Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Negros, Panay Army chiefs swap posts

From the Visayan Daily Star (Oct 31): Negros, Panay Army chiefs swap posts
Col. Benedict Arevalo, 301st Infantry Brigade commander, has replaced Col. Alberto Desoyo as 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, effective Monday.

Desoyo, meanwhile, replaced Arevalo as commander of the 301st Infantry Brigade in Panay.

Arevalo is not a stranger to his new assignment in Negros. He use d to be an intelligence officer of the 302nd Infantry (Achiever) Brigade in Negros Island from 1994-1995, and then 1996-1998. He also served as intelligence and operations officer of the defunct 3rd ID’s 7th Infantry Battalion from 1992-1994.

This time, Arevalo is facing a bigger responsibility, as he will supervise four Army battalions in Negros, being the new commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade.

Desoyo yesterday confirmed that he is now the new commander of the 301st Infantry Brigade stationed in Dingle, Iloilo.
Arevalo belongs to the Philippine Military Academy Class 1990. He has two other siblings serving the AFP, who are also graduates of PMA.

Fact-finding mission says paramilitary killed Sagay farmers

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Today (Oct 28): Fact-finding mission says paramilitary killed Sagay farmers

A national fact-finding mission on the massacre of nine farmers in Negros Occidental said suspected government agents are behind the bloodbath last October 20 even as the Philippine National Police insists so-called recruiters of the victims are the suspected perpetrators.

The mission said the likely killers are active members of the Special Civilian Auxiliary Army (SCAA) who are “commonly known” to be engaged in protecting haciendas and are under the control of the local government of Sagay City.

Based on the way the victims were brutalized after being killed and their history of killings and harassments, it is likely SCAA gunmen, numbering 10 to 15, killed the farmers, the mission said.

The group also cited earlier red-baiting statements issued by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leading to the massacre.

The mission was composed of Salinlahi, Children’s Rehabilitation Center, KARAPATAN National Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, Gabriela Women’s Party Congresswoman Arlene Brosas and Atty. Panguban of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers.

Hours before the massacre, the victims started a land cultivation activity to plant vegetables to tide them over in between sugarcane cropping activities.

Police story

The Philippine National Police, however, insisted on its story that the victims were killed as part of a plot to destabilize and oust the Rodrigo Duterte government.

PNP Region VI director John Bulalacao said they filed multiple murder charges Friday against Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo, both members of National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), as well as other John Does.

Bulalacao said Saturday that Manlangit and Arquillo deceived the victims by enticing them to join the land cultivation activity in exchange for a parcel of land once Hacienda Nene is distributed to farmers through land reform.

“[They were] persuading innocent people by promising them land not knowing that they become part of a greater force that would generate outrage to the government,” Bulalacao claimed.

Bulalacao claimed the police have eight witnesses, including the 14-year old massacre survivor Sagay police earlier tried to arrest.

The police general said their “complainant-witnesses” voluntarily submitted their respective affidavits, including the statement of the minor as witnessed by the Sagay development and social welfare office.

Upon learning that the boy was about to be arrested by local police, however, his mother Flordeliza Cabahug and mission members claimed custody of the boy.

Red-baiting and killings before the massacre

The fact-finding mission cited that in April, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has accused the NFSW as a legal front of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New People’s Army (NPA) and that their land cultivation activities are projects to fund NPA operations.

Last December 21, suspected SCAA members killed and burned the body of NFSW-Sagay chairperson Flora Gemola in Sagay’s Hacienda Susan.

In February 22, NFSW member Ronald Manlanat was shot in the head in Hacienda Joefred, also in Sagay.

The gunmen also shot some Hacienda Nene massacre victims on the head and burned three of them after being killed.

The mission said Hacienda Nene’s leaseholder Allan Simbingco rents 400 hectares of land of different haciendas in Sagay City alone.

“Most of the haciendas that he’s directly involved in are the ones with land disputes, even those already under so-called preliminary activities of Department of Agrarian Reform [prior to being awarded to farmer-beneficiaries],” the mission said.

Simbingco is a close relative of Sagay City mayor Alfredo Marañon III and Negros Occidental governor Alfredo Jr.

The Marañons are known to be actively recruiting former Revolutionary Proletarian Army gunmen to be part of the SCAA, the mission cited.

“In fact, the local housing project in Barangay Bulanon is allotted for SCAA members,” the mission said.

Navy decommissions BRP Bienvenido Salting after 22 years

From the Philippine News Agency (Nov 1): Navy decommissions BRP Bienvenido Salting after 22 years

The Philippine Navy (PN) formally retired the BRP Bienvenido Salting (PC-112), a Tomas Batillo-class fast attack craft, after 22 years in service Wednesday.

Decommissioning ceremonies took place at Commodore Posadas Wharf East, Fort San Felipe, Naval Base Cavite, Cavite City, Navy spokesperson Commander Jonathan Zata said in a statement.

Present during the ceremonies were PN flag-office-in-command Vice Admiral Robert Empedrad, Philippine Fleet head Rear Admiral Danilo Rodelas along with Littoral Combat Force head Capt. Rey Dela Cruz.

The ship was named after Brig. Gen. Bienvenido Salting, one of the officers assigned to the Philippines Expeditionary Forces in Korea in 1951.

Formerly known as Patrol Killer Medium (PKM) 225 the ship was commissioned and deployed by the Republic of Korea (ROK) in 1979.

BRP Bienvenido Salting is one of the five PKM that were transferred to the Philippine Navy’s inventory in 1995 under the RP-ROK Defense Agreement.

It was commissioned on May 22, 1996 and since then, was actively deployed to conduct coastal patrol interdiction. She was one of the elements of the famed Naval Task Force “Stingray”, which was extensively used in support of the conduct of internal security operations and was deployed in Naval Forces Central area-of-responsibility to secure the country’s tourist spots and critical infrastructures in the coastal areas.

The ship's presence, together with other floating assets, helped secure local communities amidst the threat of kidnapping and terrorism in Central and Eastern Visayas.

“Having been in service for decades, it is understandable that one day, she will definitely reach her maximum operational limit,” Empedrad said.

“Today may have been the last day she served our maritime nation but to all of us, she will remain an epitome of loyal service and her memory will always be cherished by the generations of naval officers and sailors who served with her,” he added.

Aside from BRP Bienvenido Salting, the PN decommissioned BRP Rajah Humabon (PF-11) last March 15.

The decommissioning of a naval ship is a significant activity and a major part in the modernization of the PN as it deliberately phases out older vessels in lieu of newer and more capable platforms.

Zata said the Navy is looking forward to decommission more ships as it readies to receive a newer Pohang class frigate and its purposely built frigate, all from ROK by 2020.

Suspected high-ranking rebel official arrested at Kabankalan checkpoint

From Panay News (Nov 1): Suspected high-ranking rebel official arrested at Kabankalan checkpoint

A suspected member of the executive committee of the New People’s Army’s Komite sa Rehiyon-Negros was arrested at a checkpoint on Oct. 26 at 9:20 p.m. along the national road of Barangay 9, Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.

Alleged rebel group Regional Education Department (RED) member Mary Grace Delecano, “alyas Cleo Karyle,” was arrested by joint elements of the Kabankalan City Police Station, 62nd Infantry Battalion (IB), Philippine Army Scout and the 604th IB by virtue of a warrant of arrest for the crime of murder.

Judge Fernando Elumba, of Regional Trial Court Branch 61 issued the warrant of arrest dated Dec. 11, 2012.

The authorities recovered in possession of the suspect a cellular phone, a Macbook and subversive documents.

She is now in the custody of the local police.

Duterte to Sison: Go home and go to war here

From GMA News (Nov 1): Duterte to Sison: Go home and go to war here

President Rodrigo Duterte challenged anew Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison to go back to the Philippines and wage his war in the country.

Duterte slammed the communist leader for allegedly making up stories, but in reality, Sison has no capability which he can brag of.

"He likes to make up stories so much but has no skill to boast of. But then he keeps on espousing revolution while he’s there in The Netherlands, not here. If you are the leader of a cause, go home and go to war here. Why don’t you just go home?" Duterte said in his speech Cagayan De Oro on Wednesday.

"You would even brag. Ako? I have the Air Force. Airplanes? We have plenty. I have the Navy. Do you know how many ships I have? Ah mamili ka lang. Army? Ah susmaryosep. Navy, I have plenty of ships," Duterte added.

Moreover, Duterte also criticized communists for believing in what Sison would always say, calling members of the New People's Army (NPA) as fools.

"Why would you let yourself be fooled with that? Who is your God? Si Sison? All of your --- everything that you died for, the idea, your theology and politics, all of it came from Sison’s brain," Duterte said.

