Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Ex-MILF Rebels Say They Won’t Disarm Unless Philippine Lawmakers Pass Autonomy Law

From BenarNews (Apr 3): Ex-MILF Rebels Say They Won’t Disarm Unless Philippine Lawmakers Pass Autonomy Law


A Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighter guards a road block in Sultan Kudarat town, Maguindanao province, southern Philippines, June 2015.
Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews                
Former Muslim rebels who signed a peace pact with Manila four years ago said Tuesday they would not disarm up to 9,000 of their fighters, as scheduled for next month, if the Philippine congress failed to pass an autonomy law.

The Moro Islamic Liberation Front said the guerrillas would not give up their weapons unless the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) makes it through the legislature, MILF secretariat chairman Mohammad Ameen told BenarNews.
“How could you decommission the guns if there is no BBL?” Ameen said. “That will only happen if there will be a passage of the BBL. If none, no decommissioning.”

MILF had committed to lay down its weapons in phases under the “disarmament, demobilization and reintegration” component of the peace pact aimed at limiting violence in the strife-torn southern region of Mindanao.

“We are expecting 5,000 to 9,000 men of the MILF to be disarmed, demobilized and reintegrated if the BBL is passed by Congress in May,” said Nabil Tan, deputy presidential peace process undersecretary.

The 12,000-strong MILF dropped its bid for self-rule to settle for an expanded autonomy when it signed a peace deal with Manila in 2014.

BBL: A potential buffer against other Marawis
The BBL outlines the basic structure of the proposed autonomy in Mindanao, the country’s mineral-rich southern third where many areas remain mired in poverty because of the insurgency.

The Senate and the House of Representatives have previously failed to pass the BBL, largely out of fear that giving the minority Muslims greater power could lead to trouble.

A January 2015 clash between MILF guerrillas and members of a police commando unit left 44 officers dead as they were hunting down a wanted Malaysian terrorist did not help ease lawmakers’ apprehensions.

But MILF has gained some measure of trust after it helped the military go after Islamic State-linked militants who laid siege last year to the southern city of Marawi.

Legislators who toured Marawi in January said they were shocked by the extent of the damage in the area, and vowed to pass the bill immediately.

Passing the BBL, they said, would help prevent another Marawi from happening because it would finally give Muslims in the south their chance at self-determination that they have long sought.

Duterte, who met with MILF leaders in March to mark the fourth anniversary of the peace deal, assured them of the BBL’s passage in Congress that his allies in the majority control.

But in case Congress does not pass the bill, Duterte said he would go to the extent of “exercising his residual powers through administrative directives to fulfil this commitment.”

“If this does not get done during the presidency of President Duterte, we seriously doubt if we can do it at all, in the future,” MILF chief Murad Ebrahim had said.

MILF panel member Abhoud Syed Lingga said Congress should realize the urgency and pass the BBL amid concerns about a growing Islamic State (IS) presence in Mindanao.

Should the bill not pass, it would add to the frustrations of the Muslims in the south, a potential breeding ground for IS, he said.

“A breakthrough in the peace process is direly needed to address these frustrations,” Lingga said.

Congress has been on a break since late March, and will resume its sessions on May 14. It is set to adjourn on June 1, and officials said Duterte wanted the law to be enacted by then.

Congress failed to pass the BBL in 2015 after a public uproar following the deadly misencounter between the police commandoes and MILF rebels that January.

In 2008, the Supreme Court also rejected the Memorandum of Agreement on the Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) signed by the government and MILF – a precursor to the BBL that was signed between President Gloria Arroyo’s government and the rebels.

Following the rejection, armed members of MILF staged attacks in the provinces of Lanao del Norte and in central Mindanao, causing massive evacuations of residents.

Karapatan hits harassment of human rights workers

From the Manila Bulletin (Apr 4): Karapatan hits harassment of human rights workers

The human rights group Karapatan has assailed the alleged harassment of human rights workers by suspected military agents, saying these are “desperate acts of cowards in uniform”.

This was raised after the group received reports on the attempted break-in of the residence of one its officers in the Cordillera region and dissemination of false propaganda materials against human rights defenders, including Karapatan staff and officers, in Cagayan Valley.

Karapatan claimed that on March 30, 2018, suspected military agents attempted to enter the home of Audrey Beltran, member of the Karapatan National Council and Vice Chairperson of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), a regional chapter of Karapatan.

In a Facebook post, Beltran said her family “heard loud thuds that alarmed us.”

“I was still awake at that time so I went to check whether some things fell in our kitchen where the sound came from. I was shocked to see that the kitchen door was open and that two locks have already been destroyed. Someone was pushing the door from the outside. I hurriedly took my phone and called up Station 5 of the Baguio City Police Office and also took effort to close the door without allowing whoever it was outside to get hold of me. After I was able to close the door, I heard faint footsteps of a person hurrying away from the door,” Beltran said.

“The attempt to break in to our house seemed planned and precise by the pieces of information we were able to gather. We could not discount it as just a mere case of burglary as it coincided with the harassment against our office, the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance at #55 Ferguson Road, a day before the attempted break-in to our house,” she added.

On top of handling other cases of human rights violations in the Cordillera, CHRA is also assisting human rights defenders named in the Justice Department petition proscribing the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations.

Karapatan noted that the names of at least 60 human rights defenders were listed in the petition, including that of Karapatan National Executive Committee member Elisa Tita Lubi, two other officers of the Batangas Human Rights Alliance-Karapatan, and UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz.

On April 2, flyers containing false and dangerous propaganda that incite and justify violence against ten human rights defenders in Cagayan Valley, including Karapatan staff and officers, were purportedly distributed by the military and its agents in Isabela.

Cristina Palabay Karapatan secretary-general, said the rights activists were tagged as “minions of godless communists” and “terrorists.”

“The more insidious motives of all this red-tagging and demonizing is to prevent the intelligent discussion of issues, and worse, to justify witch-hunting and physical attacks against activists and the communities they work with,” Palabay said.

“This incident also comes with the repeated public pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte inciting state-sponsored violence against Karapatan and other people’s organizations,” she added.

She claimed that since October 2017, Duterte has threatened to “go after” Karapatan and other progressive organizations at least six times, prompting the human rights alliance to file a complaint to UN independent experts on March 1, 2018.

The organization conducts monitoring and documentation work on human rights violations in the Philippines and provides services for victims of rights violations and their kin as part of their advocacy for human and people’s rights.

Palabay said Karapatan’s human rights workers in Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Southern Tagalog, Negros, Panay, Central Visayas, Caraga, Socsksargends, and the Southern Mindanao region have been reporting several cases of surveillance, harassment and threats by state security forces since last year.

She said they also face fabricated charges filed by the military and police.

Palabay added the organization’s Negros Oriental coordinator, Elisa Badayos, was killed on November 28, 2017 during a fact finding mission.

Since 2001, there have been at least 40 human rights workers of Karapatan killed by state forces.

