Friday, March 30, 2018

BIFF sub-leader shot dead in North Cotabato town

From ABS-CBN (Mar 30): BIFF sub-leader shot dead in North Cotabato town

Buds Basilan, a sub-leader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, was killed near a checkpoint in Aleosan town, North Cotabato on Thursday night.

ALEOSAN, North Cotabato—A sub-leader of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters was killed near a checkpoint in Sitio Poypoyon, Barangay Dualing here on Thursday night, police said.

Buds Basilan, who has an outstanding warrant of arrest for arson, was flagged down at a checkpoint and allegedly tried to shoot at authorities.

"Du'n na nag-fire ang tropa. Naunahan lang siya," said Aleosan chief of police Sr. Insp. Edwin Abantes.

Abantes said they received an intelligence report that Basilan planned to transport a homemade bomb from Barangay Kudarangan, Midsayap town to Barangay Dungguan, in Aleosan.

Basilan was taken to Aleosan District Hospital for treatment but was declared dead on arrival.

Recovered from him were a hand grenade, a caliber-.45 pistol, and a magazine that contains four ammunition.

According to BIFF Karialan faction spokesperson Abu Amir, he personally knew Basilan as a member of the organization since the time of BIFF founder, the late Ustadz Ameril Umbra Kato.

Lorenzana to NPA: What are you celebrating on your 49th anniversary?

From the Manila Bulletin (Mar 29): Lorenzana to NPA: What are you celebrating on your 49th anniversary?

Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana urged the public to be more vigilant and proactive in securing communities against the treacherous activities of New People’s Army (NPA), with the rebel group expected to show off their “force” after marking its 49th founding anniversary Thursday.

“On March 29, the communist terrorists New People’s Army (NPA) will mark their 49th year of futile, delusional and vicious existence that is a bane to our country’s peace, security and national development,” Lorenzana said.

“As with previous years, the rebels are again expected to show off their so-called “force” by carrying out a string of celebratory attacks, atrocities and criminal acts to hide their dwindling number and degraded strength,” he said.

Lorenzana asked the rebel group what they are celebrating on their anniversary. “You don’t have anything good to show except to kill, extort businessmen and burn properties of those who refuse to pay you. You are the reason why we don’t prosper. You are the ones mentioned by President Duterte why we cannot rise,” he said in the vernacular.

“While the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is on heightened alert to fully protect our people and thwart possible hostilities by the NPA, we enjoin the public to be more vigilant and proactive in securing communities against treacherous activities by New People’s Army (NPA) members such as intimidation, extortion and murder of innocent civilians, burning of private properties and vital installations and conduct of ambuscades against government security forces,” Lorenzana added.

The defense secretary said that in urban areas, communist terrorists commonly intersperse with leftist groups and legal front organizations to conduct lightning rallies, vandalism and disruption of regular activities in schools and workplace, to cause severe traffic congestion and massive disturbance of peace and order.

Lorenzana said as a fellow Filipino, he is calling on all CPP-NPA members to lay down their arms and re-join society.

In the same press statement, he reiterated that it is not too late for communist terrorists to return to the fold of the law and end their violent acts against fellow Filipinos.

Philippines: Disaster Management Reference Handbook (March 2018)

Posted to the Relief Web (Mar 30): Philippines: Disaster Management Reference Handbook (March 2018)

Published on 28 Mar 2018 View Original

Executive Summary

The Philippines has a high vulnerability to natural hazards which are attributed to the nation’s geographic position in Southeast Asia. Natural disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, landslides, and fires affect the country. Volcanic eruptions and tsunamis are related to the continental plate activity around “the Ring of Fire”. Because it is one of the most geologically active areas, it is nicknamed “The Ring of Fire”. This is a circular arm of active volcanoes that surrounds the Pacific Ocean basin. This area in the Pacific Ocean covers nearly 25,000 miles from the southern tip of South America, to the west coast of North America, across the Bering Strait, through Japan, and into New Zealand. In 2013, Typhoon Haiyan (also known as Typhoon Yolanda), one of the deadliest disasters to strike the Philippines, affected 26 million people and claimed at least 8,000 lives. Rising sea levels are also a direct threat to approximately 70 percent of the Philippine population, which has forced many to relocate as a result. In addition, climate change has also increased the severity and frequency of natural disasters in the country.

The agricultural tradition and rapid development in some areas of the country leave large portions of the population and the economy vulnerable to natural hazards. Apart from the metropolitan regions, the agricultural workers and fishermen are the most affected population by natural disasters. Approximately one-third of the Philippines total population are employed in the agriculture sector and natural disasters pose significant threats to this population’s food security and sources of income.

