deliver his keynote message at a youth summit against violent religious extremism, held in Camp Brig Gen Gonzalo F Siongco in Awang, Datu Odin, Sinsuat, Maguindanao.

It’s evidently an open challenge to our intensified collective campaign against extremism and the proliferation of illegal drugs trade,” Mangudadatu said.

Earlier, Gen. Eduardo Año, AFP Chief of Staff, told a Joint-Session of Congress that “sniper bullets fell on the landing area” as the Executive Helicopter landed in Camp Ranao when President Duterte visited Marawi City on July 20.

Año said that happened even though the site of armed clashes in Marawi City was some two kilometers away.

Recently, the US donated two Cessna surveillance planes to the Philippines aimed at enhancing the military’s capability to defeat the terrorists who are still in two villages in Marawi City.

‘‘We are in conversations with the Philippine government, with Indonesia, with Malaysia, with Singapore, with Australia, as partners to recognize this threat, try to get ahead of this threat, and help them with training- training their own law enforcement capabilities, sharing of intelligence, and provide them wherewithal to anticipate what may be coming their direction,” Tillerson disclosed.

Duterte bares new IS threat in Mindanao

From the Philippine Star (Aug 3): Duterte bares new IS threat in Mindanao

President Duterte raised the specter of more terror attacks in Mindanao during a hastily called three-hour meeting with leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday night in Malacañang. AP/Bullit Marquez, File

President Duterte warned congressional leaders of a new Islamic State (IS)-inspired terror threat in Mindanao that could be “bigger” than the attack on Marawi City, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said yesterday.

Duterte raised the specter of more terror attacks in Mindanao during a hastily called three-hour meeting with leaders of the Senate and the House of Representatives on Tuesday night in Malacañang.

Aside from Sotto, also present during the meeting were Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas and Senators Francis Escudero, Sonny Angara and Panfilo Lacson.

Sotto said the way he understood it, around three areas in Mindanao are under threat from IS-inspired Maute, which is being supported by other extremist groups like the Abu Sayyaf and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

“The security situation will be very serious if we don’t confront it now, nip it in the bud. I think that is the message of the President, what he wanted to relay to us. He wanted us to support and help him nip it in the bud so that it does not escalate into a larger problem than what we have now in Marawi City,” Sotto told reporters.

Maute militants undertook a massive attack on Marawi City last May 23, prompting Duterte to declare martial law over Mindanao.

Sotto said he sensed a strong urgency in Duterte’s tone when he spoke of new terror plots outside Marawi City.

As of July 29, 45 civilians, 114 government troops and 471 rebels have reportedly been killed in the battle for Marawi City.

The military yesterday said 11 more terrorists were killed as government troops closed in to encircle the commercial district of the city still under control of Maute gunmen.
Remain vigilant

During the meeting with lawmakers, Duterte called for closer regional security cooperation with Indonesia and Malaysia to contain the Islamic militants.

Lacson said Duterte did not provide details but it was enough for those present to support his request for additional soldiers and policemen.

“When it’s the commander-in-chief who says there are new threats we better believe him because he has many sources of intelligence,” Lacson said.

“So we did not question anymore. We did not ask for details anymore. Suffice to hear from him that there are threats,” he said.

He said on hindsight, Duterte did the right thing in declaring martial law in Mindanao.

AFP warns of sympathy attacks by Maute backers

From Malaya Business Insight (Aug 4): AFP warns of sympathy attacks by Maute backers

THE Armed Forces is bracing for sympathy or retaliatory attacks that may be waged by supporters, sympathizers, and relatives of Maute Group members who attacked Marawi City.

The Maute has so far incurred 513 deaths since the armed conflict started on May 23. Latest military estimates show there are just around 50 to 70 Maute men remaining in portions of three barangays in the city. Officials have said the conflict is in its final stage.

“We’re focusing our attention on the concluding phase of the operation in Marawi and as we can see, there are more than 500 already killed from the side of the terrorists, Maute-ISIS group,” said Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP public affairs office.

“So it’s not far-fetched that their relatives, supporters and sympathizers want to retaliate for the operations, which they (Maute members) themselves caused in Marawi. This is what we are looking at as a possible source of threat in other parts of Mindanao,” said Arevalo.

On Wednesday, Sen. Vicente Sotto III said he and other senators were informed by President Duterte during a meeting in Malacañang last Tuesday that there are “new” terrorist plans outside Marawi. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana dismissed the revelation as “nothing new,” saying terror threats in Mindanao, and even in Metro Manila, “have been with us for a long time.”

In a July 18 letter to Congress seeking an extension of martial law in Mindanao up, Duterte said terrorist groups were planning attacks in Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Zamboanga cities and Basilan province.

Arevalo did not specify the areas where the sympathy attacks may be launched but said “there is possibility of this happening in any part of Mindanao, particularly in the area where we know they (Maute) have supporters and sympathizers.”

Arevalo also declined to say what areas host Maute supporters, sympathizers, and relatives “because naming them is like already saying the possible areas (where the attacks may be conducted).”

The Maute Group is known to operate mainly in Lanao del Norte. It has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, along with other terrorist groups like Abu Sayyaf and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Arevalo said the extension of martial law up to December 31 this year in entire Mindanao will be “a big help in preventing the possible occurrence of sympathy attacks that might be launched by relatives, supporters and sympathizers of this group.”

Arevalo stressed the military’s assessment that the conflict is nearing its end “but we just cannot give a specific date because it unduly pressures our soldiers and policemen into pushing to the point that they’re going to be imprudent.”

“But it very clear to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and policemen there that we want to accomplish the mission the soonest time possible, without having to cause undue or unnecessary loss of lives and limbs,” added Arevalo.

The conflict has claimed the lives of 116 soldiers and policemen, and 45 civilians.

Arevalo announced that the military has authorized FA-50 fighter jets to resume air strikes on Maute positions in the city, nearly a month after figuring in a July 12 accident that killed two soldiers and wounded 11 others.

“We’re again using the FA-50s in air strikes because based on the initial investigation, we have not seen any fault on the part of the aircraft and the pilots. Given this, we can again use the FA-50s in the operations we are conducting,” said Arevalo.

The aircraft were grounded on July 12, shortly after a bomb released by an FA-50 fighter plane overshot its Maute target. The bomb landed near a building where soldiers were positioned.

Arevalo could not immediately say the exact cause of the accident but stressed “this is not about the aircraft and this is not about the pilots.”

Nevertheless, he said that the fact-finding panel recommended adjustments in techniques, tactics, and procedures in the conduct of air strikes and in requesting such missions.

“But I’m not a position yet to tell you what those adjustments are. But suffice it to say, it’s safe for us to use (the FA-50s). It’s high time for us to put to use once more these FA-50s after having gone through the initial investigation. As I’ve said, we have not seen any fault on the part of the aircraft and pilots,” he said.

