Friday, July 20, 2018

NDF/NPA-ROC: “Localized Peace Talks” ng Rehimeng US-Duterte, tinutulan at kinundena ng Celso Minguez Command

NPA Regional Operation  Command press statement posted to the National Democratic Front (NDF) Website (Jul 19): “Localized Peace Talks” ng Rehimeng US-Duterte, tinutulan at kinundena ng Celso Minguez Command

Press statement
July 12, 2018

The battle-ready and determined counter-attacks of the New People’s Army (NPA)-Front 8 effectively defeated the lightning strike of more than 300 forces of the 3rd SFB and 401st Bde under the command of Brig. Gen. Centino against the Red fighters in the mountains of Brgy. Mt. Carmel, Bayugan, Agusan del Sur last July 5 until July 11, 2018.

Within this period, the fascist AFP troops were engaged in four (4) clashes and sustained not less than 16 soldiers killed and 4 wounded. On the other hand, Red fighters were able to withdraw safely.

Without concern for the lives and livelihood of small miners and farmers, and in line with its militarist policy of “flattening the mountains,” the AFP ran amok and indiscriminately discharged 21 canon mortars, 32 rockets and indiscriminately fired its 50 caliber machine gun upon the mining areas in Brgy. La Purisima, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur and farms near the barangays of New Salem, Villa Undayon and Mt. Carmel in Bayugan, Agusan del Sur. The miners and farmers in these areas suffered unfathomable terror forcing them to evacuate.

According to reports from the NPA-Front 8 command, the following are the details of the firefight and bombings:

In July 5, at around 12 noon, 3rd SFB troops began its attacks against the NPA positioned in the mountains of Brgy. Mt. Carmel but was unable to advance further. The 3rd SFB reportedly sustained one (1) casualty. The AFP then fired 8 canon mortars and deployed its MG520 attack helicopter. The AFP also used drones for surveillance.

July 6, at 6:45 in the morning, another group from the NPA-Front 8 ambushed the attacking AFP troops in the same area. The NPA discharged its command detonated explosives against the attacking enemy. The AFP forces sustained not less that 16 soldiers killed including those missing and several more were wounded. The AFP then fired 4 canon mortars targeting the mining area and was supported by its war planes which launched three (3) bombings (firing 16 rockets) and indiscriminately bombed the mountains and farms near the barangays of New Salem, Villa Undayon and Mt. Carmel. Drones were again used for surveillance and helicopters were used to carry additional troops.

July 7, at 11 o’clock in the morning, the AFP again fired 9 canon mortars to the mining areas of Humalos, Bahay and Dakulang in Brgy. La Purisima, Prosperidad. This was followed by the firing of 8 rockets and indiscriminate aerial firing of machine gun. Drones were again used for surveillance by the AFP.

July 8, 10 o’clock in the morning, the AFP fired at least 8 rockets and indiscriminately fired machine guns upon the same areas.

July 11, at 9:13 in the morning, a group of NPA-Front 8 harassed AFP troops in the same area. The enemy sustained one (1) casualty and the Red fighters safely withdrew.

The failure of the AFP to strike a big blow against the NPA and the people is a message for Duterte’s coming SONA on June 23, 2018.

History has shown that the people’s just war is the most effective instrument of the Filipino people to frustrate and defeat the brutal actions of the massive and strong forces of the anti-people and reactionary US-Duterte regime.

Ka Ariel Montero
Regional Operational Command

CPP/NPA-Sorsogon: “Localized Peace Talks” ng Rehimeng US-Duterte, tinutulan at kinundena ng Celso Minguez Command

NPA-Sorsogon propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 19): “Localized Peace Talks” ng Rehimeng US-Duterte, tinutulan at kinundena ng Celso Minguez Command

Ka Samuel Guerrero, Spokesperson
NPA-Sorsogon (Celso Minguez Command)

18 July 2018
Press Release

Mariing tinututulan at kinukundena ng Celso Minguez Command ang mapanlinlang na alok ng “localized peace talks” ng pasista at pahirap na rehimeng US-Duterte nitong nakaraang petsa 13 ng Hulyo.

Isa itong mapanghating taktika ng mapanlinlang na rehimeng US-Duterte. Nililito nito ang tao sa tunay na pakay ni Duterte at kanyang Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) na itulak ang mga nasa lokal na rebolusyonaryong pwersa na pumasok sa kanilang mga pakana at pagpapasuko.

Wala itong balak na harapin ang pagsasaayos, pagpipinal at pagpirma sa Kumprehensibong Kasunduan para sa Panlipunan at pang-Ekonomyang Reporma o CASER kung saan ipagtitibay sana ng magkabilang panig ng GRP at NDFP ang usapin na pagpapatupad ng tunay na reporma sa lupa at industriyalisasyon.

Ang layunin ng pagkakaroon ng usapang pangkapayapaan ay upang malutas ang mayor na suliranin ng mamamayang Pilipino tungkol sa lupa. Ang pagtibay sana sa CASER ang isang hakbang upang malutas ang dahilan kung bakit may armadong tunggalian sa kasalukuyan. Ngunit dahil hindi ito kayang harapin ng pahirap na rehimeng US-Duterte na mas nais ipatupad ang mga neoliberal na patakaran ng imperyalista nitong amo ay aatrasan na lang niya ang pagtalikod sa pambansang usapang pangkapayapaan at pagsusulong ng mapanghating localized peace talks.

Ang panawagan para sa isang “localized peace talks” ay paulit-ulit nang ipinilit ng mga nagdaang rehimen sa mamamayang Sorsoganon. Kailanman ay hindi ito tinanggap at paulit-ulit na rin itong itinatwa ng CMC at ng mga Sorsoganon. Pagpapatunay ito na hindi malilinlang ni Duterte at kanyang mga armadong pwersa sa panibago nitong pagpapanggap na para ito sa kapayapaan samantalang nagpapatuloy ang mga operasyong militar na nagdadala ng mga pananakot, pananakit at pamamaslang sa mga Sorsoganon.

Wala itong kahihinatnan at hindi ito magtatagumpay. Hindi dito papasok ang Celso Minguez Command kasabay ng iba pang mga Command ng Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BHB) sa buong Pilipinas.

Nirerespeto ng CMC na ang marapat na kinatawan ng CPP-NPA-NDF sa usapang pangkapayapaan ay ang NDFP at ito lamang ang may awtoridad na magsagawa ng anumang kasunduan sa GRP para sa kapakanan ng mamamayang Pilipino. Kinikilala din ng CMC ang lahat ng kasunduan at balangkas na pinirmahan ng NDFP at GRP bilang gabay sa pagsasagawa ng usapang pangkapayapaan.

Naniniwala ang CMC na ang papel BHB ay ang pagsusulong ng armadong pakikibaka, pagtatanggol sa mga mamamayang inaapi at lumalaban para makamit ang hustisyang panlipunan. Sa patuloy na paghadlang ng pasista at pahirap na rehimeng US-Duterte sa pagtugon sa panlipunan at pang-ekonomiyang pangangailangan ng mamamayan ay makatitiyak din ang mamamayang Sorsoganon na magpapatuloy din ang armadong pakikibaka upang matiyak ang pagkamit sa rebolusyonaryong mithiing ito ng mamamayan.

CPP: AFP infestation of barangays forcing thousands of people to flee

CPP propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 19): AFP infestation of barangays forcing thousands of people to flee


Communist Party of the Philippines

19 July 2018

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) extends its solidarity with the thousands of minority people in Lianga, Surigao del Sur who were forced to leave their homes last July 16 after being subjected to more than a month of nonstop harassment and abuses by combat troops of the AFP’s 75th IB.

At least 1,600 residents of Barangay Diatagon, largely minority Manobos, marched for close to 10 hours to the town center of Lianga to seek safe haven from military attacks. Combat troops attempted to block the roads, prevented journalists from covering the story and stopped relief workers from extending assistance.
The evacuation of residents of Lianga is the fourth time since martial law was imposed last year in Mindanao, and the third since the 2015 killings of their community leaders.

