Friday, December 8, 2017

7 Marines, 1 cop wounded in Maguindanao blasts

ABS-CBN (Dec 9): 7 Marines, 1 cop wounded in Maguindanao blasts

UPI, Maguindanao - At least 7 Marines and a police officer were wounded after three blasts rocked different parts of this town from late Friday night until before dawn Saturday.

The first explosion happened around 11:30 p.m. at the detachment of the First Maneuver Platoon of the Maguindanao Provincial Public Safety Company.

A cop was wounded in the incident.

After 10 minutes, a second explosion took place near the Nuro Bridge in Barangay Nuro.

At about 1:10 a.m. Saturday, another blast went off near the Philippine Marines battalion headquarters just as members of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 5 were on their way back to base.

The blast left 7 Marines wounded.

Upi police chief Senior Insp. Merle Glemao said they have yet to identify the group behind the series of explosions.

7 Marines injured by roadside bomb in Maguindanao town

From the Philippine Star (Dec 9): 7 Marines injured by roadside bomb in Maguindanao town

Local officials are helping in the investigation of the bombing.
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — A roadside bombing in North Upi, Maguindanao before dawn on Saturday left seven Marines injured, local police said.
The victims — Maj. Romulo Ducay, Cpls. Ryan Cabual, Arnel Jiun, Oliver Albo, Alvin Sangadan and PFCs Johnny Panday and Gerwin Perez — belong to the 5th Marine Battalion based in Barangay Mirab in North Upi.
Senior Superintendent Agustin Tello, director of the Maguindanao provincial police, said initial reports from the municipal police only indicated that the Marines were hurt in an explosion along a road in Barangay Mirab.
He said the Marines were rushed to the hospital in the Army’s Camp Siongco in Datu Odin Sinsuat town.
Barangay Mirab is a peaceful area in the northwest area of the municipality.
"We are still investigating the incident," Tello told The STAR on Saturday morning. Local officials in North Upi are assiting the investigation.
Sources from the municipal peace and order council said they have no clues yet on who are responsible for the attack. 

3 suspected Abu Sayyaf killed in Sulu

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 9): 3 suspected Abu Sayyaf killed in Sulu

Three suspected members of the Abu Sayyaf Group were killed in a 10-minute encounter with soldiers in Sitio Buling-Buling, Barangay Su-uh, Panamao town in Sulu on Friday.

Brigadier General Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Group Sulu, said the military was still verifying the identity of those killed but added they belonged to the Patikul-based Abu Sayyaf group led by Radullan Sahiron who recently clashed with soldiers and marine forces conducting security patrol in the area.

He said the bodies were turned over to the local government to be given proper interment rites.
Sobejana said soldiers recovered an M16 rifle and a caliber pistol from the scene of the encounter.

Headless body dumped in front of a store in Basilan

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 8): Headless body dumped in front of a store in Basilan

Police found a headless body, identified to be that of a jobless 20-year-old man, near a commercial building in Lamitan City, Basilan province.

Chief Insp. Alexi Desamito, chief of the Lamitan City Police Station, said the body of Walid Najer, around 20 years old, was dumped on Paticul Street in front of a store in Barangay Matatag at around 3:15 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8.

Senior Supt. Nickson Muksan, chief of the Basilan Police Provincial Office, said police received a report of a hacking incident near where the body was found.

Desamito said they were trying to find out the possible motives for the killing.

The last reported beheading in Basilan happened in 2001 in Barangay Balobo, where more than 30 people were kidnapped. The women and children were freed, but 10 men were beheaded.

Alleged Abu Sayyaf member nabbed in Sulu – military

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 6): Alleged Abu Sayyaf member nabbed in Sulu – military
A suspected Abu Sayyaf member, believed to be behind a recent raid on a village in Sulu that left three civilians killed, was arrested on Wednesday, a ranking military officer said.

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of Joint Task Group Sulu, said Norham Bagadi, a cousin of notorious Abu Sayyaf sub-leader Aldin Bagadi a.k.a Abu Sayning, was arrested around 9:15 a.m. Wednesday in Langpas village, Indanan town.

Sobejana said the 6th Infantry Battalion, with the active support of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), had tracked down Bagadi a day after his group harassed a community in Indanan town.

“Norham Bagadi was part of the harassment (incident) against a community in barangay Langpas on December 5 killing at least 3 innocent civilians and wounding of others,” Sobejana said.

Recovered from the suspect were caliber 45 pistol (Remington 1911), magazines, rounds of ammunition, and blasting caps. Norham is presently undergoing custodial debriefing before his turnover to the police.

Body of Vietnamese sailor abducted by Abu Sayyaf found in Jolo

From the Philippine Star (Dec 9): Body of Vietnamese sailor abducted by Abu Sayyaf found in Jolo

Pham Minh Tuan, captain of MV Royal 16, and five others were abducted on November 11, 2016 while sailing near Sibago Island. Google Earth
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — The police in Sulu have recovered the remains of a Vietnamese boat captain whom the Abu Sayyaf kidnapped last year. 
Pham Minh Tuan, captain of MV Royal 16, and five others were abducted on November 11, 2016 while sailing near Sibago Island, about six nautical miles off Lamitan City in Basilan.
Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares of the Police Regional Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said on Saturday that Tuan’s remains were exhumed Friday in Sitio Kasulutan in seaside Barangay Bus-Bus in Jolo.
"The operation that resulted in the recovery of his remains was an initiative of the Sulu provincial police, the Joint Task Force Sulu and the Mindanao field unit of the Anti-Kidnapping Group,” Mijares said.
Tuan was reportedly executed by his captors, led by Idang Susukan, in the middle of an encounter with the Army’s 41st Infantry Battalion in Barangay Upper Binuang in Talipao town in Sulu on September 7.
"Possibly his cadaver was buried somewhere in Jolo, the capital of Sulu, to mislead authorities," Mijares said.
Local officials in Basilan on Saturday said the Abu Sayyaf first held Tuan captive in the province, but transferred him to Sulu due to pressure from armed villagers helping the police and military fight the Islamic State-inspired group.
"They must have thought they can get a big ransom in exchange for the release of the boat captain,"  one of the sources, a town mayor known for his hostility to the Abu Sayyaf, told The STAR.
Mijares said Tuan's remains will be flown to Manila and turned over to the Vietnamese Embassy.

WITH TERRORIST TAG//Joma to lose asylum status

From the Manila Times (Dec 9): WITH TERRORIST TAG//Joma to lose asylum status

JOSE Maria Sison may lose his political asylum status once the court declares the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, as terrorist organizations, according to Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

Once the court outlawed the CPP, the Philippines can transport Sison back to the country and make him answer for his crimes, Cayetano said.

Sison has been living in the Netherlands since 1987.

“There is no asylum for terrorism, so if it can be proven that they are not in fact legitimate victims of persecution but are terrorists, then a country can decide to reverse the granting of asylum,” Cayetano said in a chance interview at the sidelines of the Philippine-Cambodia 2nd Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JCBC) in Manila.

The Department of Justice recently ordered the Office of the Prosecutor General to file a formal petition before a regional trial court seeking to declare the CPP/ NPA terrorist groups.

Under Section 17 of Republic Act 9372, or the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007, the DoJ needs to seek clearance from the court before an organization, association or group could be declared terrorist.

Analyst Ramon Casiple shared the same view, noting that a court ruling outlawing the CPP-NPA could result in the cancellation of Sison’s political asylum status and even his passport.

Even if there is no existing extradition treaty between the Philippines and the Netherlands, the Dutch government, Casiple said, could go after Sison once the court legally declared the CCP as a terrorist group.

