Wednesday, July 25, 2018

CPP/NDF-Mindanao: Two years under Duterte, state of Mindanao worse than ever

NDF-Mindanao Region propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 24): Two years under Duterte, state of Mindanao worse than ever

NDFP Mindanao

24 July 2018

Rodrigo Roa Duterte, the first ever Philippine president from Mindanao, who touts himself the champion and defender of Mindanao, has in fact inflicted large-scale devastation, social unrest and unabated fascist attacks upon the island two years into his administration, worse than any other past Philippine president.

Duterte has sowed terror in his very own backyard by using his sham peace efforts, coupled with his total war against the people, thus rapidly and totally isolating himself from the people of Mindanao, especially among the Moro, indigenous peoples and impoverished folk.

Two years into the Duterte regime, Mindanao has become more war-torn and militarized than ever.

His war of destruction in Marawi City has resulted in the large-scale devastation of thousands of hectares of land and the forced displacement of the whole city population. It also paved the way for heightened US military intervention in the region. In partnership with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), US troops were given the go-signal by Duterte to launch indiscriminate aerial bombings and participate in combat military operations during the Marawi siege.

A year after martial law declaration in Mindanao, violence and savagery have become the new normal. Intensified military presence, military occupation of civilian and residential abodes, curfews on peasant communities, restrictions on mobility, curtailment of civil liberties, food blockades, aerial bombardments and harassment by paramilitary and military auxiliary groups have become a daily occurrence, perpetrated by the AFP’s psywar experts masquerading as Peace and Development Teams (PDT) or Community Operations for Peace and Development (COPD).

The AFP has intensified attacks on peasant and indigenous communities. Under Duterte’s Oplan Kapayapaan and martial law in Mindanao, at least 163 peasants and indigenous people have been killed while 351 were victims of frustrated killings from July 2016 to June 30, 2018. Some 2,000 have been illegally arrested and at least 200 are still in detention for trumped-up criminal charges. These numbers do not include the thousands more victimized by Duterte’s draconian Oplan Tokhang and the crackdown on “tambays.”

More than 60% of AFP combat battalions or at least 75 battalions of the entire AFP force is presently deployed in Mindanao. Of these, no less than 42 AFP combat battalions are currently wreaking havoc in Lumad and peasant communities, while 31 AFP combat battalions are sowing terror in Moro communities. The AFP is rushing to upgrade and deploy its counter-insurgency artillery, communication and surveillance equipment.

In Talaingod, Davao del Norte, an overkill of three battalions have occupied the town’s three small barangays, targeting the Manobo Lumad defending their ancestral land.

Since June, the AFP has conducted massive offensives, ground attacks and aerial bombardments affecting the lives and livelihood of thousands of Moro civilian residents around the 220,000-hectare Liguasan Marsh, supposedly targeting the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) in the area and alleged bomb-making facilities in the Maguindanao and North Cotabato borders. Some 20,000 individuals have been displaced by military offensives in Pagalungan, Datu Montawal, Raja Buayan and SK Pendatun, Maguindanao and Pikit, North Cotabato.

In Duterte’s hometown, Davao City, hundreds of farmers and indigenous people have become victims of “forced surrenders,” and were tagged as New People’s Army (NPA) rebel returnees or NPA sympathizers. The staged surrenders are being used by the AFP to support claims by the AFP’s 10th ID that rural barangays have been “cleared” of the NPA.

With Duterte’s unilateral cancellation of the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (GRP-NDFP) and the MILF’s acceptance of Duterte’s version of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), there is no stopping Duterte from employing the US-prescribed counter-insurgency doctrine of waging war and terror on the people as a solution to the ongoing armed conflict.

True to his word, Duterte has kept Mindanao close to his heart – by making it his very own training ground and launching pad for his tyrannical desire to impose nationwide martial law.

By canceling the GRP-NDF peace talks, railroading the BBL and actively pushing for charter change for his pseudo-federalism, Duterte has practically given license to the AFP to carry on with its fascist all-out-war against the people of Mindanao and the whole country.

The AFP has recruited at least 5,000 troops and aims to add an additional 10,000 more until the end of the year, with the aim to employ Marawi-style tactics and attacks against civilian populations in order to claim and control the AFP’s “priority areas,” most of which are in Mindanao.

