Friday, May 4, 2018

Female Red fighter surrenders to troops

From the Mindanao Times (May 4): Female Red fighter surrenders to troops

A 16-YEAR-OLD female member of the New People’s Army (NPA) yielded to government troops after an encounter in Laak, Compostela Valley on Monday, April 30.Maj. Ezra Balagtey, spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command, said one of their units was conducting a town hall meeting in Barangay Sonlon, Asuncion, Davao del Norte when they were approached by one individual who informed them of the intention of the fighter to surrender.

Balagtey identified her only as Kara who was part of the group involved in series of encounters in Sitio Lower Dalimdim, Barangay Naga, Laak, Compostela Valley, as well as in Sitio Rizal, Camadi District, and Sonlon, Asuncion, Davao del Norte last month.

She claimed to have hidden near the first encounter site in Laak. She also surrendered her AK 47 rifle to the army.

At present, the 60th Infantry Battalion is closely coordinating with the Municipal Social Welfare Office of Asuncion and the Philippine National Police in the area for the custody and proper intervention of the minor, in accordance with the protocol and standards of handling children in armed conflict.

The series of encounters resulted in the death of one soldier identified as Pfc. Armand Sunga Campos and the recovery of four AK47 rifles, one grenade launcher, one M653, one M14, four M16 rifles, and one improvised explosive device.

‘Reds threat to Negros polls’

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 4): ‘Reds threat to Negros polls’

A Philippine Army official said the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Negros Island is a potential force to reckon with during the synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14.

The CPP-NPA could be fielding their own candidates during the barangay and SK polls, Lt. Col. Darrell Bañez, commander of the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, said Wednesday.

“We’re looking particularly at (CPP-NPA) affected barangays as they might be fielding their own candidates to have permanent control in them,” he said.

He also said, all the areas declared as Election Watchlist Areas (EWAS) are affected by insurgency.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police announced on Wednesday that there are 73 barangays in 17 towns and cities in Negros Oriental included in the EWAS.

Majority of these are in the first and second districts of Negros Oriental and are part of the area coveredby the 62nd IB.

Guihulngan City in northern Negros Oriental has the highest number with 20 barangays declared as EWAS.

Bañez said many residents of Guihulngan City are “sympathizers” of the CPP-NPA.

Meanwhile, Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, deputy commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine in Negros Island, also admitted that the CPP-NPA poses a bigger threat to the security in Negros Island, especially during the barangay and SK elections.

“They are distributed in different areas in the island and, based on that, we have sent troops to these areas and we tied up with the PNP for this coming election,” Pasaporte said.

“We have created Task Group Halalan to ensure peaceful and orderly elections,” he said.

Pasaporte, however, said that, right now, there is no specific threat from the CPP-NPA as the Philippine Army is continuing with its combat operations.

The Komiteng Rehiyon Negros (KRN) of the CPP-NPA is believed to be eyeing a so-called guerilla zone expansion area in central Negros Oriental, dubbed as BATMANAY, but this was neutralized after the arrest of six people, including a young woman, during an encounter in Mabinay town.

BATMANAY is an acronym for the municipalities of Bindoy, Ayungon, Tayasan, Manjuyod, and Mabinay.

Visayas Army gets +81 rating

From the Visayan Daily Star (May 4): Visayas Army gets +81 rating

The Philippine Army in the Visayas composed of the 3rd and 8th Infantry Divisions, got a +81 net trust rating in the latest survey of the Social Weather Station (SWS), its spokesman, Lt. Col. Louie Villanueva, said yesterday.

But Villanueva said the Philippine Army stationed in Mindanao got the highest trust rating with +87 percent, National Capital Region at +85 percent and Luzon at +83 percent.

The 3ID headed by Brig. Gen Dinoh Dolina supervises three Army infantry brigades stationed in Negros, Panay and Bohol.

Villanueva also said that the Philippine Army garnered a +72 percent net satisfaction rating, citing also the SWS survey result. But it gained a record breaking nine points increase in net trust rating from +75 in 2015 to +84 this year.

He also reported a significant increase in the number of rebel surrenderers, that totaled 6,709, especially the CPP-NPA, due to intensified military operations. This also led to the surrender of 288 firearms, after the cancellation of peace talks with the CPP-NPA, Villanueva added.

These victories can also be attributed to the response and cooperation of the community, as well as the local leaders imbibed with the idea that security is a shared and everybody’s responsibility, he also said.

Villanueva also said that the massive surrender of loose firearms, is a good indication of the people’s willingness, spearheaded by local government units, for the attainment of peace in the region.

It is also worthy to note that, during the entire implementation of Martial Law in Mindanao, there was not a single incident of abuse reported by Army soldiers, he said.

Guerilla implicated in 2007 abduction of Italian priest nabbed

From the Philippine Star (May 3): Guerilla implicated in 2007 abduction of Italian priest nabbed

LANAO DEL SUR, Philippines — Authorities are now in custody of a Moro guerilla implicated in the abduction of Italian missionary Giancarlo Bossi in Zamboanga Sibugay in 2007.

Latif Rajahmuda Cototan, a Maranao, was cornered on Thursday in Picong town in Lanao del Sur by combined intelligence agents of the Army’s 6th Infantry Battalion and the Lanao del Sur provincial police.

Cototan, who started as member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front but got booted in 2005 for infractions of the MILF’s revolutionary norms, was tagged as one of the gunmen who kidnapped Bossi almost 11 years ago in Payao town in Zamboanga Sibugay.

Bossi, who died from lung cancer in Italy in 2012, belonged to the Pontificio Istituto Missioni Estore, most known in Mindanao as the PIME congregation.

He was released by his captors 10 days after he was snatched following a series of deadly clashes with pursuing Army and police personnel that resulted in the deaths of more than 10 of them.

Reports reaching the Army’s 6th Infantry Division, which has jurisdiction over 6th IB, indicated that vigilant villagers help military and police agents locate Cototan in Lanao del Sur.

Bossi returned to Italy, where the pontifical base of the PIME is located, a month after his kidnappers set him free.

He was known in Zamboanga del Sur for his missionary works and his having organized trading cooperatives in farming and fishing communities, generating livelihood for marginalized stakeholders.

‘Mabinay 6’ pleads not guilty to charges

From the often pro-CPP online publication the DavaoToday (May 3): ‘Mabinay 6’ pleads not guilty to charges

Youth activist Myles Albasin five others pleaded not guilty to charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives before Judge Rosario Carriaga of the Regional Trial Court Branch 45 in Bais City on Wednesday, May 2. (Photo courtesy of Aninaw Productions)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The six allegedly members of the New People’s Army known as Mabinay 6 pleaded “not guilty” to criminal charges filed against them.

Myles Albasin, along with five others entered the not guilty plea before Judge Rosario Carriaga of the Regional Trial Court Branch 45 in Bais City on Wednesday, May 2.
The six were charged with illegal possession of firearms under RA 10591 and illegal possession of explosives under RA 9561 after they were arrested by elements of the 62nd Infantry Battalion on March 3 in Mabinay, Negros Oriental.

Atty. Benjamin Ramos, lawyer of the Mabinay 6 said that a pre-trial conference was set on July 11.

They likewise filed a petition for bail and is waiting for a hearing to be scheduled. They have filed also a motion to amend the commitment order to Bais City Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) and seek that they will stay in Provincial Jail in Dumaguete for security reasons.

However, the court declared it moot and academic because they are currently detained in Bais City.

According to Atty. Ramos, they filed a petition for transfer of detention to Provincial Jail in Dumaguete City due for security reasons.

“Bais City BJMP is a remote sugarcane plantation area, 2 km away from the city and it is risky to families, lawyers, and even my clients. It would be best for the safety of the Mabinay 6 and for the families who regularly visit,” he added.

The 62nd IB said in a statement in March that they arrested fully armed NPAs “doing harassment and extortion activities” in Barangay Luyang, Negros Oriental. They said a gunbattle ensued for 45 minutes leading to the capture of the six alleged guerrillas, “including one amazon who is a Mass Communications graduate of UP Cebu and two armed minors from Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental .”
Residents of the area belied the claim that an encounter happened between the Army and the NPA . The paraffin test conducted by the Negros Oriental Provincial Crime Laboratory also tested negative. “This is negating the argument of the prosecution that an encounter occurred and the sixth allegedly surrendered,” Ramos said.

The human rights group, Karapatan Cebu Chairperson Dr. Phoebe Zoe Sanchez said the Mabinay 6 are “illegally detained and facing trumped-up charges.”

“The Mabinay 6 opted to go and serve farmers communities in Negros Oriental organized by Kaugmaon-KMP. Community Development work is now labeled as terrorists work.That’s why they use the military institution to go after community development workers such as Myles Albasin and 5 others,” she added.

“The case of Myles Albasin is used as an example by the military and the landlord so that the youth could no longer emulate,” Sanchez said.

The Karapatan has joined family members in a protest demanding the immediate release of the Mabinay 6.

On the other hand Atty.Benjamin Ramos, who is also secretary of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers is now facing harassment, with his photo shown and captioned as one of the 60 “alleged Communist Party of the Philippines, NPA and NDFP personalities” poster circulating for two weeks in Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental.

The said poster was ordered by the provincial police of Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental.

Last March, Grace Albasin, former National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) chairperson has also received death threats over social media stemming from the arrest of her daughter Myles Albasin.

NPA now operates in Zambo provinces

From Malaya Business Insight (May 4): NPA now operates in Zambo provinces

NEW People’s Army rebels have been seen in the Zamboanga provinces, prompting the military to form a battalion to address the apparent expansion of the area of operations of the communist rebels.

“We’ve been receiving reports of rebel activities (in the Zamboanga Peninsula). This could be part of their expansion efforts. That is one of the considerations (in the deployment),” said Maj. Ronald Suscano, spokesman of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division based in Zamboanga del Sur.

Suscano said the military started receiving reports of NPA presence in the Zamboanga Peninsula in November or December last year.

The NPA operates mainly in the Davao and Caraga regions. The Davao region covers Compostela Valley, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, and Davao Oriental. Caraga covers Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Dinagat Islands, Surigao del Norte, and Surigao del Sur.

Suscano said the newly-formed 97th Infantry Battalion, composed of 400 soldiers and headed by Lt. Col. Rufino de Leon, will be deployed to Zamboanga del Norte, Zamboanga del Sur, and Zamboanga Sibugay after it completes a 45-day training which started yesterday.

Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, the 1st ID commander, said the training “is designed to enhance the competence and individual skills of every soldier and also develop their teamwork as a unit.” It is also expected to boost the soldiers’ confidence.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines. In November last year, President Duterte terminated peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front of the Philippines because of continued attacks by the NPA.

Last month, Duterte directed government negotiators to work for the resumption of the talks but military operations against the NPA continue.