Theirs is just the most recent case of mass exodus. Just over a month ago, several hundred residents from Barangay Banglay, Lagonglong town in Misamis Oriental fled their AFP-occupied community after being subjected to threats of reprisals by officials of the 58th IB following armed encounters with the NPA. Towards the end of June, residents of Barangay Bantaawan, Gingoog City left their community a week after it was occupied by a platoon of combat troops under the 58th IB. They have sought shelter in Cagayan de Oro City where various groups have extended support.

Several hundred barangays suffer from AFP infestation nationwide. Peasants and minority people are subjected to relentless attacks by AFP troops under Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan and total war against civilians. Millions of peasants suffer from de facto martial law conditions nationwide. Minority peoples are especially targeted. Extrajudicial killings, illegal arrests, forcible “surrender,” maltreatment, harassments and other military abuses run rampant.

Acting in behalf of big foreign capitalists and their local associates, Duterte is driving peasants away from their homes in order to take over their farms and ancestral lands. Lianga, in particular, is part of the resource-rich Andap Valley Complex Complex in which Duterte has given special interest to and is being coveted by big mining companies for its rich coal reserves. Among the companies operating or explorting in the area are Benguet Corp, Abacus Coal Exploration and Development Corporation, Great Wall Mining and Power Corp., ASK Mining and Power Corporation and Coalblack Mining Corporation. The AFP has deployed at least four battalions in the area including the 75th IB, as well as the 36th IB, 88th IB, and the 16th SFB.

By mounting relentless attacks against civlians, the Duterte regime is rousing millions of peasants and minority people to wage all-out resistance to defend their farms and ancestral lands against incursions by big capitalists. The New People’s Army will continue to mount tactical offensives against the fascist units of the AFP, in line with its task of defending the rights and interests of the oppressed and exploited.

CPP/NPA-Quezon: Babala sa mga impormer ng AFP at PNP

NPA-Quezon propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 20): Babala sa mga impormer ng AFP at PNP

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

20 July 2018

Nagdiriwang ang rebolusyonaryong mamamayan ng Quezon matapos maparusahan ng isparo yunit ng Apolonio Mendoza Command-NPA-Quezon sina Efren Aguila at alyas Gary Perez, mga notoryus na asset ng Armed Forces of the Phillipines sa magkahiwalay na operasyon sa Bondoc Peninsula, kahapon, Hulyo 19.

Si Aguila ang nagpakubkob sa pangkat nina Gilbert “Ka Ipe” Tigas noong Marso 2010. Nadamay at nasawi sa insidente ang isang kandidatong konsehal ng bayan ng Padre Burgos na noon ay kinakausap ni Ka Ipe.

Si Gary ang sangkot sa pagtuturo sa kinaroroonan ng mga NPA na naging sanhi ng pagkamartir nina Edilberto “Ka Enteng” Escudero at Roval “Ka Elor” Belario sa isang labanan noong Nobyembre 2007 sa bayan ng San Narciso. Isa ito sa mahabang listahan ng nakakarimarim na paglabag sa batas ng digma ng 74th IBPA dahil sa ginawa nilang pagpapalapa sa aso sa noon ay sugatan pero buhay pang si Ka Roval.

Samantala, pinarusahan din sina Roberto Orugo at Juanito Javier, Jr sa magkahiwalay na operasyon ng NPA sa bayan ng Gumaca at Plaridel noong ika 6 at 12 ng Hulyo.

Si Javier ang mastermind sa pagpapakulong sa isang NPA matapos niyang bugbugin ang nasabing pulang mandirigma nito lamang Mayo. Sigâ, mangungursunada at talamak sa gawaing anti-sosyal si Javier sa kanilang baryo, at ipinagyayabang pang hindi siya kumikilala sa pulang kapangyarihan ng rebolusyunaryong kilusan.

Si Orugo naman ang gumiya sa nag-ooperasyong sundalo at nagturo sa mga NPA at kinalalagyan ng mga nakatagong baril kapalit ng P150,000. Sangkot si Orugo sa pagkakadakip ni Ka Cleo del Mundo at dalawa pang kasamahan sa bayan ng Atimonan noong June 2008.

Sa gitna ng pamamarusa sa mga nabanggit na asset ng Southern Luzon Command ng AFP, nananatiling tahimik at itinatatwa ng pasistang tropa ang kanilang mga tauhan at pinalalabas na sibilyan ang kanilang mga bayarang ahente.

Magsisilbi itong babala sa mga asset ng AFP at PNP na lisanin na nila ang kanilang trabaho dahil hindi titigil ang rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa paniningil sa mga kontra-rebolusyon at nagkaroon ng mabibigat na pagkakasala sa mamamayan.

CPP/NPA: Duterte’s localized peace talks are maneuvers for unconditional surrender

NPA propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 20): Duterte’s localized peace talks are maneuvers for unconditional surrender 

Ka Oris, Spokesperson
New People’s Army

20 July 2018

Like a fool on a hill, President Duterte will be talking to himself in his government’s much-vaunted localized peace talks with the NPA.
The so-called localized peace talks is nothing but a deceitful psywar ploy to cover up the total trashing of the peace process in favor of a fascist pipe dream of a quick militarist solution to the armed conflict by sheer brute force. It is pure “counterinsurgency” pretending to talk about peace.

Its immediate purpose is to have something to report about peace in this coming State of the Nation Address. Its main purpose is to sow distrust, disunity and discord among the revolutionary ranks by pitting the local forces against the national leadership, one part against another, and the masses against the movement. In truth, the regime does not desire peace talks, just the unconditonal surrender of the NPA forces.

The shift to localized peace talks is done concurrent with unprecedently widespread militarization of peasant and indigenous communities, bombings, arbitrary arrests and killings of activist and peasant leaders and widespread suppression of people’s struggles especially in Mindanao where more than 60% of the AFP total maneuver battalions are now deployed. On top of being subjected to unbridled fascist terror, the peasant masses will now be further coerced to become unwilling participants in the local peace talk charades that the regime and its blood-thirsty military are putting up.

Duterte, with warmongers and “Amboys” Lorenzana, Esperon, General Ano of the DILG and the OPAPP have succeeded in shooting down the GRP-NDFP talks in favor of the sham localized peace talks. They swagger to and fro to create appearances that there will be such talks, inventing and arbitrarily choosing the entities to talk with, in the same way they invent mass surrenders of NPA members and supporters.

Instead of seriously addressing the people’s needs for genuine land reform, national industrialization and national sovereignty, the imperialist puppet Duterte regime has opted for sheer military force and fascist brutality in attempting to impose unconditional surrender on the revolutionary forces.
Under the absolute leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army stands solidly on the NDFP position upholding the provisions of the The Hague Joint Declaration, CARHRIHL, JASIG and other agreements forged in previous peace negotiations. NPA units at all levels will not entertain localized peace talks but will certainly respect all agreements entered into by the NDFP.

As the true people’s army, in the face of the intensifying brutality of the “Oplan Kapayapaan,” we are duty bound to launch tactical offensives as an act of self-defense and in defense of the people and the gains of the revolution. A true people’s army will never surrender and compromise the interest of the people.

CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Misencounter between restless 94th IBPA troops, found out

NPA-Central Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 20): Misencounter between restless 94th IBPA troops, found out

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

20 July 2018
Press Release
Capt. Roel Llanes’ claim of an alleged encounter in Sitio Mamaho-paho, Brgy. San Agustin, Isabela, Negros Occidental is embarrassing. No legitimate encounter occurred in the said area. Instead, a misencounter between 94th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army troops.

According to residents there are wounded and casualties among the military. But they deliberately deny this to the public to cover up their foolishness.

The LPC-NPA condemns the indiscriminate firing of the 94th IBPA. This caused fear and terror amongst innocent farmers in the area.