The Dutch government has its own anti-terrorism law and the CPP founder would be considered violating that law, added Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms.

Duterte in a speech Thursday criticized Sison for living the good life in Utrecht while members of the NPA struggle daily in the mountains.

The President also dared Sison to leave his “sanctuary” in The Netherlands and bring the fight in the Philippines.

Casiple said the move of President Rodrigo Duterte to tag the CPP as a terror group showed that he has lost confidence on communist leaders because of their recent actions and pronouncements.

He cited the order of the CPP leadership to intensify offensives against government forces when the military was preoccupied with the crisis in Marawi City.

The analyst added that the CPP even used the declaration of martial law in Mindanao as justification for the attacks even if it was clear that the group was not the target.

Cayetano said Sison wanted to make it appear that he has a legitimate ideology and that he is fighting for a belief without using force.

“Have you ever heard Joma Sison told his group not to attack or bomb the plantation, mines and cell cites in the country? You never heard him say that because that is part of their strategy and that makes them liable for terrorism,” the Foreign Affairs chief said.

Sen. Francis Escudero meanwhile called on the police and the military to strictly observe the provisions of the HSA because these set the procedures on the tagging of a group as terrorist. The HSA also creates an anti-terrorism council and grievance committee to implement the law.

“Any offense committed under HSA necessitates stronger evidentiary requirements. You can’t just file murder, illegal possession of firearms or any non-bailable offense,” he added.

Escudero said that while the declaration removes the possibility of peace talks, the government should still pursue peace and bring the armed conflict to a permanent and just closure.

3 soldiers wounded in battle with NPA rebels in Zamboanga del Sur

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 8): 3 soldiers wounded in battle with NPA rebels in Zamboanga del Sur

Lakewood in Zamboanga del Sur - Google Maps

Three soldiers were wounded in a battle between government troops and communist rebels in Barangay Gasa in Lakewood town, Zamboanga del Sur on Friday.

The clash was between 30 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and soldiers of the 53rd Infantry Battalion, according to Chief Supt. Billy Beltran, chief Zamboanga Peninsula Police Regional Office (PRO 9).

The battle took place on Mount Ganaan, Sitio Kilometer 22 in Baranga Gasa at 11:10 a.m. on Friday, resulting in a firefight that lasted for almost three hours.

Recovered were medical and dental kits with medicines, four rifle grenades, two M-16 magazines and two AK-47 magazines.

2 soldiers wounded in clash with Reds

From the Manila Times (Dec 8):  2  soldiers wounded in clash with Reds

BACOLOD CITY: Two soldiers from the Philippine Army were wounded after their group engaged suspected rebels of the New People’s Army (NPA) at Sitio Cunalom, Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, on Thursday morning.

Authorities identified the two wounded soldiers as Sergeant Jomar Dolorfino and Private Jelord Para-onda, both members of the 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB).

Based on information given by Police Regional Office-6 (PRO-6), the government troops were conducting combat operations in the area after they discovered a suspected NPA camp in nearby Barangay Buenavista in the city on Tuesday.

Around 6:30 a.m., the soldiers encountered about 30 suspected NPA rebels and the two sides traded shots that lasted for a few hours before the rebels retreated.

Both Para-onda and Dolorfino were airlifted by a Huey helicopter of the Philippine Air Force (PAF) to the city’s district hospital.

The Philippine Army and the police sent reinforcements to the area to pursue the rebels.

Colonel Eliezer Losañes, commander of the 303rd IB based in Murcia, Negros Occidental, said in a statement that they had anticipated the NPA’s offensive attacks.

“That is why, it is imperative to conduct intensive combat operations to deter the terroristic attacks,” he added.

Losañes said the 303rd IB is proactive in defeating the Community Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army on Negros Island.

Meanwhile, the PAF’s Huey helicopter was forced to make an emergency landing along the national highway of Sitio Tanulo, Barangay Pilar, Hinigaran, Negros Occidental.

The chopper had just delivered the two wounded soldiers in Himamaylan and was returning to the battle area when it encountered technical problem while in the air.

Carrying two pilots and four crew, it managed to land safely on an open field just beside the national highway.

Militants stage ‘lighting rally’ in front of Army camp

From the Sun Star-Cagayan de Oro (Dec 8): Militants stage ‘lighting rally’ in front of Army camp

MEMBERS of militant youth and student groups staged a lighting rally in front of the main gate of Camp Edilberto Evangelista in Barangay Patag, Cagayan de Oro City, on Friday, December 8, at the headquarters of the Army’s 4th Infantry Division.
 Bearing placards, the militants called for a halt to the "intensifying attacks of the Duterte administration on the people."
Led by the League of the Filipino Students (LFS) and Anakbayan in Northern Mindanao, the militants’ also accused the military of being "terrorists" for supposedly mounting military operations in the countrysides that have led to displacement of rural folk.
The group also sprayed painted anti-government slogans on the road leading to the Army camp. Kristine Cabardo, LFS chairperson for Northern Mindanao, said the group cannot sit idly while the government supposedly engages in military operations against the people.
"The youth will no longer sit idly as Lumad communities flee their homes due to massive militarization, leaders of progressive organizations are slapped with trumped up charges, and uncertainty and injustice looms over the victims of the Marawi crisis especially the Meranaws," Cabardo said.
Cabardo said the termination of peace talks, the order to arrest National Democratic Front of the Philippines(NDFP) peace consultants and declaring the New People's Army (NPA) as a terrorist organization, all directed by the president, will lead to an all-out war against the people, especially the poor.
Cabardo also said that the cancellation of peace negotiation delays the discussion in addressing the root causes of the decades-old armed struggle including socio-economic issues such as genuine land reform and national industrialization which are the most integral part of the talks.
The youth leader slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for his allegiance to the ruling class instead of standing up for the people who have supported him and his then progressive pronouncements.
Cabardo explained that for international human rights week, she said: "Duterte failed to show even the slightest compassion as more than 400 political prisoners-some sick and elderly- are still detained, the military denies entry of food in Lumad evacuation camps, 'Oplan Kapayapaan', a replica of US counterinsurgency programs, intensifies with over 70 percent of the AFP deployed in Mindanao, and the bloody drug war, which has killed over 13,000 people has returned under the operations of the Philippine National Police (PNP)."
"If the youth does not act now, there will be no one left to speak out for the people. It is now, more than ever that we need to take up the historical task of the youth of staying at the forefront in the struggle for genuine democracy, a struggle for building a new society," Cabardo said.
"Duterte's rule is one that promotes tyranny and dictatorship and essentially denying the people of their democratic space-every critic in this administration either dies or is imprisoned for speaking up-and the youth as the voice of the future cannot let the fascist rule to continue," Cabardo added.
Major General Ronald Villanueva, 4ID commander, is urging the parents of the students who joined the lightning rally to look after their children and ensure they are in school and learning good values to become better citizens.
Villanueva is asking the parents to check the activities and whereabouts of their children and prevent them from being deceived and be used by any person or group.
"Today is Friday and these young misguided children should be at school right now learning about good values as well as how to be productive and successful person someday," Villanueva said.
"As parents, we all dream of seeing our children reaching their dreams and living a peaceful life. Let us not allow other people to plant seed of hatred to our children instead we nurture them to be a good sons and daughters in our home and a good citizen to our country," Villanueva added.