Pressed if the incident was caused by those who directed the strike, Arevalo said “not necessarily.” He said the incident was caused by “factors” or “variables” which he said the Air Force has the competency to explain.

On whether the bomb released by the plane was defective, Arevalo said: “I don’t know exactly the details but I’m sure it will be reported in due time. What is important is yes, they were once again allowed to fly and help by way of air strike.”

The Air Force has 12 FA-50s, all acquired from the Korea Aerospace Industries for P18.9 billion under the AFP modernization program.  The firm completed the delivery of the aircraft last May.

US officials looking to ‘restore’ friendship bonds with PHL gov’t

From the Business World (Aug 4): US officials looking to ‘restore’ friendship bonds with PHL gov’t

UNITED STATES officials are looking to smoothen ties with the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte as they visit Manila this week for a series of meetings during the ASEAN Regional Forum to be attended by other high-level officials within the Asia Pacific region.

US State Secretary Rex W. Tillerson -- IR.USEMBASSY.GOV

Acting Assistant Secretary for the East Asian and Pacific Affairs Bureau Susan A. Thornton -- USEU.USMISSION.GOV
“We’re really looking forward to the trip to Manila, and I think part of the reason why we’re looking forward to it -- not just the multilateral diplomacy, but there will be a chance for -- to have a very good, robust bilateral program with the Philippines while we’re there on the margins of the ministerial meetings,” said Susan A. Thornton, acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, during a press briefing at the White House on Wednesday, Aug. 2.

“We are looking forward to being able to furnish the relationship and restore those bonds of friendship,” said Ms. Thornton.

However, Ms. Thornton could not confirm just yet whether the US delegation, to be led by US State Secretary Rex W. Tillerson, would be meeting with Mr. Duterte.
“We’re still working out the last details of the schedule of that bilateral meeting so I can’t tell you exactly what the meeting schedule is, but we will certainly get those details as soon as we can have them,” she said.

Mr. Duterte, since his assumption into office, has launched a series of tirades against the US, the latest being during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24 where he demanded the US to return the Balangiga bells taken by American soldiers as spoils of war in the early 1900s.

The Philippine President previously made harsh pronouncements against former US President Barack H. Obama II, who expressed disapproval over Mr. Duterte’s controversial drug war. On the other hand, President Donald J. Trump has invited Mr. Duterte to the White House during a phone conversation earlier this year. American senators critical of the drug war have frowned on the invitation.


Ms. Thornton said among the priority issues for discussion is addressing terrorism.
“But I think you can be sure that we will be raising all of the relevant issues that we have in the bilateral alliance relationship with the Philippines. We have a lot of things to talk about, obviously. The Philippines is right now grappling with a very difficult situation down in the southern island of Mindanao with the ISIS takeover of one of the cities down there. And we are working together not just with the Philippines, but other countries in the region to try to address the growing concerns and growing threats, frankly, of international terrorism,” she said.

Other matters that will be brought up, she said, are governance, human rights issues, and how the US can increase “economic and other kinds of people-to-people engagement” with the country.

Moreover, Ms. Thornton assured that the issue on the disputed South China Sea will “be a focus of discussion.”

“The US will continue to press for language that makes it clear that we are dedicated to protecting and defending the freedom of navigation and overflight in South China Sea,” she said.

Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana, for his part, said via text message yesterday that he has no scheduled meeting with the US delegation.

China’s concept of setting aside sovereignty dispute for joint exploration of Spratlys

Posted to the Vera Files (Aug 1): China’s concept of setting aside sovereignty dispute for joint exploration of Spratlys

Asked during his press conference last Wednesday when the talks about the joint exploration in Philippine territory that is also being claimed by China and other countries started, Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano recalled the meeting of the late Deng Xiaoping with then President Corazon Aquino.

China's paramount leader Deng xiaoping and Pres. Cory Aquino in Beijing on April 16, 1988. Photo from People's Daily Online.

In that meeting, Deng suggested to set aside the issue of sovereignty on the Spratlys because that won’t be resolved in their lifetime. He suggested joint development.

Cayetano assured the public that the joint exploration they would be entering with the Chinese will not violate the Constitution and cited the Malampaya oil project in Palawan which is being operated by Shell, a British–Dutch multinational oil and gas company.

Cayetano’s narration of the Deng Xiaoping talk with Cory Aquino on setting aside sovereignty and pursuing development sounds benign but China’s Foreign Ministry’s explanation should banish any delusion that the Chinese will allow any of their state oil company to be just a contractor to a Philippine government just like Shell in Malampaya.

China’s Foreign Ministry said: “The concept of ‘setting aside dispute and pursuing joint development’ advanced by Deng Xiaoping carries a distinct feature of the contemporary time and provides a new approach for peaceful settlement of territorial disputes.”

The article touched on two unsettled territorial issues: Diaoyu Island with Japan and the Nansha Islands (Spratlys) with Southeast Asian countries namely the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei. Taiwan, which China considers still part of their territory, has the same all-encompassing claim and occupies the largest feature in Spratlys – Itu Aba.

The article gave more details about the Deng’s meeting with Cory Aquino. It also mentioned a meeting with then Vice President Salvador Laurel:

“When China entered into diplomatic relations with the Southeast Asian countries in the 1970s and 1980s, during talks with the leaders of these countries, Deng Xiaoping made the following reasonable proposal for resolving disputes over the Nansha Islands: The Nansha Islands have been an integral part of China's territory since the ancient times. But disputes have occurred over the islands since the 1970s.

“Considering the fact that China has good relations with the countries concerned, we would like to set aside this issue now and explore later a solution acceptable to both sides. We should avoid military conflict over this and should pursue an approach of joint development.

“In June, 1986, Deng said to visiting Filipino Vice President Laurel: "We should leave aside the issue of the Nansha Islands for a while. We should not let this issue stand in the way of China's friendship with the Philippines and with other countries." Deng Xiaoping once again brought up this idea when he met visiting Filipino President Aquino in April, 1988. Deng said: "In view of the friendly relations between our two countries, we can set aside this issue for the time being and take the approach of pursuing joint development."

“Both President Aquino and Vice President Laurel responded positively to Deng Xiaoping's initiative.

“In addition to proposing the approach of ‘setting aside difference and pursuing joint development’, Deng Xiaoping also explained China's stand that it has sovereignty over the Nansha Islands. He explicitly pointed out that ‘the Nansha Islands have always been marked as part of China on the maps of the world. The Nansha Islands belong to China. We have many evidences. The maps of the world in many countries also prove this." He also said to President Aquino that China is in a most authoritative position to address the issue of the Nansha Islands since they have always been a part of China's territory.”