The LPC calls on all NPA units to wholeheartedly defend the peasant masses and their livelihood against military abuses.

Launch widespread tactical offensives in response to the scripted and deceitful State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the fascist, militarist and warmonger US-Digong Duterte.

CPP/NPA-Laguna: Biguin ang inilalakong mapanlinlang na localized peace talks ng rehimeng US-Duterte!

NPA-Laguna propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 20): Biguin ang inilalakong mapanlinlang na localized peace talks ng rehimeng US-Duterte!

Magdalena Kalayaan, Spokesperson

20 July 2018
Press Release

Matatag na naninindigan ang mga yunit sa ilalim ng Cesar Batralo Command-NPA Laguna na walang sinumang bahagi nito ang lalahok sa mapanlinlang na localized peace talks ng rehimeng US-Duterte. Naninindigan din ang buong NPA Laguna na tanging ang NDFP lamang ang lehitimong kinatawan ng CPP-NPA para lumahok sa peace talks. Simula’t sapul, ang National Democratic Front of the Philippines ay pinagtitiwalaan ng buong rebolusyonaryong hanay sa lalawigan sa pagsusulong ng tunay na kapayapaang nakabatay sa hustisyang panlipunan.

Kasabay nito, mariiing kinukundena ng CBC-NPA Laguna ang rehimeng US-Duterte kasabwat ang AFP-PNP at mga militaristang alipures nito sa panlilinlang sa mamamayan at mga paninira sa rebolusyonaryong kilusan laluna sa NDFP at kay Kasamang Jose Maria Sison. Samantalang mahusay na iginiya ni Kasamang Joma ang NDFP negotiating panel at buong rebolusyonaryong pwersa kaisa ang pamunuan ng Partido sa pakikitungo sa rehimeng US-Duterte.

Mula nang muling buksan ang usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng magkabilang-panig, kinatawan ng NDFP ang interes at hinaing ng sambayanang Pilipino. Para higit itong magpatuloy, iniatas ng CPP sa lahat ng komand ng NPA sa buong bansa na buuin ang paborableng kondisyon para sa usapan sa pamamagitan ng pagkakaroon ng unilateral na tigil-putukan (Agosto 2016- Pebrero 2017) at ang paghahanda sa stand down nitong Hunyo ng kasalukuyang taon. Matatag, disiplinado, at buong-pagtitimping tumalima dito ang mga yunit sa ilalim ng NPA Laguna sa kabila ng mga probokasyon at pang-uupat ng mga yunit ng AFP-PNP sa probinsya.

Hindi reresolbahin ng localized peace talks ang daan-taong suliranin ng sambayanang Pilipino. Ang pagtanggi ng rehimeng US-Duterte na makipag-usap sa NDFP bilang lehitimong kinatawan ng itinatatag na rebolusyonaryong gobyerno sa kanayunan ay pagtalikod nya rin sa malaon nang kahilingan ng mamamayang wakasan ang kahirapan at kamtin ang tunay na kapayapaang nakabatay sa hustisyang panlipunan. Ang pakanang bitag ng mga militaristang nakapalibot kay Duterte at ng imperyalismong US ang lalong naglalantad sa rehimen bilang anti-mamamayan at anti-kapayapaan. Tiyak na gagawin lamang itong malaking palabigasan ng AFP, PNP at DILG.

Makakaasa ang mamamayan ng Laguna na bibiguin ito ng kanilang NPA at sa halip ay magpupunyagi ang kanilang Hukbo na isulong ang digmang bayan para kamtin ang mithiin at interes ng taumbayan. Nananawagan ang CBC-NPA Laguna sa mamamayan ng lalawigan na itakwil ang mapanlinlang na pakanang ito ng rehimen.

CPP/CPP-IB: Local revolutionary formations spurn ‘localized peace talks’

CPP Information Bureau propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 18): Local revolutionary formations spurn ‘localized peace talks’

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

18 July 2018
Press Release

Updated on July 19: Added statements by the NPA-Ilocos Cordillera, NPA-Southern Tagalog (with separate statements from NPA-Laguna, NPA-Batangas, and NPA-Palawan), NDFP-Mindoro, and by the NDFP-Central Visayas.
More and more regional committees of the CPP, field commands of the NPA and local revolutionary formations have issued separate statements firmly rejecting and condemning the Duterte regime’s so-called “localized” peace talks. These declarations are clear indications that Duterte’s localized peace talks are set to fail.

Revolutionary forces across the country at various levels belie claims by Duterte officials that the rejection of the sham localized talks came only from peace negotiators of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) based in The Netherlands, and not from forces on the ground. These statements are virtual slaps on the face of Duterte and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.

Local revolutionary forces echo the earlier statement issued by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denouncing Duterte’s local peace talks which smokescreen its total war against the people and widespread military abuses under Mindanao martial law and Oplan Kapayapaan. They also point out how such pretend talks will fail in their respective areas.

This outpouring of rejections came after Malacañang repeatedly defended its plan to issue an executive order for localized peace talks in order to pretend to be for peace after having terminated formal negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP.


The following are highlights of statements issued by various local revolutionary forces:

In Northern Luzon. 

The NPA-Venerando Villacillo Command (NPA-VVC) in Nueva Vizcaya and Quirino provinces explained that localized peace talks will not resolve the root of the armed conflict. “Only the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, armed state forces, intelligence units, local elite and foreign imperialist capitalists would benefit from localized peace talks,” NPA-VVC said. The 5th ID based in Gamu, Isabela province is the primary AFP unit operating in most parts of Northern Luzon.

Martin Montana, spokesperson of the NPA-Ilocos-Cordillera Region (Chadli Molintas Command) also rejected the localized peace talk offer, saying that the recent attacks against revolutionary forces in their area are part of the scheme to force them to accept the spurious deal. “All forces of the NPA in our region strongly believe that local talks will not resolve the root causes of poverty, which are also the root causes of the continuing civil war in the Philippines,” Montana said, adding that NPA forces in Ilocos and Cordillera are determined to intensify the fight against forces of the reactionary state.

The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) also said that their forces will not participate in any localized peace talks with the reactionary government.

CPDF spokesperson Simon Naogsan declared: “Among Cordillerans, national oppression is perpetrated by the reactionary state ruled by big landlords, comprador bourgeoisie and US imperialism. We cannot expect these problems to be answered by local governments.” He also expressed unequivocable support for the negotiating panel of the NDFP in its representation of all revolutionary forces in national level negotiations with the GRP.

In Southern Tagalog
Jaime “Ka Diego” Padilla, spokesperson of the NPA-Melito Glor Command of Southern Tagalog, asserted that no localized peace talks will occur in their region, adding that the proposal peddled by the US-Duterte regime and the warfreak generals of the AFP and PNP brazenly disregards past negotiations signed by the GRP and the NDFP. He expressed full support for the NDFP Negotiating Panel and denounced the Duterte regime for questioning the role of Jose Maria Sison as Chief Political Consultant.

Magdalena Kalayaan, spokesperson of the NPA-Cesar Batralo Command in Laguna said that “the people of Laguna can trust that the NPA in this province will not only defeat the treacherous local talk scheme but also persevere in intensifying the people’s war to achieve the people’s yearnings and interests.”

Apolinario Matienza, spokesperson of the NPA-Eduardo Dagli Command in Batangas dubbed the localize peace talks move as a “trap aimed at splitting the revolutionary forcs and discredit the NDFP as the legitimate representative in peace negotiations at the national level,” but stressed that “not a single NPA unit” under their command will participate in the bogus talks.

Likewise, Salvador Luminoso, spokesperson of the NPA-Bienvenido Vallever Command in Palawan stressed that no localized peace negotiation will take place between the GRP and the revolutionary forces in Palawan as it will only be a “waste of time.”

