Monday, September 18, 2017

Road, livelihood end hostilities in Apayao

From the Manila Times (Sep 17): Road, livelihood end hostilities in Apayao

What used to be widely known as the lair of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA) in the Cordillera is now free of the rebel group’s presence. The secret – roads to the their stronghold.

Gov. Elias Bulut Jr. said “the peace advocacy is a huge part of this development. One of the reasons why the CPP-NPA probably no longer exists in the province is because we focus, most of the developed areas now were the former strongholds of the rebels.”

Marag Valley here, popularized in the Edu Manzano movie “Col. Madarang” in the mid 1990s, used to be under the rebel group’s control. It is now a popular tourism destination with the people having means of livelihood.

Bulut said that about 15 years ago, the local government, led by Elias Bulut Sr. assessed the province’s condition.

“After 2010 we established our own road map system and we submitted these to the people who waived their road right-of-way,” he said.

Using the plan, they submitted it to the Department of Public Works and Highways a P55-billion road network project to include linking upper and lower Apayao through the Pudtol-Luna-Cabugao road with other provinces. Now, the national roads are 70 percent paved.

Going to these Apayao areas before, one had to pass through Tuguegarao in Cagayan towards Conner and Cabugao towns that had very narrow and unpaved roads.

Bulut said they are also exerting effort to invite hydro power companies to develop the province’s 3,500-megawatt renewable hydro power potentials.

Photos: President Duterte meets with MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari

From the Office of the Presidential Advisor on the Peace Process (OPAPP) (Sep 16): Photos: President Duterte meets with MNLF Chairman Nur Misuari

Image may contain: 5 people, people smiling, people standing

Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling, people standing

Look: President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza meet with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) Chairman Nur Misuari in Davao City to discuss Bangsamoro concerns. They are joined by Tarhata Misuari and MNLF Peace Implementing Panel Chairman Atty. Randolph Parcasio.

NDF/Sison: On the question of resuming the formal peace talks

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Sep 18): On the question of resuming the formal peace talks

Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant

Despite Duterte´s scuttlling of the 5th round of formal talks in May 2017, the National Democratic Front of the Phiilippines (NDFP) has encouraged the NDFP Negotiating Panel, its Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms (RWC-SER) and its Reciprocal Working Group on Political and Constitutional Reforms (RWG-PCR) to continue their drafting work with the assistance of many experts and consultants and on the basis of consultations with various classes, sectors, institutions and mass organizations.

Indeed, the NDFP Negotiating Panel, the RWC-SER and RWG-PCR have continued their drafting work with the same dedication and enthusiasm as before. They do not wish to throw away the work they have done and have further done towards completing the NDFP draft of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Political and Constitutional Reforms (CAPCR).

They have anticipated two possibilities: The Duterte regime itself might in due time find it wise and necessary to resume formal peace talks or it cannot last long in power and it is replaced by a new leadership of the GRP that is willing to resume the peace negotiations.
In either case, the NDFP Negotiating Panel, its RWC-SER and its RWG-PCR cannot be disappointed with having worked so hard to do serious research, public consultations and deliberations in order to produce the drafts that they consider worthy of negotiations in the service of the Filipino people.

There is a third possibiity: the Duterte or post-Duterte regime of the GRP is not interested in peace negotiations with the NDFP to address the roots of the armed conflict. Then the peopleś democratic revolution through protracted peopleś war simply proceeds until it overthrows the rotten ruling system. In the meantime, all revolutionary forces and the peopleś democratic government keep on growing.

CPP Information Bureau: Duterte’s victims unite for justice and to frustrate fascist dictatorship

CPP Information Bureau propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Sep 18): Duterte’s victims unite for justice and to frustrate fascist dictatorship

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

18 September 2017

All victims of Duterte’s political persecution, armed oppression and bloody campaign of mass murder are bound to unite in their common desire for justice and to resist and frustrate his plans to prop himself up as a fascist dictator.

They can come together in mass demonstrations on September 21 to mark the 45th year of the declaration of martial law, recall the fascist crimes of the US-Marcos dictatorship and hold Duterte accountable for the crimes perpetrated in the three wars of his fascist regime.

They must collectively reject Duterte’s threats to use the police and military to break-up demonstrations on the pretext of “rebels taking to the streets.” They must denounce Duterte’s declared plan to impose martial law and his tactics to divide and intimidate the swelling ranks of the people clamoring for his ouster.

In the course of the next few weeks and months, more and more local assemblies, indoor rallies and street demonstrations can be mounted to reach out and mobilize the biggest number of people in their communities and towns.

Barangay centers, auditoriums, ampitheaters and coliseums can serve as venues to try Duterte for his crimes, hear the grievances of his victims and galvanize them to action.

They must raise their unity against Duterte’s bureaucrat capitalist rule, puppetry to US imperialism especially military intervention in Marawi and elsewhere, imposition of new taxes, surrender of territory to China in exchange for onerous and burdernsome loans, demolition of homes, land grabbing for plantations and infrastructure projects and other anti-people policies and programs.

No amount of Duterte bravado, political and legal maneuvers and relentless propaganda will stop the groundswell of protest actions demanding an end to his regime of death and destruction.

In just over a year, the Duterte regime has mounted three wars and has victimized nearly a million people. It has carried out a campaign of mass murder and aerial bombings in the course of its anti-drug war hoax, its nearly genocidal war to destroy Marawi and suppress Moro resistance and its Mindanao martial law and nationwide all-out war.

