Thursday, June 7, 2018

Duterte makes turnaround, wants more FA-50 fighters

From Malaya Business Insight (Jun 8): Duterte makes turnaround, wants more FA-50 fighters 

PRESIDENT Duterte wants the defense and military establishments to acquire 12 more FA-50 fighter jets from South Korea for the use of the Air Force, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said yesterday.

Before assuming the presidency in 2016, Duterte criticized as “waste of money” the acquisition of 12 FA-50s by the previous administration worth P18.9 billion from the Korean Aerospace Industries, under the Armed Forces modernization program.

Duterte said then that the aircraft are only good for air shows, adding the funds spent to buy them should have been used to acquire helicopters and boats needed in the fight against Abu Sayyaf and other internal security threats.

Lorenzana was among the security officials who accompanied Duterte during a recent visit to South Korea.

Military officials had said there were plans to acquire 12 additional FA-50s as early as last year. The FA-50s saw action in the siege of Marawi City by the Daesh-inspired Maute Group last year.

Lorenzana, however, said a final decision has yet to be made, adding: “We are still discussing it at the level of senior leaders.

“But that is what we want, even the President, when he saw that these are effective (aircraft),” Lorenzana said. “There may be additional 12 but it depends on the buildup of the Air Force that we are thinking.”

Lorenzana said the South Koreans did not pledge any military assistance during the presidential visit aired their “preparedness” to transfer military technology to the AFP.

“We talked about a lot of things, not only the helicopters, but also firearms. They (South Koreans) want to transfer technology so that we can produce our military equipment,” Lorenzana said.

The defense department is considering South Korea as the source of helicopters following the cancellation of the procurement of 16 Bell helicopters, worth P12 billion, from Canada a few months ago.

Duterte ordered the cancellation of the contract after the Canadian government said it is reviewing the deal after the Philippine military declared the aircraft will be used in the fight against rebels.

Philippines Police Capture 2 Suspected Militants in Southern City

From BernaNews (Jun 8): Philippines Police Capture 2 Suspected Militants in Southern City


Residents survey the damage during a visit to the main battle area in Marawi City, May 6, 2018. Jeoffrey Maitem/BenarNews 
Two Filipino militants who fought in the southern Philippine city of Marawi have been captured in Cagayan de Oro after they allegedly scouted the area for bombing targets, police said Thursday.

The suspects, identified as Eyadzhemar Abdulsalam, 26, and Dianne Catherine Palmitos, 25, were believed to be members of the Maute group, a militant faction that provided fighters to Isnilon Hapilon, the regional leader aligned with the Islamic State (IS), during the five-month siege of Marawi last year.

They were caught trying to sneak into Cagayan de Oro Wednesday aboard a passenger bus, regional police spokesman Superintendent Lemuel Gonda said.

“We detained them. They planned to carry out bomb attacks early this year in Cagayan de Oro but our authorities prevented it,” he said, adding the two were facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

Police sources said the duo traveled from Manila to the southern city of General Santos, where they took the bus going to Cagayan de Oro, more than 100 km (62 miles) from Marawi city.

Officers recovered a grenade and a hand gun, and the two suspects were taken in for interrogation, police said.

The pair were allegedly part of the Maute faction tasked with providing medical supplies to fighters at the height of the siege last year, the worst outbreak of violence in the south in recent years that left more than 1,200, mostly militants, dead.

Marawi siege

Hapilon launched the siege in May 2017 with a vision of transforming the Muslim city of Marawi into the IS seat of power in Southeast Asia. With him were Abu Sayyaf fighters, militants from the Maute faction and fighters from the Middle East and Southeast Asia.

The siege took the government of President Rodrigo Duterte by surprise, forcing him to ask for assistance from long-time allies the United States and Australia.

But the militants dug in and engaged the soldiers in urban street-by-street warfare, using dozens of civilians as human shields and hiding in mosques to slow the government’s assault.

Marawi’s more than 200,000 residents fled, and the city was transformed into a wasteland of pockmarked and empty buildings.

A year later, much of the city remains in ruins, with thousands still living in evacuation camps. Some residents who were allowed to return to their homes in April and May reported finding skeletal remains.


Last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana announced a breakthrough in the government’s goal “to achieve peace without bloodshed” in Mindanao following the surrender in March of Nhurhassan Jamiri, a little-known Abu Sayyaf commander and 13 of his followers on the island of Basilan.

Jamiri has been identified as one of two top leaders of Abu Sayyaf based in Basilan, where the militant group was established in the early 1990s.

The other leader is Furuji Indama, who remains at large. The overall operations officer and chief of the group in Basilan, he apparently is being groomed to succeed Hapilon, military sources said.

Woman kidnapped in Sibugay freed

From the Philippine Star (Jun 8): Woman kidnapped in Sibugay freed

A woman taken by unidentified gunmen in a coastal town in Zamboanga Sibugay has been freed in Zamboanga del Sur, police confirmed yesterday.

Laarni Buen, 38, a native of Bicol and secretary of Celebes Marine Product, was released by his captors last May 31, Chief Inspector Helen Galvez, Zamboanga peninsula police spokesperson, said.

At least seven men barged in Buen’s dormitory in Malangas town and forced her into a boat that fled toward Muyong island.

Galvez said the sister of the victim, Ana, notified the police on her release at about 7:55 a.m.

Buen reportedly boarded a flight to Manila from Pagadian, and went to the house of her sister in Manila before she and her husband went to Sorsogon City.

Her other sister Eunice sent a photo to the police here to prove that the victim is staying with them.

Police could not say if ransom was paid in exchange for Buen’s release as well as the motive for the kidnapping.

Galvez said the Zamboanga Sibugay police asked the relatives of the victim to allow Buen to undergo debriefing.

No kidnapping
Meanwhile, newly installed Western Mindanao Command chief Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega commended government troopers for zero kidnapping in the southern backdoor for more than a year now.

Brig. Gen. Custodio Parcon of the Joint Task Force Tawi-Tawi reported during a meeting with Dela Vega on Wednesday that troops were deployed on islets at the border of Tawi-Tawi, where hijacking of foreign vessels and kidnapping of their crewmembers ussually occur.

Dela Vega said there has been no reported kidnapping in Tawi-Tawi since February last year.  
He said joint patrols by Indonesian, Malaysian and Philippine navies in line with a trilateral agreement also prevented pirates with links to the Abu Sayyaf.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding Dutch man, a Vietnamese, three Indonesians and four Filipinos in Sulu.

Police officer killed in encounter with CPP-NPA in Sagada

From CNN-Philippines (Jun 5): Police officer killed in encounter with CPP-NPA in Sagada

A police officer was killed while nine others were wounded in an encounter with armed communist rebels in Sagada, a popular tourist town in Mountain Province, police said Tuesday.

The regional police has yet to report on the number of casualties on the side of the New People's Army (NPA), the armed wing of the
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPA) that has waged nearly five decades of insurgency.

The firefight comes as representatives of the government and the rebels are discussing the possible resumption of peace negotiations, more than six months after President Rodrigo Duterte walked away from the talks.

Duterte issued Proclamation 360 in November 2017 ending the on-off negotiations with communist rebels. Both sides accused each other of launching attacks against the other in violation of earlier interim ceasefire declarations.

Military doubts Red stand-down

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 8): Military doubts Red stand-down

The defense chief and an Army general on Thursday expressed doubt communist rebels would respect any ceasefire ahead of the resumption of peace negotiations with the government.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and Maj. Gen. Rhoderick Parayno, commander of the 2nd Infantry Division, were reacting separately to an Inquirer report that the military and the New People’s Army (NPA) may cease hostilities as early as next week under a preliminary truce proposed by government and rebel negotiators.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an Air Force forum at Camp Aguinaldo on Thursday, Lorenzana said the military might be the only party that would stand down under an agreement being finalized in back-channel talks between negotiators from the government and the communist-led National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Cease operations’
 “What does stand down mean [to communist rebels] anyway? We might stand down but they wouldn’t,” he said.

Lorenzana said the defense establishment still had to consult government peace negotiators before standing down.

“Stand down means cease operations. Stand down for them might mean there would be no attacks but we suspect they will continue their recruitment. They also have to stop that if there is a stand-down,” Lorenzana said.

Stepped-up expansion

He said rebel documents indicated that the insurgents were “actually intensifying their expansion of their areas.”

Although the military was doubtful about the rebels’ sincerity, Parayno told the Inquirer in Lucena City that he was hopeful that the NPA would abide by any form of ceasefire agreed by both sides.

