Sunday, August 6, 2017

PH eyes Israeli drones to assist ground troops

From The Standard (Aug 5): PH eyes Israeli drones to assist ground troops

State-of-the-art drones or unmanned aerial vehicles will soon be dotting the skies of the Philippines with President Rodrigo Duterte announcing that he would accept the offer of UAVs made by Israeli defense manufacturer Elbit Systems. In a press conference held at the House of Representatives shortly after his second State-of-the-Nation Address, Duterte said he was earlier offered two high altitude UAVs that could fly beyond the reach of bullets and survey the ground beneath, acting as the eyes in the sky of ground troops and police forces as they come into the battlefield. 

He said that the troops will now be able to study the high definition reconnaissance images provided by the high flying drones before they leave their camps to patrol.

Elbit’s Hermes 900 MALE UAV

The president was referring to the two UAVs that was demonstrated to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police by Elbit Systems in Lipa City, Batangas and offered in a government-to-government procurement arrangement with Israel. The two UAVs, a Hermes 900 and a smaller Hermes 450, are cutting edge military drones that are technologically on par with, or even better than, US military drones such as the Predator and Global Hawk.

The Hermes 900 has a remarkable flight endurance of 72 hours—or three full days in the air—and can carry various military payloads, including high definition thermal imaging devices that can scan and detect any enemy presence 24/7, day and night and even in inclement weather. These can provide unparalleled battlefield awareness and eliminate the possibility of ambushes, as well as allow quick and well-informed reaction for reinforcing and responding forces.

The high-tech UAV can also perform laser designating for high-precision smart ammunition, allowing pin-point air and artillery strikes and eliminating the possibility of ‘friendly-fire’ casualties or collateral damage similar to what happened at different stages in the Marawi conflict.

The Hermes 450 is a common medium surveillance UAV.

Israel has been the pioneer in military drones and the Israel Defense Forces has been using them extensively over the decades, which explains the renowned accuracy of their precision strikes and their relatively few casualties (compared to their enemies) in recent battles and skirmishes.

In fact, the highly reliable Hermes 450 accounted for a noteworthy 52 percent of the flight hours of the Israeli Air Force in 2016. Together with the bigger Hermes 900, the two account for about 70 percent flight hours of the Israeli Air Force. For unmanned flight hours of the Israeli Air Force, the two easily chalks 80 percent to 85 percent.

The president said that he wants to buy more of these high-altitude drones as part of the AFP modernization even as he prepares the Armed Forces for war footing vs. terrorists and the communists.

The UAVs are expected to prevent large scale losses of police and military armed personnel and could easily turn the tides of war in favor of the government.

BIFF in simultaneous Maguindanao attacks

From the Manila Bulletin (Aug 5): BIFF in simultaneous Maguindanao attacks

A policeman and two soldiers were wounded when Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) rebels launched simultaneously attacks Friday night on a police station and an Army detachment in Datu Unsay and Datu Saudi, Maguindanao.

Sr. Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police director, said BIFF rebels attacked the municipal police station of Datu Unsay town around 7:30 p.m., which lasted for an hour that resulted in the wounding of PO1 Usman Datuan.

The BIFF rebels also launched an attack on an Army detachment in nearby Barangay Meta, Datu Saudi Ampayuan town at around the same time.

Capt. Arvin John Encinas, spokesperson of Sixth Infantry Division (6th ID), said rebels opened fired at the soldiers who were conducting patrol in the area.

He said a 20-minute gunfight ensued which resulted in the wounding of two soldiers.

He said the troops launched pursuit operation against the rebels who fled toward the marshland area of nearby Datu Piang town.

ASEAN, China adopt framework for crafting code on South China Sea

From Reuters (Aug 6): ASEAN, China adopt framework for crafting code on South China Sea

Foreign ministers of Southeast Asia and China adopted on Sunday a negotiating framework for a code of conduct in the South China Sea, a move they hailed as progress but seen by critics as tactic to buy China time to consolidate its maritime power.
The framework seeks to advance a 2002 Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea, which has mostly been ignored by claimant states, particularly China, which has built seven manmade islands in disputed waters, three of which are equipped with runways, surface-to-air missiles and radars.

All parties say the framework is only an outline for how the code will be established but critics say the failure to outline as an initial objective the need to make the code legally binding and enforceable, or have a dispute resolution mechanism, raises doubts about how effective the pact will be.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the adoption of the framework created a solid foundation for negotiations that could start this year, if "the situation in the South China Sea is generally stable and on the premise that there is no major interference from outside parties."

He told reporters there had been "really tangible progress" so there was "a need to cherish momentum on the South China Sea".

Signing China up to a legally binding and enforceable code for the strategic waterway has long been a goal for claimant members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), some of which have sparred for years over what they see as China's disregard for their sovereign rights and its blocking of fishermen and energy exploration efforts.

Beijing insists its activities are for defence purposes, in areas it considers its waters. Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and the Philippines, however, all claim some or all of the South China Sea and its myriad shoals, reefs and islands.

Some critics and diplomats believe China's sudden interest in the code after 15 years of delays is to drag out the negotiating process to buy time to complete its strategic objectives in the South China Sea, through which more than $3 billion (2.3 billion pounds) of ship-borne trade passes annually.

FILE PHOTO: Chinese dredging vessels are purportedly seen in the waters around Mischief Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea in this still image from video taken by a P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft provided by the United States Navy May 21, 2015. U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters/Files


Opponents also say it is being pushed through at a time when the United States, long seen as a crucial buffer against China's maritime assertiveness, is distracted by other issues and providing no real clarity about its security strategy in Asia, thus weakening ASEAN's bargaining position.

The framework has not been made public but a leaked two-page blueprint seen by Reuters is broad and leaves wide scope for disagreement.

It urges a commitment to the "purposes and principles" of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) but does not specify adherence to it, for example.

A separate ASEAN document, dated May and seen by Reuters, shows that Vietnam pushed for stronger, more specific text in the framework, wanting mention of a dispute resolution mechanism and respecting "sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction".

Sovereign rights cover entitlements to fish and extraction of natural resources.

Several ASEAN countries, including Vietnam and the Philippines, have said they still favour making the code legally binding, something experts say China is unlikely to agree to.

Wang said he would not try to anticipate what the code will comprise, but said whatever is signed must be adhered to.

Robespierre Bolivar, foreign ministry spokesman of host Philippines, said the adoption of the framework symbolised the commitment to creating a "substantive and effective" code.