In Laguna, meanwhile, a member of the NPA’s hit squad, the Sparu, was killed by policemen in a shootout at a checkpoint in Barangay Dambo in Pangil town.

Four other Sparu members were arrested.
Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, Southern Tagalog regional police chief, identified the slain rebel as Ismael Criste aka Maeng, who is also a member of the NPA’s Rebolusyonaryong Buwis sa Kaaway na Uri (RBKU) under the Cesar Batrallo Command.
Police said the RBKU is the NPA unit tasked to collect revolutionary taxes.

Eleazar said policemen placed Criste under surveillance after they received reports that a group of communist rebels were out to assassinate policemen from the towns of Sta. Cruz and Alaminos.

Eleazar ordered his men to intensify checkpoint operations.

Criste’s group was aboard a red vehicle which ignored a checkpoint.

Arrested were Luis Alano Jr., 44; Shirley Martinez, 47; Felicidad Villegas, 60; and Cristy Lacuarta, 30.

Recovered from the rebels were assorted firearms and several ammunition, two hand grenades, personal stuff, and cash.

To the max, facts, propaganda cranked up in battle for Marawi

From the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) (May 4): To the max, facts, propaganda cranked up in battle for Marawi

Reflections of a TV correspondent

I HAVE BEEN covering conflicts for over 20 years both here and abroad. I thought i’ve seen it all.

Then came the battle for Marawi.

At first it was just like the all-out war versus the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) in Maguindanao in 2000 or the series of military operations to rescue Abu Sayyaf hostages in Sulu and Basilan from 2000 to 2009.

While the stories from the battlefront and the evacuation centers in Marawi were reminiscent of conflicts past, covering the five-month battle for Marawi was a whole new experience for many of us.

It was a paradoxical mix of having easy access to tons of information, video, and images but it was such a pain to verify, counter check, and corroborate with independent sources and reliable data and information.

As with any other conflicts, the line between propaganda and factual information are almost always hard to distinguish. But in the battle of Marawi, it was cranked up to the highest level.

This story and other “Voices from the Frontlines” dispatches form part of the state of press freedom report, “Speak Truth to Power, Keep Power in Check”, produced by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, and Philippine Press Institute, to mark World Press Freedom Day on May 3, 2018.

Access to independent information and to the actual main battle area was tightly controlled by the military, and for good reason.

At the same time, though, the proliferation of smart phones with high-resolution cameras made it possible for journalists to take an unfiltered peek at what was happening on the ground. It was a matter of looking for the right source.

And then there’s social media.

Unlike the coverages of old when we would trek to the terrorists’ lair and interview them and their hostages, in Marawi, that was not a choice at all.

But with their own socmed teams taking full advantage of the power of social media, the terrorists managed to get their messages across. It was a matter of making sure we were not being used to spread their propaganda.

However helpful social media was, it also became a bane for journalists.

 Before Marawi, the military trusted members of the media with sensitive information and even operational security matters, not necesarilly for publication but more importantly for journalists to get a better grasp and context of what was happening.

In a complicated story such as Marawi, background and context are essential in crafting an accurate story.

This changed during the Marawi coverage.

Off-the-record banters with military officials stopped. Access to primary sources of information such as released hostages and junior officers was restricted. At some point, we were asked not to film military planes dropping bombs not because of operational security issues but for fear that these images might be used as propaganda against the military on social media.

I must admit, these became a distraction for some of us in pursuing the more important stories and issues in the battle that destroyed a crucial part of a historic city, a bitter but important lesson we hope to learn.

Authorities clueless on suspects behind gun attacks in central Mindanao

From the Philippine Star (May 3): Authorities clueless on suspects behind gun attacks in central Mindanao

Investigators are still facing a blank wall on the separate gun attacks early this week in the city and in Lambayong, Sultan Kudarat that left three soldiers dead and hurt another.

Superintendent Aldrin Gonzalez, information officer of the Police Regional Office-12, said Thursday probers are still validating the identities of the gunmen behind the fatal ambush of Cpl. Nelson Pamailan and Pfc. Richard Bendanillo, both of the 5th Special Forces Battalion, and Cpl. Roel Dordas of the 33rd Infantry Battalion.

“Efforts to determine the identities of the culprits are still underway. Investigators are working along barangay officials who have jurisdiction over the places where the crimes were perpetrated to hasten the process,” Gonzalez said.

Pamailan and Bendanillo were attacked on Monday morning by pistol-wielding men in Barangay Bagua in Cotabato City while on a motorcycle en route to their command post in the nearby Kalanganan area.

Pamailan died on the spot while Bendanillo succumbed to gunshot wounds while in a hospital.

Cotabato City Mayor Cynthia Guiani-Sayadi condemned the incident and ordered barangay officials in Bagua and Kalanganan to help the police identify the culprits and build airtight criminal cases against them.

Gonzalez said the Cotabato City police office has tapped the support of Army intelligence units in their on-going investigation.

“Let us give them enough time to put closure to that case. The Cotabato City local government unit is helping out,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said members of the Lambayong municipal peace and order council are also helping probe on the ambush Sundaynight of Dordas at a stretch of a busy highway there while on a motorcycle.

 Dordas and a companion, Sgt. Julhaib Ajirul, were on their way to their detachment from a community service mission when their attackers on motorbikes overtook and opened fire with caliber .45 pistols

Ajirul, who was wounded in the ambush, is now confined in a hospital.

Gonzalez said probers are not discounting the possibility that members of the outlawed Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters were behind the ambush of Dordas and Ajirul.
The group, which operates in the fashion of the Islamic State, is known for venting ire on vulnerable targets, including civilians, to avenge the deaths of members in encounters with pursuing military forces.

The BIFF had suffered heavy losses in clashes with units of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division in towns in the second district of Maguindanao three weeks before.

China doubles down with anti-ship missiles in the South China Sea

From the We Are the Mighty blog (May 3): China doubles down with anti-ship missiles in the South China Sea

Anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems were stationed on Chinese outposts in the contested South China Sea, in yet another signal that China intends to cement its presence on the disputed islands.

Sources familiar with US intelligence reports said the weapons systems were installed on three fortified outposts in the Spratly Islands, west of the Philippines, according to a CNBC report.

The YJ-12B anti-ship cruise missiles would provide China the ability to engage surface vessels within 295 nautical miles of the reefs; and the HQ-9B surface-to-air missiles are expected to have a range of 160 nautical miles, CNBC reported.
"We have consistently called on China, as well as other claimants, to refrain from further land reclamation, construction of new facilities, and militarization of disputed features, and to commit to managing and resolving disputes peacefully with other claimants," a Pentagon official said to CNBC. "The further militarization of outposts will only serve to raise tensions and create greater distrust among claimants."
"These would be the first missiles in the Spratlys, either surface to air, or anti-ship," Greg Poling, a South China Sea expert the Center for Strategic and International Studies told Reuters.

An anti-ship cruise missile.(Photo by Jeff Hilton)

"Before this, if you were one of the other claimants ... you knew that China was monitoring your every move. Now you will know that you're operating inside Chinese missile range. That's a pretty strong, if implicit, threat," he said.

China's increased military presence in the region comes amid another maneuver, one which exacerbated concerns among the US military and its allies. US officials said that in early April 2018, intelligence officers detected China was moving radar and communications-jamming equipment to the Spratly Island outposts.

"This is not something that the US will look kindly on or think they can overlook." Stratfor military analyst Omar Lamrani told Business Insider editor Alex Lockie, when asked about potential moves to jam communications channels. "The US will likely seek to counter this in some way," he said.

Hotly disputed, $3.4 trillion shipping lane

Six countries, China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Brunei, are contesting at least part of the chain of islands, reefs, and surrounding waters in the South China Sea. Located between Vietnam and the Philippines, the natural resources and trade routes that pass through the Spratly Islands are a lucrative venture for the countries — around $3.4 trillion in trade is reportedly transported through the South China Sea every year.

CSIS/Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative

China has been one of the most prominent claimants to territory in the South China Sea since the 1980s. It currently has around 27 outposts throughout the islands and has continued to outfit them with aircraft runways, lighthouses, tourist resorts, hospitals, and farms.

According to some experts, the creation of civilian attractions in the region signals that China is undertaking a two-pronged approach in attempts to legitimize its ownership — by arguing it has a vested interest in the region, both militarily and otherwise.

In April 2018, US Navy Adm. Philip Davidson, nominated to lead the US' Pacific Command, said Beijing's "forward operating bases" in the South China Sea appeared complete.

Davidson said China could use the bases pose a challenge the US and "would easily overwhelm the military forces of any other South China Sea-claimants.

"China is now capable of controlling the South China Sea in all scenarios short of war with the United States," he said.

Philippines, U.S. troops "Balikatan 2018" drills to focus counter-terrorism, chemical attack

From Xinhua (May 3): Philippines, U.S. troops "Balikatan 2018" drills to focus counter-terrorism, chemical attack

Troops from the Philippines and the United States will kick off next Monday a series of joint military exercises designed to hone their interoperability skills in fighting terrorism, including chemical attack, and disaster response, said a Philippine military officer on Thursday.

"Every year, we are trying to level up the training," Lt. Liezl Vidallon told reporters. For example last year, she said the focus is natural calamity. This year, she said the drills will focus on how to counter man-made calamities like chemical attack.

The U.S. and Philippines will work with regional partner nations throughout the "Balikatan" or "shoulder to shoulder" period.

Multinational forces from the U.S., the Philippines, Australia, and Japan will participate in all major training events this year. The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has also invited Britain to observe training for the mitigation of post-disaster suffering.

Vidallon said the participants in this year's Balikatan Exercises will be dealing with new tactics, techniques and procedures and lessons learned from last year's joint training.

This year's joint exercises, slated for May 7 to 18, will be conducted in several locations in the Philippine main Luzon island.

Balikatan is an annual U.S.-Philippine multilateral military exercise focused on mutual defense, counterterrorism, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief.

Vidallon did not say how many American and Philippines troops are participating in this year's Balikatan exercises. About 5,400 from both countries took part in Balikatan 2017.

5 gov’t soldiers wounded after encounter against CNTG members in Cagayan

From the Manila Bulletin (May 4): 5 gov’t soldiers wounded after encounter against CNTG members in Cagayan

Five government soldiers were wounded following an encounter against Communist New People’s Army Terrorist Group (CNTG) members in Cagayan today.

Cagayan Province Map (Photo courtesy of Google Map)
Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, the spokesman and public affairs chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Northern Luzon Command (AFP-NoLCom), said Army troopers encountered a group of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Sitio Mureg, Barangay Balani, Sto Niño of Cagayan Province at 10:36 a.m. yesterday.