These priority areas are currently being plundered by big mining corporations and foreign plantations, including large swathes of land reserved for the expansion of palm oil plantations in Marawi and the fossil-rich Liguasan Marsh. Control over Bangsamoro land and natural resources will encourage more investments for the Duterte regime, and consequently, subject the territory to worse economic and environmental plunder.

Despite all these, Duterte still has the gall to declare Mindanao a priority in the “localized peace talks” being promoted by the GRP. The real objective of these fake localized peace talks is for the NPA to surrender, and to deodorize the AFP and obscure its continuing and intensifying abuses and brutal fascist attacks of the military against farmers, the Moro people and other oppressed classes in Mindanao.

The National Democratic Front-Mindanao calls on all people of Mindanao and the Filipino people to reject and resist Duterte’s rising tyrannical rule, the looming proclamation of a nationwide martial law and the perpetuation of the US-Duterte regime’s “all-out-war” against the people.

CPP/NDF-NCMR: Localized peace talks’ real aim is to force capitulation of revolutionary forces

NDF-North Central Mindanao Region propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 25): Localized peace talks’ real aim is to force capitulation of revolutionary forces

Ka Cesar Renerio, Spokesperson
NDFP North Central Mindanao

25 July 2018

The GRP’s localized peace talks scheme is stupid and will lead to the complete sabotage the peace process.

The CPP-NPA-NDF and the people are no longer surprised at Duterte’s scheme of sidelining the Filipino people’s aspiration for a just and lasting peace . This was already clear when he suspended the fifth round of talks last June 28 this year. He eventually terminated the talks when he demanded the return of Jose Maria Sison to the country and to hold the talks here in the Philippines.

The revolutionary movement was not deceived with the stupid proposal since this is in violation of The Hague Joint Declaration of 1992, which provided that the talks should be held in a neutral venue.
Despite these constrictions, the National Democratic Front remained sincere and consistent in pursuing the talks.But in return, the GRP insisted on holding the peace talks in localized territories.

Consequently, Duterte dismissed the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reform (CASER). Indeed, within the region, he demonstrated that his peace is only for the ruling classes, so they could effortlessly plunder the natural resources in Pantaron range and Liguasan Marsh.

Furthermore, he is only using the local talks to push the revolutionary forces to capitulate and to defeat the revolutionary movement. On July 5, the Armed Forces of the Philippines spread the news of the fake surrender of not less than a hundred individuals in Brgy. Bulunay, Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. This incident made the residents of several barrios vulnerable to the AFP’s attacks and arrests, especially those who are suspected of being organized and sympathizers of the revolutionary movement.

The current administration is not interrested in pursuing an agreement for genuine economic and political reform, but is only interested in sabotaging the talks and forcing the capitulation of the revolutionary movement . Duterte’s alibi of “reviewing everything in 3 months” reveals that he is ignorant and ill-informed of the objectives and value of the peace talks.

Henceforth, Duterte’s thrust for localized peace talks is only one of the manifestations of his dismissal of previously signed agreements. This only serves to incite the oppressed and exploited people to further strengten their unity to struggle for their democratic interests.

CPP: The Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance rouses greater people’s resistance

CPP propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) Website (Jul 24): The Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance rouses greater people’s resistance

Communist Party of the Philippines

24 July 2018
1. To fully comprehend the significance of the House coup mounted yesterday by Gloria Arroyo, it is important to take stock of the political context. In its July 21 editorial, Ang Bayan pointed out:

2. Under Duterte’s reign, the ruling system’s political crisis has exacerbated. The fissures among the ranks of the ruling class have deepened because of his repeated attempts to establish a fascist dictatorship and consolidate state power.

3. In the coming weeks and months, the contradictions between Duterte and the anti-Duterte united front are set to intensify. Factional strife among ranks of reactionary forces will surely worsen. And the people’s movement will undoubtedly strengthen and gain ground. These contradictions and struggles will further weaken Duterte’s already weak control over the state. While his power weakens, it is certain that his attacks against various classes, sectors and groups that are hindering his fascist ambition will escalate.

