Friday, August 4, 2017

CPP/NPA-Camarines Norte: The PNP-AFP will Pay for the Cowardly and Brutal Massacre of the Casiguran 4

NPA-Camarines Norte propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 4): The PNP-AFP will Pay for the Cowardly and Brutal Massacre of the Casiguran 4

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

4 August 2017

The Armando Catapia Command (ACC)-NPA Camarines Norte extends its condolences to the family and friends of the two NPA comrades Andres “Ka Magno/Ka Carlo” Hubilla and Miguel “Ka Billy” Himor from the Celso Minguez Command (NPA-Sorsogon), and the two civilians Arnel Borres and Dick Laura. The ACC is one with the Communist Party of the Phlippines’s vow of exacting justice for the cowardly and brutal massacre.

Last July 28, combined forces of the Sorsogon Police Public Safety Coy (SPPSC), 96th Military Intelligence and Combat Operatives (MICO)-PA, 31st IBPA and 22nd IBPA raided the temporary resting place of the two NPA members in Sitio Namoro, Brgy. Trece Martirez, Casiguran, Sorsogon. Ka Carlo was able to maneouver but left his short firearm. He was caught and murdered. Ka Billy and the two civilian witnesses were also caught and murdered. Acoording to the residents and the fact-finding missions launched, there were no other NPA units in the area, and no encounter took place, disproving the PNP-AFP’s claim that they fought with 30 NPA elements.

This is a clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). The two NPA members were already caught, unarmed and thus, in no capacity to fight back, and should have been treated as hors de combat or outside the fight, with the basic right to life. Their murder, along with the murders of the 2 civilian witnesses, is a violation and evidence of the cowardice and brutality of the AFP and PNP. Nothing good can be expected from those who fight without principle, more so when they are egged on by their rabid President to kill, instead of arresting, the NPA.

Ka Carlo is known by the masses and comrades as a humble revolutionary cadre. A former teacher by profession, he loved discussions, even with other prisoners when he was incarcerated. Often called “’Pay Carlo” (Father Carlo) by the masses and comrades whom he lived with and guided, his small frame hid the fact that he was one of the pillars of the movement in Sorsogon.

The rabid dogs of the AFP and PNP are mistaken in thinking that this will weaken the revolutionary movement. If they know their enemy, then they should know that each death and murder of a revolutionary, especially one as cowardly and brutal as the Casiguran 4 massacre, recruits more fighters for the NPA, and adds fervor and fire to the struggle of the revolutionary forces.

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 4): 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.

MILF: Two MILF members wounded in three-hour encounter with militants being assisted by 6th ID

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 4): Two MILF members wounded in three-hour encounter with militants being assisted by 6th ID

Kamsa Karinda of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, one of two injured in a gunfight with terrorists in Maguindanao Wednesday, is now confined in a hospital. Unson

Two MILF guerrillas wounded in a three-hour clashes with ISIS-inspired militant in Datu Saidona town in Maguindanao on August 2 are now in a hospital being assisted by the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, Camp Siongo, Datu Odin Sinsuat, maguindanao.
The wounded MILF guerillas were identified as Kamsa Karinda and Naeem Musico.

According to a report by veteran Central Mindanao-based Philstar correspondent John Unson on Thursday, ARMM Police Officials are certain the effort of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front to control the spread of terrorists in Maguindanao will boost the Mindanao peace process.

Four militants in a group claiming allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria were killed while three others were wounded in the said encounter.

Karinda and Musico were among dozens dispatched by senior MILF commanders to hunt down an ISIS-inspired group led by Esmael Abdulmalik, said the report by Unson of Philstar.

The said operation was well-coordinated with the AFP in Maguindanao.

Abdulmalik is a leader of one of three factions of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters.

Major Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, commander of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said on Thursday that they will help in the medication of wounded MILF guerrillas.

Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac, police director for the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, told The STAR via mobile phone Thursday that he is optimistic the MILF will sustain its support to Malacañang’s effort to prevent the spread of violent religious extremists (VREs) in the south.

“The gesture of the MILF is well appreciated,” Sindac said.

The hostilities on Wednesday in Barangay Pusaw erupted when gunmen led by Abdulmalik attacked MILF guerrillas out to check on the reported convergence there of VREs displaying the black ISIS flag.

Misuari renews resolve to participate in Bangsamoro peace process

From GMA News (Aug 4): Misuari renews resolve to participate in Bangsamoro peace process

President Rodrigo Duterte has warmly received Moro National Liberation Front founding chairman Nur Misuari for the fourth time since he became the Chief Executive.

Duterte and Misuari met in Malacañang on Thursday with the MNLF leader's wife Tarhata, their son Abdulkarim, Yahodza Simpal, Utadz Abdul Asiz Amenudddi, and Yaser Lumbos, according to the caption of the photos released.



  Trisha Macas @trishamacas Aug 3
Pres. Duterte welcomed MNLF founding chair Nur Misuari in Malacañang earlier today too. : Palace

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters after the Mindanao Hour in Malacañang that Misuari repeated his willingness to cooperate with the government for the future of the Bangsamoro.

"Reiteration lang ni Misuari na he will participate, his group, peacefully in the Bangsamoro self-determination," he said on Friday.

Meanwhile, the RTVM video caption said that Duterte entertained Misuari because of the MNLF's "willingness to cooperate with the administration’s campaign against illegal drugs, criminality and terrorism in Mindanao."

The footage showed that the two leaders immediately embraced each other when they met, like they always do.

Misuari last set foot in Malacañang on July 19 with the government and MNLF peace implementing panels.

Duterte and the MNLF leader also met in Davao City on March 28.

But Misuari first resurfaced in public when Duterte invited him to Malacañang on Nov. 3, 2016 after the Pasig Regional Trial Court Branch 158 decided to suspend the MNLF leader's trial and arrest warrant for the 20-day siege on Zamboanga City in 2013.

Duterte, Nur Misuari agree to fight terrorism, drugs

From the Manila Times (Aug 4): Duterte, Nur Misuari agree to fight terrorism, drugs

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari have agreed to pursue the fight against illegal drugs, criminality and terrorism in Mindanao.

The commitment was made during Duterte’s meeting with Misuari in Malacañang on Thursday, according to the video released by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).