Nato said the firefight took place against 30 members of the CNTG led by alias Bladdy, while troops from the Army’s 17th Infantry Battalion (17IB) under the Joint Task Force (JTF) “Tala” of the 5th Infantry Division were conducting security patrol in the area.

The firefight lasted for about 20 minutes, wherein the troops pursued the Terrorist Group in the adjacent vicinity which again resulted in another skirmish for about 10 minutes at 11:40 a.m.

Nato said the incident resulted in the wounding of five Army personnel. The engaged troops immediately conducted pursuit operations against the withdrawing communist terrorists, who also suffered undetermined number of casualties.

“NoLCom will be relentless in conducting focused military operations (FMO) in identified NPA-affected areas in order to protect our people from any threat posed by this terrorist group,” Nato said.

“NoLCom will also continue to work with other security forces to ensure that lasting peace and sustainable development will be achieved,” he added.

Camarines Sur encounter
Meanwhile, several firearms were retrieved following an encounter between Philippine Army troops and CNTs at Barangay Agao-ao, Ragay, Camarines Sur, at 11 a.m. yesterday.

A report from the AFP’s Southern Luzon Command (SoLCom) said the 20-minute firefight resulted in the recovery of an M14 rifle, three IEDs, several communication paraphernalia, several personal belongings and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

Pursuit operations are ongoing after the military received reports from civilians that several wounded rebels were sighted in nearby barangays.

AFP SoLCom chief Lt. Gen. Danilo Pamonag encouraged the rebels to surrender.

Families are also encouraged to help stop exploitation of their relatives and return to the folds of the law and live a normal life.

Abu Sayyaf Militant Killed, 3 Soldiers Wounded in Southern Philippine Clash

From BenarNews (May 3): Abu Sayyaf Militant Killed, 3 Soldiers Wounded in Southern Philippine Clash


Philippine soldiers carry the bodies of suspected Abu Sayyaf militants after an encounter on the southern island of Jolo, Sept. 7, 2017. AFP                

Philippine security forces killed a suspected Abu Sayyaf Group militant during a clash on the remote southern island of Jolo, where ASG gunmen had earlier abducted four people, including two policewomen, the military said Thursday.

Three soldiers were wounded in Wednesday’s brief shootout, which broke out when militants fired upon an army unit pursuing suspects in the weekend abductions, according to Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, commander of a military task force in the area.
“We believe the group [that] our Scout Ranger men encountered were those behind the latest abductions,” Sobejana said. Other officials said it could not be immediately determined if the kidnap victims were in the area when the clash occurred.

The abducted officers – junior policewomen Benierose Alvarez and Dina Gumahad – were taken along with two civilians on Sunday near a military camp on Jolo, a jungle-clad area in the southern tip of the archipelago known as an Abu Sayyaf stronghold since the 1990s.
Dina Gumahad [Courtesy Philippine National Police]
Dina Gumahad [Courtesy Philippine National Police]

 Ransom demand

The kidnappers had demanded a ransom of 5 million pesos (about U.S. $96,000) for the release of the captives, authorities said.

President Rodrigo Duterte, who claimed in 2016 that the Abu Sayyaf were not criminals, said he would seek help from Muslim elder Nur Misuari to secure the release of the captives.

“I have two policewomen. I think I have to talk to Misuari personally,” he told reporters Wednesday during a visit to the central city of Cebu.
Benierose Alvarez [Courtesy Philippine National Police]
Benierose Alvarez [Courtesy Philippine National Police]

Misuari leads the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), once the largest Philippine rebel force that signed a peace deal with the government in 1996. He later became a head of an autonomous region in the south.

In 2013, he led his group in a three-week siege of the southern city of Zamboanga, in which at least 180 people were killed. He then went in hiding, but Duterte ordered the suspension of rebellion charges against him.

The MNLF was the main insurgent group in the south, but another faction, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), split from Misuari’s group in 1978 over ideological differences.

The MILF, however, also signed a deal with Manila in 2014, and opted for expanded autonomy. It is now helping the government against other groups, including the Abu Sayyaf and other pro-Islamic State (IS) militants who are known to exist in the south.

The Abu Sayyaf, or Bearers of the Sword, is the most brutal of militant groups operating in the southern Philippines. It has been engaged mostly in banditry, kidnapping and bombings.

One of its leaders, Isnilon Hapilon, later pledged allegiance to the IS and led a brutal siege of the southern city of Marawi in May last year. The city was ruined, with its 200,000 residents displaced, and more than 1,200 people, mostly militants, killed in a battle that ended in October.

Airstike pounds ASG nest – 9 terrorists dead, several others critically wounded

From the Manila Bulletin (May 4): Airstike pounds ASG nest – 9 terrorists dead, several others critically wounded

Nine Abu Sayaff terrorist were killed while several others are believed to be critically wounded after combined air and ground assault from joint Task Force Basilan and the 3rd Tactical Operations Wing pound the nest of ASG Leader Furuji Indama in the hinterlands of Brgy Mahatalang, Sumisip, Basilan on Wednesday.

Troops from the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion under JTF Basilan were able to close in with the group of Furuji Indama in the early hours of May 2.

An immediate firefight ensued, giving the cue for the 3rd Tactical Operations Wing of the Airforce to conduct precision strikes using F/A 50 fighter jets.

Effective indirect fires from the 8th Field Artillery Battalion along with mortar fires covered the maneuvring troops.

The military said combined airstrike and indirect fires overwhelmed the enemy’s defensive nest, forcing the Abu Sayyaf terrorists to scamper for survival, leaving their comrades and other personal items behind.

The body of an Abu Sayaff terrorist, according to the military, was recovered with traces of blood littered the area.

Reports indicate that eight other terrorists perished from fatal wounds as result of the attack. Two high powered firearms, an m203 grenade launcher, medical supplies and other war materiel was recovered on site.

“We were careful not to assualt the enemy’s location before daylight. The Abus are known to emplace IEDS in their defensive positions. We do not want to fall into that trap,” Lt. Col..Montano Almadovar, the commander of the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion, said.

Several detonation cords and IED components were also recovered in the area.

Information on the group’s whereabouts came from former Abu Sayaff members who surrendered to JTF Basilan. Nearby communities were also instrumental in giving away the terrorists’ information.

“We have won several communities that use to support the Abu Sayaff bandits. The Abus are now confined in the hinterlands where they intimidate communities for support” said Brig. Gen. Juvymax Uy, commander of the Joint Task Force Basilan.

Currently, there are 139 ASG Returnees in Basilan Province, with more signifying their intent to return to the folds of the law.

While the ASG may be few in number, this does not restrict them from conducting spoiling attacks in urban areas, Uy said.

He said such attacks are designed to instill fear within the populace and make their faltering group resound.

“The Abu Sayaffs are not safe in Basilan. We are giving the option to for them reconsider peace through surrender while the door is still open,” Uy reiterated.

9 suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits killed in Basilan clash: military

From ABS-CBN (May 4): 9 suspected Abu Sayyaf bandits killed in Basilan clash: military

At least nine suspected Abu Sayyaf Group members were killed after government forces attacked the lair of the terrorist group in the village of Mahatalang, Sumisip, Basilan on Wednesday, the military said Friday.

Reports coming from the 4th Special Forces Battalion said that a firefight ensued between the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion and the bandits led by Furuji Indama.

The 3rd Tactical Operations Wing of the Philippine Air Force provided air support using F/A 50 jets, while the 8th Field Artillery Battalion supported ground troops with mortar fire.

The attacks resulted in the death of at least 9 Abu Sayyaf bandits, military said, although only one body count has been reported.

Two high-powered firearms, an M-203 grenade launcher, medical supplies, and bomb components were recovered in the area.

The commander of Joint Task Force Basilan, Brigadier General Juvy Max Uy, said members of the Abu Sayyaf who previously surrendered to the government helped them in tracking down the whereabouts of Indama’s group.

He said the movements of Indama's group has been limited to the forest areas of Sumisip.

NPA rebel surrenders in Davao Occidental

From the Philippine News Agency (May 3): NPA rebel surrenders in Davao Occidental

A member of the New People's Army (NPA) who operates in Davao Occidental, surrendered with  a firearm to the troops of 73rd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Little Baguio, Malita, Davao Occidental.

Capt. Mc Gary Dida, the civil-military operations (CMO) officer of the Army's 1002nd Infantry Brigade, said Wednesday that Juanito Miguel Oday alias Payat, 35, married and a resident of Sitio Lanulan, Barangay Little Baguio, Malita, Davao Occidental surrendered and gave up his M1 carbine rifle.

“Nihawa ko sa kilusan kay nahadlok ko na basi mapatay ko sa engkwentro, gikapoy na kaayo ko ug tinago sa bukid (I left the organization for fear of being killed during an encounter. I am also tired of hiding from government troops)," Oday said.

Last week, a series of encounters broke out in Malapatan, Sarangani Province that resulted in the apprehension of three NPA rebels and the recovery of three firearms.

Following the encounter, the military said it intensified its pursuit operations to maintain peace in the area.

“With our intensive security operations and continuous collaboration with our local government units and other stakeholders, we can align our efforts in attaining peaceful and conflict-resilient communities within our area of operation,” said Lt. Col. Marion Angcao, commander of the 73rd Infantry Battalion commander.

The former rebel will be presented to the LGU of Davao Occidental for immediate assistance and enrolment to the government’s Comprehensive Local Integration Program (CLIP), Lt. Angcao said.

New Army battalion undergoes organizational training

From the Philippine News Agency (May 3): New Army battalion undergoes organizational training

Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, Army's 1st Infantry Division commander, addresses the troops of the newly-activated 97th Infantry Battalion, who undergo organizational training starting Thursday, May 3. (Photo courtesy: 1st Infantry Division PIO)
ZAMBOANGA CITY -- The Army’s newly-activated 97th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the 1st Infantry Division (ID) will undergo organizational training starting Thursday, military officials said.

Maj. Ronald Suscano, 1st ID information officer, said the new battalion was activated last April 10, pursuant to General Orders No. 211 dated March 24, 2018. The 97th IB was among the 10 additional battalions the Philippine Army has established.

Suscano said the activation of the new battalion aims to augment the units deployed in Western Mindanao, as well as sustain the gains of the 1st ID in maintaining peace and development in its area of responsibility.

Lt. Col. Rufino de Leon has been named as commander of the 97th IB, initially to be composed of 400 soldiers, including some of the new privates who completed training on April 5.

Previously, de Leon was the commandant of the 1st Division Training School.

Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, 1st ID commander, advised de leon to "always think (of) the welfare of each and every one of you so as nobody in your unit will be placed in danger. Also, don’t forget the discipline and the prestige of a real Pilipino soldier."

Murillo added that the organizational training for 97th IB was designed to enhance the competence and individual skills of every soldier and also to develop teamwork as a unit.