4. At the outset of his reign, Duterte, opportunist extraordinaire, sought to consolidate the widest possible political alliance. One of his key gambits was forging ties with Arroyo. Less than a month after Duterte took oath, the Sandiganbayan and Supreme Court dismissed the plunder cases against Arroyo and had her released after four years of detention. To further secure her support, Duterte soon ran after Leila de Lima, who as Justice Secretary under the Aquino regime, prevented Arroyo from leaving the country, and ordered her arrest and detention to face plunder charges.

5. Arroyo has played a key role in the consolidation of the Duterte regime. Besides having her cronies support Duterte’s agenda in congress, the large Arroyo bloc in the Supreme Court has repeatedly voted to favor Duterte—on the legality of the Mindanao martial law, on the quo warranto case against Sereno, and others.

6. Of course, in the process of supporting Duterte, Arroyo has succeeded in expanding her political power and influence. Arroyo’s hand extends to the very inner sanctum of MalacaƱang. Her henchmen, including National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, have been appointed to key positions in the Duterte regime. Under Duterte, courts have been most lenient to them. Last May, Arroyo’s husband Mike was allowed to leave for abroad in what many believe was aimed at securing the loot they have stashed in offshore accounts.

7. Arroyo yesterday mounted a blitzkrieg coup to grab the leadership of the House of Representatives. She was fully supported by the Marcoses (Imee, Imelda and their loyalists, Floirendo et. al.). She gathered 184 votes or 67% of the 271 representatives in attendance. The supermajority in congress is no longer “super,” nor is it exclusively Duterte’s. Arroyo’s House coup was a consolidation of her power. While allied with Duterte, she remains her own power.

8. Under Arroyo’s baton, Duterte’s charter change scheme will probably gain more headway, perhaps more than under the shabby leadership of Duterte’s minion erstwhile Speaker Alvarez. But Duterte will have to do a little more political wheeling and dealing to succeed in advancing his tyrannical aims. Duterte spoke before congress yesterday a little bit uninspired, perhaps aware of the political war clouds ahead, with the threatening “you’re next” ringing in his ears.

9. The Duterte-Arroyo alliance, or more exactly, the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance, is an uneasy one. It is a clear indication of the deepening political crisis and worsening state of the ruling system. The ruling regime now represents the starkest icons of fascism, corruption and puppetry. It further boosts the anti-Duterte united front.

10. The need to unite against charter change, nationwide martial law, all-out political repression in the name of anti-terrorism and other Duterte schemes has become even more urgent.

11. With the rise of Arroyo in congress, the ruling Duterte regime becomes even more isolated from the Filipino people. Aware of the grave crimes of corruption, plunder, extrajudicial killings, political repression and rampant military and police abuses committed by the Marcos dictatorship, Arroyo and Duterte regimes, the broad masses of the Filipino people are now even more determined to carry out mass struggles and revolutionary resistance.

12. Under the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance, worse liberalization policies will be further bulldozed to open the economy in order to attract more loans and investments, as ruling class politicians seek greater bureaucrat capitalist booty to share among themselves. The Filipino people are set to suffer worse socio-economic conditions as the reactionary regime seeks more loans, impose more taxes, provide incentives to big capitalists and further cut on social spending for the people.

13. The demand to end martial law in Mindanao and end the military siege against rural communities reverberates even more. The demand for wage increases and an immediate end to contractualization is uniting even more workers and rousing them to carry out ever more militant protests and strikes. The demand for genuine land reform is mobilizing ever greater number of peasants to resist land grabbing by big landlords and big capitalists.  

14. The rise of the Duterte-Arroyo-Marcos alliance further incites the Filipino people to wage people’s democratic revolution to put an end to the class dictatorship of big landlords and big bourgeois compradors. It inspires more and more people to join the New People’s Army to wage armed struggle and build a truly democratic government that genuinely represents and serves the interests of the people.

Lianga, Surigao sur LGU creates command post to help Lumads

From the Mindanao Times (Jul 25): Lianga, Surigao sur LGU creates command post to help Lumads

THE EASTERN Mindanao Command commended the local government of Lianga for establishing the Incident Command Post, which manages the different interventions for the Lumads who have been staying in Diatagon gymnasium in Lianga, Surigao Sur since July 15.

Maj. Ezra Balagtey, the spokesperson of Eastern Mindanao Command, said the command post will synchronize assistance, and document and organize the interventions being made by different organizations, both government and non-government, and allow the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council to closely attend to the needs of the gathered IPs.