“The latest in a series of meetings with the MNLF leader, the President continues to forge a strong alliance with Chairman Misuari for their cooperation in the administration’s war against illegal drugs, criminality and terrorism in Mindanao,” the PCOO said.

Misuari was accompanied by his wife Tarhata, their son Abdulkarim, Yahodza Simpal, Utadz Abdul Asiz Amenudddi, and Yaser Lumbos.

Duterte and Misuari met as government forces have been battling the Islamic State-linked Maute terrorists in Marawi City since May 23. The terrorists had launched attacks in the city, prompting Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao.

Duterte said he has accepted the offer of Misuari for 2,000 of his men to join the fight against the Maute terrorists but reconsidered after because it was not good to pit Moros against fellow Moros.

“Nur and I talked once… He offered to send 2,000 of his men. I said ‘Wait, not now. Not now Nur,'” Duterte has said. “It’s not good to be fighting if they do not realize what it’s all about. A Moro against the Moro. Let us make them understand first what this is all about.”

Army battalion in thick of fight in Marawi has new commander

From the Manila Bulletin (Aug 2): Army battalion in thick of fight in Marawi has new commander

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Wednesday said that the Army’s 82nd Infantry Battalion (82nd IB), which is tasked with liberating Marawi City of ISIS-inspired Maute Group terrorists, has a new commander.

The AFP announced the appointment of Lt. Col. Jason V. Jumawan as commander of the 500-strong 82nd IB, replacing Lt. Col. Vener Y. Morga.
As the new commander of the 82nd IB, Jumawan will the lead in joining the larger force of the AFP which is currently fighting against the Maute-ISIS terrorists in Marawi City.

Maj. Gen. Jon N. Aying, commander of the Third Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, personally presided over the change of command ceremony of the 82nd IB at the Capitol Compound, Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur late last week.

He was joined by Lanao del Sur Governor Soraya Alonto Adiong, Sultan Macmod Dilidig of Pagayawan; First Infantry Division chief and Task Force Marawi commander Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito D. Bautista, and Brig. Gen Ramiro Manuel A. Rey, commander of the Special Forces Regiment (Airborne), Special Operations Command.
The AFP said Morga has to move on to higher position and greater responsibility after completing his stint as a battalion commander.

Aying, for his part, has expressed his deepest appreciation to the accomplishments contributed by Morga to the 3rd ID, to the AFP and the country as a whole.

Aying also conveyed his profound and heartfelt thanks to the officers and men of the 82nd IB for supporting Morga during his stint as commander.

On the other hand, Aying welcomed Jumawan as the new battalion commander of 82nd IB with high hopes that his vast military experiences and competencies will be a great help to the unit.

“I entrust you to lead and accomplish your mission and take good care of 82IB” Aying said.

The Philippines open to ‘fresh perspectives’ from ADF in fight against IS in Marawi

From SBS (Aug 3): The Philippines open to ‘fresh perspectives’ from ADF in fight against IS in Marawi

Philippine Marines soldiers firing mortar rounds towards enemy positions on July 22, 2017 in Marawi, southern Philippines. (Getty Images AsiaPac)

The Philippines Defence Secretary says any gains his country makes against IS will also benefit Australia.

The Philippines government says it is open to learning from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to aid its fight against IS in Marawi.

“We are always open to learning the best military practices around the world so that we can incorporate them in our own doctrines,” Defence Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana told SBS World News from Manila.

“Australia would be able to provide us fresh perspectives drawn from its own operations across the globe.”

IS rebels in the southern city of Marawi continue to hold out against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s forces since first claiming the city earlier in the year.

The Defence Secretary said the need to defeat IS in the region was vital.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

“Our collective victory on this front will also benefit Australia and the rest of the world as a single foothold of IS in this region will surely affect other countries,” he said.

Secretary Lorenzana did not confirm whether the Philippines had officially requested Australian soldiers to help train its forces, but said the two countries already shared military bonds.

“The Status of Visiting Forces Agreement between both governments enables the ADF and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to regularly conduct joint exercises and training in order to increase interoperability, familiarisation and goodwill.”
When Marawi, a once-little known city in the southern Philippines, was overrun by militants allied to IS in May, it brought the spectre of radical Islamist insurgency to Australia’s doorstep.

Australia recently sent two AP-3C Orion surveillance aircraft to support the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“The regional threat from terrorism, in particular from Daesh and foreign fighters, is a direct threat to Australia and our interests,” Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne said when announcing the deployment.

Secretary Lorenzana said the Philippines is open to international support.

“We welcome any technical assistance that our allies can provide while the Armed Forces of the Philippines in the process of developing its own capabilities,” he said.

Fighting in Marawi, The Philippines explained

“Australia can share vital information and intelligence, provide technical assistance to our operating units, and combat the spread of violent extremism by helping the Philippine government target its root causes - poverty and underdevelopment that breed social injustice.”

Approximately 300 Australian soldiers have been deployed to Iraq to train and advise the Iraqi military in the fight against IS.

The ADF is also mentoring its counterparts in Afghanistan.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop is due to visit Manila over the weekend to meet with government officials.

Hapilon still in thick of fight in Marawi–AFP

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 4): Hapilon still in thick of fight in Marawi–AFP

This image taken from undated video shows the purported leader of the Islamic State group Southeast Asia branch, Isnilon Hapilon, center, at a meeting of militants at an undisclosed location. AP FILE PHOTO

Isnilon Hapilon, the acknowledged leader of the Islamic State (IS) in Mindanao, remained in the main battle area here, contrary to earlier suspicions that he had fled the fighting, a ranking military official said.

Asked during an interview with reporters on Wednesday on the possible whereabouts of Hapilon, Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said the notorious Abu Sayyaf leader with a $5-million bounty from Washington was still fighting alongside members of the Maute group here.

“He is still in the area,” Galvez said, citing latest information the military has gathered.

In June, Galvez said there were indications Hapilon might have escaped the battle, adding that there was no sighting of him anymore.

“We have some reports that he was already able to slip somewhere but as of now, we are still confirming the reports,” Galvez said then.

There were also reports that Omarkhayyam Maute, one of the Maute siblings who led militants here, had been killed but these had not been validated so far.

Bloodier battle

Earlier this week, Capt. Jo-Ann Petinglay, the spokesperson of Task Force Marawi, said they also received another report that a ranking leader of the militants had been killed.

