Friday, August 25, 2017

Malacañang says no more Chinese flag near Kota Island

From Rappler (Aug 24): Malacañang says no more Chinese flag near Kota Island

(UPDATED) Philippine Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella says he got this assurance from a 'reliable source'   

MONITORING. Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano shows a map to illustrate China's alleged activities in the West Philippine Sea. File photo by Bea Cupin/Rappler

MONITORING. Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano shows a map to illustrate China's alleged activities in the West Philippine Sea. File photo by Bea Cupin/Rappler

Malacañang has received assurances that no Chinese flag flies over a sandbar near Philippine-controlled Kota Island in the West Philippine Sea.

"I inquired about that and apparently, as of this stage, there is no flag," said Philippine Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella on Thursday, August 24, during a Palace briefing.

He said a "reliable" source, who he refused to name, relayed this.

"According to a source I referred to, there was none, there were no flags at that time," Abella told reporters.

President Rodrigo Duterte's spokesman was responding to a claim made by an opposition lawmaker, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, that a Chinese flag was planted by Chinese civilians in a cay 7 nautical miles from Kota Island.

The 3-meter-high Chinese flag was supposedly discovered around the 3rd week of July 2017.

But Abella sought to downplay the issue, saying most of the ships that pass through this part of the West Philippine Sea are civilian, not military.

"It seems the place in itself is subject to many passers-through and, in fact, there are evidence of people who do park there, and mainly these are not military, but mainly these are citizens," he said, but added that this information is "not verified."

The cay where the flag was supposedly planted is close to Kota Island which is part of the Kalayaan Islands, controlled by the Philippines. It is also being claimed by China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.

Alejano said the report about the flag justifies concerns that "Chinese activities in the West Philippine Sea have not stopped amid warmer relations between the Philippines and China."

There were also recent reports of at least two Chinese ships that appeared to be fishing near Pag-asa Island, another Philippine-controlled island being claimed by Beijing.

According to Washington-based think tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, the presence of these ships is "highly provocative."

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said the presence of the ships was tantamount to invasion and called on Duterte to defend Philippine claims.

But Duterte said he does not consider the incident as invasion, adding that he had received assurance from China that they would not build anything in the area or stop Filipino fishermen from fishing there.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano also criticized Carpio for supposedly using the "wrong facts." Cayetano, however, refused to disclose the facts about the Chinese ships reportedly guarding Sandy Cay.

AFP forms anti-terror task force

From the Manila Bulletin (Aug 24): AFP forms anti-terror task force

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has organized an anti-terrorism task force that will intensify the security operations against foreign and local terrorist groups and criminal elements out to sow terror in the city.

Colonel Roberto Ancan, 1002nd Brigade commander, said the task force headed by Lt. Col. Noel Luoang will be composed of personnel from the 39th Infantry Battalion, 72nd Infantry Battalion, local police, and public safety office of the local government which will take charge of maintaining peace and order and curbing terror threats for the entire city which is home to some 150 local residents.

Mayor Joseph Evangelista said the city government will provide the necessary funding and logistical support to the task force which is tasked not only to secure the city but the neighboring towns as well.

Evangelista cautioned the members of the task force to uphold the human rights of civilians while discharging their official duties.

“The task force’s primordial task is to secure the people of the city from terror threats and criminality,” Evangelista said.

He said the city is plagued with imminent threats coming from communist rebels and Islamic militants.

Luoang, former executive officer of 39th IB, said the task force will conduct anti-terrorism operations and will help the local police in law enforcement operations.

Troops retake Marawi grand mosque from ISIS-Maute bandits

From GMA News (Aug 25): Troops retake Marawi grand mosque from ISIS-Maute bandits

Government troops have retaken the Marawi's Grand Mosque after it was occupied by members of the ISIS-inspired Maute Group that attacked the city on May 23, the Armed Forces of the Philippines confirmed on Friday.

AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said it took the soldiers a month to reclaim the religious facility from the armed group.

“The retaking of the Marawi City Grand Mosque or the Islamic Center [was] an operation that allowed us to reach this stage but it took almost a month before this was achieved and I shall elaborate on that in a little while. The clearing is still ongoing,” Padilla said.

However, the soldiers were not able to rescue any hostages or arrest terrorists.

“But right now, we’re still clearing the facility of unexploded ordnance and IEDs that we found to be in abundance in the building itself,” he said, adding that it would take around a month to ensure that the structure is completely cleared.

To reclaim the Grand Mosque, Padilla said that the troops did not conduct a frontal attack on the structure.

He said the plan was "elaborate” as soldiers first targeted the installations near the mosque.

“And in our entry to the Grand Mosque, we were met by resistance from the enemy who were holding the area, while the main force of the enemy was retreating. We incurred three wounded in the process,” he said.

It was earlier announced that the troops were able to retake the Marawi City police station and other mosques held by the terrorists.

Padilla said the main battle area had been reduced to half a square kilometer grid.

Despite the significant developments, the military official maintained that there would be no deadlines set in clearing the whole Marawi City of Maute bandits.

“We’re doing our best to end this crisis as soon as possible, and that’s an assurance that even our troops on the ground yesterday made to the President,” Padilla said.

“But as I mentioned also repeatedly in the past, these are delicate operations that we need to do slowly. The cases of unexploded ordnance, IEDs in every room, in every corner, are matters that put our troops in danger every minute of the day,” he added.

PACOM chief talks regional security with Philippine president, top officials

From the Stars and Stripes (Aug 24): PACOM chief talks regional security with Philippine president, top officials

U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, left, Commander of U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Harry Harris Jr., and Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte meet at Malacanan Palace in the Philippines, Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017.  COURTESY OF U.S. EMBASSY IN MANILA

America’s top Pacific commander has wrapped up a two-day visit to the Philippines, where he met with President Rodrigo Duterte and top military officials to discuss regional threats and an ongoing jihadist siege in the nation’s south.

Adm. Harry Harris met Wednesday with Duterte at Malacanang Palace, the president’s official residence and primary workplace, where they talked about further U.S. support to help end the conflict in the southern city of Marawi, said a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Manila.
Harris’ meetings with the Philippine defense secretary and chief of staff of the armed forces focused on upcoming bilateral U.S.-Philippine military engagements and military aid, the statement said.
Harris also traveled to Mindanao, the southern island province where Marawi is located, to meet with that region’s top military commander.
Marawi has been under a three-month siege by jihadist terrorists. Philippine forces recently recaptured the city’s main mosque, where gunmen had been holding hostages.
For the past 15 years, U.S. special operations personnel have rotated through Mindanao, where they have trained Philippine troops and provided sophisticated surveillance of terrorist groups.
Earlier in the week, the U.S. transferred a high-tech radar balloon to the Philippines intended to help the country monitor maritime and air traffic within its coastal waters.
United States formally handed over a tethered radar balloon system to the Philippines navy, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, during a ceremony at the Naval Education and Training Command in Zambales, Philippines. COURTESY OF U.S. EMBASSY IN MANILA
Formally called the 28M Class Tethered Aerostat Radar System, the balloon is used for low-level radar surveillance. Federal agencies in the U.S. use the system along the Mexican-American border, the Straits of Florida and the Caribbean, primarily to intercept illegal drugs.

The balloon was turned over to the Philippine Navy Tuesday by Col. Ernest Lee, chief of the Joint U.S. Military Assistance Group in the Philippines, the statement said. It will be based at the Naval Education and Training Command in the coastal province of Zambales, northwest of Manila.

The transfer was part of the U.S. Maritime Security Initiative, which is used to build the maritime capacity of Southeast Asian countries.

The Philippines faces challenges to maritime security on several fronts.

Maritime activities by the jihadist group Abu Sayyaf pose a threat to regional trade and commerce, Zachary Abuza, a Southeast Asia security expert, told a U.S. House subcommittee on foreign affairs in May.

Between March 2016 and April 2017, the group was responsible for 19 maritime incidents and hostage takings, including one attempted attack, he said.

Meanwhile, Chinese vessels recently encroached on the Philippine-held island of Pagasa, which is part of the disputed Spratly Island chain. China has asserted sovereignty over the Spratlys, claims disputed by the Philippines and other countries in the region.

About 100 Filipinos live on Pagasa, the Philippines’ largest occupied outpost in the Spratlys.

Sison denies link with police, military group​ ​seeking Duterte’s ouster

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Aug 25): Sison denies link with police, military group​ ​seeking Duterte’s ouster

Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison (Zea Io Ming C. Capistrano/
Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison said he has nothing to do with the group called the Patriotic and Democratic Movement (PADEM) that is calling for the ouster of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
This comes after a cybersecurity expert of the Armed Forces of the Philippines accused Jon Bustamante of Pinoy Abroad, an Amsterstam-based publication of overseas Filipino contract workers, to be the man behind PADEM composed of a group of military and police officials.

AFP said that Bustamante has ties with CPP founder Jose Maria Sison. But Sison denied such allegation branding it as a “silly” speculation.

Sison also tagged AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla as a “psywar expert” including the AFP’s cybersecurity expert.

“[They] are engaged in pure speculation and are barking up a wrong tree by accusing Jon Bustamante of Pinoy Abrod, an Amsterstam-based publication of overseas Filipino contract workers as the one-man originator of the call of the Patriotic and Democratic Movement (PADEM) for the ouster of Rodrigo R. Duterte,” he said.

The CPP founder pointed out that Bustamante received the PADEM’s call for Duterte’s ouster from Philippines and the US and not from The Netherlands.

This is contrary to AFP’s claim that it was Bustamante who uploaded PADEM’s condemnation statements in Utrecht-based social domain
“It did not originate from Bustamante. I received my copy via Facebook friends in the Philippines and the US before I saw the copy appearing in Pinoy Abroad,” said Sison.

Sison said he decided to post the PADEM’s statements on his Facebook account “after examining the face value and validity of the ten condemnations of Duterte and his regime.”

“I became more convinced of the authenticity when Dr. Dante Simbulan called on his fellow PMAyers to join PADEM,” he added.

In its statement on Monday, PADEM alleged that Duterte committed “gross crimes in betrayal of public trusts and in violation of national sovereignty and democratic rights of the the Filipino people.”

The group also scored the President’s mishandling of Marawi crisis,​ ​the issue of West Philippine Sea, the bloody war on drugs, and extrajudicial killings.

Farmer activist shot dead in broad daylight

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Aug 24): Farmer activist shot dead in broad daylight

A 32-year old farmer was shot dead by still unidentified assailants in Mawab, Compostela Valley province on Wednesday noon.