According to local authorities, a group of residents from the largely IP community was lured into going to the municipal town center because they will be harassed by the military and with a promise of food support from the LGU.

“This deceptive mobilization disturbed the normal living and adds misery and suffering to the IPs,” Balagtey said.

“These IPs were not affected by any man-made nor natural calamity, contrary to allegations, for there was no military operation going on in the area as of this date,” he added.

Moreover, the detachment being established in Km. 9, which accordingly is being protested by the group, was requested by the community through a resolution by the Municipal and Barangay Peace and Order Council of Lianga and Diatagon, respectively, in order to secure the delivery of basic services of the LGU in the area.

With this, Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, the commander of EastMinCom, said called on all organizations that intend to assist, cover and interview the IP “to coordinate with the established Incident Command Post as part of the protocol for disaster management.”

In relation to Republic Act 10121 or Disaster Management Act, the participation or presence of the soldiers in the Incident Command Post is to assist the concerned LGU, particularly, in security and manpower assistance.

“With this, we are assuring everyone that our soldiers will be carrying out this mandate with due respect to human rights and adherence to International Humanitarian Law,” Madrigal said.

NPA rebels hold, release Cafgu

From the Mindanao Times (Jul 25): NPA rebels hold, release Cafgu

A TRIBAL chieftain was abducted by alleged members of the New People’s Army in Surigao del Sur Monday morning.

However, Eusebio Meniano, also a member of the government militia, was later released in exchange for food.

Brig. Gen. Franco Nemesio M. Gacal, commander of the 402 Infantry Brigade, said that Meniano, 43, is a municipal tribal chieftain of Carmen, Surigao del Sur and assigned to the 1st platoon, 10th SDS Cafgu Auxiliary 1 Company, San Roque patrol base, Barangay San Roque, Madrid.

Gacal said rebels were believed to be members of Platoon 2, GFC 30, North Eastern Mindanao Regional Command under Raul Alacre alias Ka Megan, abducted CAA Meniano at around 4 a.m. while he was inside his house with his family.

The brigade commander said the incident caused panic and fear among the family members and the residents who sought the help of the army.

The 36th Infantry Battalion immediately launched a pursuit operation to rescue Meniano. They encountered around seven rebels who detonated an IED, which wounded a Cafgu member on his arms and legs.

While on pursuit, operating troops encountered more or less seven NPAs who later detonated an IED that resulted to the wounding of one CAA who sustained minor shrapnel wounds at his arms and legs.

The wounded was brought to Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center Provincial Hospital in Tandag City and is now in stable condition.

Gacal further said the abduction of a militiaman in non-combat status is a violation of the provisions of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and R.A. 9851.

Meanwhile, after hours of negotiation made by local officials, Meniano was released after the NPAs received a few kilos of meat, fish, sugar, and coffee.

The military was grateful for Meniano’s release but pursuit operations will continue.

Government militia wounded in NPA bombing in South

From the Mindanao Examiner (Jul 25): Government militia wounded in NPA bombing in South

A pro-government militiaman was injured in a bomb explosion while pursuing communist rebels who seized a tribal leader in the southern Filipino province of Surigao del Sur, officials said Wednesday.

Officials said the militiaman was rushed to hospital in Tandag City and is now in stable condition. The New People’s Army rebels also freed their hostage, Eusebio Meniano, who was abducted at dawn of July 23 in Hinapuyan village in Carmen town following a negotiation spearheaded by Mayor Jane Plaza.

The rebels also asked for food, according to the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command.

Officials did not say why then rebels seized Meniano, but security forces continued its operation against the communist group.

Peace talks between Manila and communist leaders collapsed after the rebel negotiators demanded the release of all political prisoners, mostly NPA members, and a coalition government as a condition for the signing of a ceasefire deal.

President Rodrigo Duterte, a former rebel supporter, flatly rejected the demand, saying, the communist fighters should lay down their arms and stop extortion activities.

Army’s 10th Infantry Division has over 400 additional soldiers

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 25): Army’s 10th Infantry Division has over 400 additional soldiers

MAWAB, Compostela Valley (PIA) -- The Philippine Army has increased its strength with at least 407 additional soldiers recruited by the 10th Infantry Division (10ID).

Belonging to Classes 420 and 422, the new soldiers finished the 9-week Candidate Soldier Course beginning last March 9 at the 10th Division Training School.

