Friday, December 29, 2017

SECURING PEACE IN ANCESTRAL LANDS//NCIP slams military plan to tap ‘lumad’ vs rebels

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 29): SECURING PEACE IN ANCESTRAL LANDS//NCIP slams military plan to tap ‘lumad’ vs rebels
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has questioned a supposed plan by the Armed Forces of the Philippines to pit indigenous peoples (IPs) against each other in its campaign against the New People’s Army (NPA).

In a statement issued on Dec. 20, NCIP Chair Leonor Oralde-Quintayo and Commissioners Basilio Wandag, Norberto Navarro, Ramcy Astoveza, Roy Dabuit and Era Espana said the customary ways of resolving disputes should be used in areas of conflict and an armed response should always be the last resort.

In a Dec. 19 Inquirer report, the AFP said it would tap “lumad” soldiers against the NPA, after the Duterte administration claimed that communist rebels in southern Philippines were dominated by indigenous peoples.

The NCIP asked other government agencies to “assist in institutionalizing dialogs between and among IPs and their communities as a mechanism to resolve conflicts.”

 “While we laud the AFP assistance to IP communities, we would like to remind the IP soldiers to use their skills to resist harassment and repel attacks against the IP communities and to secure and maintain peace in the ancestral domains,” the NCIP said.

The NCIP also urged soldiers from IP communities to protect tribal villages. “IP soldiers … must not forget that there are IP core values which must be sustained,” it said.

The NCIP was formed to enforce IP rights, following the passage of Republic Act No. 8371, or the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (Ipra). The agency also processes and recognizes ancestral land rights.

From July 2016 to Dec. 5 this year, 39 IP leaders had been killed and 21,966 had been forced to leave their homes due to military operations, according to the militant Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas.

In Mindanao, the military said 330 lumad had completed their military training on Wednesday to become their communities’ “first line of defense” against NPA rebels and other armed groups.

These militiamen came from the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Davao Occidental. Most of them are members of the Manobo, Tagakaulo, B’laan, Bagobo and T’boli communities, said Capt. Jerry Lamosao, spokesperson for the Army’s 10th Infantry Division based in Compostela Valley.

Lamosao, in a statement, said the government militiamen were trained on handling weapons and were given lectures on the respect for human rights and rule of law.

Finding peace for Bangsamoro

From the New Straits Times (Dec 28): Finding peace for Bangsamoro

Manila’s strategic partner in bringing peace into volatile Mindanao has made headway in neutralising elements that could threaten to turn the region into the new bastion for the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front, however, cautions that efforts to rein in existing and emerging extremist groups would be difficult, tenuous at best, without the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

In the most recent development, MILF, which has influence in at least 60 per cent of the country’s south, has managed to pull to its side, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) under the leadership of Yusop Jikiri, to promote peace in the region and fight extremism.

Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ibrahim says only by having in place a sound economy and livelihood for the people can there be lasting peace.

Its chairman, Murad Ibrahim, said efforts to consolidate armed groups in Mindanao were being aggressively carried out.

“We are in the convergence phase. With MNLF under Yusop Jikiri, we are confident of moving together... We have two of the three Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) factions on board, supporting the peace process.

“Even our former members, who are now among the Maute group, are trying to find a way to come to an understanding with us... Our doors are always open to other hardline groups, to give them that chance to converge for peace,” he said in an interview at MILF’s headquarters at the Darapanan Camp.

Question: The planned birth of the BBL seems to be overdue.

Answer: In the proliferation of extremism, the most effective solution to counter this is to have in place a political set-up that is acceptable to the Bangsamoro people. We have seen small groups emerge... from the factions which fell out of MILF, including the Abu Sayyaf group to BIFF. When the BBL was not passed in the last administration, what followed was the emergence of the Maute group in Lanao. All these small groups that emerged came into being because of the non-implementation of the BBL... there is no political solution in place.

Q: There are whispers of some provisions in the proposed BBL being “unconstitutional”.

A: It took us 18 years to sign the Comprehensive Agreement for the Bangsamoro (CAB) that meets the aspirations of the Bangsamoro for self-determination, and one that agrees with the Philippines’ constitution. The contraries made that difficult, so a lot of compromises were made to ensure the political set-up was accepted. Hence, if it is acceptable to the majority of the Bangsamoro, anyone who sabotages it will become the enemy of the people.

Q: Are you encouraged by President Rodrigo Duterte’s promise that he would make the BBL happen and push forward the proposed law until it is passed by congress.

A: I met the president in Sept 4 and he committed that he would do all he could so that the BBL is passed. We state our case that as far as all the legal issues are concerned, the draft of the BBL had gone through a strict and robust review, and there are no unconstitutional provisions in it. In fact, nobody can actually point out anything unconstitutional.

Q: Do you feel there are attempts to dilute the BBL?

A: There are observers who feel that it (claim of unconstitutional provisions) is an excuse to dilute the provisions of the BBL. This is part of the struggle and we will struggle to make sure there is no dilution. The BBL must comply with the provisions of CAB that had been signed. We will not accept a BBL that does not. This has been conveyed.

As far as we stand, the political agreement is completed and signed.

There are no more negotiations. It is provided in the agreement that if there are provisions declared as unconstitutional, then the BTC (Bangsamoro Transition Committee) that crafted the BBL will recommend amendments to the Philippines constitution. That is clear.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front staged a massive rally in late November at its headquarters in Camp Darapanan, the Philippines, to push for the adoption of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Q: You said a delay in passing the BBL will spell disaster. How so?

A: This couldn’t be closer to the truth. We now see IS is losing ground in the Middle East and now they need another ground to operate from. We know that they see the problems in Southern Philippines and they want to capitalise on it. This area is strategic, close to Indonesia, Malaysia and other Asean countries they have eyes on. They are also hoping to capitalise on the radical groups that are around (the region) and the many Islamic organisations sprouting. It will be difficult for us to fight them without any political settlement in place. If the peace process fails, there is no moral ascendancy to fight them. They will be seen as the defenders while we will be merely seen as the one working or rather colluding with the government. This (the BBL) is the only political solution that will effectively counter the ongoing proliferation of extremism in Mindanao. Marawi is a clear signal of bigger things that could happen... and this is a small group that has sustained a fight for five months.

Q: How do you see this unprecedented agreedment for a partnership you just signed with MNLF, working in favour of a stronger Bangsamoro?

A: Our strategic cooperation with MNLF under the leadership of Yusop Jikiri is not only in pursuing the passage of the BBL, but also in countering extremism in this region. People in the south are in full support.

Q: You and your men are all set to put down your weapons for good?

A: We are in that direction. Creating an atmosphere where there are no arms except for the authorities. That is why we agreed on the decommissioning process and we agreed to work together on the disbanding of private armies and drug lords.

We agreed that the final and long term peace can be achieved only with controlled weapons and arms. This will be a challenging process, but once the law is passed, we are willing to cooperate with the government on this aspect.

We did not demand for the integration of our forces. We are willing to lay down our arms, but we also have to strengthen the police force of the Bangsamoro. That will be the official armed wing of the government. There will be a requirement, which includes members of the force having to be qualified.

Q: What is MILF’s strength?

A: We have a significant number of trained combatants. It expands if we mobilise weapons from civilians. Our military wing, which is under the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, is organised separately from our political wing. Across the region, from the central committee, provinces, municipalities and villages, we have the support of roughly 60 per cent of Mindanao.

Q: MILF is now among enemy No. 1 for the Mindanao-based IS, by virtue of you engaging in the peace process with Manila.

A: This is a non-issue for us as the people do not see it that way. They know that IS is globally condemned by all ulama and they are not Islamic. IS declared us infidels, but that does not affect our credibility, as the people here know we are working for them, their welfare and peace. They believe in MILF and that we are following the right teachings of Islam. The majority of ulama are also with us.

Q: You are certain that nobody doubts your sincerity in this whole peace process?

A: In the case of the Marawi siege, we had avoided by all means to be implicated. We suspect the “spoilers” of this peace process wanted exactly that to use it against us and create another “Mamasapano incident”. But we very much distanced ourselves. There was a time the Maute group demanded that MILF intervene, saying that they would if we did. We said “no”. It could have been a ploy so that it would be manipulated and we would be accused of having been involved in the fighting on the ground. We told them if they really wanted to withdraw, they have all the means to do so without our intervention. There was clearly something else on their mind.

Participants at the rally.

Q: What can the region expect when the BBL is passed?