But Petinglay said they could not say if it was Abdullah Maute, Omarkhayyam’s brother.

The fighting, which, Galvez said, had so far killed 114 soldiers, was expected to be bloodier as the militants moved inside a shrinking territory.

But he said the military was determined to finish the job.

Gen. Eduardo Año, Armed Forces chief of staff, during a visit to soldiers at the battlefront on Wednesday said the government was winning the battle against IS-inspired militants here.

“Just like in the game of basketball, we are already winning, but we should not rest on our laurels. We must be more motivated and more persistent. Many among our soldiers want to be here to help, but not everyone is given this rare chance to be here, to fight,” Año said during a visit to troops at the Kilala detachment inside the war zone.

Año’s projection came after ground commanders presented him a brief of the situation, more than two months since the fighting began.

‘Well done’

 Speaking to soldiers, Año also lauded the commanders for “a job well done.”

He also spoke of President Duterte’s full confidence in the Armed Forces, adding that the Chief Executive intends to visit the city anew.

“It is very rare that the head of our organization would risk his life and come to the battlefield in order to meet and motivate personally his officers and soldiers,” Galvez said of Año’s venture into the battle zone.

On Tuesday, Año also told soldiers during a visit to Tago, Surigao del Sur, that the day of reckoning for the New People’s Army (NPA) was nearing because the Marawi crisis was heading to an end.

He said an all-out military operation against the NPA would be launched in the province right after the Marawi crisis and that battalions of Army troopers would be transferred to Surigao del Sur.

More ammunition

On Wednesday night, the military inserted more tanks, ammunition and brand new weapons here in support of ground troops fighting to flush out the remaining militants.

Around 18 tanks and 2,000 brand new M4 rifles arrived at the Port of Iligan City through BRP Pampanga.

The military also redeployed the FA-50 fighter jets, which it had suspended after a friendly fire killed soldiers during a sortie.

The South Korean-made aircraft was seen here anew starting Tuesday, dropping more bombs on suspected lairs of the extremists.

Aside from the FA-50s, the military also regularly pounded enemy positions using mortars and howitzers, Augusta attack helicopters, MG-520 helicopters and SF-260 bomber planes.

LOOK: C-130 transports essential equipment to Jolo

From Update Philippines (Aug 4): LOOK: C-130 transports essential equipment to Jolo

Philippine Air Force’s C-130, with tail number 4703, operated by 220th Airlift Wing transported essential medical equipment to Jolo Airport on August 3 for Camp General Teodulfo Station Hospital.

The airlift mission was in partnership with the Department of Health (DOH).

Transported equipment were donated by Cotabato Regional Medical Center (CRMC). Equipment include Mechanical Ventilators, Anesthesia Machines, Patient Monitors, Monitors with Capnograph, Hospital Beds and Oxygen Tanks.

Air Force photo

“The flight mission is in accordance to the directive of the President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to provide additional equipment to selected military hospitals which will surely provide equitable and accessible healthcare for our soldiers,” 220th Airlift Wing said.

The air force wing said it will continue to be ready to provide our quality airlift services to ensure that valuable equipment will reach all military hospitals as quickly as possible.

President Duterte says FA-50s from Korea ‘mahusay’, intends to buy more

From Update Philippines (Aug 4): President Duterte says FA-50s from Korea ‘mahusay’, intends to buy more

“I want to build a strong nation. I want to build a strong army,” President Rodrigo Duterte said during the 26th anniversary celebration of the Bureau of Fire Protection at AFP Theater, Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on August 2.

“Sa Air Force, I have about 12 new planes. Makabili lang ako ng 24 and that is – FA-50s, mahusay ‘yan from Korea,” the President added. “Madagdagan ko lang naman ‘yan, and some modern equipment for police.”

The President told the firefighters that he intends to build a strong country, “but I have to start with the Armed Forces, police, at kayo.”

He said that “those in government especially connected in the protection of lives and property, pare-pareho. You are no less important than the others.”

“Kaya, you can be very sure,” President Duterte said. “As I have promised also the soldiers and the police, that you will have the priority in spending.”

Photo: Wounded Soldiers

From MindaNews (Aug 3): Photo: Wounded Soldiers

Wounded soldiers are helped by fellow soldiers at the Camp Evangelista Emergency Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday (2 August 2017). The wounded were among the latest casualties in the two-month fighting in Marawi City. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Photo: Brothers

From MindaNews (Aig 3): Photo: Brothers

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte gives a warm welcome to Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) chairman Nur Misuari during a meeting at the Malacañan Palace on August 3, 2017.  Details of the meeting were not disclosed. Misuari’s last meeting with the President, also in Malacanang, was on July 18. Ace Morandante/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Fighting in Marawi will ‘soon be over’ – Gen. Año

From MindaNews (Aug 3): Fighting in Marawi will ‘soon be over’ – Gen. Año

Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año said on Wednesday that the fighting in Marawi will “soon be over” with government troops dislodging the final pockets of resistance from the ISIS-Maute gunmen.

AFP Chief of Staff Eduardo Año pins the Wounded Personnel Medal to a soldier who was wounded in Marawi City during ceremonies at the Camp Evangelista Emergency Station Hospital in Cagayan de Oro City on Wednesday (2 August 2017). Año awarded the medals to 53 soldiers recuperating at the hospital. MindaNews photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

Año revealed this assessment after he and other military officers went to the main battle areas in Barangays Padian and Raya Madaya in Marawi City Wednesday morning.
“The fighting is reduced to house to house, building to building, floor to floor, and chamber to chamber,” Año said.

He said the troops in the frontlines told him there is a noticeable decrease of resistance from the ISIS-Maute gunmen compared to weeks ago.

“We will finish Marawi very soon,” Año said.

Año said they have a general idea of the location of the hostages, including Fr. Teresito “Chito” Soganub.

He said ISIS-Maute gunmen are still holding most of the 300 hostages in two buildings while the rest were scattered in other parts of the city.

“We still have so many names unaccounted for and we believed the gunmen are holding them as hostages,” Año said.

Año arrived at the Camp Evangelista Station Hospital here to pin the Wounded Personnel Medal to 53 soldiers.

He also gave P1 million checks to the families of 1Lt John Carl Morales of Kabacan, North Cotabato; Cpl. Philip Apao of Don Carlos, Bukidnon; and PFC. Kevin Sisban of Linamon, Lanao del Norte; who were all killed in action in Marawi City.