"The style of the communists is they kill their own comrades and blame it on the… The NPA are such fools. They haven’t done anything," he added.

Duterte and Sison have traded barbs since peace negotiations between the government and communist rebels did not push through in November 2017 after the President lamented the continued attacks by the rebels on troops and civilians.

The talks were supposed to resume in June in Norway but Duterte called it off to give way to public consultations and review of existing agreements.

Earlier this week, Duterte dared Sison to give him a reason to go back to the peace negotiating table.

Rebels harass police detachments in Guihulngan

From Panay News (Nov 1): Rebels harass police detachments in Guihulngan

Two police detachments in Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental were harassed around 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30, by undetermined elements of the New People’s Army – Komite sa Rehiyon-Negros – resulting in one police personnel being wounded.

The two police detachments were the Reactionary Standby Support Force (RSSF) at Upper Mandi-e in Barangay Hinakpan and the Superintendent Arnel Arpon Camp of 3rd Manuever Platoon, 2nd Provincial Mobile Force at Barangay Bulado.

Wounded was P01 Elvis John Lucasan, 27, of Barangay Hinakpan’s RSSF Camp, according to Superintendent Mario Baquiran, OIC police chief of Guihulngan City.

Lucasan is now in stable condition in the hospital, the official added.

The fire fight lasted for 10 minutes, with the rebels escaping toward an unknown direction.

A joint pursuit operation by the Philippine National Police personnel of Guihulngan City, RSSF, the 94th Infantry Battalion, and 65 SAC/SAF (Special Action Force/Special Action Company) based at Barangay Mckinley of Guihulngan City has been launched.

Reds to frustrate AFP’s all-out-war in Negros, says rebel spox

From GMA News (Nov 1): Reds to frustrate AFP’s all-out-war in Negros, says rebel spox

A rebel spokesperson has said that communist insurgents will frustrate government forces from waging an ‘all-out war’ on Negros Island.

In a press statement, Juanito Magbanua, spokeperson for the New People’s Army’s Apolinario Gatmaitan Command - Negros Island, said their fighters, together with the revolutionary masses in the whole island, “will frustrate the fascist US-Duterte regime’s “all-out war” in Negros.”

Magbanua said the recent announcement of an “all-out war” in Negros by military chief General Carlito Galvez, “demonstrate the brutal and devious extent to which the armed apparatus of the state could be mobilized in defense of the big landlords and compradors.”

In October, Philippine National Philippine (PNP) tagged the NPA as suspects in the Sagay massacre where nine sugar workers were killed, saying the rebels’ possible motive is to fuel wrath in the public against the AFP, the PNP and, generally, the government.

A separate probe was done by Commission of Human Rights (CHR) into the massacre. The CHR said that land disputes and military or law enforcement encounter are being considered as angles in their investigation.

But according to Magbanua, the all-out-war also aims to further expand the scope of the political crackdown against activists and mass movements in Negros.

“Their brave resistance will awaken a broad range of masses and earn the active support of various democratic sectors,” Magbanua said.

1,162 communist rebels ‘neutralized’ this year, says Lorenzana

From GMA News (Oct 31): 1,162 communist rebels ‘neutralized’ this year, says Lorenzana

The Department of National Defense (DND) on Wednesday announced that more than a thousand "communist terrorist group" members have been "neutralized" by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) this year.

"The AFP internal security operations led to the neutralization of 1,162 communist terrorist group members, 907 of them voluntarily surrendered," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said in his speech at the DND's 79th founding anniversary celebration.

The DND defines "neutralization" as "rendering [lawless elements] incapable of carrying out violent acts against the Filipino people, the government, and the nation." The department said that this happens "when they return to the fold of the law and live out peaceful lives in mainstream society, or willfully and permanently cease their participation in criminal acts of terror and violence, or are killed in an encounter with our defenders."

Lorenzana added that "1,238 firearms were yielded, out of which 560 were high-powered weapons."

Lorenzana also stated that across the country this year, 210 New People's Army-influenced barangays have been cleared, three guerrilla fronts have been dismantled, and 16 high-value targets from the communist group have been captured by the authorities.

"All these victories led to the recent pronouncement of the Commander-in-Chief, President Rodrigo Duterte, that the communist insurgency will be 'over' by the '2nd quarter of 2019,' " Lorenzana said.


Lorenzana added that the inter-agency Task Force Balik-Loob (TFBL) was created in April following the influx of NPA members surrendering to the authorities.

TFBL aims to centralize the government's reintegration efforts for former rebels, Lorenzana explained.

According to the AFP Peace and Development Office, 3,443 individuals have surrendered as of September 2018.

These former rebels are now the beneficiaries of the government's Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program or E-CLIP.

"These are not rewards for surrendering, but are intended to give them a foothold in restarting their lives, allowing social healing and reconciliation that is needed to patch up the torn social fabric due to decades of conflict," Lorenzana said of the program's services and benefits.

He also implored soldiers and civilians not to hold any grievance against the reintegration benefits for the former rebels, saying that the social returns will far outweigh the costs.

"Kulang pa ang mga benepisyong 'yan kung ikukumpara sa halagang ibinibili natin ng baril at bala. Lalong maliit ang halaga niyan kumpara sa walang katumbas na buhay na nasasayang sa labanan ng Pilipino sa kapwa Pilipino," the DND chief said.

"Kapag nagtagumpay tayo laban sa mga teroristang komunista ay mapapakinabangan natin ang peace dividends o biyaya ng kapayapaan," he added.

Lorenzana counted as other highlights of the DND's 79th year the AFP modernization, efforts in maritime domain awareness and countering violent extremism, and improved humanitarian and disaster response.

CLEARS MILITARY: Relative of Sagay shooting victim blames recruiter, NFSW for massacre

From GMA News (Oct 31): CLEARS MILITARY: Relative of Sagay shooting victim blames recruiter, NFSW for massacre

A grieving relative of one of the victims of the Sagay City shooting incident in Negros Occidental on Monday said victims were promised that they would have a parcel of land in Hacienda Nene if they will join the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW).

A certain Nove Bantigue, niece of victim Rannel Bantigue, blamed the NFSW and its supposed organizer Rene Manlangit for the death of her uncle, adding that there were more or less 15 recruits when the shooting incident happened.

“My uncle was recruited by a certain Rene Manlangit, NFSW organizer, because he was promised to have parcel of the land in Hacienda Nene," Nove said in a statement, according to a press release issued by the military on Tuesday.

“My uncle was just two-days-old member with that group when the shooting incident happened," she said.

"This I think is the reason why all of them were enticed to join the group. Manlangit and his group NFSW are the only suspects of this crime," Nove added.

She said they were surprised that Rannel decided to join NFSW considering the fact that their family had a previous land dispute with Manlangit.

"My mother, Josephine Bantigue, wife of Rannel’s brother, is a former member of Agrarian Reform of Task Force Mapalad (TFM). It is also an association that aims to acquire land for farmers," Nove said.

"Unlike the NFSW, TFM does not believe in armed struggle. They are legal organization and does not have NPA (New People's Army) as armed protector," she added.

Nove recalled that TFM had planned to harvest farm products in Hacienda Nene. However, tenant Tessie Cabras got enraged and filed robbery and grave coercion case against the said group.

"It was also the time when Manlangit took my mother’s decision very seriously. At the time when warrant of arrest was released, Manlangit even escorted the police officers to my mother’s location," Nove said.

"My mother was jailed for six days but was released after the tenant decided not to pursue the case because she learned that my mother was the wife of her friend," she added.

Nove also claimed that Manlangit was in the area when the brutal killing occurred.

"He was there. Manlangit even reported the incident to the police and informed them with the intent to delay their response of an exaggerated 40 number of assailants. Why will he do that?” Nove said.

Meanwhile, Nove also cleared the military from being involved in the deadly incident.

"There is no way or reasons that our soldiers are involved in that incident. They were not there," Nove said.

"It is easy for us to identify new faces in our community that is why we are very certain that our soldiers don’t have the hand on this incident. The culprits did this to pin the blame to our soldiers," she added.

Bantigue was already laid to rest.

Manlangit was among the nine suspects who have been slapped with multiple murder cases.

Nine members of the NFSW were killed on October 20 as they were resting in Hacienda Nene in Purok Firetree. Three of the victims were supposedly burned by the suspects.

Some survivors have denied allegations that they also had firearms when the incident took place. They also dismissed the accusation that the NFSW is a front of the NPA.

The NFSW has maintained that the "private army" of "powerful landlords" in the area were responsible for the shooting incident.

The military, for its part, had claimed that the massacre was part of an alleged communist plot to remove President Rodrigo Duterte from power.