“Instead of addressing complaints of human rights violations, the Armed Forces of the Philippines shoots and harasses the messengers in its sorry attempts to silence and deter the work of the organization. These cowardly acts have reached new lows under the Duterte administration.” Palabay said.

“As Elisa Tita Lubi said in a statement, human rights attackers should back off and they should keep their hands off human rights defenders, their families and communities,” Palabay concluded.

Youth group condemns 'red-tagging' of activists

From the Philippine Star (Apr 3): Youth group condemns 'red-tagging' of activists

Anakbayan said police warnings are meant to keep the youth from seeing militarization themselves.
Youth group Anakbayan condemned what it called the government's malicious red-tagging of student organizations, saying this could be a prelude to crackdown against activists in schools and universities.
The group was reacting to activist groups being labeled recruiters of the Communist Party of the Philippines and of the New People’s Army,

“We condemn this latest publicity stunt by the Philippine National Police to further justify repression against organizations fighting the Duterte regime’s anti-people policies and fascist terror,” Anakbayan national secretary general Einstein Recedes said.
The recruiters of communist rebels, Recedes said, are not the activists but the PNP, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and President Rodrigo Duterte.

“By blatantly violating human rights, repressing legal dissent and silencing critical voices, they are pushing many to join the armed resistance,” he said.

Anakbayan’s statement came days after the PNP warned students against joining off-campus activities organized by groups with suspected links to communist guerrillas.

Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, PNP spokesperson, also advised students not to visit areas with a heavy presence of communist rebels.

READ: PNP asks students: Shun NPA off-campus activities

The supposed maligning of youth groups is an attempt by the Duterte’s administration to “whitewash its fascist attacks against urban and rural poor communities.,” Recedes said.

“What Duterte really wants is to discourage the youth from going to the grassroots to see how urban and rural communities are militarized and prevent them from linking arms with the struggles of workers, urban poor, as well as farmers and indigenous peoples being driven off the land to make way for foreign investments,” he also said.

Duterte, in past speeches, has accused militant groups of being legal fronts of the communists.

Activists said the red-tagging by the chief executive and his men puts their lives in grave danger.

A Justice department petition was filed in a Manila court last month seeking to declare the CPP and NPA as terror groups and more than 600 individuals—most of whom are activists and rights defenders—as terrorists.

Marines stick to their guns in bid for ‘independence’

From Business Mirror (Apr 2): Marines stick to their guns in bid for ‘independence’ 

The Philippine Marines has not given up on its bid of being transformed into a separate fighting force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), and cut its umbilical cord from the Philippine Navy, which is its mother unit, although the idea had been shot down earlier by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana.

“Every Marine personnel is in favor, however…whatever is its outcome, we will always obey the chain of command,” said Marine Commandant Maj. Gen. Alvin Parreño on Monday, adding the “separation” has no other intention, but to further improve the Marines as a unit.

“This is the clamor of every Marine deployed in many areas, and I, as their representative, it is my duty to express the sentiment of men under me. Lest, I will be remiss of my duty, in my obligation as their representative in their looking out for the welfare of the men and for the accomplishment of their mission,” the Marine commandant said.

The idea to detach the Marines from the Navy and count it as a separate armed service in the AFP, which is being supported and pushed by the current leadership of the Marines, had originated in the House of Representatives through Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez, a reserve Marine colonel.

While Parreño said that President Duterte, Lorenzana and the military leadership were addressing the “issues and concerns” of the Marines, they still have some questions on matters related to budgetary requirement.

“Our first concern is personnel and equipment that are needed in order to cope with the prevailing situation and the threats that may arise… those are our first concern because the people in the front line are in need of those equipment,” he said.

“We do not intend to compete with the Philippine Army, Philippine Air Force and Navy. We just want our troops, our table of organization to be filled up. The other branch of service, they may have other things, missions to do, but we also believe that we have some task to perform also in operations, especially in terms of, you know, we have built this expertise, 67 years of experience in amphibious operation and then the culture that we have as members of Philippine Marine Corps, and the doctrine is very important to all of us,” Parreño added.

Lorenzana is opposed to the separation of the Marines from the Navy, saying the Marines is basically a ground force and, as such, making it a separate service “doing the same functions as the Army will mean there will be two ground forces in the country.”

“The Philippine Marine Corps claims that they have particular skills like ship-to-shore operations. The Philippine Army could easily learn these skills,” he said.

“The Marines are expeditionary forces. In other countries like the US, their Marines, upon which we patterned ours, are utilized for overseas deployment. That is also true with the Royal Marines of the UK. Both units are invasion forces embedded with their navies. The Philippines, on the other hand, will not be invading foreign shores anytime soon or ever,” he added.

Lorenzana also said that, when the Marines was created in 1950 by an AFP general headquarters order, “it was designed as a light, hard striking force to pursue, pirates and smugglers. It was originally part of the Philippine Naval Patrol, which was the forerunner of the Philippine Fleet.”

He added: In short, “The Philippine Marines was created as an adjunct of the Philippine Navy and it was envisioned as a small force only.”

Parreño assured that, while the Marines may become a separate branch of service, it will see to it that the “umbilical cord is always there.”

“We are amphibious in nature, we will be coming from the sea. We know that the sea is not an obstacle, but is a [there] maneuver space for us. So, it’s a different perception on our part when we are on the sea, and we will develop some more in terms of doctrine, culture and many other things that pertains to the Philippine Marine Corps,” Parreño said.

Surigao clashes yield rifle, IED

From the Mindanao Times (Apr 4): Surigao clashes yield rifle, IED

A SERIES of clashes between soldiers of the 36th Infantry Battalion and New People’s Army rebels in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur on Monday resulted in the recovery of high-powered rifle and an improvised explosive device in the encounter site.

Capt. Francisco Garello Jr., the civil-military operations officer of the 36th IB, told TIMES yesterday that the planned attempt of the armed group to attack the Bolhoon patrol base was foiled when the soldiers fired at the rebels.

Garello said the troops encountered more or less 30 NPA members in separate encounters in Barangay Bolhoon and Barangay San Roque of the same town at around 12:05 a.m. and 12:30 a.m. of April 3.

Troops of Bravo Company of 36th IB were sent to verify the report coming from local folk that armed men were surrounding the Bolhoon patrol base. Meanwhile, another group has set up a blocking force to thwart reinforcement.

Around past midnight, troopers clashed with more or less 15 NPAs for about 10 minutes as they cleared the perimeter of the patrol base.

On the other hand, Garello said soldiers encountered with the 10 rebels who served as a block force in Barangay San Roque of same town.

He said the enemy withdrew and scampered to different directions. Government forces recovered one AK47 rifle and one IED, along with the 150-meter wire.
Lt. Col. Xerxes A. Trinidad, the commanding officer of the 36th Infantry Battalion, credited the cooperation of the community in thwarting the attack. He said it proved that the people are fed up with the lies of the NPA.

“Once again, we are calling on the remaining (NPA) members to lay down their arms and surrender,” he said. “There’s no other option but to surrender or suffer the tragic consequences.”

Troops are still conducting pursuit operations.