The article explained that the concept of "setting aside dispute and pursuing joint development" has the following four elements:

1. The sovereignty of the territories concerned belongs to China.

2. When conditions are not ripe to bring about a thorough solution to territorial dispute, discussion on the issue of sovereignty may be postponed so that the dispute is set aside. To set aside dispute does not mean giving up sovereignty. It is just to leave the dispute aside for the time being.

3. The territories under dispute may be developed in a joint way.

4. The purpose of joint development is to enhance mutual understanding through cooperation and create conditions for the eventual resolution of territorial ownership.

These principles adhered to by China got in the way of the proposal by businessman Manuel V,.Pangilinan, whose company Philex Petroleum Corp owns 64.45 percent of Forum Energy Plc, which was awarded Service Contract 72, the exploration rights within Reed Bank, to the State-owned China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) in May 2012.

Photo from Forum Energy website
Pangilinan offered CNOOC a farm-in agreement into SC 72.

A farm-in agreement is a contract signed between the owner of the “farm” and its exploration partner.Accepting such an arrangement could be interpreted as CNOOC accepting the Philippines as “owner” of Reed Bank.

In a memorandum for President Benigno Aquino III, Pangilinan said CNOOC President Yang Hua told him that CNOOC has been awarded by the Chinese government exploration right over an area which includes SC72.

“A farm-in agreement into SC72 (which Philex previously suggested to them) is not acceptable given the sovereignty issue,” Pangilinan told Aquino.

Senior Associate Justice Antonio T. Carpio, who has done extensive research on the South China Sea and advised the Philippine team in the case against China at the Arbitral Court said, “What is allowed by the Constitution is, we can attract foreign companies like Shell to drill and we will pay them in kind. But it cannot be joint development of state to state because that is our sovereign territory.”

Philippine Constitution mandates the “State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its xxx exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens.”

Tagum: 48 SWAT advance course grads to counter spillover of terrorism in Davao City

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Aug 3): Tagum: 48 SWAT advance course grads to counter spillover of terrorism in Davao City

48 new graduates of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team advance course march in the open grounds of the Davao City Police Office during the Closing Ceremony on Thursday, August 3. (Robby Joy D. Salveron/
The Davao City Police Office (DCPO) assured that with the help of 48 members of the Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) Team, who recently graduated the advance course, a similar attack of extremists in Marawi City will not happen here.
“Davao City will have a very capable tactical response that will be provided by our SWAT. The similar situation in Marawi will not happen in Davao with the presence of the SWAT team,” DCPO Director, Police Senior Superintendent Alexander C. Tagum said during the SWAT Advance Course Closing Ceremony on Thursday, August 3.

Tagum said the SWAT members are divided into five teams and will be deployed to the so-called strategic areas in the city namely Tugbok, Sasa, Sta. Ana and Buhangin.

“Four teams will be deployed in a four sectors situated in strategic areas in Davao because we have sectorized Davao City and one team will be based in headquarters of Davao City Police Office as counter terrorist unit,” Tagum said.

Tagum added that the SWAT team will also provide “tactical response and high level of tactical capability” in cases of high-risk situation during the Kadayawan celebration.

Apart from the 15-day advance course training, Tagum said the SWAT members will undergo continuing training to “further enhance their tactical skill.”

“There will be continuing training for our SWAT to further enhance their tactical skill. The next training will be Urban Sniping force which will be held within this month,” Tagum said.

Tagum said the supposed number of graduates is 49, however one of them is currently in the United States and is representing the country in a women’s volleyball competition.

In his speech, Tagum expressed gratitude to City Mayor Sara Duterte for supporting the security program and other undertakings of the office.

BADGE PINNING. Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte leads the traditional badge pinning for the graduation ceremony of 48 Special Weapons and Tactics personnel held at the Davao City Police Office grounds on Thursday, August 3. (Robby Joy D. Salveron/
The city government of Davao has allotted about P5 million for the reorganization, retraining, and equipage of the SWAT team, including the conduct of the said course, issuance of tactical equipment and uniform and the SWAT tactical assault van.

“Your active support to us further motivates us to strive harder and be the best that we can be in securing the public especially the people of the city. I assure you that we will double our effort and go the extra mile to effect each purposes to ensure the security of this premier city,” Tagum said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Sara Duterte, who was was present during the ceremony, urged the new graduates to “live with honor and do their work with honor” in order to attain a “peaceful, progressive and multi-cultural unity” in the city.

“You are our partners in keeping Davao City peaceful and livable. I hope that the training did you well you learned a lot from it. Give pride to Davao City,” Duterte said.

Army nabs suspected rebels in Bukidnon

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Aug 3): Army nabs suspected rebels in Bukidnon

Quezon town, Bukidnon (
The military on Wednesday arrested two suspected members of the New People’s Army in a village in Bukidnon province ​and linked one of them to a partylist organization when he was found with a card from the organization.
In a statement Wednesday night, the army said ​the suspects were arrested by the combined ​soldiers and police during a​n armed encounter in the outskirts of Purok 8, B​a​r​a​ng​a​y Kiburiao, Quezon, Bukidnon.

Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez of the 4th Infantry Division said government troops responded to a report that a group of the NPA was planning to launch atrocities in the area.

“When they arrived clash ensued and lasted for about five minutes, which prompted the NPAs to scamper out of the said community,” the military official said.

He said they nabbed two suspects, namely Ruel Cololot and Ramil Cololot. The Army did not say if they were related.
Martinez claimed that government troops found various explosives and firearms from the two.

“Troops confiscated from their possession are the following items: one (1) 57 RR, 24 pcs of IEDs, two (2) Cal. 38 revolver, ten (10) meters safety fuse, 200 meters detonating cords, five (5) blasting caps, switch boxes, three (3) Laptops, fifty-one (51) rounds of cal. 30 ammunitions, other IED paraphernalia, and subversive documents,” he said.

Martinez added that Ruel Cololot is a member of Anakpawis Partylist, after an ID was recovered from his possession. The ID was signed by former Anakpawis Partylist representative who is now the Agrarian Reform Secretary, Rafael Mariano.

The arrested suspects are now in the custody of the PNP for proper facilitation of case.

Meanwhile, Anakpawis Partylist lawmaker Ariel Casilao said they are yet to validate whether Cololot is a member of their group.

He said as of June last year they have 200,000 card-bearing members nationwide.

“The burden of proving whether they are card bearing members of Anakpawis Partylist should not be ours to prove, again it is so easy and convenient for the AFP to implicate and accuse persons being arrested as NPA then in order to satisfy their malicious intention in dragging the Partylist to form part of their mind conditioning strategy,” Casilao told Davao Today in a Facebook interview.

He said the military’s counter-insurgency program, Oplan Kapayapaan, is no different from the previous programs which tag progressive organizations as “enemies of the state.”

“Eventually (this) will result to more worsening cases of human rights violations, particularly trumped-up charges, illegal arrests or worst political killings of the peasant, indigenous people activists,” Casilao said.