Security forces in Sabah's east coast on alert against Abu Sayyaf

From the Star Online (Oct 31): Security forces in Sabah's east coast on alert against Abu Sayyaf

KOTA KINABALU: Security forces in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) in Sabah’s east coasts have mobilised all assets to prevent cross-border crimes following information on potential kidnappings in the area.

Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) commander Datuk Hazani Ghazali said they received information that a group of approximately 10 Abu Sayyaf Group members armed with firearms was planning to kidnap businessmen or foreign vessel crew members at any chance they had in waters off Sabah.

He said the information also stated that the Abu Sayyaf were using unmarked blue-and-white speedboats locally known as jungkong for this purpose. (Jungkongs are Malaysian-styled speedboats designed to cut through shallow waters.)

“We have mobilised all our assets to the field and guard posts,” Hazani said in a statement here on Wednesday (Oct 31).

He said they had also informed all post guards and patrol, as well as security forces, to be on high alert at all times while operations were carried out to prevent the entry of these criminals.

“We need the cooperation from all local communities, especially those living in water villages and coastal areas, to provide information if they see or know of any suspicious people or activities,” he said.

Hazani said the information received was similar to what was published in an online article by the Marine Link warning sea crews and coastal residents of kidnapping threats.

The article, titled "Piracy Warning Off Philippines", also stated that the Philippine Focal Point (Philippine Coast Guard) had warned that a group of approximately 10 Abu Sayyaf members armed with pistol, rifles and grenade launchers was planning to conduct kidnapping activities in Sabah.

It urged ship masters and crews to strongly exercise extra vigilance when transiting the waters of Eastern Sabah and Sulu-Celebes Seas.

The Esszone includes districts of Kudat, Kota Marudu, Pitas, Beluran, Sandakan, Kinabatangan, Lahad Datu, Kunak, Semporna and Tawau.

ReCAAP Warns of New Abu Sayyaf Kidnapping Threat

From the Maritime Executive (Oct 30): ReCAAP Warns of New Abu Sayyaf Kidnapping Threat


Abu Sayyaf fighters in an undated video still (social media)

On Tuesday, the ReCAAP piracy reporting center warned that a faction of the Abu Sayyaf Group is preparing to launch another round of pirate attacks in the waters off Sabah, Malaysia.

According to ReCAAP, the Philippine Coast Guard believes that a group of about ten Abu Sayyaf members are planning to conduct kidnappings in and around Eastern Sabah "at any opportune time." The ASG fighters do not have specific, pre-identified targets, but are expected to pursue "businessmen or ship's crew of foreign vessels passing through the area."

The suspected fighters are using an unmarked, blue and white motorized launch of the Malaysian design known as a jungkong. ReCAAP reports that they are heavily armed, with pistols, rifles and at least one grenade launcher. Mariners are strongly urged to exercise extra vigilance when transiting the waters off Eastern Sabah and the Sulu-Celebes Seas, and ReCAAP has long advised ships to avoid the affected area altogether whenever possible.

Separately, at the nearby port of Zamboanga, the Philippine Coast Guard is deploying additional security teams and K9 units to prevent "entry of lawless elements," according to Lieutenant Commander Noriel Ramos. Zamboanga is a key seaport for travel to and from the Sulu archipelago, the home of the Abu Sayyaf Group.

Fighting between the Abu Sayyaf Group and the Philippine military continues in the region. On Tuesday, two suspected Abu Sayyaf members were killed on Sulu in a three-hour firefight with Philippine Marines. The Armed Forces of the Philippines estimated the size of the Abu Sayyaf unit in the engagement at about 40 fighters.

The AFP launched a large-scale ground offensive to eliminate Abu Sayyaf bases in Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Basilan in 2016. The effort has reduced the rate of Abu Sayyaf hijackings and kidnappings, but firefights and arrests continue. About 125 Abu Sayyaf fighters have surrendered to AFP forces since the start of the year under an amnesty program.

PRO-12, 10ID strengthen cooperation vs. terror

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31): PRO-12, 10ID strengthen cooperation vs. terror

The Police Regional Office (PRO)-12 and the Army's 10th Infantry Division (ID) have strengthened their cooperation to address terrorism threats in local communities in Region 12 or Soccsksargen.

Chief Supt. Eliseo Tam Rasco, PRO-12 regional director, said Wednesday they signed a joint implementation plan (Implan) with the 10ID to "strategically end" bombing incidents in the area.
Soccsksargen stands for South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos City.

He said the Implan was finalized during a joint conference attended by top officials of the 10ID and PRO-12 at the regional police headquarters in Barangay Tambler here on Tuesday afternoon.

The Implan was signed by Rasco and 10ID commander Maj. Gen. Noel Clement.

"We mainly committed to work hard and pursue plans and programs that would pave the way for an even stronger partnership and collaborative actions to prevent bombing incidents in Soccsksargen," Rasco said.

The region was rocked by several bomb attacks these past months blamed on terror cells of the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) and Ansar al-Khilafa Philippines (AKP).

The BIFF was tagged as behind the twin bomb attacks in Isulan town in Sultan Kudarat on Aug. 28 and Sept. 2 that killed five people and injured more than 40 others.

Several alleged AKP members had been charged in connection with bomb explosion in Makar junction, Barangay Apopong here last Sept. 16 that left eight people wounded.

Rasco said the Implan provides for the guidelines for their joint law enforcement and security operations to effectively "fight our enemies on the ground."

He said it sets the necessary platform to address any form of violence as well as secure and protect residents and local communities against terrorism and violent extremism.

"It gives a working condition that necessitates our commitment and synergy to properly achieve our mandate to safeguard the people, their economic activities and resources against (security-related) vulnerabilities," he added.

Maute 'sighting' triggers panic, evacuation in Koronadal

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31): Maute 'sighting' triggers panic, evacuation in Koronadal

City officials urged residents on Wednesday to be more responsible in sharing information after a report on supposed sightings of Islamic State-inspired Maute terrorists in an upland village here triggered panic and evacuation among residents.

Around 100 families from Sitio Acub in Barangay San Isidro and neighboring villages here fled their homes on Monday night due to the reported presence of armed members of the Maute terror group.

City Administrator Cyrus Urbano said the incident was a case of misinformation and "fake news."

"We should be more responsible in sharing information, especially in social media, about incidents that could create panic among residents," Urbano said.

Urbano, who heads the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, said the false reports affected residents of Barangays San Isidro, Assumption, Mambucal, Sta. Cruz and Carpenter Hill.

He said the evacuees, who mostly took temporary shelter in barangay plazas, returned to their homes several hours later after getting assurance from authorities of their security.

Supt. Benjiel Kirby Bajo, Koronadal City police chief, said the reported presence of terrorists was based on wrong information.

Bajo said residents mistakenly identified joint Army and police personnel then patrolling portions of Sitio Acub in San Isidro as terrorists.

"It eventually spread as a supposed attack by Maute terrorists," he added.

DICT partners with Kaspersky to boost cybersecurity in gov’t

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31): DICT partners with Kaspersky to boost cybersecurity in gov’t

The Department of Information and Communications Technology has signed an agreement with Kaspersky Lab to strengthen cybersecurity capability in the government. (Photo courtesy of Kaspersky Lab)

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has partnered with international cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, to strengthen cybersecurity efforts in the government.

The DICT has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Kaspersky, which will enhance capacity development and institution building on cybersecurity within the public sector during the first Philippine International Cybersecurity Conference held in Davao City last week.

“Our experience at Kaspersky Lab alone shows how a collective approach in battling cybercrime is very effective at demystifying the most complex of cyberthreats and keeping ahead of the cyber criminals. With our cybersecurity expertise, we hope to support the Philippines the best way we can as we do with other governments around the world,” Stephan Neumeier, Kaspersky Lab Asia Pacific managing director, said in a statement on Tuesday.

The MOU states that both parties will establish tuition-based training programs for the government, research and competence centers, as well as universities, to boost information technology security skills and support cybersecurity awareness drive on online security in the country.

They will also share relevant information, intelligence and data; and assist each other in cybercrime investigations through the DICT National Cyber Intelligence Center.

For his part, DICT Assistant Secretary Allan Cabanlong said the partnership with Kaspersky will strengthen the country’s efforts in identifying and preventing cybersecurity threats.

“We hope that this holistic private-public cooperation will be a fine example of how information and expertise-sharing will be highly beneficial to the public ultimately. We are confident that this partnership will bring forth a positive impact not just on the Philippines’ national cyberdefenses but also on the lives of ordinary Filipino citizens,” Cabanlong said.

The Philippines was the ninth most attacked country in terms of online threats worldwide, according to Kaspersky Lab’s cyberthreat report for the second quarter.