“Apprehension is always there. The question of sincerity will always be there because of our past experiences,” he said.

“We have to be cautious,” he added. “But we are hopeful, hoping this time they’ll mean what they say.”

The stand-down agreement, which would require both sides to suspend offensive operations against each other, was “meant to stimulate the atmosphere for peace negotiation two weeks before the resumption of the peace talks,” according to Jose Maria Sison, founding chair of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Back-channel talks

Sison, who serves as chief political consultant to the NDFP in the talks brokered by the Norwegian government, on Wednesday told the Inquirer that the stand-down order could be issued to government and rebel forces as early as June 14, two weeks before the resumption of the peace talks and a formal bilateral ceasefire.

President Duterte’s peace adviser, Jesus Dureza, was surprised that Sison had disclosed what had been discussed in the back-channel talks and said the date for the start of the stand-down was an “old agreed timeline.”

“Hopefully by the end of the month there will be a formal resumption [of negotiations], if things turn out right. But it depends on the outcome of the back-channel talks,” Dureza told reporters on Thursday on the sidelines of a forum on federalism and the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law.

‘Latest suggestion’

He said he welcomed Sison’s announcement of the planned resumption of the talks “because it shows there’s an enabling environment that will enable us to continue the negotiations.”

On Thursday, however, Sison told the Inquirer in an online interview that the “latest suggestion” from the government was to postpone the implementation of the stand-down for a week, which would mean also resetting the dates for resuming formal talks and the ceasefire.

He said the government peace panel needed time “to effect the removal of hindrances to the participation” of six NDFP consultants in the talks in the Netherlands.

NDFP consultants

The NDFP wants the government to allow the six consultants—Benito Tiamzon, Rafael Baylosis, Alan Jazmines, Adelberto Silva, Vicente Ladlad and Randall Echanis—to travel to the Netherlands.

Jazmines, who is detained at Camp Bagong Diwa, was allowed to leave by the Regional Trial Court of Taguig City.

Baylosis was arrested on charges of illegal possession of firearms two months after Mr. Duterte canceled the talks.

Mr. Duterte had promised to end the nearly 50-year Maoist insurgency through a negotiated settlement but he abandoned the peace efforts last November, complaining of repeated rebel attacks.

His administration later petitioned a court to declare the CPP and the NPA terrorist organizations. It also sought to declare about 600 people, including about two dozen rebel consultants, terrorists.

In April, Mr. Duterte told the government panel to restart the talks.

Stand down agreement likely: Joma

From Malaya Business Insight (Jun 7): Stand down agreement likely: Joma

SELF-EXILED communist party founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison yesterday said “a stand down agreement” may be reached by the communist movement and government negotiators later this month.

“If the back channel talks go well...there will be a stand down agreement starting June 28,” said Sison. The four-day back channel talks between government and communist negotiators started yesterday in the Netherlands.

The two panels of negotiators are eyeing to resume the formal peace negotiations on June 28.

“This stand down will become the coordinated unilateral ceasefire when the interim peace agreement is approved,” said Sison.

Earlier reports said the proposed stand down agreement requires government soldiers and New People’s Army rebels to “stay where they are” and “not commit any offensive action or operation against combatants and civilians.”

Sison said the coordinated unilateral ceasefire will later advance to bilateral ceasefire once the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reform (CASER) is signed by the two sides.

“When there is already an amnesty and release of all political prisoners and CASER is mutually approved already, the coordinated unilateral ceasefire will become a bilateral ceasefire,” he said.

“You are going to know in a joint announcement the result of the back channel talks on June 9 or June 10,” said Sison.

President Duterte has ordered government negotiators in April to word towards the resumption of the talks which he terminated last year amid a series of rebel attacks on civilian and military targets.

Sison said the stand down agreement and the coordinated unilateral ceasefire are among issues being discussed in the back channel talks.

Also due to be discussed in the back channel talks are the draft amnesty proclamation for political prisoners, agrarian reform and rural development, national industrialization and economic development, and CASER.

Jaafar: No BBL, no MILF decommissioning of forces

Posted to the Malaya Business Insight (Jun7): Jaafar: No BBL, no MILF decommissioning of forces

AN official of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front yesterday said MILF forces would not be decommissioned if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law, which will establish a new political entity in the South, does not become a law.

“If there is no BBL, the problem remains. How can we decommission our forces when there is no peace in the area?” said MILF vice chairman for political affairs Ghazali Jaafar in a phone interview.

The Senate and the House have passed their versions of the BBL. A bicameral conference committee will meet next month. The target is to come up with the bicameral report for signing of President Duterte on July 23 when Congress resumes session.

Jaafar is also the chairman of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission which was tasked to come up with a draft of the BBL. The passage of the BBL is part of a peace agreement forged by government with the MILF in March 2014.

Jaafar, asked how soon the MILF forces will be decommissioned, said, “It depends on the approval of the BBL. Anyway there is a plan for that already.”

Asked how many MILF forces will be decommissioned, Jaafar said there are “tens of thousands.”

Sought for a comment, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said: “They are right because there is no (ongoing) decommissioning... The decommissioning is anchored on the law that will give them some autonomy.”

“Chairman Jaafar is right in saying there wont be decommissioning if there is no BBL,” he added.

Senate majority leader Juan Miguel Zubiri, who heads the sub-committee on BBL and the Senate contingent to the bicameral conference committee, said House majority leader Rodolfo FariƱas has agreed to hold a pre-bicameral meeting by the end of next week. The bicameral conference committee proper is set to meet on July 9 to 13.

“In the pre-bicam, we will discuss the procedures how we will proceed on deadlock. We will finish the bicam on the 13th and ratify it (bicam report) on the 23rd in the morning,” he said.

Maute group member, wife nabbed in CDO

From Malaya Business Insight (Jun 8): Maute group member, wife nabbed in CDO

COMBINED security forces on Wednesday arrested a suspected member of the Daesh-inspired Maute group and his wife who reportedly planned to bomb the Feast of the Black Nazarene procession in Quiapo, Manila last January.

Reports reaching PNP chief Oscar Albayalde said Eyadzhemar Abdusalam, 26, alias Medical Jihad, and his wife, Catherine Dianne Palmitos, alias Maryam Aisha, were nabbed in Cagayan de Oro City. They are based in Gen. Santos City.

Seized from them were a fragmentation grenade and a loaded caliber.45 pistol with an extra magazine inside a backpack.

The two were reportedly among the terrorists who supported the Maute group that laid siege in Marawi City in May last year that prompted President Duterte to cut short his trip to Russia and declare martial law in Mindanao.

Intelligence information revealed that Adbusalam and his wife left Zamboanga City for Davao City by plane and went to Cagayan de Oro City last Tuesday. They were believed to be headed to Lanao del Sur to meet with other remaining members of the Maute group to carry out bombing operations in Cagayan de Oro City.

“The bombing is part of the group’s long-standing plan to carry out an attack during Ramadan,” the report said.

Reports said Abdusalam is a graduate of BS Nursing at Notre Dame of Dadiangas University in Gen. Santos City. He is registered nurse and a licensed emergency medical technician. He also served as president of the Muslim Students’ Organization in NDDU during his college days.

“He came under the radar of the intelligence community during the Marawi siege when he was monitored sending medical supplies for the beleaguered Maute-ISIS group. At the time, he was also planning to travel to Syria to join ISIS,” the report added.

Reports said Abdusalam plotted to carry out bomb attacks during the Black Nzarene procession in Quiapo last January but tight security measures got in the way. He also reportedly considered similar attacks in other Catholic festivities in Zamboanga City.

He was also monitored as soliciting funds for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices for his planned bombings and sent money to the widows and orphans of the local Daesh/ISIS terrorists.

“He even instigated some foreigners to carry out lone wolf attacks in their respective countries, to include an individual in UK who was arrested in May 2018 by British authorities for planning to carry out an attack in London,” the report said.


Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana described as “unfair” a study by the Global Peace Index 2018 that showed the Philippines is the second least peaceful country in Asia, only better than North Korea.

Lorenzana questioned the parameters used by the group, which based its conclusion on the lingering threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and the government’s bloody war on illegal drugs.

“I cannot believe that because a lot of people can go around very peacefully. I think they are using some parameters that are not present in the Philippines,” Lorenzana said.

“Just because there is war on drugs, it’s least peaceful? In fact, a lot of people are saying that their lives are more peaceful now because of the war on drugs,” the defense chief added.