“Training builds competence, and competence builds confidence,” he said.

CPP-NPA, threat to Negros Island village, youth polls

From the Philippine News Agency (May 3): CPP-NPA, threat to Negros Island village, youth polls

A Philippine Army official has described the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) in Negros Island as a potential force to reckon with during the upcoming synchronized Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14.

Lt. Col. Darrell Bañez, commander of the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, made the pronouncement Wednesday afternoon during an interview with the media following a coordinating meeting in the morning with members of the Diocesan Electoral Board in Dumaguete City.

Bañez said the CPP-NPA could be fielding their own candidates during the barangay and SK polls.

“We’re looking particularly in (CPP-NPA) affected barangays as they might be fielding their own candidates to have permanent control in the barangays,” he said.

According to him, all the areas declared as election watchlist areas (EWAS) are affected by insurgency.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) announced on Wednesday that there are 73 barangays in 17 towns and cities in Negros Oriental that are included in the EWAS.

Majority of these are in the first and second districts of Negros Oriental and form part of the area of coverage of the 62nd IB.

Guihulngan City in northern Negros Oriental has the highest number with 20 barangays declared as EWAS.

Bañez said that many of the residents in Guihulngan City are “sympathizers” of the CPP-NPA.

Meanwhile, Col. Inocencio Pasaporte, deputy commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine in Negros Island also admitted that the CPP-NPA poses a bigger threat to the security in Negros Island, especially during the upcoming barangay and SK elections.

“They are distributed in different areas in the island and based on that, we have sent troops to these areas and we tied up with the PNP for this coming election,” Pasaporte said.

“We have created Task Group Halalan to ensure peaceful and orderly elections,” he said.

Pasaporte, however, said that right now there is no specific threat from the CPP-NPA as the Philippine Army is continuing with their combat operations.

The Komiteng Rehiyon Negros (KRN) of the CPP-NPA is believed to be eyeing a so-called guerilla zone expansion area in central Negros Oriental, dubbed as BATMANAY, but this was neutralized following the arrest of six people, including a young woman, during an encounter in the town of Mabinay.

BATMANAY is an acronym for the municipalities of Bindoy, Ayungon, Tayasan, Manjuyod, and Mabinay.

1 Red ‘sparrow’ head killed, 4 captured in Laguna clash

From the Philippine News Agency (May 3): 1 Red ‘sparrow’ head killed, 4 captured in Laguna clash

LAGUNA CLASH. Police Regional Office Calabarzon Director Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar (center) and Provincial Director Kirby John Kraft present to media on Thursday (May 3, 2018) the guns seized from the arrested NPA members at a Comelec checkpoint in Barangay Dambo, Pangil, Laguna on Wednesday (May 2, 2018). The presentation was held at Camp Gen. Paciano Rizal in Sta. Cruz, Laguna. (Photo by Zen Trinidad)

SANTA CRUZ, Laguna- A top member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-New People’s Army (NPA) was killed while four others were captured in a clash with Laguna Police Provincial Public Safety Company (PPSC) at a checkpoint in Barangay Dambo, Pangil, Laguna around 4:10 p.m. on Wednesday.

The Laguna cops also recovered one Garand rifle, two cal. 45 pistols, one Ingram, two hand grenades, personal belongings and subversive documents which were brought to the Scene of the Crime Operations (SOCO), Police Regional Office (PRO4A) for proper disposition.

In a media presentation Thursday, during his first provincial command visit at the Laguna Provincial Police Office (LPPO) in Camp Gen. Paciano Rizal here, Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, Police Regional Office (PRO) 4-A director, said the armed confrontation was a product of two days of surveillance efforts by joint police operatives.

Eleazar said the joint police and military operations comprised the 2nd Laguna Mobile Force Company (LMFC), Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) 4-A and Regional Intelligence Unit (RIU) 4A in collaboration with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

He said the operations resulted in the armed confrontation amid reports of the presence of NPA units engaged in extortion activities, as well as the plan to liquidate uniformed police personnel in this town and Alaminos, Laguna.

“We learned that the objective of this group is to collect revolutionary taxes which we cannot discount since we are in the election period,” Eleazar said.

“We also would like to address on groups that will do harm to our personnel which President Rodrigo Roa Duterte has been calling our attention, that is why we conduct counter measures every time we receive information and it is timely that we are conducting Comelec checkpoints during this election period, we were able to capture them,” he added.

Eleazar said the group was on board a red Datsun van flagged down by cops manning the Comelec checkpoint at Barangay Dambo, Pangil.

A firefight ensued, which resulted in the death of Ismael Salazar Criste, alias "Ka Maeng," 62, a resident of Barangay Kabulusan in nearby Pakil town, and the identified leader of Rebolusyonaryong Buwis Para sa Kaaway na Uri (RBKU) Cesar Batralio Command of the NPA.

The four captured members were identified as Luis E. Alano Jr. alias "JR," 44, from Tanauan City, Batangas, an RBKU member; Shirley De Guzman Martinez, alias "Shee," 47, from San Antonio, Quezon, an RBKU member; Felicidad De Mesa Villegas, alias "Ka Fely," 60, from Barangay Banilan, Pakil, a member of Communist Party of the Philippines/New People's Army/National Democratic Front Special Partisan Armed Unit (CNN SPARU); and Cristy Ramos Lacuarta alias "Tintin," 30, a resident of Dao Nasunugan, Capiz City and a CNN SPARU member.

Police Provincial Director Senior Supt. Kirby John Kraft clarified that the captured NPAs were involved primarily in extortion, asking revolutionary taxes and not the armed operating elements of the NPA.

“They are asking revolutionary taxes from business establishments such as poultry, companies and businessmen here in Laguna,” Kraft said, adding that the group was also assigned to liquidate those who could spoil their activities such as uniformed personnel in the towns of Sta. Cruz and Alaminos.

He said that a case for violation of Republic Act 10591 or Illegal Possession of Firearms and Ammunition and Republic Act 9516 or Illegal Possession of Explosives in relation to Comelec Gun Ban were filed before the Prosecutors Office.

Meanwhile, Southern Luzon Command (SolCom) Commander Lt. General Danilo Pamonag in a message released to the media, has commended the PNP for their professionalism, vigilance, observance of the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Cop hurt in skirmish with suspected NPA rebs in Masbate

From the Philippine News Agency (May 3): Cop hurt in skirmish with suspected NPA rebs in Masbate

A police officer was wounded in an ambush by suspected members of the New Peoples Army while responding to a tip about the presence of armed men in Barangay Balocawe, Dimasalang town in Masbate province Thursday morning.

PO1 Mark Andy LLamazares, member of Dimasalang Municipal Police Station, was reported wounded during the initial burst of fire and was immediately brought to Dimasalang Rural Health Unit. No details, however, were released as to the nature and severity of his injuries.

In a report transmitted to Camp Gen. Simeon Ola that same morning, LLamasares together with other policemen were on board their patrol vehicle on their way to verify the tip, when they were fired upon by an undetermined number of gunmen believed to be communist rebels.

Senior Inspector Ma. Luisa Calubaquib, acting as spokesperson for the police, said a second team led by Senior Inspector Arnel Buncaras, officer-in-charge of the Dimasalang Police Station, returned fire at the gunmen. The rebels retreated to a forested area after being repelled by lawmen in a gunfight lasting several minutes.

9 killed as troops attack ASG lair in Basilan

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4): 9 killed as troops attack ASG lair in Basilan

Nine Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members were killed and several others believed to have been wounded during a military assault in the hinterlands of Basilan province, a top military official said Friday.

Brig. Gen. Juvymax Uy, Joint Task Force Basilan commander, said the group of ASG leader Furuji Indama was the target of the air and ground assault launched last Wednesday in Barangay Mahatalang, Sumisip municipality.

Uy said Indama's group and another sub-leader named Radzmi have a combined force of around 40 followers. He said the troops from the 3rd Scout Ranger Battalion were able to close in the group of Indama after 2 a.m. Wednesday and a 30-minute firefight ensued.

The Air Force’s 3rd Tactical Operations Wing provided air support to the scout rangers sending the bandits scampering to different directions, the military official said.

Uy said the troops recovered the remains of one of the nine slain ASG members. Based on the information provided by civilians in the area, eight other ASG members who sustained fatal wounds died later.

Two high powered firearms, an M-203 grenade launcher, medical supplies and other war materiel were recovered from the clash site.

Indama and Radzmi are among the remaining ASG leaders in Basilan province.

Another leader, Nurhassan Jamiri, and 13 of his followers surrendered to government authorities on March 28.

NegOcc has most number of areas under poll watch list

From the Philippine News Agency (May 5): NegOcc has most number of areas under poll watch list

Negros Occidental has the most number of election watch list areas (EWAs) for the May 14 polls among the six provinces in Western Visayas.

In a press conference Friday, Senior Supt. Jesus Cambay Jr., Deputy Regional Director for Operations of Police Regional Office 6 (Western Visayas), said there are 129 EWAs in the region and Negros Occidental contributed 77.

Of the number, three fall under Category 1; 71 under Category 2; and three under Category 3.

Following Negros Occidental is Iloilo with 28; Capiz (15); Aklan (4); and Iloilo City (3).

The province of Guimaras and the city of Bacolod have none.

However, data on EWAs might change as the local elections near, Cambay said during the press conference held on the sidelines of the second Joint Visayas Peace and Security Coordinating Council meeting at Camp General Martin Teofilo B. Delgado, Fort San Pedro in this city.

Villages under Category 1 have previous records of election-related incidents while those under Category 2 have problems on internal security and are affected by the presence of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People's Army and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF). Villages under Category 3 are a combination of categories 1 and 2.

Cambay assured that the police, together with the Philippine Army, has already laid out joint security preparations in these areas of concerns, as well as in other areas not included in the poll watch list.

“We (army and PNP) have coordinated our efforts to give priority to these critical areas and we have continuous assessment in order for these areas to be properly secured,” said Lt. Gen. Paul Atal, commander of the Philippine Army’s Central Command.

Atal said they cannot yet reveal the total number of EWAs in the entire Visayas as they are still finalizing the data.

Chief Supt. Rolando Felix, chief of the Directorate for Integrated Police Operations in the Visayas, however noted that there is no specific threat in the region so far.

“We are assuring our people that our armed forces and our police, as well as our Comelec (Commission on Elections) are ready and prepared to address concerns on the upcoming Barangay and SK elections,” he said.

Meanwhile, lawyer Tomas Valera, Assistant Regional Director of Comelec-6, reminded voters who are 18-30 years old or those qualified to vote for both the village and youth elections, not to confuse the two ballots.

“They should be careful as they might interchange their ballots. They might fill up the ballot for SK with the names of candidates for the barangay while the ballot for barangay might be filled up with names of candidates under the SK,” he said.