Around 10.6 million web infections were recorded for the period, 39 percent of which were against individual Internet users and 11 percent against businesses.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

120 tribal leaders from Mindanao to sue CPP-NPA for violating indigenous people’s rights

From UNTV News & Rescue (Oct 30): 120 tribal leaders from Mindanao to sue CPP-NPA for violating indigenous people’s rights

Lipatuan Joel Unad, chairman of the Mindanao Indigenous People Conference for Peace and Development

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 120 tribal chieftains from Mindanao traveled to Manila to file charges against the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) for multiple violations of the indigenous people’s rights and other lawless acts.

Representatives from 18 major ethnic tribes in Mindanao led by Lipatuan Joel Unad, the Chairman of the Mindanao Indigenous People Conference for Peace and Development condemns the killing of 1,000 tribal leaders since the 1980s for defying orders from the communist group.

The group accused the Reds of abusing, molesting and raping their youth. The rebels were also educating their children in false ideals and curriculum not accredited by the Department of Education (DepEd).

Based on records, 70% of NPA members were recruited from the Lumads.
“Ipa-member ka sa CPP-NPA turuan ka kung paano kumanta ng national anthem ng mga CPP-NPA. Tinuturuan ka paano pag-dismantle ng baril. Iyon ba ang totoong pagtulong sa mga katutubo?” Unad lamented.

“Ang UP iyon pala ang institution for the indigenous people para sa lahat sana. Pero ngayon ang UP kampuhan ng mga kabataan na ginagamit ng CPP-NPA. Tinuturuan ka pala ng batas ng komunista,” he added.

Among the charges the group plans to file include multiple atrocities and extreme violence against the tribes such as burying alive, torture, death by strangling and firing squad.

The group consulted authorities from the Department of Justice (DOJ), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples regarding the charges which they plan to file next week.

Unad insisted that the alleged mass protests against the government were the works of the leftists and not their group. He also countered reports on social media accusing them as fake tribal leaders.

“Sinasabi po ng social media na ang mga taong ito peke pero ito ang proseso natin kung maging peke ang mga tribal leaders na nandito hindi nakasulat sa kabundukan at saka katubigan at saka sa history yung mga pangalan nila,” he said.

Unad calls on the NPA to stop occupying their territory as they want to protect and preserve their culture and traditions.

They call on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to help them protect their ancestral domain defense system so that economic development will also come their way such as proper education.

Cop wounded in suspected NPA attack in Negros Oriental — police report

From GMA News (Oct 30): Cop wounded in suspected NPA attack in Negros Oriental — police report

A police officer was wounded on Tuesday after suspected New People's Army rebels attacked two police detachments in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

An initial police report said an undetermined number of NPA rebels simultaneously attacked the state security force's patrol bases in Barangay Hinakpan and Barangay Bulado around 11 a.m.

Authorities said the harassment lasted for several minutes but no fatalities were reported.

The wounded officer — Police Officer 1 Elvis John Lucasan — was reported out of danger after being admitted to a hospital.

Pursuit and checkpoint operations are being conducted in the area following the incident.

No shortlist yet for submarine acquisition: AFP official

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 31): No shortlist yet for submarine acquisition: AFP official

The government has yet to come up with a shortlist of countries where it can acquire its first-ever diesel electric submarines from.

This was confirmed by AFP deputy chief-of-staff for plans Major Gen. Restituto Padilla on Monday when asked where the country is planning to source the new naval vessel.

"Well it's simple as a search in the Google search engine where you find a lot of submarine producing countries so they are still part of the long list of countries that you may consider to get the submarine from," Padilla noted.

Padilla said this includes the Nordic countries, Russia, and all other nations producing the stealthy craft.

"But I cannot at this point say if there is a shortlist that has been done because there is none at all," he disclosed.

Earlier, Padilla mentioned that the AFP modernization, which is on a three Horizon capability build-up, is already on the Second Horizon or the starting point for completing all the requirements to meet internal and external security challenges.

"So this why you may have heard recently that the keel-laying ceremony for our frigate that was ordered from South Korea has been announced and that in essence by 2020 if I'm not mistaken, the delivery of the first working frigate of the Philippine Navy will be in the offing. As to the submarine capability buildup this is very long term development, it is not something that we can get off the shelf, it is a capability that needs to be slowly, deliberately and in consultation with our allies, the United States included," he added.

With this, the decision on whether to acquire submarines will be made in due time, Padilla stressed.

NDF/NDF-NEMR: Intensify and strengthen the unity of peasants and lumad to fight and take to task the fascist Duterte regime

NDF-NEMR propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Oct 29): Intensify and strengthen the unity of peasants and lumad to fight and take to task the fascist Duterte regime

Statement | 28 October 2018

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines-North Eastern Mindanao Region (NDFP-NEMR) and all the revolutionary forces wholeheartedly join the peasantry and Lumad this October in observance of the Peasant and Lumad Month. Let us give them the highest tribute in their continuing struggle for genuine land reform, right to self-determination and their determination to provide food for the Filipino people.

Farmers are society’s backbone and among the true creators of history but they suffer from grave poverty. Instead of the US-Duterte regime supporting them to develop their farming capabilities and accelerate production, they are further driven towards severe deprivation brought about by the implementation of anti-people laws and policies.

First, laws such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with Reforms (CARPER) are not solving the land problems of farmers because it retains vast tracks of land under the control of landlords. Here in Caraga, the big landlords are the families of Sanchez, Fernandez, Ong-o, Gonzaga, Plaza, Uy, Tolentino, Garcia, Llamas, Ty, Luna, Cagampang, Tiongco, Lozada, Atega, Kingkiang, Garay, Calo, Asis and others. Land rent remains high, in rice fields rent for a hectare of land remains at 15-24 sacks. In coconut plantations, 50-50 and 60-40 rent favoring land lords continue, with tenants shouldering all expenditures.

Farmers are victims of exploitation by businessmen, usurers and other exploitative classes through unrelenting price increases of farm inputs such as fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides; high usury rates reaching 20%-200% for every harvest; rent increases of farm equipment; low wages; and low buying prices of products such as copra which is currently at P16.00 a kilo. Amidst all these, the government has not given significant support or assistance to farmers.

Second, the policy of land conversion to foreign mining and plantations, is forcibly driving away thousands of farmers and Lumad from their lands which are then seized. In Caraga, not less than 200,000 hectares have been converted into plantations. Meanwhile, more than 600,000 hectares of land are covered by either operating mines or approved mining operations. The AFP/PNP, LGU and several exploitative Lumad leaders are being used to grab land.

Because of this, wide areas of rice fields, rivers and coasts in Caraga have been destroyed and can no longer be used for livelihood by farmers and fisher folks. Mine tailings and poisonous chemicals mostly come from imperialist mines such as SRMI, TMC, PGMC, MMDC, Green Stone, Manila Mining, Agata Mining and many others.

Third, the uncontrolled importation of agricultural products such as rice, spices and others has resulted to the decline of local products of farmers. Many farmers lost their livelihood. This paved the way for the monopoly of agricultural products by foreigners and local capitalists in the country.

Fourth, the US-Duterte regime are conning and deceiving the farmers into planting commercial products through the National Greening Program (NGP) of the DENR and the Upland Sustainable Agriculture Development (USAD) of the Department of Agriculture (DA). It is promoting the planting of falcatta, oil palm, cacao and rubber to replace the direct food products they have been producing, such as corn and rice.

Fifth, farmers, already suffering grave poverty, are being victimized by the brutality of fascist forces of the AFP/PNP through martial law and all-out war under Oplan Kapayapaan. Here in NEMR thousands of families are being forced to evacuate regularly, they are threatened, their livelihood destroyed and abandoned because of the indiscriminate bombings using canons and air assets, near communities and farms. There have been 20 victims of extra judicial killings, more than a hundred have been arrested and charged with trumped-up cases, hundreds have been forced to surrender, threatened, harassed and suffer other brutalities under the US-Duterte regime. Militarization of the countryside is meant to safeguard the economic interests of the ruling classes.

All these prove that the US-Duterte regime is anti-people and pro-imperialist. It has set aside the interests of the country’s farmers to protect the interests of its masters, the monopoly capitalists, big bourgeoisie compradors and land lords.

The only solution to attain genuine land reform and national industrialization is the Democratic People’s Revolution. Through this the people will be liberated from foreign domination and can achieve true development and equality.

On this Month of Peasants and Lumad, let us strive to further intensify and strengthen the unity of the peasantry and Lumad to fight and take to task the US-Duterte regime.

Long live the struggle of the farmers and Lumad!