Capt. Jerry Lamosao, the 10ID spokesperson, said the course included basic training on weaponry, civil-military operations, jungle warfare, survival techniques, water search and rescue operations, basic intelligence operations, and lectures on human rights, international humanitarian laws, and rule of law.

Lamosao said the soldiers graduated with a rank of private with a basic salary of around P29,000.

During the graduation, Major Gen. Noel S. Clement, 10ID commander, announced that although the graduates signed a contract that they were willing to be detailed anywhere in the Philippines, they will be assigned only in the different units of the division.

The division stretched its peacekeeping responsibilities in Davao Region, Sarangani, South Cotabato, the second district of North Cotabato, Columbio in Sultan Kudarat, Trento in Agusan del Sur and Lingig in Surigao del Sur.

The program’s guest of honor was Kiblawan Mayor Jason Carl Rama as representative of Davao Occidental Governor Claude Bautista.

Tagalog News: 10 sundalo ng 401st Brigade, Philippine Army pinarangalan

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 25): Tagalog News: 10 sundalo ng 401st Brigade, Philippine Army pinarangalan

LUNGSOD NG BUTUAN - Pinarangalan ang may 10 sundalo ng 401st Brigade, Philippine Army kasabay ng ika-46 na anibersaryo ng nasabing brigade sa Camp Datu Lipus Makapandong, New Leyte, Barangay Awa, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur.

Napag-alaman na dahilan sa kanilang dedikasyon sa tungkulin bilang sundalo at katapangan sa mga naisagawang combat operations sa probinsya ng Agusan del Sur at Surigao del Sur na naging kontribusyon sa tagumpay at pagkakahuli ng ilan-ilang miyembro ng teroristang New People’s Army (NPA) at pagkakasabat ng mga firearms at ammunitions at mahahalagang dokumento mula sa NPA, ay naparangalan ang 10 sundalo na nagmula sa 26th Infantry Battalion, 75th Infantry Battalion, 9th Special Forces Company at 3rd Special Forces Battalion sa ilalim ng 401st Brigade.
Si Major General Ronald Villanueva, kumander ng 4th Infantry Division mismo ang nagsabit ng parangal kasama si Brigadier General Andres Centino, kumander ng 401st Brigade sa sampung magigiting na sundalo na nakilalang sina Technical Sargeant (Tsg) Joseph Frago, Staff Sargeant (Ssg) Joseph Hulibayan, 2Lt. Begie de Jesus, 1Lt. Bryan Villena, 1Lt. Rogie Munos, Sgt. Joel Manalo, Sgt. Rogelio Baroro, Corporal Artemio Ubo, Ssg. Ronie Dador, at Sgt. Maurino Mohammad.

Ayon kay Brigadier General Centino, ang ginawang pagbibigay parangal ay parte ng selebrasyon ng 401st Brigade sa kanilang mga matagumpay na pagsasawa ng kanilang misyon sa kanilang area of responsibility.

Hinimok din ni Major General Villanueva ang mga local government units at local chief executives na tulungan at suportahan sila sa kampanya laban terorismo at mas lalo pang paigtingin ang implementasyon ng mga programa at serbisyo ng gobyerno at maiparating ito sa ibat-ibang komunidad ng rehiyon lalung-lalo na sa liblib na lugar kung saan ang karamihan sa mga naninirahan dito ay sinasamantala ng mga teroristang npa na sumanib sa kanilang grupo.

Tagalog news: 7ID, patuloy ang pagresponde sa mga naapektuhan ng habagat

From the Philippine Information Agency (Jul 25): Tagalog news: 7ID, patuloy ang pagresponde sa mga naapektuhan ng habagat

Ang aktwal na pagresponde ng hanay ng mga kasundaluhan ng Army 7th Infantry Division sa mga nabiktima ng nakaraang bagyo sa mga lalawigan ng Bataan at Pangasinan. (Army 7th Infantry Division)
FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija -- Patuloy ang pagresponde ng Army 7th Infantry Division o 7ID sa mga naapektuhan ng habagat na pinalakas ng mga bagyong Henry, Inday at Josie.
Ayon kay 7ID Commander Major General Felimon Santos Jr, patuloy ang kanilang pakikipag-ugnayan sa tanggapan ng Office of Civil Defense (OCD) sa Ilocos Region at Gitnang Luzon upang tukuyin ang mga maaaring itulong mula sa pagresponde, pamamahagi ng relief goods, pagsasaayos ng mga kakalsadahan at iba pa.