A: MILF has a blueprint of what we want after we achieve that political solution. It is a development plan for the short, medium and long terms. In developing this area economically, we are looking forward to neighbouring countries helping us in the peace process, to move development programmes forward to ensure sustainability and for lasting peace. Only by having in place a sound economy and livelihood for the people, could there be lasting peace. Many nations, including Malaysia, are engaging with us.

Question: Kuala Lumpur served as the third party during your negotiations with Manila. Does it end there?

A: We have agreed for the role of the facilitator to continue in the implementation process, until an exit agreement is officially signed.

It is when both parties agree that all aspects of the peace process had been implemented. That is when the term of the facilitator officially ends. But we can also agree that there is the long-term process of normalisation, which is parallel to the peace process.

This period is longer because it will involve the rebuilding of vast areas. We need to continue cooperating with the international community, including Malaysia. We look forward to having Malaysia’s continued involvement in the normalisation process.

How China Could Gradually Assume Control Of Scarborough Shoal In The South China Sea

From Forbes (Dec 29): How China Could Gradually Assume Control Of Scarborough Shoal In The South China Sea (By Ralph Jennings)
This photo taken on June 16, 2016 shows workers and crew loading supplies and ice to a fishing vessel anchored at the mouth of the South China Sea off the town of Infanta in Pangasinan province, as they prepare for a fishing expedition to Scarborough Shoal. (TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
China hasn’t said much about this over the past nine months, but a lot of Filipinos remember it like yesterday – or tomorrow. That is, Beijing hinted at plans for building an environmental monitoring station at Scarborough Shoal, a major South China Sea fishery disputed by the Philippine government. The mayor of a southern Chinese city on another feature in the sea was quoted in Chinese media to that effect in March.
China and the Philippines have frozen for the past year their dispute over rights to the shoal and surrounding waters, where both look for fish as well as fuel under the seabed. They’re trying to get along instead, evidenced by China’s offers of development aid to the Philippines. Chinese coast guard vessels now control the 150-square-kilometer, environmentally sensitive shoal but let Philippine fishing boats use the nearby waters.
Someday China will still build at the shoal, a lot of analysts believe. Backed up by the region’s strongest armed forces, it now controls about 90% of the disputed sea. Scarborough construction is “still on the table,” says Jay Batongbacal, director of the Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea at the University of the Philippines. When and how? Three scenarios:
1. China builds anytime. The trend is clear. Over 2017 Beijing built 290,000 square meters of “new real estate” on six other disputed islets in the 3.5 million-square-kilometer South China Sea, according to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative under American think than Center for Strategic and International Studies. But Chinese construction work without Philippine input could set off an outcry among Filipinos against President Rodrigo Duterte’s friendly China ties – also prized by Beijing. “So far there are no movements on the Scarborough Shoal because of the compact with Duterte,” says Collin Koh, maritime security research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. The shoal, he said, is “too close for comfort to the Philippine mainland.” It's about 200 kilometers away from Luzon Island.
2. The United States pushes China to build. If the United States steps up or formalizes its freedom-of-navigation naval exercises in the South China Sea – moves aimed at debunking Chinese ownership claims – Beijing may cite that as a reason to build more at sea in the name of self-defense, Koh says. The U.S. could also expand annual naval drills with the Philippines to include the South China Sea, another jab at China if it happened. Would U.S. President Donald Trump use the Philippines to base military operations aimed at containing North Korea? “There’s the possibility that it could be trigged by the Korean crisis, if for some reason China sees some kind of strong signal the Americans would be back in the Philippines,” Batongbacal says.
U.S. Marines amphibious assault vehicles speed past a landing ship during an amphibious landing exercise on a Philippine beach April 21, 2015, as part of annual Philippine-US joint maneuvers some 220 kilometers east of Scarborough Shoal (TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
3. Construction starts under the next Philippine president. Philippine presidents can serve just one six-year term, so Duterte must step down in 2022. His predecessor Benigno Aquino disliked Chinese maritime expansion including its occupation of the shoal since 2012 so bitterly that he filed for world court arbitration and won in 2016. China rejected the ruling. If the next Philippine leader turns back against China, perhaps to acknowledge anti-Chinese sentiments among the public and military officials, China might see no reason to hold out at Scarborough Shoal. “Just because Duterte is pro-Beijing doesn’t mean public opinion is and it certainly doesn’t mean the armed forces of the Philippines is,” says Asia Maritime Transparency Institute director Gregory Poling. China’s construction plans, he adds are not “a matter of can they do it” but “a matter of when they do it.”

BIFF gunmen abduct 6 farmers in Maguindanao, but 4 manage to escape

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Dec 28): BIFF gunmen abduct 6 farmers in Maguindanao, but 4 manage to escape

Maguindanao (outlined in red) (Image from Google Maps)

Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) gunmen seized six lumad farmers in Datu Hofer town in Maguindanao on Wednesday, but four of them managed to escape, authorities said Thursday.

The two other victims remained in captivity, according to Senior Supt. Agustin Tello, chief of the the Maguindanao Provincial Police Office.

Tello said the abduction happened just as the military intensified its offensive against the Islamic State-inspired BIFF starting on Christmas Day.
The six members of the Teduday tribe were on their way to their farms in Barangay Limpongo when the BIFF flagged them down.

They were identifed as identified as Kannie MInggil, Mael Minggil, Elvin Minggil, Uzik Labina, Kew Mintos, and Kong Mintos.

The three Minggil siblings and Labina managed to flee while their captors were resting in an open field following hours of walking to evade pursuing soldiers from the 57th Infantry Battalion.

According to Tello, police in Datu Hofer received reports from barangay officials on Thursday about the discovery of two unidentified male bodies in nearby Barangay Kabintog, also in Datu Hofer.

But it was still being ascertained if they were the Mintoses.

Military officials said the abduction of the six farmers were obviously in retaliation for the losses the BIFF had suffered following intensified military air strikes and ground assaults.

Maj. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, 6th Infantry Division commander, said soldiers were now helping local officials search for the two Teduray men held captive by BIFF bandits.

Tello said police forensic experts were in the process of identifying the two bodies.

Earlier on Wednesday, gunmen shot dead Diego Met Dagadas, a Teduday chieftain, in front of his home in Barangay Firis, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

Duha ka insidente sa engkuwentro tali sa militar ug NPA mitumaw sa Brgy. Anomar, Surigao City

From the Radio Mindanao Network (Dec 29): Duha ka insidente sa engkuwentro tali sa militar ug NPA mitumaw sa Brgy. Anomar, Surigao City

Tagkumpirmar nan Batallion Commander sa 30th Infantry Batallion sa Phil. Army Lt. Col. Allen Tomas na may duha ka insidente sa engkuwentro an mitumaw tali sa tagtuohang New People’s Army ug tropa sa gobyerno sa Sitio Upper Sangay, Brgy. Anomar, Surigao City.

Tagtudlo na an sunod-sunod na engkuwentro an mitumaw adton Disyembre 27 sa alas 11:15 sa buntag ug kahapon sa may alas 2:10 sa hapon na kon diin an 7 ka sakop sa rebeldeng grupo an didto noagi adisir makaabot ngadto sa bukid na bahin na ila tagkutaan.

Sumaya pa ni Tomas, an ila taghimo an pre-emptive action lamang human na mihimo sa pag-una pagpabuto-buto ngadto sa ila tropa an mga rebelde. Ila matud pa tagsunod an ceasefire base sa nakalatid na mga petsa pero kasagaran an molapas niini an NPA ra isab.

MILF: BLMI initiates Peace Dialogue with IPs from the Tri-Boundaries

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Dec 29): BLMI initiates Peace Dialogue with IPs from the Tri-Boundaries

COLUMBIO, SULTAN KUDARAT (December 28, 2017) ---- The Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) in coordination with the municipality of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat, and the109th Base Command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front initiated a whole day dialogue between the MILF Peace Implementing Panel, and the B’laan tribe.

Vice-Mayor Edwin Bermudez opened the dialogue, and Professor Esmael A. Abdula, President of Kalilintad Peacebuilding Institute and BLMI Training Officer, explained the rationale, mechanics, and aims of the peace dialogue.

The tri-boundaries are composed of the provinces of Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao, and North Cotabato where the indigenous peoples like the Moros are also concerned of finding lasting peace in Mindanao.

“The participation of indigenous peoples is very important to attain the lasting peace in Mindanao”, emphasized Amer Musali, Mayor of Colombio.