Jay Apiag, spokesperson of human rights group Karapatan, said Roger Timboco, a Mansaka farmer who worked as a part-time “habal-habal” (motorcycle) driver was shot around 12 noon.

In a phone interview on Thursday, Apiag told Davao Today that the victim’s co-drivers whom they interviewed reported that Timboco went to a store near their terminal to buy coconut juice before the assailants came and shot him.

He said the victim was shot in the back and was still able to run away from his attackers. He said at least two armed men attacked Timboco.

Apiag added that Timboco, who was a member of the Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Maco Comval (Kammao), sustained multiple gunshot wounds.

He recounted that in June last year, he was able to interview Timboco to document a case of harassment against him by the military.

“Sometime in June 2016, Timboco told me that a New People’s Army surrenderee accused him of keeping firearms in their house, a reason why the military raided their house,” Apiag said.

Timboco denied the accusation.

Apiag said Timboco was among those active during the campaign of the Madaum Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Association Incorporated in Tagum City this year.
“I saw him inside the protest camps, he was among the farmer activists who expressed support to Marbai farmers,” Apiag added.

Karapatan quickly pointed to the military agents as those responsible for the attack. But the military challenged the group to “go beyond propaganda and file charges to appropriate authorities.”

“We assure them of our full cooperation on any investigation,” said Capt. Rhyan Batchar, spokesman for the 10th Infantry Division.

Apiag said Timboco is the 43rd victim of political killings in Davao region since July last year.

NPAs free former CAFGU man in Agusan

From the Manila Bulletin (Aug 24): NPAs free former CAFGU man in Agusan

The New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on Wednesday afternoon freed a former member of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in an outskirts of Barangay Mahaba, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte province after three days in captivity.


In a live broadcast at a local radio station here late Wednesday afternoon, a certain Ka Sandara Sidlakan, spokesperson for guerilla-Front Committee 21 of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee, said the custodial force of the NPA released Arnold Panisan, 34, after he pledged to cut his link with the government military forces in the area.

Panisan was formally turned over by the NPA custodial force to local officials of Mahaba and third party facilitators before turning over to his immediate kin.

He was officially released at 3:27 p.m. on Wednesday.

The released former CAFGU man in Mahaba, who was suspected to be an asset (informer) of the Philippine Army (PA), expressed his gratitude to his abductors for treating him well during his captivity.

CAFGU is the civilian paramilitary unit of the PA.

Panisan was snatched by undetermined number of armed men at 4 p.m. on Aug. 21, 2017 in Barangay Mahaba, Cabadbaran City.

Gov’t forces pursue rebels after capturing NPA camp

From the Manila Bulletin (Aug 23): Gov’t forces pursue rebels after capturing NPA camp

After capturing a New People’s Army (NPA) camp Saturday, government forces have stepped up pursuit operations against the fleeing rebels in Surigao del Sur’s Diwata range.

Troops of the Army’s 36th Infantry Battallion (36th IB), supported by war-earth-moving equipment, were deployed in Diwata range to beef up the pursuing “Alpha Company” and Scout Platoon troops at the Andap Complex in Marihatag town, Surigao del Sur.

The provincial police mobile force, special force and Surigao del Sur Police Provincial Office (PPO) were also ordered by Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) Regional Director Chief Supt. Rolando B. Felix to assist the operating troops of 36th IB commander Lt. Col. Randolph Rojas.

The wide pursuit operation against the fleeing members of guerilla-Front Committee 19 of the CPP-NPA Northeastern Mindanao Regional Committee (NEMRC) took place after pursuing troops of “Alpha” and Scout Platoon of the 36th IB captured the rebels’ encampment at 4:40 p.m. on August 19 in Barangay Mahaba (within Andap Complex) in Marihatag town, Surigao del Sur, 36th IB spokesperson Capt. Al Anthony B. Pueblas told The Manila Bulletin on Wednesday.

Government forces seized several wires and detonating cords, cache of assorted ammunitions and magazines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and other bomb-making materials at the NPA camp, said the 36th IB spokesperson, in an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin.

“The NPAs hastily abandoned their camp after sensing that our pursuing troops were closely coming in to their position,” Pueblas said.

The seized rebel encampment can accommodate up to 50 persons, he said.

He said some of the seized landmines were found planted along the side of the road. “These pose so much danger to the civilian populace,” the 36th IB spokesperson said.

Cop gunned down by suspected NPA rebels in Sorsogon town

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 24): Cop gunned down by suspected NPA rebels in Sorsogon town

A policeman was shot dead by suspected members of New People’s Army in Bulan town in Sorsogon province on Thursday afternoon, police said.

Senior Superintendent Marlon Tejada, director of Sorsogon Police said Senior Police Officer 1 Nestor Austero, 40, chief of investigation division of Bulan police was shot to death by three armed rebels in Barangay (village) Somagongsong at around 4:20 p.m.

Tejada said based on the investigations, the suspects approached and shot the victim who sustained four gunshot wounds in his head.

The rebels also carted away the service firearm and motorcycle of the victim.

Southern Philippine town ends decades-old clan feuds

From Anadolou Agency (Aug 25): Southern Philippine town ends decades-old clan feuds

Government successfully settles bloody clan conflicts in Muslim-dominated Buldon in southern province of Maguindanao

Southern Philippine town ends decades-old clan feuds

Decades-old bloody clan war settled in Buldon, Thursday, according to Atty. Ishak Mastura, chairman of the Regional Board of Investments – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

He expressed hope that the amicable settlement of the clan wars in the agricultural-fertile hinterland town, will pave way to investors and eventually bring economic prosperity that will benefit the Iranuns – a Muslim tribe mixed of Maranao and Maguindanaoan origins.

“Now we can confidently offer Buldon to prospective investors as a viable site for large-scale agricultural ventures,” Mastura was quoted by Philippine star as saying.

The clan wars which have been traced back decades, were the result of land disputes, political rivalries, and more which worsened as the Iranuns, according to the report, exacted revenge for affronts to their clan pride and honor.
ARMM Regional Police Chief Superintendent Reuben Theodore Sindac commends the offices of town Mayor Abolais Manalao and provincial Governor Esmael Mangudadatu who have been actively reconciling feuding clans through the Maguindanao Task Force on Reconciliation and Unification.
Coordination among the local government unit, police and military along with the clerics of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front assisted in the negotiations with the leaders of the Iranun clans by convincing them to follow the teachings of Qur’an and live in peace again.

In a symbolic reconciliation rite, the clan wars were formally ended with the surrender of dozens of high-powered firearms by the clan leaders in exchange for cattle from the local government.

“My constituents eventually realized raising livestock is more sensible, profitable than buying guns to fight rival clans, which can only worsen the animosity among them,” Manalao said.

DSWD DROMIC Report #1 on the Armed Conflict in Maguindanao as of 24 August 2017, 6PM

Posted to the Relief Web (Aug 24): DSWD DROMIC Report #1 on the Armed Conflict in Maguindanao as of 24 August 2017, 6PM

Published on 24 Aug 2017 View Original


On August 20, 2017, a joint firefight between the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces of Moro Islamic Liberation Front (BIAF-MILF) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines against alleged member of ISIS in two (2) Municipalities of the Maguidanao Province, namely: Shariff Saidona Mustapha and Datu Odin Sinsuat.

1. Status of Affected Families/ Persons

2,016 families or 10,080 persons were affected by the armed conflict (Table 1).

2. Status of Internally Displaced Families/ Persons

At present, there are 2,016 families or 7,680 persons displaced by the armed conflict in Maguindanao; of which, 1,416 families or 7,080 persons are taking shelter in four (4) evacuation centers while 600 families or 3,000 persons are currently staying with families or friends (Table 2).

Philippines: Dozens Dead in Clashes Between Rebel Group, IS-linked militants

From BenarNews (Aug 24): Philippines: Dozens Dead in Clashes Between Rebel Group, IS-linked militants


Members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, a splinter group of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, march in their camp in Datu Saudi Ampatuan town in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao in this photo taken early this year.

Almost 40 people have been killed in weeks-long fighting between Islamic State-linked militants and the Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group that signed a peace deal with the government, officials said Thursday.

Von al Haq, military chief of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), said clashes and running gun battles have occurred in marshland areas near the town of Datu Salibo, about 800 km (500 miles) south of Manila, since the start of the month.

He said the militant group consisted of former MILF “lost command” guerrillas who joined smaller factions to support the Islamic State (IS), which had sent foreign fighters from Southeast Asia and the Middle East to back Filipino Abu Sayyaf and Maute fighters engaged in clashes with troops in nearby Marawi city since May 23.

Al Haq said the fighters belonged to Jamaah Mohajirin Ansa (JMA). Little is known about JMA except members are former MILF rebels who came out in public last year to support the IS, whose leader in the Philippines, Abu Sayyaf commander Isnilon Hapilon, led the siege in Marawi.

Additionally, the group is allied with the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), which splintered with the MILF to continue the rebellion.

“The fighting has been spread over several days from Aug. 2 to 19,” al Haq told BenarNews. “The fighting has so far been intense. Our fighters are sometimes swimming in the swamp while engaging in fighting.”

He said at least 10 MILF fighters died in the fighting. The military, which has been helping the MILF, said at least 26 enemy fighters were killed.

“We have overrun several strategic positions of the enemy side and recovered at least 20 improvised explosive devices,” al Haq said. “We have also recovered a black flag typically used by the IS in its attacks, including in Marawi.”

The MILF signed a peace deal with the Philippine government in 2014, officially ending its separatist rebellion in the south that began in the 1970s.

Over the years, thousands of people died in the fighting that stunted the economic growth of the country’s southern third.

At the height of the MILF’s power, it was known to control large camps where foreign militants had trained. These militants later linked up with several radical groups in the south, including the Abu Sayyaf, which is blamed for some of the worst attacks in the country, including kidnappings and beheading of foreigners and bomb attacks.

Mohagher Iqbal, a senior leader of the MILF, said about 50 militants from the enemy side were involved in the fighting. He warned that unless checked, the “radical forces” would continue to grow.

“Our forces know these remote marshland areas, but should we neglect this development, young Muslims would soon be radicalized,” Iqbal said.

Military provides artillery and air support

Local army spokesman Capt. Arvin Encinas said the fighting has continued with the military providing artillery, ground and air support to the MILF.

“This is a joint operation by our government troops and the MILF, which is now our partner in peace,” he said.