The money came from an anonymous donor who pledged to give P1 million to each soldier killed in action in Marawi.

Where is the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law?

From MindaNews (Aug 3): Where is the draft Bangsamoro Basic Law?

Seventeen days after it was submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte in the presence of the Senate President and House Speaker, and 10 days after the President’s second State of the Nation Address, where is the draft Bangsamoro Law (BBL)?

As of August 3, it’s not yet in the Senate and the House of Representatives where it should belong.

“Nasa Executive Branch pa” (it’s still with the Executive Branch), Senate President Pimentel told MindaNews in a text message Thursday morning.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte receives a copy of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) from Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) chair Ghazali Jaafar in a turnover ceremony at the Rizal Hall in Malacañan Palace on July 17, 2017. Also in the photo are (from left) Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Implementing Panel chair Mohagher Iqbal, MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and Government of the Philippines Implementing Peace Panel Chair Irene Santiago. King Rodriguez/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MindaNews also checked with House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Jr. but he has yet to reply. However, a check with the House of Representatives showed the draft BBL has not been filed there, too.

On Tuesday, MindaNews asked Bai Sandra Sema, House Deputy Speaker for Mindanao and Maguindanao’s 1st district Representative if the draft BBL had been filed in Congress. “Wala pa” (not yet), she replied.

Also on Tuesday, MindaNews asked Ghazali Jaafar, chair of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) if the draft BBL had been filed in Congress, when was it filed and who was its principal author. His reply: “hindi ko pa alam” (I don’t know).

Jaafar, also 1st Vice Chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), heads the 21-member Commission composed of 11 representatives from the MILF and 10 from the government (GPH). The BTC was asked to draft the BBL based on the 2014 GPH-MILF Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro, to pave the way for the creation of the Bangsamoro, a new autonomous political entity that would replace the 27-year old Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

MindaNews asked Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella why the Executive Branch has not sent the draft BBL to Congress. “Copies of the draft BBL were given to the leaders of Congress in the presence of PRRD (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte) on July 17 during the BTC event in Malacanang. It is now up to Congress to find members who will sponsor the bill,” he replied.

“Basin gapangita pa sila ug sponsor” (they’re probably still looking for a sponsor). Anyway, am sure they have sensible reason for this,” he said.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza told MindaNews that he checked with the Office of the President and “I was told that they are working on the transmittal to Congress.”

“Transmittal and maybe urgency certification. There is the usual staff work so let the process take its usual course,” he said.

Second draft
The draft BBL is the second that will be submitted to Congress.

On September 10, 2014, the then 15-member BTC submitted its draft BBL to President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in the presence of Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte.

Aquino assured that the draft BBL was crafted to be “fair, just, and acceptable to all, whether they are Moros, Lumads, or Christians.”

He urged Congress to examine the draft bill and asked that it be passed “sa lalong madaling panahon” (as soon as possible).

The next day, September 11, the draft BBL was stamped received at the House of Representatives as House Bill 4994, sponsored by Speaker Belmonte and 16 other representatives.

At the Senate, the draft BBL was stamped received as Senate Bill 2408 on September 15, sponsored by Senate President Drilon and 12 other senators.

The congressional committees that tackled HB 4994 and SB 2408 filed, after its committee hearings ended in mid-2015 substitute bills, both titled “Basic Law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region” that the MILF and even the GPH panel criticized for rendering the future Bangsamoro less autonomous than the ARMM that it sought to replace.

The 16th Congress under the Aquino administration adjourned without passing a Bangsamoro law.

“Bangsamoro country”

On August 2, President Duterte told the audience at the 113th anniversary of the Bureau of Internal Revenue that if the number of violent extremists like the ISIS-inspired Maute Group and its allies will increase in Mindanao, “probably we will have a dismembered country.”

“I’m warning you,” he said, as the Marawi Crisis entered Day 72 that day.

He reiterated the need to “reconfigure at least an arrangement where we can accommodate our Moro brothers in Mindanao,” to address the historical injustices committed against them.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, in his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) at the Batasang Pambansa on July 24, 2017. Simeon Celi Jr./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO
Immediately after Jaafar handed to President Duterte the 114-page, 18-article draft BBL on July 17, Duterte committed “in front of everybody, my covenant with you that I will support and husband this instrument as it goes (to) the legislature for its consideration. And there will be no objections of the provisions of all that is consistent with the Constitution and the aspiration of the Moro people.”

“I am for this — within the context of the Republic of the Philippines, there shall be a Bangsamoro country,” Duterte said.

One week later, however, during his two-hour State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 24, Duterte, who was expected to call on Congress to immediately pass the Bangsamoro law, made no such call.

Priority bills

Pimentel and Alvarez during their opening speeches at the opening of the Second Regular Session of the 17th Congress on July 24 mentioned the BBL at the latter part of their calls for passage of priority bills.

“We will pursue a path to lasting peace in Mindanao by addressing the valid concerns of our Muslim brothers and sisters through the Bangsamoro Basic Law,” Pimentel said.

Pimentel also called on the Senate to “empower our regions to determine their development plans, their overall direction, through the shift to Federalism.”

Alvarez cited the need to “concentrate our efforts in passing two legislative measures that hold the key to lasting peace and prosperity for our country — BBL and federalism.”

He said the draft BBL had been submitted to the President “and will soon be on its way into our chambers.”

The Bangsamoro law, he said, “will be the basis for creating a homeland for our Bangsamoro brothers and sisters.”

Yearend, a month or two

A Philippine Star report on July 19 quoted Alvarez in a DZMM interview as saying he is optimistic the House can pass the Bangsamoro Law by yearend “if there is no problem with the Constitution.”

In a sit-down interview on March 27, Alvarez told MindaNews that if the Bangsamoro bill is certified by the President as urgent, they would pass it “conservatively, sa House, give me a month or two.”

He said he hopes to pass the law before the body deliberates on the 2018 budget “because during the budget deliberations, talagang naka-focus halos kami lahat diyan because you know, we take care of our districts.”

Pimentel on the other hand told MindaNews in a sit-down interview on February 28 that “we will accommodate and we will cooperate” with the Executive branch, to pass a law that would address the concerns of the Bangsamoro given the four peace agreements with the MILF and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in the last four decades.