On the ISIS threat, Lorenzana said security agencies continue to receive reports about recruitment. He added that security officials are not dismissing a possible repeat of the Marawi City siege last year but said this will take several years.

“The threat of ISIS, the threat and actual fighting are two different things

The threat of ISIS is only there because some remnants of the Maute are still there and apparently they are, according to rumors, they are recruiting but we cannot confirm that they are recruiting,” said Lorenzana.

The Maute Group siege of Marawi City May last year left 974 terrorists, 168 soldiers and policemen, and 47 civilians dead.

DWDD: SILID FLORENDO | CRSAFP Conf Room renamed after BGen Oscar Florendo

Posted to DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jun 5): SILID FLORENDO  |  CRSAFP Conf Room renamed after BGen Oscar Florendo

CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) The Civil Relations Service, AFP renamed its conference room to Silid Florendo in honor of the late Brigadier General Oscar M Florendo AFP, the 9th Commander, CRSAFP from 16 April 1989 – 04 March 1990.


The Guest of Honor and Speaker during the unveiling and dedication was Mr Ferdinand A Florendo, son of the Gen Florendo together with the immediate family, relatives and friends and assisted by MGen Bienvenido M Datuin Jr AFP, Commander, CRSAFP.

The Blessing of Silid Florendo was led by Cpt Roegen A Janaban (CHS) PAF of the4 AFP Chaplain Service.

The welcome Remarks was given by Col Antonio Z Francisco, Dep Com, CRSAFP.

The Hand-Over of Certificate of Dedication and Memento was led by MGen Datuin, assisted by Col Francisco.

The dedication was due to the exemplary achievements General Florendo laid on the launching of the Awareness Program that was designed to win the hearts and minds of the people and to correct the misperception of the public about our men-in-uniform through the use of multi-media and communication networks.

BGen Florendo has placed premium on the transformation of soldiers into better citizens who are reverent to God, mission-oriented and committed in serving the nation. AES / Photos by Jr Katropas Anna Kathline Ortiz, Jessica Macalalad and Diana Patane / IDG Photogs / MCAG

DWDD: 91 loose firearms and explosives turned-over in Zambo Sibugay

Posted to DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Jun 7): 91 loose firearms and explosives turned-over in Zambo Sibugay

A total of eighty-five (85) assorted loose firearms and six (6) explosives were turned-over to Joint Task Force “ZamPeLan” by the different barangays of Siay, Zamboanga Sibugay Province in a simple ceremony held at the Sangguniang Bayan Session Hall, Brgy Poblacion, Siay yesterday June 06, 2018.

The said ceremony was led by the Municipal Mayor of Siay, Mayor Jarvis Acosta. Also attending the activity were officers under JTF “ZamPeLan” led by Col Francisco Ariel Felicidario, 102 Brigade Commander who was represented by Ltc Jonathan P Obena, Commanding Officer of 44IB; Zamboanga Sibugay Provincial Police Office led by PSSUPT Nestor Y Tiempo; Municipal police; LGU, Brgy officials and some local folks of Siay.

After the inventory, turned-over firearms include one (1) M14, one (1) M16, and seven (7) Garand rifles; two (2) Carbine; fifty eight (58) improvised homemade shotguns; three (3) cal .45 pistol; five (5) cal .357 Revolver; eight (8) cal .38 Revolver; and six (6) rifle grenades.

The event was made possible through the joint efforts of the military, police, municipal and Brgy officials of Siay.

“We fully support the national campaign of the military and the government against loose firearms. We want our town to be peaceful and progressive most especially that our constituents entrusted to us the mandate of public service in the recently successful conduct of the Brgy and SK election”, said Mayor Acosta.

Col Francisco Ariel Felicidario, Commanding Officer of 102nd Infantry Brigade, lauded the collaborative efforts of the troops, police, and the local officials for the successful and diplomatic approach leading to the voluntary turn-over of firearms by the local folks of Siay municipality.

“We expect a continuous turn-over of firearms in ZSP, the same with what is happening in other areas of Western Mindanao”, said Major General Roseller G Murillo, 1ID Commander and concurrent Commander of JTF “ZamPeLan”, as he commended the troops for the job well done.

“Terroristic atrocities and criminal activities in this area is likewise expected to lessen as the Province is known for having the presence of some criminal groups and other lawless elements”, he added.

Turned-over firearms and explosives are now in Municipal Police Station of Siay for safekeeping and proper disposition.

Joma: Fighting to stop June 14

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jun 7): Joma: Fighting to stop June 14
A halt to hostilities between government troops and the communist New People’s Army (NPA) ahead of an interim peace agreement and a formal ceasefire could start as early as next week, according to Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chair Jose Maria Sison.

“We are hoping that back-channel talks will be successful so we can start the ceasefire in its initial form as stand-down agreement starting June 14,” Sison, who is living in exile in Utrecht, the Netherlands, said in an online interview with the Inquirer on Wednesday.

‘A few kinks’

Asked about the status of the ongoing informal talks, Sison said there were “only a few kinks to iron out, while so many issues have been resolved.”

President Rodrigo Duterte’s peace adviser, Jesus Dureza, declined to comment on details of the back-channel talks.

“Back-channel talks are discreet so [I] cannot disclose,” Dureza told the Inquirer in a text message. “Announcements will be done when formal talks resume.”

Sison, the chief political consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in peace talks with the Philippine government, said the two negotiating panels recommended the implementation of the stand-down agreement to their respective principals — the NDFP-CPP-NPA and the President.

Sison earlier said the stand-down agreement, which would require both sides to suspend offensive operations against each other, was “meant to stimulate the atmosphere for peace negotiation two weeks before the resumption of the peace talks.”

It would “glide to the coordinated unilateral ceasefires under a joint monitoring committee and with more elaborate terms to ensure the stability of ceasefire,” he said.

Amnesty proclamation
The coordinated unilateral ceasefires will be accompanied by an amnesty proclamation and the signing of an accord on agrarian reform and rural development, and a separate one on national industrialization and economic development, which are parts of the broader Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, Sison said on Wednesday.

He said the signing of the interim peace agreement (IPA) would soon follow the resumption of formal peace talks set for June 28.

The IPA will pave the way for a formal ceasefire between the military and NPA for the duration of the formal talks.

Rebel consultants

The President had promised to end the nearly 50-year Maoist insurgency, which has killed more than 40,000 people, by finding a political solution, but he abandoned the peace efforts last November, complaining of repeated rebel attacks.

His administration later petitioned a court to declare the CPP and the NPA terrorist organizations. It also sought to declare about 600 people, including about two dozen rebel consultants in the talks, terrorists.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque has said the government may ask the court to put its petition on hold if the talks resumed.

If a final peace agreement is signed, the petition could be withdrawn, Roque added.

Sison said that while the stand-down agreement had not been signed, government and rebel forces could still launch offensives.

On Monday night, an Army soldier was killed while two others were wounded after a land mine planted by communist guerrillas exploded in Lopez, Quezon province.

The next day, a police officer was killed while nine others were wounded in an attack by suspected NPA rebels in Sagada town, Mountain Province.

‘Ready to cooperate’

Sison assured the President early this week that communist rebels were ready to cooperate with his administration for the talks to succeed.

He said the NDFP was “always ready to reciprocate whatever good move he [the President] makes in the peace negotiations.”

“The NDFP can also initiate good moves that are beneficial to the people,” he added.

Sison said the NDFP wanted six other consultants — Benito Tiamzon, Rafael Baylosis, Alan Jazmines, Adelberto Silva, Vicente Ladlad and Randall Echanis — to again participate in the formal negotiations in the Netherlands.

Baylosis was rearrested shortly after the talks were suspended and the five others were being hunted by security authorities because their bail bonds had been canceled.

“If the six NDFP consultants are not allowed to participate in the peace negotiations, there would be no basis to hope or believe that there would be an amnesty and the release of all political prisoners,” Sison said.

Breakaway Muslim Rebel Faction Warns of More Violence in Southern Philippines

From BenarNews (Jun 6): Breakaway Muslim Rebel Faction Warns of More Violence in Southern Philippines


Residents disembark from a vehicle shortly after they were freed by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in Pigcawayan, a small town in the southern Philippine province of Cotabato, June 21, 2017.  Mark Navales/BenarNews                

Deadly violence is likely to go on in the southern Philippines despite the expected congressional passage of a law giving minority Muslims expanded autonomy, a regional militant group warned Wednesday.

The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters does not recognize the Bangsamoro Basic Law, which Congress is fine-tuning for signing by the president next month, BIFF spokesman Abu Misri Mama said.