The MILF in July said it supported a “fatwa” called by local Muslim leaders against the Abu Sayyaf and the Maute group in Marawi, the country’s only Islamic city that has been abandoned by its more than 200,000 inhabitants as the military fights to dislodge the militants.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire south under martial law and has welcomed intelligence help from neighbors and allies the United States and Australia. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia have offered counter-terror help to arrest militants who cross their borders.

The fighting in Marawi has left more than 700 people dead, including 583 enemy fighters, the military said. Military spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said troops were continuing to move forward and that “the enemy-held area is getting smaller by the day.

“We will soon get back Marawi,” he said, adding troops had recently retaken a police station that had fallen to rebel hands at the start of the fighting. He said about 38 buildings had been cleared of the rebels recently, but 300 others remained to be declared safe and fully retaken.

Padilla also could not comment on the fate of the dozens of hostages believed held by the gunmen, including a Catholic priest who earlier aired an appeal to Duterte to stop the military’s continuing air raids that could harm them.


A member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front wades through a flooded farm on his way to the frontline in Datu Salibo town, Maguindanao province, in southern island of Mindanao, Aug. 22, 2017.(AFP)

Soldiers retake some rebel-held mosques in Marawi City

From GMA News (Aug 24): Soldiers retake some rebel-held mosques in Marawi City

Security forces battling the pro-ISIS Maute group in Marawi City have retaken some mosques the rebels had been using as their fortresses since May 23, when they attacked the city.

Radio dzBB's Benjie Liwanag reporting from Marawi City said Thursday morning that due to pressure from the joint military and police forces, the jihadist Maute rebels have abandoned the mosques.

Citing military sources, Liwanag said that the rebels used the mosques as their camps and military supplies posts.

Government forces have begun their cleanup of mosques, undertaking the operation with utmost care and respect for the Muslim religion, the dzBB report quoted Colonel Romeo Brawner, commander of the joint Task Force Ranao, as saying.

Clearing operations against the Maute holdouts is being done with care as the enemy forces are still holding civilian hostages, Brawner added.

Last Wednesday, Brawner announced that government forces regained control of a strategic police station in the city.

He said that the mission to retake the police station was not easy as it is located in the main battle area, adding that the mission was led by Task Group Musang of the Scout Rangers, the 51st infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, and the Joint Task Group composed of the Special Action Force of the Philippine National Police.

"We have taken over strategic locations within the main battle area. In fact 'yung mga locations po na ito ay areas [from] where we can launch further assault...," Brawner said.

Duterte boosts troops’ morale in visit to Marawi’s ‘main battle area’

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 25): Duterte boosts troops’ morale in visit to Marawi’s ‘main battle area’

President Rodrigo Duterte's latest visit to Marawi City Thursday afternoon further boosted the morale of fighting troops in the so-called main battle area.

This was stressed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año in a statement Friday. "The third visit was not just about the Commander-in-Chief in close proximity with the men, it was a seal of his commitment to walk the talk -- literally and figuratively," he added.

Although many of his advisers consider the President's second visit to Marawi's Forward Edge of the Battle Area (FEBA) last August 4 to be daring, this time, the Chief Executive went inside the Main Battle Area (MBA) around 4: 20 p.m.

"He (Duterte) braved the perils of sniper fires, Improvised Explosive Devices(IEDs), and Unexploded Ordnance in the yet to proclaimed 'Cleared' portions of the MBA -- just so he can be with his Soldiers, Airmen, Sailors, Marines and Policemen in the front-lines," the AFP chief stressed.

Duterte, in justifying his third visit to Marawi City, said that he wants to show his unity with the Filipino soldiers engaged in neutralizing the terrorist group.

"I am here once again to show -- not just say -- my unity with you. That much as you all are willing to die for your country with unquestioning resolve to follow the orders to 'Charge!' coming from your Commander-in-Chief, I am and I can be in the same muddy ground that you now stand; drenched like you under the same rain; and somehow smell like you in this battleground," Año quoted the President as saying.

Upon touchdown, Duterte boarded a convoy where he received an informal briefing from Joint Task Force Marawi head Brig. Gen. Rolando Bautista as the vehicles moved around portions of the MBA for grounds inspection up to the foot of Mapandi Bridge -- the site of one of the bloodiest encounters between government security forces and the Daesh-inspired Maute Group.

At one point, he alighted from his vehicle, walked towards the Casualty Evacuation Area without bulletproof vests on, and went further to greet and console the wounded soldiers being treated there.

He came as close to the fight area after he climbed a sniper position and twice pulled the trigger of a sniper rifle trained on an identified position of terrorists trading shots with military marksmen.

Talk-to-the-troops followed at the camp of Task Force Trident under Major Gen. Danilo Pamonag where Duterte handed combat watches, Soldier's Individual Packs, and PHP5,000 each intended for all the troops in Marawi.

"It was not just his physical presence, but his unspoken words that he has the back of his men covered," Año said.

Soldier shot by police unlikely to be suffering from stress: Padilla

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 25): Soldier shot by police unlikely to be suffering from stress: Padilla

The military is not inclined to believe that one of its Marawi veterans, shot by the police in Aurora, Zamboanga del Sur, was suffering from combat stress, Army spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said late Thursday.

He said that is very unlikely as the companions of Pfc. Rudillo Bartolome in the 53rd Infantry Battalion saw nothing strange in his behavior that would indicate that he is suffering from combat stress before he left camp. Padilla added that, if is he was, it would have been impossible for Bartolome to commute and reach home.

The trooper was shot dead by police officers after he allegedly pulled his .45-caliber pistol when accosted by the law enforcers Wednesday.

Joint military and police investigations are ongoing.

Bartolome was given an overnight pass by his superiors to visit his family in Midsalip, Zamboanga del Sur. He had been deployed to help neutralize the Maute Group terrorists following the May 23 rampage in Marawi City.

Terror leaders still in Marawi City: AFP

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 25): Terror leaders still in Marawi City: AFP

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will continue to presume that leaders of the terrorist Maute Group are still trapped in Marawi City, until their bodies are recovered or evidence proves that they have escaped.

Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla, Army spokesperson, made the statement when asked late Thursday on whether there is any indication that Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Omar and Abdullah Maute have breached the military cordon set up around the locality.

Padilla said it would be very difficult for them to break out as all exit and entry points in the city are kept under strict watch by military units.

Until evidence show that the three had been killed or had escaped, the military will presume that they are still inside Marawi City, he added.

Fighting in Marawi City broke out last May 23 after the government launched an attempt to arrest Hapilon and his cohorts.

As of Aug. 23, 595 Maute Group terrorists have been killed in battle, along with 129 troops and 45 civilians.

Wife appeals to NPA to free husband-cop

From the Philippine News Agency (Aug 25): Wife appeals to NPA to free husband-cop

Life is getting harder for a housewife whose police husband was abducted by communist rebels in North Cotabato two weeks ago.

Jessa Catalan, wife of Police Officer 1 Bristol Catalan, an intelligence officer of Makilala Municipal Police office in Makilala, North Cotabato, appealed to New Peoples Army (NPA) to free her husband as soon as possible and without any condition.

Two weeks after the rebels seized her husband, Jessa said she has not heard anything from her husband or from his abductors.

The pain of waiting for any good news is excruciating for a wife and her children whose only source of income is her husband’s salary as government law enforcer, she added.

Jessa said since PO1 Catalan was kidnapped, her two children had stopped schooling.

PO1 Catalan was sending his two children to school in Barangay Katipunan on board a motorbike when three men forced him to board another motorbike, leaving his children unharmed.

The children are traumatized seeing their father taken at gunpoint by armed men, Jessa said.

Catalan was abducted by NPAs a week after the North Cotabato police office and Provincial Public Safety Battalion arrested a suspected NPA leader and seized from him three high-powered guns, explosives and subversive documents.

Makilala Mayor Rudy Caoagdan has aired an appeal to the NPA to free Catalan, the second police officer abducted by NPAs in North Cotabato since 2015.

According to Caoagdan, Catalan has no known enemies and is a good law enforcer not involved in any illegal act.

Senior Supt. Emmanuel Peralta, North Cotabato police director, said efforts continue for the safe recovery of PO1 Catalan.

MILF: MILF criticizes former President Arroyo’s Bangsamoro bill, considers it as ‘foolish’

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Aug 25): MILF criticizes former President Arroyo’s Bangsamoro bill, considers it as ‘foolish’

An online report posted today (Aug. 25) by the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) says that the Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF) have criticized the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) proposed by former President and Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and considered it as ‘foolish’.
It was “disgusting in all aspects” and ran counter to the “spirit” of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), the MILF also said as quoted by PDI.

The FAB was signed by and between the GPH and MILF Peace Negotiating Panels in 2012, while the CAB was signed in 2014. Both reflected the right to self-determination espoused by the Bangsamoro people.

“By signing these agreements [FAB and CAB], it is an obligation of government to enact the BBL as a way (of complying) with its obligation contained in these agreements,” the MILF said in its editorial posted on

Arroyo filed Babar or House Bill No. 6121 last week, a few days before the draft BBL was transmitted by Malacañang to Congress.

The MILF said Arroyo should not have filed the bill as it “clearly favors special groups of people, and more seriously, rescinds a moral obligation contained in [the] agreement that it entered into with, including those with MILF and MNLF”. (Source: PDI)

NDF/CPP Information Bureau: Unite the people to resist Duterte’s heightened tyrannical rule

CPP propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Aug 21): Unite the people to resist Duterte’s heightened tyrannical rule  

CPP Information Bureau

Rodrigo Duterte is obsessed with his strongman ambitions. He is set on establishing himself as a fascist despot. His resort to tyranical methods has heightened since having unravelled as a camp-follower of the US imperialists. He has become ever more brazen and unapologetic in carrying out repressive policies and measures.

He has escalated the campaign of extrajudicial killings against street peddlers and users of shabu. He expresses satisfaction over news that more than a hundred have been killed by his police in three days. He has publicly applauded the murderous rampage of his police force and has repeated his vow to save them from punishment, stoking greater public indignation after police were caught on camera manhandling a 17-year old boy prior to his fatal shooting. There is widespread clamor for justice for all the victims of Duterte’s anti-people “war against drugs.”

This escalation of police killings comes at the heels of the discovery of a P6.4 billion shipment of shabu from China at a warehouse of the Bureau of Customs. The involvement of Duterte scion Paolo and his Davao gang of businessmen cum drug smugglers has also been exposed. Duterte has defended his appointee at the BOC despite (or perhaps because of) the drug smuggling.