“The unity of the Muslims, Christians, and indigenous peoples is the key for long lasting peace in Mindanao”, added Mayor Musali.

Mohager Iqbal, Chairman of the MILF PIP said “Our race is one that is originated from our ancestors Tabunaway, and Mamalu who were brothers. Our struggle is one for right to self-determination. From the start, we had been all part of the struggle. Therefore, we need to unite for the legitimate struggle, the Bangsamoro right to self-determination.”

“The new Bangsamoro Basic Law drafted by the Bangsamoro Transition Commission addresses your rights, your custom and tradition and whatever faith you have or tribe. Most importantly, we must unite to gain long lasting peace in Mindanao”, Iqbal said.

“There is no peace without justice. The indigenous peoples will enjoy their rights through passing the BBL into enabling law by the Philippine Congress”, Iqbal further said.

Teduray Commissioner Temuay Melanio Ulama of Bangsamoro Transition Commission said “I am not representing the Teduray tribe in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, but I am representing all

indigenous peoples in entire Mindanao. The proposed new Bangsamoro Law is not only for Muslims, and indigenous peoples but for all people living in Mindanao”, Ulama said.

Hay‘atul Ulama Branch 6 Chairman Sheikh Abdulfatah Delna, one of the organizers of the peace dialogue, underscored “Let us revive the unity, and harmonious relationship of the Moros, and indigenous peoples before. So this time, let us further strengthen our relationship like our forefathers did before.”

Resource speakers from the MILF Peace Implementing Panel, Bangsamoro Transition Commission and the MILF leaders gave positive responses to the issues and concerns of the indigenous peoples. The dialogue is vital for the unity and solidarity in nation building.

Satar Salip, Datu Ampan Mali, Datu Agustin Dabi, Usman Lanao, and Pastor Jonathan Tamles who were among the B’laan tribal leaders support the immediate passage of the new Bangsamoro Basic Law.

About 300 participants from the Blaan tribe including Bangsamoro Communication Network, military leaders of the 109th Base Command, BIAF-MILF, MILF Damakling Provincial Political Committee, and local government unit of Columbio, Sultan Kudarat attended the dialogue.

Duterte approves funding for transfer of Korean corvette to Philippines

From Update Philippines (Dec 29): Duterte approves funding for transfer of Korean corvette to Philippines

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the budget to fund the transfer of Republic of Korea (ROK) Navy Flight III Pohang-class corvette ROKS Chungju (PCC-762) to the Philippine Navy, this was revealed by MaxDefense Philippines on December 28, 2017.

According to MaxDefense, citing some sources, the announcement was made during the Offshore Combat Force’s year-end party over a week ago.

“Pres. Duterte is said to have signed the DBM recommendation and order to release funding for the transfer of the former ROKN Flight III Pohang-class corvette ROKS Chungju to the Philippine Navy worth Php250 million,” MaxDefense said in its social networking page.

“The officers, men and women to man it would be sent to South Korea by January 2018,” MaxDefense added.

“The PN would be getting the Chungju as it is, except for removal of some ROKN-only equipment and replacement of obsolete items like the navigation radar. But the ship in its pre-retirement form still has its 2 Oto Melara 76mm Compact guns, two twin Otobreda 40mm guns, two triple lightweight torpedo launchers, among others. The PN’s budget request also include acquisition of ammo for these guns,” MaxDefense said.

The Offshore Combat Force is operating under the Philippine Fleet of Philippine Navy.

330 CAFGUs now ready against NPA terrorists

From Update Philippines (Dec 29): 330 CAFGUs now ready against NPA terrorists

330 Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Active Auxiliary have graduated from Basic Military Training (BMT) on December 27 at Headquarters 1002nd Brigade, Camp BGen Agaab, Malungon, Sarangani, the 10th Infantry Division of Philippine Army said.

“Part of the training module is Weapons training, to equip the trainees with basic knowledge and skills in operation and maintenance of armaments to be used during security operations,” the 10th Infantry Division said.

It added that subjects on Civil-Military Operations were also taught during the training to include the very foundation and methods of Community Support Program (CSP).

10ID photo

“They have also undergone lectures, with emphasis, on respect of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law and Rule of Law,” 10th Infantry Division noted.

“They are the Communities’ first line of defense. Educating and Training them with the basics of home defense strategies is very important specially that we are still facing different security challenges. One of their roles is to protect their communities from armed NPA terrorists,” 1002nd Infantry Brigade commanding officer Colonel Roberto Ancan said.

“May their sense of patriotism be an example not only to the tribe where they belong but also to the communities where they will also serve as ‘defenders.’ These CAAs will be part in spearheading our CSP and anti and counter terrorism efforts. Their mandate is also to protect the people and secure their communities,” 10th Infantry Division commanding general Major General Noel S. Clement said.

CPP/Central Committee: Unite the Filipino people to resist and overthrow the fascist US-Duterte regime

CPP-Central Committee 49th Anniversary propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Dec 26): Unite the Filipino people to resist and overthrow the fascist US-Duterte regime

Central Committee
Communist Party of the Philippines

26 December 2017

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines conveys its warmest greetings to the Filipino people and the entire membership of the CPP on the occasion of the 49th anniversary of the Party’s reestablishment on the theoretical foundation of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and the general political line of people’s democratic revolution through people’s war.

We salute all Party cadres and members for strengthening the Party ideologically, politically and organizationally, for successfully leading the New People’s Army in advancing the people’s war, for broadening the National Democratic Front, the revolutionary mass organizations and the local organs of political power, and for steadfastly marching at the head of the broad masses of the people in fighting for genuine national independence and democracy against the reactionary rule of the big compradors and landlords subservient to US imperialism.

We pay the highest honors to all heroes and martyrs who have made the greatest sacrifice in order to advance the cause of the national democratic revolution. We recognize as well the contributions of so-many veteran cadres and members who continue to dedicate their lives for the people’s revolutionary struggle.

The Filipino people are confronted with the Duterte regime’s fascist tyranny, all-out war and headlong push toward a fascist dictatorship under the guise of a fake federal setup. Duterte and his militaristic minions are hell-bent on unleashing the full brunt of state terrorism to destroy the people’s revolutionary and progressive forces and all resistance to his brutal puppet and reactionary rule.

The Party and revolutionary forces are resolved to resist and defeat the worst fascist onslaughts of Duterte through people’s war, all-out mobilization of the exploited and oppressed masses and by building the broadest possible united front of all patriotic, democratic and positive forces and elements. The Party and revolutionary forces are optimistic that with arduous struggle and relentless hard work, they can overcome Duterte’s fascist rampage and accumulate the all-rounded strength required to overthrow his fascist puppet rule and advance the revolutionary people’s war to a new and higher level.

We are looking forward to mark the Party’s 50th anniversary next year with even bigger and more momentous victories in the ideological, political and organizational fields. We will take the opportunity to look back at the Party’s history and celebrate the Party’s heroic and indefatigable struggle as a way of looking forward and charting the future path of the national democratic and socialist revolutions in the country.

The Filipino people are suffering gravely under the Duterte regime’s fascist tyranny, all-out economic liberalization and bureaucratic corruption. The entire Party and all revolutionary forces must exert vigorous efforts to unite the Filipino people in a broad united front to resist and overthrow the fascist Duterte regime as they did the Marcos dictatorship and the Estrada regime.

I. Build the broadest united front to overthrow the US-Duterte regime and its rule of fascist terror

The Filipino people hold the US-Duterte regime responsible for perpetrating gross violations of human rights and other crimes through the use of state terrorism, imposing martial law in Mindanao and ordering the military to “flatten the hills” in unleashing an all-out war of suppression.

The regime unleashed a wave of mass murder under its so-called war against drugs with an estimated 13,000 killed in one year alone, surpassing the number of killings under the 14-year Marcos dictatorship. It carried out the brutal siege of Marawi which was pounded by US-directed aerial bombardment and heavy artillery causing the massive destruction of people’s lives, homes and civilian infrastructure.

It carries out attacks against the toiling masses of peasants and workers, as well as against the Bangsamoro, Lumad, Cordillera and other national minorities. There are mounting cases of killings, massacres, illegal arrests and torture. There are unmistakable indications that Duterte’s death squads have grown bigger and have been deployed nationwide and embedded within the police and military organizations.

The regime subjects civilian communities in the countryside to armed occupation, food blockades, military-imposed curfews and other forms of population and resource control, as well as drone surveillance, aerial bombings and shelling. Rural community schools and other socio-economic initiatives are red-tagged and attacked by the military. Close to half a million people have been displaced from their homes as a result of AFP operations.