MILF loses 2 in anti-ISIS op

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Sep 18): MILF loses 2 in anti-ISIS op

Two members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) were killed in an operation against an Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-inspired faction of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao province over the weekend, a military official said.
Dead were two members belonging to the armed forces of the MILF, the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, said Capt. Arvin Encinas, public affairs chief of the 6th Infantry Division.

He said the two were killed in separate incidents on the same day in Datu Salibo town in Maguindanao province.
However, Encinas said they cannot identify the casualties as the MILF is yet to issue a statement.

Encinas added that they are still validating reports on the killing of at least six and wounding of at least 14 members of the ISIS-inspired faction of Abu Turaipe since the intensified clash on Friday, September 15.

He said there were two ISIS militants killed and four were wounded on Friday, while another four were killed and 10 were wounded in a separate clash on Saturday, September 16.

The operation of the MILF against the ISIS-linked faction of the BIFF is now concentrated in Datu Salibo town, he added.

Meanwhile, Abu Misry Mama spokesperson of the BIFF, said that they received reports that “more than 100” were killed on the side of the MILF while “there were only seven” killed on the side of the ISIS since the fighting started on August 2.

He clarified, however, that they are not affiliated with ISIS and that the MILF is running after the faction who pledged allegiance with ISIS.

Año exiting AFP next month, says Defense chief

From the Daily Tribune (Sep 18): Año exiting AFP next month, says Defense chief

There will be no extension for Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año.

Thus said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana as he stressed Año will be retiring.
“He will be retiring. He will not be extended,” he added.

 Año is reaching the mandatory retirement of 56 on October 26.

“But for the replacement…the President will choose from among the three-star generals,” Lorenzana said.

Pressed if President Rodrigo Duterte already chosen the next AFP chief, Lorenzana replied “if there is, I will not be authorized to announce yet.”

This as two senior three-star generals are also retiring in the coming weeks, namely, Air Force chief Lt. Gen. Edgar Fallorina and Army chief Lt. Gen. Glorioso Miranda.

Año, Fallorina and Miranda are members of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Matikas” Class of 1983.

Informed sources said two senior Army officials are among the strong contenders to succeed Año as AFP chief, namely, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of the Western Mindanao Command (Wesmincom), and Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) chief.

Año is the second AFP chief appointed by the Commander-in-Chief since he assumed office in June 2016 – serving for only 10 months.

Mr. Duterte’s first military chief, retired Gen. Ricardo Visaya, served for only five months from July to December 2016. Visaya was subsequently appointed as National Irrigation Administration chief.

Año is also expected to continue serving the Duterte administration as the President has previously expressed his intent to appoint Año as secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

In fact, the President already announced last May that he wanted Año to take the DILG post in June but the Marawi City siege launched by Islamic State-terrorists erupted.

Recently, a prohibition on the appointment of newly-retired police and military general as DILG chief was floated – thus lessening the chances of Año’s immediate takeover as Interior secretary.

2 MILF fighters killed in fight with BIFF

From Malaya Business Insight (Sep 19): 2 MILF fighters killed in fight with BIFF

TWO members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front were killed while two of their colleagues were hurt when they engaged a group of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in a firefight in Datu Salibo, Maguindanao past noon Sunday.

Reports reaching Chief Supt. Reuben Theodore Sindac, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao police director, identified the fatalities as Mutapa Musa, 24; and Muhamad Kadil, 40. Wounded were Surani Abelusa , 50; and Taha Sabpa, 30. All are regular MILF members.

Reports said the two groups were on a combat patrol when they chanced upon each other at the boundary of Barangays Andavit and Tee, both in Datu Salibo town, which triggered a firefight at around 1 p.m.

Police said the MILF group was led by Commander Ustadz Guma, while the BIFF was headed by Commander Abu Torayfe.

Reports said the BIFF sustained a still undetermined number of casualties.

Maute leader dead, says AFP chief

From Update Philippines (Sep 18): Maute leader dead, says AFP chief

ARMED Forces chief Gen. Eduardo Año yesterday confirmed the death of Abdullah Maute, a leader of the Maute Group that attacked Marawi City in May, and two of his brothers.

The confirmation was made at a press conference in Camp Aguinaldo where rescued Maute hostage Fr. Teresito “Chito” Suganob was presented.

The 51-year-old Suganob was vicar general of the prelate of St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi City when he was taken hostage by the Maute along with numerous other Marawi residents. He was rescued Saturday night during a firefight with the terrorists. The cathedral had been desecrated.

Clad in a blue jacket, Suganob gave a brief statement before being ushered out of a conference room. “To all, thank you and I pray for you. God bless you all. Pray for me, for my healing, recovery.”

Asked how he was doing, the priest said, “Physically strong, handsome.”

President Duterte said Suganob “was liberated through a special operation” and no negotiation with the Maute was conducted for the priest’s freedom.

He also said that when he gets the chance to talk to Suganob, he would ask how the Maute treated the hostages, especially the women.

He noted media reports quoting the women hostages who have escaped as saying they were abused and raped every day.

“That’s a gross violation of the rights of a human being, affront of the dignity of the women of the Philippines,” he said.

Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla said there are about 60 to 80 hostages still held by the Maute which attacked Marawi on May 23.

Año said confirmation on the death of brothers Abdullah, Maddie, and Otto Maute came from various sources, including accounts from one Maute member who has surrendered and three other terrorists who have been captured.

Año did not say the circumstances of their deaths but previous reports said Abdullah died in an air strike in the conflict area.