Meanwhile, an army official told reporters on Thursday that the capture of suspected NPA “bomb maker” will have a significant impact on the military’s campaign against the communists as President Rodrigo Duterte has reiterated his stand to terminate the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front, the political wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

“The arrest of the NPA’s bomb expert will cripple and delay their plans to carry out attacks in our area of responsibility,” said Martinez on Thursday afternoon.

With the arrest of Cololot, Martinez said they are confident they will penetrate the areas the NPA is holding, especially in the province Bukidnon and the Caraga region where the NPAs have been conducting attacks against the police and military following the announced extension of Martial Law in Mindanao.

 After their apprehension, the two alleged NPAs and the recovered items were turned over to the Bukidnon provincial police, said Superintendent Lemuel Gonda, the Philippine National Police-10 (PNP-10) regional spokesperson.

MILF: Pasasambao Health Organization reaches out Marawi siege victims

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 2): Pasasambao Health Organization reaches out Marawi siege victims

Napsa Salah (center) Pasasambao Integrated Health Services, Inc. (PIHSi) Executive Director, delivered medicines and hygiene kits to the IDP's, in Tagoloan, Lanao del Norte on Monday July 31. 2017

In an effort to provide relief to fellow Muslims suffering due to the Marawi crisis, a Sangil/Sangir health organization delivered used clothes, medicines and hygiene kits to the Internally Displaced Persons in Tagoloan, Lanao del Norte on Monday.
Napsa Salah, Executive Director of Pasasambao Integrated Health Services, Inc. (PIHSi), said they were able to serve 500 home-based displaced families staying in Tagoloan.

PIHSi operates in the provinces of Sarangani and Sultan Kudarat, more than 250 kilometers away from Marawi.

Despite the distance, Salah said they feel duty-bound to help fellow brothers and sisters in need. Tagoloan is one of the towns in Lanao del Norte where the Marawi siege victims sought refuge.

The Sangil/Sangirs and Maranaos are two of the 13 Moro tribes in the Philippines. The Maranaos are predominant in Lanao Region while the Sangil/Sangirs are a minority tribe living in the provinces of Sarangani and Davao del Sur.

Salah cited the IDP children suffering from scabies, a kind of skin disease caused by mites, diarrhea and URTI, they encountered in one of the evacuation sites in Baloi, Lanao del Norte where most of the evacuees are sleeping on the ground under a small tent. She observed mites and other insects are scattered in the place. Due to poor sanitary condition, lack of clean water is one of the cause to spread the disease and lack of clean water.

She is hopeful that concerned institutions will be able to respond to the health needs of the displaced people. The executive director said they brought medicines for fever and cough and diarrhea remedies.

Salah thanked the Japanese friends and partners of Pasasambao namely Prof. Masako Ishii Phd, Prof. Akiko Horriba Phd, Prof. Rei Nagase, Prof. Kayoko Teshigawa, Prof. Naonori Kusakabe, Prof. Yasuhito Asami Phd, HANDS Yokohama Japan and other local partners from Davao and Gensan. These people helped this organization to realized the said outreach and regularly sponsor the activities of Pasasambao for humanitarian action.

PISHi at present is campaigning for MNCHN of DOH program in the Rapid Reduction of MMR and IMR particularly in the Moro areas. And targeting reproductive age women of Moro and mothers living in far-flung barangays seeking for facility based health services or birthing homes rather relying on traditional midwives when giving birth.

MILF: CSOs urge Pres. Duterte to implement all Bangsamoro peace agreements with Moro fronts

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 2): CSOs urge Pres. Duterte to implement all Bangsamoro peace agreements with Moro fronts

At the podium, MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal speaking to participants during a gathering of CSO leaders at Pagana Native Restaurant, Cotabato City. Photo by Tu Alfonso

The Federation of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations (FBCSO) and the Women’s Organizations Movement of the Bangsamoro (WOMB) has urged President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to immediately implement all peace agreements the Philippine Government signed with the Bangsamoro people through the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

The call was made during a one-day gathering of 60 CSO leaders in Pagana Kutawato, Cotabato City on July 30, 2017.

The call was made through a resolution to be submitted to the Office of the President, the Senate, Congress, the Supreme Court, Central Committees of the MILF and MNLF, and other stakeholders.

In their resolution, the FBCSO and WOMB expressed their full support to the Duterte’s administration and the Moro revolutionary organizations (MILF and MNLF) for a peaceful, lasting, and final resolution of the Bangsamoro questions in Mindanao.

They strongly urged President Duterte for the immediate submission to Congress of the new draft Bangsamoro basic Law (BBL) and certify it as urgent measure. The CSO leaders also called on the government and MILF to agree for immediate implementation of the signed peace agreements through the passage of Bangsamoro Law thereby establishing the Bangsamoro government ahead of planned Federal government.

The participants coming from all-over Mindanao region believed that immediate implementation of signed agreements will bring peaceful political settlement of the Bangsamoro question, thus it will bring about socio economic-development in war-thorn areas and prevent the spread of violent extremism in the country.

The FBCSO and WOMB also expressed their commitment to uphold the GPH-MILF Peace Implementing Panels formulated joint communication plan, the first in history of the peace process that could help in effective advocacy of BBL, the Plebiscite and the Exit Agreement, the latter to be signed once all-agreements are fully implemented.

They also called on and appealed to all Filipino and Moro political leaders, Church leaders and other sectors to help push for the creation of peaceful and developed Bangsamoro society.

MILF: BDA-CenMin Plans To Conduct Series Of Training On Community-based Development With Local Residents As Main Actors

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 3): BDA-CenMin Plans To Conduct Series Of Training On Community-based Development With Local Residents As Main Actors

The Bangsamoro Development Agency-Central Mindanao (BDA-CenMin) Region plans to conduct series of trainings on community-based development with Local residents as main actors, Shiekh Abdulrasheed Ambil, BDA-CenMin Regional Manager said, during an interview by BDA-CenMin Communication Group (ComGroup) last July 31, 2017

There is a great need to conduct this training in Bangsamoro communities and other areas in the region due to its potential benefits that we see to appropriately improve their living condition, explained Ambil. 

Also, this training is perceived as very useful for the Bangsamoro, amidst their present struggle in very diplomatic and civilized ways. It is also seen as an opportunity for them to determine, lead and manage relief, rehabilitation and development of their own state of affairs, added Ambil.

During an exploratory discussion led by Shiekh Ambil with some members of the Regional Management Support Team (RMST) last July 31, 2017, he directed Engr. Abdulwahid Sendad, BDA-CenMin staff to facilitate series of training on Community-Based Development with Local Residence as Main Actors for the staff and volunteers of BDA but most especially for the Bangsamoro people and as well as other stakeholders in Central Mindanao.

