Sunday, January 14, 2018

Army soldiers seize firearms

From the Visayan Daily Star (Jan 13): Army soldiers seize firearms

Army soldiers recovered Thursday nine high-powered firearms after an encounter with suspected New People's Army rebels in Brgy. Tacul, Magsaysay, Davao del Sur.

Negrense Col. Roberto Ancan, commander of the 1002nd Infantry Brigade, yesterday said the nine high-powered firearms that included six M-16 assault rifles, two AK 47 assault rifles, an M-14 rifle, an improvised explosive device (IED), assorted ammunition and magazines, were left behind by fleeing communist rebels, who jumped down a ravine.

Ancan said troopers of the 73rd Infantry Battalion, one of the Army infantries being supervised by the 1002nd Infantry Brigade, were conducting a checkpoint, when they were fired upon by four rebels, riding in two motorcycles.

The gunbattle, that lasted for almost 10 minutes, prompted the rebels to withdraw, leaving behind the firearms and the two Honda TMX motorcycles.

Ancan reported that combined military operations in the 1002nd Infantry Brigade area of operations in Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Sarangani, South Cotabato, Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat last year, yielded 158 firearms, while 131 rebels were killed.

He attributed their success to the in those areas cooperation of communities, who are continuously supporting the initiatives of the government.

The Philippine Navy’s first landing dock vessel arrives in Palawan

From Update Philippines (Jan 14): The Philippine Navy’s first landing dock vessel arrives in Palawan 
Navy’s first landing dock vessel arrives in Palawan

The Philippine Navy’s first Landing Dock Vessel, BRP-Tarlac (LD-601), arrived in Puerto Princesa, Palawan for a three-day port call from January 10-12, 2018 as part of her first logistics run a mission for the calendar year 2018.

A simple welcome ceremony for the ship’s officers and men was facilitated by Naval Forces West that included a band performance by the 570th CTW and ”Man-the-Rail” as a time-honored tradition of the naval service. It was attended by military contingents in the Western Command’s AOR and local government officials of Puerto Princesa City and Palawan.

Commodore Rommel Jason L. Galang, Commander of the Naval Forces West, said BRP Tarlac was loaded with logistical supplies for the 3rd Marine Brigade and its Battalions in Northern and Southern Palawan, operational supplies for the Naval Special Operations Unit-4, and cargoes for the ships in the AOR. All of these are necessary as the PN units and personnel conduct their mandated duty of promoting peace in the province of Palawan.

The sealift of assorted relief goods intended for the people of Palawan from Support Your Navy Foundation Inc. (SYNFI) and Headquarters Philippine Marine Corps was also part of the ship’s mission, he said.

An “Open House” was held Thursday to showcase her capabilities as Philippine’s first landing dock platform as well as to give an opportunity for the residents of Puerto Princes City for a guided shipboard tour.

Among those who were invited to the Open House were members of the media, Navy reservists, representatives from the local government units, students of PPC and other stakeholders.

BRP Tarlac is the first of the two landing dock vessels of the PN commissioned in June 2016.

This landing dock, as well as her sister ship BRP Davao del Sur (LD602), can perform as the PN’s floating Command and Control center, especially during emergency situations, the conduct of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) and other purposes as military sealift and transport missions may require.

Duterte to Joma: Come home and we'll talk

From Rappler (Jan 14): Duterte to Joma: Come home and we'll talk

'Gusto ko si Sison pumunta dito. Kaming dalawa mag-usap. Kaming dalawa lang dito sa kuwarto,' Duterte says in an interview with MindaNews

CPP FOUNDER. Jose Maria Sison was President Rodrigo Duterte's professor at the Lyceum University in Manila. Screenshot of CPP founder Joma Sison's Vimeo video

CPP FOUNDER. Jose Maria Sison was President Rodrigo Duterte's professor at the Lyceum University in Manila. Screenshot of CPP founder Joma Sison's Vimeo video

President Rodrigo Duterte said he wants to have a private talk with Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairman Jose Maria Sison in the Philippines, sparking hopes for the resumption of talks to end Asia’s stubborn communist insurgency.