Duterte is himself rousing widespread public suspicion that his “war against drugs” is nothing but a smokescreen for a major turf war among major drug syndicates, and that he has been using the police to provide favor and protection for one syndicate against another or that he himself a drug kingpin. Employing trusted and tested police officers, he liquidated the Parojinogs of Ozamiz City, long known for controlling the illegal drug trade in large parts of Mindanao and elsewhere.

He has likewise used his war against drugs as a blanket tool against his political rivals. He brandishes his thick book of dossiers of supposed drug personalities which not even the police chief can cite a basis for. He has arbitrarily included and excluded people and has used the list to armtwist rivals with threats of killings showcasing the Parojinogs and Albuerras in order to force them to accede to his political and criminal agenda.

The brutality of Duterte’s “war against drugs” is matched only by the brutality of his all-out war against the revolutionary forces under Oplan Kapayapaan, his imposition of martial law and suspension of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao and the anti-Moro war and siege of Marawi. In the countryside, the military rules and respects no rights or freedom. Killings of peasants and national minorities run unabated. It has relentlessly carried out aerial bombings, shellings and strafings of civilian communities. Almost a million people have forcibly evacuated.

Duterte has used his congressional supermajority to earn approval and extension of his Mindanao martial law. He has also rammed through his new tax laws and is seeking rapid approval of his 2018 budget. With complete or nearly complete control of congress, Duterte aims to push for charter change to enshrine the neoliberal policies of liberalization, privatization and deregulation and realize his ambition of completely monopolizing power under the guise of establishing a federal government.

Duterte wants everyone to remain silent and blindly accept his planned infrastructure binge with all its burdensome debt deals and commissions. He has repeatedly threatened the Supreme Court against issuing TROs and had his political allies file an impeachment case against the chief justice. Threats of impeachment have also been dished out against other officials who have not been cooperative with the Duterte regime such as Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

Duterte has completely abandoned his cordial relations with the national democratic movement having failed to entice the people’s revolutionary forces to silence their guns in a protracted ceasefire prior to substantively addressing the roots of the civil war. His congressional swines have voted to reject the appointment of social activist Judy Taguiwalo as social welfare secretary, signaling his termination of earlier efforts to explore a possible alliance with the Left. He has repeatedly declared he no longer wants peace negotiations with the NDFP.

The Duterte regime has carried out policies that favor foreign big capitalists, bourgeois compradors, big landlords, bureaucrat capitalists and the fascist military and polace. It plans to impose additional tax burdens and pursues a debt-driven infrastructure program which are bound to be detrimental to the people’s welfare. It has waged wars of death and destruction against the people, especially against the peasants, the Moro and national minority peoples, the workers and the urban poor.

As a result, the Duterte regime has become increasingly politically isolated from the people and has resorted to more and more tyrannical measures to perpetuate itself in power. No amount of media and social media manipulation and news and public opinion fakery can withstand the assertion of the truth concerning the concrete conditions of the oppressed and exploited people.

It is the task of the Party and revolutionary forces to unite all sectors in a broad people’s alliance, provide it core strength and leadership in the struggle against the US-Duterte regime’s tyrannical, criminal and corrupt rule. Indeed, many of the Duterte regime’s victims are now rising from the depths of fear and raising their voices against his regime.

The mass organizations and alliances must unite and mobilize the people in greater numbers by intensifying the mass struggles of peasants, workers, students, the urban poor, the women, the Moro and minority peoples, the church people, teachers, the migrant workers and their families and other democratic sectors and groups. They must carry out mass struggles and campaigns along anti-imperialist, anti-feudal and anti-fascist lines.

They must give attention to waging a propaganda offensive against Duterte’s demagoguery. They must encourage, unleash the initiative and give full swing to their members and their mass base to confront and confute Duterte and his band of paid trolls in all forms of media. They can do so by carrying out regular educational discussions among their members and the masses in the factories, communities, schools, offices and so on.

The broadest possible online network of activists, propagandists and members of the national democratic mass organizations must be built.

Under the direction of the Party, the New People’s Army (NPA) must continue to seize nationwide initiative, carry out more and more tactical offensives, increase the number of its weapons and arm a rapidly increasing number of new Red fighters.

Every successful tactical offensive of the NPA helps shatter the climate of shock, awe and fear imposed by the regime’s brutal war and, in turn, instills fear on the drug-crazed Duterte. The victories of the NPA inspire the Filipino and Moro people to wage mass struggles and armed resistance against the US-Duterte regime.

CPP/Ang Bayan: Sec. Judy Taguiwalo, sinibak ng Commission on Appointments

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 21): Sec. Judy Taguiwalo, sinibak ng Commission on Appointments

UMANI NG pagkundena ang Commission on Appointments (CA) sa pagtanggi nitong ikumpirma si Sec. Judy Taguiwalo bilang kalihim ng Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) noong Agosto 16.

Ang pagsibak kay Taguiwalo ay huli lamang sa anti-mamamayan at militaristang mga hakbang ng rehimeng Duterte. Malinaw ito sa paglutang ng pangalan ni Monica Prieto-Teodoro, asawa ng dating kalihim ng Department of National Defense na si Gilbert Teodoro, bilang pamalit kay Taguiwalo. Ilang araw bago nito, napabalitang nagbigay ng milyong donasyon ang mag-asawa para sa pondo ng mga sugatan at nasawing sundalo.

Batid ni Taguiwalo na hindi siya kinumpirma dahil sa kanyang pagtutol na isama sa badyet ng DSWD ang pork barrel ng mga kongresista sa pamamagitan ng programang 4Ps noon pang nakaraang taon. Gayundin, batid niyang sinibak siya dahil sa kanyang pagtutol sa pagpataw ng bagong buwis sa mahihirap at umano’y ugnayan sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan.

Maraming mamamahayag at kapwa empleyado ng gubyerno ang nagpahayag ng pagkadismaya sa di-pagkumpirma kay Taguiwalo. Kabilang dito ang pinangalanan ng rehimen na Officer-in-Charge ng departamento na si Emmanuel Leyco at si Aiza Seguerra, kumisyuner ng National Youth Commission. Hinamon nila ang CA na ilabas ang mga pangalan ng bumoto. Sa 24-kataong CA, 13 ang bumoto kontra kay Taguiwalo sa sikretong boto.

Tatlo na sa mga hinirang na kalihim ang hindi kinumpirma ng CA. Isa rito si Gina Lopez na nanindigan laban sa mapandambong na operasyong mina bilang kalihim ng Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Sinalubong naman ng mga mag-aaral na Lumad mula sa Save Our Schools Network si Taguiwalo matapos ang kanyang deliberasyon sa CA.

Hinirang si Taguiwalo para sa DSWD kasama ang lider magsasaka na si Sec. Rafael Mariano para sa Department of Agrarian Reform bilang tugon ng NDFP sa alok ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na maging bahagi ng kanyang gabinete. Nakatakda namang isalang ang kumpirmasyon ni Sec. Rafael Mariano sa Agosto 30.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Badyet 2018 ni Duterte, kontra-mahirap

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 21): Badyet 2018 ni Duterte, kontra-mahirap

SA UNANG ARAW ng deliberasyon ng badyet para sa 2018 pambansang badyet, pinansin ng Gabriela Women’s Party ang diin nito para sa konstruksyon ng malalaking proyektong imprastruktura (mahigit isang trilyon) habang napakaliit ang inilaan para sa mga proyektong pabahay para sa mahihirap (P1.4 bilyon). Anang Gabriela, matatawag itong badyet para sa demolisyon dahil tiyak na malawakang dislokasyon ng mga maralitang komunidad ang kahahantungan ng programa sa imprastruktura ng rehimen. Hindi bababa sa P48 bilyon ang nakalaan para sa “right of way” pa lamang, na mangangahulugan ng pagdemolis ng maraming komunidad para ilatag ang mga daan.

Binatikos ng Gabriela si Duterte sa kawalang-interes nitong resolbahin ang kakulangan sa pabahay. Anito, ang badyet na inilaan ay makagagawa lamang ng mahigit 6,000 yunit ng murang pabahay, malayong-malayo sa 5.7 milyong kinakailangan.

Samantala, kinundena ng Kabataan Partylist ang pagbabawas ng badyet para sa 43 pampublikong unibersidad at kolehiyo sa susunod na taon. Masahol pa, inaasahan ng estado na kumita ang naturang mga unibersidad at kolehiyo nang mahigit P44 bilyon mula sa kani-kanilang mga operasyon. Ang P13.2 bilyon nito ay inaasahang manggagaling sa pangungulekta ng matrikula, taliwas sa isinabatas kamakailan na “libreng matrikula.” Malaking kabalintunaan na sa kabila ng batas na ito, itinutulak ng mga patakarang neoliberal ang mga SUC sa komersyal na operasyon na hindi maglalao’y papasanin rin ng mga estudyante.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Mga paglabag sa karapatang-tao sa Palawan

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 21): Mga paglabag sa karapatang-tao sa Palawan

Sunud-sunod na paglabag sa karapatang-tao ang naitala sa Palawan mula Hulyo 24 hanggang Agosto 17 ngayong taon. Gayundin, walang upat ang pamamaslang, panggigipit at militarisasyon sa iba pang bahagi ng bansa.

Noong Hulyo 24, dalawang beses na pinasabugan ng mortar ang komunidad ng mga katutubo sa bundok ng Arib, sa pagitan ng Brgy. Malihud, Bataraza at Brgy. Culasian, Rizal. Mariing pinasinungalingan ng Bagong Tinig ng Katutubo–Palawan ang pahayag ng Western Command ng AFP na diumano’y may naganap na engkwentro sa nasabing lugar.

Kinabukasan, pinagbabaril ng mga elemento ng 4th Marine Battalion Landing Team ang apat na katutubong naglalakad sa tabing-ilog. Dalawa sa kanila ang nasugatan.

Noong Hulyo 27, nagkaroon ng misengkwentro ang mga elemento ng AFP na pinalabas nilang sagupaan sa pagitan nila at mga Pulang mandirigma. Sinakop nila ang lugar kaya napilitan ang mga katutubo na lisanin ang kanilang komunidad.