“Based on the custodial debriefing of those captured and who surrendered, it’s only Omar who is alive. Abdullah, Maddie and Otto are reported dead. There are other Maute siblings who are not that prominent inside (Marawi City) but we feel they are not significant,” said Año.

Pressed if the death of the three Maute brothers is already validated, Año said: “Yes, I believe.”

“There are two main groups now left (in Marawi). One is led by Hapilon and mostly this is composed of those who came from Basilan and the group led by Omar Maute,” he said.

Omar Maute is among those believed to have attacked Marawi. Isnilon Hapilon is a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf, who has reportedly been named Southeast Asia leader of the Islamic State to which both Abu Sayyaf and the Maute have pledged allegiance.

Recent military estimates said there are about 50 Maute remnants. Año said remnants include about 10 foreign fighters, mostly Malaysians and Indonesians.

Since the fighting broke out last May 23,    673 Maute men have been killed, together with 149 soldiers and policemen and 47 civilians.


Año, who presented Suganob together with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, said the priest thought he would die in captivity.

“There was an instance when we told Father, ‘Father, we’ll get you out’ but the Father said, ‘No, let me die here, I already accepted my fate.’ That’s why he couldn’t (believe) when he was rescued last Saturday,” said Año.

Suganob and teacher Lordbin Noblesa Acopio were rescued by soldiers during fierce gun battle with Maute members at the Bato Mosque at around 11:40 p.m. Saturday. Acopio was not presented to media and remained in Marawi.

“As the intensity of the armed confrontation continues to escalate in favor of our troops and while the terrorists were busy repelling the attack, the troops had the opportunity to snatch Fr. Chito and Mr. Acopio during the melee,” said Lorenzana.

Año said    Suganob’s rescue was actually an intelligence project supported by combat operations. He said the military had planned to extricate Suganob as early as September 13 before assaulting the mosque where he and other hostages were kept.

“But on   September 13, September 14 and September 15, there was a change in how the enemy was guarding so we were not able to rescue Fr. Suganob,” said Año.

“I gave the go signal to assault the Bato Mosque so we can implement the extraction of Fr. Soganub while there is fighting. Everything materialized because on Saturday, we were able to gain a foothold in Bato Mosque and extricated Fr. Suganob on the night of September 16,” he said.

Lorenzana said: “Our troops gained the upper hand. The terrorists were forced to withdraw to nearby structures on the periphery of the mosque …Troops had opportunity to snatch Father Chito...”

Año said intelligence information indicated that Suganob was with 25 other hostages at the mosque though the priest said he only saw 12 hostages in the area.

Año said the military delayed the announcement of the rescue because of ongoing efforts to the rescue the other hostages but “public clamor” prompted them to confirm the rescue.

“Under the mosque are an intricate tunnels and secret chambers so we are actually clearing those chambers and there are hostages still there... We have an effort to rescue them also and the other hostages in the other buildings. We will try to do our best to rescue them alive,” said Año.

He said about 45 to 50 hostages remain with the Maute, including the 12 in the mosque’s secret chambers.

P6.7B allocated for brand new Coast Guard air, sea assets

From Update Philippines (Sep 18): P6.7B allocated for brand new Coast Guard air, sea assets

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has been allocated with PHP6.7 billion for the acquisition of sea and air assets in 2018, House appropriations committee member Surigao del Sur Representative Johnny Pimentel said. PHP3.1 billion was lodged in the budget of the PCG itself, while P3.6 billion is in the allocation of its mother agency, the Department of Transportation.

“The fresh funding will help pay for the acquisition of 10 newly built 44-meter patrol boats from Japan, of which five have already been delivered to the PCG,” Pimentel said.

The budget will also be used for the French-built four 24-meter fast boats and 82-meter vessel expected to be delivered in 12 months and in 2019, respectively.

The PCG is also acquiring two Japan-made 94-meter patrols vessels expected to be delivered in 2020 and 2021. “The 94-meter boats in particular can operate continuously for 15 days, so they can help reinforce existing Philippine Navy and PCG vessels that are now guarding our exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea,” Pimentel said.

He added that the PCG is also spending PHP922 million for firearms, PHP686 million for a chopper meant for deployment aboard a boat and PHP682 million for smaller watercraft.

4000 new PCG uniformed personnel will also be hired in preparation for upcoming new assets. “We’ve increased from 8,930 this year to 12,930 in 2018 the authorized positions for uniformed PCG personnel,” Pimentel said.

PCG is also acquiring 7 to 15 meters high-performance rigid inflatable boats (RIBs) which can be deployed from bigger patrol vessels.

“These high-speed RIBs will be helpful in vessel interdiction and non-compliant boarding team operations. They can also help fight off terrorists as well as drug smugglers aboard motorized boats,” he said.

258 Newly trained soldiers land in Davao City

From Update Philippines (Sep 18): 258 Newly trained soldiers land in Davao City

10ID photo

Two hundred fifty-eight (258) newly trained Philippine Army Privates who recently completed their Candidate Soldier Course (CSC) arrived at Old Airport, Sasa, Davao City on September 17.

 The soldiers completed their training at 2nd Division Training School (2DTS), 2nd Infantry ‘Jungle’ Division based in Camp Mateo Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal.

The said soldiers will be deployed to 10th Infantry ‘Agila’ Division area of responsibility which includes Davao Region, Sarangani, South Cotabato, 2nd District of North Cotabato and Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, Trento, Agusan del Sur and Lingig Surigao del Sur.