Ka Maria Malaya

NDF/NDF-Mindanao: Despite the searing economic crisis, the US-Duterte regime is already in a frenzy over the start of 2019 midterm bourgeois elections

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Oct 30): Despite the searing economic crisis, the US-Duterte regime is already in a frenzy over the start of 2019 midterm bourgeois elections

Ka Joaquin Jacinto
Spokesperson, NDFP-Mindanao

October 29, 2018

Despite the nation being stuck in a quagmire of a searing inflation, the US-Duterte regime is already in a frenzy propping up its electoral machinery for yet another election circus, the 2019 midterm polls. This is part of the regime’s grand design to secure the US-Duterte regime’s hold on state power, fortifying its ground to establish a fascist dictatorship, and rule beyond its term.

To tighten its grip on every rung of the reactionary government, from municipality to city to province and region right up to the Senate and House of Representatives, Duterte’s minions, who are gunning for seats both at the national and local levels, are made to exploit every opportunity, even this early, to employ dirty tricks and, in certain cases, the assassination of political rivals, to ensure eventual victory at the actual polls.

Political violence has commenced as certain politicians are being assassinated for political agenda of one party against another; cases are piling up in Luzon, Visayas ang Mindanao, where early preparation for an easy win in the midterm elections for Duterte toadies are already hatched.

Duterte is already pushing for his handpicked lackeys to grab seats in the Senate or Congress, such as Bong Go, Allan Peter Cayetano, Francis Tolentino and possibly even his own daughter, Sara Duterte, who does his every bidding and defend his fascist policies of martial law, extrajudicial killings, Oplan Tokhang/Double Barrel and outright militarism (Oplan Kapayapaan) in the countryside.

Even as early as in the period of the filing of the certificate of candidacy, Duterte’s bets and pets are already projected on radio, TV and the dailies, conspicuously ever present trying to be “heroes” even in such natural events as typhoon Ompong to simulate a semblance of “giving concern towards poor victims.” Certainly, with this much activity on projecting Duterte’s minions, money has begun to pour out to fund it. This, while the nation is reeling in the midst of skyrocketing prices of rice, petroleum products, basic commodities and services.

It will not be surprising if the US-Duterte regime will once again turn to hi-tech fraud or electronic cheating via hocus-PCOS to ensure certain victory for all his bets. Added to that, politicians from powerful families particularly in Mindanao, such as the Duterte’s in Davao, the Del Rosarios and Alvarezes in Davao del Norte, the Amantes in Agusan del Norte, the Plazas in Agusan del Sur, the Pimentels in Surigao del Sur, the Jalosjoses in Zamboanga and others, will use patronage politics to place their constituents in a stranglehold to guarantee their uninterrupted reign, employing guns, goons and gold.

If need be, members of these powerful families will turn against each other, becoming turncoats and employ mudslinging in order to perpetuate themselves in power.

Also this early, more aggressive effort have already begun to discredit and vilify the leaders and personalities of progressive party lists, as with the recent attacks against the Makabayan Party bloc solons, maliciously tagging them as part of the “Red October plot,” which is a preposterous fiction story conjured by the Duterte and his AFP to justify its crackdown on members of the legal and progressive organizations.

Behind the reactionary elections however, the US-Duterte regime will sustain its fascist Oplan Kapayapaan and martial law in Mindanao to remain in control. Duterte could even gun for “no elections” and declare a nationwide martial law if it means holding on to that level of control, with which all of Duterte’s minions within the reactionary bureaucracy will have hold-over status and perpetuate its fascist and pro-imperialist policies.

Should the elections push through, the Filipino people should exercise their right of suffrage to demand for platforms that embody substantial pro-people changes in the system. The Filipino people must use this right to not elect individuals who clearly are sycophants of Duterte and support his fascist policies. Oust the US-Duterte regime!

NDF/Sison: Duterte Should Step Back from Martial Law Nationwide Whether This Is Already De Facto or To Be Formalized in January 2019

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Oct 30): Duterte Should Step Back from Martial Law Nationwide Whether This Is Already De Facto or To Be Formalized in January 2019

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
October 29, 2018

Consequent to the exposure of the Duterte plot to proclaim martial law nationwide in January 2019, Duterte and his mouthpiece Panelo are making assurances that there is no such plot and that Duterte intends to step down at the end of his term in 2022.

But even as they make such assurances, they speak with forked tongues. They continue to threaten the people by stating that Duterte can declare martial law any time.

With utter arrogance, Duterte himself declares that he does not need to formally declare martial law nationwide because he is already carrying out a de facto kind of martial law, which he calls “strong arm leadership”.

Indeed, at the expense of vital social services, he has been pouring public funds into the military and police in order to bribe them, emboldening them to kill, kill, kill with impunity in his all-out war policy, militarizing his cabinet and important government agencies and signing laws that facilitate repression like the national ID system and harsher provisions of the anti-terrorism law.

But I forewarn Duterte that in imposing martial law on the Filipino people, whether de facto or formally proclaimed, he will ultimately suffer the end and ignominy of the Marcos fascist dictatorship.

Martial law of any kind, as an instrument of fascist dictatorship, can easily victimize the leaders and mass activists of the legal opposition of all kinds who are arbitrarily listed as terrorists by the military and who are not prepared and agile enough to go underground and join the revolutionary movement.

But the revolutionary forces and people are ever ready to fight the fascist dictatorship. Under conditions of martial law, more public money will be wasted on military and police operations and the people will detest the fascist dictatorship even more.

The military forces will have even more difficulty in deploying more units for combat because too many military officers and their personnel would be busy occupying and operating erstwhile civilian agencies, manning checkpoints for the purpose of mass intimidation and extortion and being desk-bound to conduct electronic surveillance of the people.

In the final analysis, martial law whether de facto or formally proclaimed will be effective in arousing the people to wage revolutionary struggle and will be ineffective in suppressing the rise of the people and the revolutionary forces.

It is best for Duterte to step back from his drive for absolute power and absolute corruption before it is too late for him. He must recall what happened to Marcos at the end even as he had far more advantages like younger age, suaver way of deception, Ilocano affinity with most of the military personnel, bigger allowance for foreign borrowing, etc.

In fact, Duterte does not have the advantages that Marcos had. The chronic crisis of the semicolonial and semifeudal system, which allows protracted people’s war, has become worse than ever before. And yet Duterte always wastes precious time by ranting to provoke opposition to his rule and depends too much on intimidating the people and his critics with brute force. He has an exceptional talent for outraging the broad range of forces and the people against himself.

CPP/Ang Bayan: OPE-P: Heigtened US military intervention

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): OPE-P: Heigtened US military intervention

Under Rodrigo Duterte’s rule, US military intervention in the Philippines deepened and expanded. Duterte himself paved the way to US’ greater control over the country, especially the AFP, when he imposed martial law in Mindanao on May 2017 to “crush the terrorist Maute group.”

Throughout his “war on terror” against the Maute group, the US commanded AFP operations inside Marawi City. The US used the siege in the city as a pretext to formally establishing the Operation Pacific Eagle-Philippines (OPE-P) on September 1, 2017. It replaced Operation Enduring Freedom-Philippines (OEF-P) as the US’ “named operation” in the country. The OEF-P took the form of the 900-troop Joint Special Operations Task Force-Philippines located inside an AFP base in Zamboanga City from 2002 to 2015. Like the OEF-P, the OPE-P is under the US’ overseas contigency operations (OC), previously called the “global war on terror” which is funded by the Pentagon’s collosal budget.

On December 2017, Duterte declared the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as “terrorist organizations” to further justify the existence of the OPE-P and expand its operations beyond Mindanao.

The US Defense Department Lead Inspector General’s report for January-May 2018 indicates that the OPE-P permanently bases 200-300 US troops in the country to supposedly advise, train and support Filipino troops. At this time, fighting in Marawi has already ended and armed skirmishes between the AFP and Moro groups have become less.

Within the current year, the OPE-P reported expenses of up to $32.4 million (P1.8 billion based on a foreign exchange of P55=$1). Most of the funds were spent on providing aerial surveillance support through unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV o drone) in AFP combat operations.

Though the OPE-P identified “ISIS-Philippines” as its main target, there have been numerous reports of drone surveillance in AFP-suspected NPA areas this year. Drones were sighted flying overhead before the 59 incidents of bombings and straffings recorded by the National Democratic Front-Mindanao since January 2018. Drones also often precede AFP focused military operations. For 2019, the OPE-P proposed a $108.2 million budget (P5.95 billion), triple its current operational budget.

The US also used the OPE-P to expand joint military exercises and position more troops in the country. Balikatan 34, which was participated by 8,000 troops (3,000 US and 5,000 Filipino) last May is among these exercises. This was followed by two more large exercises, the MTA Sama Sama on July and Kamandag 2 (previously Phiblex) this October. Live fire and amphibious landing, exercises which Duterte vowed to reduce if not outrightly ban, were part of the program.