“We are not in favor of autonomy. That’s the reason why we left in the MILF in the first place,” Mama told BenarNews.
“We will continue to fight for independence. The island will not see peace even after this BBL is passed.”

The BIFF, with an armed force numbering in the hundreds, is a breakaway faction of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), which dropped its bid for independence and signed a peace deal with Manila in 2014.

The long-delayed basic law (BBL) is supposed to provide the legal framework for an expanded autonomy in Mindanao, the country’s main southern third that has been mired in a cycle of violence since the 1970s.

Mama said BIFF did “not want to do anything with the BBL” because “Mindanao is ours and should be ours.”

“We will fight until the end,” Mama added. “God willing.”

The BIFF broke away from the 12,000-strong MILF in 2008, taking with it more radical, younger fighters. The group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, but did not contribute fighters when IS Filipino leader Isnilon Hapilon and gunmen aligned with him laid siege to the southern city of Marawi last year, unleashing a five-month battle with the Philippine military that left 1,200 people – mostly militants – dead.

The vicious fighting ended in October with the death of Hapilon and his top lieutenants, although the military has said that dozens of fighters, possibly including foreigners, had escaped to areas in the south where BIFF members operate.

In recent weeks, BIFF forces in the south intensified their attacks, targeting military positions with bomb attacks. In May, the group remotely detonated a homemade bomb outside a Roman Catholic Church in the southern city of Koronadal, leaving two civilians wounded.

MILF still hopeful

But MILF chief negotiator Mohagher Iqbal said he remained hopeful that legislators could hammer out a consolidated version of the proposed law that is acceptable to his group.

He had earlier said that the final versions passed by the Senate and House of Representatives appeared to have diluted some of provisions sought by the MILF, including those about taxation, governance and the coverage of the autonomous region.

“The versions of Congress and Senate are not yet final. We are hoping that we will have a strong and good final version of the law,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal said the BBL, which was envisioned to outline the basic structure of a proposed autonomy in Mindanao, and the final version would likely have some inputs from the office of President Rodrigo Duterte, who also hails from Mindanao.

“Experts are saying the bicameral committee meeting is the third chamber of Congress. Meaning, they can still do several changes to improve the bill,” Iqbal said.

“But let’s continue to pray for us to achieve a better law. We in the MILF assures to work for it for us to have a genuine peace, development and justice,” he said.

Duterte had earlier certified the BBL as urgent, and had asked legislators to speed up its final version because he wanted to sign it into law by July before delivering his annual State of the Nation address.

MILF guerrilla leader Wahid Tundok, who commands a large number of fighters, last year warned that the former separatists could launch a siege larger than that of the Marawi attack if the law was not passed.

The predominantly Christian bloc in Congress has been wary of passing the BBL and giving minority Muslims powers to govern their own territory in the south, arguing that it could lead to trouble.

In 2015, congressmen held up the passage of the BBL after MILF guerrillas killed 44 police commandos in a rebel-held zone in the south during a police operation to hunt down Malaysian terrorist Zulkifli bin Hir (alias Marwan).

The police commandos successfully killed Marwan, but were caught up in a gun battle with MILF forces, who said later that they thought another rebel force was attacking them.

PHL muses on using facial-recognition technology to combat terrorism

From Techno Chops (Jun 6): PHL muses on using facial-recognition technology to combat terrorism

PHL muses on using face-recognition technology to track extremists

The Department of National Defense (DND), as represented by Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, will be using technology to combat terrorism. Lorenzana said in an interview with a television station that face-recognition software as well as drones can give our troops significant headway in tracking extremists.

The Secretary also said that the troops need to-relearn fighting tactics in urban places, such as the Islamic city of Marawi. Last month saw the first year anniversary since Islamic State-inspired fighters besieged the city, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to declare Martial Law not just in the city but in the whole Mindanao region.

Lorenzana also stated that extremists themselves are now using technology in their day-to-day operations, even in sending and obtaining money. It will be recalled that even the Department of Finance, as represented by Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, had commented on how the Maute group of extremists has financed its operations.
The said operations are backed up by drug deals, according to Dominguez. Many alleged financiers have in fact been caught in some parts of the National Capital Region. Thus, Lorenzana’s idea of using software would indeed go far to put a stop to those kinds of covert operations.

Facial recognition software is a more powerful version of the method that a computer uses to identify your friends from photos.

The United States, as represented by State Department Counterterrorism Coordinator Nathan Sales, has also urged the Philippines to use biometrics and passenger name records (PNR) to track down extremists. He gave illustrative examples of how cops were able to apprehend men with links to Al-Qaeda through their fingerprints. While Identification Cards can be faked, fingerprints and facial scans help validate a person’s identity.

The proposed National Identification System in the Philippines, if enacted into law, will collect biometrics information from the ID holder, including fingerprints, iris scan, and facial image. While a National ID does indeed look like a means to round up suspicious persons, some groups are worried it might violate the right to privacy.

No right to privacy is violated when contact information is taken from a person taking a plane ride. According to Sales, PNR is also an effective tool to track possible terrorists, who create flight patterns. Applying that to the Philippines, the Office of Transport Security must be aware that there is a war on terrorism going on, and persons with deadly intentions may very well be in our midst.

Matalam 9: encounter or massacre? illegal drugs or land conflict?

From MindaNews (Jun 7): Matalam 9: encounter or massacre? illegal drugs or land conflict?

An encounter or a massacre? Illegal drugs or land conflict?

The chairs of the ceasefire committee of the government (GPH) and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the head of mission and members of the Malaysian-led International Monitoring Team (IMT) conducted a “joint verification” in Sitio Biao, Kilada, Matalam, North Cotabato on June 1 to determine if the killing of seven persons near midnight of May 25 and two others in the early hours of May 26 was due to an “encounter” as claimed by the police or a “massacre” as claimed by the MILF.

Three other villagers were injured and two were arrested in what the police said was a joint police-military operations against illegal drugs, under Project Double Barrel Reloaded.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Region 12 has an ongoing investigation on what happened in Barangay Kilada, CHR regional director Erlan Deluvio told MindaNews on June 6. The CHR started its probe on May 30.

Kilada barangay chair Rowena de Leon said some 70 to 80 families fled the village early morning of May 26 and set up makeshift tents on both sides of the Biao road some two kilometers away.

Displaced residents whom MindaNews talked to at the evacuation site on May 30 said they were awakened by gunfire at around 11:30 p.m. on May 25.

Among the 70 to 80 families who fled Sitio Biao, Barangay Kilada in Matalam, North Cotabato early morning of May 26, 2018 were Jacqueline Lumopog and her son Pahodi. Jacqueline had given birth to Pahodi at 6 p.m. and was awakened by gunshots at 11:30 p.m. during the joint police-military operations against illegal drugs. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Jacqueline Lumopog, who gave birth at 6 p.m. to her second child, a son named Pahodi, found her way to the floor, crawling as she tried to protect her five-hour old baby.

Initial police reports said seven, later nine, suspected drug personalities were killed in the raid conducted on the basis of two search warrants issued on May 22 by Judge Alandrez Betoya for violation of Section 6 of RA 9165, or alleged maintenance of an illegal drugs den, in the houses of Dadting Kasan and Intan Aban.

A combined team from the provincial office and the Matalam police station, along with elements from the 7th Infantry Battalion as back-up, conducted the raid. Senior Supt. Maximo Layugan, provincial police chief, said the troops had no choice but to return fire as Kasan’s and Aban’s group fired at them first.

Arrested were Intan Aban, wife of the slain Usop Sabil Mantis and Kulaga Aban Kasan, wife of the slain Dadting Kasan. Aban’s son and Kasan’s two sons were also killed during the raid.

Layugan said the wives were arrested as they were escaping from their houses along with the children.

Matalam 9

Recovered from the scene of the “encounter” or “massacre” were assorted high-powered firearms and ammunition. The May 26 spot report sent to Layugan by Matalam Police Station chief Sunny Rubas Leoncito listed what was seized from Kasan’s house: a homemade caliber 7.62 sniper rifle with 26 live ammunition; a homemade RPG (rocket-propelled grenade), one 7.62 rifle M14, and one homemade 7.62 pistol.

Seized from the house of Aban were a caliber 30 M1 garand rifle and one clip containing six pieces live ammunition of caliber 30; one homemade caliber 30 sniper rifle; three RPG anti-tank ammunitions with three charge powder and one 50 caliber ammunition.

The initial police reports released to media listed the firearms seized but made no mention of illegal drugs.