The NDFP-Mindoro meanwhile said the 203rd Bde and the PNP-MIMAROPA have started to mobilize barangay officials along the aim of holding ‘localized peace talks.” Despite said initial moves, the NDFP-Mindoro said that the bogus local talks are sure to fail. It called on the NPA to mount tactical offensives which would send a clear message to Duterte: “You are doomed to fail.”

In Bicol

The NPA-Celso Minguez Command (NPA-CMC) in Sorsogon dubbed the Duterte regime’s localized peace talks as a “deceptive offer.” Samuel Guerrero, NPA-CMC spokesperson, explained that the Duterte regime is pushing for these deceptive talks to hide the fact that it does not really plan to finalize and sign the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER) which addresses the fundamental people’s demands for genuine land reform and national industrialization. He added that “the people of Sorsogon will not be deceived by the renewed schemes of Duterte and his armed forces…” Guerrero maintained the NPA-CMC will never participate in these bogus talks.

In the Visayas

NDFP-Negros Island spokesperson Frank Fernandez said in peddling localized peace talks, Duterte is “playing blind to the every day struggles of Filipinos” and showing indifference to the dire conditions of the Filipino people “that are not exclusive to individual communities” but prevail across the nation. Fernandez maintained that the revolutionary forces in Negros reject the localized peace talks as these are only designed to “smokescreen the brutal and ruthless all-out war that has beset the country and divert attention from Duterte’s unwillingness to pursue agrarian reform, national industrialization and national sovereignty.”

Concha Araneta, NDFP-Panay spokesperson, stressed that not one region has been – or will ever be – enticed and fooled by the reactionary regime to hold peace talks at the regional, provincial, city or municipal level. “NDF-Panay and all revolutionary forces in the region totally reject any call for local peace talks with the local bureaucracy or any other entity blessed by the anti-peace liar and chief fascist representative of the ruling class in the country.”

Hope Bondoc, NDFP-Central Visayas spokesperson, meanwhile described the Duterte regime’s moves for localized peace talks as “additional evidence exhibiting Duterte’s true intentions of pursuing total war against the Filipino people instead of genuine and lasting peace.” She said Duterte’s engagement in peace negotiations with the NDFP “was mere dilly-dallying to buy time until he can consolidate his regime,” Bondoc added.

In Southern Mindanao

NDFP-Southern Mindanao Spokesperson Rubi del Mundo said localized peace talks are being rejected by revolutionary forces in Southern Mindanao, from where Duterte himself came from. “It is nothing but a hollow attempt to draw a veil over the ravages of Martial Law in Mindanao and the escalating bloodbath of Oplan Kapayapaan affecting millions of civilians in the country,” del Mundo said. “In advocating for localized peace talks, Duterte, in truth, appeals to the corrupt nature of his fellow bureaucrat capitalists by encouraging them to subvert previously agreed-upon guidelines and machineries and the advances borne out of the past 25 years.”

Futile move

This barrage of rejections will continue as other regional and local commands and formations of the CPP, NPA, and NDFP are set to issue their own statements. All these statements affirm that all revolutionary forces under the leadership of the CPP – from Luzon to Mindanao– reject this pretend ‘localized’ peace talks.”

We repeat: The broad masses demand not ‘local peace talks’ but an end to Duterte’s total war against civilians, the aerial bombings, the military occupation of communities, the sham campaign of forcing people to enlist as “surrenderers,” widespread killings and other abuses. The people are being roused to arms by Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan.

Pursuing pretend localized peace talks is a futile move as these talks are set to completely fail. Even Mayor Sara Duterte of Davao City has given up on her pet project of local peace talks knowing how foolish she would appear talking to her own shadow. Her father’s regime should see how foolish his government is in relentlessly pursuing this patently stupid act.

ReCAAP says Asian waters at safest level from sea piracy since 2009

From the Mainichi (Jul 19): ReCAAP says Asian waters at safest level from sea piracy since 2009

This photo taken on July 13, 2016, shows a vessel of the Philippine Coast Guard (front) conducting joint anti-piracy training with a Japan Coast Guard vessel in waters off Manila. (Kyodo)

SINGAPORE (Kyodo) -- Sea piracy incidents in Asia declined to only 40 cases in the first six months of 2018, down 15 percent from the same period last year and the fewest for that period in a decade, a sea piracy watchdog said Wednesday.

The figure was the lowest since 2009 when 43 cases were reported over the first half of the year, and one-third the decade high of 114 cases recorded in 2015, according to the ReCAAP Information Sharing Center operated by the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia.

ReCAAP is a Japanese initiative for inter-governmental cooperation to combat piracy in the region and has 20 member states.

"This is the lowest number of incidents in the last 10 years," ReCAAP Information executive director Masafumi Kuroki told a news conference. "If this trend continues, we hope that the annual number of incidents this year can be the lowest number in the last 10 years."

Overall, the incidents that occurred were also the least severe over the past decade.

"There was no incident of a serious nature such as the abduction of crew or oil cargo theft," Kuroki said. "This improvement is due to the efforts of all the stakeholders."

Most of the incidents took place within the territorial waters of countries in Asia.

However, Kuroki urged ships plying the region not to let their guard down, especially when operating in the Sulu-Celebes sea.

"We consider that the threat in the Sulu Celebes Sea is not eliminated," Kuroki said, noting there was one case of an attempted crew abduction in those waters in February and information that the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group planned an attack on shipping in that area in May.

Also noteworthy, sea piracy incidents in the Singapore Strait doubled to four in the first six months of this year from two in the same period last year.

Ph-Indo Border exercise a success, Corpat says

From Sun Star-Davao (Jul 18): Ph-Indo Border exercise a success, Corpat says

THE Republic of the Philippines and the Republic of Indonesia Border Committees expressed satisfaction on the result of their two-week Coordinated Patrol (Corpat) Philindo XXXII-2018 at The Pinnacle Hotel in Davao City on Wednesday, July 18.

Republic of Indonesia Border Committees (RIBC) vice-chair and Manado Main Naval Base 8 commander First Admiral Ahmadi Heri Purwono said the results of the coordinated naval patrol and reaffirmed cooperation ensures enhanced coordinated border security measures between the two countries.

Aside from that, Purwono said, the result of the activity has also provided humanitarian assistance to citizens of both countries in the future. He added that this was developed through the joint efforts of the two governments.

The Corpat Philindo XXXII-2018, which was concluded on Wednesday, was attended by Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Second Fleet, Indonesian Navy. The activity was done in two phases, one, was conducted in Manado City from April 5 to 29, and the second was conducted here in the city from July 5 to 20.

Easmincom commander Benjamin Madrigal said along with the maritime agencies, the navy of the two countries had enhanced its interoperability at sea resulting to the conduct of the 32 naval exercises and some shipboard evolution.

The exercises and shipboard evolutions were done along the common borders with total steaming time of 542 hours and 28 minutes covering 5,454 nautical miles, Madrigal said, adding that the coordinated naval patrol was also able to jibe the repatriation of 31 fisher folks from Indonesia to its families with assistance from the concerned governments.

Along the sea-based exercises, civic action and sea-based exercise, civic action and medical assistance activities were also conducted in Barangay Tibanban in Governor Generoso town, Davao Oriental as part of the land-based activities.

Madrigal said the services included a medical and dental check-up, veterinarian, fisheries forum, distribution of 1,000 assorted seedlings, and on-site registration to Indonesian expatriates. He added that the Consulate of Indonesia was also able to conduct documentation and provided passports to qualified Indonesian citizens.

The civil-military activity benefitted a total of 433 medical and 258 dental patients, while around 800 mangroves were planted in the same barangay in Davao Oriental.

Marawi residents feel ‘worse’ than before siege — SWS

From the Philippine Star (Jul 19): Marawi residents feel ‘worse’ than before siege — SWS                          

The survey, taken on April 12-15, found 80 percent of Marawi residents who claimed their quality of life is worse now, against 10 percent who said they have “better” lives compared with 12 months ago.
Eight in 10 residents of Marawi City have felt their lives are “worse now” than before the armed conflict between government forces and the Islamic State-linked Maute terror group, a recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed.