In a separate interview with Engr. Sendad, he expressed his affirmative responses on behalf of BDA and for the welfare of Bangsamoro communities and other stakeholders to facilitate said training not just in Central Mindanao but even outside this region.

Engr. Sendad was sent by BDA to Yokohama International Training Center, Yokohama City, Japan to participate in Community-Based Development with Local Residence as Main Actors conducted last June 25-July 27, 2017.

CPP/NDF-EV: Balangiga’s lasting relevance of people’s uprising will haunt Duterte

NDF-Eastern Visayas propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Aug 1): Balangiga’s lasting relevance of people’s uprising will haunt Duterte

Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas, Spokesperson
NDFP Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)

1 August 2017

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas said today GRP President Rodrigo Duterte may yet eat his own words by urging the return of the church bells of Balangiga, Eastern Samar taken as war trophies by the US Army in 1901. “GRP President Duterte thinks he can appeal to patriotic sentiments by criticizing US imperialism in the past while ignoring its crimes in the present,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas. “Moreover, he is oblivious to the historical continuity of the armed struggle from the ilustrado-led Katipunan to the proletarian-led New People’s Army of today seeking to complete the unfinished revolution.

“Duterte rails against US war crimes in Samar that killed as many as 50,000 people during the Filipino-American War including the targeting of children over ten. But he also cheers on the current crimes of the US-trained, US-equipped AFP and PNP who are indocrinated according to the US Counterinsurgency Guide. As many as 10,000 people have already been killed in Duterte’s “war on drugs,” and hundreds of thousands more are victims of various human rights violations in the “counterinsurgency” Oplan Kapayapaan and the war on the Bangsamoro in Marawi and Mindanao. Duterte’s selective memory glosses over the throwback of the US military who are presently active in directing mercenary troops in the AFP and PNP against the Filipino people in Duterte’s various wars.”

Fr. Salas said the Balangiga bells, whose return the US embassy claims it will look into after Duterte’s tirade, cannot fully satisfy the people who demand national freedom and democracy from the clutches of US imperialism and its succession of puppet regimes. “Unlike the Balangiga bells, US imperialism has never really left the Philippines and continues its economic, political, military and cultural dominance. For all his bluster, Duterte is no different from the puppets who preceded him in hewing to US hegemonic interests in the semifeudal and semicolonial ruling system.”

The NDF-EV spokesperson warned GRP President Duterte that Balangiga will haunt him on his path of martial law and rejection of peace talks with the NDFP. “The historical significance of Balangiga is not over its lost bells but the lasting relevance of people’s uprising within the revolutionary armed struggle for national freedom and democracy. In fact, Balangiga’s bells were looted by US troops out of anger because the parish priest and church faithful actively supported the Katipunan in a general uprising that routed the foreign occupiers from the town.

“Duterte has refused to pursue peace talks with the NDFP and arrive at an agreement for basic socio-economic reforms as part of the process towards addressing the root causes of the civil war. He has instead chosen to extend martial law in Mindanao until December and intensify an all-out war against the revolutionary forces represented by the NDFP. The people must therefore unite, support and strengthen the New People’s Army, and seriously study the lessons of the Balangiga uprising. The AFP, PNP and paramilitary are extremely isolated and widely despised by the people, vulnerable to being wiped out just like the US troops in the Balangiga uprising. In the time to come, as the people’s war intensifies, more and more troops will be annihilated through such means.

Fr. Salas urged Duterte, “The unfinished national democratic revolution has been going on for more than a hundred years and the people will surely fight for as long as it is necessary to attain national democracy and build socialism. But you, Duterte, in your ignorance, think you can intimidate the revolutionary forces with another fifty years of civil war. Beware: if you do recover what the US troops looted from Balangiga, never send to ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for you.”

CPP/NPA-Bicol: Hinggil sa Pagkakapaslang kina Andres ‘Ka Carlo’ Hubilla, Miguel ‘Ka Billy’ Himor at dalawang sibilyan

NPA-Bicol propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Aug 1): Hinggil sa Pagkakapaslang kina Andres ‘Ka Carlo’ Hubilla, Miguel ‘Ka Billy’ Himor at dalawang sibilyan

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

1 August 2017

Nakikiramay ang NDF-Bikol at buong rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa mga pamilya at kaibigan nina Andres ‘Ka Carlo’ Hubilla, Miguel ‘Ka Billy’ Himor, Arnel Borres, Dick Laura na napaslang sa pangungubkob ng magkakumbinang pwersa ng militar at kapulisan sa Sityo Namuro, Brgy. Trese Marteres, Casiguran, Sorsogon nitong Hulyo 28.

Sina Ka Carlo at Ka Billy ay kasapi ng Celso Minguez Command NPA-Sorsogon, samantala, sibilyan at non-combatant sina Arnel Borres at Dick Laura. Ipinagluluksa ng buong Kabikulan ang pagkawala ng apat na buhay sa nagpapatuloy na todo-gera ng rehimeng Duterte laban sa mamamayan. Iniaalay din ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang pinakamataas na pagpupugay at pagdakila sa dalawang martir ng sambayanan na inilaan ang kanilang buong buhay sa paglilingkod sa masang inaapi at pinagsasamantalahan.

Marka ng kaduwagan ang pataksil na kubkob ng humigit-kumulang 30 elemento ng 31st IBPA, 22nd IBPA, 96th Military Intelligence and Combat Operatives (MICO), Casiguran Municipal Police at Sorsogon Provincial Police laban kanila Ka Carlo at Ka Billy na nauwi sa pagkadamay ng dalawa pang sibilyan. Alam ng militar na wala nang ibang pang NPA sa lugar liban sa dalawa. Malinaw na hindi nakadisensyo ang naturang operasyon sa paghahapag ng warrant of arrest at paghuli sa dalawang kasama. Bagkus ito ay isang operasyon para sa isang siguradong pagpaslang sa isang kasamang ilang beses nang nakaalpas sa kanilang pambibitag. Niratrat ng kaaway ang bahay na tinutuluyan nina Ka Carlo. Sa katunayan, kahit walang putok mula sa panig ng mga pulang mandirigma, nagpatuloy pa rin sa pagpapaputok ang kaaway nang walang pagsasaalang-alang sa kaligtasan ng mga sibilyan sa lugar.

Sa ilalim ng International Humanitarian Law at Protocol II ng Geneva Conventions, ang sinumang wala nang kapasidad lumaban ay dapat ituring na hors de combat o bihag ng digma at hindi na kailangang paslangin. Gayundin, kahit na sa panahon ng labanan malinaw na nakasaad sa internasyunal na batas ng digma na dapat isaalang-alang ang buhay at kaligtasan ng mga sibilyan at non-combatant. Sa sitwasyong may mga sibilyang nasa lugar at hindi na nakapagpaputok sina Ka Carlo at napapaligiran na ng mga elemento ng kasundaluhan, dapat ay malapitang pagsukol at hindi walang lubay na pagpapaputok ang ginawa ng militar.