1,204 NPA supporters reoriented

From the Mindanao Times (Apr 4): 1,204 NPA supporters reoriented

A REORIENTATION program was conducted by the local government of Maco, Compostela Valley and the 71st Infantry (Kaibigan) Battalion for 1,204 former New People’s Army (NPA) members around 8 a.m. at the Barangay Anibongan gym on April 2.

1Lt. Jhocell D. Asis, the civil-military operations (CMO) officer of the 71st IB, said the event aims to reintroduce government programs to former NPA rebels and supporters in far-flung communities in the hopes of making their transition back to mainstream society easier.

The event was participated by identified members of the NPA’s underground mass organizations (UGMOs), former rebels and supporters from barangays Sangab, New Visayas, Magangit, Concepcion, Taglawig, New Asturias, Lapu-lapu, Dumlan, Anibongan, Mipangi, and Libay-libay of Maco.

She said the participants were given a chance to surrender and clear their names through a series of interviews and validations conducted by the Philippine Army and PNP personnel in the area.

Col. Erwin Bernard L. Neri, 1001st Infantry Brigade commander; Maco Vice Mayor Voltaire Carlos R. Rimando; Sr. Supt. Marvin Manuel P. Pepino, director Compostela Valley Provincial Police Office; Lt. Col. Esteveyn E. Ducusin, commanding officer of the 71st IB; Chief Insp. Gomersendo L. Diwata II, Maco Municipal Police Station commander; and Jonathan J. Leybag, municipal local government operation officer of Maco.

The officials shared the sincerity of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to help poor communities and bring government closer to the people. The participants were also given a chance to ask questions after the speeches.

The activity culminated with the commitment of the participants to denounce their allegiance to the NPA.

Dayanghirang slams violent attack by NPA in his district

From the Mindanao Times (Apr 4): Dayanghirang slams violent attack by NPA in his district

A CITY councilor has condemned the members of the New People’s Army (NPA) for burning 10 construction heavy equipment in different areas in the city last March 31.

Third District Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang, in his privilege speech, said the burning was disguised as an act of nationalism in pursuit of the Communist ideology. He said all the atrocities and harassment committed by the NPA in his area must stop.

“I hope that the leadership of the NDF (National Democratic Front) will review its methodology and its strategy,” he said, adding that there’s no way the “destruction of property can advance the interest of the Filipino people.”

Based on the police report, at around 11 p.m. Saturday, rebels burned four dump trucks and one backhoe owned by Leonard Trucking Services (LTS) in Barangay Callawa, Buhangin District. Reportedly, the company refused to pay revolutionary tax, which led to the attack to serve as a lesson.

Then the armed men commandeered a four-wheeled vehicle and proceeded to Sitio Sta. Maria, Barangay Fatima, Paquibato Dstrict, and burned two heavy equipment, with the cost of damage pegged at P15 million.

The report added that around eight armed men trooped to Barangay Dalagdag in Calinan and burned a backhoe unit worth more or less P8 million.

The separate incidents happened during Black Saturday, or a couple of days after the NPA celebrated its 50th anniversary last March 29.

Meanwhile, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, on Monday issued a statement condemning the incidents.

“Let me reiterate my previous appeal to the people of Davao and to our partners in the peace and development movement— let us support our soldiers and police and let us openly condemn NPA as a terrorist group, the statement read.

Previously, the Davao City government has proposed a localized peace talks with the NPA rebels operating within its territorial bounds. However, the plan was scuttled when the administration of President Duterte started the legal proceeding to declare the armed movement as a terrorist group.

Mayor Duterte said there’s no more sense to talk to the NPA because the government doesn’t negotiate with terrorists.

NPA rebels torch another backhoe in Talaingod town

From the Mindanao Times (Apr 4): NPA rebels torch another backhoe in Talaingod town

ANOTHER backhoe was torched by alleged seven armed men in Sitio Banualay, Barangay Palma Gil, Talaingod, Davao del Norte around 10 a.m. on April 3.

Chief. Insp. Milgrace Driz, the spokesperson of Police Regional Office (PRO) XI, said around 10:55 a.m. of Tuesday, Florante Ferraren, project engineer of Ulticon Builders Incorporated (UBI), appeared at the police station and reported that their excavator was burned by armed men who introduced themselves as members of the New People’s Army.

Sr. Insp. Rogaciano Gara, the officer-in-charge of the Talaingod Police Station, directed his personnel to verify the report.

They interviewed Leo Bustamante, foreman of the construction site, who said that they were approached by seven men carrying high-powered rifles who reportedly told them, “Don’t be afraid. We asked for a little yet they refused,” one of the armed men said, referring to the company.

The armed men then proceeded to torch one excavator before leaving the area.

The Talaingod police are still conducting further investigation to identify and arrest the perpetrators of the incident.

On Black Saturday, reported NPA members burned 10 heavy equipment in the three hinterland barangays of Davao City.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio condemned the attacks, which she described as “downright cowardly.”

The construction of roads in Barangay Callawa in Buhangin, Barangay Fatima in Paquibato, and Barangay Dalagdag in Calinan are now temporarily stalled because of the attacks, she said.

“The road projects could make the delivery of other basic services to the people faster — including health, education, agricultural development and livelihood,” the mayor said. “The said projects could change the lives of the people for the better.”

“The fresh atrocities reveal that the terrorist group only truly intends for people to continue living in a condition of poverty, which they could use as a capital in their propaganda against the government and to justify their presence in the communities where their influence and significance are waning,” the mayor said.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza also condemned “in the strongest way the senseless destruction of heavy equipment.”

“The fact that the three consecutive attacks happened during the observance of Holy Week all the more angers us,” Dureza said.

“This unnecessarily squanders whatever gains we have been quietly getting lately in our common efforts with the CPP/NPA/NDF leadership to achieve just peace through the negotiations table,” the country top peace negotiator said.

Woman abducted in Zamboanga town

From the Mindanao Examiner (Apr 4): Woman abducted in Zamboanga town

Unidentified gunmen seized a Filipino woman working for a private buyer of marine products in the coastal town of Malangas in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga Sibugay, police said Wednesday.

Police said at least 7 armed men barged into a boarding house owned by Adelaida Bayno in downtown Malangas and abducted the 38-year old Laarni Bandi, who works as a secretary for Celebes Marine Product, late Tuesday.

Police photos released to the regional newspaper Mindanao Examiner show abducted woman Laarni Bandi. 

The woman was dragged out of the boarding house to a waiting motorized boat that sped off towards Muyong Island, according to Chief Inspector Helen Galvez, a regional police spokeswoman. “Abductors together with the victim allegedly fled towards Muyong Island using a yellow motorized pump boat,” she said.

It was not immediately known how the gunmen managed to enter the town without being detected by the police and military.

Galvez said a massive security force composed of soldiers and policemen were deployed to track down and rescue Bandi. “Elements of the Zamboanga Sibugay Mobile Force Company, 44th Infantry Battalion, the Maritime Police, Coast Guard, Navy and Regional Mobile Force Company are now conducting hot pursuit operation while inland policemen are patrolling and conducting checkpoint operation for the possible apprehension of the abductors and recovery of the victim,” she said.