10ID photo

Solar farm patrols increased, attackers called extortionists

From the Visayan Daily Star (Sep 18): Solar farm patrols increased, attackers called extortionists

The Philippine Army and the National Police yesterday dismissed the attack on a solar power farm in Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, as plain and simple extortion, as its management had refused to comply with the demands of the perpetrators.

Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, saidyesterday that they have increased their patrols and visibility operations in the area, in coordination with the Philippine Army, to avoid a duplication of the incident.

Police investigations showed that about 17 armed men, suspected to be New People's Army rebels, passed by the house of a certain Isagani Cabrera at about 6:20 p.m. Thursday at Purok Sandra 1 in Brgy. Tinampaan, Cadiz City.

The suspects, who spoke in both Hiligaynon and Cebuano, went to the Helios Solar Energy Corporation farm, where they fired upon it, using automatic rifles and an M203 grenade launcher, and also lobbed fragmentation grenades.


Damaged were 90 solar panels and a CCTV installed on post number 43, the police said. But no one was hurt during the attack.

Recovered from the scene were 109 empty cartridges of assorted firearms, six empty shells of an M-203 grenade launcher, seven live ammunition of a .45 caliber pistol and garand rifle, two long magazines of M-16 rifles containing three ammunition and two firing pins of hand grenades.

Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, 3rd Infantry Division commander, yesterday said that the New People's Army in Negros Island is once again showing off their true nature as an anti-people and anti-development armed group when they attacked the solar power farm.

Before the attack, Aying said it was reported that the solar company received an extortion demand from the Roselyn Jean Pelle Command, Northern Negros Front of the NPA , in June 2015.


Aying, who stressedthat the company's refusal to yield to the NPA's extortion demand was the motive of the attack, said “The attack is an intentional destruction of developmental and economic installation which provide sufficient supply of solar energy.

Despite the attack, Aying lauded the solar company for rejecting the NPA's selfish demand even if the refusal is tantamount to the destruction of the vital installation.

“Refusal of the NPA's extortion demand is also equivalent to disapproval of their terroristic acts like killings, arsons and rebellion” he added.

Col.EliezerLosanes, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, yesterday said that Army soldiers responded to the incident but were not able to intercept the rebels.

We cleared some unexploded M-203 shells to enable Helios to conduct repairs of damaged properties, Losanes said.

Castil said the Helios Solar Energy Corp. has long been receiving numerous extortion letters from the armed group but they were ignored by the management, he added.

“As much as possible, we are discouraging businesses from complying with the demands of extortionists,”Castil said.


Damage the solar power farm was placed at P3.1 million, said Lt. Col. Darrel Banez, 62nd Infantry Battalion commander, based on estimates of the management.

The P10 billion Helios Solar Energy Corp. solar farm in Barangay Tinampa-an, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental, was developed through a partnership between Gregorio Araneta Inc. and Soleq, one of Southeast Asia's largest solar independent power producers, whose mother company is Equis.

The 132.5 megawatt solar generation facility with 427,392 solar panels located in a 176-hectare area, was inaugurated in March last year.

Castil said pursuit operations were still ongoing as of yesterday.

Banez, meanwhile encouraged the people to report sightings of armed men in their areas, and condemned the barbaric act of the armed group responsible for the atrocity.

About 50 Marawi hostages remain in 10-hectare battle area

From Rappler (Sep 19): About 50 Marawi hostages remain in 10-hectare battle area

'Hindi na 'to magtatagal, madali na 'to,' Armed Forces chief General Eduardo Año says

RUINS. Buildings are left hollowed and holed in Marawi. Rappler file photo

RUINS. Buildings are left hollowed and holed in Marawi. Rappler file photo

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Eduardo Año said on Monday, September 18, ending the conflict in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, would be easier from now on as troops only need to reclaim 10 hectares of the Islamic city's area and about 50 hostages.

"They (terrorists) are now restricted to [a] 10-hectare area. Hindi na 'to magtatagal, madali na 'to eh (This will not last long, it is easier now). We just cannot give you a specific timeline, but we will do it according to our operations plan," Año told reporters during a briefing in Camp Aguinaldo.

This comes after troops successfully forced enemies to abandon Bato Mosque on Saturday, September 16, and rescued a key hostage: Marawi priest Teresito "Chito" Soganub. (WATCH: The final push: Inside the Marawi battle area)

While Soganub's rescue brought a sigh of relief to authorities, Año said there are 45 to 50 hostages yet to be saved, for whom he promised the troops would come with haste and caution.

The reclaimed grand mosque is one of 3 enemy strongholds, while Soganub was a hostage who was taken during the first week of the siege, coerced in a video to air the demands of the homegrown terrorists.

Año said the Maute brothers, who were behind Marawi's ruins, have all been killed, save for Omar, leaving him and Isnilon Hapilon as the last high-value targets by the military. (READ: Terror in Mindanao: The Mautes of Marawi)

Asked about the number of foreign terrorists assisting the Islamic State-inspired local terrorists, Año said, from standing at 40, they have been reduced to 10.

Año said they did not disclose immediately how they rescued Soganub for the safety of other hostages who may still be in the area.

"The Bato Mosque, ito ay isang mosque na maraming intricate tunnels and secret chambers, so we are actually clearing those chambers and may mga hostages pa roon," he said. (This is a mosque with many intricate tunnels and secret chambers, so we are actually clearing those chambers, and there are hostages who are still there.)

Entering its 120th day, the battle in Marawi has claimed the lives of at least 673 enemies, 47 civilians, and 149 soldiers and cops. Hundreds of thousands also remain displaced.