Ngunit nakangangalit man ang ginawa ng kasundaluhan, hindi na ito nakapagtataka. Matagal nang marumi at marahas ang gawi ng kaaway pagdating sa mga labanan. Sa paghahabol ng gantimpala, promosyon at mga medalya, hindi kailanman kinilala ng AFP ang mga batas ng digma. Wala silang pagpapahalaga sa karapatang tao at buhay kapwa ng mga combatant at ng mga sibilyan. Noon pa man, gawain na ng kasundaluhang patayin ang mga nahuhuling kasapi ng NPA sa halip na ituring ang mga itong bihag ng digma. Tortyur at desekrasyon ang ginagawa nila sa mga labi ng kanilang mga pinaslang. Habang simpleng collateral damage ang turing nila sa mga sibilyang nadadamay sa kanilang mga atake.

Sa ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte, lalo pang nabigyang laya ang pang-aatake at pagiging hayok sa karahasan ng kasundaluhan. Sa baluktot niyang pananaw, walang halaga kung ilanmang pagpatay ang gawin ng kanyang mersenaryong hukbo dahil ipagtatanggol niya ang mga ito. Araw-araw na reyalidad ng sambayanang Pilipino ang walang sagka at walang pananagutang pagpaslang ng pwersa ng estado. Walang pagkakaiba kung ang mapaslang ng kasundaluhan at kapulisan ay sibilyan o hindi. Napakadaling bansagang NPA, durugista o ‘di kaya ay terorista ang mga biktima.

Sa mundo ng isang pangulong nag-uulol sa kapangyarihan, walang bisa ang mga batas at walang halaga ang mga karapatan. Palakpak at pagkilala ang pasalubong sa mga sundalo’t pulis na naglustay sa ilang libong buhay at nangwasak sa ilang daang komunidad. Kagitingan ang tawag sa pagsalaula sa karapatang tao at panggegera sa mamamayan. Hindi importante kung dumanak ang dugo, ang mahalaga lamang ay makapatay. Ang bawat bangkay ay isang puntos palapit sa mga gantimpala at tropeyo.

Kasalukuyang nararanasan ng sambayanang Pilipino ang isa sa mga pinakamabalasik na pag-atake sa karapatan at buhay ng mamamayan. Nananawagan ang NDF-Bikol sa lahat ng masang inaapi’t pinagsasamantalahan na manindigan laban sa kontra-mamamayang gera ng estado. Walang aasahan ang masang Bikolnon at ang buong sambayanan sa isang pamahalaang bala ang tugon sa lahat ng karaingan ng mamamayan.

Ang pagkamatay nina Ka Carlo at Ka Billy ay hamon na magbalikwas mula sa isang lipunang walang ni kapiranggot na pagpapahalaga sa buhay ng tao. Habang nagpapakalango ang 9th IDPA sa kanilang hungkag na tagumpay, rumaragasa sa kanayunan at mga kabundukan ang naglalagablab na apoy ng armadong pakikibaka. Sa huli, hindi mapipigilan ng nag-uulol na gera ng estado ang pagsiklab ng apoy ng rebolusyon. Bulkang sasabog ang nag-uumapaw na lakas ng sambayanan na siyang tatapos sa pagsasamantala.

Pagpupugay kina Ka Carlo, Ka Billy at lahat ng martir ng sambayanan!
Wakasan ang Pagsasamantala, Isulong ang Demokratikong Rebolusyong Bayan hanggang tagumpay!
Ipaglaban ang Karapatan, Katarungan at Tunay na Kapayapaan, Sumapi sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan!

CPP/NPA-Sorsogan: Panagutin ang pasistang AFP-PNP sa pagmasaker kay Andres “Ka Magno” Hubilla at tatlong iba pa

NPA-Sorsogan propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Aug 1): Panagutin ang pasistang AFP-PNP sa pagmasaker kay Andres “Ka Magno” Hubilla at tatlong iba pa

Ka Samuel Guerrero, Spokesperson
NPA-Sorsogon (Celso Minguez Command)

1 August 2017

Mariing kinokondena ng Celso Minguez Command ang pagmasaker kina Andres “ Ka Magno” Hubilla, pulang kadre ng CMC-BHB at Miguel “Ka Billy” Himor, pulang mandirigma at dalawa pang sibilyan.

Sina Ka Magno at Ka Billy ay pansamantalang nakahimpil sa Sityo Namoro, Brgy. Trece Martirez, Casiguran, Sorsogon, nang kubkubin ng mga elemento ng SPPSC (Sorsogon Police Public Safety Coy), MICO-PA, 31st IBPA at 22nd IBPA noong alas 5 ng umaga, Hulyo 28, 2017. Bago pa man niratrat ng putok ng kaaway ang kubong hinihimpilan nila, nakamaniobra palayo nang halos 200 metros si Ka Magno ngunit naiwan niya ang kanyang maiksing baril. Nasukol siya at nahuli nang walang tama ng bala. Nang makilala ng mga elemento ng Military Intellegence Company (MICO) ng Phil. Army si Ka Magno, siya ay sinalbeyds. Si Ka Billy, kasabay sina Arnel Borres at Dick Laura na mga mangingisda at residente ng Trece Martirez ay nahuling buhay sa kubo. Ayon sa mga residente na malapit sa lugar ng pinangyarihan, narinig pa nila ang sigaw ni Laura na humihingi ng saklolo. Sila ay sinalbeyds din upang wala nang maging saksi sa krimen ng pasistang kaaway.

Para pagtakpan ang kanilang krimen at masaker, pinalabas ng AFP-PNP na nagkaroon ng lehitimong engkwentro. Sinungaling pa ni Brig. Gen Trinidad, commanding officer ng 903rd Bde-PA, aabot diumano sa 30 kasapi ng BHB ang nakalaban nila. Pinag-interesan pa at itinago ng mga opisyal sa operasyon ang 2 maiksing baril ng mga kasama at pinalitan ng kalawanging kalibre .45 at revolver.

Malinaw na dapat panagutin ang mga elemento ng AFP at PNP na magkakumbinang nagmasaker kina Ka Magno. Nilabag nila ang internasyunal na makataong batas (IHL) at Comprehensive Agreement on the respect for human rights and international humanitarian law (CARHRIHL). Sina Ka Magno at Ka Billy ay dapat na itinuring na hors de kombat nang mahuling buhay ngunit wala nang kakayahang lumaban at sa ilalim ng IHL ay may karapatang mabuhay. Samantalang ang dalawang sibilyan naman na sa halip na iligtas at iiwas sa mga labanan sa pagitan ng AFP at BHB ay sadyang idinamay ng mga berdugong kaaway at walang-awang pinaslang.