Makabuat Ebon, 78, narrates to MindaNews how he and their neighbors fled their village in Sitio Biao, Barangay Kilada, Matalam, North Cotabato early morning of May 26 after nine persons were killed in an anti-illegal drugs near midnight. The evacuees set up makeshift tents on both sides of the Biao road in this photo taken on May 30. Kilada barangay captain Rowena de Leon said an estimated 70 to 80 families fled the village. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO.

But Leoncito’s report said “during the (search) and seizure, personnel recovered one piece of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing suspected dangerous drugs aka shabu” from Aban’s house and five pieces of heat-sealed transparent plastic sachet containing suspected shabu and two pieces of sachet “containing residue of suspected .. shabu” from Kasan’s house.

Butch Malang, chair of the MILF’s Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities (CCCH) told MindaNews on May 27 that the nine victims were members of the MILF’s Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF), not drug personalities and claimed it was not an encounter.

“Ito ay isang massacre” (This is a massacre), Malang said, adding that BIAF members had allegedly identified themselves and turned over their weapons.

Kasan, he said, was a deputy battalion commander in the BIAF’s 105th Base Command.

Malang clarified on June 2 that of the nine persons who were killed, five were members of the BIAF, two were sons of the victims while two others were members of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).

Layugan told MindaNews on June 5 that based on their records, seven persons were killed on May 25. — four in Kasan’s house and three in Aban’s house. He said they did not see the cadavers of the two others who were also reported slain.

According to the police blotter, two slain victims, Teds Salping and Murad Salping, may have been part of a reinforcement team that clashed with government forces after the raid. They were identified by village officials but by then, their cadavers had been “taken by their companions / relatives.”

Layugan said Teds Salping was facing two cases in a Kabacan court for illegal drugs.

Land dispute

“Wala namang massacre doon” (There was no massacre there) but an encounter, De Leon, re-elected barangay captain of Kilada, told MindaNews on May 30 at the barangay hall.

De Leon said the Aban family is not from Barangay Kilada but arrived and settled in Sitio Biao last year and laid claim over some 90 hectares of land which she said are all titled lands registered in the names of the owners.

She said the Abans could not produce documents of ownership and became the subject of complaints that warranted a dialogue the mayor called for in November 2017.

As a result, an agreement was signed by Kulaga, Aban Kasan, Esmael Aban, Junggo Aban and Intan Aban as “claimants” and Angeles Mangawang and Raymundo Reyes and three tenants as “occupants.” In the November 23, 2017 agreement, the Abans promised not to enter the land occupied by Mangawang, Batig and Reyes until the court has ruled on the issue and that they will not harass the occupants but allow them to do their daily activities on the land. The Abans also vowed they would not do anything that would cause trouble between them and the occupants.

Matalam Mayor Cheryl Catamco summoned to a dialogue at the town hall the parties in conflict in Sitio Biao, Kilada in November 2017 where an agreement was signed. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

The agreement, written in Filipino, was signed in the presence of four Muslim religious leaders and members of the Council of Elders and Mayor Cheryl Catamco and Vice Mayor Oscar Valdevieso, who all signed the document as witnesses.

De Leon said that despite the agreement, the Abans allegedly continued their harassment. She noted reports reaching her and the police that “gabi-gabi nagapaputok ng baril, tinututukan mga farmers, sila naga cultivate ng mga lupa” (they fired shots every night, threatened farmers at gunpoint and cultivated the land) and that the armed men were allegedly involved in illegal drugs.

She said they wonder why they had firearms when Mindanao has been under martial law since May 23 last year.

De Leon said the May 25 raid was coordinated with the barangay and had a certification from the MNLF, the area being an MNLF community, she said.

“Lahat ng kailangan na coordination, nagawa po” (All the needed coordination was done), she said.

Layugan told MindaNews that the operation to implement the search warrants was properly coordinated. “We have all the documents,” he said, including what de Leon said was a certification from the MNLF.

He said the area was an MNLF community under Camp Datu Dima Ambil.


Malang, who claimed MILF members in Sitio Biao are not newcomers but had married locals there was no coordination with the MILF. He explained that MILF members in Sitio Biao are not newcomers but had married locals there.

“The question is bakit hindi dumaan sa protocol ng AHJAG ang PNP (Philippine National Police)? Bakit sumuko na ang mga tao, hindi na nila hawak ang mga baril nila ay pinagpapatay pa? … Ito ay isang massacre” (why didn’t the PNP follow the protocol of the AHJAG. Why were they killed when they already surrendered, they were not armed? .. This is a massacre), Malang said on May 27.

Under the ceasefire agreement with the government, the MILF and government peace panels created an Ad Hoc Joint Action Group (AHJAG) which provides for coordination should government forces operate against suspected criminals in MILF areas.

Aside from the AHJAG, the government and MILF signed an agreement on the conduct of anti-illegal drugs operations in MILF areas.

As early as July 12, 2016, the 12th day of the Duterte administration, government and MILF peace panels had signed an Agreement of Cooperation and Coordination in the campaign against illegal drugs in MILF areas.

On June 30, 2017, the government and MILF signed a 15-page “Protocol of Cooperation on Anti-Illegal Drug Operations and related Activities in MILF Areas / Communities.”

The protocol, which adopts the ceasefire mechanisms of the government and MILF, states that government agencies that will conduct anti-illegal drug operations in MILF areas “shall inform not less than 24 hours prior to the conduct of anti-illegal drug operations, the GPH-AHJAG” which “shall then inform the GPH-MILF CCC in order to avoid misencounter between the GPH and MILF forces.”

Malang added that before signing the protocol last year, they were trained on what to expect during operations, that aside from coordination, there should be a representative of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) particularly in handling the drugs that may be seized, and that there should be witnesses, too.

Leoncito’s report noted that during the search and seizure operation, “social media and barangay official were not able to witness due to ongoing firefight which resulted to troops withdrawal in the area.”

Malang said the June 1 “joint verification” started with a briefing at the mayor’s office where the police, military and the MILF made their presentations, before proceeding to Sitio Biao.

After Sitio Biao, they returned to the town hall where they spoke with the witnesses, the wives of the slain victims who were arrested, and the barangay chair, he said.

Malang, who claims the slain victims were not involved in illegal drugs, expressed fear that what happened in Sitio Biao may have been a case of “mga pulis ginagamit na kasangkapan para mapaaalis ang mga tao at itong drugs ang ginagawang dahilan” (police being used as an instrument to get them out of the land and using illegal drugs as the reason) to conduct a raid.

Layugan maintained the police went to Sitio Biao because of illegal drugs.

The IMT and CHR are still completing their investigations.

MILF: Whatever may come out of BiCam Conference can still be mended into progressive law-Jaafar

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Jun 6): Whatever may come out of BiCam Conference can still be mended into progressive law-Jaafar

COTABATO CITY – In an interview by Manila Bulletin on Friday (June 1), Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) Chairman Ghazali Jaafar has appealed for more patience among stakeholders of the just-passed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) versions.

Jaafar said that whatever will be the outcome of the Senate-House bicameral conference can still be mended into “progressive” law.

Many netizens have criticized and reacted to some amendments introduced in Senate BBL version (SB 1717) most particularly the amendments made by Senators Franklin Drilon and Ralph Recto.

“I share that optimism from the context of the process being followed in Congress… The process has not yet ended (with the passage of the BBL last week). Of course everybody understand that the process started, in our case, as we (in BTC) wrote BBL - the proposed (enabling) law of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (forged by MILF and the government in 2014), ” Jaafar told Manila Bulletin during the interview.

Twenty-eight legislators, 18 from the House and 10 from the Senate, will form the Bicameral Conference Committee (BCC) tasked to refine the final version of the BBL that both chambers passed last week. Half of the bicameral “conferees” come from Mindanao, among them seven Moro representatives.

The task of the BCC is to “settle, reconcile or thresh out differences or disagreements on any provision of the bill.”

For his part, MILF Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim has acknowledged several substantive provisions have been deleted or amended in the BBL versions and is hoping the BCC could “correct” these.

“The struggle is not yet over. We are still hoping to correct those substantial issues either amended or deleted by both houses. We are still hoping improvements could still be done during the bicam (Bicameral Conference Committee deliberations),” the MindaNews online news network quoted Murad as saying on Thursday.

In the same article by Manila Bulletin, Jaafar urged critics against the BBL to refrain from further confusing the public and instead propose ideas that can make it beneficial to all stakeholders.