Gusto ko si Sison pumunta dito. Kaming dalawa mag-usap. Kaming dalawa lang dito sa kuwarto (I want Sison to come home. The two of us should talk privately here in this room),” Duterte told MindaNews in an exclusive sit-down interview in his hometown Davao City.

Duterte hoped but failed to complete a peace agreement with the Reds by the 2nd year of his administration, but in a fit of anger over the death of a 6-month-old baby in an ambush perpetrated by the CPP’s armed group New People’s Army (NPA), he cancelled the talks altogether late last year and declared the CPP and NPA “terrorist organizations.”

The NPA has apologized for the baby’s death. The family car was tailing a convoy of military vehicles that the NPA targetted, the rebel group said.

Duterte also added the NPA as among the threat groups to eliminate when he asked Congress to extend martial law in Mindanao. (READ: The end of the affair? Duterte's romance with the Reds)

Open to resumption of talks
But his interview with MindaNews showed he may still be open to revive the talks. He said chief presidential peace adviser Jesus Dureza and chief government negotiator Silvestre Bello III have been seeking a talk with him.

“I don’t know but it would need more than just a show of good faith,” said Duterte. “The problem now is they are not actually addressing the roots [of rebellion]. They are out to take out government and… assassinating (people).”

Even Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has made recent statements that the resumption of talks is always "possible."

"There is always a chance for peace talks for as long as we can, as Secretary Dureza said, have an enabling environment," Lorenzana said in an interview earlier this week.

"If the environment is good and there is trust on both sides. Hindi yung nagtataguan ng mga information o naglolokohan lang (We shouldn't be hiding information from each other). It's still posisble. But as of now, I think naririnig ninyo naman si (you heard the) Presidente He is not very keen on starting the talks now," said Lorenzana.

Reds should 'watch their language'

Duterte said one of his conditions is for the communist rebels “watch their language.” He said they have been “masyadong hambog (too arrogant).”

“Kung magsagot sila, akala mo sino. Wala namang… (They talk like they are so superior. They don’t….),” he said, punctuating his sentence with another curse.

Duterte said he was unhappy with the direction of the talks. He showed respect for the CPP “ideologues” but belittled the capability of the NPA.

He said he is against a coalition government with the Reds. He is willing to appoint the ideologues but won’t let the armed forces absorb its combatants.

Sison was Duterte’s professor at the Lyceum University in Manila. He went into exile in the Netherlands in the '80s following the collapse of talks with the Cory Aquino government. He continued to lead peace negotiations that have always been held in Europe. (READ: Joma slams Malacañang for 'fake news' on Dutch Citizenship)

2018 best time to pass Bangsamoro Basic Law – MILF

From Rappler (Jan 14): 2018 best time to pass Bangsamoro Basic Law – MILF

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front also cautions against making changes in the proposed measure that are not consistent with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro

PEACE IN MINDANAO. President Rodrigo Duterte poses with MILF chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghazali Jaafar, and Bangsamoro Transition Commission members during the turnover of the proposed BBL in July 2017. Malacañang file photo

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on Sunday, January 14, said it hopes that the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) will finally be passed in 2018.

MILF vice chairman Ghazali Jaafar said Congress should pass the proposed measure before the term of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) assemblymen ends in 2019, in order to prevent problems.

"Kapag nagwakas ang termino ng mga leaders na ito na wala pang batas ang Bangsamoro government ay magkakaproblema ang gobyerno sapagkat magiging vacuum ang governance ng ARMM by 2019," he said, adding that the perfect time to pass the BBL is by March or June so it can be ratified through a plebiscite right away. (Once the term of ARMM assemblymen ends and there is still no law passed for the Bangsamoro government, there would be problems because there would be a vacuum in governance by 2019.)

Jafaar, also the chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC), assured the public that they are coordinating with lawmakers to speed up the process. The House of Representatives, in November 2017, vowed to pass the BBL by March 2018.

MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal, meanwhile, said now is the perfect time to pass the BBL as both Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez are from Mindanao.

"The President's allies in both the lower and upper house are in control of Congress so he can do it if he wants to pass the BBL, and we are very sure about that," Iqbal said.

In December 2017, however, President Rodrigo Duterte said he is not confident that the BBL is allowed by the 1987 Constitution.

Consistent with CAB

While changes in the submitted BBL draft are part of the legislative process, Iqbal cautioned against changes that are not consistent with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) – the "only political solution [to] the Moro problem."

The CAB, the basis for the BBL, was signed in 2014 after 17 years of negotiations between the Philippine government and the MILF. (READ: The Bangsamoro peace deal at a glance)

The passage of the BBL was stalled, however, after the Mamasapano clash which killed more than 60 people in January 2015.

"If the law passed by Congress will not address the concerns and aspirations of the Moro people then, you know, giving bad medicine is worse than not giving medicine at all," Iqbal said.

"We want a good BBL that would really address the problems of Mindanao."

NPA admits holding captive deputy police chief of Pres. Roxas town

From MindaNews (Jan 13): NPA admits holding captive deputy police chief of Pres. Roxas town

The New Peoples’ Army (NPA) in Southern Mindanao region (NPA-SMR) finally admitted, after 15 days, that they are holding captive the deputy police chief of President Roxas town in North Cotabato.

NPA-SMR spokesman Rigoberto Sanchez issued the official statement about the case of Inspector Menardo Nisperos Cui, deputy chief of police of President Roxas, North Cotabato, through an email sent to media on January 12.

Cui was abducted by at least five armed men inside HMB KTV Bar at Barangay Tuael, President Roxas, on December 28.

Sanchez said it was their ‘Red fighters’ from the Mount Apo Sub-Regional Command NPA Front 53 that arrested Cui and declared him a ‘prisoner of war.’
He also admitted they are keeping in their custody a 9mm pistol seized from Cui.

Cui is being ‘investigated’ for his ‘counter-insurgency’ activities and possible crimes against the rebel movement, he said.

The rebel spokesman said that while in their custody, Cui would be provided with all his basic needs, in accordance with the NPA’s Rules of Discipline; Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law (CARHIHL); and international war protocols.

Cui’s mother, Felomina had earlier appealed to the group holding her son to release him the soonest so he could attend to the funeral of his wife who died days after the incident.

Felomina said the health condition of her daughter-in-law Florelie worsened when she learned her husband’s abduction.

Bishop Colin Bagaforo of the Diocese of Kidapawan has organized a group of priests and religious tasked to negotiate for Cui’s safe release.

Duterte on resuming talks with NDF: he and Sison should talk

From MindaNews (Jan 13): Duterte on resuming talks with NDF: he and Sison should talk

President Rodrigo Duterte last month called off peace talks with the National Democratic Front (NDF), declared the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) as “terrorists” but did not disband his peace panel and now says what will make him return to the negotiating table is “for them (CPP-NPA-NDF) to go lower” because they are “masyadong hambug” (so arrogant)

Asked what he meant by going “lower,” Duterte, in a sit-down interview with MindaNews at the Presidential Guest House in Panacan on Friday said the CPP-NPA-NDF should watch their language.

President Rodrigo Duterte discusses the peace process with the National Democratic Front (NDF) in an interview with MindaNews on January 12, 2017. MIndaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

“Kung magsagot sila, akala mo sino, wala namang, put…na.” (The way they answer, they’re so arrogant), Duterte said, adding, that when the Central Committee is gone, the NPA would be useless as they would be left only with Lumads (Indigenous Peoples) they have been exploiting. “They have no ideologues,” he said.

Duterte narrated how Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza and Government peace panel chair and concurrent Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III “came to me several times. I said I’m not in the mood for love and talks, as the song goes.”

“Unless,” MindaNews asked. “Bumaba muna sila” (they come down), he replied.