Ipinapakita ng AFP-PNP sa pagmasaker nila kina Ka Magno na wala silang kaseryosohan sa pagpasok sa usapang kapayapaan at pagkakamit ng kapayapaang nakabatay sa katarungan. Ang patuloy na paglabag sa CARHRIHL ng reaksyunaryong gobyernong US-Duterte at kanyang armadong pwersa ay patunay din na hindi nito nirerespeto ang kasunduang ito na pinirmahan ng GRP at NDFP noong 1998 at isa sa batayan ng pagpapatuloy pa sana ng kasalukuyang usapang pangkapayapaan.

Sa pagbaling ng rehimeng US-Duterte sa lantarang paggamit ng pasismo at pandarahas laban sa mamamayan, lalo pang titindi ang kanilang mga paglabag sa karapatang-pantao at internasyunal na makataong batas. Kung gayon, lalong kailangang labanan ng mamamayang Sorsoganon ang ganitong hakbangin at ang papatinding pang-aabuso ng reaksyunaryong AFP at PNP.

CPP/NPA-Abra: SONA 2017 ni Duterte

NPA-Abra anti-Duterte propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Aug 2): SONA 2017 ni Duterte

Ka Diego Wadagan, Spokesperson
NPA-Abra (Agustin Begnalen Command)

3 August 2017

Tulad ng inaasahan, inilantad ni Duterte ang kanyang sarili bilang numero unong sunud-sunuran sa imperyalistang US. Sa nakaraang SONA 2017, iwinawasiwas ng kanyang talumpati ang otokratikong pagmamando ng pasismo ng estado at maka-dayuhang patakaran alinsunod sa dikta ng amo nitong imperyalistang US. Tuluyan niyang binigo ang mga pangako niya sa mamamayan mula nang pag-upo niya sa pwesto bilang presidente.
Sa loob ng isang taon niyang panunungkulan, hindi nagbago ang hikahos na kalagayan ng mamamayang Pilipino: binigo niya ang pangakong tanggalin ang batas ng ENDO o kontraktwalisasyon na kontra-manggagawa, maging ang pagbibigay ng libreng edukasyon sa lahat ng antas para sa mga kabataan; at hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa rin naipapamahagi ang ekta-ektaryang lupain para sa mga magsasaka. Bagkus ay ipinagpapatuloy lang nito ang paglilimos sa mahihirap sa pamamagitan ng maanomalyang 4P’s at ang mapang-aping K-12.

Ang hindi pagtalakay o pagbanggit man lang sa mga batayang problema ng mamamayan ay pagpapakita mismo ng pagbabalewala sa kapakanan ng masang Pilipino. Mas naging prayoridad niya ang paglilikha at pagtutulak ng mga kontra-mamamayan at maka-imperyalistang batas. Taliwas sa animo’y bakal na proklamasyon niya ng “Independent Foreign Policy”, ang ipinagmamalaki niyang “Dutertenomics” na mahigpit na nakaasa sa dayuhang utang at ayuda. Nagmimistula lamang “makabayan” ang kanyang mga salita dahil sa balat-kayo niyang pag-atake sa relasyon ng US at Pilipinas pero sa katunayan ay lalong nagkakanulo sa suberenya ng ating bansa pangunahin sa imperyalismong US at binubukas sa iba pang halimaw na imperyalista tulad ng China at Russia.
Kaya pabor pa rin sa mga dayuhang negosyante ang kanyang mga ipinapatupad, tulad na lamang ng inaapura niyang ‘tax reform bill’ na sa esensya ay pagpapapasan ng mataas na presyo ng mga pangunahing bilihin sa mahihirap na Pilipino habang nananatiling mababa ang sahod at mas dumarami ang mga walang trabaho.

Ineengganyo pa niya ang mga malalaking negosyante sa iba’t ibang mga bansa na malayang mamuhunan sa bansa.

 Hindi maitatanggi ni Duterte ang kanyang pagtalikod sa mahihirap. Ang nangyaring pagokupa ng mga maralitang lungsod na walang bahay ay nagpapatunay na lumalala lalo ang krisis pang-ekonomya sa ilalim ng kanyang panunungkulan. Binantaan pa ang mga ito na gagamitan niya ng dahas kapag ulitin pa ang pag-ookupa. Nasaan na ang ipinagmamayabang niyang islogan na “mula sa masa, para sa masa?”

Alinsunod sa sulsol ng mga militaristang ahente ng US na tagapagtaguyod ng doktrinang US Counter Insurgency (US-COIN), tuluyan ng nailantad ang pagiging tuta ni Duterte at ito ang nasa likod kung bakit hindi seryoso ang rehimeng Duterte sa Peace Talk at arbitraryo nitong pagkakansela sa 5th round ng peace talk. Iniiwasan niyang pag-usapan ang nakahaing agenda sa 5th round ng peace talks – ang Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-economic Reform (CASER) kung saan nilalaman nito ang libreng pamamahagi ng lupa para sa magsasaka at pambansang industriyalisasyon na siyang puputol sa pagiging pala-asa o ‘dependent’ ng bansa natin sa iba at siya ring lilikha ng maraming disenteng trabaho para sa lahat. Hindi katanggap-tanggap ang rason ni Duterte na ang mga taktikal na opensiba ng New People’s Army ang dahilan para ihinto ang usapang pangkapayapaan sapagkat ang mismong all-out war – ang mga militar at pulisya ay nagpapatuloy sa panghahasik ng karahasan sa loob at maging sa labas ng mga sonang gerilya. Hindi nga niya talaga interes ang pag-ugat at pagresolba sa armadong tunggalian sa bansa.

Ang pagdeklara mismo ng martial law sa Mindanao ay pagpapakita ng kanyang layunin na para mawakasan ang kahirapan ay digmain ang mga mahihirap. Dagdag pa ang kanyang pinagmamalaking ‘war on drugs’ na pawang simpleng mamamayan ang nagiging biktima ng pamamaslang. Ayon na rin mismo sa rekord ng Commission on Human Rights ay nalampasan ni Duterte sa loob lamang ng isang buwan ang bilang ng extra-judicial killings ng pinagsamang nagdaang mga rehimen. Madadagdaan pa ito lalo pa’t inaprubahan ng mga kaalyadong senador at congressman ang pagpapalawig sa Batas Militar hanggang sa katapusan ng Disyembre 2017 kasabay ng pagbabanta na isusunod niyang pulbusin ang NPA pagkatapos ng anti-morong gera niya sa Mindanao. Ganundin ang hibang na pagpapatuloy ng EJK sa “gera kontra-droga”.