Duterte: AFP needs 20,000 more troops due to greater threats

From Rappler (Aug 6): Duterte: AFP needs 20,000 more troops due to greater threats

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella says the President wants more troops deployed in Marawi and other areas in Mindanao

STRENGTHENING AFP. President Rodrigo Duterte talks to soldiers deployed in Marawi City on August 4. Photo by Alber Alcain/Presidential Photo

STRENGTHENING AFP. President Rodrigo Duterte talks to soldiers deployed in Marawi City on August 4. Photo by Alber Alcain/Presidential Photo

President Rodrigo Duterte has asked lawmakers to approve the recruiting of 20,000 more soldiers to tackle increased security threats following a bloody urban siege in the south, his spokesman said on Sunday, August 6.

Almost 700 people have been killed, according to the official count, in over two months of fighting in the southern city of Marawi against Islamist militants who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

The militants, waving the black ISIS flag, have occupied parts of Marawi since May 23, prompting Duterte to declare martial law in the entire southern region of Mindanao.

"The request of the president for additional 20,000 troops is part of our intensified security posture to guard areas in the country where there are continuing security threats," spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.

"The deployment of troops to Marawi and other points in Mindanao needs to be rebalanced to ensure maximum effectiveness," he added.

The Philippine military numbers about 125,000 and faces numerous threats, including the ISIS-inspired militants in Mindanao, communist guerrillas scattered all over the archipelago, and territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea.

The military is among the region's most poorly-equipped, with only a dozen jet fighters and a fleet composed mainly of second-hand ships.

So many troops have been deployed to Marawi that other parts of the country have expressed concern that they are unprotected.

In a trip to Marawi last week, Duterte asked Congress for the funding for 20,000 additional troops but did not specify how much he needed.

Military spokesman Colonel Edgard Arevalo said on Sunday the defeat of the fighters in Marawi was coming soon but he would not give specifics.

"We are closer there now than before. We can say that we are really at the culminating part of our operations in Marawi," he said.

PH fighter jets redeployed in Marawi after air strike mishap

From Rappler (Aug 6): PH fighter jets redeployed in Marawi after air strike mishap

Adjustments to tactics and procedures were necessary to avoid a repeat of the fatal air strike mishap, says the military

The FA-50s of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) were redeployed in Marawi City against heavily armed local terror groups 3 weeks after an air strike mishap that killed two soldiers and wounded 11 others.

"Ginamit na po muli natin ang FA-50 sa ating air strikes sapagkat base sa initial investigation na ating isinagawa wala pong fault na nakita sa eroplano o sa mga piloto," said Colonel Edgard Arevalo, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Public Affairs Office.  (We redeployed the FA-50 aircraft for our air strikes because based on initial investigation conducted, there was no fault on the part of the aircraft or the pilot.)

Arevalo said the investigation found that certain adjustments to tactics and procedures were necessary to avoid a repeat of the fatal air strike mishap.

"I'm not in a position yet to tell you what those adjustments are, but suffice it to say that it is safe for us to use them. It's high time for us to put to use once more thes FA-50s after having gone through the initial investigation," he said.

The air strike mishap that killed two soldiers on July 12 was the second incident since the clashes erupted on May 23. Ten soldiers were killed in the first incident on June 1 involving the SF260 trainers jets of the air force.

The FA-50s are multirole fighter aircraft that the Philippines acquired brand new from South Korea. They were originally meant to improve defense of its claims in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) where regional conflict grew tense in recent years.

The jets were instead deployed to fight terrorists in Mindanao. They first saw action in 2016 in Butig, Lanao Del Sur where the military fought local terror groups linked with the Islamic State (ISIS). Clashes moved to Marawi in May 2017.

The Marawi crisis has entered its 3rd month. The battle zone has narrowed but the humanitarian crisis grows as nearly 400,000 residents in Marawi and nearby towns are still unable to return to their homes. (READ: Marawi: Where military rules and LGUs take a backseat)

President Rodrigo Duterte and AFP chief General Eduardo Año have recently made declarations that the war is nearly over with less than a hundred terrorists holding out in the battle zone.

There is no word yet on the situation of supposedly about hundred hostages, including Catholic priest Father Teresito "Chito" Soganub.

5 MILF fighters pursuing pro-ISIS militants killed in landmine blast in Maguindanao

From InterAksyon (Aug 6): 5 MILF fighters pursuing pro-ISIS militants killed in landmine blast in Maguindanao

A metal fragment taken from the victims of the landmine blast. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Five members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) pursuing extremist groups died in a landmine explosion in Maguindanao Sunday morning.

According to initial reports, the blast occurred at the height of operations mounted by the MILF against the followers of Esmael Abdulamalik, better known as Abu Torayfe of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Barangay Andavit Datu in Saudi Ampatuan town, Maguindanao.

Abu Torayfe is known to be a key supporter of the Islamic State in Maguindanao.

The MILF fighters who were killed in Sunday’s landmine incident were followers of MILF Kumander Arsap.

Pieces of metals and nails were among those scattered at the scene of the explosion, according to information from RMN Cotabato.

The MILF had been conducting operations against Abu Torayfe since Wednesday, and initial skirmishes resulted in the death of four BIFF men and injuries to two MILF combatants.

AFP to probe general linked to Parojinog drug ring

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 6): AFP to probe general linked to Parojinog drug ring

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Eduardo Año will look into reports about a general involved with the Parojinog drug ring, although there is no information whether the official is active or has retired from service.

Año said he would call for an investigation into such reports and closely coordinate with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) for available information on the report.

”We will not allow – especially those in the active service to be part or coddling, protecting anyone or any drug syndicate. It’s a mortal sin on the part of the AFP,” Año told reporters in an interview on Saturday in Davao.

The AFP Chief was in Davao for a command conference at the Eastern Mindanao Command.

”We still have to coordinate with the PNP or PDEA kung ano yung hawak nila at makapagsimula tayo ng sariling imbestigasyon (We still have to coordinate with the PNP or PDEA what data they have so we can start our own investigation),” he added.

Año’s statement came following reports that an AFP general allegedly close to arrested Ozamis Vice Mayor Nova Princess Parojinog, is protecting the Parojinog’s drug ring. “Di pa natin alam kung active o retired. We will look into that,” Año said.

Año said the AFP has a continuing program that will discouraged the men and women in the AFP to get involved in illegal drugs.

Military on alert to block NPA reentry to Bohol

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 6): Military on alert to block NPA reentry to Bohol

Tight monitoring around Bohol borders continues to intercept any member of the communist terrorists’ armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA), that has been trying to regain stronghold here.

Lt.Col Eufracio Joel Malig Jr., commander of the 47th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, said they cannot just be complacent with the insurgent-free status of Bohol.