The Philippine Government, International Non-government Organizations (INGOs) and local NGOs are all making attempts to address the impact of disasters and climate change at various levels. The Philippine Government has made significant strides in the implementation of disaster risk reduction (DRR) planning and activities through the development of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) which acts as the lead agency for DRR in the Philippines. The disaster focal points are the NDRRMC and the Office of Civil Defence (OCD). The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is responsible for leading immediate disaster relief efforts.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is a primary responder in disasters and have been deployed frequently to several disaster relief operations in the country in recent years. The Philippines has endured disasters that involve national and international assistance.

There is increased awareness on disaster risk reduction in the Philippines, but proper integration with climate change adaptation and sustainable development policies can be improved. Disaster risk reduction management and climate change adaptation have been integrated in various plans and framework; however, multiple plans can be overwhelming for local government units. The Philippine Government has learned from Typhoon Haiyan that risk communication is essential and through the NDRRMC has issued very specific warnings regarding potential storm impacts as a result.

Wife, BIFF disown man shot by military as rebel

From the often pro-CPP online publication the Davao Todayn (Mar 29): Wife, BIFF disown man shot by military as rebel

Nasrudin Kadatua (Photo courtesy of Kawagib)
The wife of Nasrudin Kadatuan belied a military report linking her husband to the Bangsamoro Islāmic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) who was killed last March 21, 2018.

According to Emelda Kadatuan, her husband Nasrudin was driving his motorcycle on his way home to Talayan, Maguindanao and was passing the Army’s 2nd Mechanized Battalion detachment when he was suddenly shot by the military.

The family said Nasrudin sustained a gunshot wound resulting to his instant death.

Emelda said her husband was a small-time businessman and not a member of any armed group in their area.

BIFF spokesperson Abu Misri Mama denied in a phone interview that Nasrudin is a member of their group who had a recent armed engagement in Barangay Lower Salvo, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao.

“Nasrudin is a civilian, even the military knows him,” said Mama

In an interview, Moro human rights group Kawagib spokesperson Jun Naga said at around 8:30 in the evening of March 21, the BIFF harassed the military detachment before Nasrudin drove by.

“Some residents said that minutes after they heard a volume fire from the detachments direction, they heard another one gunshot,” said Naga.

Naga also narrated that the residents belied Philippine National Police’s spot report that Nasrudin was hit in a crossfire.

The residents attested that it was the military who shot him in the back.

“It is a clear picture of extrajudicial killings committed by the military. Kawagib’s investigation result explicates that Naga is not a member of the BIFF,” Naga added.

After the incident, the military, at first, prevented the family from claiming Nasrudin’s body. They only allowed the family to get the remains after local officials arrived.

Kawagib said Nasrudin’s case is part of the state forces continuing war on terror campaign against the Moro people in Mindanao.

Sison: ‘Enabling environment’ will come after signing of all draft agreements

From MindaNews (Mar 29): Sison: ‘Enabling environment’ will come after signing of all draft agreements

An “enabling environment” will come after the finalization and the signing of all draft agreements, Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison said.

Sison issued the statement on Wednesday after Secretary Jesus Dureza, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, said on March 25 that only an enabling environment would be the sole determining factor for the resumption of the government and National Democratic Front (GRP-NDFP) peace negotiations.

The communist leader maintained that the agreement on end of hostilities and disposition of forces is the last item in the substantive agenda of the GRP-NDFP peace talks, preceded by Comprehensive Agreements on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) and on political and constitutional reforms (CAPCR) in accordance with The Hague Joint Declaration.

“I am sure that the enabling environment for the successful conduct of the peace negotiations would ensue from the finalization and signing of the draft agreements in the aforesaid package,” he said.

Sison, a former professor of President Rodrigo R. Duterte, said he believes it would be easy for the respective negotiating panels to finalize and sign the draft agreements once the peace table reopens.

The GRP and NDFP signed CARHRIHL on March 16, 1998. Both parties were supposed to discuss CASER and CAPCR during the fifth round of peace talks on November 25 to 27, 2017 in Norway.

It was aborted after Duterte issued Presidential Proclamation 360 on November 23, 2017 “for lack of sincerity,” following the NPA ambush of a police patrol car in Bukidnon on November 9 and killed four-month old Walysha Manchorao.

The President subsequently issued Proclamation 374 designating the CPP and New People’s Army, its armed wing, as terrorist organizations pursuant to Republic Act No. 10168, also known as the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2002.

Before the cancellation of the fifth round, the GRP and NDFP had already agreed on three common drafts: on general amnesty and release of all political prisoners in compliance with CARHRIHL, coordinated unilateral ceasefires, and part I Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ARRD) and part II National Industrialization and Economic Development (NIED) of CASER.