Duterte is obsessed with imposing a military and police approach to suppress the mounting clamor for fundamental social change amid the seething socio-economic problems besetting the Filipino people. He made a complete turnaround from his earlier declaration of being a socialist and “the first Leftist president” in the country. He has totally reneged on his promised sweeping reforms and uplifting the lives of the impoverished masses.

The Duterte regime imposed its armed might on the Bangsamoro people through the Marawi siege and continuing deployment of large numbers of fascist troops to carry out the armed suppression of Moro resistance. By doing so, Duterte wants all Moro groups to submit themselves to his watered-down Bangsamoro Basic Law or to his plan of a pseudo-federal government.

The Duterte regime is completely discredited for its failure to fulfill its promise of solving the illegal drug problem within the first six months. Worse, it has been exposed that his relatives (including son Paulo and son-in-law Carpio) and associates are involved in the smuggling and distribution of illegal drugs.

Duterte issued Proclamation No. 360 terminating the peace negotiations with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and thus, rejecting further efforts under his rule toward a negotiated solution to the long-running civil war. He subsequently issued Proclamation No. 374 to proscribe the CPP and NPA as terrorist organizations under the RA 10168 (The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012). Duterte has wilfully and maliciously followed the baton of the US imperialists who have long made use of including the CPP-NPA in its “terror list” to further justify military intervention in the Philippines.

The resort to terror tagging is a futile attempt to discredit and attack the Filipino people’s revolutionary forces and their age-long aspiration for national freedom and social justice. It also aims to cover-up the state-sponsored terrorism wreaking havoc on the lives and livelihood of the people. It sets the stage for a ruthless clampdown against the legal democratic and progressive forces. It is also an overt threat against all forces who are supportive or sympathetic to the Party and people’s revolutionary government or are deferential to its authority.

Duterte’s vicious attacks against the Party and the national democratic forces aim to consolidate the support of the US government and AFP for his tyrannical rule. It serves his strongman ambitions of establishing a fascist dictatorship.

He perpetuates and practices corruption by making use of public funds to consolidate his rule and monopolize political power. The House of Representatives is a veritable rubber-stamp with Duterte’s super-majority in place. The Senate is not much better in exercising independence or its much-touted role as a “fiscalizer.” He has threatened the chief justice with impeachment to keep the supreme court toeing the line.

Plans are afoot to railroad the revision and supplantation of the 1987 constitution next year through a constituent assembly to establish a pseudo-federal form of government where he will sit on top and at the center. The most detested plunderers and political dynasties as well as highly discredited politicians (Arroyos, Marcoses, Estradas and the like) are looking forward to be installed as ministers or officers of Duterte’s federal government project.

Duterte has exposed himself thoroughly as a tyrannical chief executive of the oppressive and exploitative semicolonial and semifeudal system. He is basically no different from previous reactionary puppet rulers, and in some ways, has proven himself much worse especially in terms of brazen use of fascist terror and gross disregard for human rights.

He is set on all-out liberalization of the economy in accordance with US imperialist imposition. He plans to take advantage of scrapping the 1987 constitution to push for the complete removal of constitutional provisions protective of economic sovereignty, national patrimony and Filipino entrepreneurs.

He has railroaded a new tax law which aims to increase government revenues by PHP 600 billion by imposing a heavier tax burden on workers and peasants through increased excise taxes on sugar-sweetened drinks, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), diesel, kerosene, gasoline and other oil products, coal and other consumption goods and services. This is bound to cause further impoverishment of the toiling masses as the cost of living spiral up and real wages plummet.

Duterte’s avowal for free land distribution was mere lip service. There are now increasing number of cases of land use conversion where peasant tillers and farm workers are evicted from their lands in favor of real estate and ecotourism projects and expansion of corporate plantations. Tens of thousands of peasants are denied control of their land by agribusiness venture agreements with big capitalist plantation owners.

The Duterte regime has perpetuated the policy of privatization under which the people continue to suffer from deteriorating public health, education and transportation, spiraling costs of communications, public conveyance, water, electricity and other utilities. The much lauded free tuition law is threatened with budget cuts to state colleges and universities.

The Duterte regime is increasing allocations for the military to fund the formation of at least ten more battalions of combat troops and the purchase of new weaponry. In addition to definite allocations to the defense department, the Office of the President controls billions of pesos of discretionary and intelligence funds preferentially used for the military at the expense of more basic needs of the people.

The Filipino people abhor the Duterte regime for its false promises of reform and utter contempt of the toiling masses, for its subservience to the US imperialists after making false patriotic pretensions, for claiming to denounce corruption but using public funds to line the pockets of his loyalists and extend privileges to favored oligarchs and for perpetrating a campaign of death and destruction in complete disregard of human rights.

The Filipino people, therefore, demand an end to the fascist, puppet and corrupt Duterte regime. The people have the sovereign right to resist and overthrow an oppressive and tyrannical regime. They are fully justified to exercise this right as they did in getting rid of the Marcos and Estrada regimes.

Demonstrations are being mounted more frequently including those of Lumad, Bangsamoro, Cordillera and other national minorities exposing military abuses. There is a growing peasant movement to occupy and cultivate idle lands. Mass struggles have been carried out by workers, homeless people, jeepney drivers, students and other sectors. Duterte’s plans and maneuvers to establish a fascist dictatorship have been met with increasing mass demonstrations over the past few months. These are dress rehearsals for bigger protest demonstrations to come.

II. Duterte’s fascist tyranny gives people more reason to wage national democratic revolution

Ruthless fascist tyranny and all-out economic liberalization under the US-Duterte regime give the Filipino people all the more reason to wage a national democratic revolution with a socialist perspective. Anti-people and pro-imperialist policies of the Duterte regime exacerbate the oppression and exploitation of the toiling masses under the semicolonial and semifeudal system.

This system is characterized by complete lack of national freedom, economic backwardness, ever worsening forms of exploitation and oppression and all-pervasive bureaucratic corruption under the rule of reactionary classes of big compradors and landlords. All the worst facets of the semicolonial and semifeudal system have deteriorated over the course of more than 70 years.

Generation upon generation of Filipinos suffer from national humiliation and indignities inflicted by the US imperialists. They trample on Philippine sovereignty and prevent the country from attaining genuine national independence and economic development. The country is made to endure unequal treaties which give the US military extraterritorial rights on Philippine soil, a grave insult against every freedom-loving Filipino.

The country has been condemned to serving as a source of cheap natural and human resources. The local economy is backward, agrarian and non-industrial and is dependent on imported goods. Hundreds of thousands of hectares of land are controlled by big plantations devoted to pineapple, banana, oil palm and other crops for export. Millions of hectares of land remain in the hands of big landlords who rely on feudal and semifeudal exploitation of peasants and farm workers and where production remains largely small-scale and backward. The Filipino people are denied the right to make use of the country’s mineral resources for domestic industrialization and manufacturing as these are extracted and taken away by foreign mining companies.

What local manufacturing exists is merely semi-processing and assembly of imported components which serve as an adjunct of the international production chain of foreign big corporations. There is no industrial base to speak of, much less of industrial production which address the needs of the domestic economy.

Economic productivity has been on a general decline, and at an increasingly rapid rate since the 1980s. Decline in manufacturing and agricultural productivity has made the economy ever reliant on imports of foreign consumer goods, which in turn, stymies domestic production.

Unemployment and underemployment rates continue to rise despite efforts to reduce the number through statistical sleight of hand. The acute shortage of available jobs compels thousands of Filipinos to leave the country daily to seek employment abroad where many suffer slave-like conditions and grave forms of abuse.

Under the semicolonial and semifeudal system, the Filipino people suffer more and more from landlessness, unemployment, slave wages, rising costs of living, widespread poverty, hunger, disease and an overall deterioration of socio-economic conditions.

Decade upon decade, the prevailing conditions of the vast majority of Filipinos have decayed. The Filipino people are strongly motivated to wage a national democratic revolution because they seek to put an end to their grievous suffering. Drawing inspiration from the anticolonial resistance of their forebears, the Filipino people are determined to achieve national liberation or complete freedom to determine the country’s destiny independent of US imperialist dictates and towards socialism.

The national democratic revolution aims to achieve social liberation and economic freedom. It aims to carry out land reform to address the main democratic demand of the peasantry, who comprise the biggest economic class in the country. There has been no genuine land reform in the Philippines over more than 100 years under US colonial and neocolonial rule. Whereas, upon the establishment of a people’s democratic government, land reform in the Philippines can be completed in a couple of years.