Malig said it is rather a challenge to sustain such status which keeps the military on alert in tracking suspicious individuals, especially those who are armed, penetrating vulnerable communities.

In fact, the 47th IB is now determining the affiliation of some armed individuals- -including women- -spotted in some towns with the NPA or any other terrorist groups.

Malig assured that the military will definitely come to a conclusion to which group they belong once any of them would be arrested.

He also appreciated the cooperation of the community in reporting information about the presence of these armed individuals to authorities.

He also underscored the established grassroots partnership of government through the Countryside Development Program-Purok Power Movement (CDP-PPM) coordinated by Liza Quirog for the provincial government.

Gov. Edgar Chatto introduced the CDP-PPM when he assumed as governor on his first term and sustained the program throughout his three terms.

The military also received reports about armed men spotted in Trinidad, Baclayon and Antequera.

Malig first presented the report about the presence of armed individuals in some areas during the joint meeting of the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC) and Provincial Anti-Drug Abuse Council (PADAC) on June 29.

In the PPOC meeting on July 28, Malig updated Chatto that they are now in the process of determining the group to which the armed individuals are affiliated.

Malig reported that on July 3, nine men bringing high-powered firearms had been spotted passing the boundary between barangay Caluasan in the town of San Miguel and Isumod River in Sitio Cahayag in barangay Dagohoy in the town of Danao.

According to the report reaching the military, the armed men headed towards the sub-village of Maonglinis in barangay Kauswagan in Trinidad town.

On July 12, four men carrying high-powered firearms were spotted in barangay Kauswagan, Trinidad and seen hopping from one house to another in barangay San Vicente, Trinidad.

On July 15, another group of four men and a woman has been spotted near a house in barangay Catigbian, Buenavista and had been seen heading to Purok 5 in the same barangay.

The woman was described to be 5’2” tall and was clad in black jacket.

On the same day, five armed men, on barefoot and bringing big backpacks had been spotted in the sub-village of itio Baclaran in barangay Tawid, Anda and heading barangay Katipunan.

The military also monitored seven activities of different groups who conducted rallies, meetings and solicitations.

The initial wave of information on armed men roving some areas in Bohol was on the sighting of seven armed men at around 10:37 p.m. on June 22 in barangay Bongbong, Trinidad.

They were seen visiting some houses during the fiesta celebration on May 23 in the area.

At around 9:30 a.m. on June 3, five armed men accompanied by two women were sighted in barangay Brgy Cambanac, Baclayon.

Malig reported that one of them was seen carrying a homemade 12-gauge shot gun and a container filled with five liters of gasoline.

“Accordingly, said group were asking foodstuff from the operator of a rock crusher machine of undisclosed construction company. Then, the armed group left the area and proceeded towards the direction to barangay Buenaventura in the same municipality,” according to Malig.

At midnight on June 7, more or less five armed men and a woman were sighted at a quarry bunkhouse in barangay Cambanac, Baclayon.

It was learned that the group came from the more populous part of Cambanac.

At around 4 p.m. on June 11, more or less five armed men were also sighted at the house in barangay Tabuan, Antequera.

Malig said the military boosted their intelligence network after the report from the Police Regional Office (PRO)-7 in Cebu that 15-20 armed men left Guihulngan City on pump boat after the NPA attack in the city.

So far, there has been no report of any armed individual entering the borders of Bohol.

The Guihulngan ambush came at around 10 a.m. on July 21 where six police officers had been killed.

Investigation showd that a team of 15 from Guihulngan City police sped off to barangay Magsaysay to respond to a report that unidentified and suspicious men had waylaid a city councilor.

In a hilly part of sitio Mandi-e, about 60 heavily armed men surprised the team with bursts of gunfire, killing six police officers.

Confirmed killed were Superintendent Arnel Arpon, city police chief; PO2 Alfredo Dunque; PO2 Alvin Bolandres; PO3 Teovic Agusto; SPO2 Nicasio Tabilon; and SPO1 Jesael Ancheta- -who were then “onboard a Mahindra multicab”.

In the early part of June, then Police Regional Director Noli Taliño already instructed the Bohol Police Provincial Office to tighten security measures upon receiving reports on the sightings of suspected NPA members.

At that time, Taliño ordered the police in Bohol to implement tight security measures on all points of entry and exit such as the ports, and the setting up of checkpoints in areas around vital installations.

BGen. Arnulfo Matanguihan, 302nd Brigade commander,Matanguihan, for his part, later said one of the personalities to watch is Domingo Compoc, a 52-year-old native of barangay Dagohoy in Bilar, who is now leading the NPA in Negros and has three standing warrants of arrests for murder and rebellion.

Compoc and his wife, Marilyn Badayos- -a native of Cebu, have reportedly been in command of the Negros operation of NPA for around a decade already.

In 2007, Compoc was reported to have been wounded in an encounter with government troops in Bohol.

Matanguihan, however, corrected earlier information leaked by other sources that Compoc had been spotted in Bohol, but said that he has to be watched for his connections here.

This is considering that Compoc used to be an NPA leader in Bohol during the communist terrorists’ heydays.

Being a native of Bilar and having previously influenced some groups here, Compoc could possibly be tapped to lead the revival attempt of NPA’s strongholds in Bohol.

Matanguihan said the military and the provincial government of Bohol have the full support of the grassroots through the Countryside Development Program-Purok Power Movement (CDP-PPM).

The people’s support earned by the provincial government helped the military establish the intelligence network.

The military, for its part, also established a systematic and tactical positioning of intelligence assets on the ground.

Chatto, for his part, believes that the “people’s participation and empowerment through the purok is the key to countryside growth and development”.

With development seeping through the grassroots level, legal fronts of the NPA and other groups who tried to destabilize the government have a hard time bringing back insurgency to Bohol.

In the Guihulngan case, the Philippine National Police assessed that the area has been a “’hotbed of insurgency’ because of the strong mass base’”, hinting family ties as the main factor.

36 new lawyers join AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 6): 36 new lawyers join AFP

Some 36 new lawyers are now undergoing training prior to joining the military service, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced on Sunday.

These individuals joined the AFP following an intensified recruitment campaign that started in March.

“Since the assumption of our Judge Advocate General, Col. Serme Ayuyao last March, the AFP has strengthened the recruitment of eligible lawyers who have the passion to serve in the military service,” AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.

The 36 lawyers were appointed as Probationary Second Lieutenants (P2LTs) last July 16.

They will be initially deployed to the General Headquarters (GHQ), Army, Air Force, and Navy headquarters for familiarization and internship.

“This batch of new military lawyers came from different regions nationwide; from the Cordilleras to Mindanao. Twenty are females while 12 are males. We expect them to don their uniforms after completing their formal training in October,” Arevalo said.