No individual or group claimed responsibility for the abduction, but rebel and ransom kidnapping groups are actively operating in the province, about 210 kilometers from Zamboanga City. Bandi’s employer did not release any statement.

Army, police vow to get suspects in heavy equipment burning in Davao

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3): Army, police vow to get suspects in heavy equipment burning in Davao

Police and security forces in Davao vowed to get the perpetrators in the burning of the heavy equipment used in the construction of government roads as suspected New People’s Army (NPA) members launch one more attack at Sitio Banualay, Barangay Palma Gil in Talaingod, Davao Del Norte on Tuesday.

Chief Inspector Milgrace Driz, spokesperson for the Police Regional Office (PRO) XI, reported that one unit backhoe was set on fire by armed men on Tuesday morning in Talaingod.

Driz said the incident was reported by Florante Ferraren, the project engineer of Ulticon Builders Inc. (UBI).

In an investigation conducted by the Talaingod police, construction workers said they were approached by seven fully-armed men, who told them “ayaw mo kahadlok mangayo mi gamay pero dili man mohatag (do not be afraid we are just asking a little, but they will not give)." It was then that the armed men burned the equipment.

Driz said police authorities are still investigating the incident.

The Philippine Army’s 1003rd Infantry Brigade commander, Col. Ernesto Torres, said the Army, in coordination with other security forces in Davao and the city government, is now taking actions to get the perpetrators and make them answerable for their acts.

Torres, who is also the spokesperson for martial law in the Eastern Mindanao Command, said the burning incident was a manifestation of the NPA’s criminal nature, as arsonists and extortionists.

He said the incident also showed the communist movement’s deceptive posture on peace by launching violent attacks on one hand while showing interest in peace talks on the other.

“An enabling environment for peace can never be created with deceptive behaviour,” he said. Torres also called on all peace-loving Dabawenyos to support all efforts in putting a stop to these atrocious acts.

“With our collective actions and continuous vigilance, we can totally rid Davao of criminals and terrorists,” Torres vowed.

PRO XI regional director, Chief Superintendent Manuel Gaerlan, said it was a desperate act of NPA putting the business entities and the civilians at stake.

He said the NPA does not fear the law. “They deceived people just to earn and get their personal interest of wealth by extorting business entities and other entities working on the projects of the government,” he stressed.

Gaerlan said the NPA has shown its terroristic nature by attacking unarmed, helpless civilian businessmen.

Gaerlan said the NPA no longer gave importance to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which provides that no civilians should be attacked especially those doing projects for the benefit of the people..

According to Gaerlan, information reached him that the NPA was going to attack the military and police before the anniversary on March 29. However, he said the NPA was not successful and could not carry out their plan.

That is why, he said, the NPA attacked the construction companies.

He pointed out that the CPP-NPA does not want the “Build, Build, Build” because their significance would be lost under a progressive Mindanao.

“They are not for the Filipino people, they are having the personal interest at the expense of others. They don’t have buildings built, no structural reforms for the Lumad or their ancestral domain, no structures built for the poor or the marginalized and the people they claim to be helpless,” he said.

AFP marks significant gains vs Abu Sayyaf

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): AFP marks significant gains vs Abu Sayyaf

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), through the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom), has achieved significant accomplishments in its campaign against the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., Westmincom chief, on Tuesday announced that troops, through intensified operations, have neutralized 84 ASG members as of April 1, this year.

Galvez said in a press conference that of the total neutralized bandits, 60 ASG members have surrendered, 13 were arrested, and 11 others were killed in the military offensives.

Galvez said the 11 ASG members were killed in eight firefights initiated by the troops from January 1 until April 1, this year.

He said among the 60 ASG members who surrendered included Basilan-based ASG leader Nurhassan Jamiri and his 13 followers.

Jamiri’s group surrendered on March 28 to government troops in Barangay Seronggon in Muhammad Adjul in Basilan province.

They turned over 10 high-power firearms consisting of seven M-16 Armalite rifles, an M4 Carbiine rifle, an M653 “Baby Armalite” rifle, and an M-14 rifle.

“There were no demands, but there were concessions,” Galvez said citing everything is being evaluated and studied in accordance with the law.

Galvez said Jamiri admitted joining the ASG at the height of the Lamitan siege in June of 2001.

Gunmen abduct woman in Zamboanga Sibugay

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): Gunmen abduct woman in Zamboanga Sibugay

Seven gunmen seized Laarni Bandi, 38, on Tuesday evening in Malangas, Zamboanga Sibugay. Bandi is the secretary of the Cebeles Marine Product, which is into the business of buy and sell of all kinds of marine products. (Photo courtesy: PRO-9 PIO)

Authorities have launched a pursuit operation to locate and rescue an employee of a marine products firm who was taken by gunmen in Zamboanga Sibugay early Tuesday.

Police Regional Office 9 (Zamboanga) information officer Chief Insp. Helen Galvez identified the victim as Laarni Bandi, who works as a secretary at the Cibeles Marine Product, and a resident of Talusan, Zamboanga Sibugay.

Cibeles Marine Product is in the business of buying and selling all kinds of marine products in the province.

Galvez said Bandi, 38, was kidnapped by seven gunmen in Purok Maabiabihon, Barangay Poblacion in Malangas town at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

He said investigations showed that Bandi was at the boarding house of Adilaida Bayno, when the suspects arrived and abducted the victim.

The victim, together with some co-workers and friends, had just arrived from a picnic in Muyong Island, Malangas.

Galvez said the gunmen, believed to be members of a kidnap-for-ransom group, dragged the victim to the shore and forced her to board a motorboat that sped off towards Muyong Island.

She said policemen, in coordination with the maritime police, coast guard and navy, immediately launched an operation at sea and in nearby islands.

Authorities have also conducted patrol and checkpoints in the mainland “for the possible apprehension of the abductors and recovery of the victim”, Galvez added.

Manila cop assigned to Basilan shot dead

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): Manila cop assigned to Basilan shot dead

A police officer from Manila, who was among the alleged rogue cops assigned to Mindanao, was shot dead in Isabela City, Basilan Wednesday.

Killed was Senior Insp. Aristoedes Miranda, deputy chief for police community relations of the Task Force Basilan, said Supt. Restituto Pangusban, Isabela City police chief.

Pangusban said Miranda was shot and killed around 5:35 a.m. Wednesday along Rizal Avenue, Barangay Aguada, Isabela City.

Miranda was having an early morning jog, his daily routine, when shot by a lone gunman with a caliber .45 pistol.

He said Miranda, native of Quiapo, Manila City, succumbed to a gunshot wound in the head which caused his instantaneous dead.

Miranda was among the more than 50 policemen from the National Capital Region who were assigned to Basilan province last year after they were implicated in illegal drug activities, the police official added.

He said all possible motives in Miranda’s slay are being looked into.