To avoid this mistake, Valera said the ballot for SK is printed in red while the ballot for the barangay polls is printed in black.

US commits to continued presence in South China Sea

From the Philippine News Agency (May 3): US commits to continued presence in South China Sea

Not only to maintain robust Philippine-US ties, United States Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim on Thursday said America will maintain its presence in the region through its freedom of navigation operations (FONOP) and port visits to Manila to ensure that the right to freedom of navigation is intact.

"Precisely because we are concerned about some of the developments in the South China Sea, it's very important for us to be present," he told reporters at a press conference in Manila.

Last February, aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson docked in Manila for a five-day port visit. It was followed by the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard that arrived in Manila in March 2018 and the massive aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt, which graced the capital in April.

Kim said the US ship visitations do not only demonstrate Washington's commitment to US-Philippines alliance, but also serve as an assurance they are doing everything to protect freedom of navigation, freedom of overflight, and freedom of commerce in the disputed area.

Not only of importance to the US, but to everybody including the Philippines, Kim committed that America "will continue to do whatever" they can to protect those rights.

Kim said the US is concerned over reports that China has installed a jamming device in one of the areas in the disputed waters.

"We are concerned. I think we are concerned anytime a claimant, including China, takes aggressive unilateral actions towards militarization, which is clear what they seem to have done. I saw the report and it seems to suggest that they're moving towards militarization," he said, adding the port visits are "directly relevant" to the current situation in the sea lane.

He said the US has consistently called on all claimants to refrain from unilateral aggressive actions that are inconsistent with international law and norms.

"We have called on countries to refrain from reclamation and militarization of their claimed lands. And we will continue to do so," Kim said.

Several Southeast Asian states, including the Philippines and China, have overlapping claims in the vast South China Sea, believed to have large deposits of oil and natural gas.

At present, China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are crafting the Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea to control and manage possible crisis in the area.

America is not a claimant party, but US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy earlier expressed hope that the outcome document would lead to a "binding, meaningful result in accordance with international law."

While he is finding it difficult to note specific elements the US wants to see in the COC, Kim believes the claimants have a direct interest in making sure anything they negotiate is actually a meaningful document.

"I think, to the extent, that is the goal, I would think the parties would want a binding document with substance and detail because if you have a vague, ambiguous document that's not binding, I'm not sure what it would do in helping the claimants resolve this very complex situation," he said.

5 troops hurt in series of clashes in Cagayan

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4): 5 troops hurt in series of clashes in Cagayan

Five soldiers were wounded while an undetermined number of communist rebels were killed and wounded following a series of skirmishes in Cagayan province Thursday morning.

Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) spokesperson, Lt. Col. Isagani Nato, said troops of the 17th Infantry Battalion under Joint Task Force "Tala" were patrolling Sitio Mureg, Barangay Balani, Sto Niño town when they encountered about 30 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) under the command of one "Bladdy", triggering a 20-minute gun-battle, at about 10:36 a.m.

Nato said the rebels quickly fled and were cornered in an adjacent area at about 11:40 a.m., starting another 10-minute clash.

In the encounter, the rebels retreated after sustaining an undetermined number of casualties.

Pursuit operations are still ongoing, Nato said.

'Balikatan' to ramp up response to natural, man-made calamities

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4): 'Balikatan' to ramp up response to natural, man-made calamities

The goal of the annual "Balikatan" exercises is to improve the capability of participating Filipino and American units in responding to rising incidents of natural and man-made calamities in the Philippines, an official said Thursday.
"Every year we are (try) to level up the training, for example yung humanitarian assistance and disaster response training natin, last year nagfocus lang po sa natural calamity, so this year (we are not only training for) natural calamities but of course paghahandaan din nila yung man-made (calamities)," "Balikatan 2018" public information officer Lt. Liezl Vidallan said in an interview.

Vidallon declined to give the exact numbers of participating US and Filipino troops pending the actual start of the exercises.

On its 34th year, this year's "Balikatan" will formally start on May 7 and end on May 18.

Vidallon added that lessons learned during the previous "Balikatan" exercises will be incorporated in the various field exercises planned for this year.

In last year's 'Balikatan' exercises, around 2,800 Filipino soldiers, 2,600 Americans, 80 members of the Australian Defense Forces a,nd 20 from the Japan Self Defense Force participated in the series of military maneuvers which started May 8 and ended on the 18th.

Highlights of last year's exercises are the urban search-and-rescue (SAR) and collapsed structures exercises which was conducted at Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.

The SAR involves rescue methods for individuals trapped under collapsed structures, a common result in strong earthquakes.

Palace concerned on China’s reported missile deployment in WPS

From the Philippine News Agency (May 4): Palace concerned on China’s reported missile deployment in WPS

Malacañang on Friday expressed concern over reports that China has deployed anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems in the disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“We are concerned with the reported China’s missile deployments over the contested areas in the West Philippine Sea,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.

According to media reports, China installed the missile systems on Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef, Subi (Zamora) Reef, and Mischief (Panganiban) Reef in the Spratly Islands.

The Philippines and China, along with Vietnam, have overlapping claims on the Spratly Islands.

“With our recently developed close relationship and friendship with China, we are confident that those missiles are not directed at us,” Roque said.

“Be that as it may, we would explore all diplomatic means to address this issue,” he added.

In July 2016, The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration handed its verdict in favor of the Philippines’ arbitration case contesting China’s nine-dash line claims in the WPS.

The United Nations arbitral tribunal ruled that China does not have historic rights and that the nine-dash line has no legal basis.

China, as expected, has rejected the arbitral tribunal’s decision, prompting President Rodrigo R. Duterte to temporarily shelve it to give way peaceful and friendly dialogues.

DND studying possibility of arming Navy craft with Spike-ER missiles

From the Philippine News Agency (May 5): DND studying possibility of arming Navy craft with Spike-ER missiles

The Department of National Defense (DND) is looking into the possibility of arming the Navy’s multi-purpose attack craft (MPACs) with the Israeli-made Spike-ER surface-to-surface missiles.

"The idea is still under consideration," DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said Friday when asked about the feasibility of arming all operational MPACs with missiles to boost their capability.

Spike-ER missiles are capable of penetrating 1,000 mm. (39 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor and have a range of 8 km.

As of this posting, the Navy has nine MPACs in its inventory with another three units planned.

Three of these craft are being fitted with Spike-ER missiles and launchers.

These naval craft were activated on May 22, 2017 and were manufactured by Subic-based Propmech Corp. for PHP270 million.

The Spike-ER surface-to-surface missiles, along with their launchers, arrived third week of April.

After the installation, the Spike-ER missile systems will go through the Technical Inspection and Acceptance Committee, he added.

"The missile systems for the Navy's MPACs have arrived in the country and are now undergoing Integration Phase under the guidance of the proponent, Rafael of Israel. The missile-equipped MPACs will greatly enhance the Navy's capability to secure our littoral areas against terrorism and in support of maritime law enforcement operations," Andolong earlier said.

CPP/NPA-Zamboanga: On April 26 Encounter

NPA-Zamboanga propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (May 2): On April 26 Encounter

Ka Mario J. Jose, Spokesperson
NPA-Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX)

2 May 2018

Hugtanong gipanghimaraot ug lig-ong gikundena sa New Peoples Army Regional Operations Command ang kaylap ug padayong gilunsad nga combat military operations sa pasistang AFP/PNP ug mga paramilitar ilalom sa 1st Infantry “TABAK” Division, Phil. Army sa mga kabaryohan sa tibuok rehiyon sa Zamboanga Peninsula ilabina sa mga bukirong bahin niini.

Niadtong Abril 26, 2018 sa may alas 2:00-3:00 ang takna sa kahapunon, human sa kapin kun kulang usa ka oras nga panag-engkwentro tali sa mga pulang manggugubat sa New Peoples Army ug mga berdugong militar sa 1st Infantry TABAK Division sa Barangay Saad, Dumingag, Zamboanga del Sur, malampuson ug aktibong nadepensahan sa pulang hukbo ang iyang tibuok pwersa, walay kaswalti ug luwas kini nga nakapatigbabaw sa maong panghitabo.

Dugang pa, mahukmanon ug mapangahasong nailog sa pulang hukbo ang inisyatiba sa panagsangka. Taliwala sa opensibang atake sa kaaway, maisogon kitang nakigsangka kanila, hinungdan nga mas sila pa man ang dunay kaswalti (3-KIA ug ubay-ubay nga angol) ug nangahadlok, nanagan ug nangabulabog.

Kini nga impormasyon nakalap nato gikan mismo sa mga sibilyan sa mga palibot ug kanait nga lugar nga maoy nahimong saksi sa maong panghitabo ug sa ilang naani nga kaswalti, kadaot sa ilang pwersa ug demoralisasyon sa han-ay mismo sa mga berdugo ug pasistang kaaway.
Tungod sa ilang militarista, desperado ug paturagas nga pagpangatake ug tumang kasuko sa maong panghitabo, daghang mga sibilyan ang nahiagom sa ilang kabangis pinaagi sa pagpamomba sa mga populadong komunidad sa Dapiwak ug Sinunoc, kapin kun kulang mga ala-1 ang takna sa kaadlawon. Dugang pa ang nagkadaiyang dagway sa paglapas sa tawhanong katungod sama sa pagpanghasi, pagpanghadlok, pagpanghulga, pagdakop, pinugos nga pagbakwit ug pagpundo sa mga sentrong komunidad. Kini tataw nga kalapasan sa tawhanong katungod ug sa Internasyunal nga Makitawhanong Balaod.

Tumang kahadlok ug kahasi ang gibati ug kasamtangang nasinati sa mga inosenteng sibilyan resulta sa walay puas ug paturagas nga pagpamomba sa mga komunidad ug populadong lugar bisan pa sa kahimtang nga walay panghitabo o panag-engkwentro tali sa New Peoples Army ug AFP/PNP.

Sa pikas bahin, nikaylap ug nagkadaghan karon ang mga bakwit nga naggikan sa lain-laing lugar sa Sinacaban ug Jimenez, Misamis Occidental tungod sa grabeng pagpamomba sa kaaway. Mokabat sa 38 ka bomba ang gipanghulog sa kaaway dinhing mga dapita sa mga oras nga alas 9:00 sa gabii, ala-1 sa kadlawon ug alas-4 sa kadlawong niadtong petsa 27 sa Abril 2018.

Lain pang dagway sa militarisasyon ang nasinati karon sa mga probinsiya sa Zamboanga del Sur, Zamboanga del Norte ug Zamboanga Sibugay tungod sa padayong operasyong militar.

Sa laktud, adunay kaylap nga nagakahitabong larga-todong pagpangatake ug operasyong militar sa 1st Infantry TABAK Division, Phil Army ug PNP sa tibuok rehiyon sa Zamboanga Peninsula.