Sa sumunod na araw, Hulyo 28, binomba ng AFP ang Brgy. Malihud at Bulalacao, Bataraza. Iligal na nanghalughog ang mga sundalo sa mga kabahayan ng mga katutubo at inaresto ang kanilang lider na si Chieftain Polog kasama ang kanyang mga asawa at mga anak sa Sityo Marinshawun, Brgy. Bono-bono. Habang ibinibyahe patungo sa kampo ng militar, inihulog ng mga sundalo mula sa umaandar na trak si Polog. Malubha siyang nasugatan at kinailangang dalhin sa ospital. Idinetine naman sa upisina ng DSWD ang kanyang mga asawa, habang itinago ang kanyang mga anak na lalaki.

Noong Agosto 11, apat na katutubo ang dinakip sa Brgy. Alacalian, Taytay, tinortyur at sinampahan ng gawa-gawang kaso. Kinilala ang apat na sina Noel, Reden at Ely Peñaredondo at Elesar Buenasalbas. Hinarang sina Elesar, Noel at Reden ng tropa ng Regional Public Safety Battalion at inakusahang mga myembro ng BHB.

Pamamaslang sa Sorsogon

Magkakasunod na pamamaslang ang naitala sa Gubat, Sorsogon nitong Agosto 7-8. Sa pahayag ng BHB-Sorsogon, pinasok ng mga elemento ng 22nd IB at 31st IB noong Agosto 7 ang bahay ni Eming Estrada, magsasaka at residente ng Brgy. Casili, Gubat at walang awa siyang pinaslang. Kinabukasan, Agosto 8, alas-10 ng gabi, pinagbabaril ng mga elemento ng 96th Military Intelligence Combat Operatives ang magkapatid na sina Jayson at Jojo Escaño sa kanilang bahay sa Brgy. Union. Napatay si Jayson habang tinamaan sa braso si Jojo.

Noong Agosto 7, pinasok ng parehong yunit ang bahay ni Salvador Hapa sa Brgy. Sangat. Kinaumagahan, binalikan siya ng mga nag-ooperasyong militar at dahil dito, napilitan siyang umalis ang lugar at iwan ang kanyang kabuhayan.

Pandarahas sa mga paaralan at komunidad ng mga Lumad

Matapos ang engkwentro sa pagitan ng 73rd IB at BHB noong Agosto 8, minilitarisa ng mga sundalo ang magkanugnog na mga sityo ng Lamsalo, Kakob, Mahayag at Maybaka sa Brgy. Upper Suyan, Malapatan, Sarangani. Dahil dito, nagbakwit ang umaabot sa 500 magsasakang B’laan tungong Sityo Akbual sa parehong barangay.

Bago nito, pinaulanan ng mga sundalo ang kabahayan ng mga Lumad habang nakikipagpulong ang sila sa kumander ng 72nd IB sa lugar. Ayon kina Sarino Nayam at Melvin Bation, mga guro ng CLANS, sinulatan pa ng mga sundalo ang ilang bahay ng mga salitang Moro at sa tangkang siraan ang mga Moro sa lugar.

Sa pahayag ng CLANS, 33 paaralan na ang sapilitang nagsara dahil sa patuloy na pag-atake sa mga komunidad ng Lumad, may 1,100 mag-aaral ang tumigil sa pag-aaral habang 52 guro ang hindi nakapapasok.

Samantala, isang dalawang- taong gulang na bata ang namatay sa evacuation center sa Capitol Grounds ng Cabanglasan, Bukidnon noong Agosto 17. Kasama ang batang si Angeline Powan sa daan-daang Lumad na lumikas sa kanilang komunidad matapos ang pandarahas ng grupong paramilitar na New Indigenous People’s Army at Alamara noong Mayo. Tatlong beses na siyang isinugod sa ospital dahil sa pagtatae at lagnat.

Pananakot sa mga sibilyan at aktibista

Pinatindi naman ang pandarahas at iligal na pang-aaresto sa mga kilalang kasapi ng progresibong organisasyon at mga nagtataguyod ng karapatang-tao.

Matapos ang engkwentro sa pagitan ng tropa ng AFP at mga Pulang mandirigma noong Hulyo 27, naglunsad ng fact-finding mission ang Karapatan-Cagayan Valley sa Nagtipunan, Quirino noong Agosto 3-4. Naitala nito ang mga insidente ng sapilitang pagpapalikas, pandarahas at pananakot.

Pinagkaitan ng mga elemento ng 86th IB ng agarang atensyong medikal ang sibilyang si Arnold Jamias na inakusahan nilang myembro ng BHB. Ipinalabas pa nilang nahuli siya ng kanilang tropa noong Hulyo 26. Naitala rin ng grupo ang paglapastangan sa katawan ng napaslang na Pulang mandirigma. Tatlong residente ng San Ramos naman ang nakaranas ng intimidasyon at pagbabanta mula sa tropa ng militar habang dalawa ang dinahas sa itinayong tsekpoynt ng 86th IB.

Napilitan ring lumikas ang mga residente ng San Ramos, Nagtipunan, Quirino dahil sa nagpapatuloy na operasyong militar sa kanilang komunidad.

Nakaranas naman ng panggigipit at pagbabanta si Rogelio Capulas, aktibong kasapi ng Binnadang Amianan, alyansa na nagtataguyod ng karapatan ng katutubo sa Cordillera at myembro ng Katribu.

Noong Agosto 9, pinuntahan si Capulas ng isang ahenteng militar na nagpakilalang “Mark” sa labas ng kanyang pinagtatrabahuhan sa 18th Ave., Cubao, Quezon City at nagbantang huhulihin at papatayin siya kung hindi siya makikipagtulungan sa militar. Istap ng NDFP Joint Monitoring Committee ang kanyang asawa.

Noong Agosto 15, inulat ng Karapatan-Panay ang panggigipit sa kanilang pangkalahatang kalihim na si Reylan Vergara. Ayon sa kanilang pahayag, binantaan ng tatlong ahente ng pulis ang pamilya ni Vergara.

Samantala, mariing kinundena ng BHB-Pangasinan ang patuloy na pagkampo mula pa noong Hulyo 28 ng mga elemento ng 84th IB, RPSB-PNP Pangasinan, PNP San Nicolas at 702nd Brigade sa barangay hall ng Sta. Maria East, San Nicolas, Pangasinan at nagpusiyon ng dalawang tangkeng pandigma.

Ginigipit rin ng tropa ng militar ang mga residente hanggang sa mapilitan silang lumikas mula sa komunidad.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Pagwasak ng mga traysikel, kinundena

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 21): Pagwasak ng mga traysikel, kinundena

NAGPROTESTA SA harap ng Quezon City Hall ang mga myembro ng KADAMAY noong Agosto 9 para kundenahin ang pagpapatupad ng ordinansang SP 2337 o “one-strike policy” laban sa mga hindi rehistradong traysikel. Bago nito, marahas na winasak ang 80 traysikel sa harap mismo ng mga may-ari nito. Ayon kay Bea Arellano, tagapangulo ng organisasyon, napakaraming sinisingil ang lokal na gubyerno para sa pagpaparehistro kaya napipilitan ang mahihirap na magpatuloy sa kanilang kabuhayan sa kabila ng tuluy-tuloy na panggigipit ng mga awtoridad. Kinundena rin ito ni Sec. Judy Taguiwalo ng DSWD at inihambing sa magaan na parusa sa iligal na operasyon ng mga kumpanya sa transportasyon na Uber at Grab. Nanawagan siya ng mas makatao at produktibong paraan para lutasin ang usapin at hindi ang pagwasak sa ari-arian ng mamamayan.

Bungkalan sa Batangas

SINIMULAN NG mga magsasaka ng Sityo Balakbakan, Brgy. Laiya Aplaya, San Juan, Batangas noong Agosto 17 ang bungkalan sa inaagaw na lupa ng Laiya Development Corp. ni Frederico Campos III. Kinakamkam ni Campos ang Sityo Balakbakan upang gawing marangyang resort para sa mga turista. Noong Hulyo 3, 2014, marahas na dinemolis ang mga kabahayan at itinulak ng mga residente na manirahan sa tabi ng kalsada. Kahit sa gitna ng matinding panghaharas ng mga gwardya, tuluy-tuloy na ipinaglalaban ng mga magsasaka ang karapatan nila sa lupa.

Ika-10 taon ng Pandaigdigang Araw ng mga Katutubo, ipinagdiwang

SA ILALIM NG temang “Araw ng Pakikibaka at Pagdiriwang”, nagtipon ang mga katutubo ng Kordilyera noong Agosto 9 sa syudad ng Baguio. Pinangunahan ng Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) ang panawagan para sa pagpapaigting ng pagkakaisa at pakikibaka para sa karapatan sa pagpapasya sa sarili ng mga pambansang minorya at karapatan ng iba pang sektor ng lipunan. Nanawagan rin ang CPA na wakasan ang batas militar sa Mindanao dahil ang mga katutubong Lumad ang nabibiktima ng malawakang paglabag ng militar at paramilitar sa mga karapatan ng mamamayan.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Lakbayan 2017: Pagkakaisa laban sa pasismo

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 21): Lakbayan 2017: Pagkakaisa laban sa pasismo

“PAGKAKAISA NG pambansang minorya at ng buong sambayanang Pilipino sa harap ng tumitinding pasismo ng rehimeng US-Duterte.” Ito ang pangkalahatang tema ng panlimang Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya na pinangungunahan ng Sandugo, isang alyansa ng mga mamamayang Moro, Lumad, taga-Cordillera at iba pang pambansang minorya.

Tinatayang mahigit 1,500 Lumad at Moro mula sa iba’t ibang rehiyon ng Mindanao ang lalakbay patungong Metro Manila ngayong huling linggo ng Agosto hanggang Setyembre. Sasalubungin ng mga katutubo at iba pang pambansang minorya mula sa iba’t ibang panig ng Luzon at Visayas ang mga Lumad at Moro ng Mindanao sa isang buwang kampuhan at mga serye ng kilos-protesta.

Pangunahing panawagan ng Lakbayan ngayong taon ang pagbasura sa batas militar sa Mindanao na ginawang tuntungan ng AFP at PNP upang patindihin ang mga pasistang atake sa Bangsamoro, mga komunidad ng Lumad at magsasaka at iba pang sibilyan sa isla.

Sa mga panayam matapos ang kanyang pangalawang State of the Nation Address noong Hulyo, nagbanta si Duterte na bobombahin ang mga eskwelahan ng Lumad habang dinala ang lipas na at mapanlinlang na linya ng AFP na “iligal” at “hindi rehistrado” sa gubyerno ang mga eskwelahang ito.