Police nab suspect in 'Duterte' couple kidnapping in Zambo Norte

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): Police nab suspect in 'Duterte' couple kidnapping in Zambo Norte

Authorities have arrested a suspected member of a kidnap-for-ransom group during an operation in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, a top police official announced Wednesday.

Chief Supt. Billy Beltran, Police Regional Office 9 (Zamboanga) director, identified the alleged kidnapper as Hambali Jamad alias Jomar, of Baliguian, Zamboanga del Norte.

Jamad's arrest in Barangay Nonoyan in Baliguian town at about 4 a.m. Tuesday was brought about by a law enforcement operation by way of serving a warrant of arrest, Beltran said.

He said Jamad has a standing warrant of arrest for kidnapping and serious illegal detention issued by a regional court in Siocon, Zamboanga del Norte.

Jamad was reportedly involved in the kidnapping of the Duterte couple -- Jose, 60 and Jessica, 52 -- in Barangay Sta. Maria in Siocon on March 3 last year. The couple owns a coconut farm in Siocon.

Beltran said the suspect is a follower of Roger Kalas, alias Tiguan, One Eye and Abu Anhar, a kidnap-for-ransom leader in Zamboanga del Norte.

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Joint Task Force Sulu commander, earlier disclosed that the Dutertes are among the hostages still being held by the Abu Sayyaf in the province of Sulu.

PRRD open to resume peace talks with Reds

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): PRRD open to resume peace talks with Reds

OPEN TO RESUME PEACE TALKS. President Rodrigo R. Duterte, in his speech during the inauguration of Lisap Bridge in Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro on April 3, 2018, said the government could build more bridges if there is no resistance from armed groups. (Albert Alcain/Presidential Photo) 

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has expressed readiness to resume peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) provided that the New People’s Army (NPA) stops its extortion activities and attacks.

“If you really want to make it happen, then you stop immediately. You and I, let’s have ceasefire. No single shot, not even firecracker and I will be happy,” Duterte said in a speech during the inauguration of Lisap Bridge project in Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro on Tuesday (April 3).

Duterte terminated the peace talks in November last year, citing the communist rebels’ failure to show sincerity and commitment to pursue genuine and meaningful peaceful negotiations.

The President said he will subsidize the peace process but insisted he cannot grant CPP founder Joma Sison’s demand for a coalition government.

“So this, I first spoke this since Sison is always mentioning about the peace process. I am ready. First thing is we should stop killing each other. Then if we can have peace; and if you do not have the money, government will subsidize it,” Duterte said.

“It's about time that you stop scratching and I am ready. I said we first go to the fundamentals minus a coalition government,” he added.

He said as Filipinos, NPA rebels and government troops should not fight and kill each other.

“I said if you want peace, you have to invest money in peace. So we can talk. Stop the revolutionary government. Do not burn in the name of taxation because businessmen are suffering,” the President said.

Duterte has even encouraged the communist rebels to form a political party and “I will join you”.

“The progress of the nation is really being pushed down. It’s about time. Fifty years in the making. You want another 50 years of bloodshed? That’s the problem,” the President said.

“I want to (achieve) peace in my time. Actually, I’m not angry with you. I understand you. So you support me,” he added.

Duterte also called anew on NPA rebels to lay down their arms as he reiterated his administration’s commitment to support those who will surrender to the government.

More than 600 NPA returnees went to Malacañang in three batches and had dinner with Duterte last month.

The President had promised to provide livelihood trainings to former NPA rebels.

He is hoping the Lisap Bridge project would help convince NPA rebels to lay down their arms and join the government in achieving a progressive Philippines. Barangay Lisap was the site of several skirmishes with the NPAs since decades ago.

The bridge is expected to reduce travel time from Bongabong to Roxas to 20 minutes and will benefit over 7,000 motorists daily.

Duterte was joined by Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar and other local leaders led by Congressmen Reynaldo Umali and Oriental Mindoro Gov. Alfonso Umali Jr., League of Municipalities of the Philippines National Chairperson and Socorro Mayor Maria Fe Brondial and Bongabong Mayor Elgin Malaluan.

Lorenzana wants voluntary surrender of Reds, not truce

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): Lorenzana wants voluntary surrender of Reds, not truce

Instead of requesting for a truce, it would be much better for New People's Army (NPA) rebels to lay down their arms and surrender peacefully, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday.

"We urge the CPP-NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA) and their supporters to take the peaceful path towards change so that a just and lasting peace may be achieved, thereby rendering a truce or ceasefire unnecessary," Lorenzana said as the possibility of resuming peace negotiations with the NPA surfaced anew.

He earlier said that the NPA’s desire to resume peace talks could be summarized in three points.

"First, their fighters and mass base are surrendering in droves. As of last count, more than 4,000 have done so nationwide, with the bulk coming from Eastern Mindanao. More and more are returning to society because of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program and their desire to give their families a better future," Lorenzana said.

"Second, the President has given notice that any business found paying and helping the NPA would be closed. Rather than serve as milking cows of lazy insurgents, these establishments can cooperate with our authorities and enjoy the protection of our security forces without having to pay anything," he added.

Third, he said, they are about to be declared by the court as a terrorist organization.

“They can no longer hide their sinister plans and actions by using their political ideology as their legal cover," he added.

Lorenzana said the NPA is not really out for genuine peace during negotiations as they are merely using the respite provided by the talks to strengthen their armed rebellion.

"Let us not delude ourselves because it is not. They will just use the peace talks with the government as their so-called democratic space to gain time and advantage to further their armed rebellion. Once their purpose is accomplished, they would create situations to break off the talks,” he said, adding that they have done this many times in the past and this is why “we have not had any progress in the last three decades".

Lorenzana said he is flattered by the rebels’ accusation that he is the cause of the peace talks' stoppage.

"This, I consider, is a fulfillment of my patriotic duty to stand and defend the people against their deceptive schemes and despicable acts," he said.

On Nov. 23 last year, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed Proclamation 360, which scrapped all peace negotiations and meetings with the rebel group that stemmed out from NPA atrocities and other acts of violence against civilians and security forces while the peace talks were ongoing.

Reds not interested in ending landlessness, injustice

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): Reds not interested in ending landlessness, injustice

The New People's Army (NPA) and its allies are not interested in ending landlessness, poverty and injustice as doing so will make them irrelevant.

"Do (Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Marie 'Joma') Sison and his ilk want landlessness, poverty and injustice to end? Not by a long shot. In fact the CPP-NPA does not want progress and would prefer our people to remain poor so that their raison d’etre (reason for existence) is ensured," Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Tuesday.

This is the reason why the NPAs and their supporters are deliberately preventing development in the countryside by extorting from businessmen, especially public works contractors, so they could continue to exploit these issues, he added.

"Those who would not fork over their 3 percent (income or earnings) would suffer from burned buildings / property and equipment, like what they did to 10 heavy construction equipment in Davao City last March 31; and even death, as what happened to Capt. Lynbert Laguda, Jr., the hapless commercial pilot who was doing a low-flying crop dusting job in Tagbina, Surigao recently," Lorenzana stressed.