New CentCom chief to rebels: Live for peace

From the Freeman (Dec 9): New CentCom chief to rebels: Live for peace

AFP Chief of Staff Rey Leonardo Guerero is escorted by Major General Paul T. Atal during the traditional pass in review following the latter’s installation yesterday as the new commander of the Central Command. Tristan T. Laput
CEBU, Philippines — The new Armed Forces of the Philippines-Central Command (AFP-CentCom) chief has promised to address insurgency in Central Visayas.

Speaking before the military officials and officers during yesterday’s turnover ceremony at the CentCom headquarters, Major General Paul Atal encouraged rebels and outlaws to “come back to the folds of the law and live for peace.” Atal, from the 5th infantry division of Philippine Military Academy “Maharlika” Class of 1984, replaced Lieutenant General Oscar Lactao.

"War only leaves death and destruction. The military fights not because we want to but because we need to,” he said.

He also reminded the public and his troops to stay on full alert on possible conduct of atrocities following the termination of peace talks and President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation branding the National Democratic Front-Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army as terrorist group.

Military Spokesman Major-General Restituto Padilla earlier made similar advice to government troops to stay alert on possible retaliatory attacks from 3,800-strong leftist fighters.

To maintain peace and progress, Atal vowed to suppress insurgency in the region as his top priority.
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He said the job of AFP goes beyond protecting structures, confiscating weapons or addressing threats but also fighting the ills that plagued society nowadays.

Atal’s other priorities are keeping a consistent line of communication with the regional and local officials for them to be updated with AFP campaign plans; and conducting capability enhancement programs for soldiers, among others.

With the advent of technology, he also wants his soldiers to be as versatile as possible and be adaptive to its advancement as threats also change over time.

"We are likewise now faced with its changing security environment with emerging major threats on cyber security concerns,” he said.

Atal also said he will continue with the existing plans and program of Lactao and improve those that need refinement.

He admitted though that he has still big boots to fill as he assumed post as the commander of AFP-CentCom.

"His (Lactao) example as a snappy, excellent and formidable commander will be a constant reminder of high standards of which I and the officers of the Central Command, including all of his units must continue to meet,” he said in his speech.

Atal served as an assistant division commander when Lactao was the Division Commander of the 4th Infantry Diamond Division.

Lactao, in his speech, thanked his mentors, saying "Thank you for showing me the right way doing my job of serving our country and people and for giving me opportunities to expand my horizon and acquiring wisdom along the way.”

"Gusto ko ring pasalamatan ang mga officers, men and women who were under me...I would have not come this far if not for your efforts, support and cooperation," he added.

Lactao received a command plaque, plaque of honorable service, encased Philippine Flag and medal frame for his 37 years of service.

2nd ID okay with CHR probe on Nasugbu clash

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 8): 2nd ID okay with CHR probe on Nasugbu clash

The Tanay-based 2nd Infantry Division (ID) has no problem with the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) investigating the Nasugbu, Batangas encounter where 15 New People's Army (NPA) rebels were killed last November 28.

"We welcome CHR's move to investigate said encounter. With all killed wearing their bandoleers and holding their M-16s, we are confident that all those who died in the encounter are NPAs," 2nd ID commander Maj. Gen. Rhoderick Parayno said in a statement Friday.

"We could only hope that said investigation would show results that are true, fair and not biased," he added.

Rebel groups and their sympathizers have claimed that the encounter was not legitimate.

Troopers of the 202nd Infantry, along with supporting Army and police units, clashed with the NPAs during a series of gun battles in barangays Aga and Kaylaway at 8:30 p.m. on November 28.

The encounter was "intelligence driven" and stemmed from the Nov. 20 operation in Barangay Utod, which resulted in the capture of an NPA base and undetermined rebel casualties.

The seized NPA encampment is capable of housing and training a significant number of rebels.

All of the bodies of the NPA fatalities were recovered by troops, along with 12 high-powered firearms, consisting of 10 M-16 automatic rifles, an M-16 automatic rifle fitted with an M-203 grenade launcher, and an M-79.

New kidnap-for-ransom group trying to sneak into Sabah detected

From the New Straits Times (Dec 5): New kidnap-for-ransom group trying to sneak into Sabah detected


The Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) have detected at least four new kidnap-for-ransom groups. File pic by ABDUL RAHEMANG TAIMING. (Image is for illustration purpose only

KOTA KINABALU: At least four new kidnap-for-ransom groups have tried sneaking into Sabah waters from southern Philippines.

The groups were detected by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) that has been on high alert for intrusions in waters under the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone (Esszone).

Esscom commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali told New Straits Times, the new active groups originates from Sitangkai Island of Tawi-Tawi, southern Philippines, siimilar to a group dubbed Two Brothers or Kumpulan Remy.

“Kumpulan Remy has been crippled by the Philippine security forces but there will always be other groups who will try to come into the state. We remain alert at any time and ever ready to tackle any security problem in Esszone,” he said.

On Monday, security forces shot dead a remnant member of Kumpulan Remy identified as Abu Paliyak or Komander Paliyak @ Yusof in Silam waters near Pulau Kantung Kalungan off Lahad Datu.

Paliyak, 31, was high on the wanted list in the Philippine. Prior to his death, Paliyak was believed to have sneaked into Sabah waters, disguised as a fisherman.

Hazani said Paliyak, who was also linked to the Abu Sayyaf militant group, was spying for new kidnap-for-ransom targets when security forces on patrol duty spotted him at 3am.

“We believe he had just entered Sabah waters. It only takes about 30 to 45 minutes of boat ride to reach Lahad Datu from Sitangkai Island,” he noted.

Since Jan 2017, there were 29 individuals or trans-border criminals listed in Esscom wanted list. Paliyak, however, was not on the list.

Esscom commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali tells New Straits Times, the new active groups originates from Sitangkai Island of Tawi-Tawi, southern Philippines. Pic by ADAM ARININ.

The 29 individuals are Filipino citizens and lived at various islands in the southern Philippines. They were wanted for their involvement in series of kidnapping and robbery at sea in Esszone.

“To date, 15 persons were neutralised or arrested by the Philippines security forces. We are continuously tracking down others (on the list) as well as members and remnant members of kidnap-for-ransom groups. We hope to make an arrest.

“Despite occasional incidents of cross-border crime, security in Sabah’s east coast remains under control and we work closely with the Philippine forces to combat foreign criminals,” stressed Hazani.

Meanwhile, Sabah police commissioner Datuk Ramli Din said police would remain on the lookout for another remnant member of Kumpulan Remy.

He noted the 11-member group was crippled after Philippine security forces arrested five members, while four others were killed in Philippine offensive operations.

“We know that another member is still at large. We have information that this individual is in the Philippines and he will sometime roam the sea,” he said, adding Kumpulan Remy was active between 2014 and 2015.

Ramli also noted the joint sea patrol with Philippine and Indonesian marine police is conducted on a regular basis to intensify security at maritime borders.

“The teams will rendezvous in the middle of the sea to share vital information,” he said.

IGP: Man killed by cops most wanted Abu Sayyaf militant in Southern Philippines

From the Malay Mail (Dec 5): IGP: Man killed by cops most wanted Abu Sayyaf militant in Southern Philippines

The man who was killed in a shootout with a police team from the Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) in the waters off Pulau Kantong Kalungan, Lahad Datu in Sabah yesterday, was the most wanted Abu Sayyaf militant in the southern Philippines.
Abu Paliyak, 30, a Filipino, had been involved in several criminal cases including kidnapping for ransom in Sabah waters.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun said the militant had long been on the police ’Most Wanted’ list.

“We knew this man had entered our territorial waters through our intelligence network and joint operations with the authorities there (in the Philippines),

“Esscom is currently in the midst of tracking down the remaining members of the militant group,” he told a press conference after the 62nd anniversary of the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) at its base in Cheras here.