Noong ding Hulyo hanggang sa kasalukuyan, sa pangunguna ng Save our Schools Network, nagkampo ang mahigit isandaang estudyanteng Lumad sa University of the Philippines sa Diliman, Quezon City bilang protesta sa mga pagbabanta ni Duterte. Umani ng suporta mula sa mga relihiyoso, akademiko, maging sa mga artista, ang kanilang panawagang pagpapatigil sa panggigipit, pagpaparatang sa kanila bilang mga rebelde, at paninira sa kanilang paaralan.

Kasabay nito, sunud-sunod ang ginawang malalaking kilos-protesta ng mamamayan sa Mindanao laban sa batas militar ng rehimeng Duterte. Ilang beses dinumog ng mga estudyanteng Lumad at kanilang mga tagasuporta ang upisina ng Department of Education at hedkwarters ng AFP Eastern Mindanao Command sa Davao City upang iprotesta ang panggigipit at pananakot ng mga ahensya ng gobyerno sa kanilang mga eskwelahan. Daan-daang Lumad din ang nagprotesta noong Agosto 9 sa Davao City sa paggunita ng Pandaigdigang Araw ng Pambansang Minorya.

Noong Agosto 15-16, naglunsad ng People’s Caravan for Justice and Peace ang mahigit 500 na mga Lumad at magsasaka ng prubinsya ng Compostela Valley. Nagkampo ang mga raliyista sa harap ng kapitolyo ng prubinsya at nanawagan ng hustisya para sa mga biktima ng pamamaslang sa ilalim ng Oplan Kapayapaan at batas militar ng rehimeng Duterte. Ayon sa Karapatan-SMR, sa prubinsyang ito na bisansagang “lambak ng kamatayan.” Hindi bababa sa 11 ang biktima ng ekstrahudisyal na patay dito mula Enero.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: AFP-LRR: Binuong yunit ng US

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 21): AFP-LRR: Binuong yunit ng US

ANG GITGITANG pakikipaglaban ng mga armadong Moro sa Marawi ay pangunahing hinaharap ng mga elemento ng Light Reaction Regiment (LRR) ng AFP. Sa minimum, dalawang kumpanya nito, ang 4th at 5th Light Reaction Company, ang nasa Marawi mula pa sa unang araw ng labanan.

Ang LRR ay isang pormasyong militar sa ilalim ng Philippine Army na may anim na kumpanya (600 tauhan) sa kasalukuyan. Nilikha at ekslusibo itong sinanay at inarmasan ng US sa pamamagitan ng $25 milyong ayuda ng Department of State nito noong 2001. Una itong itinayo bilang Light Reaction Company noong 2000 bilang espesyal na pwersang “kontra-terorismo” laban sa Abu Sayyaf. Maagang bahagi ng 2001, nagpadala ang US ng mga espesyal na pwersa mula sa base nito sa Okinawa para ilunsad ang anim-na-buwang pagsasanay ng mga elemento ng naturang yunit. Ang unang mga elemento nito ay mula sa Scout Rangers at Special Forces ng Philippine Army.

Nang maganap ang teroristang pang-aatake sa US noong Setyembre 11, 2001 at umigting ang panghihimasok militar ng US sa Pilipinas, isa sa pinalakas na yunit ng US ang LRC. Sa ilalim ng Operation Enduring Freedom (2001-2014), ipinadala ng US Special Operations Command ang Task Force 510 (kalaunan naging Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines) noong 2002. Ipinailalim dito ang LRC at matapos ng dalawang taong pagsasanay, ginamit na ang yunit noong 2004. Espesyalisado ang yunit sa kontra-isnayper na mga operasyon at labanang malapitan, gayundin sa kontra-gerilyang taktika. Pinalaki ito tungong batalyon noong Mayo 2002 at tungong regiment noong 2014.

Hindi limitado sa pagtugis sa bandidong grupong Abu Sayyaf ang mga operasyong “kontra-terorismo” ng yunit. Dalawang beses itong naging instrumento sa pagsupil ng kudeta ng kanilang kapwa mga sundalo (2003 at 2009). May panahong nakatuon ito sa pagtugis sa Bagong Hukbong Bayan. Noong 2008, naging instrumento ito sa paggapi ng isang yunit ng BHB sa Tarlac. May mga panahong ginamit ito sa mga operasyon laban sa Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Noong 2008, kinasuhan ang 50 elemento nito sa pagpaslang ng pitong sibilyan sa kanilang pakikipagsagupaan sa MILF. Noong 2014, naging pwersang panagupa ito sa Zamboanga Seige, nang tangkain ng Moro National Liberation Front na agawin ang bahagi ng Zamboanga City at magtayo ng sariling teritoryo. Ito rin ang yunit na nag-operasyon sa Bohol para tugisin umano ang grupo ng Abu Sayyaf na lumapag sa lugar. Nagsasagawa ito ng mga lihim na mga strike mission para maglikida ng mga “high value target” tulad nang ginawa nito sa Sulu nitong taon.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Espesyal na Ulat ng Ang Bayan - Hukayin ang katotohanan sa likod ng pagkubkob ng AFP sa Marawi

Propaganda article from the Tagalog edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Aug 21): Espesyal na Ulat ng Ang Bayan - Hukayin ang katotohanan sa likod ng pagkubkob ng AFP sa Marawi

Sa espesyal na ulat na ito ng Ang Bayan, sinikap na buuin ang tunay na larawan ng pagkubkob ng AFP sa Marawi City. Itinatampok dito ang krusyal na mga datos na pilit na ibinabaon ng AFP kabilang ang ang mga kwestyon tungkol sa batayan ng multo ng “ISIS” na nilikha at pinalaki ni Duterte; at ang sentral na papel ng US sa paglulunsad at pagpapatagal ng gera sa Marawi City; at iba pa.

Halaw ang mga datos na ito sa mga ulat ng mga kadre ng Partido na nagsagawa ng tuwirang imbestigasyon, mga yunit ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) na direktang nakakahalubilo ng masang Moro, mga panayam sa mga nagbakwit na residente ng Marawi at sa pananaliksik sa iba’t ibang pampublikong impormasyon.

1. Rido at hindi rebelyon ang konteksto ng pagsiklab ng gera sa Marawi.

Bago pa man sumiklab ang gera sa Marawi, matagal nang kumukulo ang isang masaklaw na rido ng mga angkan ng mga lokal na mga naghaharing uri. Nagkaisa ang mga angkan na wala sa poder na magsama-sama para maglunsad ng armadong aksyon partikular laban sa nakaupong pangkatin na pinamumunuan ni Gandamra, ang nanalong alkalde sa eleksyong 2016. Plano nilang agawin ang munisipyo ng syudad, nyutralisahin ang Camp Ranao at isara ang pangunahing mga kalsada sa syudad.

Malalim at nagsasanga-sanga ang relasyon ng mga angkang sangkot dito. Isa rito ang angkan ng Romato-Maute na may malawak nang nabuong alyansa nang tinangka nilang patalsikin ang nakaupong meyor sa Butig noong Nobyembre 2016. Sa pamamagitan ng angkang Romato ng kanilang ina, direkta ang kanilang ugnayang kapamilya sa mga Solitario/Salic na siyang pinakamalaking angkan sa Marawi.

Ang planong patalsikin ang nakaupong pangkatin sa Marawi ay pinangungunahan ng mga Maute, partikular ang magkapatid na Omarkhayam at Abdullah. Nagtagpo ang interes nila ni Isnilon Hapilon ng Abu Sayyaf sa pagtatayo doon ng isang “Dawlah Islamiya” (Islamic State). Para makahamig ng suporta sa loob ng syudad, nanawagan sila ng “paglilinis” sa Marawi sa mga di-Islamikong mga gawi, tulad ng laganap na pagtutulak ng droga, prostitusyon, alak, pangungutang, karaoke at iba pa. Ang paglaganap ng droga ay isinisisi nila sa mga sundalo ng AFP.

Bagaman gumamit ang magkapatid ng mga simbolo at banderang tulad ng sa ISIS, walang indikasyon na may kontrol o pinopondohan ng ISIS na nakabase sa Syria at Iraq ang mga operasyon ng grupo. Wala ring indikasyon na mayroong kaugnayan ang magkapatid sa iba pang grupong Moro na sumumpa sa bandera ng ISIS labas ng Lanao del Sur.

2. Bulilyasong operasyong likidasyon ng US kay Isnilon Hapilon ang nagpasiklab sa labanan.

Sumiklab ang labanan sa pagitan ng AFP/PNP at armadong grupong Moro bandang ala-1:45 ng hapon noong Mayo 23. Inilunsad ng AFP ang isang operasyong katulad ng Mamasapano na may layuning likidahin si Isnilon Hapilon sa paghahabol ng pabuyang $5 milyon (P125 milyon) alok ng US.

Tulad ng nabulilyasong operasyong Mamasapano, bakas ang disenyo at pagpapatakbo ng US sa operasyon. Unang araw pa lamang, tambak na sa syudad ang mga tropang sinanay at inarmasan ng US, pangunahin ang Light Reaction Regiment (LRR) na nakabase sa Fort Magsaysay sa Nueva Ecija. Ang yunit na ito ay pinalakas ng US noong 2004, gamit ang sariling pondo, at sinanay ng matagal na panahon sa mga layunin at estratehiya ng militar nito. (Tingnan ang kaugnay na artikulo sa pahina 8.)

Tulad rin ng nangyari sa Mamasapano, mistulang “pintakasi” na sinalubong at ginapi ng malaking pwersang Moro ang unang pwersang panalakay ng AFP. Naiulat na nasukol at nagapi ang halos buong pwersa ng AFP na ginamit ng US sa operasyong ito. Hindi lumaban ang lokal na mga pwersang pulis. Ibinaon nila ang kanilang mga armas at sumabay sa pagbakwit ng mga sibilyan.

3. Sinamantala ang sumiklab na labanan sa Marawi para ipataw ang batas militar sa Mindanao.

Kinagabihan ng Mayo 23, idineklara ni Duterte ang pagpataw ng batas militar at suspensyon ng writ of habeas corpus sa buong Mindanao.

Ginawa niya ito habang nasa Russia para ibida sa presidente nitong si Vladimir Putin na nilalabanan niya ang “ISIS” sa kanyang sariling saklaw. Kasabay nito, nanlimos siya kay Putin para sa karagdagang misayl at armas na aniya’y babayaran din ng Pilipinas. Hindi pinaunlakan ng Russia ang kanyang hiling.