The survey, taken on April 12-15, found 80 percent of Marawi residents who claimed their quality of life is worse now, against 10 percent who said they have “better” lives compared with 12 months ago.

Eight percent of Marawi City residents said their situation was “same as before.”

Maute rebels attacked Marawi City, capital of Lanao del Sur, on May 23 last year, prompting President Duterte, who was in Russia then, to declare martial law in Mindanao.

Results of the SWS survey were released yesterday, days before Duterte delivers his third State of the Nation Address.

SWS said the survey was conducted in collaboration with the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID), using 300 adult respondents from Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao and Marawi City.

Meanwhile, the survey found 40 percent of Marawi residents believe their situation “will be better” in the next 12 months, while 10 percent said it “will be worse.” Sixteen percent said it would be the “same.”

Most respondents (83 percent) from Maguindanao believe Duterte is concerned with their situation, while Marawi residents and those internally displaced persons are split in their perception of the Chief Executive.

The survey, however, found 78 percent of Marawi residents appreciate the government’s relief efforts. Sixty percent of them also believe that the areas damaged by the armed conflict in Marawi City can fully recover under the term of Duterte.

The war, which lasted for five months, displaced about 250,000 individuals and damaged properties worth P20 billion.

Task Force Bangon Marawi earlier said the reconstruction of the city’s most affected areas will begin in the latter part of August, a month late from its initial July target.

PCID president Amina Rasul urged the Duterte administration to further increase interventions being made by the Department of Social Welfare and Development as these have a big effect in improving lives.

NPA returnee slain in Quezon town

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Jul 19): NPA returnee slain in Quezon town

A former New People’s Army (NPA) rebel who surrendered to the military was gunned down in San Narciso town in Quezon province on Thursday.
A spot report from San Narciso police station said three still unidentified gunmen armed with undetermined caliber of firearms shot and killed farmer Marvin Flores, 35, in Barangay (village) San Juan around 11:30 a.m. Flores suffered fatal bullet wounds in different parts of the body and died on the spot.

Police said Flores was a former NPA rebel, who surrendered, then later became a member of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit but resigned.

Lumad evacuees scoff at military for calling evacuation “orchestrated”

From the often pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online publication the Davao Today (Jul 19): Lumad evacuees scoff at military for calling evacuation “orchestrated”

Lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur scoffed at the military for their “outright lies and cover-up.”

In a phone interview with Davao Today, Sarry Campos, spokesperson of Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang Sumusunod (MAPASU) said
“(T)he military is inconsistent with their statements. At first, they accused us of being NPA members. Now they are saying that we evacuated because we want the NPA back in our communities.”

The military’s Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) refuted claims that their troops have been harassing Lumad communities San Agustin and Lianga towns in Surigao del Sur that resulted in the evacuation of 16,000 Lumad residents.

In a press conference on Wednesday, EMC spokesperson Major Ezra Balagtey said they only conducted a patrol base operation in Diatagon “to protect the entry of government services in Lianga.”

He also slammed the evacuation as “an orchestrated effort of the members of Sanga sa Partido sa Lokalidad to facilitate the re-entry of New People’s Army in the area.”

Campos said soldiers of the 75th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army has set up camp in Kilometer 9 Sitio Simowao, Barangay Diatagon in Lianga town, despite stiff opposition.

He said even before the installation of a military camp, residents have already seen soldiers in their area conducting patrol operations.

He said the military’s 401st Brigade admitted to them during an earlier dialogue that they are planning to put up a military camp in Sitio Han-ayan, Barangay Diatagon, Lianga, to “suppress our strong opposition against the entry of mining companies in the Andap Valley Complex.”

MAPASU told members of the Surigao del Sur Provincial Government and the 75th IB officials last July 12 that they plan to evacuate to protect themselves from state forces.

Fake news?

The military’s Balagtey questioned why media covered on the day of the evacuation, and that they received a report that published media photos were actually old and taken in 2015.

Capt. Jerry Lamosao, the spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, also said that the evacuation was a result of false information disseminated by some militant groups that caused the indigenous people in the area to panic.

“They were made to believe that the soldiers are doing a crime, harassment, abuse to women and to take away their ancestral land,” said Lamosao.

To this, MAPASU’s Campos said “The truth is we are afraid because of what we experienced in the past. This is the reason why we have fled from our communities.”

In October 2014, rights groups have documented the mass evacuation of 378 families with 1,783 residents in Lianga, San Agustin, and Tago, Surigao del Sur after cases of violation of domicile and indiscriminate firing were documented.

The forcible evacuation occurred after military troops from the 2nd Scout Ranger Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Battalion, 36th IB PA and 401st Brigade, Philippine Army launched military operation in the mountain areas of San Lorenzo, Prosperidad, Agusan Sur; Lianga and San Miguel in Surigao del Sur.

In September 2015, over 2,700 indigenous peoples (IPs) or Lumad fled their homes following the massacre of their leaders Emerito Samarca, 54, Executive Director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood Development (Alcadev); Dionel Campos, MAPASU chairman and Datu Juvello Sinzo by paramilitary elements Magahat-Bagani Force.

Evacuees came from more than 20 Lumad communities in Surigao del Sur including Barangay Bolhoon in San Miguel town, Barangay Lianga of San Agustin town and the town of Tago.

In July 2017, 2,043 men, women and children stayed at the school grounds and classrooms of the Simowao Tribal Community School, located about 9 kilometers from the national highway and Poblacion of Brgy. Diatagon after military elements in full combat gear conducted operations in nine (9) communities in the mountain areas of Lianga, San Miguel and San Agustin in Surigao del Sur.

Troops sent to Lianga evacuation site as standard procedure, military says

From Business World (Jul 19): Troops sent to Lianga evacuation site as standard procedure, military says


THE MILITARY has confirmed that soldiers have been deployed to an evacuation center in Lianga, Surigao del Sur, where more than 1,500 members of indigenous peoples (IPs) have fled in response to soldiers in their communities.

Volunteers who have been working with the IPs and were with them when they left their communities had been reporting since Wednesday that police and military personnel had been deployed around the Barangay Diatagon Gymnasium and had prevented the entry of aid from the Catholic Diocese of Tandag.

Soldiers in Diatagon have set up an Incident Command Post (ICP), Capt. Rodulfo Cordero Jr. of the 401st Infantry Brigade’s Civil-Military Operations battalion said Thursday, adding this is standard procedure for natural disasters and similar situations.

According to National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council guidelines, ICPs are where relief operations are coordinated. Mr. Cordero said the local governments of Lianga and Barangay Diatagon are in charge of operations and the police and military are there to provide security.

Elite police commandos to see action in next Balikatan

From the Manila Bulletin (Jul 19): Elite police commandos to see action in next Balikatan

Elite police commandos may see action in the annual war games between Filipino and American soldiers after the United States Ambassador agreed to the participation of the elite forces of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

PNP Chief Dir. Gen Oscar Albayalde, speaks during a press conference about the recently concluded Barangay and SK Election 2018, at the PNP National Election Monitoring Center (NEMAC) at Camp Crame in Quezon City, May 15 2018. (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)
PNP Chief Dir. Gen Oscar Albayalde (Mark Balmores / MANILA BULLETIN)

The US Embassy and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) leadership have also given their nod on the participation of the police’s Special Action Force (SAF) and even the Public Safety units of the PNP, according to national police chief Oscar Albayalde.

“This is already approved in principle after I recommended it to the US Ambassador… I have already coordinated with the Chief of Staff of the AFP and he has also agreed,” said Albayalde.

The Balikatan exercises between the Philippines and the United States armed forces is being held in the country every year, usually in May.

The war games involve sharing of best practices in anti-terrorism, counter-insurgency, and territorial defense.