Sison said the NDFP responded to the expressed desire of GRP to draft a ceasefire agreement more effective and more sustained than the previous unilateral ceasefires.

“GRP and NDFP back channel teams have already drafted an agreement on coordinated unilateral ceasefire to be monitored by a joint ceasefire committee of the GRP and NDFP at the national level,” he said.

On March 22, at least 22 party-list representatives and 40 district representatives filed House Resolution 1803 urging Duterte to continue the peace talks.

The resolution said the lawmakers want the GRP and NDFP negotiating peace panels to return to the peace table with the communist group and continue the discussions on Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), dubbed as the “heart and soul” of the peace talks, and Comprehensive Agreement on Political Reforms (CAPCR).

It said they believe the resumption of the peace talks would “benefit the Filipino people, most of whom are poor peasants and workers, as the agreements on agrarian reform and national industrialization may address their issues and concerns and help provide relief for the economic hardships.”

The lawmakers added that the government (GRP) and NDFP must forge substantive agreements that will address the root causes of the nearly five-decade armed conflict.

In a statement on March 27, Presidential spokesperson Harry S. Roque maintained that the enabling environment that the President wants in order to resume the peace talks is for the NPA to cease their hostilities against innocent civilians and government forces; end their extortion activities, violent streaks and wanton killings; lay down their arms and return to the fold of law and restart to live normal lives.

Roque said talks will resume only if the CPP-NPA-NDF shows “genuine sincerity.”

“Right from the very beginning of his term, the President’s position has always been clear and consistent: He remains committed to peace. However, we find it unfortunate that the communists have become spoilers of peace because of their penchant for double talk and treachery,” he said.

Roque added that the “government efforts at forging peace with communist rebels have been gaining ground” even without peace talks, with more alleged NPA rebels going back to the government fold.

This was contested by Sison himself who said that 99 percent of the alleged NPA surrenderees are civilian residents in the hinterlands.

“Rest assured that the government will exhaust any and all means to achieve lasting peace towards unity and progress,” Roque said.

NPA dead, insurgents wounded in clash with military on Holy Thursday

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 29): NPA dead, insurgents wounded in clash with military on Holy Thursday

A suspected New People’s Army (NPA) terrorist was killed in a clash with troops of the 9th Infantry Battalion, 9th Infantry Division (9ID) of the Philippine Army in Barangay Itok, Capalonga, Camarines Norte around 11:55 a.m. on Holy Thursday.

In a report to the Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) headquarters here, First Lieutenant Felise Solano, chief of the SOLCOM public information office , disclosed that the 20-minute clash with about 15 heavily armed members of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA also resulted in the wounding of several other insurgents and recovery of one M16 rifle at the battle site.

The enemies withdrew leaving behind their dead comrade in arms, he said adding that there were no casualties from the government troops.

Military forces are now conducting their pursuit operations following civilian reports that several wounded armed men were seen fleeing from the encounter site.

Army general celebrates birthday with Maguindanao orphans

From the Philippine News Agency (Mar 30): Army general celebrates birthday with Maguindanao orphans

REMEMBERING ORPHANS. Maj. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, Army’s 6th Infantry Divison commander, distributes food to some of the orphaned children of Maguindanao as he celebrated his natal day with them. (6th ID photo)

SULTAN KUDARAT, Maguindanao -- Army Maj. Gen. Arnel B. Dela Vega, commander of the 6th Infantry Division, celebrated his natal day on Wednesday in the company of orphans of Maguindanao, describing it as his most meaningful birthday celebration.

Dela Vega spent about two hours with orphans housed at the Markazul Aytam orphanage in Barangay Gang here. It was the second time that he spent time with the orphans on his birthday.

The 6th ID chief said he wanted to inspire the orphans, mostly Maguindanaoans, to push with their studies and earn a degree in the coming years. Their parents either abandoned them or have perished due to violence that transpired in their communities in Maguindanao.

Taking up Arabic lessons, the students are determined to memorize the whole Qur-an as required by the Madrasa. Many dream of becoming religious teachers and become ustadz or work abroad as missionary.

Municipal Mayor Shamin Mastura lauded Dela Vega’s decision to spend his birthday with the orphans describing it as an act of gratitude for all the blessings he received as a military officer and as a family man.

Dela Vega, with the help of local officials and peace advocates, distributed food packs, school supplies and books.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all the blessings that the Almighty God has given me. I want to share these blessings with you today,” Dela Vega told the orphaned students in the vernacular.

“Keep dreaming, help yourselves, keep on pushing yourselves to attain your dreams in life. If you want to be a soldier, in time, all you have to do is to tell us and we will be glad to welcome in the military service,” Dela Vega added.

He challenged the young orphans to share whatever they can, either big or small things, so that a peaceful community could be established in Maguindanao.