The new P2LTs are set to undertake their 45-day Technical Administrative Service Military Orientation Course (TASMOC) on Sept. 11.

They will graduate in October to officially join the Judge Advocate General Service.

“The Office of the Judge Advocate General (OTJAG) commits to beef up the number of military lawyers and strengthen the competence of the AFP’s legal services. This is part of our thrust to ensure optimum assistance to AFP’s units and personnel,” Ayuyao said.

“The AFP through OTJAG will see to it that all our members are assured of appropriate legal protection as they perform their mandate,” he added.

Under his stewardship, the OTJAG was able to employ 60 probationary military lawyers since March 2017–a significant increase from last year’s 16 recruits. At present, the AFP has 96 active military lawyers but recruitment is still ongoing for 94 more.

The OTJAG is responsible for resolving all legal issues on real state, personnel, retirement, appointment, separation, demotion, promotion, and procurement within the AFP.

Update in AFP's urban warfare doctrine now ongoing

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 6): Update in AFP's urban warfare doctrine now ongoing

With the end of the Marawi City crisis now in the offing, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced that it is now updating its urban warfare doctrine.

This was one of the orders of AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año as he instructed military commanders in the Marawi frontlines to file reports on their observations and experiences during the battle against the Maute Group terrorists who attacked the city last May 23.

"These could serve as the basis of creating or crafting a new doctrine pursuant to what we have learn in these (urban warfare) operations in Marawi," AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said.

Urban warfare refers to fighting inside heavily-populated areas, using buildings, houses and other areas, as concealment points, for attack against conventional military units.

Usually, the guerilla or terrorists force is more incline to participate in this kind of warfare due to their disregard for human life, private and public property.

Sniping and used of improvised explosive devices and booby-traps are also a predominant feature of this type of fighting.

As of this posting, terrorists killed in the three month campaign are placed at 522 along with 119 government troops killed and 45 civilians executed.

Remaining Maute Group fighters are estimated to be around "40 to 60" as of this time.

523 Mautes, 122 gov't troops killed in ongoing Marawi fighting

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 6): 523 Mautes, 122 gov't troops killed in ongoing Marawi fighting

As fighting in Marawi City reached its 76th day on Sunday, military clearing operations have so far accounted for 523 Maute Group terrorists killed along with 122 government troops killed in action.

Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Armed Forces spokesperson, said the death toll is as of 7 p.m. Saturday.

Figures of neutralized Maute Group terrorists are up by one while government killed increased by three.
Number of recovered weapons is 602 or two higher than Friday's update.

Civilians executed or killed by the bandits remain at 45 as of this time.

Fighting in Marawi City broke out after government forces tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS "emir" in Southeast Asia last May 23.

More intense firefights as Marawi siege nears end: Año

From ABS-CBN (Aug 5): More intense firefights as Marawi siege nears end: Año

A Filipino soldier lies on a mattress at their combat position in a house as government troops continue their assault against Maute group terrorists in Marawi City, Philippines July 1, 2017. Jorge Silva, Reuters

Bent to finish the crisis soon, the military is engaged in more intense firefights against extremists still holed up in a limited area in Marawi City, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Eduardo Año said Saturday.

Año said the military aims to neutralize all remaining terrorists in the city including Abu Sayyaf top leader Isnilon Hapilon and Maute group leader Abdullah Maute, both of whom are known to still be in the main battle area.

"Lesser fighting compared [to] before [but] more intensity. Naiwan na lang (the only ones left are) Hapilon and Maute," he told reporters.

Año said the military has received reports that other terror leaders such as Omar Maute and Mohammad Khayam or "Otto" have already died in battle.

President Rodrigo Duterte previously offered a P10 million reward for the "neutralization" of Hapilon and P5 million each for Abdullah and his brother Omar, leaders of the terror group under their name.

More than 300 hostages are still trapped in the besieged city, but Año said the hostages have already been isolated from the extremists.

"Maingat tayo sa pag-attack doon para walang madadamay na tao doon. Mas mahirap ang labanan. Na-isolate na natin ang mga residents," he said.

(We are careful in launching attacks there so that no civilians will be affected. The fighting is more difficult. We have isolated the residents.)

The military chief is also confident that clashes in the war-torn city will end even before the extended martial law in Mindanao expires in December.

On Friday, military spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla said operations against the terrorists were confined to only less than a square kilometer within Marawi.

The military on Thursday said around 50 to 70 Maute extremists are still holed up in the besieged city.

Fighting between government forces and Maute extremists in Marawi City broke out on May 23 and has left at least 674 dead, among them 513 terrorists, 116 state forces, and 45 civilians.

Bangsamoro draft bill now in Senate, House

From the Business World (Aug 5): Bangsamoro draft bill now in Senate, House

A draft bill of a law that will grant an autonomous homeland for Muslims in Mindanao has been submitted to Congress, pending sponsorship, a Palace official on Friday said.

“…[C]opies of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) draft were already forwarded to the Senate and the House of Representatives…during an event in the Malacañang [involving] the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC),” Deputy Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Menardo I. Guevarra said in a chance interview at the sidelines of Bangon Marawi forum.

Mr. Guevarra also confirmed that President Rodrigo R. Duterte met with Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nurulaji “Nur” P. Misuari where the latter only reiterated that “he will participate, his group, peacefully in the Bangsamoro.” This, despite Mr. Misuari’s earlier statement that he will not join BTC, which is predominantly composed of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which broke away from the MNLF.

Mr. Duterte formally received a draft of the proposed BBL-approved by the 21-member BTC--last July 17 at the Malacañang Palace. With the president were Senate President Aquilino L. Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez--both Mindanaoan lawmakers.

“The matter now, matter pending is finding the necessary congressional sponsorship,” Mr. Guevarra explained, adding: “It’s now up to Congress to deliberate on that bill.”

Mr. Guevarra said that Mr. Misuari “reiterated the commitment of the MNLF to participate in very peaceful means with the process of self-determination of the Bangsamoro.”

A video uploaded by the Presidential Broadcast Staff Radio Television Malacañang yesterday showed Messrs. Duterte and Misuari sharing hugs and warm smiles. No audio was available for the said clip, however.

Asked if Mr. Musuari was invited by Mr. Duterte, Mr. Guevarra said that he is not sure who extended the invitation.

Détente’s predecessor, President Benigno S.C. Aquino III championed the BBL after receiving its draft in Sept. 2014, but lost support after elite police botched an operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. While the raid in January 2015 did neutralize terrorist elements, it nevertheless claimed 44 police officers, 18 MILF fighters, and five civilians.