Whatever is the final outcome of the BBL in the BCC, it can still be refined into “progressive” law in an environment of “progressive” ideas and actions, Jaafar said as quoted by the Manila Bulletin. (Source: Manila Bulletin)

NDF/NDF-NEMR: Scrap the TRAIN law that is plunging the people into utter destitution!

NDF-Northeastern Mindanao Region propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Jun 3): Scrap the TRAIN law that is plunging the people into utter destitution!

June 3, 2018

NDFP-North Eastern Mindanao Region are with the people in the region in strongly condemning the constant price increases of basic commodities under the anti-poor, anti-people and pro-imperialist Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law of the US-Duterte regime which started on the first month of this year.

The US-Duterte regime pushed for the implementation of the TRAIN law in the country as additional source of funds for his grandiose Build, Build, Build projects. As such, the excise tax on petroleum products was increased without removing the 12% VAT resulting to the relentless price increases of basic commodities such as rice, salt, sugar, among others.

Aside from the Downstream Oil Deregulation Law, the TRAIN law gives vast power to the capitalists to raise prices of petroleum products without the reactionary government’s price control. The imperialists are able to rake in more profit from the additional taxes being shouldered by the people.

According to April figures, the rate of inflation has reached 4.5 percent (low money value while prices of commodities are increasing) within only four months when in the past it took 5 years before reaching such proportion. With the constant rise of petroleum products other fees also increased such as fare, electricity, water, among others.

In the region alone, the people are utterly enraged at the US-Duterte regime for the endless rise of prices of basic commodities. Before the implementation of the TRAIN law, rice was at 42.00 pesos a kilo, it has now reached 51.00 pesos a kilo. Gasoline prices before the TRAIN law was implemented was at 45.00 pesos a liter, now it has reached 51.00 pesos a liter.

These all means that the people in the region are bearing the effects of the TRAIN law. Clearly there is a big difference in the current prices of basic commodities compared to when the TRAIN law was not yet in effect. Majority of the poor already found it difficult to pay for their basic needs before the imposition of the TRAIN law and it has gotten worse now.

The miserable situation of farmers and agricultural workers is worsening as prices of their products and wages have not increased. The current prices of farm products remain, such as price of bananas purchased by buyers from the farmers which remain at 9.00 pesos a kilo, while the whole coconut remain at 4.00 pesos a kilo and rice at 17.00 pesos a kilo. The farmers are more at a shortfall now because of higher farming expenditures compared to their meager yield. In addition, they are obligated to pay soaring rent of the land and other agricultural equipment to the landlord.

The previous 300.00 pesos minimum wage in the region has increased to a mere 305.00, this is far from the 1,171.00 pesos daily expenditures for a family of six to live decently.

It is clear that the people are baing killed slowly by the US-Duterte regime’s TRAIN law. Because of this more and more people are calling for an end and the rejection of the said law.

Thus, there is a need for constant arousing, organizing and mobilizing of the people to creat a strong and firm unity that will destroy the utterly anti-people and anti-nationalist laws and policies imposed by the US-Duterte regime. ###

Ka Maria Malaya

NDF: NDFP holds moving tribute to Jose “Pepe” Luneta (1944-2018)

Posted to the National Democratic Front Website (Jun 4): NDFP holds moving tribute to Jose “Pepe” Luneta (1944-2018)

Press Statement
4 June 2018

The NDFP International Information Office held a moving memorial for Jose “Pepe” Ebora Luneta last June 3 in Utrecht, The Netherlands attended by close comrades, friends, compatriots, and solidarity activists from Germany. Luneta passed away after a long battle with diabetes last May 1 in Bielefeld, Germany.

In fitting tributes to Luneta, Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, Founding Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and Luis Jalandoni, member of the National Executive Committee of the NDFP, delivered moving eulogies for Jose Luneta who is simply remembered as “Ka Pepe” or Comrade Pepe.

In his message, Prof. Sison called Luneta “an outstanding proletarian revolutionary fighter and a selfless patriot and servant of the Filipino people for more than 55 years.”

“His lifelong struggle, sacrifices and successes in the service to the oppressed and exploited people console all of us,” Sison stressed.

Luneta, Sison said, was a delegate in absentia to the founding congress of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on December 26, 1968 and was elected a member of the CPP Central Committee and the Political Bureau. He became the General Secretary of the CPP in June 1971 after the arrest of his predecessor and participated in the founding of the National Democratic Front on April 24, 1973 in Baguio City, Sison added.

Sison related: “Like any cadre determined to fight the enemy and learn lessons from the process of fighting, he scored achievements and had his own share of errors and weaknesses which he overcame through the process of criticism and self-criticism. In accordance with principles and the facts, he promptly admitted and actively corrected mistakes and shortcomings. Thus, his revolutionary merits far outweigh his demerits.”

In 1990, Luneta left the Philippines to undertake political work among overseas Filipinos and to help develop solidarity relations with other peoples. He landed in Europe and eventually proceeded to Germany to seek political asylum in 1994. From then on, he lived in Germany as a refugee, Sison narrated.

In a memorial meeting in Bielefeld last May 21, Sison related how his comrades and friends from various countries expressed their highest respect, love and gratitude for Ka Pepe for raising their revolutionary consciousness, militancy and sense of proletarian internationalism and solidarity among the oppressed peoples.

Luis Jalandoni for his part, said Luneta’s cadre qualities in his revolutionary work in the Philippines were likewise evident in his political work in Germany and Luxembourg, from 1994 until 2018.

“He integrated with migrant Filipinos in Germany and Luxembourg and raised their political and organizational involvement for the Philippine revolutionary movement,“Jalandoni noted.

“He developed close friendships and political cooperation with migrants and refugees from Africa, the Middle East, and other foreign countries through the very active and effective organizations Karawane and Move to Resist. Despite his illness, he attended their meetings and spoke at their political activities. He got to know them personally. They loved him as a brother, a father, a teacher, a comrade. In his own personal humble way, he would share with them his deep convictions, while raising their political commitment,” Jalandoni emphasized.

Apart from being proficient in several languages such as Pilipino, English, Spanish, German and Chinese, Luneta was also a music composer and a good singer. One of his more popular songs was the “Awit ng Karelasyon”, a wedding song that he composed for his brother’s wedding and which remains popular among activists and revolutionaries until today. He also translated from the Chinese original the song ¨Ang Masa¨, which spread like wildfire among the mass activists during the First Quarter Storm of 1970.

Cultural activists at the memorial gave tribute to Luneta by singing Awit ng Karelasyon l during the memorial. They also recited Professor Sison’s poem What Makes a Hero..

During the memorial tribute, an “open mic” was alloted for comrades and friends to share their recollection and experiences with Luneta.

Henning, a close German friend of Luneta who took care of him during his time of illness and was at his side when he passed away, spoke in behalf of Luneta’s friends in Bielefeld. “You had made quite an impression on me, with your lifelong struggle, your unflinching determination, your sense of injustice. And above all: your kindness, and willingness to listen to people around you, to keep on doing what you could for those in need,” Henning stressed.

“We will keep telling your stories, and your story with us, over and over again, thinking of you, smiling,” Henning concluded.

Dagmar Eberhand of the German-Filipino Friendship Association (GFFA) spoke about Ka Pepe’s important role in the building of the GFFA.

Dan and Malu, Filipinos who now live in the Netherlands and who are also close to Luneta in the Philippines, recounted light moments with Luneta when they were still working together back in the Philippines.

Another Filipino comrade sent an email which was read during the memorial recounting the time when he and Luneta were being severely tortured by dictator Marcos’ military. Luneta, he said, told him “only by being selfless can we be fearless”.

In behalf of the Luneta family, Maxima Luneta-Esguerra, sister of Pepe Luneta and herself a former political prisoner, expressed their deep gratitude for the love, care and devotion shown to his brother. The whole family, including Pepe’s only son, she said, sends their boundless gratitude to the goodness shown on his brother.

“Our siblings who have passed away, and were imprisoned during martial law – Romeo, Domingo, Francisco, Ernesto, Nenita and daughter Nina – who were victims of forced disappearance, would probably be watching and would like to thank all of you,” Luneta-Esguerra said in her message.

Dutch, German, Turkish, Afghan, and Filipino friends who attended the memorial said the tribute was moving and inspiring, and though they don’t know Jose Luneta personally, they said words said about him, about his life and struggle, were a deep learning experience.