Also, the DND chief scored the rebel groups for refusing to acknowledge that significant progress has already been made by the government to address landlessness, poverty and injustice.

"Did the government not address (and is still addressing) landlessness through its Agrarian Reform Program which allowed the distribution of thousands of hectares of land to landless Filipinos? Is the government not building infrastructure for farm to market roads and to encourage job generating industries all over the country? Did the government not establish programs to address the so-called injustice by the Courts, the Ombudsman, the Commission on Human Rights and the Sandiganbayan? Besides, the advances in communications technology have made it very difficult for abuses, if any, by the government to go unnoticed and unreported," he added.

Terror tag petition vs. Reds stays: Malacañang

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): Terror tag petition vs. Reds stays: Malacañang

Despite President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s willingness to resume peace talks with communist rebels, the administration’s petition to tag the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as a terrorist group will stay.

Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra made this remark a day after Duterte said that he would be “happy” to resume peace talks as long as the NPA stops its attacks.

Guevarra said that the resumption of peace talks with the communist rebels would be subjected to preconditions, which include the government’s demand for the communist rebels to lay down their arms.

“For now, that statement by the President, which is premised on certain preconditions, will not affect in anyway the pending petition for the proscription of certain individuals as terrorists or violators of the Human Security Act,” Guevarra said in a Palace briefing.

Guevarra explained that the terrorist tag stays because in the first place, peace negotiations have not even resumed yet.

“For as long as the legal requirements under the Human Security Act are met, then the government will pursue its proscription action against these people,” Guevarra said, regardless if some members of the NPA are peace consultants for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The CPP's political arm is the NDFP, while its armed wing is the NPA.

“I know that the President always thinks about nationwide peace, lasting peace and if reopening peace talks could help, why not?” Guevarra said, when pressed on what prompted the Chief Executive to express willingness to resume peace negotiations.

Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Secretary Jesus Dureza earlier said that “the presence of an enabling environment” will be the “sole determining factor” to the resumption of peace talks.

Duterte started formal peace talks the NDFP shortly after he became President in 2016 but canceled them November last year amid continued attacks of the NPA on government forces.

Duterte issued a proclamation classifying the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization in December last year.

Bilateral ceasefire needed in peace talks with Reds

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): Bilateral ceasefire needed in peace talks with Reds

For any peace negotiations with the rebels to push through, a bilateral ceasefire between the government and New People's Army (NPA) forces must take effect.

This was stressed Wednesday by Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana when asked what ceasefire he wants to be implemented should negotiations with the rebels pushes through.

"Dapat eh walang galawan (there must be no movements), ang (the) ceasefire na gusto namin kaakibat na dyan yung hindi na sila mangungolekta ng kanilang ang tawag nila, (the ceasefire that we want is that they will stop collecting what they call as) revolutionary tax pero ang sabi ko extortion lang yan e (but I consider that as mere extortion), tapos (and then) no attacking government troops, hindi sila mangingidnap ng mga kung sinu-sino gusto nilang kidnapin mga civilian o sundalo at saka hindi na sila mag-aatake ng mga pwersa natin, pulis (they will not kidnap anybody, whoever they want to kidnap, whether civilian or soldier and they won't attack our forces or policemen) and no more expansion of influenced areas nila, kasi yun ang ginagawa nila nung ceasefire nung nakaraan eh (because that was what they did during the last ceasefire), from September to February," he added.

Another mechanism the DND chief wants in place is a system to check and determine forces violating the truce.

The DND chief also reiterated that the NPAs are the primary cause of underdevelopment in the countryside due to unprovoked attacks against engineering contractors.

"They have been the cause of some underdevelopment in the countryside because of their presence there, tinatakot nila yung mga (they are threatening the) contractors, kinukutongan nila (they are extorting money from them), sinusunog nila yung mga (they are burning their) equipment so they are the threat actually, kung wala sila matagal na tayong umangat eh (without them, we would have been able to achieve development)," Lorenzana stressed.

However, should the NPA show good faith in the peace talks, the DND chief said that he is willing to drop proposals to tag them as terror organization.

"Tingnan natin kung ano yung magiging (Let's see what will be the) result nitong (of these) talks about resuming the peace talks kasi kung makikipag-usap tayo sa kanila e hindi naman siguro makatarungan na (because if we will talk to them, I don't think it's right that) we will tag them as terrorist, sa akin ha (that's my opinion)," Lorenzana stressed.

PRRD forms task force for reintegration of ex-communists

From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 4): PRRD forms task force for reintegration of ex-communists

President Rodrigo R. Duterte has created a task force to centralize all government efforts for the reintegration of former communist rebels.

Through Administrative Order No. 10 signed on Tuesday, Duterte created “Task Force Balik-Loob” as the central coordinating body that will supervise the reintegration efforts.

The task force will be chaired by a representative from the Department of National Defense (DND), while other members include representatives from the Department Interior and Local Government (DILG), Office of the Presidential Adviser on Peace Process (OPAPP), Office of the President (OP), and National Housing Authority (NHA).

Task Force Balik-Loob will be in charge of centralizing two existing government programs for former rebels, namely the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) administered by the DILG, and the PAyapa at MAsaganang PamayaNAn (PAMANA), which is administered by OPAPP.

“There is a need to centralize all government efforts for the reintegration of former rebels in order to maximize their socio-economic and political impact by ensuring effective and efficient implementation,” the AO read.

Other functions of the task force include:
* Develop the Strategic Communication (StratCom) Plan and the Implementing Guidelines governing the reintegration efforts.
* Address implementation issues at the national and local levels
* Coordinate with concerned local government units to ensure the effective and timely implementation of the reintegration efforts
* Provide capability assistance to concerned LGUs
* Prepare a coordination, monitoring, evaluating and reporting mechanism that shall be used by all concerned agencies in checking the status of the reintegration efforts
* Prepare regular consolidated reports on the implementation of the reintegration efforts to be submitted to the OP
* Regularly review and update the StartCom Plan, Implementing Guidelines and other mechanisms to ensure the responsiveness and effectiveness of the reintegration efforts
* Call upon the assistance and cooperation of all concerned government agencies for the effective implementation of this order.

Duterte previously held meetings with former rebels and vowed to give them financial assistance, education, training, and as well as integration into the Armed Forces.

DWDD: ENCOUNTER | 36IB foils CPP-NPA Terrorist Attack in SurSur

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 3): ENCOUNTER  |  36IB foils CPP-NPA Terrorist Attack in SurSur

TAGO, Surigao del Sur (DWDD – Elements of the 36th Infantry “Valor” Battalion foils the CPP-NPA Terrorist plan to conduct atrocities in its area of operations when a series of encounters transpired in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur.


A planned attempt of the Terrorist group to attack the Bolhoon Patrol Base was foiled when a firefight ensued between two (2) combat groups of the 36IB against more or less thirty (30) CNTs in a separate encounter at Brgy Bolhoon and Brgy San Roque of same town, at past midnight at about 12:05 and 12:30, respectively, April 3, 2018.