Abu Paliyak was gunned down by Malaysian security forces about 3am Monday in the waters off Pulau Kantong Kalungan during a shootout.
According to Sabah Police Commissioner Datuk Ramli Din at a press conference yesterday, the militant was a member of the Remy Group, also known as ‘Two Brothers’.

He said the man was believed to have been monitoring the movement of security forces at sea to channel information to a kidnap-for-ransom group to commit cross-border crimes in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) group when he was spotted by the authorities.

In the encounter that followed, Abu Paliyak was nailed by the Lahad Datu Marine Police Force and an Esscom special team who were on patrol incognito.

Shot Dead: 'Gunman Had Links With Abu Sayyaf'

From the Malaysian Digest (Dec 5): Shot Dead: 'Gunman Had Links With Abu Sayyaf'


A GUNMAN, killed in a shoot-out with security forces during curfew in the waters off here yesterday, had links with kidnap-for-ransom groups and the Abu Sayyaf militant group.

Police have identified the suspect as Abu Paliyak, 31, who also went by the name Komander Paliyak @ Yusof.
Paliyak was high on the wanted list for his involvement in robberies at sea and kidnappings, including two abduction cases involving fish farm breeders in the east coast of Sabah three years ago.

He was believed to have been reconnoitring an area for kidnapping when security forces stumbled on him at 3am while patrolling Silam waters, near Pulau Kantung Kalungan.

Sabah police commissioner Datuk Ramli Din said Paliyak acted as an informer to a kidnap-for-ransom group dubbed Kumpulan Remy, which had been active in carrying out cross-border crime in the east coast of Sabah and the southern Philippines.

However, the group was crippled after its leader, Remy, was arrested in the Philippines.

Police believe Paliyak had acted as an informer for another kidnap-for-ransom group prior to his death.

“We believe the suspect was at sea, monitoring the movements of our security forces, as well as channelling information to the group so that it could plan and carry out crimes in the Eastern Sabah Safety Zone.

“In the incident, security forces spotted a suspicious pump boat with the suspect on board.

“The team approached the boat and introduced themselves.

“However, the boat sped off and a gunshot was fired at the security forces, prompting them to return fire,” he said here yesterday.

The shoot-out lasted several minutes before the security forces managed to approach the boat.

“They found Paliyak dead with a gunshot wound.”

The team seized a modified pump gun and bullets.

Ramli said the team found nine old wounds, believed to have been caused by gunshots and explosive-related injuries, on the suspect’s body.

“We will conduct a detailed investigation to trace remnants of informers and members of the kidnap-for-ransom group,” he said.

In September, a Filipino man wanted by the police for involvement in sea robbery and kidnapping was killed in a shoot-out in the waters off Kunak.

The suspect, Masurati Insawani @ Tarab, 50, was killed while trying to flee from the authorities in waters near Pulau Burung.

In December last year, policemen from the General Operations Force shot dead three gunmen during a kidnapping attempt in Semporna waters.

One of those killed, Abraham @ Ibrahim Hamid, was a former member of Abu Sayyaf.

The growing threat of IS in Malaysia

Malaysiakini (Dec 6): The growing threat of IS in Malaysia

COMMENT | Islamic State or IS, otherwise known as Daesh, is the manifestation of what the mid-19th-century French sociologist Émile Durkheim called "anomie".

Anomie refers to a state of perpetual drift, where no one feels rooted in one place (that one can call home), or meaning.

Not surprisingly, members of IS demands a caliphate - a permanent and fixed abode which IS calls home - even though the last caliphate had been abolished in Turkey in 1923.

Elsewhere, elements of IS demands shariah be established in every single country, even though the root of right and good human conduct dictates self-cultivation of one's good behavior - not an external framework.

But there is a larger reason why IS demands an Islamic state and shariah without fail across the Muslim world, indeed, even in non-Muslim countries - most of these countries have witnessed an erosion of good governance, human rights, and sound economic prospect.

Instead of pursuing them through democratic means, many are trapped in a system of dictatorship. Be it Saudi Arabia, or, Egypt, elements of IS are growing by leaps and bounds due to the deprivation of any means of genuine representation.

IS around the region

In Malaysia, Malaysians who are influenced into joining IS are in turn fed on the premise that the Islamic State or shariah are a must, without which, they will live and die as "unbelievers."

Indeed, when their own caliphate in Syria and Iraq was defeated in July 2017, the remaining elements of IS still insisted that the world be transformed into their image, and theirs alone. Almost everything they do is inspired by force and power, and a sense of chauvinism, where their normless-ness must reign supreme over all others.

Now that IS has been defeated in Syria and Iraq, it does not merely draw upon lone wolves, but sleeper cells and self-radicalised agents online to do its blood-curdling bidding as well.

Without a doubt, IS will pose an open threat internationally. In Southeast Asia, especially Mindanao, one has seen the extent to which IS's dangerous ideology has intertwined with local politics of Mindanao in Marawi.

Though the IS-inspired Maute Group was defeated in late October 2017, it is interesting to note that the even with the death of their leaders, Abdullah and Omar Maute, group leadership was not immediately handed to their underlings, but a Malaysian, Mohammad Manaf, who is suspected to have been killed in the Philippines as well.

The dream of creating a caliphate in and across Southeast Asia, while impractical to say the least, are trapped in the minds of these extremists despite the impracticality of the concept.

The question is; why? It is their belief that only a caliphate can overcome the problems of corruption, the lack of institutional integrity and economic growth. By demanding an Islamic state in the world, these extremists have become total zealots. However, their zealotry is driven by the lack of good governance and sound distribution of economic gains.

To be sure, IS is reaching deep into Islamic discourse to produce their own version of an idealised government. In fact, the idea of a caliphate, whether national or international, has been the crucible of Islamic history since the founding of Islam.

But the ummah (community) has also been organised along the lines of various nation states. There are more than 50 states that formed the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation together. States, rather than caliphates, have become the institutional expression of Islam; not ancient and archaic political forms of yonder. Yet, in and across these states, examples of their lack of good governance are legion.

Come what may, while the IS may have been militarily defeated, the idea and ideology that spawned its creation remain fertile.

Their inspiration and distorted reading of history have jointly produced a confrontational concept of an Islamic state, of one against all.

It is also interesting to note, for example, that Malaysia has detained some 396 jihadists from Islamic State, according to a statement released by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in the Malaysian parliament. Of this number, only 50 are Malaysians, with the rest coming from different parts of the world.

Nor are they necessarily originating from the Islamic world mainly. There are close to a hundred Uyghur IS sympathisers now in detention in Malaysia. Uyghurs are from China.

IS remains a threat not just globally but in Southeast Asia too. The defense ministers of Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, together with Australia and New Zealand, have begun to take serious note by sharing their counterterrorism data.

But the average Malaysian needs to be wary of "creeping conservativism" that produces the ecology that keeps IS alive.

When Malaysians don't combat corruption seriously and systemically, and indeed, seek to build strong and clean institutions of government, then an extremist form of Islam will try to reign supreme in Malaysia.

How can IS break into Malaysia?

By making extremist Islam look normal and acceptable, eventually, blind to the importance of eradicating corruption and establishing good governance.