Ang mga yunit ng AFP na tuwirang kontrolado, pinondohan at sinasanay ng US sa mga taktikang “kontra-terorismo” ang kabilang sa unang ipinakat sa Marawi. Pangunahin dito ang 2nd at 4th Light Reaction Company. Suportado ang mga ito ng minimum na tatlong batalyon (49th IB, 44th IB at 15th IB), isang mechanized battalion (5th) at isang reconnaisance division company na nakapailalim sa kontrol ng 1st ID.

Sa pangalawang araw ng labanan, nagreimpors sa mga yunit na ito ang Naval Special Operations Group mula sa Zamboanga Peninsula at 1st Scout Ranger Regiment na may pwersa sa hangganan ng Lanao del Sur at Bukidnon. Tinambak ng AFP ang buong Mechanized Division nito sa Marawi (apat na mga mechanized battalion, isang cavalry squadron at isang light armored troop), at lahat ng armored units (114) na ibinenta ng US sa AFP noong 2015. Sa loob lamang ng ilang araw, umabot sa 3,000 tropa ng AFP ang nasa Marawi, na suportado ng halos lahat ng eroplano at helikopter na pandigma ng Philippine Air Force. Dinagdagan pa ang mga ito ng mga batalyon mula sa Panay, Southern Tagalog at Bicol.

Gitgitan ang mga sagupaan sa loob ng syudad at marami sa malapitan. Ilang beses na naipit ang mga pwersa ng AFP, kasama ang kanilang mga armored unit, sa mga labanang nagtatagal ng araw. Nahirapan ang karamihan sa mga yunit na hindi sanay sa gera sa loob ng syudad kung saan nagtatawiran ang mga kalsada at magkakatabi at magkaharap na kabahayan at gusali.

4. Matindi, malawak at malakas na paglaban ng mga armadong Moro

Hindi lamang ang grupong Maute ang lumalaban sa Marawi City. Isang di-pormal na alyansa ng iba’t ibang armadong grupong Moro, kabilang ang mga dating paksyon ng MILF na disgustado sa panloloko ng magkasunod na rehimeng Aquino at Duterte, ang bumubuo sa malaking pwersang Moro na nakatrensera ngayon sa syudad. Marami sa mga nakababatang kumander at tauhan ng MILF ay nagsisimpatya kundiman tumutulong sa mga Maute lalupa’t kinukunsiderang makapang-yarihan ang angkang Romato sa loob ng istruktura nito. Pagmamay-ari ng mga Romato ang lupang kinatitirikan ng Camp Bushra, ang pangalawang pinakamalaking kam-po ng MILF.

Sa harap ng walang piling pag-atake ng mga sundalo, marami sa mga residente ng Marawi ang nagpasyang lumaban sa AFP, sa sarili nilang inisyatiba o kasama ang iba’t ibang armadong pwersang Moro sa syudad.

Tinapatan nila ang tindi ng pang-aatake ng AFP gamit ang mga sariling-gawang mga baril tulad ng barett at mga eksplosibo. Katwiran nila, kung hindi sila lalaban, papatayin din lamang naman sila ng mga sundalo. Ang iba ay tumutulong sa pamamamaril habang may ibang sumasama-sama sa mga armado dahil sa tantya nila’y mas ligtas sila rito. Ayon sa salaysay ng mga sibilyang naipit sa syudad, sa unang mga araw ay hinahatiran pa sila ng pagkain ng mga grupong armado at sinabihang magsiguro sa pagtatago sa mga sundalo.

Samantala, nagpadala rin ng karagdagang armadong pwersa ang iba’t ibang grupong Moro sa Marawi City. Kinumpirma ng nagpakilalang tagapagsalita ng Maute na “dumaan sa dagat” (Lanao Lake) ang iba pang armadong grupo noong madaling araw ng Mayo 24. Sa laki ng kanilang pwersa, nakontrol nila ang mayor na mga lansangan ng syudad at estratehikong nakapwesto sa komersyal na distrito.

Nitong Agosto, isa pang gru-pong armado ang direktang sumalakay sa isang detatsment ng 55th IB sa laylayan ng syudad.

5. Ang multo ng “ISIS” at “terorismo”

Mula’t sapul nang ipinataw ni Duterte ang batas militar sa Mindanao at ipinag-utos ang pagkubkob sa Marawi City, sistematiko at tuluy-tuloy niyang ginamit ang multo ng “ISIS” at iniugnay ito sa grupong Maute upang makakuha ng suporta para sa kanyang mga hakbanging kamay-na-bakal. Ginamit niya ang “black scare” kahit pa wala siyang naipakitang hibla ng ebidensya ng presensya ng ISIS sa Marawi City o ng ugnayan dito ng grupong Maute.

Marami sa mga nakapanayam na bakwit ay nagsasabing sa balita sa telebisyon na lamang nila “nalaman” na may “ISIS” sa kanilang lugar. Marami rin ang nagdududa sa lumaganap na mga itim na pininturang “I love ISIS” sa palibot ng Marawi City na hindi tugma sa pundamental-relihiyosong tindig ng ISIS.

Sa kanilang lugar, kilala ang magkapatid na Maute bilang mga “jihadista” na sumusunod sa isang “pundamentalistang” pananaw sa Islam. Wala silang rekord ng pananakit ng sibilyan o pagtarget ng mga di-Islamiko. Walang napabalitang nagpalaganap sila ng matinding pagkamuhi laban sa mga Kristyano.

May lumaganap na bidyo ng mga armadong lalaking lumalapastangan sa mga simbolo ng relihiyon sa St. Mary’s Cathedral subalit walang ebidensyang gawa ito ng mga Maute. Ang napabalitang pinugutan nila ng ulo na dalawang manggagawa sa Butig noong 2016 ay mga ahenteng paniktik ng AFP. Sa ilalim ng batas ng Shari’a, ang pamumugot ng ulo ay isa sa mga anyo ng parusang kapital, na ipinatutupad ng mga Islamikong bansa tulad ng Saudi Arabia.

Upang palabasing terorista, inakusahan ni Duterte ang grupong Maute na nasa likod ng pambobomba sa merkado ng Davao City noong gabi ng Setyembre 2, 2016. Sa isang bihirang panayam, mahigpit itong itinanggi ng tagapagsalita ng grupo.

6. Gerang pagsupil sa armadong paglaban ng mamamayang Moro

Walang tigil ang rehimeng Duterte sa pag-uulit-ulit ng salaysay tungkol sa kunwa’y “ekstremistang grupong Maute” at “terorismo ng ISIS.” Pilit niyang inilalarawan na isang “dayuhang kapangyarihan” ang nasa likod ng armadong paglaban sa Marawi City ng iba’t ibang grupong Moro, sa kabila ng paulit-ulit ring pagtanggi ng tagapagsalita ng AFP.

Inilalarawan ng grupong Maute at iba pang armadong grupo bilang kanilang “jihad” o gerang nasa inspirasyon ng relihiyon ang kanilang laban para magtayo ng sariling pamahalaan sa loob ng Pilipinas.

Higit sa kanilang pagkakaisa bilang mga “jihadista,” pinagbuklod ang mga armadong grupong ito sa sa kanilang komun na pagtutol sa Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), ang panukalang batas na binuo ng GRP at MILF para itatag ang kanilang bayan sa ilalim ng reaksyunaryong konstitusyon at gubyerno ng Pilipinas.

Inakala ni Duterte na mabubuklod niya sa ilalim ng isang inamyendahang BBL ang iba’t ibang grupong Moro. Subalit kahit ang MNLF, na ilang ulit niyang pinalabas na malapit sa kanya, ay hindi niya makumbinseng pumailalim dito.

Sa ilalim ng “nirebisang” BBL, na ayon sa ilang grupong Moro ay walang pinagkaiba sa dating BBL, obligadong sumurender at magpailalim ang mga armadong grupong Moro sa reaksyunaryong GRP at sa AFP at PNP, bagay na hindi magagawa ng karamihan ng mga grupong nagtataguyod ng sariling dignidad. Hindi nila maatim na pumaloob, o kahit makipagtulungan, sa reaksyu-naryong miltar na nagdulot ng di-mabilang na mga krimen laban sa kanilang mga pamilya at angkan. Bukod rito, hindi katanggap-tanggap sa karamihan ng mga Moro ang pagpapailalim ng kanilang teritoryo, pondo at rekurso sa GRP at pagbubukas ng mga ito sa dayuhang pandarambong at pagsasamantala (mga plantasyon at minahan).

Kahit sa hanay ng mga sumasang-ayon sa BBL, dumarami na ang nagagalit sa pagbabagal ng reaksyunaryong estado at napako nitong mga pangako. Batid nilang niloloko lamang sila ni Duterte dahil hanggang sa ngayon ay hindi pa niya ito minamadaling ipapasa sa kongreso. Nagpahayag na ang maraming ordinaryong mandirigmang Moro na handa silang bumalik sa armadong labanan kapag hindi naging katanggap-tanggap ang kahihinatnan ng BBL.

7. Mala-henosidyong gera laban sa Moro ang ipinatutupad ng rehimen.

Inilarawan ng mga lokal na residente na mistulang “naghuhuramentado” ang mga sundalo laluna sa unang mga araw ng pagkubkob sa Marawi. Pinapatay nila ang mga lalaking maabutan sa mga kabahayan, kahit ang mga nagpapakilalang sibilyan. Napatunayan ito ng isang lokal na upisyal na nangahas magsagawa ng operasyong pansagip sa unang pagkakataong pumayag ang AFP na magsagawa ng “makataong operasyon” ang lokal na mga upisyal. Sa harap mismo ng naturang upisyal binaril ang dalawang di-armadong lalaking nagpa-pasagip sa kanya.

Walang pakundangan ang isinagawang pambobomba at pagwasak ng AFP sa mga bahay, impras-truktura, mga moske, eskwelahan, ospital at kabuuang ekonomya ng buong Marawi City at mga karatig na bayan na nakadugtong dito ang kabuhayan. Nagbingi-bingihan si Duterte sa laganap na apela ng mga Moro na itigil ang pambobomba dahil sa grabeng pinsala nito sa kanilang buhay at ari-arian.

Naghuhulog ng 250-libras (o halos 115 kilo) na bomba, mga rocket at iba pang pampasabog ang AFP gamit ang mga eroplano at helikopter na bigay ng US. Ayon sa mga residente, madalas din ang pagkakataon na naghuhulog ng bomba sa hatinggabi mula sa di-kilalang mga sasakyang panghimpapawid na pinaniniwalaang mga unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) o armed drones ng US.