Troops of Bravo Company, 36IB was sent to conduct combat patrol to verify an information coming from local folks that a bulk of CPP-NPA Terrorist is converging towards Bolhoon Patrol Base ready to attack and have set up blocking forces to any government reinforcing troops.

Around past midnight, valor troopers clashed against more or less 15 CNTs for about 10 minutes as they clear the perimeter of the Bolhoon Patrol Base and have successfully ward them off.

While on the other hand, a running gun battle have ensued when another troops were deployed and encountered more or less ten (10) CNTs believed to be the blocking force located at Brgy San Roque of same town. The enemy withdrew and scampered to different directions wherein the valor troopers recovered one (1) AK47 rifle and one (1) IED with 150 meters wire.

Lieutenant Colonel Xerxes A Trinidad, the Commanding Officer of the 36th Infantry (Valor) Battalion in his statementsaid that, “These encounters werethe fruit of the Security Awareness Campaign that we have conducted in many occasions in San Miguel, Surigao del Sur. The people have realized that supporting this terrorist group is futile. They are fed up with the lies and terror that was brought upon them and now supports the government in its quest for peace and development in the area.”

“Once again, we are calling the remaining CNT members to lay down their arms and surrender. There’s no other option but to surrender or suffer the tragic consequences. We thank the local folks of San Miguel for their valuable and timely information that led to these successful operations”, Lieutenant Colonel Trinidad added.

The troops is still conducting combat operations to pursue fleeing CNTs to ensure that they will be driven away and will not be able to sow terror in the said community. 36IBValor / MCAG

DWDD: RECOVERED | Soldiers discover arms cache in Caraga

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 3): RECOVERED  |  Soldiers discover arms cache in Caraga

CARAGA, Davao Oriental (DWDD) – An arms cache was discovered by troops of the 701st Infantry “Kagitingan” Brigade at Caraga, Davao Oriental on March 29, 2018.

Recovered war materials are the following: 2 M16 Rifles; 1 M14 Rifle; and 1 AK47 Rifle. 701IBDe / MCAG

DWDD: ENCOUNTER | 39IB Troops engages Communist Terrorist in Davao Del Sur

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 3): ENCOUNTER  |  39IB Troops engages Communist Terrorist in Davao Del Sur

CAMP BGEN AGAAB, MALUNGON, SARANGANI (DWDD) – Troops of the 39th Infantry “Smash Em” Battalion encountered a considerable number of NPA terrorist in Barangay Goma, Digos City, Davao del Sur on March 30, 2018.


The troops acted upon the reports of civilians that communist terrorist are planning to sow terror against private companies that allegedly fail to give in to their extortion demand.

While the troops of the 39IB were conducting security operation at Barangay Goma, they encounter the terror group. A firefight ensued and lasted for 30 minutes that resulted to the wounding of Corporal Geronimo D Calonse Jr, while an undetermined number of casualty was noted on the enemy side. Currently, government troops are conducting pursuit operation against the fleeing members of the NPA.

“For those wounded terrorists and some others who are still hiding right now, it is high time for you to peacefully surrender and bring down your fire arms to the folds of law and avail the Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP) of our government” Lieutenant Colonel Rhojun Rosales 39IB Commander said.

“The NPA’s who are terrorizing our country shall be dealt with according to the provisions of the law,” Brigadier General Roberto Ancan 1002nd Brigade Commander said.

The 10ID forces intensified its focus military operations to thwart the planned atrocities of the NPA terrorists. 39IB / MCAG

DWDD: MERCY FLIGHT | TOG SULTAW airlifts patients

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 3): MERCY FLIGHT  |  TOG SULTAW airlifts patients   


EDWIN ANDREWS AIRBASE, Zamboanga City (DWDD) – Personnel of the Tactical Operations Group Sulu–Tawi-Tawi (SULTAW) of the Philippine Air Force provided humanitarian assistance on different occasions to patients who are in need of immediate medical assistance.

These patients–composed of three civilians and one military personnel–were brought to Zamboanga City for proper medical attention. TOG SULTAW / MCAG



From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 3): TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY  |  PN Conducts Regular Audit to NFW

SAN MIGUEL, Puerto Prinsesa, Palawan (DWDD) – The Naval Internal Auditor of the Philippine Navy conducted an annual audit to Naval Forces West on 19 – 27 March 2018, in order to ensure transparency and proper accountability on Plan, Property and Equipment and Financial Transactions. The audit was headed by Commodore Ramon S Ochoco AFP, the Naval Internal Auditor. NFW / MCAG

DWDD: AWARD | PHL Fleet recognizes outstanding sailors

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 3): AWARD  |  PHL Fleet recognizes outstanding sailors


SANGLEY POINT, Cavite (DWDD) – The awards of Command at Sea Badge and Plaque was given to Captain Ireneo D Battung PN(GSC) after satisfying the mandatory requirements for the obtain such recognition.

Subsequently, the command also rendered a Retirement Ceremony to CPO Juan B Balbontin PN, after serving the country for more than 32 years.

The activity was spearheaded by the Commander Philippine Fleet, Rear Admiral Danilo R Rodelas AFP at Commodore Rudiardo A Brown Beaching Area, Naval Base Heracleo Alano, Sangley Point Cavite City. PHL FLEET / MCAG

DWDD: STATEMENT | SND Delfin Lorenzana’s Response to the Statements of Mr. Joma Sison and Rep. Ariel Casilao

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 3): STATEMENT  |  SND Delfin Lorenzana’s Response to the Statements of Mr. Joma Sison and Rep. Ariel Casilao

The recent statement of Mr. Jose Maria Sison which claims that I “obscure and deny the fact that against tremendous odds, the NPA has grown and gained strength nationwide from its modest beginnings…” is a far cry from reality.

It proves that Mr. Sison is living in the past. If he doesn’t believe me, why doesn’t he come back and see for himself what happened to his class struggle? His Utopian ideology has been reduced to plain and simple banditry and extortion.

In a news article published on March 29, 2018, Mr. Sison purportedly said, “The government and the NDFP had agreed to draft a ceasefire agreement as early as last year. Since October 2017, the NDFP has positively responded to the expressed desire of the GRP to draft a ceasefire agreement more effective and more sustained than the previous unilateral ceasefires.” May I clarify that there is no agreed truce between the Philippine government and the CPP-NPA-NDFP.

In the same article, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao was quoted as saying, “President Duterte should not listen to Lorenzana’s position that he will not recommend the resumption of talks. The fact that there are documents painstakingly drafted which served as the guidelines on the series of negotiations are proof that there are positive outcome of the talks.”

The documents Rep. Casilao was referring to only signify that progress indeed, had been made but only on the side of CPP-NPA as those documents support only their cause. To say that there were positive outcomes of the talks which were mutually beneficial is deceptive.