The involvement of police forces in the war games, however, stopped in 1991 when the Philippine Constabulary, which was then under the military, was dissolved to pave the way for a police organization which is civilian in nature, the PNP.

“But we really need these kinds of training exercises because we are also involved in internal security operations,” said Albayalde.

He said that in some provinces for instances, the SAF and Regional Public Safety forces, are in the frontlines in attacking communist rebels and in responding to the rebel group’s attacks on government installations and communities.

Albayalde emphasized the importance of the police role in anti-insurgency operations, noting that President Duterte also saw the need for it when the Chief Executive had approved the forming of five more SAF battalions.

Aside from the recruitment of some 4,000 cops for SAF, Albayalde said it will come with modern firepower and training programs.

“The President also promised that he would improve our air assets. We already have one helicopter and two more are coming. But of course we also want to have at least a fixed wing if we want to deploy SAF in any part of the country,” said Albayalde.

The next Balikatan exercises is expected to be held in the Philippines in May next year.

Feature: Army Engineers: The Game-Changer in Marawi

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 20): Feature: Army Engineers: The Game-Changer in Marawi

In the Philippines, the Army Engineers have been silent in performing their duties since most battles are guerilla warfare— such as encounters with the New People’s Army (NPA) on the mountains. The Army Engineers help bring development in far flung areas by constructing roads, helping build schools, and offering assistance to the citizens. But last May 2017, an urban warfare happened in Marawi City. This time, the Army Engineers revealed their war fighting and strategic skills.

Whenever we hear of Marawi Siege, most people think it is all about: people fighting people, people losing their homes, destruction of properties, and death of several individuals. As we journey in this article, the Army Engineers will break the misconceptions about Marawi Siege and change your perspective to— people saving people, having a new home and re-establishing properties, and continuing to keep lives ensured. Just like a phoenix, Marawi will surely rise from the ashes.

People saving people

The Combat Engineer Battalion is usually overlooked by the masses during war. In reality, they played a vital role in winning the battle in Marawi. Former Commanding General Glorioso Miranda even labelled them as “the game-changer.” They fight differently— through enabling the maneuver forces. Aside from giving assistance to civilians, Army Engineers also apply their capabilities by providing mobility, counter-mobility, and survivability support.

As one of the front liners, Army Engineers cleared rubble, mud, and other roadblocks to allow other units to pass through. They used demolition explosives to breach walls that will serve as the safe passage of the Army. This made the transition smooth as soldiers move from one place to another. Without them, it would take a lot time to forward the operation.

To provide counter-mobility support, they used explosives to block possible escape routes and destroyed the shelter of the enemy. They utilized heavy equipment to create obstacles to put the other party in disadvantage. This action also limited the territory and fields of fire of the enemy.

On the other hand, their survivability support continued as they protected and facilitated the movements of the troop to ensure their safety. They also constructed fighting and protective positions for personnel and equipment during operations. When necessary, combat engineers also fight as infantrymen.

People having a new home and re-establishing properties
The Army Engineer Battalion is implementing projects in areas where civilian contractors cannot, due to security reasons. Since the first day of their deployment in Marawi City until November 2017, the Army Engineers were able to complete a total of 435 engineer missions in Joint Area of Operations (JAO). As of now, 1,603 temporary shelters were built and given but 6,400 transitory shelters more are needed to be built in this place. 2,747 families who reside along Agos River also need a permanent housing, and they already found a location.

In order to rehabilitate, several government agencies which include Armed Forces of the Philippines, formed the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM). Initial interventions involve price monitoring and enforcements, loans for small to medium enterprises, IDP products selling at trade fairs, assistance for agriculture, distribution of business starter kits, and livelihood and skills training programs.

Continuing to keep lives ensured
The Philippine Army gave their word to never stop in ensuring the security of the people even after the victory over the enemy. The Army Engineers continue in maintaining the main supply route (MSR), clearing the area from unexploded ordnance (UXO), and developing rear areas, including the places of worship and educational facilities. They found the locations of bombs. Most of it were already recovered and disposed. To ensure the safety of the citizens, the Army Engineers checked four times before marking a place as clear.

In the future, the Philippine Army is hoping for a complete return of internally displaced persons (IDP). By then, all evacuation centers will be closed since permanent houses are already constructed. They will also re-establish public schools and other establishments and make sure they are operational. The Philippine Army believes that this will help them move forward and be back in motion. Soon, the light will shine again on Marawi.

Knowing that there is a possibility for more incidents like this, the Army Engineers will not settle and be stagnant with what they have. They will continue to brace themselves to any possible incident through having extensive trainings, conferences and seminars. The sets of equipment are being upgraded, and the personnel are being improved. This is aligned to the primary purpose of the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR): to transform into a better, more dynamic, more responsive, more capable, and more professional Army.

“Send us a message in any way. We, Engineers, will heed your call,” a part of the Philippine Army Engineer song. Truly, the Army Engineers do not just sing this song but remember it by heart and accomplish it as well. Breaking the passive mindset, this battle displayed what the Army Engineers can do. In this bittersweet battle, pain was felt, but victory was achieved. These heroes with a hammer broke the wall and opened the door towards victory to finally have peace and freedom once more.#

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Security measures in place for Duterte's 3rd SONA

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): Security measures in place for Duterte's 3rd SONA

The House of Representatives has geared up in ensuring a "safe and secured" holding of President Rodrigo Duterte's third State of the Nation Address (SONA), an official said on Friday.

"We’re happy to tell you that all security plans and deployment are in place for the SONA," House sergeant-at-arms Roland Detabali told a press briefing.

"We have had numerous inter-agency meetings, planning, and rehearsals to ensure the safety of our President, the VIPs, guests and personnel considering all possible scenarios from bombings, fire, chemical attack, etc.," he added.

Detabali said security forces are trained and experienced with vital equipment and are capable of dealing with all possible contingencies.

He said more security forces and equipment will be deployed this year compared to last year's SONA, considering that the situation in Marawi City has been resolved.

"Last year, ginamit sila sa Marawi so wala masyadong contingency force dito (Last year, they were tapped in Marami so we don't have much contingency force here). Now we have that liberty to have the time and rehearsals and they can help us in really promoting the system of being confident in having a safe and secured SONA here," Detabali said.

Cops seek transfer of Maute leader's wife from GenSan lockup

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): Cops seek transfer of Maute leader's wife from GenSan lockup

GENERAL SANTOS CITY--Police are seeking the immediate transfer of the wife of a top leader of the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group, to a more secure detention facility following her arrest here on Monday.

City police director, Senior Supt. Raul Supiter, said Thursday they are set to submit a request to a local court to allow them to move out suspect, Nafisah Pundug, from the detention cell of the City Police Station 7. Security issues, he said, are the main consideration for the transfer request.

Nafisah was arrested by Army and police operatives in a joint operation in Purok Maunlad, Barangay Apopong in Monday morning.

She is the wife of Owaidah Abdulmajib Marohombsar alias Abu Dar, the reported new leader of the Maute Group and “emir” of the Islamic State in Southeast Asia.

Supiter said they are currently evaluating the possible detention facilities for Nafisah within and outside the city, including Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City, which currently holds some high-profile inmates.

The government has earlier designated the jail's special intensive care area as detention facility for arrested members of the Maute Group.

Supiter said they could also move the suspect to the Lanton Reformatory Center in Barangay Apopong.

Nafisah was arrested by virtue of a standing warrant for violation of Republic Act No. 9516 or possession of explosive materials. She was jailed at the Marawi City jail but managed to escape in 2016.

She was arrested hours after a joint raid by various intelligence and law enforcement units in in Zone 3, Block 4 in Barangay Fatima that led to the killing of alleged Maute "bomb-maker" and number two man Najib Calimba Pundug, alias Najib Hussein.

Six other family members of the slain suspect were also arrested and charged with obstruction of justice and coddling a fugitive.