These large-scale exercises are part of the US plan to maintain its presence on Philippine land and seas. Big and small exercises, conferences and other military activities led by US soldiers occur almost daily all over the country. From 258 in 2017, these activities rose to 261 in 2019 and will increase to 281 in 2019. More and larger trainings in various military fronts are conducted annually.

Alongside these exercises, US warships regularly sail through Philippine seas and the South China Sea in the guise of “freedom of navigation operations.” Some of these ships dock in the country for repairs, leave waste material and refuel, as well as for rest and recreation of US troops.

In general, the entry and exit of US troops and armaments in the country are becoming more frequent. In addition to the exercises, most of the troops enter the country aboard “visiting” warships. Since January, ten ships containing not less than 17,500 military troops, dozens of warplanes and other weapons have docked in Manila Bay, Subic Bay and other large seaports since January. The largest of these ships run on nuclear energy. The total number of troops is even bigger if it includes the ships which sailed in Philippine waters no less than 15 times for various reasons, including freedom of navigation operations. These include the USS Essex which was exposed to have been stationed in the Philippine Sea after one of its Marine trooper fell off the ship and disappeared. These US ships are accompanied by Japanese and Australian ships.

In addition to intervening in internal issues, the US also managed to push its strategic plan to maintain a more permanent and extensive base for their troops and war matériel under Duterte.

Using past military agreements, the US has already openly started construction of facilities for their troops inside their old military bases. In 2017, the US and AFP inaguarated a new building inside Basa Air Force Base in Pampanga supposedly for humanitarian purposes but is, in fact, built for stockpiling war materiel. The US and the AFP also announced the onset of contructing same facilities in Fort Magsaysay Military Reservation, Lumbia Air Base, Antonio Bautista Airbase and Benito Ebuen Air Base. This year, the construction of a military base started in residential areas in Marawi City after the US made the Duterte regime unearth and declare the city as a military reservation. This is one of the reasons why displaced residents are not allowed to enter the city, except for limited visits.

The US continues to unload airplanes, helicopters, ships, ammunitions, bombs and other war matériel in the country. Since January 2017, the US has been dumping its outdated armaments worth P5 billion under the guise of the AFP modernization plan. This will be augmented by more weapons, such as the anti-missile radar system which Duterte is set to “buy” from Israel and six F-16 jet fighters from the US supposedly to defend Philippine seas. The acquisition of such weapons supposedly for territorial defense is in line with the US defense plan against China’s rising military power.

US and Philippine military and state officials continue to enjoy strong and close ties. Every year, the commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command visits the country, and in turn, Defense Secretary Lorenzana meets with US State Department officials in Washington D.C. The Security Engagement Board, the committee which sets US activities in the country, also holds regular meetings.

Aside from military activities, US agencies also intervene in various aspects of Philippine national security including Philippine National Police programs, social media, and customs among many others.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: Building the Party in FX

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): Building the Party in FX

(This article is a contribution by Party members in the Bicol region to Ang Bayan’s (AB) series featuring outstanding experiences on Party branch building in various fields of revolutionary work. AB’s editors encourage all Party committees to contribute to this series by submitting their stories.)

Building a party branch, first and foremost, is ideological building—this was proven by the Party branch in FX. A vigorous theoretical educational campaign along with efforts to concretely apply its lessons is key to building the confidence of cadres in leading the comprehensive revolutionary work of a Party branch.

Residents of barrio FX were first organized under the national democratic revolution in 1974 by cadres from Sorsogon. The following year, the organizing committee, local party branch and a people’s militia unit were formally established in the barrio. FX is considered as one of the most consolidated barrios in the province. The Party branch in FX has been through various calamities caused by successive “counter-insurgency” campaigns of the reactionary state.

As with others, the branch in FX experienced both advances and retreats. By adhering to major historical lessons, the Party advanced and gained further strength in FX. Among these lessons is the significance of mounting a vigorous educational campaign in building a Party branch.

In a letter to a comrade, Ka Liz, secretary of the FX branch, said that “…presently, we are set to formally establish a barrio revolutionary committee. This should have been done a long time ago, but raising of the level of mass organizations has been slow despite having a Party branch and full-fledged mass organizations. Among the factors that have resulted in this are the sluggishness in conducting educational discussions in the past and the lack of trained instructors.”

Identifying these major factors and weaknesses, the branch and the regional Party committee collaborated in conducting an educational campaign in the barrio. This resulted in a higher rate of completion of Basic and Intermediate Party Courses (BPC and IPC). All members of the executive committee (EC) of the FX branch completed the IPC. Meanwhile, 48% and 92% of the total membership of the branch completed the IPC and BPC respectively.

The branch achieved these victories through an efficient instruction machinery. There are now ten BPC and two IPC instructors. The provincial Party committee also issued a policy exhorting all local branch secretaries to serve as instructors and spearhead the education work in their respective branches. While the FX branch can already mobilize its own BPC machinery, it now also preparing to complete all requisites needed in establishing its own IPC machinery. Ka Jing, one of the head instructors in FX, said that they used to find it hard to launch their own Party education campaigns especially BPC, but through constant practice, teaching became easier for them.

“We initially consult the EC of the branch in preparation for educational discussions. Meanwhile, the people’s militia ensures the security of the barrio. Studies are often conducted in residents’ houses. The schedule for the educational discussion is also flexible because the venue is just within the barrio and is accessible to resident-instructors. It can either be a seminar-type or staggered, depending on the availability of the students,” said Ka Jing. BPC is often subdivided into two sessions with three days each. This resolved previous concerns of mothers with small children who cannot join long discussions in far venues. Even the youth who go to school are given a chance to study BPC because studies can also be conducted during weekends.

Because studies are systematically and flexibly conducted, majority of the Party membership were able to graduate from the formal courses. Food for educational sessions are funded through the funds of the branch from contributions of its members and donations from beneficiaries of the agrarian revolution. It is also important to ensure that all educational inputs are complete, including the library of all texts and handouts needed in the discussions. To efficiently conduct the discussions, the branch uses a computer and projector.

Achieving a relatively higher level of ideological consolidation, the branch was able to overcome past problems. Among these are the passivity of the branch and the failure of its members to deliver most of their tasks when the unit of the people’s army operating within the area is far away. Experience has taught the LPB in FX that ensuring the vigorous delivery of ideological tasks is key to building its cadres’ confidence in delivering other political and organizational tasks. Aside from completing the said formal courses, the branch also regularly conducts collective plannings, assessments and criticism and self-criticism (CSC) sessions.

Ka Liz added that, “because of our efficient and lively collective work, we are also able to methodically tackle our organizational tasks. Whenever there are tasks, the EC convenes for a meeting and subsequently presents the ideological, political and organizational plan to all branch members systematically. An objective and agenda are specified in every meeting to ensure direction and smooth flow.

Regular CSC is also a vital organizational tool. No one is perfect, and we may make mistakes in conducting our organizational tasks. That is why we need to learn how to accept criticism and correct our errors. Through this, we prevail over our individual and collective weaknesses.”

Because of relentless enemy operations, there were times when mass organizations were pacified in FX. But because of the strength and determination of the branch, it was able to reestablish these organizations. An example of this was when the area was heavily militarized under the Arroyo regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya I and II. After a few years, the branch was able to reestablish the mass organizations of three sectors—that of the peasants, youth and women. The branch also has the capability to supervise the elections within organizations. Because of the strength gained by the Party and after completing the requisites, the barrio revolutionary committee in FX was formally established.

Under the leadership of the branch, mass campaigns are vigorously launched in FX. On many occassion, the Party was able to mobilize its residents to voice their demands and concerns not only on their local issues but even on national issues. When the local guerilla unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) was established, the branch was among the first to deploy elements from their own people’s militia unit. The FX branch is conscious of its tasks to recruit full time Red fighters. Tempered in their longstanding struggle, FX is neither shakened by military offensives nor dread of the enemy’s psywar. Recognizing the need to expand in adjacent barrios that are behind, local cadres of FX has struck deep roots even beyond their barrio. Some cadres of FX are now members of the subsection committee which covers the cluster where the barrio is at.

The experience of FX proved the significance of the ideological work of the Party in all levels. This particular experience has paved the direction of other territorial Party organs in delivering their major consolidation tasks at the basic level.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: State forces illegally arrest NDFP consultant and 4 others

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): State forces illegally arrest NDFP consultant and 4 others

Elements of the military

military and police illegally arrested National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant Adelberto Silva and four others on October 15 at around 2 p.m. in Barangay Pagsawitan, Sta. Cruz, Laguna. Travelling with Silva, 71, were Hedda Calderon, 63, of Gabriela Women’s Party; Ireneo Atadero, 55, of Kilusang Mayo Uno; Ediciel Legazpi, 60, a farmer; and their driver, Julio Lusania, 53.