Pilit na pinalalabas ng AFP na aabot lamang sa 80 ang bilang ng sibilyang namatay. Pero batay sa dami ng naitalang nawawala at sa dami ng bangkay na dinala sa punerarya, tinatayang hindi bababa sa isanlibong sibilyan ang napaslang sa unang buwan pa lamang ng pambobomba at pamamaril ng AFP. Marami sa kanila ay pinalalabas na mga myembro o simpatisador ng grupong Maute. May ulat ang mga lokal na upisyal ng Marawi na nagpapatunay na nagkalat ang mga bangkay sa mga komunidad at binabalot ang mga ito ng “amoy ng kamatayan.”

Mahigit 400,000 naninirahan sa Marawi at mga katabing bayan ang napwersang magbakwit sa Iligan City at iba pang lugar. Karamihan sa kanila ay nagsisisiksikan sa mga evacuation center kung saan napakamiserable ng kanilang kalagayan. Samantala, laganap ang mga kaso ng pagnananakaw ng mga sundalo sa mga iniwang kabahayan ng mga residente, kung saan dinambong ang nakaimpok na salapi, mga alahas, kompyuter at mga kagamitan.

Matinding troma ang dinanas ng mga sibilyang nakalalabas sa sonang gera hindi dahil sa sinasabi ng militar na pagmamalupit ng mga Maute kundi dulot ng walang patid na pambobomba at brutalidad ng AFP. Sa unang buwan pa lamang ng gera, nasa 20,000 nang mga bakwit ang nakitaan ng matinding depresyon.

Isang mala-henosidyong gera laban sa mamamayang Moro ang isinasagawang gera ni Duterte laban sa Marawi. Ito ay “pagparusa” ni Duterte sa mga grupong Moro na tumatangging sumuporta sa itinakda niyang agenda ng kapayapaan sa balangkas ng BBL at piniling patuloy na bagtasin ang landas ng armadong paglaban.

8. Kontrol ng militar sa impormasyon

Nang sumiklab ang mga armadong labanan sa Marawi, umusok ang makinarya sa propaganda ni Duterte at ng AFP para ipalaganap ang mali, di-kumpleto at tahasang kasinungalingang mga impormasyon. Sa direktiba ng AFP sa pagtupad ng batas militar, tinukoy na isa sa susing tungkulin nito ang “pagkontrol sa daloy ng impormasyon.”

Hindi pinahihintulutan ang mga mamamahayag na malayang kumalap ng impormasyon sa Marawi City. Mahigpit na kinokontrol ng militar ang kanilang kilos at inilalabas na impormasyon. Marami sa kanila ay naoobligang iulat ang lahat ng impormasyong ibinibigay ng mga tagapagsalita ng AFP.

Nilimita ng matataas na upisyal ng militar ang midya sa nilalabas nilang press release at pinahihingi muna ng clearance kung may gustong interbyuhin. Sa tabing ng pangangalaga ng kanilang kaligta-san, pinagbawalan silang lumayo sa kapitolyo at sinusubuan lamang ng mga ulat at mga “palabas” na engkwentro.

Naobserbahan kahit ng mga myembro ng midya ang pagkontrol ng mga sundalo sa mga sibilyang lumalabas sa war zone para tiyaking sumusunod ang mga ito sa linya ng AFP. May mangilan-ngilang nakalulusot at nakapag-bibigay ng tunay na kwento sa midya pero mabilis silang napatatahimik at napababaliktad ng AFP. Ipinaiilalim ang lahat ng nakalabas na sibilyan sa “profiling,” kahit ang mga bata.

Paulit-ulit ang pagsisinungaling ng AFP kaugnay sa mga diumano’y hostage ng mga armadong Moro, na diumano’y inalipin at binuntis pa ng mga mandirigma. Ni minsan ay walang naipakitang patunay ang mga tagapasalita ng AFP, kahit isang larawan man lamang ng mga bangkay ng mga napatay nitong mga myembro diumano ng grupo. Wala ding anumang ahensya o entidad na nagpatotoo sa kanilang mga pahayag. Sa halip ay may mga salungat pang dokumentadong impormasyon ang lokal na mga upisyal ng syudad.

Maraming insidente na hindi na natatanggap ng midya, tulad ng pagtama ng “ligaw na bala” ng diumano’y mga isnayper ng Maute sa isang mamamahayag at isang 14-anyos na bata na nasa loob ng tinaguriang “safe zone,” isang lugar na tawid ng malaking ilog mula sa pwesto ng mga armadong Moro. Saksi rin ang midya sa bakas ng torytur sa kalalakihang sibilyan matapos ipailalim ng mga sundalo sa “interogasyon.” Walang pakundangan ang mga sundalo at pulis sa mga tsekpoynt, kahit sa harap ng mga kamera, sa pananakot at pambabastos sa mga residenteng nangangahas bumalik sa syudad para isalba ang natitira nilang ari-arian.

Upang bigyang-matwid ang pagpapatuloy ng mga airstrike, pinalalabas ng AFP na ang mga iyon ay “surgical” o tiyak ang target at maliit lamang ang bilang ng mga sibilyang nadadamay.

Mabilis itong nakapagpapalabas ng bagong mga disimpormasyon sa harap ng kasimbilis ding napabubulaanang naunang mga pekeng balita. Ang panununog sa mga kabahayan, eskwelahan at iba pang gusali ay mabilis na itinuturo sa “Maute-ISIS” sa kabila ng katotohanang gawa ang mga iyon ng mga sundalo ng AFP.

Liban sa dalawang pagkakataong lumabas ang pahayag ng mga grupong Moro sa midya noong Mayo 24, walang anumang impormasyon ang nanggaling sa kanila o kahit sa magkapatid na Maute. Lahat ng mga lagusan ng impormasyon sa social media ay ipinasara ng AFP. Lahat ng kumukontra sa kanilang mga pahayag ay binansagang “simpatisador” ng terorismo. Binantaan nila ang sinumang maglalabas ng impormasyong taliwas sa kanilang upisyal na linya na kakasuhan ng “cyberterrorism.”

9. Interes pangnegosyo at pangmilitar sa likod ng pagwasak sa Marawi City

Hindi pa man natatapos ang gera ng pagkubkob ng AFP sa Marawi City, nakapila na ang malalaking kumprador na interesadong mamuhunan at makinabang sa “rekonstruksyon.” Upang makuha ang pabor ni Duterte at ng AFP, nag-aambag ang mga kumpanyang ito ng daan-daang milyong piso sa mga pondong pansuporta sa AFP (para gamiting pabuya sa mga sundalo).

Binuo ni Duterte ang Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), isang grupo na pinamumunuan ni Department of National Defense Secretary Lorenzana at 22 pang pinuno ng mga ahensya ng gubyerno para sa rekonstruksyon ng Marawi City. Wala ni isang lokal na lider ang nakaupo sa pamunuan ng grupong ito at lalong walang kinatawan dito ang mga residente at bakwit ng syudad. Nagbuo ito ng mga planong relokasyon ng mga bakwit, kabilang ang konstruksyon ng masisikip na pabahay (22 kwadrado metro) sa loob at kalapit na lugar sa Marawi City.

Walang balak ang TFBM na ibalik sa dating mga komunidad ang mga bakwit. Inungkat nito ang dikreto na inilabas noong 1953 na naglaan sa mahigit 8,400 ektarya o 80% ng syudad bilang isang military reservation. Alinsunod sa dikretong ito, idineklara ang halos buong syudad bilang Camp Keithley Military Reservation at inilaan para sa gamit ng militar ng US. Saklaw nito maging ang ilang bahagi ng kalapit na bayan ng Marantao, Piagapo at Saguiran, gayundin ang ilang bahagi ng Lake Lanao. Nanganganib ngayon ang mga residenteng nakatira rito na mapalayas sa kanilang mga lugar. Ang Camp Keithley ang dating hedkwarters ng militar ng US sa Mindanao.

Noong 1961, tinapyasan ito ng mahigit 1,000 ektarya para sa pagtatayo ng Mindanao State University. Sa ngayon, nasa 300 ektarya lamang ang inuokupa ng unibersidad at ang natitira ay mayroon nang nakalatag na mga komunidad. Sa gayon, pati ang mga residente rito ay nanganganib na mapalayas. Ang natitirang 20% kalupaan ng syudad ay nakatitulo sa ilang pribadong indibidwal.

10. Sa mata ng US: Marawi ang bagong Syria

Tugmang-tugma ang disenyo ng AFP ng pagkubkob at pagwasak sa Marawi sa estilo ng panghihimasok ng US sa mga syudad na may malalakas na paglaban tulad sa Syria, Iraq at Afghanistan. Gamit ang multo ng “ISIS” na nilikha ni Duterte, itinago ng US ang direktang armadong interbensyon nito sa tabing ng “pagpapayo sa mga teknikal na usapin.” Sa aktwal, pinatakbo ng US ang buong operasyon sa pamamagitan ng tinaguriang Joint Special Operations Task Force Trident, isang maliit na grupong nakapailalim sa Pentagon at binubuo ng matataas na upisyal ng kanilang espesyal na pwersa at mga pribadong kontraktor. Ayon mismo sa tagapagsalita ng militar ng US, inaasahan nilang lalaki pa ang task force na ito at lalawak pa ang sasaklawin nitong mga operasyon sa susunod na mga linggo.

Nitong Agosto, habang naghahanda ang AFP ng “panghuling opensiba” laban sa mga armadong Moro, lumutang ang intensyon ng US na direktang magsagawa ng mga airstrike sa Marawi sa batayan ng isang “bagong tratado” para sa “kolektibong pagdepensa-sa-sarili.” Lumalabas na itinutulak ng US ang pagrebisa sa Mutual Defense Treaty ng 1951 para saklawin ang panloob na mga banta tulad ng “ISIS” at ibalik ang kanilang karapatang magmantine ng malalaking base at presensyang militar na may awtoridad na manghimasok anumang oras at saanmang bahagi ng bansa. Kasabay nito, itinutulak din ng mga upisyal militar ng US ang isang mas malawak na operasyong may pangalan, katulad ng Operation Enduring Freedom noong dekada 2000. Ang operasyong ito ang naging batayan ng Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines na umiral sa loob ng 15 taon.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English. Download Ang Bayan from the Philippine Revolution Web Central at  Ang Bayan is published fortnightly by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.]