Mr. Duterte has earlier promised that he will support the bill as it will “give rise to a genuine autonomous region as well as bring forth healing and reconciliation to the historical injustices committed against the Bangsamoro people.”

If the bill is passed, MILF chief peace negotiator Mohagher Iqbal earlier said that it will focus on developing Mindanao’s “agricultural potential” and its mining industry, which can be “mid-term or long-term activities” and will be “co-managed” by national and future Bangsamoro government.

4th Inf Div: "NPA Bomb Expert and 1 other Nabbed, 24 IEDs recovered in Bukidnon Clash" (Photos)

From the 4th Infantry Division (Diamond Troopers) Facebook page (Aug 4): "NPA Bomb Expert and 1 other Nabbed, 24 IEDs recovered in Bukidnon Clash"

Ruel Calolot, NPA Bomb Expert from Bukidnon and a member of Anak Pawis Partylist that was arrested by the troops during the encounter at Quezon, Bukidnon early today, August 2, 2017.

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Col Eric C Vinoya, 403rd Brigade Commander inspecting the initial items recovered by the troops during the encounter with the NPA bandits at Quezon, Bukidnon today, August 2, 2017.

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Some of the Improvised Explosive Device paraphernalia and war materiel.

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57 Recoilles Rifle and the landmines recovered

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"NPA Bomb Expert and 1 other Nabbed, 24 IEDs recovered in Bukidnon Clash"

CAMP EVANGELISTA, Patag, Cagayan de Oro City-- Two NPAs were captured by the combined ...AFP and PNP troops during a clash in the outskirts of Purok 8, Brgy Kiburiao, Quezon, Bukidnon early today, 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, an encounter ensued which lasted for about 5 minutes and 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, a bomb and Improvised Explosive Device expert, who claimed to be a member of Anak Pawis Partylist (ID recovered from his possession) and Ramil Cololot, another member of the said NPA terror group operating in Bukidnon. Troops confiscated from their possession the following items: one (1) 57mm recoilless rifle (an anti-tank weapon), 24 pcs of IEDs, two (2) Cal. 38 revolvers, ten (10) safety fuse, 200 meters detonating cord, five (5) blasting caps, switch boxes, three (3) Laptop computers, fifty one (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. He said, "It is my honor to congratulate our troops who proactively addressed the reported enemy plan and pursue the terrorists that is making our people's lives miserable in that community. With the big number of IEDs recovered, we have saved the lives of people who could have been victims of their landmining activity, which grossly violate the CAHRIHL. This really is a proof that they do not honor their commitments. This victory sends a strong message to all NPAs that people are already fed up with all your lies and atrocities. The reports that we received from 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, Chief-of-Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines, who is currently giving awards to the wounded soldiers in Camp Evangelista Station Hospital, also extended his congratulatory message to the troops, he 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.

MNLF-IIO: Road construction at Camp Astana Dragon Mountain Bakud Kagay Indanan, Sulu

Photos posted to the Moro National Liberation Front-International Information Office Facebook page (Aug 4): Road Construction at Camp Astana Dragon Mountain Bakud Kagay Indanan, Sulu

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MILF: MILF will only accept political autonomy that is better than ARMM

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 5): MILF will only accept political autonomy that is better than ARMM

“The position of MILF is very clear, first, MILF will never accept an autonomy that is lower than the ARMM, second, the MILF will not accept an autonomy that is equal to the ARMM. The MILF only accepts an autonomy law that is better than the ARMM,” stressed Mohagher Iqbal, Chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Peace Implementing Panel (PIP) in a gathering of more than 60 Civil Society Organizations’ leaders at Pagana Native restaurant, Cotabato City on July 30.

The activity was made possible through the support of The Asia Foundation (TAF).

This is so far the toughest position of MILF leadership over the proposed Bangsamoro law.

The was the message of Chairman Iqbal to the participants who came from all-over Mindanao and attended the Orientation on Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) and updates on the Government -MILF peace process conducted by Federation of Bangsamoro Civil Society Organizations and Women’s Organization Movement of the Bangsamoro (FBCSCO-WOMB).

Iqbal said that if he is in the position to suggest, the BBL should be passed as it is and let the Supreme Court decide on those unconstitutional infirmities. “Yung BBL ngayon kung ako lang ang masusunod ang maganda dyan ipasa na nila ng walang bawas at walang dagdag. Hayaan nalang natin ang Supreme Court maghusga kung alin dyan ang unconstitutional, diba?” Iqbal asked the participants.

“And then kung maghusga ang Supreme Court ipunin nalang natin yun dahil meron pang function ang BTC mag-propose to amend the constitution” (If and when the Supreme Court makes a ruling, then we will collect all those (unconstitutional provisions in the BBL) because the BTC has the function to propose an amendments in the constitution), he said.

Iqbal also emphasized that ARMM was offered three times to MILF but they rejected it.

About his projection on the BBL movement in the House of Representatives, the MILF PIP Chair says that the Congress may opt for two stages; one is to pass all the constitutional provisions and the other thing is for Congress to amend the constitution to accommodate unconstitutional substances on the proposed Moro law, and then later it will incorporate to the working of committee which will draft the federal system of the country.

MILF: Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches representatives’ meet MILF Leadership

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 5): Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches representatives’ meet MILF Leadership

A pleasant and friendly meeting occurred between leaders of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and representatives of Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) when the latter visited the Moro Front’s Administrative Camp in Darapanan, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao in August 2, 2017, Wednesday morning.

The delegation of church leaders was warmly welcomed by MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim along with members of the MILF Central Committee and Grand Mufti Abuhuraira Udasan, who himself a member of the central Committee.

The visitors from PCEC were Bishop Noel A. Pantoja, Dr. Aldrin Penamora, Prof.Lorenzo Bautista, Nasalli Silava, Pastor Val Juan and from Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement Mr.Habbas Camendan.

The main reason for the visit was to establish and strengthen relationship between Moro Islamic Liberation Front and Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches. Dialogue can develop commonality in between religions that will propagate understanding and tolerance to avoid prejudices.

The PCEC group also made clarification and explained on the issue that was sensationalized with regards to the distribution of Christian Bible along with relief goods to evacuees in Iligan City brought about by the Marawi siege. It was the subject of Editorial of Luwaran (July 8, 2017).

Bishop Noel Pantoja said “PCEC having 78 Denominations conducted a fact-finding investigation on the situation.”

Based on the narrative gathered, Dr. Aldrin Penamora said, a Pastor, who is a half Maranaw went with a group to distribute relief goods to Iligan evacuation centers.

He is known in the community, and thinking his bringing of few copies of Maranaw-translated Bible will not be seen as offensive by relatives, he shared some copies to them.