Combined with land reform, the national democratic revolution aims to carry out national industrialization to modernize the economy and raise national productivity to enable it to provide the people food, water, clothing, shelter, medicine and other basic necessaries, as well as respond to the people’s needs for energy, transportation, communications and cultural upliftment. The NDFP’s draft of the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) gives a detailed roadmap of such a plan.

The national democratic revolution aims to establish a people’s democracy and put an end to the rotten political system of the reactionary classes and its elite system of political parties dominated by ruling class dynasties and warlords. The people aspire to establish a people’s democratic government. It is essentially a united front government or a coalition of such democratic classes as workers, peasants, the middle and petty bourgeoisie. It is under the leadership of the working class and has the NPA as its main armed force. It defends and upholds the people’s civil, political, economic and cultural rights.

The seeds of the people’s democratic government have long been sown and are sprouting in the form of people’s committees in rural areas from the village level up to the municipal level. A growing number of these committees have been elected by people’s assemblies.

III. The Party and the people’s democratic revolution continue to accumulate strength

For almost five decades now, the Communist Party of the Philippines has persevered in leading the Filipino people in waging a people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war upon its inception, growth and advance. It has made great strides and accumulated highly significant victories. It has overcome continual all-out counterrevolutionary attacks by the local reactionary classes with the support of the world’s most powerful imperialist power.

The Party has accumulated a treasure trove of valuable experiences and lessons both positive and negative in the past 49 years that we should fully and wisely use to vigorously advance the armed struggle to a new and higher level. It now has a much firmer understanding of the specific characteristics and requirements of every region and interrelationships between regions and major islands in fighting and defeating every counterrevolutionary armed offensive launched by the enemy. Party cadres should be good at learning from their own experiences and from the most advanced experiences from other fronts, units, and regions. We continue to seek lessons from the long history of revolutionary struggle of the Filipino people as well as the successful revolutions, especially in China and Vietnam.

Adapting the strategy of protracted people’s war to local conditions and particularities of an archipelagic country, the Party has self-reliantly developed the New People’s Army from scratch in 1969 to a nationwide army of several thousand Red fighters, organized into platoons and companies with an arsenal of both modern high powered rifles and indigenous weaponry. At every stage, the Party integrates armed struggle, agrarian revolution and base building.

The people’s democratic revolution has outlasted all past puppet administrations who tried and failed to destroy the revolutionary movement by launching counterrevolutionary strategic offensives one after another. In the past five years, it has steadily accumulated strength by seizing the initiative in frustrating the enemy’s war of suppression, especially in the Mindanao regions.

The Party is carrying out rectification to overcome such problems as military conservatism, guerrillaism, militiaism, failure to persist in developing and mastering the platoon as basic formation and building the vertical forces to steadily build up annihilative capability, overdispersal of forces into teams and squads over long periods leading to passivity and excessive vulnerability to annihilation and disintegration especially in conditions of intense enemy operations, and weak grasp of building company-sized guerrilla fronts and interconnected company-sized guerrilla fronts that are required for ensuring the wide and deep mass support for intensified and sustained guerrilla warfare. In the past year, the overall number of Red fighters continued to grow despite setbacks in some areas.

The Filipino people and their revolutionary forces under the NDFP and the people’s democratic government are co-belligerents with the reactionary state in the civil war that has raged in the past several decades. While waging people’s war, the NDFP has engaged its adversary in peace negotiations in the past 25 years with the aim of forging agreements to resolve the roots of the armed conflict.

The Party is deeply rooted among the masses. It has thousands of branches and sections in rural villages, factories, universities and school campuses, urban communities, offices and among the mass organizations of workers, peasants, the semi-proletariat, national minorities, youth, women, small professionals and others.

In the past year, the Party’s membership swelled by several thousand new members and cadres. There is also a notable expansion in the number of Party branches and Party-led revolutionary mass organizations and mass activists. The entire Party is inspired by the successful 2nd Congress held last year which further strengthened its unity and determination to advance the national democratic revolution to even greater heights and which updated its basic documents and elected a new leadership.

The Party steadfastly adheres to the interests of the oppressed and exploited classes of workers and peasants and forges the basic alliance primarily by building the New People’s Army, waging agrarian revolution and building local organs of political power. It further builds a progressive alliance with the petty bourgeoisie and a patriotic alliance with the national bourgeoisie. It takes advantage of splits among the reactionaries in order to isolate and target the most reactionary faction.

The Party continues to assiduously study and apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism on concrete conditions in the Philippines. It constantly carries out social investigation and class analysis to grasp the concrete conditions and emerging trends and phenomena in the Philippine mode of production and the alignment and relations of class forces. The Party carries out criticism and self-criticism in order to rectify errors and overcome shortcomings.

Under the Party’s leadership, the people’s democratic revolution has successfully moved forward against the international current of great, albeit temporary, setbacks and reversals in socialist revolution , as a result of the Soviet-centered modern revisionist betrayal from 1956 onwards and imperialist neoliberal political and ideological offensive from the 1980s onwards.

The Party supports international anti-imperialist unity and cooperation among people’s organizations amid the increasingly insoluble global capitalist crisis of overproduction and the worsening conditions of the toiling masses and middle classes in both the global capitalist metropolis and in the vast international countryside of backward countries. At the same time, the Party continues to promote Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and international proletarian unity.

IV. Aim to win ever greater victories and advance the revolution

The Central Committee calls on the entire membership of the Party to brace for more difficult struggles ahead amid the increasingly ruthless war being waged by the US-directed Duterte regime against the Filipino people and their revolutionary forces. At the same time, we must aim to win ever greater victories by continuously going deep among the people and rousing them to resist and wage all forms of struggle against the fascist tyranny.

The Party and all revolutionary forces must unite the Filipino people and lead their struggles against the fascist US-Duterte regime. The revolutionary forces must continue to inspire and embolden the people in order to resist the Duterte regime’s fascist terror.

The national democratic mass movement has twice proven in the past that it can cause the overthrow of a reactionary regime by mounting demonstrations of hundreds of thousands or millions of people and combining with various social and political forces to isolate the ruling reactionary clique and compel the military and police to withdraw support. By unleashing brutal attacks and gross violations of human rights, the Duterte regime is inciting the people to fight back, mount demonstrations and wage all forms of antifascist struggle.

The Party and the national democratic forces must lead campaigns and struggles to link the antifascist resistance against the Duterte regime with the people’s anti-imperialist and antifeudal struggles. They must expose and denounce Duterte’s subservience to US imperialism and campaign for an end to US military presence and intervention in the country.

They must also call for an end to neoliberal policies in mounting workers’ struggles against contractualization and for wage increases, in advancing the movement of homeless people to occupy idle housing projects, in the struggle of jeepney drivers against corporatization of transport services and so on.

They must expose the big foreign mining and plantation interests that are behind the ruthless fascist suppression against peasants and national minorities. At the same time, they must continue to vigorously wage land reform struggles nationwide demanding the dismantling of haciendas and the scrapping of so-called agriculture venture agreements and similar arrangement which deny peasants ownership and control of land.

The revolutionary forces are keenly aware that the removal of the Marcos (1986) and Estrada (2001) regimes did not amount to a social revolution but allowed the national democratic forces to expand and gain strength. Similarly, by waging antifascist, antifeudal and anti-imperialist struggles against the US-Duterte regime, the Party and all revolutionary forces must be able to expand manifold their reach and membership. In particular, the New People’s Army must be able to recruit more and more Red fighters as the Duterte regime clamps down more and more on legal avenues of democratic expression and struggle and give the people no other recourse but to join the armed revolution.

The NPA must intensify guerrilla warfare throughout the whole archipelago, launch tactical offensives against units of the AFP, PNP and attached paramilitaries, as well as punitive operations against the worst plunderers and corrupt officials, political and crime associates, and death squads of the Duterte regime.

We must frustrate the plan of the US-Duterte regime to defeat the NPA before the end of 2018. It aims to do so by concentrating its attacks first in the guerrilla fronts in the eastern and other Mindanao regions and then on Luzon and Visayas.

We will surely frustrate the counterrevolutionary plan of the US-Duterte regime as we did in the past puppet regimes. We must firmly lead the NPA in seizing the initiative, be good at planning, and in achieving fluidity by applying the guerrilla tactics of concentration, dispersal and shifting.