Lorenzana backs resumption of peace talks with communists

From Rappler (Sep 19): Lorenzana backs resumption of peace talks with communists

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana says he supports the resumption of peace talks but says he has yet to convince President Rodrigo Duterte

SUPPORT. Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana says he supports peace talks with he Left. Rappler file photo

SUPPORT. Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana says he supports peace talks with he Left. Rappler file photo

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said on Monday, September 18, that he backs the resumption of peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDF).

"Hindi pa officially (It is not yet official), but I support that also," Lorenzana said when asked by reporters of his stance in the resumption of peace talks.

This comes after the Philippine government stopped talking to the communists after a series of attacks by rebel forces against government troops. (READ: Duterte to Joma Sison: 'Let's stop talking')

According to Lorenzana, President Rodrigo Duterte set a condition before considering a continuation: declare a ceasefire first.

"May condition siyang hinihingi eh, na magsi-ceasefire, na hindi pwedeng mag-usap habang nagbabakbakan. 'Yun ang condition niya eh ," he said. (He is asking for a condition, to hold a ceasefire, that we cannot talk if there is fighting. That is his condition.)

He admitted that he has not tried to convince Duterte to continue the conversation with the reds as he has not had the opportunity to do so, but said he will schedule a meeting on the matter.

"'Di pa kami nag-uusap (We have not talked yet). I am the chairman of the security cluster, siguro magcoconvene kami na magreresume ang (maybe we will convene to talk about the resumption of the) peace talks with the CPP-NPA," Lorenzana said.

Nur Misuari has not posted bail yet, but meets with Duterte in Davao

From Rappler (Sep 18): Nur Misuari has not posted bail yet, but meets with Duterte in Davao

Misuari's spokesperson says 'no need' when asked if the MNLF founding chairman has posted bail

STANDING WARRANT. Despite a standing warrant of arrest, MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari meets with President Rodrigo Duterte and Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza in Davao City on September 16, 2017. Photo from Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Facebook page

STANDING WARRANT. Despite a standing warrant of arrest, MNLF founding chairman Nur Misuari meets with President Rodrigo Duterte and Peace Secretary Jesus Dureza in Davao City on September 16, 2017. Photo from Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) Facebook page
The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan confirmed that Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari has not posted bail as of Monday, September 18.

This is in connection with his graft and malversation charges arising from multimillion-peso ghost projects in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) when he was governor.

His warrant of arrest was fielded to law enforcement authorities for service on August 31, or 18 days ago.

But on Saturday, September 16, Misuari met with President Rodrigo Duterte in Davao City to “discuss Bangsamoro concerns.” In the meeting were Presidential Peace Adviser Secretary Jesus Dureza and MNLF Peace Implementing Panel Chairman lawyer Randolph Parcasio.

Dureza told Rappler on Sunday, September 17, that they were assured by Misuari that he was “attending to his graft case.”

Sandiganbayan Third Division Clerk of Court Dennis Pulma said that as of Monday afternoon, Misuari has not posted bail before them. Nor have they received a notification from any regional trial court (RTC) elsewhere in the country that he has posted bail there.

A Sandiganbayan defendant is allowed to post bail in any RTC branch as long as it is not within the National Capital Region.

Asked on Monday if Misuari had posted bail elsewhere, his spokesperson Emmanuel Fontanilla said “no need” but did not elaborate.
“I can’t explain,” Fontanilla told Rappler in a text message. Asked whether Misuari was given a pass by the government not to post bail, Fontanilla said “no comment” and pointed to the 1996 peace agreement between the MNLF and the Philippine government.

Under the rules of court, the law enforcement officers tasked to serve the warrant must report to the court within 10 days, either with a return warrant, or to explain why the warrant has not yet been served. No such report has been submitted to the court either.

"All the court can do right now is await the report of the law enforcement authorities, as to the report, as to the warrant, the service and execution of the warrant of arrest," Pulma said.

Misuari was tapped by Duterte to participate in the ongoing Bangsamoro peace process which was initially an agreement with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) under the Aquino administration.

Dureza has not responded to Rappler’s request for additional comments on Monday.

Misuari’s bail is set at P460,000 for two counts of graft and two counts of malversation through falsification of documents. Separate charges of one count each of graft and malversation through falsification remain pending as the court is still in the process of establishing probable cause to issue a warrant of arrest in this regard.

Misuari is the leader of the MNLF faction which seized parts of Zamboanga City in 2013. He was charged with rebellion and crimes against humanity but Duterte granted him temporary freedom so he could participate in the peace process.
His temporary freedom has been extended until November 16, 2017.

Marawi priest Chito Soganub jokes: 'I am physically strong and handsome'

From Rappler (Sep 18): Marawi priest Chito Soganub jokes: 'I am physically strong and handsome'

Despite being held captive for more than a hundred days in Marawi City, Fr Teresito 'Chito' Soganub is still able to crack a joke as he faces the media


After being rescued on Saturday, September 16, from Maute Group terrorists in Marawi City, priest Teresito "Chito" Soganub was presented to the media at Camp Aguinaldo on Monday, September 18.

Despite being held captive for more than a hundred days in the battle zone, Soganub was smiling and able to crack a joke to the media.

"I am physically strong and handsome," said the priest, eliciting laughter from those in the room.

It was a moment of relief for Soganub, who was rescued on Saturday after soldiers took control of the Bato Mosque, one of 3 defensive strongholds of the local terrorists.

According to Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Eduardo Año, troops tried to rescue Soganub thrice from September 13 to 15 before succeeding the 4th time on Saturday.