After the few copies were distributed, some people were still asking so, he thought of bringing more copies during the next distribution of relief goods. It was then that unpleasant reactions outpoured.

Admittedly, bringing those religious scriptures were of the wrong timing. The religious group came to humble themselves, asking forgiveness for the mistake. They appreciate what was written in the Luwaran Editorial, and agreed that correcting the situation can better the relationship.

With the intention of finding ways to support the peace goal, the PCEC delegation committed themselves to cooperate in advocating that the answer to the problem is the passage of BBL in the legislative.

Both MILF and PCEC acknowledged the need to converge with the aim in view that the constituents will understand more of the process in going through a viable political resolution which is the key to just and sustainable peace, and could be an effective counter extremism. Hence, an interfaith core group is perceived and agreed to be formed as a way forward to harmonization, cooperation and understanding among religions.

Every one prays that tragic situation such as Marawi siege will not happen again in any part of the country.

Unfortunate incidents propelled by extremists through misinterpretation of some verses of the Noble Qur-an caused the young people to be misled. In addition, in the context of disappointment over the non-passage of BBL, radicalization has a certain allure for disillusioned group, the Chairman Ebrahim pointed .

MILF Chairman Ebrahim and Central Committee members gratefully thanked the delegation for their expression of support, and assured them of continued partnership, not only working for Bangsamoro but for entire people and to serve everybody.

CPP/NPA-EV: 10 sundalo patay sa serye ng mga opensiba ng Silvio Pajares Command sa Northern Samar

NPA-Eastern Visayas propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 5): 10 sundalo patay sa serye ng mga opensiba ng Silvio Pajares Command sa Northern Samar

NPA-Eastern Visayas (Region VIII) (Efren Martires Command)

5 August 2017

Hindi bababa sa sampung sundalo at may di na mabilang na iba pang mga sugatan sa mga taktikal na opensiba ng Silvio Pajares Command sa saklaw na larangang gerilya sa Northern Samar. Ito’y tugon ng BHB upang ipagtanggol ang mga mamamayan sa matinding militarisasyon sa probinsya na kasabay ng pinalawig na batas militar ng rehimeng US-Duterte sa Mindanao. Kalakhan nito’y mga operasyong sapper na matagumpay na nailunsad sa mga detatsment ng CAFGU.

Noong Hunyo 29, bandang alas-11 ng gabi, hinaras ng magkasanib na isang iskwad ng mga Pulang mandirigma at milisyang bayan ang detatsment ng 52nd IB CAA sa Barangay Bangon, Gamay, Northern Samar. Ilang segundo lang na sabay-sabay na pinaputukan ng mga kasama ang detatsment saka huminto at pagkatapos, pinasabog ang command anti-personnel mine (CAP2) na iginapang ng yunit palapit sa detatsment. Patay ang kumander ng kaaway na si Sgt. Falconete (taga-Buray, Paranas, Samar) at lima pang sundalo.

Sa parehong araw, bandang alas-11:30 ng gabi, hinaras din ng mga Pulang mandirigma at milisyang bayan ang detatsment ng 52nd IB CAA sa Barangay Carawag, Palapag, Northern Samar. Naunang pinasabog ang CAP2 na iginapang palapit sa detatsment saka sinundan ng bugso ng putok ng mga baril. Isang sundalo ang napatay.

Pagdating naman ng araw ng SONA mismo ni GRP President Rodrigo Duterte, Hulyo 24, ala-1:00 ng madaling araw, ginapang at pinasabugan ng 10-kataong iskwad ng mga Pulang mandirigma at milisyang bayan ang detatsment ng 52nd IB CAA sa Barangay Potong, Lapinig. Idinikit nila ang isang CAP2 na isang dangkal mula sa bakod at wala pang tatlong metro mula sa guardhouse. Sinundan din nila ang pagsabog ng bugso ng putok mula sa mahahabang baril. Apat na kubo ang nawasak, tatlo ang patay sa kaaway at malubhang nasugatan ang kumander ng kaaway na hindi na nakapagmando sa kanyang yunit na tatlong putok lamang ang naiganti.

Pagsapit ng Hulyo 29, bandang alas-5:30 ng hapon, hinaras naman ng isang tim ng BHB ang detatsment ng 52nd IB CAA sa Barangay Bangon, Gamay, Northern Samar. Ayon sa mga tagabaryo, naiwan ng mga sundalong pumunta sa burol ng isang pinarusahang aset ang kanilang mga baril sa pagmamadaling makalayo sa lugar. Ang mga sundalo namang nasa loob ng kampo ay nagpaputok ngunit papaatras sila mula sa kampo.

CPP/NPA-Masbate: Tutulan at patuloy na ilantad at labanan ng sambayanang Pilipino ang mga lansakang paglabag sa karapatang pantao at sa CARHRIHL

NPA-Masbate propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 5): Tutulan at patuloy na ilantad at labanan ng sambayanang Pilipino ang mga lansakang paglabag sa karapatang pantao at sa CARHRIHL

Luz Del Mar, Spokesperson
NPA-Masbate (Jose Rapsing Command)

5 August 2017
Press Release

Kinukondena ng Jose Rapsing Command, JRC-BHB Masbate ang nangyaring masaker sa So. Namoro, Brgy. Trece Martirez, Casguran, Sorsogon noong ika 28 ng Hulyo 2017 na ikinamatay ng apat katao.

Ang pagmasaker kina Andres “ Ka Magno” Hubilla, pulang kadre ng CMC-BHB at Miguel “Ka Billy” Himor, pulang mandirigma at dalawa pang sibilyan na sina Arnel Borres at Dick Laura ay kagagawan ng mga pinagsanib pwersa ng SPPSC (Sorsogon Police Public Safety Coy), MICO-PA, 31st IBPA at 22nd IBPA. Hindi inalintana ng mga militar at pulis ang kalagayan ng mga sibilyang nasa malapit sa pinangyarihan habang ang dalawang kasamang sina Ka Magno at Ka Billy ay nasa estadong walang kakayahang makapanlaban, at ito ay malinaw na paglabag sa ilalim ng International Humanitarian Law(IHL). Ayon sa IHL ang sinumang nasa katayuang hors de combat ay may karapatang mabuhay.Habang ang dalawang sibilyan ay dapat iiwas sa labanan.

Ang ginawa ng mga pinagsanib pwersa ng AFP at PNP ay lansakang paglabag sa mga itinakdang batas at kondukta ng digmaan. Hindi kataka-taka kung ganito ang nagiging asal ng mga kasundaluhan at kapulisan dahil ang mismong punong kumander nilang si Duterte ay wala ding paggalang sa karapatang pantao.