CPP/NPA-Sierra Madre: Pananalakay ng AFP sa Sierra Madre-TK, patuloy na binibigo ng BHB

NPA-Sierra Madre propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 4): Pananalakay ng AFP sa Sierra Madre-TK, patuloy na binibigo ng BHB

Armando “Ka Mando” Jacinto, Spokesperson
NPA-Sierra Madre (Rosario Lodronio Rosal Command)

4 June 2018

Sa pamamagitan ng serye ng mga kontra-opensibang aksyon ng mga pwersa ng BHB sa ilalim ng Rosario Lodronio Rosal Command (RLRC-NPA-Mt. Sierra Madre-Southern Tagalog Sub-Regional Command) ay matagumpay na nadepensahan nito ang sarili at ang mamamayan at matagumpay na binigo ang pananalakay ng mga pwersa ng AFP sa ilalim ng 80th IB-PA.

Naglunsad ng sustenidong pananalakay ang mga pwersa ng 80th IB-PA mula Enero 2018 hanggang sa kasalukuyan. Pinakatan nila ng tig-iisang platun ng sundalo ng AFP ang halos lahat ng sityo sa Barangay Umiray, General Nakar, Quezon at ang mga panabihan ng baybay dagat ng General Nakar, Quezon. Sinimulan nila ang panlilinlang at pananakot sa mga mamamayan ng nasabing lugar pangunahin na ang mga katutubong Dumagat at Remontados na naninirahan dito. Sa una’y sinikap ng mga pwersa ng BHB na iwasan ang mga tropang nag-ooperasyon subalit mas naging agresibo at marahas ang kanilang naging panunupil sa mamamayan upang hanapin ang mga pwersa ng BHB. Sa ganito ay naobliga ang BHB sa ilalim ng RLRC-NPA-Sierra Madre-TK na maglunsad ng mga aksyong militar para ipagtanggol ang sarili at ang mga mamamayan.

Noong Mayo 14, 2018, sa ganap na ika-4 ng hapon ay sinalakay ng 1 platun ng mga sundalong kabilang sa 80th IB-PA ang nagpapahingang 6-kataong tim ng NPA sa Sitio Panagsaan, Umiray, General Nakar. Quezon. Aktibong nagdepensa ang pwersa ng NPA at nilabanan ang umaatakeng tropa ng AFP. Nagresulta ito sa isang patay at isang sugatan sa panig ng sundalo. Ang namatay ay si Sgt. Salustiano ng 80th IB-PA habang walang kaswalti sa panig ng BHB.

Matapos ang nasabing labanan ay iligal na hinuli. tinortyur at ikinulong ng hindi ipinapakita sa pamilya at sa kanilang abogado ang mga katutubong Dumagat na sina Rocky Torres, 22 taong gulang, binata at si Dandoy Avellaneda Dela Cruz, mahigit 40 taong gulang, may asawa at mga anak. Ang 2 Dumagat ay nakatira sa Sitio Dadiangao, Umiray, General Nakar, Quezon na inabot ng mga nag-ooperasyon sundalo sa kanilang pansamantalang tirahan sa tabing ilog ng nasabing barangay. Sapilitan silang pinapaamin na myembro ng BHB at nang hindi umamin ay binugbog at sapilitang sinakay sa helicopter ng mga militar. Sila ngayon ay iligal na nakakulong sa kampo ng Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM-AFP) sa Lucena City, Quezon.

Noong Mayo 24, 2018 ay inisnayp ng BHB ang nag-ooperasyong tropa ng 80th IB-PA sa Sitio Longo, Umiray, General Nakar, Quezon bandang ika-6 ng umaga. Nagresulta ito sa pagkamatay ng isang opisyal ng 80th IB-PA.

Bandang ika-1 ng hapon ay pinagtangkaang ambusin ng isang platun ng 80th IB-PA ang 3-kataong tim ng NPA na naglalakad sa tabing ilong ng Sitio Pilipit, Umiray, General Nakar, Quezon. Aktibong lumaban ang pwersa ng NPA at ligtas na nakaatras habang may mga nasugatan sa panig ng sundalo ng AFP.

Pagdating naman ng ika-4 ng hapon, Mayo 24, 2018 ay sinalakay ng isang seksyon ng sundalong kabilang sa 80th IB-PA ang nagpapahingang 3 kataong tim ng NPA. Aktibong nagdepensa ang mga pwersa ng NPA sa dikitang labanan na 10 metro ang pagitan. Habang naglalabanan ay dumating ang 2 helicopter ng AFP (MG 520) para suportahan ang kanilang tropa. Umikot ito ng 5 beses sa lugar na pinaglalabanan subalit hindi nagawang putukan o bombahin ang tropa ng NPA dahilan sa malaking posibilidad na madamay mismo ang kanilang mga tropa. Nagresulta ito sa pagkasugat ng ilang mga sundalo habang ligtas na nakaatras ng tropa ng BHB.

Mayo 27, 2018 ng ika-6 ng gabi ay hinaras ng tropa ng NPA ang isang platun ng sundalong kabilang sa 80th IB-PA na nag-ooperasyon sa Sitio Inamitan, Umiray, General Nakar, Quezon. Nagresulta ito sa ilang mga sugatan sa panig ng AFP habang ligtas na nakaatras ang tropa ng NPA.

Ang mga operasyon ng NPA laban sa mga umaatakeng pwersa ay para idepensa ang sarili at ipagtanggol ang karapatan ng mga mamamayan, magsasaka at katutubong Dumagat at Remontado na patuloy na dinadahas at lansakang nilalabag ang karapatang pantao. Hindi mapapayagan ng NPA patuloy na pinahihirapan ng mga sundalo ang mamamayan at winawasak ang kanilang buhay at ari-arian. Tungkulin ng NPA na lumaban para ipagtanggol ang mamamayan buhay man ay ialay kung kinakailangan. Patuloy na bibiguin ng mga pwersa ng NPA ang patuloy na pananalakay na gagawin ng GPH-AFP laban sa mamamayan at rebolusyonaryong kilusan.

Bagama’t aktibong lumalaban sa pananalakay ay patuloy na sinusuportahan ng mga pulang kumander at mandirigma ng RLRC-NPA-Mt. Sierra Madre ang napipintong muling pagbubukas ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng CPP-NPA-NDFP at Gobyerno ng Pilipinas (GPH) na kinakatawan ngayon ng Rehimeng US-Duterte. Nananawagan din kami sa Rehimeng Duterte na kagyat na ipahinto ang operasyong militar sa kanayunan na pangunahing pumipinsala sa buhay at ari-arian ng mga mamamayan, magsasaka at katutubong Dumagat sa buong Sierra Madre-Timog Katagalugan dahil ang mga ganitong aksyon ng AFP-GPH sumisira sa klima ng napipintong pagbubukas sa usapang pangkapayapaan. Hanggang patuloy na aatake ang AFP-GPH sa mga teritoryo ng CPP-NPA-NDFP ay hindi maiiwasang lumaban ang NPA para depensahan ang sarili at ipagtanggol ang mga mamamayang dumaranas ng kalupitan, karahasan at paglabag sa karapatang pantao na ginagawa ng AFP.

Anuman ang maging resulta ng usapang pangkapayapaan ay hindi hihinto ang NPA sa tunay at tapat na paglilingkod sa sambayanang Pilipino.


CPP/NDF-EV: NDF-EV responds to NwSSU President Avelina Bergado: Support the peace talks, not privatization, ecotourism, and militarization

NDF-Eastern Visayas propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 4): NDF-EV responds to NwSSU President Avelina Bergado: Support the peace talks, not privatization, ecotourism, and militarization

Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas, Spokesperson
NDFP Eastern Visayas (Region VIII)

4 June 2018

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas (NDF-EV) today criticized Northwest Samar State University (NwSSU) President Avelina Bergado for recently blaming the revolutionary movement as anti-development and for advocating privatization, ecotourism and militarization of the 900 hectares of farm and forest land in the satellite campus in San Jorge, Samar. The main campus of the state university is in Calbayog City in the same province.

“Turning the university’s land in San Jorge into an ecotourism site in the name of public-private partnership undermines the state university as well as genuine development,” said NDF-EV spokesperson Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas. “It hews to the US-Duterte regime’s neoliberal policy of privatizing government institutions, cutbacks in social services such as education, and pampering the military and police to oppress the people. Ecotourism is also a mere palliative instead of fundamental changes like land reform and national industrialization, while paying lip service to the environment that will be besieged by private construction and pleasure seekers and the resultant garbage.

“On the other hand, the revolutionary movement supports genuine development through asserting national sovereignty, carrying out agrarian reform and national industrialization, free education at all levels, and other basic calls in the 12-point program of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).”