On July 18, a day after the handover of the BBL to the President, the MNLF faction under founding chair Nur Misuari said they will no longer submit their proposed amendatory law to enhance the ARMM. (The other MNLF factions are represented in the BTC, which worked on a draft law that would replace the ARMM).

“In line with conversations between President Rodrigo Duterte and MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari in the previous five meetings which among others touched on federalism, the MNLF will no longer submit a draft New Autonomy Law to avoid complications. The MNLF-GPH Process will have to contribute directly to the fast tracking of federalism,” the MNLF-Misuari’s Peace Implementing Panel chair Randolph Parcasio told MindaNews on July 19.

NPA bomb expert, one other nabbed in Bukidnon clash

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 3): NPA bomb expert, one other nabbed in Bukidnon clash

Two NPAs were captured by the combined troops of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) during a clash in the outskirts of Purok 8, Brgy Kiburiao, Quezon, Bukidnon early on August 2, 2017.

Troops responded to a report that a group of NPA bandit is planning to launch atrocities in the area. When they (troops) arrived, clash ensued and lasted for about five minutes which prompted the NPAs to scamper out of the said community. Troops in pursuit were able to track down and successfully nab two NPAs namely Ruel Cololot, bomber, improvised explosive device expert, and a member of Anak Pawis Partylist (ID recovered from his possession) and Ramil Cololot, member of the said NPA terror group.

Troops confiscated from their possession are the following items: one 57 RR, 24 pcs of IEDs, two Cal. 38 revolver, 10 meters safety fuse, 200 meters detonating chords, five blasting caps, switch boxes, three laptops, 51 rounds of cal. 30 ammunitions, other IED paraphernalia, and subversive documents.

Col Eric C Vinoya, 403rd Infantry Brigade commander immediately ordered his troop to clear the said area and conduct pursuit operation to the other NPA members.

MGen Benjamin R Madrigal Jr., 4ID commander, congratulated the troops for successfully addressing the situation.

Madrigal said, "It is my honor to congratulate our troops who proactively addressed the insurgency situation that is making our people's lives miserable in that community. This victory sends a strong message to all NPAs that people are already fed up to all your lies and atrocities. The reports that we received from all the people manifest their anger over your decades of atrocities. Continue your modus and crimes and you will have your place behind bars."

For his part, General Eduardo M Año, AFP chief-of-staff, who graced the giving awards to the wounded soldiers in Camp Evangelista Station Hospital (CESH), also extended his congratulatory message to the troops,

Año said, "Congratulations to our gallant forces for this big accomplishment. You have once again proven to our people that good will always prevail. These arrested NPA members will surely pay for the crimes they've committed against the people. Carry on and continue to press the fight for we know that we have the strength and support of our people."

The arrested NPAs are now in the custody of the PNP for proper facilitation of case. (4ID)

Army distributes school supplies to Ilocos Sur children

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 3): Army distributes school supplies to Ilocos Sur children

Troops from the 81st Infantry (SPARTAN) Battalion distributed school supplies to some 625 pupils in remote areas here Wednesday, August 2 as part of their “Handog Para sa mga Batang Kinabukasan ng Ating Bayan” program.

New school bags containing notebooks, pencils, and other school supplies were given to five primary schools in Santa Cruz town such as Padaoil Elementary School (80 pupils); Banay Elementary School (135); San Jose Elementary School (198); Babayoan, Elementary School (164); and Daligan Elementary School (48).

In a statement, Col. Henry Robinson Jr., 702nd Brigade commander, said “It is our prime duty to protect the people of Ilocos Sur as we fight against insurgencies. Nevertheless, it is our utmost mandate to serve the people in our jurisdiction through bringing the government and other stakeholders closer to them.”

Further, Lt. Col. Eugenio Julio Osias IV, battalion commander of 81st Infantry Battalion said, “We are thankful for the stakeholders who helped us in bringing your army closer to these children, in such a way that they will witness in the early age how they are being treated by their army.”

“Rest assured that we will increase our efforts in bringing public service accessible to these far-flung areas, especially this rainy season where crossing the rivers going to their places would take risk,” Osias added.

Distributions are still on going in the different areas of Ilocos Sur.

DepEd receives educational assistance from USAID

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 4): DepEd receives educational assistance from USAID

To achieve the mutual development goals of ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) handed over 370 computer tablets, sample student chairs, and the scale model and design of a typhoon-resistant school building to the Department of Education (DepEd) on August 2 at the Bulwagan ng Karunungan, DepEd Central Office.

The full set of 6,500 chairs will be given to displaced students from Marawi to replace those that were destroyed as a result of the ongoing armed conflict. In addition, the school building design, developed by USAID for its post-Yolanda assistance, may be adopted by DepEd in other disaster affected communities.

As part of the ICT for Reading initiative under Basa Pilipinas, 370 tablet computers will be turned over to the City Division of San Fernando, La Union, which will benefit 26 schools, 60 Grade 3 teachers, and approximately 1,700 pupils.

Present during the handover ceremony were DepEd Undersecretaries Alain Pascua and Annalyn Sevilla, Assistant Secretaries Revsee Escobedo and G.H. Ambat, USAID Philippines Office of Education Director Brian Levey, andBasa Pilipinas Project Chief of Party Marcial Salvatierra.

Escobedo highlighted the event as a clear testament of and manifestation to the long history of cooperation, partnership and collaboration between DepEd and USAID.

In her presentation on the new ICT for reading pilot initiative, Basa Pilipinas Deputy Chief of Party Ces Ochoa said the tablets will be loaded with PDF copies of all Basa Pilipinas-developed Grade 3 leveled readers in English and Filipino, plus an interactive reading application (Vernacular) that will test and study the use of tablets to support students’ literacy and learning.

On behalf of the US Embassy Manila’s USAID, Levey emphasized the continuous commitment of USAID to helping the Department provide quality basic education, “The US government shares [DepEd’s] determination and enthusiasm to continuously improve the quality of education for students throughout the Philippines.”

Pascua explained that the result of the pilot program on the use of ICT in reading will be utilized in formulating the Department’s programs, especially the use of ICT materials in the teaching and learning process.