Ang tunguhing todo-todong gera at pagkauhaw sa dugo ng rehimeng US-Duterte ay magbubunsod ng papalakas na paglaban ng mamamayang matagal ng pinagsasamantalahan at inaalipin, at lalong magpursigeng isulong ang demokratikong rebolusyon para kamtin ang tagumpay.

Nananawagan ang JRC-BHB Masbate sa mamamayang bikolano na magkaisa at magtulungan na labanan ang ala Marcos na pasistang diktadurang rehimeng US-Duterte. Isulong ang digmang bayan para makamit ang pangmatagalang kapayapaan at kaunlaran ng lipunanang Pilipinas.

Pulang saludo Ka Carlo, Ka Billy at lahat ng martir ng sambayanan!
Hustisya sa lahat ng mga biktima na masaker, kamtin at parusahan ang berdugong AFP-PNP! Mamamayang api, Magtanggol ka!
Sumapi sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan!

CPP/NPA-Sorsogan: Pinakamataas na Pagpupugay kay Andres “Ka Magno” Hubilla, Rebolusyonaryong Lider ng Mamamayang Sorsoganon at Martir ng Sambayanan

NPA-Sorsogan propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 5): Pinakamataas na Pagpupugay kay Andres “Ka Magno” Hubilla, Rebolusyonaryong Lider ng Mamamayang Sorsoganon at Martir ng Sambayanan

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

5 August 2017
Press Release

Pinakamataas na pagpupugay ang iniaalay ng Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front sa probinsya ng Sorsogon, kasabay ang mamamayang Sorsoganon, sa dakilang buhay ni Andres “Ka Magno” Hubilla. Inialay ni Ka Magno ang kanyang lakas, husay at talino para isulong ang rebolusyonaryong adhikain ng mamamayan na makamit ang isang lipunang tunay na malaya, makatarungan at maunlad.

Si Ka Magno ay pinaslang ng pasistang kaaway sa Sityo Kanggutan, Brgy. Trece Martirez, Casiguran, Sorsogon noong Hulyo 28, 2017. Si Ka Magno ay wala sa kakayahang lumaban nang mahuli at isalbeyds ng mga elemento ng MICO, 31st IBPA, SPPSC ng PNP-Sorsogon at iba pang yunits sa ilalim ng 903rd Bde PA. Kasabay na pinaslang sa nasabing kubkob ang ka-buddy niyang mandirigma na si Miguel “Ka Billy” Himor at dalawang sibilyang mangingisda na sina Dick Laura at Arnel Borres. Muling ipinakita ng pasistang kaaway ang uhaw-sa-dugo at mala-halimaw nitong katangian laban sa mga kasama at masa sa panibagong dagdag nilang rekord sa paglabag sa internasyunal na makataong batas at karapatang-pantao.

Si Ka Magno bilang rebolusyonaryo ay tunay na larawan ng katatagan sa gitna ng mga kahirapan at sakripisyo. Ni minsan ay hindi siya kakikitaan ng panghihina. Puspusang rebolusyonaryo at walang-humpay ang dedikasyon niya sa pagrerebolusyon. Ito rin ang dahilan kung bakit matagal na siyang tinarget ng mga operasyon ng kaaway pati ng kanilang mga gawa-gawang paninira, pang-iintriga at maitim na propaganda o psywar sa layuning siraan si Ka Magno. Talagang hangin ang laman ng ulo at utak-pulbura ang pasistang kaaway sa paniniwalang magagamit nila ang paninira sa ilang piling lider ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan upang ito ay magapi. Ang mamamayang lumalaban at kaisa ni Ka Magno sa pagrerebolusyon ay mulat na umaanib sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan, kaakibat na ang pagtanggap sa mga sakripisyo at panganib kaya’t ni minsan ay di sila magpapalinlang sa kasinungalingan ng kaaway.

Laging nakatanaw ang isip ni Ka Magno sa maka-prinsipyong pagharap sa iba’t-ibang suliraning pang-organisasyon. Nahugis ang kalakasan niyang ito, sa dami ng nilagpasan niyang kahirapan at sakripisyo na normal na bahagi ng buhay-rebolusyonaryo at ng mga nagmula sa uring anakpawis. Labing-pitong taong gulang lamang siya at nag-aaral ng hayskul sa Del Carmen High School nang hulihin at ikulong sa loob ng dalawang buwan noong 1975, panahon ng martial law ng diktador na si Marcos. Pinaghinalaan lamang siya noon na kasapi ng NPA. Labis na tortyur ang dinanas niya bago palayain. Noong 1987 naman, ilang buwan pa lamang pagkatapos na sumampa sa NPA, nang mahuli at makulong siyang muli. Buo ang loob, nakatakas siya sa kulungan pagkalipas ng 11 araw na pagkakakulong at muling bumalik sa mga kasama. Pagkatapos nito, dalawang beses pa siyang nahuli at kinulong, una noong 2008 at huli noong 2015.

Napakataas ng pagpapahalaga ni Ka Magno sa kanyang tungkulin at responsabilidad. Laging niyang inuuna ang kanyang tungkulin kahit na mayroon din siyang mga personal na problemang bagahe. Isa sa mga kahinaan niya ang makalimot sa pagtatasa ng seguridad o maging kampante laluna kapag maraming trabahong tinatapos. May bigat at dating ang bawat sabihin niya sa kolektibong kanyang pinamumunuan at sa iba pang mga kasama dahil naka-asinta ang kanyang pag-iisip sa pagkamit ng mga gawain anuman ang mga balakid. Napakataas ng entusiasmo niya sa gawain at pagtanaw sa hinaharap ng rebolusyon. Ika nga ng mga kasama, “hyperactive”, walang-kapaguran at laging excited simulan at pamunuan ang mga trabaho ni Ka Magno. Hindi man lamang siya mariringgan ng reklamo kahit sa mga panahong mahahaba at nakakapagod ang mga lakaran sa kabila ng humihina na rin niyang katawan dala ng pagkakaedad. Lagi siyang nakasipat sa pagkakamit ng mga layunin ng bawat gawain niya at ng lahat ng iba pang gawaing pinamumunuan niya.

Isang tunay na lider si Ka Magno mula noong kabataan niya. Naging SK Chairman siya sa Sta Cruz noong 1976 at opisyal sa Student Council sa Annunciation College-Sorsogon (The Lewis College na ngayon) bago siya grumadweyt ng BSEd –Secondary Education. Nakapagtapos siya ng kolehiyo noong 1984 sa pamamagitan ng sariling pagsisikap dahil hindi siya kayang pag-aralin ng mga magulang na mga maralitang magsasaka at nakikisaka lamang sa lupa ng among PML. Para tustusan ang kanyang pag-aaral, namasukan siya bilang houseboy at utusan sa bahay ng isang prominenteng pamilyang PML-MBK sa Sorsogon.