After blocking and ordering them to alight from their vehicle, the military planted guns, grenades and an improvised claymore mine as evidence. On the next day, they were charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives. The cases against Calderon, Atadero and Legazpi were dismissed and they were temporarily released on October 18.

The NDFP vehemently condemned Silva’s arrest, the designated vice-chairperson of the NDFP Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms. Fidel Agcaoili, chief peace negotiator of the NDFP, said that Silva and his companions were conducting consultations with various sectors when they were arrested. As consultant, Silva is supposedly protected from surveillance, arrest and harassment under the GRP-NDFP Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees. Meanwhile, on the same day in Misamis Oriental, police officers arrested Alfredo Abao, a member of Misamis Oriental Farmers’ Association. Abao was the third peasant leader arrested in the province.

Elements of the 7th ID and police also illegally arrested four activists in Sitio Bangkusay, Barangay Talabutab Norte, Natividad, Nueva Ecija on October 13. The victims were identified as as Yolanda Diamsay Ortiz, 46, of Anakpawis; and Eulalia Ladesma, 44, of Gabriela Women’s Party. They were subjected to interrogation and bore torture marks on their faces. Also arrested were Rachel Galario, 20, and Edzcel Emocling, 23. The four, who were then in the area to give aid to peasants who were hard hit by Typhoon Ompong, were accused of being NPA members. The military also threatened their relatives.

Students of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) mounted successive protest actions in support of their schoolmate, Emocling, and her companions who were arrested. Emocling and Galario were temporarily released on October 16.

On October 17, nine unidentified men arrested Ceasar Carreon, a member of Anakpawis, in Mexico, Pampanga. On October 18, it was reported that Joey Torres Sr., regional peasant organizer of Bayan Muna deployed in Nueva Ecija, was missing for weeks already.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: AFP-backed goons massacre 9 farmers in Negros

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): AFP-backed goons massacre 9 farmers in Negros

Nine were killed, including two minors and four women, in a massacre on Hacienda Nene, Purok Fire Tree, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City, Negros Occidental, on October 20.

At around 9:30 p.m., 40 unidentified armed men strafed the farmers who were then resting in a hut in the said hacienda. The victims were identified as Iglicerio Villegas, Angelipe Arsenal and Morena Mendoza who were residents of Barangay Plaridel; Peter Ras, Dodong Laurenio and Bingbing Bantigue. Among those killed were also Joemarie Ughayon Jr., 17, of Barangay Rafaela Barrera, and Marchtel Sumicad, 17, of Purok Mahogany, Barangay Bulanon.

Reports indicate that most of the victims suffered head-shots. Three of the victims’ corpses were incinerated by the perpetrators while four others survived the strafing.

All of the victims were active members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) who launched their “bungkalan” or collective farming in the area on October 19. The land is within the 75-hectare hacienda that was grabbed by a certain Atty. Barbara Tolentino, and leased by Conpinco Trading.

Despite being issued a “notice of coverage” by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), land within the hacienda is yet to be distributed.

Since 2008, farmers annually launch their collective farming to survive the “tiempo muerto” o dead season between the harvesting and re-planting of sugarcane. In a statement, the NFSW said that the assailants who shot the farmers are possibly mercenaries who are members of the “Revolutionary Proletarian Army,” an armed group in Negros that broke away with the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1993.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas stressed that this was not the first incident of peasant killing in Sagay City.

On December 21, 2017, Flora Jemola, chairperson of NFSW-Sagay City, was stabbed to death by suspected elements of the 12th IB-CAFGU. On February 21, Ronald Manlanat, a member of NFSW in Hacienda Joefred, Barangay General Luna, was also shot dead by suspected elements of the CAFGU.

In a statement, the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura said the the killings are a direct result of the AFP’s red-tagging campaign against peasants in Negros. On April 20, BGen. Eliezer Losanes, commander of the 303rd IBde, peddled a piece of fake news maliciously stating that the lands which are being cultivated by farmworkers and farmers in Negros are communal farms of the New People’s Army (NPA).

In sum, 45 farmers have been killed in Negros Island under the Duterte regime. Killings. A B’laan farmer was shot dead by elements of the 73rd IB in Sitio Mahayag, Barangay Upper Suyan, Malapatan, Sarangani on October 7 at around 7 p.m. The victim was identified as Jimmy Ambat, who was earlier accused by the military as an NPA member. Ambat was in his house together with his family when he was killed. He was shot when he rushed to the aid of his nephew who was then being beaten by the soldiers.

On October 15, Victor Villafranca, a member of Haligi ng Batanguenong Anakdagat (HABAGAT), was killed by suspected military elements in Lian, Batangas. Villafranca actively participated in the campaign against land-use conversion and militarization in their community. According to Pamalakaya, Villafranca was the sixth fisherman killed under the Duterte regime.

In Albay, elements of the 22nd IB-CAFGU shot Mario Pantoja Maritana, 40, on October 2 in the morning while on his way to their house in Barangay Doña Mercedes, Guinobatan.

Maritana was aboard a motorcycle after taking his child to school in Barangay Malobago when he was ambushed. Maritana died in the hospital two days after the incident.

The victim has long been tagged by the military as a supporter of the NPA and accused of participation in an ambush mounted by the NPA on September against the 22nd IB-CAFGU in their barangay.

In Ligao City, elements of the 22nd IB-CAFGU forcibly entered the residence of farmer Amador Orfano, 59, in Barangay Pandan on October 7 at around 3 a.m. The suspects asked Orfano where the house of Kagawad Grace Ocfemia is. The victim was shot dead after the interrogation.

After the crime, the suspects went next to barangay Pinamaniquian and torched the house of Ocfemia.

On top of this, the fascists also burned down two more houses of the Quinalayo family in the same barangay on October 14 and 16. The 22nd IB-CAFGU also threatened to burn burn down all houses in the area.

Dispersal. Seventeen members of the Nagkahiusang Mamumuo sa Suyapa Farms (NAMASUFA), including a pregnant woman, were wounded in the almost simultaneous dispersal of their picketlines in Sumitomo Fruits Corp. (SUMIFRU) on October 11. Within 13 hours, 300 security guards and goons of the company assailed the picketlines in SUMIFRU Packing Plant (PP) 370 in barangays Pilar Babag, PP 98 and PP 340 in Osmeña, PP 92 in Alegria, PP 90 in Gabi, PP 99 in San Miguel and PP 115 in Marapat, all in Compostela, Compostela Valley.

The assailants demolished the huts and burned down the structures and food supply of, and mauled the striking workers. Simultaneously, soldiers of the 66th IB illegally entered the houses of the workers. Two workers, Jimboy Cagas and Ramil Monte, were arrested by the police but were immediately released.

The deployment of dispersal teams in various picketlines of SUMIFRU striking workers occurred after the Compostela Valley Regional Trial Court 11 Branch 56 junked the petition of SUMIFRU to prohibit workers from impeding the entry and exit of thee said plantation’s banana products.

Meanwhile, in the afternoon of October 18, security guards and police officers also violently dispersed the camp of peasants from Norzagaray and San Jose del Monte, Bulacan in front of DAR. The said farmers put up a market of vegetable products which they harvested from the lands they tilled and are struggling for. The peasants marched to DAR to hold a dialogue with its administrators. Immediately after the dialogue, however, guards and police officers attacked them and demolished the huts they have constructed.

Harassment. Paid internet trolls continue to harass and villify activists in Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela and Cagayan. Twenty-six individuals were tagged as “NPA members” in various leaflets distributed by the 5th ID in Tuguegarao City and Amulong, Cagayan.

In Ilocos, trolls of the AFP accused Mary Ann Gabahan of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance as an “NPA protector” and “councilor’s mistress.” The writers and staff of Northern Dispatch, an alternative news outfit in Northern Luzon, were also harassed and villfied.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: NPA ambushes PNP convoy in CamSur

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): NPA ambushes PNP convoy in CamSur

The New People’s Army (NPA)-West Camarines Sur (Norben Gruta Command) successfully ambushed the 1st Camarines Sur Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) along Maharlika Highway, Barangay Napolidan, Lupi, Camarines Sur last October 18, 8:55 a.m.

The said police unit was part of the security convoy escorting Bureau of Food and Drugs Authority Director General Mila Puno. Three police officers were slain while four others were wounded. An M14 rifle together with five magazines, and two .45 caliber pistol magazines were seized from them.