MNLF man, pal nabbed in P1.3-M Maguindanao drug bust

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): MNLF man, pal nabbed in P1.3-M Maguindanao drug bust

Operatives of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) nabbed Thursday afternoon a Manila-based "drug peddler" and his pal, allegedly a member of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and seized from them some PHP1.3-million worth of “shabu” drugs in Datu Odin Sinsuat town, Maguindanao.

PDEA-Autonomous Region in Muslim (PDEA-ARMM) Director Juvenal Azurin identified those collared in the buy-bust operation as Ramid Depatuan, 36, of Baseco compound, Manila, and Ken Kalaing, 41, also a Baseco resident and an MNLF member based on his identification card.

“After confirming their illegal activities, a drug buy-bust was planned and they agreed to release about 50 grams of shabu in exchange for PHP130,000 to our poseur-buyer,” Azurin said of the entrapment in Sitio Tenorio, Barangay Awang, Maguindanao at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.

“The deal area was only about 700 meters away from the first entrance gate of the Army’s 6th Infantry Division headquarters,” he added.

After the suspects handed over a huge sachet of suspected “shabu” to the poseur-buyer, PDEA agents immediately apprehended Depatuan and Kalaing, who both did not resist arrest.

Seized from them were 500 grams of “shabu” with an estimated street value of PHP1.3 million, a motorbike used in the illegal drug trade, two black wallets and mobile phones.

Azurin said the suspects are being detained at the PDEA lockup while charges are being readied against them.

Depatuan and Kalaing's arrest came a day after PDEA-ARMM agents nabbed in this city a "big-time drug peddler", from whom they seized PHP1.7-M worth of “shabu”.

5 Sayyaf men, soldier killed in 2 Sulu clashes

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): 5 Sayyaf men, soldier killed in 2 Sulu clashes

Six people, five of whom were Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members, were killed while two others were wounded in two separate clashes in the hinterlands of Sulu, military officials said Friday.

Joint Task Force Sulu commander, Brig. Gen. Divino Rey Pabayo, said the first clash occurred at the boundary of barangays Tanum and Liang, Patikul town midnight Wednesday.

Pabayo said troops of the Army’s 45th Infantry Battalion were conducting a military operation when they clashed with about 20 ASG members led by sub-leader Almujer Yaddah.

The firefight resulted in the death of four ASG members and the wounding of five others, according to intelligence information.

Pabayo said a soldier also died while two others were wounded, and were immediately taken to the Kuta Heneral Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Barangay Bus-Bus, Jolo.

The injured soldiers were airlifted to the Camp Navarro General Hospital (CNGH) on Thursday morning for further medication. The hospital is the medical facility of the Western Mindanao Command (Westmincom) located in Camp Navarro that also houses the Westmincom headquarters in this city.

Pabayo said the second clash happened in Barangay Tabu-Bato, Maimbung municipality at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday between the troops of the Army’s 1st Scout Ranger Battalion and some 20 ASG members led by sub-leader Almadjan Sahidjuan, alias Apoh Mike.

He said the remains of the ASG member killed during the clash were recovered by the troops, along with an M-16 Armalite rifle.

“My salute to our fallen soldier and my prayers for the other two who are currently recuperating at CNGH,” Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, Westmincom chief said.

“With support from the local government and the populace, the sickening problem of terrorism will soon be put to an end. The intensification of the military operations is buoyed by the renewed vigor of those who are against violent extremism,” he added.

PNP fetes cop wounded in raid vs. Maute ‘bomb-maker’

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): PNP fetes cop wounded in raid vs. Maute ‘bomb-maker’

GENERAL SANTOS CITY--The Police Regional Office 12 (Soccsksargen) conferred the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) wounded personnel medal to a police officer, who was hurt in an operation against a suspected “bomb-maker” of the Maute Group here last Monday.

Chief Supt. Marcelo Morales, PRO-12 director, said Friday he presented the medal to Police Officer 3 Jerry Feo during a visit to the General Santos Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon.

The award, also known as the Medalya ng Sugatang Magiting, is given to police officers and personnel who are “wounded in action” during operations or while performing their duties.  

Morales said Feo, who sustained four gunshot wounds on his back, is in stable condition but is still undergoing medication at the hospital.

“PRO-12 and the entire PNP organization are very proud of his priceless contribution,” the police official said.

Feo, a warrant officer of the Regional Mobile Force Battalion (RMFB) 12, was wounded after suspect Najib Calimba Pundug alias Najib Hussein, opened fire at joint operatives in a raid at his safehouse in Barangay Fatima early Monday.

Pundug, who was tagged as the number two man of the Islamic State-inspired Maute under its new leader Owaidah Abdulmajib Marohombsar alias Abu Dar, reportedly tried to throw a grenade but was neutralized in time by the team.

Aside from the medal, Morales turned over PHP76,000 in cash assistance to Feo’s  immediate family.

Morales said the amount was collected from RFMB-12 members, who all contributed voluntarily for the wounded police officer’s medication and physical recovery.

“The unit, as a reactionary force of PRO-12, showed that it is always prepared for tactical movements regarding any eventuality relative to terrorism, criminality and illegal drug activities,” he added.

22 more ex-NPA rebels in Sarangani to get livelihood aid

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): 22 more ex-NPA rebels in Sarangani to get livelihood aid

Twenty-two more former New People’s Army (NPA) rebels from Sarangani Province are set to receive financial assistance under the government’s expanded reintegration program.

Lizette Lopez, provincial focal person of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP), said Friday they are currently processing the release of the assistance and other support interventions for the rebels.

Lopez said each of them stands to receive up to P65,000 in cash assistance, which includes incentives for surrendered firearms.

Under the E-CLIP, qualified beneficiaries are entitled to receive livelihood grants, trainings and other aid packages from various government agencies. In addition, the provincial government of Sarangani also provides additional cash assistance to the former rebels.

Lopez said the 22 returnees underwent healing and reconciliation sessions, and attended basic business management training earlier this week through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office and the Army’s 73rd Infantry Battalion.

She said the initiative was part of the interventions set under the E-CLIP and the local government’s flagship Sulong Kapayapaan program.

“They were given psychological and psychosocial interventions to help them cope with the difficulties that they faced while still with the rebel movement as well as guide them as they return to the mainstream society,” she said.

The former rebels also underwent sessions on the proper management of financial grants that they will receive from the government, she added.

She said the former rebels appealed for sustained development initiatives in tribal or indigenous communities in the province.

The returnees noted that the interventions implemented by the provincial and national governments, especially the provision of basic services, compelled them to surrender and return to the folds of the law, she said. These include the provision of water systems, irrigation facilities, access to farm inputs and the rehabilitation of road networks.

Last week, 12 former NPA rebels from the province received financial assistance under the E-CLIP in a ceremony graced by Task Force Balik-Loob chair and Defense Undersecretary Reynaldo Mapagu.

The beneficiaries received P65,000 each or P15,000 as immediate assistance and P50,000 as livelihood grant.

N. Cotabato execs turn over 250 loose firearms to Army

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): N. Cotabato execs turn over 250 loose firearms to Army

SURRENDER. Some 250 loose firearms collected from their respective constituent by local executives of the towns of Aleosan, Pigcawayan, Libungan, and Kabacan, all in North Cotabato, were presented Thursday (July 19, 2018) at the provincial capitol gymnasium in Kidapawan City for a formal turnover to the military under the government’s “Balik Baril” program. (Photo courtesy of DXND - Kidapawan)

KIDAPAWAN CITY--Local officials from four North Cotabato towns on Thursday turned over some 250 loose firearms to the Army’s 602nd Infantry Brigade in a ceremony held at the provincial capitol gymnasium here.

Brigadier Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, Army’s 6th Infantry Division commander, said the guns were collected by local executives of Aleosan, Pigcawayan, Libungan and Kabacan towns in support of the government’s “Balik Baril” program.