The various levels of command of the NPA from the national down to the guerrilla front must be able to direct and coordinate the guerrilla units and areas under their responsibility so that each and every unit and area is guided and encouraged to actively fight and contribute, according to their actual situation and ability, to delivering repeated annihilative and telling blows against fascist forces where and when they least expect them while constantly pushing the enemy to overstretch and expose its weak parts. Every guerrilla unit and area must know and do its part in order to fight and defeat the enemy’s win-hold-win campaign strategy.

There can be different types of coordination in order to carry out counter campaigns of annihilation and attrition at the interregional, regional and subregional levels, particularly in wide areas with thousands of barrios and hundreds of thousands of mass support covered by interlocking guerrilla fronts. We can aim to cause the enemy forces to overstretch, expose their weak parts or lose focus.

Other regions outside of Mindanao will do their utmost to carry out widespread campaigns of annihilation and attrition based on their strength and capability, build more platoons and companies, expand boldly the number of guerrilla fronts, and grow in strength and get prepared when the enemy decides to bring their focus on them.

The NPA should develop partisan and commando units to conduct sabotage operations against the enemy communications system, military hardware, intelligence system and supplies and punitive actions against specific targets in the urban areas, such as notorious human rights violators, corrupt officials, drug lords and other chiefs of criminal syndicates..

We must make the most of victories in tactical offensives, in political work and other spheres by systematically employing the gains to further strengthening the disposition and development of platoons and companies, horizontal and vertical forces and company-sized guerrilla fronts. We must always pay attention to the correct balance between consolidation and expansion and be good at advancing wave upon wave to intensify and advance guerrilla warfare in a sustained manner.

Duterte seeks to use sophisticated weapons provided by the US military. We must study these weapons, their capabilities and limitations, in order to adapt to them defensively and offensively. At the same time, we must plan to destroy or seize these weapons to use against the enemy.

While we carry forward the task of uniting the Filipino people to wage resistance against the Duterte regime, let us look forward to marking the 50th anniversary of the Party’s reestablishment next year. Let us do so by continuing to fulfill the tasks specified in the three year (2017-2019) program promulgated by the Central Committee in its first plenum after the Second Congress.

Let us fulfill our targets for Party recruitment by applying the principle of boldly expanding without letting a single undesirable in. Let us build more Party branches in ever bigger number of factories, rural villages, urban communities, universities and so on. Strike deep roots among the people, uphold their interests and lead their struggles.

We must tirelessly conduct ideological consolidation. Concrete plans must be drawn up to fulfill targets for completion of the three level Party course. Let us regularly sum-up our experiences at various levels and in different areas of work.

Let us train more and more Party cadres and promote young cadres by conducting a thorough and comprehensive study and training program. Leading committees must initiate to conduct work conferences (on military work and army building, implementing the minimum and maximum program for land reform, waging antifeudal mass campaigns, mass work and base building and so on) to regularly sum-up our work and draw lessons from positive and negative experiences.

We must continue to deploy an increasing number of Party cadres from the working-class and young urban intellectuals to the New People’s Army to serve as Red commanders and political guides of our ever growing number of guerrilla platoons and companies. Activists who are being persecuted and hunted down by the military and police can avail of the security of the NPA. We must expand, strengthen and deepen the revolutionary underground mainly among the basic sectors and middle forces in the cities.

The Central Committee instructs all leading committees to plan to mark the 50th anniversary of the Party next year. Let us take effort to recognize all the heroes and martyrs of the Party and the Philippine revolution. Let us carry out a cultural campaign to celebrate the accumulated victories of the Philippine revolution. Let us take the opportunity to sum-up our Party’s entire history of 50 years, as well as our recent history of 15 years in order to chart the course for advancing the people’s democratic revolution in the coming years.

Let us conduct a study campaign to reaffirm our adherence to Marxism-Leninism-Maoism. There must be a campaign to study and review the classical writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao, as well as other great communist teachers. Let us mount a campaign to mark the 200th birth anniversary of Karl Marx and continue to celebrate the centennial of the October Revolution. Let us study the concrete experiences in building socialism and how it was reversed through by modern revisionist betrayal. Let us study the grave capitalist crisis and how a socialist revolution remain the only solution.

The reactionaries and counterrevolutionaries taunt the Party for yet being unable to achieve complete victory after close to fifty years of waging a people’s democratic revolution through protracted people’s war. They obscure the fact that the ruling semicolonial and semifeudal system in the Philippines continues to decay and rot. It is moribund and must be completely terminated through a national democratic revolution.

By wielding its current strength and accumulated victories, and taking advantage of the objective domestic and international conditions, the Party is bound to accelerate its growth and achieve bigger victories in the years to come.

Aim to win ever greater victories!
Long live the Communist Party of the Philippines
Long live the Filipino proletariat and people!
Advance on the road of people´s democratic revolution!
Fight for the socialist future and the ultimate goal of communism!

CPP 50th anniversary goal: ‘Overthrow Duterte regime'

From Rappler (Dec 29): CPP 50th anniversary goal: ‘Overthrow Duterte regime'

The CPP says Filipinos are suffering under the Duterte administration's 'fascist tyranny, all-out economic liberalization, and bureaucratic corruption'

FIVE DECADES. File photo of New People's Army guerrillas marching in Davao City to celebrate the 48th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26, 2016.

FIVE DECADES. File photo of New People's Army guerrillas marching in Davao City to celebrate the 48th founding anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines on December 26, 2016.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has set an ambitious goal as it gears up for its 50th anniversary in 2018: Resist and overthrow President Rodrigo Duterte.

The CPP’s Central Committee released its plans for its 50th anniversary on Friday, December 29.

On top of the communists’ priorities is to “build the broadest united front to overthrow the US (United States)-Duterte regime and its rule of fascist terror.”

“The Filipino people are suffering gravely under the Duterte regime’s . The entire Party and all revolutionary forces must exert vigorous efforts to unite the Filipino people in a broad united front to resist and overthrow the fascist Duterte regime as they did the Marcos dictatorship and the Estrada regime,” said the CPP.

The Reds said the Filipino people hold the US-Duterte regime responsible for the gross human rights violations and other crimes that have happened under its watch. (READ: CPP: Duterte's war on drugs 'anti-people, undemocratic’)

The party did not mince words in criticizing several of Duterte’s policies, including the bloody war against drugs, the imposition of martial law in Mindanao, and the attacks against the Bangsamoro, Lumad, Cordillera, and other minorities.

The CPP alleged there are “unmistakable indications that Duterte’s death squads have grown bigger and have been deployed nationwide and embedded within the police and military organizations.”

“Duterte is obsessed with imposing a military and police approach to suppress the mounting clamor for fundamental social change amid the seething socio-economic problems besetting the Filipino people,” said the CPP.

“He made a complete turnaround from his earlier declaration of being a socialist and ‘the first Leftist president’ in the country. He has totally reneged on his promised sweeping reforms and uplifting the lives of the impoverished masses,” it added.

Duterte had first endeared himself to the Philippine Left when he released its top leaders at the start of his term in a bid for a successful peace talks between the government and the CPP. (READ: The end of the affair? Duterte’s romance with the Reds)

The peace negotiations, however, have failed. Duterte has already begun the formal process of declaring the CPP and its armed wing New People’s Army (NPA) as a "terrorist organization.

“The resort to terror tagging is a futile attempt to discredit and attack the Filipino people’s revolutionary forces and their age-long aspiration for national freedom and social justice. It also aims to cover-up the state-sponsored terrorism wreaking havoc on the lives and livelihood of the people,” said the CPP.

“Duterte’s vicious attacks against the Party and the national democratic forces aim to consolidate the support of the US government and AFP for his tyrannical rule. It serves his strongman ambitions of establishing a fascist dictatorship,” it added.

Fight of the people
According to the CPP, Duterte’s “fascist tyranny” gives the people more reason to wage a national democratic revolution.

“This system is characterized by complete lack of national freedom, economic backwardness, ever worsening forms of exploitation and oppression and all-pervasive bureaucratic corruption under the rule of reactionary classes of big compradors and landlords. All the worst facets of the semicolonial and semifeudal system have deteriorated over the course of more than 70 years,” said the CPP.

To push through with their plan to overthrow Duterte, the CPP said it continues to accumulate its strength over the years.

“The Party is deeply rooted among the masses. It has thousands of branches and sections in rural villages, factories, universities and school campuses, urban communities, offices and among the mass organizations of workers, peasants, the semi-proletariat, national minorities, youth, women, small professionals and others,” said the CPP.