3 alleged kidnap victims of Maute group found dead in Lanao

From the Philippine Star (Dec 8): 3 alleged kidnap victims of Maute group found dead in Lanao             

Local officials said talks have earlier spread around purporting that militants snatched them from somewhere and executed them in the province to create the impression that the Maute terror group is still capable of sowing terror anywhere in Lanao del Sur. File photo

LANAO DEL SUR, Philippines — The police recovered Thursday the bullet-riddled cadavers of three men reportedly kidnapped three days before by Islamic State-inspired militants.
Bobong Crisostomo, 43, Boyet Sarsava, 42 and the 29-year-old Greg Baguio were found dead at the border of Piagapo and Balindong towns in Lanao del Sur.
Investigators said they are all from Initiao municipality in nearby Misamis Oriental in Region 10.

Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares of the Police Regional Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said Friday the Lanao del Sur provincial police is now investigating on how the victims ended up dead in a hinterland separating Barangays Gacap in Piagapo and Dado in Balindong.

Local officials said talks have earlier spread around purporting that militants snatched them from somewhere and executed them in the province to create the impression that the Maute terror group is still capable of sowing terror anywhere in Lanao del Sur.
Mijares said the chief of the Marawi City police, Superintendent Ebra Moxsir, is now helping investigate on the killings.

 He said their efforts to establish where the victims were snatched from and who were responsible for their deaths are being coordinated with the Misamis Oriental provincial police.

Mijares said the remains of the three men are now in the custody of a private mortuary in Iligan City.

Will the Bangsamoro Peace Process Succeed?

From The Diplomat (Dec 7): Will the Bangsamoro Peace Process Succeed? (By Lau Seng Yap)

The Bangsamoro peace deal may not improve the security situation in or outside of Mindanao.

Will the Bangsamoro Peace Process Succeed?

The Moro insurgency is one of the longest-running conflicts in the southern Philippines. Although several peace agreements have been brokered with the help of third parties, progress on implementation has largely stalled due to intermittent ceasefire violations and a lack of political support.

But there is now renewed impetus for the peace process. For months, President Rodrigo Duterte has been seen building support for the long-stalled Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), including meeting with various lawmakers to set the bill in motion. While it is still in draft stage, the vision is to create the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and grant the insurgents greater economic and political powers.

The current Bangsamoro agenda takes place against the backdrop of the Marawi siege. Although pro-Islamic State (ISIS) militants have been ousted from Marawi City, local recruitment efforts are still ongoing. Abu Dar, one of the Maute leaders who escaped from Marawi, is said to be leading the recruitment. This has Duterte worried that hardline Moro rebels who share familial ties with local ISIS-affiliated terrorist groups may return to violence if they are dissatisfied with the peace process.

The danger has already been highlighted by reports alleging that the pro-ISIS groups that laid siege to Marawi City have been aided by ISIS sympathizers within the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). These insurgents possess stockpiles of weapons and well-trained fighters, which will help defeated jihadists regroup. This explains why former MILF guerrilla commander Abu Turaipe, who leads the pro-ISIS Jamaah Al Muhajirin wal Anshor (JMA), is now targeting the MILF, believing that this would fracture the group and encourage dissenters join the jihad war in Southeast Asia.
To be sure, the mainstream Moro insurgents have no Islamist tendencies. In fact, the MILF and MNLF are each leading a counterterrorism task force to prevent jihadist elements from gaining a foothold in Mindanao. And when pro-ISIS militants laid siege to Marawi City, the MILF alliance with the military was integral to rescue and humanitarian missions. Crucially, the group also helped prevent the conflict from spilling over to neighboring towns.

Moreover, there has been no incidence of ceasefire violation by the Moro rebels since 2015. This owes to ceasefire mechanisms (e.g., the Coordinating Committee on Cessation of Hostilities and the Ad-Hoc Joint Action Group) and the de-escalating efforts of the International Monitoring Team comprising soldiers from Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia and conflict resolution experts from Japan, Norway, and the European Union.

The Moro rebels’ contributions in the fight against ISIS and their commitment to the peace process are seen as signs of good will and have helped earn them the political capital needed to finalize the peace process. Members of the Senate majority bloc have thrown their support behind the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) as they believe this would “bring peace” to Mindanao. The House of Representatives, dominated by Duterte’s allies, is also expected to support the measure. Even though there will be some delay, the Philippine Congress will likely pass the BBL by March 2018.

Still, the BBL will likely be challenged by the Supreme Court as it contains some unconstitutional elements. Even if the BBL is ratified by the Constitution, there are several reasons why the Bangsamoro political entity may not live up to expectations. First, the future of the Bangsamoro is still unclear, as Duterte is also mulling federalism for the Philippines as a whole. Furthermore, the MILF and MNLF have been armed insurgents for several decades, which raises questions as to whether they can truly abandon their violent roots and coexist as peaceful political organizations.
Adding to this, there are opposing views on peace resolutions. Whereas Nur Misuari’s MNLF wants to enhance the current Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), the MILF led by Al Haj Murad Ebrahim and MNLF factions led by Yusoph Jikiri and Muslimin Sema are pushing for the BBL to be signed into law – and doing so would mean abolishing the ARMM.

What’s happening now is not new – peace deals forged in the past were all rejected by factions of the insurgent movement, leading to the rise of breakaway groups like the MILF and Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF). Hence, if differences in peace demands cannot be reconciled, other radicalized offshoots may emerge in the future.
Even if the MILF and MNLF manage to reach a consensus on this matter, the growing nexus of jihadist groups and foreign terrorists, as well as continued attacks by the New People’s Army, means that Mindanao will still be rocked by violence and instability. This will only deepen the economic problems in the region, thus perpetuating extremism and endangering the regional security situation.
[Lau Seng Yap is a security risk analyst at GlobalMomentum Pte Ltd. He specializes in analyzing geopolitical risks and security threats in the Asia-Pacific region.]

AFP denies having list of communist leaders to be arrested

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 8): AFP denies having list of communist leaders to be arrested

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) denied on Friday that it had prepared a list of communist leaders to be arrested following President Rodrigo Duterte’s proclamation declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist groups.

“I do not know of such list,” Col. Edgard Arevalo, chief of the AFP Public Information Office said in a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo. “We do not have such a list.”

But if warrants of arrest would be given to the AFP then that would be the time it would draw up such a list, he added.

According to a newspaper report, the military and other defense agencies had finished drawing up its list of individuals linked with the CPP-NPA. The alleged list included the National Democratic Front (NDF) consultants released by the government last year in time of the peace talks.

Duterte signed the proclamation declaring the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups last Tuesday, Dec. 5.

The proclamation, which was made in accordance with the Human Security Act (Republic Act no. 10168), also directs Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II to file a petition for proscription before a regional trial court to formally classify the groups as terrorists.

More troops deployed to Surigao del Sur after alleged harassment by Reds

From the Manila Bulletin (Dec 8): More troops deployed to Surigao del Sur after alleged harassment by Reds

CAMP DATU MAKAPANDONG, Awa New Leyte, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur – The area command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday ordered the deployment of more troops to far-flung areas in the municipality of Tago in Surigao del Sur province following report of harassment allegedly perpetrated by the communist terrorists.

The Army’s 401st Infantry (Unity) Brigade based here who has the jurisdiction of that province also ordered field battalion commanders to stop “at all cost” the alleged continuous force revolutionary taxation scheme” implemented by the New People’s Army (NPA) terrorists, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Armed Forces of the Philippines soldiers (REUTERS/Ryan Bacalso / MANILA BULLETIN)
The force taxation imposed by the NPA terrorists to rural business folks and villagers had created fear among the locals that made some highland village folks to evacuate to their respective relatives in lowland areas, town proper and in Tandag City, report reaching the command and tactical operation center here stated.