“Gusto ko si Sison pumunta dito. Kaming dalawa mag-usap, kaming dalawa lang dito sa kwarto” (I want Sison to come here. The two of us will talk. Only the two of us here in this room), Duterte added.

Sison is Jose Ma. Sison, NDF peace panel consultant, founding chair of the CPP and Duterte’s professor in Political Thought in college at the Lyceum University.

The NDF represents the CPP and NPA in the peace talks.

“Are the doors totally shut?” MindaNews asked.

“I don’t know but it would need more than just a show of good faith,” Duterte said, recalling that when he spoke with Sison about the NPA killing his soldiers and policemen during the ceasefire, Sison allegedly replied they had no control of their forces because of limited communication. “When the time came for a termination (of the peace talks), suddenly all those, the activity is activated, everywhere anywhere and they start waging a war against the government,” he said.

Asked if branding the CPP-NPA as a “terrorist organization” will solve the problem, Duterte admitted it won’t. “No, but it can lessen their number,” he said.

“You’re talking body count here,” MindaNews asked.

“Yes. Correct. Exactly correct,” the President said as he narrated that what triggered his anger that eventually led to his calling off the peace talks was the death of a six month old baby inside a police vehicle that was ambushed by the NPA.

Duterte was referring to the November 11 ambush by the NPA in Barangay Tikalaan in Talakag, Bukidnon, where a policeman in a police vehicle, and a four-month old (not six months) baby girl in a Fortuner that followed the police, were killed. Two adult civilians in the Fortuner were also injured.

In a statement on November 15, NPA spokesperson Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos, said the NPA “takes full responsibility and expresses remorse for the unfortunate and unnecessary death of an infant and injury to two adult civilians arising from the ambush by an NPA unit in Barangay Tikalaan, Talakag, Bukidnon last November 11.”

Duterte also recalled how he spent hours talking with NDF officials in the Presidential Guest House and in Malacanang “as we laid the predicates, the foundations … but when I found out the thrust was really — summing it up all — the workshop paper and the reports of Dureza and Bello — seems to me the thrust towards a coalition government.”

“Put__na nila. Ni hindi sila makahawak ng isang barangay sa limang oras akala mo kung sino” (They can’t even hold a barangay for five hours). he said.

Duterte noted that he had asked the communists to be part of government, to go back to the mainstream society if they want to. “I’d be happy to appoint yung mga bright nila but not with the law enforcement and the armed forces. It’s a no no for them,” he said.

At the start of his term, he gave key Cabinet positions to the left — Agrarian Reform, Social Welfare, National Anti-Poverty Commission. The first two were rejected by the Commission on Appointments. The third has stayed on as there is no need to go through the CA.

Duterte issued Proclamation 360 on Novemer 23, two days before the pace talks were to resume in Norway on November 25 to 27 to deliberate on the common drafts on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER)

Duterte terminated the peace negotiations with the NDF, claiming that “in spite of the best efforts exerted this Administration, the NDF-CPP-NPA failed to show its sincerity and commitment to pursuing genuine and meaningful negotiations as it engaged in acts of violence and hostilities, endangering the lives and properties of innocent people.”

On December 5, Duterte issued Proclamation 374 declaring the CPP-NPA “as a designated/identified terrorist organization” under RA 10168 or “The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.”

As OIC Vice Mayor in 1986 – 1987, Duterte had repeatedly said you cannot solve the problem of insurgency unless you address it at its roots.

“The problem now is they are not actually addressing the roots, they are out to take out government and … assassinating (people),” he said, claiming two or three barangay captains are killed a day.

Hopes were high on the first year of Duterte’s six-year term that a peace agreement would be finally forged after more than two decades of peace negotiations.

Duterte’s peace process with the NDF, however, has been on-and-off since he assumed the post as the 16th Philippine President, first Mindanawon to lead the nation, and as he also repeatedly stressed in the early days of his Presidency, the country’s “first leftist President.