It also aims to win “greater victories and advance the revolution.” This includes intensifying the NPA’s guerrila warfare against the military, police “as well as punitive operations against the worst plunderers and corrupt officials, political and crime associates, and death squads of the Duterte regime.”

“We must frustrate the plan of the US-Duterte regime to defeat the NPA before the end of 2018. It aims to do so by concentrating its attacks first in the guerrilla fronts in the eastern and other Mindanao regions and then on Luzon and Visayas,” the CPP said.

The Central Committee then called on the CPP’s entire membership to prepare for more difficult challenges ahead.

“The Central Committee instructs all leading committees to plan to mark the 50th anniversary of the Party next year. Let us take effort to recognize all the heroes and martyrs of the Party and the Philippine revolution. Let us carry out a cultural campaign to celebrate the accumulated victories of the Philippine revolution,” the CPP said.

“Let us take the opportunity to sum-up our Party’s entire history of 50 years, as well as our recent history of 15 years in order to chart the course for advancing the people’s democratic revolution in the coming years,” it added.

Finding no schools in NPA camps, 3 Lumad rebels surrender

From Rappler (Dec 29): Finding no schools in NPA camps, 3 Lumad rebels surrender

The former NPA rebels say their leader promised to provide them with licensed teachers, but this did not come true

THE CAUSE. New People's Army fighters in Mindanao. File photo by Karlos Manlupig

THE CAUSE. New People's Army fighters in Mindanao. File photo by Karlos Manlupig

Three Manobo members of the New People’s Army (NPA) have surrendered to the army on Thursday, December 28, after finding no schools in the rebel camps.

Siblings Ryan and Daniel Mama, as well as, their cousin Ruben Pagiloy left their camp in Bagumbayan, Sultan Kudarat and formally surrendered to the government.

Lieutenant Colonel Harold Cabunoc, who commands the 33rd Infantry (Makabayan) Battalion, received the ex-NPA rebels at around 2:30 pm.

Ryan said they broke away from the NPA as its Visayan commander, whom he named as Ka Yoyo, did not fulfill his promises to bring licensed teachers to educate the recruits and give their families seedlings and fertilizers.

Ryan has 3 children.

“He promised me that he will provide my family with fertilizer and seedlings. Most importantly, I was interested in getting a formal education from school teachers that he said, will come to share new skills and knowledge to us,” said Ryan.

Pagiloy was also looking forward to earn a school diploma through the help of the NPA.

“I never set foot in a government-run school. I grabbed the opportunity of widening my understanding about the world, especially the problems confronted by the tribe today,” he said in Ilonggo.

Ryan, Daniel, and Pagiloy are now hoping they can still pursue their schooling through the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System. (READ: Catching up on ALS: Challenges of a 'parallel system')

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), which is planning to “overthrow” President Rodrigo Duterte as it celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018.

Winning the public, winning the war

According to Cabunoc, the NPA has convinced members of the Dulangan Manobo tribe to join their cause by taking advantage of an ongoing land dispute between the Lumad and the M&S Company.

“Visayan communist recruiters penetrated the Lumad communities using legal organizations like CLANS, MISFI, KALUMARAN and KALUHAMIN. They indoctrinated the people to hate the government, prompting many of them to join the armed group,” Cabunoc said.

He added that about 90% of the NPA’s Guerilla Front 73 in the province are indigenous peoples.

For now, Cabunoc’s battalion is aiming to get the public to support the government’s campaign against the rebels.

“The decisive terrain in an insurgency is human terrain. We need to dominate in the battle of opinion, in touching the hearts of the populace, and in getting the support of the people. To achieve this, the civil government and the military establishment must synergize their efforts towards a common goal,” he said.

Rebels abduct police officer in NorthCot

From MindaNews (Dec 29): Rebels abduct police officer in NorthCot

Suspected communist guerillas abducted on Thursday the deputy chief of police of the municipality of President Roxas in North Cotabato.

Chief Insp. Andres Sumugat, municipal police chief of President Roxas, has confirmed the kidnapping of his deputy, Insp. Menardo Cui Sr., while inside HMB KTV Bar and Lodging House located along the boundary of Barangays Tuael and Poblacion in President Roxas, around 8:30 p.m.

Cui, at that time, was off duty, according to Sumugat.

Accordingly, the victim, together with a male friend and two female workers of the KTV bar, was having a videoke and drinking session when two armed men, who were sighted in one of the cottages inside, entered their area.

Immediately, the suspects allegedly pointed their guns on Cui and ordered him to board a motorcycle parked just outside the inn.

Jensan Nacua, bar employee, told police that he monitored at least two motorbikes, one a Honda Wave and another a Suzuki, a few meters away from where Cui was located.

The suspects, with Cui as hostage, sped towards the hinterlands of Magpet town in North Cotabato, reports said.

Sumugat said he was surprised to learn about Cui’s situation and could not understand why it happened to him.

“Earlier, we already received orders and directives from the higher authorities to take extra precaution from possible attacks and harassments to be perpetrated by the NPA [New People’s Army] and other threat groups,” said Sumugat.

Cui is the second police officer the NPA abducted in 2017.

In June 14, communist guerillas operating in Cotabato and Bukidnon areas snatched PO1 1 Bristol Catalan of the Makilala PNP at Barangay Katipunan, this city.

He was released almost five months later in Magpet town, also in North Cotabato.

As of this writing, the NPA has not released yet any statement as regards Cui’s abduction.

Rebels seize police officer inside Cotabato bar

From the Mindanao Examiner (Dec 29): Rebels seize police officer inside Cotabato bar

Suspected communist insurgents seized a police officer who was inside a KTV bar in North Cotabato’s President Roxas town in southern Philippines.

New People’s Army rebels stormed the HMB KTV Bar and Lodging House in the village of Tuael where Inspector Menardo Cui, Sr., was reportedly having a good time with friends. Cui is the town’s deputy police chief.

Cui was taken out of the bar by rebels while other customers looked horrified on the sight of heavily-armed insurgents, who are fighting the government for a separate state.

The military’s Western Mindanao Command did not release any information on the capture of Cui, but police had confirmed the incident and said that a search has been launched to recover the official.

The NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, did not release a statement, but it had previously warned of an intensified offensive against the Duterte government following the collapse of the peace talks.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who had supported the NPA when he was mayor of Davao City, branded the rebels as terrorists.

Rebels seize NoCot town deputy cop chief

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 29): Rebels seize NoCot town deputy cop chief

Police launched pursuit operations against a band of suspected New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who abducted a top-ranking police official in President Roxas, North Cotabato, on Thursday night.

Supt. Benard Tayong, North Cotabato police spokesman, identified the abducted police officer as Inspector Menardo Cui Sr., deputy police director of President Roxas town.

Tayong said the victim was enjoying a huddle with friends at a restaurannt in the poblacion area at around 8:30 p.m. when the armed suspects barged in and spirited away Cui Sr. at gunpoint.

He said the abductors were heavily-armed, according to witnesses, prompting them to believe that Cui’s abductors were NPA members operating in the area.

Tayong refused to provide further comments citing it may jeopardize ongoing operations to rescue the victim.

Westmincom cites significant achievements in 2017

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 29): Westmincom cites significant achievements in 2017

2017 has proven to be the toughest year in terms of military operations with the onslaught of violent extremism that culminated in the five-month battle in Marawi City.

But the year 2017 also gave the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) the upper hand in neutralizing members of the different armed groups under its area of responsibility. The command oversees half of Mindanao’s military operations.

In its annual report, the Westmincom reported that the command has neutralized more than 1,500 terrorists.

“This is the most significant accomplishment,” Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, said adding the number is so far the biggest achievement in recent years.

Most of the terrorists were killed during the gun battle in Marawi City accounting to 995 deaths of combined Abu Sayyaf bandits and Daesh-inspired Maute group members.

“This is the only period that we were able to neutralize largest number of terrorists, including key significant figures, within the five month stretch of the Marawi siege,” Galvez said.

The five-month long battle ended when government snipers killed the leaders behind Marawi siege--Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and the Maute brothers, Oman and Abdullah.

Hapilon was recognized as the emir of the Islamic State for Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Southeast Asia.

Galvez said the death of the top leaders coupled with the relentless offensive against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) in the provinces of Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi have diminished the capability of the terror group to launch another major attacks.

“There is a significant headway in terms of degrading the capabilities of the terror group,” he said.