CPP/NPA-Quezon: Planong pamamahagi ni Duterte ng CLOA sa Quezon, vote buying

NPA-Quezon propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (May 2): Planong pamamahagi ni Duterte ng CLOA sa Quezon, vote buying

Ka Cleo del Mundo, Spokesperson
NPA-Quezon (Apolonio Mendoza Command)

2 May 2018
Press Release

“Pinapaalalahanan namin si Duterte na maghunos-dili sa pang-aalipusta, pambabastos at pagmumura sa mamamayan ng Quezon. Ang makakaharap niya ay mga maralitang magsasaka na kasalukuyang dumaranas ng gutom dahil sa bagsak na presyo ng lukad at kawalan ng lupa,” banggit ni Ka Cleo del Mundo, tagapagsalita ng Apolonio Mendoza Command-NPA Quezon sa kanyang pahayag.

Napabalita ngayong araw na bibisita si Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte sa mga bayan ng Mulanay at San Francisco sa ikatlong distrito ng lalawigan ng Quezon para mamahagi ng certificate of land ownership award o CLOA. Ang parehong bayan ay nasa Bondoc Peninsula na itinuturing na hacienda belt ng lalawigan.

“Ang nais marinig ng mga magniniyog ng Bondoc Peninsula ay ang programang libreng pamamahagi ng lupa at pagbabalik ng bilyong pondo ng coco levy. Sukang-suka na ang mamamayan ng Quezon sa pekeng CARP na kailanman ay hindi bumago sa monopolyong kontrol sa lupa,” dagdag ni del Mundo.

“Ginawa na dati ni Aquino noong 2010 ang pamamahagi ng CLOA para mangampanya, pero halos isang dekada ang dumaan may nagbago ba sa kabuhayan at buhay ng mga magsasaka sa mahigit 800-ektaryang lupaing saklaw ng huwad na reporma sa lupa sa mga bayan ng Mulanay at San Narciso?,” paliwanag ng tagapagsalita ng NPA-Quezon.

Matatandaang bumisita rin ang dating Pangulong Benigno Simeon Aquino III sa Bondoc Peninsula para gawing showcase ang lugar ng reporma sa lupa ng Department of Agrarian Reform.

“Ang pagpunta ni Duterte sa Bondoc Peninsula ay para sa mga amo at kasapakat niyang landlord na sina Reyes, Murray, Uy at Matias. Gagarantiyahan niyang hindi mapapamahagi nang libre ang lupa para makuha ang pinakamalakas na suporta at konsesyon sa naghaharing uri sa kanayunan. Kailangan ito ni Duterte sa paparating na barangay election at midterm election sa susunod na taon.”

“Sa Mayo 14 ay eleksyong pambarangay na, walang alam ang gubyerno kundi bilihin ang boto ng mamamayan sa pamamagitan ng mapanlinlang nilang programa. Hindi kailanman natuto ng bagong trick ang mga matatandang aso ng imperyalistang US,” ani del Mundo.

Sinabi rin ng AMC-NPA sa kanilang pahayag na suportado nila ang pagpapatuloy ng usapang kapayapaan sa pagitan ng NDFP at gubyerno ng Republika ng Pilipinas, pero hindi sa mga kundisyon na gusto ni Duterte kagaya ng pagsasalong ng armas at walang taning na ceasefire kahit hindi pa naisasara ang mahalagang kasunduan sa socio-economic reforms na naglalaman ng libreng pamamahagi ng lupa at iba pang repormang panlipunan na ayon sa rebolusyunaryong kilusan ay siyang ugat ng gera sibil sa bansa.

Ayon kay del Mundo inaasahan nilang gagamiting pagkakataon ni Duterte ang pagbisita sa Bondoc Peninsula para batikusin ang rebolusyunaryong kilusan at patuloy na paasahin ang mamamayan na darating ang pagbabago sa pamamagitan ng gera kontra-droga, martial law at oplan Kapayapaan.

Ang SQBP ay kilalang malakas ng base ng NPA sa Quezon. Noong buwan ng Pebrero, magkasunod na nireyd ng NPA ang Tumbaga ranch sa San Francisco kung saan nakakumpiska ng anim na armalite at iba pang kagamitang militar, at kinabukasan ay inambus ang rerespondeng sundalo sa highway ng General Luna.

CPP/Ang Bayan: Mag-aral ng marxismo! Baguhin ang mundo!

Ang Bayan propaganda editorial posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (May 4): Mag-aral ng marxismo! Baguhin ang mundo!

 Sa pamamagitan ng espesyal na isyu na ito ng Ang Bayan, ginugunita at ipinagdiriwang ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, kasama ng uring manggagawa sa buong mundo, ang ika-200 taon ng araw ng kapanganakan ni Karl Marx, ang dakilang guro ng proletaryado.

Mababasa sa sumusunod na pahina ang iba’t ibang artikulo na tumatalakay sa buhay, mga sulatin at gawain ni Marx bilang isang proletaryong rebolusyo- naryo. Tampok sa isyung ito ang artikulong “Nagpapatuloy na Bisa at Sigla ng Marxismo” na tumalakay sa pangunahing nilalaman ng Marxismo at tumalunton sa pag-unlad nito sa Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoismo. Ito ay inambag ni Kasamang Jose Maria Sison, Tagapangulong Tagapagtatag ng Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas at isa sa nangungunang Marxista-Leninista-Maoista ng kasalukuyang panahon.

 Katulad ng isinasaad ng naturang artikulo, ang Marxismo ay nananatiling tumpak, buhay at umuunlad na ideolohiya ng proletaryado. Ito ang tanging nakapagbibigay-linaw sa mga dahilan sa likod ng umuulit-ulit at lumalalang kapitalistang krisis sa buong daigdig, nagpapanday ng rebolusyonaryong kapasyahan ng mga manggagawa at masang anakpawis na lumaban at nagtataas ng kanilang optimismo na makakamit ang tagumpay at muling dadaluyong ang sosyalistang rebolusyon sa buong daigdig. Tinuro ni Marx ang di maiiwasang landas ng kasaysayan tungo sa komunistang hinaharap.

Ang Marxismo o Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoismo ay sumibol mula sa natipong siyentipikong kaalaman sa larangan ng pilosopiya, syensyang panlipunan at ekonomyang pampulitika. Ito ay isang paraan ng pag-iisip at pagsusuri, pananaw at paninindigan ng uring proletaryo. Isa itong siyentipikong instrumento para baguhin ang mundo. Isa itong sandata para sa pagrerebolusyon.

Sa mahigit nang 150 taon, ang Marxismo ay naging materyal na pwersa ng pagbabago. Lumapat, umugat at lumaganap ito sa iba’t ibang bansa. Ang Manipesto ng Partido Komunista (1848) ang isa sa akdang pinakamaraming ulit na sinalin sa kasaysayan ng buong mundo. Tulad ng maso, ang Marxismo ay tinanganan ng mga proletaryong rebolusyonaryo para pandayin ang bagong kinabukasan.

Buhay at umuunlad ang Marxismo dahil palagi itong ginagamit sa paggagap ng proletaryado sa walang tigil na nagbaba- gong kalagayan ng mundo at teoretikong gabay sa praktika ng tunggalian ng mga uri. Sa paglalapat sa partikular na sit- wasyon ng iba’t ibang bansa, ang Marxismo ay nagkakahugis bilang rebolusyonaryong programa ng pagkilos at kongkre- tong mga balak, patakaran at hakbangin ng mga partido komunista para ibagsak ang mga reaksyunaryong uri, itatag ang proletaryong diktadura kasama ang mga demokratikong uri at pandayin ang sosyalismo.

Sa gabay ng Marxismo at pag- unlad nito sa Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoismo, nagtagumpay ang proletaryado sa Russia (1917), sa China (1949) at maraming iba pang bansa, naitatag ang diktadura ng proletaryado at ipinundarang sosyalistang sistema ng ekonomyang planado at tu- mutugon sa pangangailangan ng masang manggagawa at masang anakpawis. Mabilis na kumalat ang Marxismo sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo.

Sa loob ng pitong taon (1949- 1956) nakapamayani ang demokratikong kapangyarihan ng proletaryo sa sangkatlo ng buong daigdig nang magsalikop ang sosyalistang rebolusyon sa Soviet Union at China, gayundin ang matatagumpay na rebolu- syong demokratiko at anti-kolonyal sa iba’t ibang panig ng mundo (Korea, Vietnam, Cuba) na pinamunuan ng proletaryado. Sa panahon na ito, hinawakan ng uring proletaryado ang mga nangungunang salik ng ekonomya, pinagplanuhan ang produksyon at mabilis na pinaunlad ang antas ng buhay ng mga tao.

Ang kabanata na ito ng kasaysayan ang pinakamaaliwalas para sa uring proletaryado at iba pang produktibong uri: 100% empleyo, libreng pabahay, libreng serbisyong pangkalusugan, libreng edukasyon at iba pa.

 Subalit katulad ng dinanas na mga pag-atras at kabiguan ng burgesya nang isa pa itong rebolusyonaryong uri sa halos limang siglong iniluluwal ang kapitalismo mula sa sinapupunan ng pyudalismo, dumanas din ang proletaryado ng mga kabiguan at pag-atras sa pagsusulong nito ng sosyalistang rebolusyon sa nagdaang siglo. Ang itinatag ng proletaryado na progresibo at modernong sistemang sosyalista ay winasak ng burgesya nang ibalik nila ang kapitalismo—noong una ay dahan-dahan at pakubli, malao’y hayagan at lubusan—sa Russia simula 1956, sa China simula 1977 at sa iba pang bansa.

Itong panunumbalik ng kapita- lismo at muling pagpapaloob ng Russia at China sa pandaigdigang sistemang kapitalista ay lumilikha ng kundisyon ng mas malalim at mas masaklaw na krisis ng kapitalistang sistema. Ang maigting na ribalan ng mga monopolyo kapitalista para sa tubo ay nagbubunsod ng mas malalang anarkiya at krisis ng sobrang produksyon.

Ang nagdaang apat na dekada ng neoliberal na mga patakaran ay bigong isalba ang kapitalistang sistema. Sa halip, inilugmok lamang nito ang buong mundo sa walang katapusang siklo ng krisis na dumadalas at mas nagtatagal. Sa bawat sulok ng mundo, hinahambalos ang masang anakpawis ng malawakang disempleyo, mababang sahod at lumalalang mga kundisyon at anyo ng pagsasamantala. Hinahanap nila ang liwanag ng Marxismo upang tanglawan ang daan ng rebolusyonaryong paglaban.