Kalunos-lunos rin ang kalagayan pambansang minorya dahil sa pagtampok ng pambansang pang-aapi sa ilalim ng rehimeng Duterte. Ang ipinagmamalaki niyang National Land Use Act sa esensya ay pagwasak at pag-agaw lamang sa mga lupaing ninuno. Alinsunod sa dikta ng imperyalismo, napipinto ang muling pagtatayo ng Chico Dam sa Kordilyera na sa kasaysayan ay matagumpay na nilabanan ng mga mamamayan ng Kordilyera. Nagpapatuloy pa rin ang operasyon ng malalaking kumpanya ng minas tulad ng Philex Mines at Lepanto Mining Co. at iba’t ibang dambuhalang power-generating projects sa mga kabundukan na protektado ng 5th at 7th Infantry Division ng AFP at PNP PRO-Cordillera. Maging ang operasyon ng AFP sa mga kanayunan ay pinapalawak – tumitindi ang pandadahas sa mga katutubo tulad ng serye ng aerial bombings, pagkakampo sa komunidad, surveillance, pagdukot, sapilitang ebakwasyon at pagpaslang. “Bobombahin ko ang mga komunidad ng Lumad,” matapang niya pang sinabi ito.

Marami ang umasa sa pagbabago na ihahatid ni Duterte pero sa totoo, ang presidente ay representante lamang ng mga malalaking kapitalista at panginoong maylupa at wala siyang ibang tungkulin kung hindi ang protektahan ang interes ng mga amo niya, lalo na ang imperyalista; kaya’t sapat na ang isang taon para mapatunayang taliwas sa ipinangakong pagbabago.

Ang mga proklamasyon niyang siya ay “makakaliwa” at “sosyalista” ay pawang propaganda lamang sa layuning malinlang ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan at ang sambayanang nagnanais ng tunay na pagbabago; dahil ang totoong makakaliwa ay mga tapat maglingkod sa bayan at ang tunay na sosyalista ay nakikibaka laban sa imperyalistang dominasyon at pananakop. Ang tunay na pagbabago ay nasa kamay ng mga mamamayang patuloy na tumatahak sa maaliwalas na landas ng demokratikong rebolusyon na siyang wawasak sa imperyalismo, pyudalismo at burukratiko kapitalismo.

Siguradong mabibigo ang tumitinding pasismo at pro-imperyalistang patakaran ng Rehimeng US-Duterte dahil hiwalay ito sa masa ng sambayanan. Walang ibang sasandigan ang mamamayan kundi ang kanilang mahigpit na pagkakaisa para sa tunay na pagbabago sa pamamagitan ng Digmang Bayan upang wakasan ang mapang-api at mapagsamantalang sistemang malakolonyal at malapyudal. Ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan ay tiyak na mas lalawak at higit pang lalakas dahil ito ang tunay na nagtataguyod sa kapakanan ng mahihirap at inaaping Pilipino.




CPP: On Duterte’s anti-Joma tirades

Anti-Duterte propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 31): On Duterte’s anti-Joma tirades

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

31 July 2017

Duterte’s tirades against Prof. Jose Ma. Sison are a vain attempt to derogate a giant of a revolutionary intellectual and leader. In relentlessly attacking Ka Joma, Duterte is overcompensating for his drug-shrivelled and power-intoxicated brain. He has completely embraced the counterrevolutionary anti-communist US line and abandoned all pretensions for being a Leftist.

The revolutionary movement in the Philippines is fortunate that, at 78 years old, Ka Joma remains physically sound and intellectually potent. He continues to give invaluable service to the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces. As Chief Political Consultant of the NDFP, Ka Joma has helped the NDFP Negotiating Panel indefatigably advance the Filipino people’s national democratic aspirations and uphold the integrity of the NDFP.

His political acumen remains sharp and continues to make timely analysis of current developments in the country. The Party and revolutionary forces continue to value his masterful ideological guidance and practical advise.

The young Red fighters of the NPA as well as young activists of the national democratic movement continue to be inspired by Ka Joma’s sterling record as a revolutionary fighter and leader, his experience as a field general of the NPA and his impecable record as a Party leader. His volumes of theoretical writings are a treasure trove of Marxist-Leninist-Maoist gems.

CPP: On the cold-blooded murder of Ka Magno etal in Sorsogon

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Aug 2): On the cold-blooded murder of Ka Magno etal in Sorsogon

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

2 August 2017

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns in the strongest terms the massacre of CPP cadre Ka Magno (Andres Hubilla), NPA Red fighter Ka Billy (Miguel Himor) and local residents Arnel Borres and Dick Laura by police and military elements last July 28 in Barangay Trece Martirez, Casiguran, Sorsogon.

The CPP holds GRP President Duterte himself criminally responsible for the Casiguran massacre. A few days ago, it was Duterte himself who ordered his men to kill NPA fighters instead of arresting them in total disregard of the international laws on the conduct of war. The revolutionary forces indict as well AFP Chief Gen. Eduardo Año and PNP Dir. Gen. Renato dela Rosa and other key officials of the AFP and PNP as accessories to the crime.

Ka Magno and Ka Billy were unarmed when the military and police raided their temporary resting place. They had Ka Magno and others under their overwhelming power. Ka Magno’s hands were raised. There was no exchange of gunfire. However, the military and police opened fire and executed them in cold-blood, in violation even of the PNP and AFP’s own rules of engagement.

Under the laws of war of modern civilization, they should have been accorded the status of hors de combat (combatants who are not in a position to fight), have their rights respected and treated with humanity. The Casiguran massacre is an act of barbarism.

The killing of civilians Borres and Laura, a local tiller and fisherman, are outright violations of international humanitarian law. Under international norms, the rights and lives of civilians in time of war should be protected and upheld. Instead of doing so, the military and police killed Borres and Laura in an apparent effort to eliminate witnesses to their crime.

The Casiguran massacre highlights the rapid deterioration of the military and police under the murderous US-supported Duterte strongman regime. On Duterte’s command, military and police units, together with state-supported vigilante groups, have gone on a rampage of killing against anyone Duterte considers as his enemy.

The Party pays tribute to Ka Magno, tireless Party cadre, who headed the Party committee in Sorsogon and guided the Celso Minguez Command (NPA-Sorsogon). A former history schoolteacher and torture victim of Marcos’ martial law, he was a stalwart of the revolutionary movement in Bicol. Ka Magno (also known as Ka Carlo) was a beloved son of the masses. He always came across as a simple and humble man, wearing a simple shirt and shorts and an impish smile.

He is known by practically every poor peasant in Sorsogon among whom he ate, laughed and lived with. With his reliable hammock, he slept at any available corner after a nightlong discussion with his hosts. Ka Magno tirelessly served and inspired the poor peasants and people to organize and fight for their rights, advance their cause for land reform, take up arms and wage revolutionary struggle.

The Party extends its deepest sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of Ka Magno, Ka Billy and civilians Arnel Borres and Dick Laura. The Party and the entire revolutionary movement vow to exact justice for their cold-blooded murder by Duterte’s military and police forces.