While Soganub said he felt well, Año said doctors and experts will still have to fully assess the priest's condition.

Soganub was not tortured while in captivity, Año added.

The rescue of the priest came as soldiers began their "final push" to end the siege in Marawi City, with terrorist strongholds falling one by one. (WATCH: The final push: Inside the Marawi battle area)

Before his rescue, Soganub was coerced to speak in a propaganda video to air the demands of the enemy. (READ: Kidnapped priest made video message 'under duress,' says bishop)

No credible threat as Bohol hosts ASEAN maritime summit

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 18): No credible threat as Bohol hosts ASEAN maritime summit

Central Visayas Police Regional Director Chief Supt. Jose Mario Espino said there is no credible threat that may hamper Bohol’s hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Maritime Summit starting Tuesday in Panglao Island.

Espino made the assurance on Sunday during the send-off ceremonies for troops who will be overseeing the peace and security of the second ASEAN meeting to be held in Bohol.

About 3,500 troops from different security forces were deployed to various areas in Panglao for the safety of more than 200 delegates from the 10-member regional bloc.

Reports from the Tagbilaran airport police station said the delegates have started arriving in Bohol as early as Monday last week.

The summit, which is spearheaded by the Transportation Department, will tackle various areas of concern related to the maritime industry in the ASEAN region.

Security has already been tightened in areas leading to the main venue of the summit, while checkpoints are being placed in strategic places.

The security arrangements are similar to what was imposed during the first ASEAN meeting held in Bohol last April, when government forces quashed the threat posed by the Abu Sayyaf Group.

The provincial government is likewise pinning its hopes that nothing untoward will happen, as far as security is concerned during the conduct of the ASEAN meetings.

Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto said there may be a third meeting in the province next month, but he is still waiting for confirmation from the organizers.

Espino said the strength of the personnel is enough to repel any potential threat to the summit which ends on Thursday.

This early, a no-fly and no-sail zone has been implemented near the resort where the summit will be held.

The summit will be the third biggest international conference hosted by Bohol this year.

After the April meeting of ASEAN trade ministers, Bohol also hosted the 34-nation Asia Cooperation Dialogue on the food-water nexus last month.

PCG data base system nears completion

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 18): PCG data base system nears completion

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is now 80 percent complete in the data base listing of 8,000 registered motor boats operating in Davao Region.

The database system, called the Safety, Security and Environmental Numbering System (SSENS), will aid PCG and security forces in spotting suspicious vessels entering the region’s sea borders as the government strengthens campaign against terrorists.

The PCG registration is free. Capt. Oscar Endona, Commander of the PCG XI, said the PCG’s numbering system for non-conventional vessels is targeted for completion by the end of the year so that PCG can start apprehending those which are not registered early next year.

The system will include the number of the motorboats and the photo of the operator. The alphanumeric number in white color with a blue background can be easily spotted by authorities.

The 8,000 motor vessels are those licensed and registered to operate with the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) and the local government units (LGU).

He said the majority of the motor vessels are in General Santos City because many are engaged in the fishing industry.

In the course of PCG’s implementation of the numbering system, Endona said there are still many vessels which are not registered.

In Davao City, the PCG-Davao is targeting to register 2,500 motor vessels although there are about 2,000 registered by Marina and the LGU.

PCG-Davao Station Commander George Maganto said PCG considered the possibility that there are still unregistered vessels.

Last week, PCG listed 400 vessels in the coastal area of Bucana alone.

Maganto said the numbering system is not only for security purposes and curb illegal activities but also for maritime incidents.

The PCG registration is for free. When registering, motor vessel operators should bring proof of ownership and Marina or LGU permit.

Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) Commander Lt. Gen. Rey Guerrero lauded the PCG’s numbering system as this would help authorities spot suspicious vessels especially now that Davao Region has established the Border Security Coordinating Council which involves the security forces and 15 government agencies.

The coordinating council will help enhance surveillance and security not only in major ports, airports, maritime border but also in other landing areas and port facilities.

Guerrero, who was elected to head the council, said the coordination would be more seamless.

All efforts will also be coordinated with Indonesia through the Philippines naval forces, which holds coordinated patrols with the Indonesian Navy.

This will also address different security issues in the region such as illegal drugs, human trafficking, smuggling, sea piracy, and robbery.

Guerrero said collaboration between agencies, police and security forces is the most effective way to maximize use of resources, build a more comprehensive intelligence picture and respond to the needs of securing borders.

MILF, BIFF clash anew: 2 dead

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 18): MILF, BIFF clash anew: 2 dead

Fighting erupted anew Sunday between government-allied Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and ISIS-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Maguindanao, leaving two MILF fighters killed and four others injured, police said.

Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, Maguindanao police provincial director, said Monday the fighting between the MILF Task Force Ittihad (Unity) and BIFF, an armed group operating in Maguindanao second district who pledged allegiance to ISIS, erupted at 1 p.m. Sunday in Barangays Tee and Andavit, Datu Salibo, Maguindanao.

The slain MILF fighters were not identified in the report. Those injured were Surani Abelusa, 50 of Midsayap, North Cotabato; Taha Sabpa, 30 of Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao; Mustapha Musa, 40, of Mamasapano, Maguindanao, and Mokamad Kadil of Pigcawayan, North Cotabato, all followers of MILF Commander Ustsdz Goma.

Tello said MILF and Datu Salibo poluce could not say how many BIFF terrorists were killed in the three-hour clash.

The MILF had been hunting down ISIS-inspired group led by Abu Toraife after the terrorist group tried to infiltrate MILF held areas in Maguindanao.