“Now, we can say, we have prevented them from establishing a wilayat (Arabic term of state),” he said.

“The real battle is after the battle in Marawi. The challenge right now is to correct the wrong narrative that these terror groups are propagating,” he added.

“We are now collaborating with the Ulamas, Sultanates, and other traditional leaders to counter idea of violent extremism,” he further said.

Brig. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, commander of the Central Mindanao-based Army’s 6th Infantry Division, said efforts to prevent violent extremism is to beef-up intelligence operations because the remaining members of the ISIS-influenced group are trying to regroup and recruit new members.

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, said the year 2017 also resulted to the surrender of 45 ASG members in Sulu.

In Basilan, 72 have surrendered to the government while 21 yielded in the province of Tawi-Tawi.

“Relentless operations continue to free the remaining kidnapped victims,” Sobejana disclosed.

There are still nine people being held hostage by the ASG. They included a Dutch, five Indonesians and three Filipinos.

The troops have killed 127 ASG members in separate combat operations following the order of President Rodrigo Duterte to crush the bandits in the three island provinces.

The troops have also apprehended 90 ASG members in separate areas here in Western Mindanao.

The Westmincom reported that the kidnappings perpetrated by the ASG have also declined from 23 in 2016 to 12 cases this year.

There were only 77 recorded ASG-initiated violent incidents this year from 123 last year.

The Philippine Navy through the Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NFWM) in partnership with the Navies of Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia have intensified security in the high seas.

Rear Adm. Rene Medina, NFWM commander, said the joint patrols by the three countries have significantly helped reduced hijacking incidents.

“We expect more joint patrols in Western Mindanao next year,” Medina said.

“We believed we’re able to prevent them (ASG) to cross to Tawi-Tawi. We were able to prevent them to occupy areas such as islets, which they previously held,” Galvez added.

Galvez said they are putting more premium on how to address the underlying factors that breeds terrorism by initiating non-military approaches.

“Addressing the root causes of the conflict is primordial. Such as governance in concern areas,” he said.

AFP modernization goes full throttle

From the Philippine News Agency (Dec 29): AFP modernization goes full throttle

The modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is gaining momentum as contracts for new aircraft, weapons and platforms were signed while other items were delivered this year.

The plane being referred to is the A-29 "Super Tucano" light attack aircraft made by Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer Defense and Security.

Department of National Defense (DND) public affairs office chief Arsenio Andolong said the Philippines would acquire six Super Tucanos worth PHP4,968,000,000.

Funds would be sourced from the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Act Trust Fund. Notice to proceed for the project was issued first week of December, he added.

"The aircraft that was selected after a rigorous public bidding process that was participated in by several manufacturers from different countries was the Super Tucano A-29, which is compliant with the stringent technical specifications required by the PAF (Philippine Air Force)," Andolong said.

The DND public affairs office chief added the A-29 is a durable, versatile, and highly advanced aircraft capable of carrying out a wide range of missions. "(It can) even (operate) on unimproved runways," he added.

Deliveries of the A-29s are expected to commence on 2019.

The Super Tucanos are expected to augment or even replace the eight to 10 ageing Rockwell OV-10 "Bronco" attack planes being used by the PAF in close-air support missions.

The DND public affairs office chief said the Super Tucanos would be turned over and operated by the PAF's 15th Strike Wing based in Sangley Point, Cavite City.

"Once the delivery of these aircraft (are) completed in 2019, they will be turned over and maintained by the 15th Strike Wing, the PAF's end-user," he added.

The 15th Strike Wing is the operator of all the Air Force's ground attack aircraft including the venerable Rockwell OV-10 Broncos and assorted armed helicopters.

FA-50PH fighter jets in flight over the skies of Clark Air Base in Pampanga

Aside from the Super Tucanos, another welcome development for the PAF is the contract signing for the AIM-9 "Sidewinder" air-to-air missiles which will be used to arm the country's 12 South Korean-made FA-50PH "Fighting Eagle" jet which is currently being used as a fighter and attack aircraft.

Incidentally, the Mach 1.5 capable FA-50s were used in combat during the five-month battle to retake Marawi City from the clutches of the Maute Group terrorists.

The South Korean-made aircraft was utilized as a ground-attack aircraft in said campaign which started May 23 and ended on October 23 this year.

"Notice to Proceed was issued to Diehl Raytheon of Germany last August 31. The ('Sidewinder' contract) is worth PHP1,016,734,088." he added.

Andolong declined to give the specific number and delivery dates of the missiles for security reasons. But he said the "weapons are sufficient for all of the country's FA-50s."

The first two FA-50s were delivered on Nov. 28, 2015 with the last two being handed over by Korea Aerospace Industries this May. Contract for the 12 South Korean-made jets are worth PHP18. 9 billion.

The DND public affairs office chief said the AIM-9s to be acquired are "all live rounds and fresh from the factory" meaning all of its sensors, rocket motors and warheads are brand-new.

With the pending delivery of the missiles, the FA-50s will now have another weapon for air-to-air combat aside from its internal 20mm cannon, making it more capable of protecting the country's airspace against airborne threats.

The AIM-9, which was developed by the US Navy in the 1950s, is one of the world's most reliable and successful air-to-air missiles.

It utilizes infrared homing for guidance and tracking and has a top speed of Mach 3 or three times the speed of sound.

Its warhead weighs around 20 pounds and the missile has a length of 9 feet and 11 inches.

Other deliverables

In the deliverables side, the Philippine Navy (PN) on May 8 took delivery of its second strategic sealift vessel (SSV), the BRP Davao Del Sur (LD-602), the sister ship of the BRP Tarlac (LD-601), which was delivered and commissioned in 2016.

The former was constructed by Indonesian shipyard PT PAL (Persero) and commissioned into service last May 31. She was named the Davao Del Sur in honor of Mount Apo, the country's highest peak.

BRP Tarlac, sister ship of BRP Davao del Sur, is docked at the Manila South Harbor

"It gives due recognition to the province as sanctuary of natural wonders and rarities like the country’s highest peak Mount. Apo, the most prized Philippine orchid Vanda Sanderiana, and the endangered Philippine Eagle," PN spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna earlier said.

Also, the namesake takes inspiration from a former PN vessel of the same name notable for its accomplishments during the 1980s.

"Naming the vessel after Davao Del Sur is consistent with its predecessor, BRP Tarlac (LD-601), which was also named after a province," Lincuna added.

The ship was launched last September 29. She and her sister, the BRP Tarlac, are currently the largest Filipino warships in commissioned. Both ships had an overall length of 120 meters, breadth of 21 meters, draft of five meters and can carry a payload of 2,800 tons.

The vessels have a cruising speed of 13 knots and maximum speed of 16 knots and a minimum operating range of 7,500 nautical miles. Both SSVs have a contract price of PHP4,000,000,000.

The SSVs can carry 500 troops each, besides two rigid-hull inflatable boats, two landing craft units and three helicopters apiece. The pair was extensively used to transport troops and their equipment during the Marawi City campaign.

Aside from the SSV, the Navy also took delivery of three additional multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) last May 22.

This raises the number of MPACs in PN inventory to nine. However, these naval craft are not your average MPACs as these vessels have provisions for the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd's Spike ER (extended range) missile systems, making them the first Filipino warships to be armed with these weapons.

Contract for the three ships is worth PHP270 million. The weapons are on anti-ship mode meaning it can engage surface vessel targets. It is capable of penetrating 1,000 mm (39 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor and has a maximum range of five miles.

Former PN flag-officer-in-command Vice Admiral Ronald Joseph Mercado earlier said that the missiles and their launchers would arrive before Christmas. However, despite repeated queries, both Andolong and the Navy chief, had yet to confirm the arrival of the weapons.

All of the above-mentioned defense equipment and items were acquired during the AFP Modernization Program Horizon One which started 2013 and will end this year (2017).

Other equipment acquired during Horizon One are the two Hamilton-class cutters (renamed the Del Pilar-class frigates, six MPACs, 114 armored personnel carriers, three brand-new C-295 medium lift aircraft, two C-130 heavy transports, five utility versions of the Agusta Westland AW-109 helicopters, eight of its attack versions, five landing craft heavies, to name a few.

Horizon Two will start on 2018 and end on 2022 while Horizon Three will commence on 2023 to 2028.

The last two phases involved beefing up of the AFP's external defense capabilities and includes the acquisition of multi-role fighters, missile batteries, and diesel electric submarines and more modern detection and surveillance systems.