Some of the residents, particularly members of Manobo tribe came from Sitio (subvillage) Lagangan, Barangay Caras-an, Tago, Surigao del Sur, field report received here said.

The command group of the 401st Brigade ordered field unit commanders to check on the alleged evacuees there.

“This harassment to far-flung villagers, lumads (natives) and rural business folks must be stopped at all cost,” ordered 401st Brigade commander Col. Andres Centino, to his battalion commanders in Surigao del Sur.

The 401st Brigade commander said the communist terrorists have violated the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) again.

“They should respect the rights of our lumad brothers and the CARHRIHL to which they (CPP-NPA-NDF) are a signatory,” Centino pointed out.

He added that the 401st Brigade will take appropriate action to protect the far-flung villagers, especially the highland people. “We will not allow these NPA terrorists to displace the normal lives of our highland tribes,” stressed the 401st Brigade commander.

Meanwhile, a total of 398 families or 1,862 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are in Lianga and San Agustin, Surigao del Sur. Some 367 families or 1,707 persons are still staying in a tribal school in Kilometer 9, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur while there are 31 families or 155 IDPs staying at their relatives’ houses in Sitio Oranium Magkahunao, Buhisan, San Agustin, Surigao del Sur, said DSWD 13 regional director Mita Chuchi G. Lim, in her updated report Friday.

She said through the Disaster Response Assistance and Management Bureau (DReAMB) of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD, the regional office of the agency based in Butuan City is continuously monitoring the situation in Lianga and San Agustin in close coordination with the local social welfare and development office and local disaster risk reduction and management council to ensure provision of continuous and timely updates for possible assistance.

“Our social welfare workers, along with the local officials and their workers and personnel are already on the ground and continuously handing over family food packs, rice and other needs of the “bakwits” (evacuees) there,” stressed Lim, in an exclusive interview with The Manila Bulletin Friday.

No food blockade in Lianga, says AFP

From the Philippine Star (Dec 8): No food blockade in Lianga, says AFP

Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said aid meant for IDPs in Lianga, Surigao del Sur are handled by the local government. Presidential Photo
The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Friday disputed reports that soldiers have been blocking aid meant for evacuees in a vilage in Lianga, Surigao del Sur.
At a press briefing, Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla, AFP spokesperson, said there is no food blockade around Barangay Diatagon, where non-government groups say more than 1,000 people have fled to avoid getting caught in clashes between the military and the New People's Army.
"All aid to the internally displaced persons, if there is any, goes to the local government and the military is just there to provide security," he said in Filipino.
This contradicts reports from groups like Save our Schools Network and Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development Inc. claiming personnel of the 75th Infantry Battalion have been intercepting food deliveries and limiting the entry of relief supplies to just a few sacks of rice.
One of the reports of the blockade came from an official of the local government itself. "Food assistance from humanitarian aid workers could hardly get to the area as the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] imposed food blockade of that sort," Lianga councilor Sammy Dollano is quoted as saying in a Facebook post by volunteer teacher Chad Booc on December 1.
Save Our Schools, in a release on Friday, reiterated the presence of a blockade as reported in media.
"But instead of correcting their ways, the military only worsened the imposed blockade. They blocked Lumad locals who needed to go back to their community. A student who needed treatment from the lowlands was blocked from returning to the evacuation twice - on November 30 and December 2. They also did not allow the entry of four Lumad students on December 1," the group said.
SOS also accused the military of branding members of the indigenous peoples' rights group Maluhutayong Pakigbisog Alang Sumusunod (MAPASU or the Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation), Alcadev and Teachers from Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur as NPA supporters.

AFP: Most NPAs are Lumads

In the same press briefing, Padilla claimed that the military has found that "of every four armed members of the NPA, three are Lumads." He said that it is easier for the NPA, the bulk of which operate in eastern Mindanao, to recruit Lumads because they are "easier to fool."
He said that most IPs do not have access to education and are from urban centers, which makes them more susceptible to recruitment. "So that is what we have in the statistics now," he said.
Groups like SOS and Alcadev have put up alternative schools for Lumads in areas that are too remote for the Department of Education to serve.
Alcadev, for example, operates in the mountains of the Surigao and Agusan provinces, where regular schools can be as far as 20 kilometers away.
"It is no surprise that even before the year ends, many of the indigenous youth drop out of the school. Their parents could not keep up the high cost of transportation, food and lodging and other expenses necessary to finish even a year in high school. The indigenous youth also endure and most of the time get discouraged by the derogatory remarks and treatment from the lowlanders who consider them as second class citizens," Alcadev says on its website.
In a press briefing last month, the DepEd said it has met with administrators of Lumad schools to make it easier for them to get permits to operate. Among those measures is waiving a requirement for all teachers in a school to have licenses as long as the supervisor of the school is a licensed teacher. Schools are also expected to work towards having their teachers take licensure exams within three to five years.
Padilla said the military expects the NPA to amp up recruitment of Lumads with the scrapping of peace talks between the government and the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front.
"They will try to entice, they will make our indigenous peoples in the mountain go down to the city centers as evacuees and confront local governments and national governments and give demands, which they have been doing ever since," he said.

DWDD: JUSTICE | NOLCOM Condemns Murder of Priest in Nueva Ecija

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 8): JUSTICE  |  NOLCOM Condemns Murder of Priest in Nueva Ecija

CAMP GEN SERVILLANO AQUINO, Tarlac City (DWDD) – The Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) condemns the killing of FR. MARCELITO “TITO” y ALCALA PAEZ in Sitio Sanggalan, Brgy. Lambakin, Jaen, Nueva Ecija in the evening of December 4, 2017.

Fr. Tito, 72 year old resident of Baloc, Sto. Domingo, Nueva Ecija, was gunned-down by motorcycle-riding assailants, who were still unidentified up to this time. The victim was driving with his Toyota Innova vehicle along Jaen-Zaragoza Road when shot by the unidentified suspects. He was rushed to Gonzales General Hospital in San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija but later died while undergoing treatment. Investigation is still ongoing as of this period.

However, this incident is now being exploited as an issue against the government by the left-leaning organization KARAPATAN. The CPP/NPA/NDF, thru KARAPATAN Secretary General, Tinay Palabay, capitalizes on issues to discredit the present administration and will use any means to justify their ends of killing innocent civilians.

In light of Fr. Tito’s death, NOLCOM will wait for the result of investigation and follow the due process. Further, NOLCOM supports the exhaustive efforts of the PNP in their conduct of the investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice, and will provide the necessary assistance to the PNP.

NOLCOM, representing the AFP in Northern and Central Luzon, is saddened with this incident and we are expressing our sympathy to the bereaved family and loved ones of Father Tito. NOLCOM puts high regard on human rights and remains committed to uphold the principles of the rule of law and the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). NOLCOM/MCAG

DWDD: QUICK RESPONSE | Pursuit Operations launched on NPA’s who attacked Local Police in Misamis Oriental

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 8): QUICK RESPONSE  |  Pursuit Operations launched on NPA’s who attacked Local Police in Misamis Oriental

CAMP OSITO D. BAHIAN, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon (DWDD) – An armed clash between troops of the 58th Infantry Battalion and NPA terrorists took place December 6, 2017, in the outskirts of Sitio Kapatagan, Barangay Umagos, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental.


The firefight took place after troops of the 58th Infantry Battalion, a unit operationally controlled by the 403rd Infantry Brigade, launched pursuit operations against the NPA terrorists who attacked the Municipal Police Station in the neighbouring town of Binuangan on Sunday, December 3, 2017.