Pascua added that he is discussing with DepEd-Education Facilities Division (EFD) the introduction of new school building designs for 2018. One of the designs is the scale model developed by USAID, where classrooms are elevated and will be built in flood-prone areas. (DepEd)

PNP to use 3-tiered defense system against terrorists

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 4): PNP to use 3-tiered defense system against terrorists

Capiz police director S/Supt. Samuel C. Nacion said that the policemen will maximize the use of available modern technologies in an effort to be a step ahead against lawless groups.

The move is in view of the target hardening initiatives that form part of the three – tiered defense system of the PNP against terrorism and other high profile criminalities.

“Hi-end Close Circuit Television Cameras and sophisticated communication equipment can provide real time information of what is happening in our environment,” Nacion said during a recent security briefing organized by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and Capiz Association of Government Public Information Officers, Inc. (CAGPIO) here.

“It is important that a staff will be assigned to monitor real-time surveillance of CCTV camera units’ for immediate reporting on what is happening in the surroundings towards a timely dispatch of policemen instead of just using the technology as a recording and reviewing device,” he stressed.

The PNP’s target hardening initiatives also include the mobilization of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams, strategic police patrol deployment and organization of community – based anti-lawlessness groups.

These initiatives are being complemented by intelligence effort like strengthening of Barangay Intelligence Networks and enhancing incident management capability particularly on bomb detection, response and detonation, among others.

Soldier wounded while securing tourist destination in Agusan del Sur

From the Philippine Information Agency (Aug 4): Soldier wounded while securing tourist destination in Agusan del Sur

A soldier of the 3rd Special Forces Battalion was hurt during an encounter with the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Brgy. San Lorenzo of this town at 4:00 p.m. on August 2, 2017.

The troops were on patrol near Bega Falls, a popular tourist spot in Brgy. Mabuhay, Prosperidad when they chanced upon the NPAs after responding to reports from residents that the rebels were extorting from them.

Private First Class Jordan Padua was wounded during a 10-minute running gun battle while pursuing the escaping NPAs who managed to occupy a vantage position to cover the withdrawal of their wounded comrades. PFC Padua was immediately extricated from the area and was brought to D.O. Plaza Memorial Hospital, Patin-ay, this province, for medical treatment.

Bega Falls, a popular tourist destination in the province is frequented by both local and foreign vacationers. The NPA’s extortion activities in the area has threatened the security of both the tourists and residents making gainful living; thus, prompted the soldiers to conduct constant patrols to ensure its viability as a tourist attraction.

Col. Andres Centino, 401st Brigade commander, recognized the importance of Bega Falls to the Province of Agusan del Sur as a tourist destination and a source of livelihood to the residents of this town. He pledged the continuing support of the Brigade in making the area safe. “We will continue to support the Government Projects and Programs in securing communities particularly tourist destination areas as these will help uplift the economic conditions of the populace once developed,” he underlined. (401st Brigade, Phil. Army/PIA-Agusan del Sur)

Mindanao Hour: Update on Marawi donations for PH troops

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 4): Mindanao Hour: Update on Marawi donations for PH troops

Around PHP1.5 million have been released to members of the Armed Froces of the Philippines (AFP) who were wounded in the ongoing clashes with the Maute group in Marawi City.

According to Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra, the amount came from the more than PHP100 million cash donations for those affected in the conflict.

"Over PHP1.5 mllion have been been withdrawn from the bank and were given to our wounded soldiers," he said during the Mindanao Hour Forum held at Conrad Hotel, Pasay City.

As of 2 p.m., August 3, Guevarra said, the fund amounted to PHP98,570,804.23.

Guevarra also reported that as of August 3, the number of rebels killed are 522, while the number of civilians killed by terrorists are 45.

Government casualties -- killed in action (KIA) are 119.

A total of 1,724 civilians have been rescued and 600 firearms were recovered.

The Marawi crisis is on its third month since it started in May 23.

IEDs preventing safe return of civilians in Marawi City — AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 4): IEDs preventing safe return of civilians in Marawi City — AFP

The presence of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnances in Marawi City are the reasons why the military is not yet allowing displaced families to return home.

This was bared by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Restituto Padilla during the "Bangon Marawi" forum held Friday at Conrad Grand Hotel in Pasay City.

He noted that allowing civilians to return to their homes while these explosive items, if allowed to remain armed and inert in the ground, can cause greater problems in the future as it can explode and cause numerous casualties or even death.

"The thousands of IEDs that have been laid out as traps (in many) areas of the city (could cause casualties if civilians are allowed to return in Marawi now.) The challenges (there) are similar to those that was faced (by) many citizens from China, Laos, Cambodia after the wars because mines, unexploded ordnance and other war materials (remain uncollected and armed) in the ground," Padilla stressed.

He added that operations to disarm these deadly devices is slowing down the military advance in Marawi City as troops have to comb every inch and corner of areas formerly occupied by the Maute Group terrorists to ensure that none will be left behind to injure or kill returning residents.

As of this posting, Padilla said Maute Group remnants are just holed up in two barangays, measuring less than a square kilometer, and that they are working with the local government unit to account for the 300 citizens who still remain missing.

"We don't know how many are still alive and the number who are in the hands of the enemy but we can estimate that about 80-100 persons are still on the hands of terrorists," he said.

Padilla also said every consideration is being done by the AFP to ensure that these civilians are rescued unharmed.

As of Aug. 3, the number of rebels killed are 522, while the number of civilians killed by terrorists are 45.

Government troops killed-in-action are placed at 119 with 1,724 civilians rescued so and 600 firearms were recovered.

Fighting in the area has been raging since May 23 when government forces made an attempt to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS "emir" Isnilon Hapilon.

PH welcomes visit of US Secretary of State

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 4): PH welcomes visit of US Secretary of State

The government on Friday welcomed the visit of United States (US) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and other top officials to participate in the ASEAN-related meetings and discuss terrorism, security and other issues affecting the Philippines and the US.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the US State Department officials are expected to tackle with their Philippine counterparts at the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings the security situation in Marawi City, addressing the global threat of terrorism and increasing Philippine-US economic and people-to-people engagement.

“These discussions are all aimed at strengthening the old friendship between the two countries,” it said in a statement.

The DFA also understood that it was part of the duty of government officials to talk about human rights, not only with the Philippines but with the rest of the world.

“…Because they are accountable to their Congress and their press as they advance their values and interests. We share the belief that no country has a perfect human rights situation,” it said.