Suspected CPP-NPA leader nabbed in Bacolod

From the Philippine News Agency (Jan 14):  Suspected CPP-NPA leader nabbed in Bacolod

A suspected leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) was arrested in this city over the weekend.

Authorities identified the suspect as Isidro "Gesnar" Castillo, 66, of Barangay Pahanocoy here.

Castillo, who had a warrant of arrest for murder, was nabbed by joint police and military operatives at the Bacolod public plaza around 11 a.m. on Saturday and was now detained at Police Station 1.

According to the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, Castillo is a former secretary of the NPA’s Larangang Guerilla 2 and currently a member of Regional Urban White Area Committee under the religious sector, and a spokesperson of Negros Farmers Sugarcane Workers in Negros Occidental.

During his arrest, Castillo yielded a cellular phone, documents, and other personal belongings.

Brig. Gen. Eliezer Losañes, the commander of the 303rd IB, said in a statement on Sunday the arrest of Castillo was made possible through continuous monitoring, and information provided by concerned citizens.

“In coordination with the police, there will be more arrests in the province,” he said.

With the proclamation of President Rodrigo Duterte declaring the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army as a terror organization, high ranking leaders would be swiftly arrested, Losañes added.

Retired Analyst Site Down/Intermittant for 7-10 Days


The Retired Analyst site will be down/intermittent for the next 7-10 days. I will leaving for the boondocks (mountains) later today where Internet service is sketchy at best. If I can find a hot spot I will try to post articles.

Best regards,
Retired Analyst

NPA holds deputy police chief as prisoner of war in North Cotabato

From the pro-Communist Party  of the Philippines online publication the Davao Today (Jan 13): NPA holds deputy police chief as prisoner of war in North Cotabato

A deputy police chief in North Cotabato was held as prisoner of war for being involved in the government’s counterinsurgency operation, a spokesperson of the New People’s Army said.

NPA’s Mt. Apo Sub-Regional Command arrested Police Inspector Menardo Nisperos Cui last December 28 in Barangay Poblacion, Pres. Roxas in North Cotabato.
“He is currently being investigated for his counterinsurgency activities and possible crimes against the masses and the revolutionary movement,” Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesperson of NPA’s Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command, said in a statement on Friday.

Cui, 48, is the designated Deputy Police Chief of Pres. Roxas Municipal PNP. Seized from his possession was a 9 mm pistol, the NPA spokesperson said.

Cui’s alleged active involvement in the government’s war against the communist rebels pushed the NPA to arrest and investigate him to find out any culpability of rights violations.

Sanchez said that Cui was accorded with humane treatment and leniency befitting his status as POW.

“Under guerilla conditions, he is treated with leniency and provided with all basic needs in accordance to NPA rules of discipline, the CARHRIHL and other international conventions,” he said.

The NPA in Southern Mindanao released a video with Cui sharing his experiences while under the custody of the communist rebels.

In the video, Cui commended the humane treatment accorded to him by the NPA. He also appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to resume the stalled peace talks between the government and the communists.

Cui also asked the military’s leadership to suspend the military operations to make way for his release.

His arrest came as the NPA decried the illegal arrest of three farmers in Magpet town in North Cotabato on Jan. 9.

A combined forces of the Army’s 39th, 15th Infantry Battalions including the Philippine National Police simultaneously conducted what Sanchez described as “unlawful search” of civilians dawn Tuesday at Barangay Balite.

Sanchez identified the arrested farmers as Jarold Adiaton, Jean Solis and Datu Maylan Andas—all are residents from in Brgy. Balite and Brgy. Temporan in Magpet town, North Cotabato.

“Residents have reported missing possessions after soldiers stormed and rummaged their houses while some civilians were physically assaulted and held at gunpoint,” he said.

“The families of Adiaton and Solis said that the soldiers planted improvised explosives during their search as an excuse to arrest the two farmers. In desperation, the fascist AFP are falsely accusing Adiaton and Solis of being members of the NPA and interrogating them on the whereabouts of POW Cui,” he added.