Under the government and MILF ceasefire agreement, the MILF committed to help the government get rid their communities of terrorists and other lawless elements.

The government and the MILF signed a peace deal in 2014 aimed at ending the decades-old Moro problem in southern Philippines.

The injured MILF fighters are now confined at the Cotabato Regional and Medical Center in Cotabato City.

Tello said sporadic fighting continues as of posting.

2 bandits killed in Zambo clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 18): 2 bandits killed in Zambo clash

Two bandits were killed in a clash with government troops in the hinterlands of Zamboanga del Norte, a top police official said Monday.

Chief Supt. Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office-9 (PRO-9) director, said the clash happened at around 2 p.m. Sunday at Sitio Sibugon, Barangay Panganuran, Sibuco, in Zamboanga del Norte.

Beltran said the clash happened when the joint Public Safety Company policemen and Army’s 42nd Infantry Battalion troops chanced upon 10 rebels while on security operations.

He said the firefight lasted for about 10 minutes, after which the rebels led by a certain Commander Kadyo fled towards north direction, leaving behind their two slain companions.

He said Kadyo’s group was involved in banditry such as killings, robbery hold-ups and piracy.

He said the troops recovered from the clash site the following: one Garand rifle; one improvised shotgun; 11 ammunition for shotgun; 112 ammunition for Garand rifle; an ammunition for M-203 grenade launcher; a handbag; six identification cards; a solar panel; three cellular phones; two wallets; a calculator; three camouflage t-shirts; a camouflage pants; three ammunition bandoliers; and several documents.

He added that the two bodies of Kadyo’s followers were turned over to the officials of Barangay Lambagoan, Sibuco, Zamboanga Del Norte.

No one among the troops was either killed or wounded during the clash, Beltran added.

Fr. Chito presented to media in Camp Aguinaldo

From the Philippine News Agency (Sep 18): Fr. Chito presented to media in Camp Aguinaldo

Ranking defense and military officials on Monday formally presented Father Chito Suganob to members of the media in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The priest, who is Vicar General of Marawi City's Cathedral of Our Lady Help of Christians, in a Radyo Pilipinas report, gave a thumb's up sign and said he is in good condition.

"Maraming salamat sa inyo. I'll pray for you. God bless you all and pray for me also for my healing and recovery. Thank you very much and God bless you all," Suganob told members of the media as he was whisked away from the briefing area at the General Headquarters Conference Room, in Camp Aguinaldo.

The priest was among the civilians held hostage by Maute terrorists during their attack last May 23.

Military units rescued Suganob, 51 and Lordbin Noblesa Acopio, 29, around 11:45 p.m. Saturday at Barangay Sangcay, Dansalan, Marawi City.

Present during this event were DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Eduardo Año.

"As the intensity of the armed confrontation continued to escalate in favor of our troops and while the terrorists were busy repelling the attack, the troops had the opportunity to snatch Father Chito and Mr. Acopio during melee," he added.

Both men were immediately brought to the Headquarters of Task Force “Trident” where they were given appropriate medical attention.

"I extend my commendation to the operating troops for this excellent job," Lorenzana said.

Earlier, military troops successfully recaptured the Bato Mosque and the Jamaitul Philippine al-Islamiya Schools from the hands of the remaining Maute Group terrorists who used the buildings as a defensive and command positions.

Meanwhile, Año said the priest's rescue was a deliberate effort and could be attributed to ongoing AFP combat efforts to corner and neutralize remaining Maute Group remnants in the locality.

Initial attempts to rescue Suganob took place last Sept. 13, 14 and 15, but these did not prove successful as the terrorists managed to take the hostage into a more secured location at the Bato Mosque.

The AFP chief said they only managed to rescue Suganob when they learned of this information.

Año said an estimated 12 hostages are still in the hands of Omar Maute, one of the founders of the Maute Group, responsible for the Marawi City siege.

He added that the AFP will use everything in its hands to safely rescue the remaining hostages from their terrorist captors.

As of this posting, the number of slain Maute terrorists are placed at 673 along with 149 government troops killed.

The number of civilians killed during the conflict are placed at 47 while rescued Marawi City residents totalled to 1,730, and 699 firearms were recovered.

DWDD: LECTURE SERIES | AFP Transformation Roadmap Governance Forum 03-17

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Sep 18): LECTURE SERIES  |  AFP Transformation Roadmap Governance Forum 03-17

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – Armed Forces of the Philippines offices and units convened for the 3rd Quarter2017 AFP Transformation Roadmap Governance Forum-Lecture Series at the AFP Commissioned Officers Club last September 12, 2017, with Atty. Alex L. Lacson, co-founder and partner at the MALCOLM Law, and the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of their family food business, AmoYamieMendiola.

The Theme for the forum, “Caught by the Vision: Embracing Governance as a Shared Responsibility.”

The lecture, a vital component of the AFP Transformation Roadmap, tackled Good Governance System in the AFP that allows the organization to realize the institutional vision, mission and goals in the most effective & efficient manner. Photo by SSgRandulfObinque PAF/PAOAFP/MCAG

2 commies killed in Zambo clash

From the Mindanao Examiner (Sep 18): 2 commies killed in Zambo clash

Security forces killed 2 suspected communist rebels in a clash in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga del Norte, police said on Monday.

Police said the weekend fighting broke out in the remote village of Panganuran in Sibuco town where security forces also recovered assorted rifle ammunition, camouflage uniforms and anti-government propaganda. The bodies of the slain gunmen were also retrieved by soldiers and policemen and handed over to village officials.