The NDF-EV spokesperson also said it was unbecoming for the university president to further call for “counterinsurgency” operations by the military to clear the way for privatizing the satellite campus’s farm and forest land. “We are aghast that Bergado would be a party to the military’s encroachment on the academic institution and any community in the area, that are both accorded protection under international humanitarian law because of their civilian status. Such an action cedes civilian supremacy over the military and submits to the militarist solution, paving the way for potential violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. We advise Bergado to refrain from contributing to the Duterte regime’s dismal human rights record, with hundreds of thousands of civilian victims in the “counterinsurgency” and anti-Moro wars, not to mention the more than 20,000 victims in the anti-drug war.”

Fr. Salas challenged NwSSU President Bergado and others in the academe to support instead the resumption of peace talks between the NDFP and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. “Resuming the peace talks is a serious effort to address the roots of the civil war, especially since what is currently at stake is forging the Comprehensive Agreement on Socioeconomic Reforms. We urge the academe to be critical, to study the basic problems of Philippine society and to support the struggle for a just and lasting peace. The NDF-EV also urges the students of NwSSU and other schools to do social investigations in the countryside to see for themselves the plight of the people, and to support the democratic mass struggles for land, jobs, free education and other basic rights.”

CPP/NPA-Quezon: 85th IBPA, Muling inambus ng NPA-Quezon

NPA-Quezon propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 5): 85th IBPA, Muling inambus ng NPA-Quezon

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

5 June 2018

Muling inambus ng New People’s Army sa ilalim ng Apolonio Mendoza Command sa lalawigan ng Quezon ang nag-ooperasyong sundalo ng 85th Infantry Battalion ng Philippine Army, kahapon pasado alas nuwebe ng gabi sa Barangay Cogorin Ibaba, bayan ng Lopez.

Dalawang magkasunod na labanan ang naganap, una ay nang ambusin ang isang trak na may sakay na sampung sundalo at ang ikalawa ay nang tambangan ulit ang mga magrereinpors na tropa ng Armed Forces of Philippines.

Sa mga naturang labanan, kumpirmado ang mga napaulat na patay at sugatang elemento ng Philippine Army habang wala namang naging kaswalti sa tropa ng pulang mandirigma na kaagad ring nakaatras matapos ang 20-minutong sagupaan.

Ayon sa AMC-NPA-Quezon, ang taktikal na opensibang inilunsad nila ay bahagi ng kanilang pagtatanggol sa komunidad ng magsasaka na saklaw ng pulang teritoryo ng rebolusyunaryong kilusan.

“Bagama’t nagbukas ang gubyerno ng Republika ng Pilipinas ng bagong bintana para sa usapang kapayapaan, patuloy naman ang atake nila sa mga baryo ng magsasaka, kaya naglunsad ng kontra-atake ang NPA,” pahayag ni Ka Cleo del Mundo, tagapagsalita ng AMC-NPA-Quezon.

Ayon sa tagapagsalita ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan sa lalawigan, nagiging mapanganib at lumilikha ng matinding teror sa mga magsasaka ang operasyong militar. Kabaligtaran ito, ani del Mundo, sa sinasabi ni Duterte na likhain ang mapayapang kundisyon bago ang peace talks.

“Sa nakaraang isang linggo bago ang matagumpay na ambus, hindi bababa sa limang barangay sa tatlong bayan ang militarisado ng may isang kumpanyang sundalo,” dagdag ni del Mundo.

Ang mga nasabing barangay ay San Francisco B, San Miguel Dao, Veronica at Jongo ng bayan ng Lopez; Cauayan sa bayan ng Gumaca; at Bulagsong sa Catanauan.

“Hindi na makapunta sa kanilang mga niyugan ang magsasaka at napapabayaan na ang mga alagang hayop mula nang simulan ng pasistang tropa ang kanilang operasyon.”

“Nahihintakutan din ang mga residente sa sensus na ginagawa ng mga sundalo dahil sa nakaraan ay nagresulta ito ng mga pekeng pagpapasuko kagaya ng nangyari sa Barangay Jongo noong buwan ng Pebrero kung saan 11-magsasaka ang kasamang ipinarada sa MalacaƱang,” pagpapalawig ni del Mundo.

Bago pa ang pangyayari, may mga nauna nang pahayag ang AMC-NPA-Quezon sa nakaraang dalawang buwan na nagsasalaysay ng patuloy at walang humpay na atakeng militar sa mga magsasaka at Bagong Hukbong Bayan.

Noong Pebrero, tatlong magkakasunod na aksyong militar ang ginawa ng NPA-Quezon.

CPP: Duterte’s BBL fans the flames of the Moro people’s struggles

Propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Jun 5): Duterte’s BBL fans the flames of the Moro people’s struggles

Communist Party of the Philippines

5 June 2018

Duterte’s Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), as it now stands as separately approved bills by the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives, has roused deep and widespread dissatisfaction among the Moro people and advocates of their right to self-determination. The impending enactment of the BBL by Duterte will not only fail to correct the historical injustices against the Moro people, but will further prolong and worsen their national oppression. Contrary to its aim of appeasing the Moro people, Duterte’s BBL is set to succeed only in further enraging them to wage even greater struggles to advance the Bangsamoro cause.

Mobilizing his supermajority in the lower house and majority control of the Senate, Duterte managed to railroad the approval of his BBL with almost nary an opposition by allowing it to be mangled by reactionary ruling class politicians with deep-seated anti-Moro prejudice and chauvinism. The BBL is now beyond recognition of the members of the Bangsamoro Transition Council which drafted the original consensual version. The process of reconciling the different versions of the Senate and House bills through the bicameral conference is anticipated to further hollow out the BBL until it is left only with its name as an empty shell.

Far from giving the Moro people the long-aspired for right to self-determination, Duterte’s BBL is set to further reinforce their national oppression. It subsumes any so-called “Moro authority” to be exercised in the BBL under the 1987 Philippine constitution and the powers of the central government. Most critically, it reserves the central government’s exclusive right to operate an armed forces within the Bangsamoro area, and puts local police operations under the Philippine National Police. Duterte’s BBL aims to disempower the Moro people by disarming and demobilizing their armies, thus disabling them from defending their rights and exercising political authority.

Furthermore, Duterte’s BBL denies the Moro people the exclusive right to determine the use of their natural resources. It has denied them the privilege to manage and distribute land, determine and reclassify agricultural land-use, regulate power generation, transmission and distribution as well as the operation of public utilities, to practice their own justice system, and to protect the rights of indigenous peoples.

The Moro people will forever suffer the loss of the Liguasan Marsh and the Lanao Lake and its rich resources to foreign big capitalists which will be allowed under Duterte’s BBL to encroach on Bangsamoro land and operate its businesses without limits to foreign ownership. It specifies certain areas as free ports where foreign companies will be afforded tax incentives and other investment privileges. Duterte’s BBL is set to transform Bangsamoro land into a haven for plunderous mining companies, and destructive rubber and oil palm plantations, and make the broad broad masses of the Moro people suffer widespread economic displacement.

Duterte’s BBL is an insidious measure which pretends to serve the Moro people but in fact aims to oppress them further. The broad spectrum of Moro groups are disenchanted, to say the least. To many, Duterte’s BBL further insults and assaults the Moro people who just recently suffered gravely from war of destruction against Marawi City perpetrated by Duterte, the AFP and the US military.

Duterte and the whole anti-Moro chauvinists in the reactionary state are making the same mistake of deceiving the Moro people. The enactment of Duterte’s BBL in its present mangled form will surely rouse the Moro people, especially the broad masses of peasants, workers and semiproletariat, as well as petty-bourgeois intellectuals, to continue waging revolutionary resistance. Various armed Moro revolutionary groups are bound to intensify their armed struggle as Duterte’s BBL makes it crystal clear that they have no other recourse.

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and all revolutionary forces reiterates full support to the Moro people’s continuing struggle for their right to self-determination. The CPP enjoins the broad masses of the Moro people to rise up with the Filipino people against the Duterte government which has made them suffer through wars and attacks against their human rights.

The Filipino people and the Moro people must forge unity against their common oppressors and exploiters. They must jointly struggle against US imperialism and its interventionist military, against the plunderous foreign companies and their local business partners, against the US-directed Armed Forces of the Philippines, against the big bureaucrats who pocket billions of pesos and fleece on the people, as well as against those forces that betray their common cause.
They Filipino people and the Moro people are strongly connected by their struggles for national liberation and social justice against common enemies. Their history of symbiotic resistance continues.