Troops were able to recover two high-powered firearms that include an M16 rifle and an M1 Garand Rifle while scouring the encounter site.

Globs of blood were also seen along the terrorists’ withdrawal routes, which indicate casualties on the terrorists’ side.

Meanwhile, troops were unscathed during the armed clash. The armed clash was also a result of the 58th Infantry Battalion’s prompt response to the continued reports from concerned local residents who reportedly despised the NPA for attacking the Binuangan Municipal Police Station, which caused havoc and fear among the people in the said area including the three-days cancellation of classes.

Brigadier General Eric C Vinoya AFP, Commander of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, had recently ordered the 58th Infantry Battalion to conduct relentless focused military operations against the NPA terrorists who perpetrated the attack in Binuangan Municipal Police Station. In his statement, he appreciated the efforts of the troops as well as the local residents who continue to support the Brigade’s campaign against NPA’s terrorism, lawlessness, and criminality.

“This incident is a manifestation of our relentless efforts to go after NPA terrorists who continue to threaten our communities in the provinces of Bukidnon and Misamis Oriental. In particular, I would like to commend our soldiers from the 58th Infantry Battalion for their untiring effort to bring justice and the long arms of the law to those who perpetrated the attack of Binuangan Municipal Police Station, which threatened our peace-loving people in that area.” said Brigadier General Vinoya.
“Most importantly, I would like to thank our people, the local residents of Binuangan and its neighboring communities, for continuously reporting the presence of NPA terrorists in their area. This is a very critical requirement in our conduct of focused military operations in order to secure our communities from the exploitations and deception of the NPA and all their cohorts.” he added. 58IB/403IBde/MCAG


From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 8): EXTORTION ACTIVITIES  |  NPA violates IP Rights

MAWAB, Compostela Valley Province (DWDD) – The government forces encountered NPA in Sitio Celtix, Barangay Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato on Sunday resulted to the killing of 2 and 3 wounded on the government side while 7 were killed, including the tribal leader, Victor Danian, while 2 others were wounded on the NPA side and the recovery of 4 assorted firearms from the armed group.


While the troops conducting Community Support in the area, there are reports that group of Yoyo was conducting extortion and recruitment in tribal community especially the youth.

The government forces was forced to confirm the veracity of the report. It was confirmed that the group of @YOYO, a platoon leader of Guerrilla Front 73, FSMR, was temporarily encamped about 300 meters from the said Sitio when the clashes occurred. The area was found to be with fortifications, barricades, and outposts.

“Commander 10ID, Major General Noel S Clement says that NPA took advantage of the IP’s vulnerability. They deprive the IP’s right to live free from coercion and and self-determination. They recruited the youth and forced the people to leave their homes and blame the Army for massive evacuation with the intent to disrupt the Army units conducting Community Support Program.

NPAs manipulated our IP leaders and encouraging them to take arms against the government which resulted to the death of 1 IP leader who was deceived by the terrorists propaganda.”

“Supposedly, IPs should be given the chance for self-determination and not be used for political interest and their ethnic groups be promoted and respected. These are IPs rights that 10ID, together with LGUs and LGAs, committed and determined to protect,” MGen Clement added. 10DPAO/MCAG

DWDD: NEW LIFE | 2 Former NPA’s turned Army Soldier receive Cash Assistance

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 8): NEW LIFE  |  2 Former NPA’s turned Army Soldier receive Cash Assistance

ASUNCION, Davao del Norte (DWDD) – Two former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who are now undergoing training to become soldiers of the Philippine Army receive their cash assistance under the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) at the DILG Office, Tagum City.

The two both voluntarily surrendered in 60IB in 2016. They are now completing the Candidate Soldier Course at 10th Infantry Division Training School to become full-time members of the AFP.

Both received their P15,000.00 immediate cash assistance and P50,000.00 livelihood assistance in bulk. Davao del Norte OIC Provincial Director Jackeline E Esperon personally facilitated the distribution of the cash assistance.

Earlier, 13 other FRs from Compostela Valley Province and nine from Davao del Norte also received their CLIP cash assistance as facilitated by 60IB.

The 60IB helped the two to apply to become soldiers. Lt. Col. Emmanuel Canilla, Commander of 60IB said “they are actually the ones who really want to become soldiers. As how we do with the other FRs, we help them pursue their dreams or at least experience normal lives and normal jobs.”

Col. Erwin Bernard Neri of 1001st Bde, said that “they [NPA former rebels] make the most out of their new life and make sure to use their money wisely”. He urged the NPA to return to the folds of the law and avail the programs of government and live as peaceful citizens of the country”.

The CLIP is a government initiative that seeks to permanently and peacefully end all armed conflicts with armed groups. 60IBMediator/MCAG

DWDD: REBELS CRIPPLED | NPA Bomb expert in ComVal surrendered

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 8): REBELS CRIPPLED  |  NPA Bomb expert in ComVal surrendered

MAWAB, Compostela Valley Province (DWDD) – A certain Jomar Madalo Antolin alias Raffy, an active member of Milisyang Bayan, Guerilla Front 2, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee and the NPA’s bomb expert voluntarily surrendered to 71st Infantry (Kaibigan) Battalion on December 2, 2017.


Antolin is affiliated as Vice Commander of Milisyang Bayan Cluster Command (MBCC) sector Sapa in Masara Lines of Maco, ComVal Province who revealed his participations on several tactical offensives using Improvised Explosive Device (IED) against AFP/PNP personnel in the unit’s area of operation.

According to Antolin, MBCC is a group that is tasked to conduct sniping, extortion, and ambuscades using bombs.

“Surrender or die! On the pronouncement of PRRD, there will be no more talks between the government and the terrorists yet we are still open to those who intends to voluntarily submit themselves, cooperate, and return to the folds of the law”, said Lieut Colonel Esteveyn E Ducusin, the Commanding Officer of 71st Infantry Battalion, 7th Infantry Division, Philippine Army.

Lt Colonel Ducusin also added that the NPA’s extortion and hostile plan against vital establishments as well as the government forces are pre-empted and that he directed his troops to intensify security measures in order to continuously maintain peace and order in the area.

The 71st IB is steadfast to achieve just and lasting peace for the people of Compostela Valley Province. 10DPAO/MCAG


From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Dec 8): TRUST AND CONFIDENCE  |  CSAFP Welcomes Term Extension

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Rey Leonardo Guerrero is profoundly grateful to President Rodrigo Duterte’s continued trust and confidence in his capability to lead the AFP.

This extension of the AFP Chief’s military service will allow him more time to implement important plans and programs of the AFP especially in this challenging time that the nation faces threats from foreign and local terrorists like the New People’s Army.

Further, the extension also gives General Guerrero the opportunity to fast track the upgrade of the AFP capability as it aspires to be a world class Armed Forces that is a source of national pride.

General Guerrero will lead the AFP in its celebration of the 82nd Anniversary with the Theme: “Protecting the people; securing the state.” The event is scheduled on the third week of December. AES/MCAG

MILF: BIAF 109th Base Command holds Advocacy on Managing Frustrations

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Dec 8): BIAF 109th Base Command holds Advocacy on Managing Frustrations

CAMP BUNAWAN – The 109th Base Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF)-Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) held advocacy on Managing Frustrations where the implementation of the GPH-MILF Peace Agreements was discussed; and the impact of the recently concluded Bangsamoro Assembly to the Bangsamoro broad masses.
The Assembly was held at Simuay, Sultan, Maguindanao on November 26-27, 2017.