Sa Pilipinas, tinatanglawan ng ating Partido ang landas ng demokratikong rebolusyong bayan at ang hinaharap na sosyalistang rebolusyon. Sa gabay ng Marxismo-Leninismo-Maoismo, lalagumin ng Partido ang limampung taong rebolusyonaryong karanasan ng samba- yanang Pilipino, upang ibayo pang pagyamanin ang baul ng rebolusyonaryong teorya at gamiting sandata para isulong ang matagalang digmang bayan patungo sa susunod na estratehikong yugto ng pag-unlad.

Hindi maikakaila ang saysay ng mga nakamit na tagumpay ng sosyalistang rebolusyon sa epikong maka-uring digmaan ng burgesya at proletaryado. Katulad na ang Rebolusyong 1848 ay itinuring nila Marx na paghahanda sa Komuna ng Paris noong 1871, at katulad na ang nagaping Komuna ng Paris ay itinuring ni Lenin na paghahanda para sa tagumpay ng Dakilang Proletaryong Rebolusyong Oktubre sa Russia, ang mga tagumpay sa sosyalistang rebolusyon sa kalakhang bahagi ng ika-20 siglo (1917-1977), bagaman winasak ng burgesya, ay dapat nating ituring na paghahanda sa mas malalaking tagumpay sa susunod na pagbwelo ng sosyalistang rebolusyon sa hinaharap.

[Ang Bayan is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Ang Bayan is published in Pilipino, Bisaya, Hiligaynon, Waray and English.]

CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Pagpamatay sa Media Ginakondenar sang NPA!

NPA-Central Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (May 3): Pagpamatay sa Media Ginakondenar sang NPA!

JB Regalado, Spokesperson
NPA-Central Negros (Leonardo Panaligan Command)

3 May 2018
Press Release

Mabaskog nga ginakondenar sang LPC-NPA ang wala kaluoy nga pagtiro-patay sa Mediaman kag National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) Officer-Negros Oriental Chapter nga si Edmund Sestuso sadtong April 30, 2018 sa Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. Suspek ang 2 ka armado nga tawo riding in tandem nga nakapanabon sang ila mga nawong. Ginpalayag nga si Edmund Sestuso gindala pa sa isa ka hospital sa Dumaguete apang ginbawian gid sang kabuhi sadtong Mayo 1, 2018 mga alas 2:00 sa hapon.

Sadtong nagligad nga Pebrero 2018, si Ranie Aswe nga isa man ka katapo sang Media sa Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, biktima man sang physical assault sa Talisay City, Negros Occidental diin ginkastigo kag nag-agum man sang madamo nga lagob kag kapilasan sa iya lawas sang gindala man sa hospital.

Sa isla sang Negros, ang natabo kay Edmund Sestuso kag Ranie Aswe resulta lang sang media suppression sa bug-os nga pungsod. Resulta man ini sang ala Marcos nga Martial Law. Porma kag laragway ini sang tudo-gyera kontra-terorismo kag kontra-insurhensiya sang pasista-diktador nga rehimeng US-Duterte. Tuyo sang mapintas nga estado nga busalan kag higtan ang li-og sang media diin kontrolon, manipulahon kag punggan ang pagpagwa sang matuod nga mga balita. Buot hambalon, pwersado kag arbitraryo nga pagkuha sang demokratikong kinamatarung kag papel sang media sa pag-edukar, pag-inform kag pag-intertinar.

Lubos ginapanawagan sang LPC-NPA sa state authorities labi na sa Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO) nga maid-id kag seryuso nga imbestigahan ang ini nga hitabo. Pasabton ang may kahimuan kag ihatag ang nagakaigo nga hustisya sa biktima kag pamilya sini.

Itib-ong ang Press Freedom kag respetuhon ang tawhanon nga kinamatarung! Stop Political Killings! Stop Media Killings and Repression!

CPP/NPA-Quezon: Tugon ng NPA-Quezon sa mga pahayag ni Duterte sa pagbisita niya sa Bondoc Peninsula

NPA-Quezon propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (May 3): Tugon ng NPA-Quezon sa mga pahayag ni Duterte sa pagbisita niya sa Bondoc Peninsula

Ka Cleo del Mundo, Spokesperson
NPA-Quezon (Apolonio Mendoza Command)

3 May 2018

Parang hinulaan ng rebolusyunaryong kilusan ang walang kakwenta-kwentang talumpati ni Duterte sa pagbisita niya sa Bondoc Peninsula kahapon para mamahagi ng CLOA sa ilalim ng pekeng reporma sa lupa ng reaksyunaryong gubyerno.

Maaga nang sinabi ng Apolonio Mendoza Command-NPA-Quezon kahapon na gagamiting okasyon ni Duterte ang pagpunta sa lalawigan para alimurain ang kanyang mga kalaban at grupong tumutuligsa sa kanyang pasistang pamamahala sa bansa.

Namumutiktik sa pagmumura, kabargasan at kabastusan sa mamamayan, lalo na sa kababaihan ang umabot sa 13-pahinang talumpati ni Duterte (tingnan sa website ng Presidential Communications Office Presidential News Desk).

Kagaya ng inaasahan, binigyang-katwiran na naman niya ang madugong gera kontra-droga, ang kanyang pagiging babaero, tagapaglako ng galit (hate-monger) at mga kontra-mamamayang programa at patakaran.

Maaga niyang ipinarada ang mga minamanok niyang kandidato sa paparating ng mid-term election sa susunod na taon. Talagang pangangampanya ang pakay ni Duterte at hindi reporma sa lupa.

Hindi rin niya pinaligtas ang Australianang madre na pinadedeport niya, gayong kung nalalaman lamang ni Duterte ang tulong na inihatid ng kongregasyon ni Sr. Patricia Fox sa mga bayan ng North Quezon dahil sa livelihood program na mahigit isang dekada nang tinatamasa ng mga kababaihan doon.

Nagpasaring pa si Duterte na siya ay magiging “masaya na ipagpatuloy ang usapang (kapayapaan)” pero may mga bagay siyang hindi niya maiuurong.

Inasukalang bala ang alok ni Duterte na muling buksan ang peace talks kung hindi naman niya iaatras ang mga kondisyon niyang makaisang panig.

Hindi maaari ang gusto ni Duterte na limitahan ang NPA sa “tigil-putukan at pagkakampo sa loob ng 60-araw” para matuloy ang peace talks.

Kung tutuusin, pumasok na ang CPP-NPA-NDFP sa anim na buwang ceasefire mula August 2016 hanggang January 2017 pero hindi naman ito naging garantiya para umabot sa pagpirma sa mahalagang kasunduan sa socio-economic reforms na siyang lulutas sa gera sibil sa bansa.

Hangga’t pabalat-bunga ang pangakong pagbabago ni Duterte kagaya ng pamimigay ng CLOA gayong libreng pamamahagi ng lupang sakahan ang kahilingan ng mga magsasaka, hindi aabante ang peace talks.

Nananawagan kami sa mamamayan ng Quezon at buong bansa na hindi pa lubos na naliliwanagan sa tunay na katangian ng rehimeng US-Duterte na ito na ang tamang panahon para maging kritikal sa pasismo at namumuong diktadurya ni Duterte.

Kailangang magkaisa ng sambayanan sa paglalantad, pagtatakwil at paglaban sa sa rehimeng US-Duterte.

Sa papasahol na militaristang paghahari ni Duterte sa bansa, walang ibang pagpipilian ang NPA at ang buong rebolusyunaryong kilusan kundi higit na palakasin ang pagdedepensa sa mamamayan at pulang kapangyarihang naipundar nito sa lalawigan ng Quezon sa pamamagitan ng mas pinaigting na aksyong militar laban sa mersenaryong hukbo at lahat ng galamay ng pasismo ng rehimeng US-Duterte.

CPP/NPA-Zamboanga: Tubag sa Balik-baril program sa Rehimeng US-Duterte: Mas palig-unon ug pakusgon ang New Peple’s Army! Lunsaron ang kaylap ug sunson nga gerilyang pakiggubat!

NPA-Zamboanga propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (May 4): Tubag sa Balik-baril program sa Rehimeng US-Duterte: Mas palig-unon ug pakusgon ang New Peple’s Army! Lunsaron ang kaylap ug sunson nga gerilyang pakiggubat!

Ka Mario J. Jose, Spokesperson
NPA-Zamboanga Peninsula (Region IX)

4 May 2018

Tubag sa Balik-baril program sa Rehimeng US-Duterte: Mas palig-unon ug pakusgon ang New Peple’s Army! Lunsaron ang kaylap ug sunson nga gerilyang pakiggubat! Ang gipangusgang programang balik-baril sa rehimeng US-Duterte dili bag-o. Gikan pa sa pasistang rehimeng US-Marcos hangtod sa kasamtangang itoy nga rehimen, ang tanang istratehikong kontra-insurhensyang kampanyang gidesinyo sa US para sa AFP naglakip sa batakang mga sangkap sa combat, intelligence ug civil-military o psywar operations. Managlahi lang ang pangalan apan mao ra kini nga mga oplans: Oplan Katatagan, Oplan Mamamayan (Marcos), Oplan Lambat Bitag (Cory Aquino ug Ramos), Oplan Makabayan (Estrada), Oplan Bantay Laya (Arroyo), Oplan Bayanihan (Benigno Aquino), ug Oplan Kapayapaan (Duterte). Kaparte sa civil-military o psywar operations sa AFP ang balik-baril program. Gigamit kini nga taktika aron ipagawas sa publiko nga nagkaubos na ang moral sa pagpakig-away sa NPA, nagkagamay na ang combat-strength niini ug wala gyuy posibilidad sa rebolusyonaryong kadaugan. Kaluha sa balik-baril program ang paglunsad sa peke nga pasundayag sa mga surrenderees. Sa miagi, may mga baryo sa Baganian Peninsula nga lima-unom ka beses na gipasurender didto sa lungsod isip mga masa sa NPA. Kay panganti ni Duterte nga “ totodasin ko talaga ang NPA” taman 2018, gipangunahan niya ang magasto nga paghakot sa mga peke nga surrenderees didto sa Malacanang. Naglakip sa panon ang karaang mitahan nang mga NPA, mga elementong CAFGU nga kunsabo sa pagpamatay sa mga lider-lumad sa Surigao, ug ordinaryong mga sibilyan. Gipakatap sa peke nga mga tigpamotbot sa Malacanang ug AFP nga 4,000 na ka NPA ang misurender samtang, sa sayo pang upisyal nga pamahayag nila, gipagawas nga 4,500 na lang ang NPA nga nagtikaw-tikaw sa kabukiran. Subay sa panultihon ni Goebbel, hepeng ministro ni impormasyon ni Hitler sa WW 2, “Ang bakak, kun makadaghan balik-balikon, mahimong tinuod”. Ganting premyo sa pasismo sa estado, pagpaunay-unay lang sa mga kabus nga katawhan