Gagap ni Ka Magno na ang rebolusyon ay kolektibong pagbangon ng sambayanan at ang digmaang kanyang pinamumunuan ay isang digmang bayan. Kaya naman, pinahahalagahan niya ng papel ng bawat isa at trabahong kayang iambag ng bawat kasama, malaki man o maliit. Sa mga kasama, bukas ang pag-iisip at laging maunawain sa mga kahinaan ng iba at mahusay ang pakikitungo sa kanyang mga pinamumunuan. Mapagkumbaba rin si Ka Magno, nakikipagbiruan at nakikipagtawanan hanggang sa mga mandirigmang baguhan at mga masa. Sa pamumuno niya, maraming panggitnang pwersa ang namulat at napakilos sa pagrerebolusyon. Personal din niyang inaalalayan ang pangangalaga at paggabay sa mga kapamilya ng mga kasama.

Lahat ng kasamang nakatrabaho niya ay itinuturing din siya bilang “guro” dahil lagi siyang gumagabay sa kanila. Siya ay magaling na instruktor at naging bahagi ng istap sa instruksyon ng mga komite ng Partido na kinabilangan niya. Iniwan ni Ka Magno ang propesyon niya bilang titser sa Annunciation High School sa Bacon, Sorsogon nang siya ay sumampa sa NPA noong 1987 upang maging guro ng rebolusyon at ang buong lipunan ang kanyang naging paaralan. Dahil magaling manalita, epektibong propagandista din si Ka Magno.

Sa masa na kanyang pinaglingkuran, itinuring siyang si “Pay” na laging maaalalahanin sa kanilang kapakanan kaya’t lagi siyang nilalapitan upang sumangguni ukol sa kanilang mga problema. Mataas ang respeto nila sa kanyang mga salita. Mabait siya, mapagbigay laluna sa mga bata at maliliit na paslit na magiliw siyang itinuring bilang “Lolo Pay”. Ang mga kamag-anakan naman ni Ka Magno ay buong pagmamalaki sa kanyang pagiging rebolusyonaryong lider. Sa pagkatagal-tagal ng panahong hindi siya nakasama ng kanyang mga kamag-anak, naaalala pa rin nilang napakasimpleng tao si Ka Magno na ang paboritong pagkain ay gulay na gabi (o ‘aba’) na walang sili. Siya ay nagmula sa Brgy. Sta Cruz, Casiguran at sa mga pamilyang purong-Casiguranon. Ipinanganak noong Nobyembre 30, 1958, kaya ipinangalan siya sa dakilang bayaning si Andres Bonifacio na tulad niya ay naniwala sa superyoridad ng pagtangan ng armas bilang tanging paraan upang lumaya sa pagkaalipin.

Sa gitna ng kanyang pagkawala, ating gunitain ang maniningning na alaala ni Kasamang Magno, Carlo, Bunso o simpleng si ‘Pay’. Mananatiling inspirasyon ang kanyang kabayanihan ng mamamayang Sorsoganon upang lumaban at humawak ng armas para maglingkod sa sambayanan. Isang tunay na lider ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan at mamamayan si Ka Magno.

Taas-kamaong Pagpupugay Ka Magno! Pamarisan ang kanyang dakilang buhay-rebolusyonaryo!
Isulong ang digmang bayan!
Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino!

CPP/Information Bureau: Basic problems confront youth amid palliative, token reform

Propaganda editorial posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 5): Basic problems confront youth amid palliative, token reform

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

5 August 2017

Yesterday, GRP President Duterte signed Republic Act No. 10931 or the Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act (free tuition law) which is set to be implemented next school year. Understandably, student and youth groups have responded positively to the promise that this new law will ease the financial burden on students in around 114 state colleges, universities and technical institutions.

However, it must be understood with full clarity that this law is a palliative and a mere token reform which does not alter nor address the fundamental issues besetting the educational system. Commercialization and privatization remain state policy. Close to 60% of tertiary-level undergraduate students are enrolled in profit-oriented private tertiary institutions. They suffer burdensome fees, annual fee increases, prohibitive costs of books and high costs of going to school. Large amounts of so-called “government financial assistance” are alloted to ensure the profits of private school owners.

There is no reversal to the neoliberal policy of cutting social spending, including subsidies for education. In fact, right after Duterte signed the law, economic managers have already declared that “there should be no expansion in the student population” in the SUCs. In all likelihood, a myriad burdensome policies will accompany the implementation of the free tuition law. Over the past decades, malpriorities, limited allocations and budget cuts have made a mockery of the so-called free elementary and secondary education which has left millions of school children without teachers and facilities.

The Duterte regime is deaf to the clamor to end the K-12 program which is widely regarded as an additional burden on parents and students. Duterte is bent on implementing the K-12 thrust of producing enclaves-ready and export-ready 18-year old senior high school graduates. Tertiary education as well as higher scientific and technological research are actually low priority. There is strong push to further deprioritize the study of history, social sciences and liberal arts.

Is Duterte now a champion of the students and youth? Two weeks ago, Duterte earned the ire of the people for declaring he will drop bombs on Lumad schools which he has Red-tagged as NPA schools and told the children to run away. These schools are organized and set up by Lumad organizations in their communities, assisted by their church and civic supporters. Relying on military “intelligence,” Duterte insists these schools are illegal.

By signing the free tuition law, Duterte hopes he can draw the attention of the students and youth away from the bigger problems of the educational system and the even more fundamental problems of the youth and people. Widespread unemployment, low wages, landlessness, landgrabbing, poverty, rising costs of living and other acute social problems are ever worsening under his anti-people and pro-imperialist regime.

He hopes to placate the anger of the youth and people over his martial law regime, the widespread campaign of mass murder and destruction, the big-scale crime and corruption involved in his plan to borrow billions upon billions of dollars to finance his infrastructure building, the additional tax burden he is itching to impose on the people as assurance to his Chinese creditors, and the all-out subservience of his government to US foreign policy and military intervention and surrender of Philippine sovereignty and rights in the South China Sea to both the US and China.

The progressive and revolutionary forces among the students and youth are keenly aware of the necessity of uniting with the people’s national democratic struggles and resistance against the neoliberal policies and fascist strongman rule of the US-Duterte regime as means to advance the cause of the Filipino people and students for national and social liberation.They will surely frustrate the attempt of the US-Duterte regime to silence them.