“This advocacy can help us level off our understanding on the speech of President Rodrigo Duterte during the assembly. We have to analyze critically his statements, and at the end we can gather more support for the immediate passage of the new Bangsamoro Basic Law”, said Abas Bukol, Base Commander of the BIAF 109th Base Command.

He said that BIAF has a vital role in explaining to the masses the significant outcome of the assembly where many participants have mixed reactions on President Duterte’s message, and by that way peoples’ frustration can be managed.

Professor Esmael A. Abdula, President of Kalilintad Peacebuilding Institute, and BLMI Training Officer, and member of Steering Committee, said the MILF Democratic Struggle through the negotiation table is recognized and supported by the international community, and various local sectors for the establishment of new political entity called Bangsamoro Region.

“The recent Bangsamoro Assembly was aimed at gathering strong support for the passage of the new draft Bangsamoro Basic Law, and President Duterte was invited so that people can hear what he was going to say about the new BBL”, Abdula added.

“Implementing stages has three tracks: 1) Security-Related Measure (Bilateral Implementation), 2) Normalization Process (Bilateral Implementation), 3) Passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (Philippine Government’s responsibility – unilateral responsibility). The implementation of these tracks will put an end to the decades of conflict in Mindanao”, Abdula emphasized.

Abdurrahim Molilis, MILF-CCCH member, KPI Staff Khairudin Anwar, and109th Base Command Field Commanders were present during the advocacy.

MILF: UN commends MILF for disengaging Child Soldiers from its ranks

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Dec 8): UN commends MILF for disengaging Child Soldiers from its ranks

IN PHOTO-(Left)-Ola Almgren of UNICEF with MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim (Right) during the visit of U.N. Officials commending the MILF for removing child soldiers from its rank

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Monday received a commendation from UNICE-Philippines for removing 1,869 children from its ranks, reported on December 04.

For complying with U.N.’s international law on banning children from engaging in combat during conflict, the MILF was also delisted from the annexes of the Secretary General Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict, said the report by

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, and UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines Ola Almgren congratulated the MILF for promoting and protecting the rights of children, also said in its report.

“Today (Monday), we mark an important milestone for the boys, and girls of the Philippines. The Joint Action Plan between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the United Nations on the issue of recruitment, and use of children has now been fully implemented.

As a result, I am very happy to announce that the MILF has been delisted from the annexes of the Secretary General Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict. I would like to congratulate the MILF for completing the action plan with the support of the Country Task Force on Monitoring and Reporting.

This achievement is the result of a sustained commitment by the MILF with United Nations support”, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba said in her congratulatory message as quoted by

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict serves as the leading UN advocate for the protection and well-being of children affected by armed conflict.

It can be recalled that the UN-MILF began working together by signing of an Action Plan between the United Nations, and the MILF in 2009 with Sammy Al-Mansor, Chief of Staff of BIAF-MILF, Architect Edward Guerra, and Toks Ebrahim as MILF’s counterpart in the planning and completion of the UN-MILF Action Plan.

The Action Plan was completed in 2017 upon the fulfilment of a six-point roadmap, resulting in the disengagement 1,869 children from the ranks of the MILF.

After their disengagement, the children will have access to appropriate support, and services from government, and development partners to enjoy all their rights to health, education and protection.

“The United Nations country team in the Philippines welcomes this important milestone achieved by the MILF, in demonstrating its commitment to the protection and welfare of children,” the United Nations Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, Mr. Ola Almgren, shared in his message.

“In line with the UN package of existing programs to support the normalization track of the peace negotiations between the Government and the MILF, the UN stands ready to support the relevant plans for the disengaged children and their communities,” Mr. Almgren added.

UNICEF- Philippines Representative, Officer-in-Charge, Julia Rees said, “We congratulate the MILF as they reach this important milestone. Children are zones of peace and their rights must be promoted and protected at all times. Unicef’s support to the MILF continues to ensure that disengaged children and their communities live in safe environments, by facilitating access to psychosocial support and other protection, social welfare, education and health services. In addition, UNICEF supports parents in providing family based guidance and care.

In response, Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, Chairman of MILF reiterated MILF’s commitment to protect and promote the rights of children in their communities.

Al Haj Murad also emphasized that, “The MILF has been candid enough to admit that compelling situations in the past brought about by war, nay even existential moments, has unfortunately forced children to a situation where their services, though not necessarily military, are of such a character as to appear as such.”

“MILF has worked for years in partnership with the UN, and we are pleased at being delisted in the 2017 Secretary General’s report and to be recognized here today by our UN country partners,” said Eduard Guerra, former Chair of UN-MILF Action Plan Panel and currently the Co-chair of Joint Normalization Committee – MILF, “MILF will keep up the commitment and the work to protect and promote the inherent rights of every child in our community. Together we will work toward ensuring a peaceful environment and a fair chance for children to enjoy their childhood while having access to education and other essential social services critical for their growth and wellbeing,” added Mr. Guerra.

MILF: ARMM leads the 2017 Celebration of Mindanao Week of Peace

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Dec 6): ARMM leads the 2017 Celebration of Mindanao Week of Peace

IN PHOTO- ARMM RG Mujiv Hataman addressing the audience during the celebration of Mindanao Week of Peace

The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) celebrated Mindanao Week of Peace at the Regional Government Center Compound, Cotabato City on December 4, 2017.

ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman led the opening ceremony of the weeklong celebration attended by officials and employees of the regional government.

With the theme; “Sustaining the Journey for Peace”, the Mindanao Week of Peace celebration is in recognition of the common aspirations of Mindanaoans to live in peace, unity, and harmony with each other regardless of status in life, religion or culture, and aspires to raise consciousness for a culture of peace among the peoples of Mindanao.

In his opening message, Governor Hataman stressed the important role of every Bangsamoro in the continuing quest for a lasting peace. He encouraged everyone to participate and support the call for peace not just during the Mindanao Week of Peace but in every minute of their lives.

When asked about last week’s Bangsamoro Assembly in Maguindanao attended by huge number of people, he said, “Our lawmakers witnessed them, we also heard President Duterte proposal for a special session if ever Congress fails to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) before (Congress) go on recess, however, Congress statement set March 2018 as their timeline in passing the BBL.”

He also reiterates his readiness to vacate his post once the new Bangsamoro government is in place. “Actually parang sirang plaka na, baka dina maniniwala pero ang sinasabi ko nga sa inyo, hindi mahalaga sa akin ang posisyon, mas mahalaga sa akin ang kapayapaan”, Hataman added.

The event was officially launched with a banged of a gong symbolizing the start of the weeklong celebrations.

This year’s celebration is being spearheaded by the ARMM’s locally funded agencies (LF) headed by the Office on Bangsamoro Youth Affairs (OBYA-ARMM).

Thousands of ARMM officials and employees including Regional Reconciliation and Unification Commission (RRUC) paraded around the compound to open this year’s celebrations.

RRUC Chairman Romeo K. Sema believed that this event could be an opportunity for us to broaden the constituency for peace, unity and solidarity initiative of the RRUC in the ARMM and beyond” an opportunity to all Bangsamoro people to unite for the sake of peace, to support the peace process for a better and strong autonomy, Sema added.

RRUC Executive Director Abdulbasit Benito said The commission would play a very significant role in the promotion of a just peace in the region. Being an advisory and conflict management body of ARMM for Rido / Feuds, RRUC is helping enhance the promotion and maintenance of peace and security in the ARMM”.

“This year celebration will underscore the need for us to unite, and to make just peace both a personal as well as collective cause. We should harness our diversity to serve as our source of strength to build a community of Peace, Unity, Solidarity and Harmony or PUSH”, Benito said.”