Ang pagpaibog-ibog sa ganting premyo (bounty money) aron makadakop, makapatay o makakawat sa pusil sa NPA usa ka makahilo sa tibuok katilingbang Pilipino diin nag-ilaid sa kapobrehon ug kawad-on ang mayoriyang katawhan. Usa kini ka taktika sa reaksyonaryong nanagharing hut-ong nga gihulhogan gidasig sa imperyalismong US sa pagpaaway-away sa mga kabus batok kabus, kaliwatan batok kaliwatan hangtod mahanap ang ilang pana-aw kinsa ang tinuod nga mga higala ug tinuod nga kaaway sa rebolusyon. Si Duterte mimando sa iyang mga goons nga AFP ug PNP nga “Isulod ninyo sa balde nga may yelo (ice) ang matag ulo sa NPA ug makuha ninyo gikan kanako ang ganting P25,000 ngadto sa P100,000 matag ulo”. Ang tawo nga makasulti niana usa ka lahi nga klase sa hayop nga uhaw sa dugo, gahum ug bahandi nga walay giilang pagtahod sa bisan unsang balaod sa tawhanong mga katungod nga gidawat ug gipirmahan sa internasyonal nga komunidad sa kanasoran. Ang paghatag og premyo sa kaylap nga pagpamatay, gikan sa mga mga suspetsado sa pagpayuhot sa gidiling drugas matigulang man o bata ngadto na sa mga lider-aktibista ug mga human rights advocates, nagasukol nga katawhang Moro ug lumad, ug legal nga demokratikong kalihokan sa kasyudaran nagapakita lamang sa pagka-inutil ug kawalay-kakayahan sa rehimeng US-Duterte nga seryosong sulbaron ang mga gamut-hinungdan sa ekonomikanhon ug pulitikanhong krisis sa tibuok katilingban Pilipino. Ang ganting salapi alang sa kaylap nga pagpamatay, pagpanglutos ug pagpangyatak sa tawhanong katungod usa ka short-cut nga kasulbaran sa krisis sa katilingbang semikolonyal ug semipyudal. Sigurado isuka ug suklan kini halapad nga katawhang Pilipino. Ang katawhan nagsinggit sa hingpit nga katilingbanong kalingkawasan gikan sa pangdaugdaog ug pagpahimulos. Gisakyan lamang ni Duterte ang kapobrehon sa mayoriyang katawhan sa pagtraydor sa isigka-kabus aron patilawon sa ganti sa dugong inutang. Tinuod man, naay pipila ka mga pobreng isigka-ingon sa kabukiran nga nangandoy makasapi ug midangop sa kinabuhing anti-sosyal: pagpangawat, panulis, panglapa sa hayupan, pagsilbing binayrang mga tirador o hired killers, ug uban pa. Ang bounty money epektibo lamang alang sa mga mersenaryong reaksyonaryong kasundalohan, paramilitary ug pulisyaa , nga gangster nga nagademanda sa kabayaran sa matag lampos nga krimen ug ubang mga elementong lumpen nga nanginabuhi sa kontra-masa nga binuhatan..

Pagsurender sa pipila ka pusil sa NPA bunga sa pipila ka kahuyangang pangsulod

Tinuod man usab nga may pipila ka pusil sa NPA nga nawala sa miaging mga panahon tungod sa pipila ka pangsulod nga kasaypanan nga natul-id na ug padayong gipakigbisogan. Nag-una niini mao ang mga kasaypanan ug epekto sa adbenturismo-militar sa dekada ‘80s. Milanat kini og dugay apan naaresto na kini nga sakit sa dekada ‘90s hangtod sa kasamtangan. Niining milabayng walo ka tuig, kapin 100% ang pagtubo sa pusil ug personnel sa NPA sa Zamboanga Peninsula Region. Igo na kini makapakita nga anam-anam nga nagatubo ang rebolusyonaryong armadong kusog sa katawhan nga sukwahi sa pabalik-balik nga pasiatab sa AFP. Sa pikas bahin, adunay panagsang mga kaso sa pagsibat sa pusil bunga sa paglugak sa istriktong mga sukdanan sa pagdawat sa bag-ong mga rekrut. Sa miaging tulo ka tuig, ang pagsurender sa pipila ka pusil sa NPA binuhatan sa mga elemento nga sinugo ug gitahasan sa AFP nga mangawat og pusil bugti sa ganting salapi. Adunay natigbasan nga NPA sa kabukiran sa Midsalip nga binuhatan sa mga bandido ug panatiko nga direktang gigunitan sa AFP. Nahitabo ang maong mga katraydoran bunga usab sa pagkumpyansa ug pagluag sa lagda sa siguridad. Sa pikas bahin, mayoriya sa ginsakpan sa NPA mga maayong elemento. Pinakamaayong anak sila sa masang mamumuo ug mag-uuma. Bisan walay sweldo, sukwahi sa mersenaryong tradisyon sa AFP, boluntaryo sila nga nagpasakop ug boluntaryo usab nga mihangop sa disiplina sa hukbong bayan. Dakong mayoriya sa NPA kinsa miundang sa serbisyo, tungod sa lain-laing mga hinungdan, nagpabiling maayo hangtod nga sila mibiya sa rebolusyonaryong han-ay. Wala sila magdala og bisan unsang butang nga gitugyan sa NPA alang sa ilang pag-amping.

Giampingan ug gipaka-bililhon sa matag NPA ang iyang gunit nga armas sama sa kinabuhi

Gitisok sa pangpulitikang edukasyon sa NPA ang rebolusyonaryong kahulogan sa buka sa pusil. Gikan sa buka sa pusil mamugna ang tanan butang. Gikan sa buka sa pusil, matukod ang daghang baseng masa, malunsad ang reporma sa yuta ug mapadaghan pa ang pusil pinaagi sa pagpuo sa kaaway diha sa kinabuhi-ug-kamatayon nga pagpakigsangka. Mapalapad ang impluwensya sa rebolusyonaryong kalihokan nga nagakabig aron mapakusog ang nagkahiusang prente batok sa kaaway. Motumaw ang mga kadre ug pulang manggugubat. Mapalutaw ang mga rekursos ug panalapi. Matukod ang demokratikong gubyerno sa armadong katawhan. Mapahigayon ang gikinahanglang mga serbisyo-sosyal. Mapanalipdan ang mga mag-uuma gikan sa mga mangingilog og yuta, mapakgang ang mga dautang elemento ug mga lokal nga kaaway nila. Ang pusil gigunitan sa NPA aron iasdang ug mapanalipdan ang interes sa masa. Busa giampingan ug gipakabililhon sa matag pulang manggugubat ang iyang gunit nga pusil sama sa iyang kinabuhi. Gibuhisan sa dugo ang kasaysayan sa matag pusil sa NPA. Kolektibo, organisado ug planado ang paglunsad sa mga taktikal nga opensiba. Walay ni usa ka tawo ang mahimong moangkon nga iyahang pribadong panag-iya ang iyang gidala nga pusil. Ang pusil hinagiban sa PKP pinaagi sa NPA alang sa pagsilbi sa katawhan ug dili bisan kanus-a man gamiton sa pagdaot sa interes sa masa o pribadong panag-iyahon. Labaw na nga dili kini mahimong balonon o kawaton ni kinsa man nga mohukom sa pagbiya isip myembro sa hukbong bayan. Usa ka bug-at nga salaod sa mga lagda sa NPA ang boluntaryong pagsurender sa pusil ngadto sa kaaway. Usa kini ka kaso sa kalapasan sa disiplina-militar ug pagluib sa kawsa sa katawhan. Ang tanang kaso sa paglayas ug pagsurender sa pusil pagahukman sa kamandoang militar sa rehiyon ug isaka ngadto sa Komite sa Partido sa Rehiyon ang hukom alang sa pagrebyu ayha ipatuman. Amumahon, suportahan ang New People’s Army!

Ang NPA usa ka hukbong mag-uuma nga nagalunsad sa usa ka gubat-mag-uuma sa kasamtangang yugto sa rebolusyong Pilipino. Tahas niini nga bungkagon ug tapuson ang pyudalismo sa kabukiran nga giharian sa mga agalong yutaan ug, sa ingon, matapos usab ang katilingbanong base sa imperyalismong US dinhi sa Pilipinas. Apan tungod kay ang AFP hukbo man sa dagkong burgesyang komprador ug agalong yutaan, nagpasabot nga dili makab-ot ang hingpit nga kalingkawasan sa masang mag-uuma hangtod nga dili mabungkag pinaagi sa armadong pakigbisog ang reaksyonaryong kasundalohan ug ang tibuok makinaryas sa pasistang estado. Labaw na karon kaysa miagi nga gikinahanglan sa mayoriyang masang mag-uuma ang usa ka proletaryadong hukbo sa katawhan. Ang AFP ug PNP nagsilbing armadong goons sa TVI, nanguna sa paglarot ginamit ang pwersa ug kabangis batok sa gagmayng minero ug lumad sa Mount Balabag. Ang mga mag-uuma ug lumad sa plantasyong Consunji sa Cotabato ug Zamboanga del Norte, AFP ug PNP ang anaa sa unahan sa bangis nga pag-ilog sa mga yutang dugay nang gitikad sa mga mag-uuma. Ug kini nga kamatuoran makita sa kaliboang susamang kahimtang sa pagpangilog sa kayutaang mag-uuma bisan asa sa Pilipinas. Gikinahanglan nga mas palig-unon nato ang panaghiusa sa NPA ug katawhan ug atubangon ang rehimeng US-Duterte pinaagi sa demokratikong rebolusyon sa katawhan. Pakusgon nato ang NPA pinaagi sa pagsalmot isip mga pulang manggugubat, isip milisyang bayan ug grupo sa pagpanalipod sa kaugalingon. Salmotan nato ang legal nga demokratikong kalihukang masa sa kasyudaran ug ibandera ang singgit sa katawhan alang sa yuta, panarbaho ug katilingbanong kaayohan. Supakon nato ang tinguha sa rehimeng US-Duterte nga ibale-wala ang peace talks tali sa NDFP-GRP ug himolbolan na lang ang batakang problema sa katilingbang Pilipino isip simpleng problema sa terorismo nga kunohay binuhatan sa mga NPA. Sa matag yugto sa pagtikang sa gubat sa katawhan, atubangan sa gagmay ug dagko nga kadaugan, labaw na kun may mga kapakyasan, gikinahanglang palig-unon kanunay nga paggunit sa batakang rebolusyonaryong mga prinsipyo sa hukbong bayan. Ang NPA angay nga mogunit sa iyang identidad nga siya usa ka hukbo sa masang mamumuo ug mag-uuma nga absolutong gipamunoan sa proletaryong partido.