The leftist lawmaker also cited that, “It is clear that Lorenzana and others like him in the ranks of the military and the police continue to belittle the gains of the talks. Lorenzana is hanging on to the idea that the peace talks can only be reopened if the NPA surrendered its firearms.” Of course, the military and the police want the firearms of the NPAs surrendered for the simple reason that there are only two sectors in the Philippines authorized by law to bear arms: the military and the law enforcement agencies. All others are outlaws. And why would not the CPP-NPA-NDF agree to disarmament? That is because their ultimate end is to take over government through armed struggle. They want to talk and fight at the same time so that they can hold the Filipino people and government hostage while talking.

Mr. Sison and Rep. Casilao only highlighted their disconnect with the GRP’s idea of progress, as far as the peace talks are concerned. If we go back to the time when the peace talks were ongoing from September 2016 to February 2017, both sides declared unilateral ceasefires, but the NPA did not stand down. In fact, they continued to extort, burn buses and other equipment, and attacked government forces more aggressively. How can they claim that there was progress in the talks when there wasn’t any? Opportunistic as they are, they were just using the talks to further their ends.

The CPP-NPA-NDF uses those draft agreements to show some semblance of progress when there were none. They are just smokescreens. How can a mere agreement to draft a ceasefire and agreed guidelines on negotiations be considered “progress” when members of their armed component, the NPA, continued attacking government forces, extorting from businessmen, and recruiting and expanding their forces? And did not Sison admit that he has no control over their local fighters? This was when the NPAs massacred two soldiers who were returning from Malaybalay to their detachment while a ceasefire was in effect in early 2017. If so, what ceasefire are we talking about if their fighters on the ground will not abide by it?

Rep. Casilao likewise stated, “Lorenzana does not recognize the fact that the rebellion was rooted in landlessness, poverty and injustice.” This statement shows how archaic the thinking of these people has become. It is already 2018. The propaganda lines they are using are from their circa 1969 playbook when the NPA was established. They still mouth the Marcos-US dictatorship cliché but they have slightly modified it to “Duterte-US dictatorship.”

They are trapped in the past and cannot move on. They refuse to acknowledge that a lot of progress has already been made by the government to address landlessness, poverty and injustice. Did the government not address (and is still addressing) landlessness through its Agrarian Reform Program which allowed the distribution of thousands of hectares of land to landless Filipinos? Is the government not building infrastructure for farm to market roads and to encourage job generating industries all over the country? Did the government not establish programs to address the so-called injustice by the Courts, the Ombudsman, the Commission on Human Rights and the Sandiganbayan? Besides, the advances in communications technology have made

Third, they are about to be declared by the court as a terrorist organization. They can no longer hide their sinister plans and actions by using their political ideology as their legal cover. Is PEACE really the aim of the CPP-NPA-NDF when they come to the peace table? Let us not delude ourselves because it is not. They will just use the peace talks with the government as their so-called democratic space to gain time and advantage to further their armed rebellion. Once their purpose is accomplished, they would create situations to break off the talks. They have done this many times in the past and that is the reason why we have not had any progress in the last three decades.

Let me state for the record that I am flattered by their belief that I was the cause of the peace talks’ stoppage. This, I consider, is a fulfilment of my patriotic duty to stand and defend the people against their deceptive schemes and despicable acts. True to form, they blame others when they themselves caused the cessation of peace talks by their treacherous attacks on Government forces, massive extortion activities, destruction of properties, as well as recruitment and expansion in some areas.

Nagpapasalamat ako sa mga nagpapahayag ng suporta sa ating pamahalaan dahil mulat sila sa katotohanang hindi seryoso sa peace talks ang CPP-NPA-NDFP. Gusto lang ng mga komunista na makalamang kaya nananawagan silang ipagpatuloy ito. We urge the CPP-NPA and their supporters to take the peaceful path towards change so that a just and lasting peace may be achieved, thereby rendering a truce or ceasefire unnecessary. DND PAS / MCAG

DWDD: AFP STATEMENT | NPA attacks during Holy Week

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 3): AFP STATEMENT | NPA attacks during Holy Week

We condemn in the strongest terms possible the recent attacks conducted by the Communist NPA Terrorists that disturbed the peaceful observance of the Holy Week and caused death and destruction in several communities in the country.

Despite declaring a halt to their tactical offensives for the holidays, four atrocities were launched by NPA terrorists targeting government troops as well as civilians and properties.

One of the attacks resulted to the death of two newly surrendered NPA who are members of the Militia ng Bayan in Montevista, Compostela Valley. The NPA terrorists ambushed the surrenderees and the soldiers accompanying them. The attack also endangered the lives of a barangay captain and a councillor who assisted the two former rebels. We believe that their former members are in possession of some knowledge that will expose the CPP-NPA-NDF.

The NPA terrorists also burned construction equipment including five units of backhoe, four dump trucks, and one bulldozer being used for the construction of a bypass road in Buhangin District, Davao City amounting to millions of Pesos.

The burning of construction equipment intended for road construction once again manifests that the CPP-NPA-NDF is anti-development and anti-progress.

Such atrocities against the people and terroristic activities against communities only show their true color and reinforce their terror tag.

Two other NPA initiated violence in the form of harassment against AFP detachments occurred in Pigcawayan, Cotabato on March 28 and T’boli, South Cotabato on March 29 targeting soldiers. Despite that, troops were able to recover one M-16 rifle in Pigcawayan while no government casualty was incurred in both incidents.

We call on the remaining NPA members to wake up and instead join the mainstream society and work for peace and progress.

Meanwhile, our troops through focused military operations have successfully thwarted CPP-NPA plans to conduct atrocities in Misamis Oriental, Davao Del Norte, Camarines Norte, and Quezon Province. These legitimate and intelligence-driven military operations led to the neutralization of five CPP-NPAs and confiscation of five assorted firearms and six improvised explosive devices.

We call on the public to be more vigilant and report to our units on the ground any presence of terrorists and criminals in their communities. The CPP-NPA-NDF respects no occasion, religious or not, in their conduct of armed atrocities. AFP PAO / MCAG

DWDD: COMMUNITY OUTREACH | 703IBDe provides services to the people of Liberty, Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Apr 4): COMMUNITY OUTREACH  |  703IBDe provides services to the people of Liberty,  Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija


PANTABANGAN, Nueva Ecija (DWDD) – The 703rd Infantry “Agila” Brigade in partnership with the Amangpintor Lapis, Papel at Krayola Program conducted a Joint Civic Action Program for the people of Barangay Liberty, Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.

The activity catered to 145 beneficiaries for medical consultation and were given medicines, 21 persons for the dental services, 51 individuals for the haircut booth, feeding activity that served around 150 persons and 120 children received pencils and crayons. These services were all free in favor of the people of the said Barangay.

The activity was made possible with the collaborative efforts of the sponsors from the Rotary Club of San Jose City with its President, Mr Elito “Amangpintor” Circa with the generosity of the Estrada and Andaya Families of Brgy Liberty and the CMO family of 703IBde headed by BGen Abraham Claro C Casig, AFP. 703IBDe /MCAG