There was no report of casualties on the police and military side. The fighting coincided with President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncement that he is now open to resume stalled peace talks with communist leaders, but said he will have to discuss this with the police and military.

Duterte scrapped the talks early this year after he failed to convince rebel peace negotiators to sign a bilateral truce. Communist peace negotiators said Duterte must first release some 500 political prisoners, mostly rebel leaders and members, languishing in jails across the country, before they agree on a cease-fire.

The President previously said he cannot pursue peace talks with rebels while they continue attacking government and military and police targets. He also threatened to launch fresh offensives against the New People’s Army (NPA), armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and National Democratic Front of the Philippines, if they continue deadly attacks.

Rebels have flatly rejected Duterte’s cease-fire demand, saying, it is tantamount to surrendering to the government. “Duterte’s demand for an NPA cease-fire while the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) conduct an all-out war as precondition for peace talks is a demand to surrender. This is an unacceptable. Duterte has lost all moral ground to make such a demand,” the CPP said.

The NPA declared a unilateral cease-fire in August last year – that lasted nearly 160 days – as a response to Duterte’s commitment to free the prisoners. But it accused Duterte of reneging on a promise to free all political prisoners and grant them amnesty.

DWDD: UPDATE | AFP Media Briefing on latest Marawi events

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Sep 18): UPDATE  |  AFP Media Briefing on latest Marawi events

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – All is set for the Media Briefing that will be conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines today at 1:30 PM at the General Headquarters, Camp Gen Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The AFP will be giving the latest update on recent events in Marawi, more specifically, the escape of Fr. Teresito Suganob, the vicar general of Marawi who was taken hostage by Islamic State-inspired terrorists, during the first week of the siege.

Fr. Teresito Chito Suganob
According to recently escaped hostages, Fr Suganob had been forced to gather the gunpowder from firecrackers, which the terrorists would use to make bombs and possibly, these explosives would be tied to the victim’s bodies if worse comes to worst.

Some former hostages revealed that they had tried to convince Fr Suganob to join them in their escape, but he opted to stay as he did not want to leave behind the other captives. AES / ALS

DWDD: World Safety and Security Expo

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Sep 18): World Safety and Security Expo

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will participate in the “World of Safety and Security Expo” from September 21 – 24, 2017 to be held at the World Trade Center, Metro Manila.

The AFP’s participation will be through its Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief static displays, military capabilities, AFP Transformation Roadmaps promotional materials, recruitment desk and other relevant materials. AES

DWDD: SAFE AND SECURED | AFP presents rescued priest Fr Suganob

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Sep 18): SAFE AND SECURED  |  AFP presents rescued priest Fr Suganob

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines presented to the latest rescued priest Fr. Teresito “Chito” Soganub, the Vicar General of Marawi who was taken hostage by Islamic State-inspired terrorists, during the first week of the siege.

Fr Suganob was held captive for 118 days .

The press briefing was led by Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Delfin Lorenzana; together with Chief of Staff Armed Forces of the Philippines (CSAFP) Eduardo Año; J2 M/Gen. Felimon Santos Jr.; J5 M/Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr.; J7 M/Gen. Feliciano Melquiades; J3 B/Gen. Isidro Purisima; Deputy Commander Task Force Ranao Col. Romeo Brawner Jr.; CPAO Col. Edgard Arevalo; and Spokesperson Marawi Crisis Management Committee.

According to AFP Chief of Staff Gen Eduardo Año, Fr Chito revealed to them that Omar Maute is the only survivor among the Maute siblings, aside from ASG Leader Isnilon Hapilon.

He also saw ten (10) foreign terrorist among the group.

Father Soganub did not state if he’s life was ever threatened or put in danger during his captivity in the hands of the Daesh-inspired Maute terror group. He did not also state if he was also forced to make Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Although he revealed that the terror group. AES / Photos by Amihan L Sabillo

MILF: Passage of BBL in the state of oblivion

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Sep 18): Passage of BBL in the state of oblivion

CAMP DARAPANAN, SULTAN KUDARAT, MAGUINDANAO- A delegation comprising MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chair Mohagher Iqbal , Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chair Ghazali Jaafar, other BTC commissioners and MILF officials met last Thursday (September 14) at Malacañang with President Rodrigo R. Duterte , Senate President Koko Pimentel , Speaker HoR Pantaleon Alvarez , OPAPP Sec. Jess Dureza , DND Sec. Delfin Lorenzana , National Security Adviser Gen. Esperon and other key government officials supposedly to discuss the passage of the new Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) but the said meeting ended without assurances on the timeline of the enactment of the proposed law from the government.

Luwaran tried to get an information from the MILF delegation for comment but refused to make comment.

When asked for comment, the MILF Peace Implementing Panel Chairman Iqbal answered, " Has bi Allah wa naimal wakeel", meaning, " Allah is sufficient to us...He is our Protector."

But according to information we got from other sources, what was discussed during the meeting was about charter change to give way to federalism and other issues on peace and security. No mention on the fate of BBL.

It is to be noted that the said law is already in congress awaiting sponsorship from members of the House of Representatives.

Pres. Duterte during the turn-over of the new draft BBL promised to husband the passage of the law and tasked Speaker Alvarez and Senate President Pimentel to lead the filing in both Chambers of Congress. All of them were only" statement that remains to be seen.

Luwaran conducted a random interview with the different sectors of the Moro community and all of them shared common sentiments on how the government manage the peace process with the MILF, and according to them the keyword is " SINCERITY ".