Contrary to lies peddled by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PPSC, Red fighters carefully select their targets in every tactical offensive. Particular in the Lupi offensive, command-detonated explosives (CDX) targeted only armed elements of the PNP, said Ka Ma. Roja Banua, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front-Bicol. Because the detonation is directed, the NPA purposely spared the vehicle that carried Puno. Banua said that they obtained the detailed itinerary of the convoy from members of the PNP.

Earlier, on October 17, the NPA also ambushed Teodoro Adaptante, a CAFGU element deployed in Barangay Alanao in the same town.

The PPSC and other mercenary armed agents of the reactionary government have perpetrated a long list of crimes and human rights violations in Bicol. On top of killing civilians under the guise of the “war against drugs,” they also perpetrated the murder of activists.

Camarines Norte. On October 14, the NPA-Camarines Norte seized two M4 assault rifles in an ambush against the 96th IB in Purok 7, Barangay Dumagmang, Labo, Camarines Norte, at around 4 p.m. Eight soldiers were slain while two others were wounded.

The ambush was mounted near the temporary camp of the 96th IB.

Agu­san del Sur. The NPA-Agusan del Sur conducted a punitive action on October 4 against Charity Ampong, a despotic landlord who owns hundreds of hectares of calamansi farmland in Barangay San Luis, Agusan del Sur. The Red fighters paralyzed a truck, and torched few sacks of fertilizer and 18 hectares of farmland owned by Ampong. The said action was a response to the complaints against extremely low wages and the inhumane working conditions in the hacienda.

During planting season, Ampong compensates farmers with a meager P250 daily salary. The farmers are prohibited from resting except during noon. Their wages are further cut down when resting outside the said schedule. During harvest season, they are compensated with only P90 per sack of lemon they are able to reap.

On the next day, the NPA ambushed elements of the CAFGU Active Auxiliary who indiscriminately fired their guns in the same barangay. Eight enemy troopers were wounded. The NPA-Agusan del Sur held a tribute in honor of Joel Seguero who was martyred in the said offensive.

Northern Sa­mar. Red fighters from the Special Operations Group of the NPA-Northern Samar (Arnulfo Ortiz Command) ambushed Ananias Rebato, former municipal mayor of San Jose de Buan together with his hired gun, Severino Tesoro Jr., on October 8 in Barangay Babaclayon, San Jose de Buan. Tesoro died on the spot while Rebato was seriously injured. After a few days, Rebato succumbed to his injuries and died in the hospital.

Rebato was notorious for massive corruption and tyranny. Around 31 cases of sexual assault and rape have been filed against him. A rabid supporter of the AFP, he sowed terror in various communities of the said town and ordered the displacement, harassment and killing of resident peasants.

The punitive action serves revolutionary justice not only to Rebato’s direct victims but also to the people of San Jose de Buan who have long suffered from his despotic rule.

Meanwhile, a young farmer was illegally arrested and accused by the military of participating in the said offensive.

The NPA-Eastern Visayas (Efren Martires Command) offered a Red salute to Ambie Gabane (Ka Mati/Ka Mamoy) who was martyred in the course of the ambush.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]

CPP/Ang Bayan: The countryside is fertile ground for intensifying people’s war

Propaganda article from the English language edition of Ang Bayan posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Oct 21): The countryside is fertile ground for intensifying people’s war

Every field and mountain in the vast Philippine countryside is marked by poverty and hunger. The poor peasants, farm workers and toiling masses suffer relentless exploitation and oppression. Theirs is an intense aspiration to end more than one century of semifeudalism which are virtual fetters of the past and barriers to social liberation.

The peasant masses’ fervent spirit of resistance to assert their well-being, defend their rights and advance their struggles for land reform permeate across the country. The land is becoming more fertile for the people’s war to advance more rapidly and extensively in the coming period.

The peasant masses could no longer endure the reign of big landlords and giant capitalists who own large plantations and mining and logging companies. They are filled with indignation over the fascist attacks of reactionary state’s armed forces to suppress their struggle for land and social justice.

Landlessness and landgrabbing are worsening. After almost seven decades of fraudulent land reform programs, large landholdings and plantations remain in the hands of a few. To survive, millions of peasants enter into extremely exploitative tenancy relations or become farm workers with inordinately low wages. This feudal setup is worse in wide swathes of ricelands, coconut farms and sugarcane lands. The peasant masses carry the burden of high costs of production. They are bound to such type of crops requiring expensive pesticides and other chemicals sold by big foreign agribusiness.

Farm work is back-breaking. The system of individual and small-scale farming remain backward where one wrestles with simple hand tools and farm animals and depend on rain water. Mechanization is limited and yield is low. This year, almost 750,000 agricultural jobs
were lost.

Wealth produced by the peasant masses is expropriated by landlords who contribute not even a drop of sweat in enriching the land. They appropriate 30, 50 up to 90 percent of the peasants’ harvest as land rent. Peasants are forced to mortgage their land or tenancy to borrow money from loan sharks, ariendadors, rural banks or microfinance agencies at exhorbitant interest rates to finance the next planting season and their daily consumption. Out of 10 tenants paying amortization, seven have been forced to surrender their titles.

Land rent and loan interests jack up the costs of production. Peasants are left with peanuts after traders buy their harvests of palay, copra, abaca or corn cheaply. Their lot this year has worsened in the face of skyrocketing prices after tax impositions by Duterte.

 There are widespread cases of evictions of peasants, fisherfolk and minority people from their farms and ancestral land. Duterte is clearing hundreds of thousands of hectares to pave the way for the expansion of mining operations, real estate, tourism, energy and infrastructure projects, and plantations of pineaple, banana, oil palm and other export crops in association with foreign big capitalists.

Under the Duterte regime’s Oplan Kapayapaan, and with US imperialist backing and support, the AFP, PNP and paramilitary groups are employed persistently to lay siege and occupy hundreds of rural communities, including those in Moro land. Human rights abuses are rampant, especially in Mindanao which has been under martial law for one year. People are arbitrarily indicted and treated as outlaws and supporters of the armed movement. More than 4,000 have been forced to parade themselves as “NPA surrenderees.” There are now 13 cases of massacres. No less than 170 peasants have been killed under Duterte. More than 500,000 have been forced to evacuate.

 The US-Duterte regime’s all-out war of suppression against the masses has, however, failed. Instead of being intimidated and forced to bow their heads, the peasant masses are raising high their chins and clenching their fists, knowing that worse oppression and exploitation await them if they surrender to the tyranny and terrorism of big landlords, big foreign corporations and their rotten bureaucrat capitalist and fascist cohorts.

The countryside is fertile ground for waging armed revolution more vigorously. Take stock of the objective situation and subjective strength to advance the people’s war across the country with unprecendented speed and breadth. Resolutely advance the struggles of the peasant masses. Firmly advance their antifeudal, antifascist and anti-imperialist struggles and mobilize the rural toiling masses in their millions. Carry out careful and widespread investigation into the masses’ situation and problems and identify solutions and measures to address their welfare amid worsening economic crisis and deteriorating social conditions. Wage all forms of struggle to assert and defend their land rights, from the simple right to plant food crops up to land ownership.

 Rouse the peasant masses, especially the youth, to join the people’s army in their numbers to further strengthen the NPA as their army. Perseveringly expand and intensify guerrilla warfare on the basis of a widespread support and mobilization of the masses. Mount extensive tactical offensives against the brutal fascist enemy troops.

 Further expand and strengthen the revolutionary mass organizations and revolutionary committees from the village level up as organs of political power. At every level, carry out programs for mass education, culture, public health, defense and protection of peace, economy and other fields to address the people’s problems. Creatively resist the enemy’s all-out war and campaign to illegalize the masses.

Carry forward and expand the implementation of the Party’s minimum program for land reform to reduce land rent, eliminate usury and improve farmgate prices and raise production and peasant income. Carry out the maximum program of land confiscation where such can be defended by the NPA. At every stage, undertake the systematic planning of the economy to ensure production of food, raise the income of the peasant masses and support the further expansion of the people’s army.

In all this, the Party’s expansion and strengthening is key. Further deepen and widen the Party’s roots among the rural toiling masses in order to effectively train leaders in line with the proletarian viewpoint, standpoint and method. Further expand, strengthen and increase Party branches and sections.

Bring rural issues and struggles into the factories and schools. City-based Party cadres and members and activists are encouraged to go to the countryside and help in advancing the people’s war. More than ever, cadres from the working-class and intellectuals are needed to contribute their knowledge and skills in advancing the peasant struggles and agrarian revolution, establishing and administering the people’s government, and strength­­ening the army and advancing the armed struggle.

[Ang Bayan is the official news organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines and is issued by the CPP Central Committee. It provides news about the work of the Party as well as its analysis of and views on current issues. Ang Bayan comes out fortnightly and is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Ilokano, Waray, Hiligaynon and English.]