The DFA pointed out that discussions on the issue of human rights are always included in the country’s engagements with foreign governments, particularly with Western democracies.

It stressed the Philippines is the oldest democracy in Asia and “respect for human rights is a shared valued especially with its treaty ally, the United States.”

“We welcome the opportunity to address their concerns and correct the perceptions they may have gleaned from exaggerated media reports,” the DFA added.

The Philippines is hosting the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum on Aug. 7, Asia’s biggest security forum.

Tillerson will also participate in the East Asia Summit Ministerial and the U.S.-ASEAN Ministerial.

Foreign ministers from 27 countries are attending the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings at the Philippine International Convention Center from Aug. 2 to 8.

Gov’t gears up to rebuild Marawi

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 4): Gov’t gears up to rebuild Marawi

The government is gearing up to rebuild Marawi City and other Marawi conflict-affected communities through an inter-agency task force called Task Force Bangon Marawi.

During the Bangon Marawi Forum at the Conrad Hotel in Pasay City Friday, Task Force Bangon Marawi Spokesperson Kristoffer James Purisima said the administration prepares for the rehabilitation of Marawi City even clashes between government troops and terror groups is still ongoing.

“We are not waiting for the total conclusion of military operations before we undertake the rehabilitation efforts. Rather, we have already started the necessary steps toward the rehabilitation and recovery of ravage communities,” said Purisima, who is also an assistant secretary for Office of Civil Defense.

“The entire government of Republic of the Philippines, under President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, is committed to the mission of rebuilding Marawi City and all surrounding communities, restoring them to vibrant city and make them more resilient,” he added.

Last June 28, President Duterte signed the Administrative Order No. 3 creating Task Force Bangon Marawi, an inter-agency task force for the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Marawi City and other affected localities, following the sustained damages to public infrastructure and private properties due to the clashes in the area.

The secretary of Department of National Defense (DND) is the chairperson for the Task Force Bangon Marawi.
There are 23 government agencies involved in the inter-agency task force.

The Task Force Bangon Marawi has sub-committees for reconstruction, led by Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH); for housing, led by Office of the Cabinet Secretary (OCS); for health and social welfare, co-headed by the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); for business and livelihood, led by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI); and for peace and order, led by Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

It has three support groups including Strategic Communications and Information Management chaired by the Presidential Communications and Operations Office (PCOO), Finance and Resource Mobilization co-chaired by National Economic and Development Authority and the Department of Budget and Management, and Legal Support -- gathering lawyers from various government agencies -- chaired by the DND.

Purisima noted that the construction of transitional shelters is taking place in an 11-hectare area in the village of Sagonsongan. These shelters will serve as temporary resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs).

“The construction of the initial 1,100 temporary shelter units shall begin by the first week of September,” Purisima mentioned.

He added that power and water utilities as well as telecommunication lines are being set up, while the building of other component infrastructure such as schools and markets, among others are now being scheduled.

“We are not only building houses, but communities,” Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. noted.

Moreover, the DPWH is on standby mode, waiting for the clashes in Marawi to end, and the area be declared as cleared so it can start building public infrastructure and new permanent housing for IDPs.

DPWH Undersecretary Rafael Yabut said the department is looking at five areas where permanent housing will be built.

DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said there are 78,486 IDPs since the Marawi clash began last May 23.

Most of the IDPs are in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and there are also number of IDPS in Region 10 and other parts of the country.

Taguiwalo mentioned that some PHP188 million worth of relief goods were distributed to IDPs -- PHP163 million from her department, PHP20 million from local government units (LGUs), and PHP4.5 million from non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Likewise, the DTI assured to provide livelihood starter kit and training programs for those who would like to immediately return to businesses.

As of 7 p.m. Thursday, there were 1,724 rescued civilians in Marawi City; 45 civilians were killed by terrorists; 119 government troops were killed in action; 522 members of the terror group were killed; and 600 firearms were recovered.

Bidding for DND Hyperbaric Chamber Project now open

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 4): Bidding for DND Hyperbaric Chamber Project now open

The Department of National Defense (DND) has formally opened the bidding for its Hyberbaric Chamber Project last Thursday.

This is in-line with President Rodrigo Duterte's order to procure the needed medical equipment for the AFP Medical Center within 60 days.

The latter is the facility where majority of the troops, wounded in the almost three months fighting in Marawi City, are being treated.

As of this posting, an estimated 900 soldiers were reported wounded in the ongoing efforts to contain the Maute Group terrorists.

Conflict with the lawless elements started when government troops tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS "emir" Isnilon Hapilon last May 23.

The Hyperbaric Chamber Acquisition Project is a priority of the national government, with the budget coming from the Office of the President, said DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong.

He added the medical equipment will hasten the recovery of the sick or wounded military personnel.

"We hope to give our wounded soldier-heroes the best medical care by upgrading our military hospitals and facilities nationwide, beginning with the AFP Medical Center. Nais ng Pangulo na tiyakin ang kagalingan at kalusugan ng ating mga sundalo bilang pagkilala sa kanilang kagitingan at sakripisyo para sa bayan," Andolong stressed.

DND assistant secretary for financial management and bids and awards chair Josue Gaverza emphasized during the bid opening the need to expedite the procurement process.

"While the bids and awards committee will strictly adhere to Republic Act 9184 and its implementing rules and regulations in the spirit of transparency, accountability, and fairness, we are also duty bound to ensure expediency because this project will benefit not only the soldiers, but their families as well. We also have to abide by the President’s directive to put more premium on quality rather than cost," he added.

Four proponents participated in the bid opening for the said acquisition project with an approved budget for contract of PHP94,250,000.

These are Medcare Supplies, MRL Cybertec Corporation, Deutsche Motorgerate, Inc., and a joint venture between Variance Trading Corporation and Cartal Enterprises.

After examination of the technical and financial proposals, MRL Cybertec Corporation and Deutsche Motorgerate, Inc., were declared ineligible to bid for the project for failure to meet the eligibility requirements.

Only MRL Cybertec Corporation signified no interest to file a motion for reconsideration. After the mandatory, non-discretionary pass-or-fail evaluation of all bidders, Medcare Supplies and the joint venture of Variance Trading Corporation and Cartal Enterprises were declared as having the lowest and second lowest calculated bids, respectively.

The Notice of Award will be given to the lowest calculated bidder if it passes the post-qualification process.