The assorted firearms included M-14 rifles, M-16 rifles, M79 grenade launchers, Garand rifles, 12-gauge shotgun rifles and homemade pistols.

North Cotabato Governor Emmylou Mendoza, who led the local officials during the turn over rites, urged other unauthorized gun holders to surrender their firearms before the deadline on July 31.

“After July 31, the Army and police would conduct punitive actions against those who refused to surrender their unlicensed guns,” Mendoza said.

Local officials have shown their support to the government’s disarmament program by responding to the military’s call to collect firearms from civilians in their respective localities.

Before Thursday’s surrender rites, five other towns in the province have turned over illegal firearms to the military. Since January, more than 1,000 assorted firearms were surrendered to the military in North Cotabato, the Army said.

Sobejana admitted that some of the guns surrendered to authorities were dilapidated, unserviceable “but can still be used to kill anyone.”

He said after the deadline on July 31, the military and the police will conduct a massive campaign against unauthorized possession of firearms, noting that Mindanao remains under martial law.

Army foils NPA attempt to detonate landmine in Bukidnon

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): Army foils NPA attempt to detonate landmine in Bukidnon

MALAYBALAY CITY, Bukidnon – Troops belonging to the Army's 8th Infantry Battalion foiled an attempt of the New People’s Army (NPA) to detonate a landmine here at around 9 a.m. on Thursday, a military official said.

Captain Norman Tagros, civil military operations officer of the Army's 403rd Brigade, said the 8th IB troopers engaged an undertermined number of NPA rebels in a five-minute encounter in Sitio Nabawang, Brgy. Busdi, this city.

After the encounter, Tagros said, soldiers recovered explosives and other paraphernalia, including a 70-meter electrical wire and empty shells of M16 and AK-47 rifles.

Tagros said soldiers were tipped-off by concerned civilians in the area about the presence of armed men, who they saw laying Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) along the road in their community.

There were no reported casualties on the government side but the military believed some NPA members were wounded as evidenced by the bloodstains scattered along the rebels' withdrawal routes.

Lieutenant Colonel Ronald M. Illana, 8th IB commanding officer, condemned the NPA for "continuously violating" the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Illana pointed out that CARHRIHL that prohibits the use of landmines, adding such explosive device poses great harm to civilians--especially when placed in nearby communities.

For his part, Brigadier General Eric C. Vinoya, 403rd Infantry Brigade commander, commended the cooperation of local residents in the area.

Busdi is an adjacent village of Sitio Kaleb in Brgy. Kibalabag, Malaybalay City where three members of the 8IB were ambushed on February 1, 2017. The NPA in North Central Mindanao owned the responsibility for the incident.

Gov’t forces seize IED inside passenger van in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): Gov’t forces seize IED inside passenger van in Maguindanao

DATU ODIN SINSUAT, Maguindanao -- Police and military authorities seized Thursday afternoon a powerful improvised explosive device after a civilian tipped off the transport of the bomb inside a passenger van.

Acting on a tip, Datu Odin Sinsuat municipal police personnel and soldiers of the Army’s 6th Infantry Battalion put up a chokepoint in Barangay Awang along the national highway leading to Cotabato City at about 4 p.m., according to Senior Police Officer 2 Ping Guiaman of the Datu Odin Police.

“We received a tip that a bomb will be transported to Barangay Rosary Heights 10 in Cotabato City,” Guiaman told reporters here, adding that the explosive would be brought in by a
member of Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF).

At about 4:30 p.m., police flagged down along the Awang checkpoint a white passenger van vehicle (ABT6892) and found at the rear baggage compartment a box of corn grains with the bomb inside. Traffic along the Awang-Cotabato city section of the highway was immediately shut down for the safety of motorists.

Military explosive ordnance disposal experts deactivated the bomb rigged from an 81-mm. mortar projectile with a mobile phone as trigger mechanism.

The passenger van driver and his helper were later invited for questioning, but both could not say who owned the box containing the bomb.

Police and military authorities believed that the BIFF was behind the attempt to slip through the IED in the city to divert sustained military operations in Maguindanao.

3 MILF members, 4 others, nabbed in Lanao Sur anti-drug ops

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): 3 MILF members, 4 others, nabbed in Lanao Sur anti-drug ops

Seven persons, including three alleged Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) members, were arrested during anti-drug operation Thursday in Wao, Lanao del Sur, the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency–Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (PDEA–ARMM)) said Friday.

Juvenal Azurin, PDEA-ARMM regional director, identified the arrested MILF members in the law enforcement operation in Barangay Kili-kili, Wao, as Panarangin Tangurak, Abul Batong-Gara and Olomodin Tubigan.

Also arrested were Baisah Ali, Esmael Antar, Casanor Balangitaw, and Ogay Mundas, all listed as local drug peddlers.

“The three MILF members were high-value targets on our list,” Azurin said in an interview by newsmen here Friday, in which he also lauded the support provided by Wao officials to the agency's successful operation.

Armed with six search warrants, PDEA agents, backed by the Wao police and members of the Army’s 34th Infantry Battalion, swooped on the  village of Kili-kili at 3:55 a.m. and caught the suspects by surprise.

Seized by the raiding were 35 grams of shabu (methamphetamine hydrochloride) with an estimated street value of P288,000 and other drug paraphernalia.

The suspects, currently detained at the PDEA-ARMM lock-up cell here, are facing charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002.

25 ex-NPA rebels to undergo TESDA skills training

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 20): 25 ex-NPA rebels to undergo TESDA skills training

In line with the government's program to help former communist rebels live normal lives, the Army’s 19th Infantry Battalion in Arakan, North Cotabato, has initiated a skills training for 25 former rebels at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA.

Lieutenant Angelique Taban, 19th Infantry Battalion (IB) civil-military operations officer, said Friday the 25 former combatants of the New People’s Army(NPA) will undergo the month-long training that began Wednesday at the TESDA–North Cotabato Provincial Training Center and Institute for Motorbikes and Auto Mechanics Incorporated.

She said Lt. Prolen Bonacua, 19th IB Alpha Company commander, will also help facilitate the carpentry skills training for former rebels,  who surrendered to the Army in North Cotabato in recent months.

The beneficiaries would also receive starter tool kits and daily allowance for the duration of the training.

“This community based skills training provided by TESDA is just part of the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP) benefits package which can be availed by NPA rebels who return to the folds of law,” Taban said in a local radio interview.

The E-CLIP is a government program that seeks to contribute toward achieving the goal of permanent and peaceful closure of all armed conflicts with non-state armed groups.

It also aims to facilitate the mainstreaming of former NPA rebels and Militia ng Bayan as productive citizens in the respective localities.

Among the beneficiaries was a certain “Ka Janjan”, who said he was happy and excited to enroll and undergo training while waiting for his financial and livelihood assistance.

“This is an opportunity for me to live normal lives with my family and my loved ones,” he said in vernacular.

Another beneficiary, alias “Ka Jimboy,” was also grateful that the skills training was community-based and conveniently arranged for the former rebels, especially that most of them are farm workers at the same time.

Randy Sionosa, TESDA-North Cotabato specialist, said the agency is mandated to implement programs that will enhance the skills of Filipino workers. He also explained to the participants the overview,  as well as the other benefits of the skills training, during the opening program  held in Barangay Manobo, Magpet, North Cotabato on Wednesday.

For his part, Lt. Col. Ehrlich Noel Paraso, 19th IB chief, was optimistic that with this recent development, more NPA rebels would be enticed to surrender and return to the mainstream society.

“This concerted effort by the line agencies proves the government’s sincerity in the implementation of the E-CLIP. It also belies the allegations of the rebels and leaders of left-leaning organization who described the program as a mere propaganda,” Paraso said in a statement.

Paraso also called on the rebels in the mountains to surrender and avail of government assistance.

“I appeal to you not to follow what your leaders say, but rather think about your families and your future,” Paraso said.