Members of the media and third party observers also attended the bid opening.

Aside from the Hyperbaric Chamber, the AFP Medical Center is also acquiring a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Machine and a Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, and Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL) Machine, all of which had been bidded out.

The DND BAC expressed its appreciation and thanks to its proponents for the participation in the bidding of this project, and encouraged them, as well as other interested parties, to participate in future DND-AFP procurement projects.

Calida seeks courts on arrest of NDF leaders

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 4): Calida seeks courts on arrest of NDF leaders

Solicitor General Jose C. Calida on Friday said they already filed before the different courts a Manifestation for the Issuance of Recommitment Orders for the National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants who were granted bail to participate in peace talks with the government.

“Due to the eventual termination of the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway and the cancellation of the backchannel talks in the Netherlands, the NDF Consultants who were granted conditional release should be recommitted and their respective bonds should likewise be cancelled,” Calida said in a statement.

“The Supreme Court, in several Resolutions, laid down the conditions for the provisional liberty of NDF personalities Satur Ocampo, Randall Echanis and Vicente Ladlad. One of the conditions provide that once the peace negotiations are terminated, their bonds are deemed automatically cancelled,” Calida added.

He noted that since all judicial decisions form part of the law of the land, the courts can now issue recommitment orders as these NDF consultants are similarly situated to Echanis and Ladlad.

According to Calida, President Rodrigo Duterte’s declaration that the CPP/NPA/NDF is an enemy of the State signifies that any peace negotiations with them have been rendered inutile and therefore must officially end.

Twenty-one NDF personalities, accused of various criminal cases pending before different trial courts in the country, were granted conditional release by the trial courts to enable them to participate in the peace negotiations in Oslo, Norway.

The Solicitor General reminded President Rodrigo Duterte has already declared communist rebels enemies of the State.

As such, Calida said this signifies that any peace negotiations with the communist insurgents have been rendered inutile and therefore must officially end.

Last July 19, a militiaman was killed while five members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) were injured when about a hundred members of the New Peoples Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), attacked them in Barangay Katipunan, Arakan, North Cotabato.

Earlier, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II supported Calida seeking the courts to cancel the bail bonds of the leaders and members of communist group NDF and recommit them to their detention facilities.

"I agree with the OSG. Their release was temporary and preconditioned on the peace talks. If the peace talks will no longer be pursued then they should go back to jail," Aguirre said.

Aguirre said the NDF leaders cannot invoke the 1995 Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG), which provided for their immunity from arrest, because it was already superceded by the SC ruling in August last year granting their bail.

Aguirre said the DOJ will leave to the OSG the filing of necessary motion in regional trial courts handling the cases of the NDF leaders.

Apart from the Tiamzon couple, the other NDF leaders granted bail were Tirso Alcantara, Ma. Concepcion Bocala, Pedro Codaste, Renante Gamara, Alan Jazmines, Ernesto Lorenzo, Ma. Loida Magpatoc, Alfredo Mapano, Ruben Saluta, Adelberto Silva, Ariel Arbitrario, Renato Baleros Sr., Kennedy Bangibang, Jaime Soledad, Rafael Baylosis, Alex Birondo, Winona Birondo and Porferio Tuna.

The DOJ chief, however, assured that the conditional pardon granted by President Duterte on 10 convicted communist leaders and members would remain.

"That pardon cannot be recalled because of the cancellation of peace talks," he noted.

Aguirre explained that the pardon granted on NDF peace consultant Emiterio Antalan and nine other political prisoners -- Joel Ramada, Apolonio Barado, Jose Navarro, Generoso Rolida, Arnulfo Boates, Manolito Patricio, Barigueco Calara, Sonny Marbella and Ricardo Solangon -- was hinged on other conditions.

The pardon grant released by the Office of the President last July 7 came with conditions, including reporting to their chief parole and probation officer at least once a month, allowing visits from the Philippine National Police Provincial Director of their area of residence, and no change in their residence during the period of parole without obtaining consent from authorities.

PH Navy delivers fresh military hardware, relief goods for Marawi

From Rappler (Aug 4): PH Navy delivers fresh military hardware, relief goods for Marawi

Seven tons of relief goods, as well as additional military vehicles from the Philippine Marines, are delivered   

MILITARY HARDWARE. Additional vehicles being unloaded from the BRP Davao del Sur on August 3. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

MILITARY HARDWARE. Additional vehicles being unloaded from the BRP Davao del Sur on August 3. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

The country’s biggest navy ship, Boat of the Republic of the Philippines (BRP) Davao Del Sur, delivered military supplies and 7 tons of relief goods on Thursday, August 3, for Marawi City.

The BRP Davao del Sur docked at the Iligan City Port on Wednesday night, but the unloading of cargo began on Thursday, with fresh military supplies and hardware first.

Amphibious Assault Vehicles of the Philippine Marines were delivered to the main battle area of Marawi to help flush and clear the city of terrorists.

Commander Bonifacio Manzano, commanding officer of BRP Davao del Sur said the delivery today was their third supply since the Marawi crisis begun.
RELIEF GOODS. A volunteer carries relief goods for a waiting vehicle inside the deck of the BRP Davao del Sur. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler
RELIEF GOODS. A volunteer carries relief goods for a waiting vehicle inside the deck of the BRP Davao del Sur. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

The 7 tons of relief goods were for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Manzano said hey brought relief goods from different government and non-government organizations. He added the relief goods came from Manila and different places from the National Capital Region.

Manzano also said that during an earlier delivery, they bought in heavy equipment meant for rehabilitation, such as bulldozers. They also transported the engineering brigades of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Richel Borres, Officer-in-Charge of Ranaw Disaster Response and Rehabilitation Assistance Center says they are grateful for the navy’s help in transporting their relief goods.

Borres, along with other NGOs came to unload their relief goods from BRP Davao del Sur.

One of Borres’ cargo is made up of boxes of mixed milk and cereal – healthy fare compared to the usual noodles and canned goods being distributed to the IDPs.

Borres said that one pack of their milk and cereal ready to cook meal can last for 3 days for a family of five.

Borres’ group will distribute their food packs to the IDPs in Iiligan city and in different towns in Lanao del Norte and Sur.

The National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) also unloaded their relief goods. Those will be distributed to Region 10 and the Caraga region as there are also IDPs who fled there.