Pinuri ni Santos ang mga kasundaluhan sa mabilis at maaasahang pagtulong gaya ang pagsagip sa tatlong tao kasama ang pitong-buwang sanggol na na-trap sa kanilang tahanan sa lalawigan ng Bataan.

Makaaasa aniya ang lahat sa maagap na pagtulong ng mga kasundaluhan gayundin ay pagbabantay sa lagay ng panahon at kaayusan ng komunidad.

Man nabbed for illegal firearms, explosives in Maguindanao

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 25): Man nabbed for illegal firearms, explosives in Maguindanao

ARRESTED. Mug shot of arrested suspect Udtog Esmael for violation of Republic Act 10591 (Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition) and Republic Act 9156 (Illegal Possession of Explosives) in Parang, Maguindanao. The suspect was arrested Tuesday (July 24, 2018) by agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group – Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao through a search warrant issued by a regional court. (Photo courtesy of CIDG-ARMM)

COTABATO CITY – Police arrested Tuesday a man in Parang, Maguindanao for illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

In a statement Wednesday, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (CIDG-ARMM) said its agents raided the house of Udtog Esmael in Purok Muslim, Barangay GT Biruar, Parang, Maguindanao, at 3 p.m. and seized a number of firearms, explosives, and ammunitions.

“He did not resist arrest,” said Chief Insp. Esmael Madin, CIDG-ARMM field unit head, referring to Esmael. The raid was conducted by virtue of a search warrant issued by Regional Trial Court Branch 13 Judge Bansawan Ibrahim.

Seized from Esmael’s home were a Browning automatic rifle, an M16 rifle, a shoulder-fired grenade launcher, five 40-mm projectiles, and various ammunitions.

Esmael said he kept the guns for self-defense since his family is locked in a “rido” (clan war) with another Muslim family in Parang town.

Charges for violation of Republic Act (RA) No. 10591 (Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition) and RA 9156 (Illegal Possession of Explosives) are being prepared against the suspect, who is currently detained at the CIDG-ARMM lockup in this city.

Military, police foil bombing try in Tacurong City

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 25): Military, police foil bombing try in Tacurong City

FOILED. Military and police authorities seal off a section of the highway near the welcome rotunda in Tacurong City on Tuesday (July 24, 2018) following the discovery of a homemade bomb planted by suspected members of the Islamic State-inspired Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in the area. (Photo courtesy of 6ID)

CAMP SIONGCO, Maguindanao – Police and military personnel, acting on a tip from an informant, foiled a bombing attempt in Tacurong City blamed on the Islamic State-linked Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) Tuesday afternoon.

Capt. Arvin John Encinas, speaking for the Army’s 6th Infantry Division (6ID), said the powerful improvised explosive device was found by motorists at a roadside near Gen. Lim St., about 100 meters away from the Tacurong City welcome rotunda.

Encinas, citing an intelligence report, said a civilian alerted the police and Task Force Talakudong, a military-led security unit, about the impending bombing sortie by BIFF bomb-makers Brah Lumambas and Bohari Adam, both under BIFF leader Gani Saligan, to avenge losses in the recent military operations in Maguindanao.
Bomb experts deactivated the explosive device placed in a sling bag and left at a roadside, where civilian and motorists regularly passed by. The bomb was fashioned from black powder and a still unidentified explosive mechanism with cut nails and metals as shrapnel.

“This is the second attempt of the BIFF terror group to create chaos in Tacurong City but was successfully preempted through the help of our concerned civilians in the community,” said 1st Infantry Mechanized Brigade commander Col. Robert Dauz, whose unit has jurisdiction in Tacurong and nearby areas.

Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana, 6ID commander, said the attempt was meant to maim and kill innocent civilians.

“The bombing attempt was clearly meant to create atrocities and terror attack in the peace-loving and progressive city of Tacurong,” Sobejana said.

Recent air and ground assaults by the 6ID left at least 40 BIFF gunmen dead and two bomb makers were arrested in the marshland of Maguindanao and part of Sultan Kudarat provinces. A bomb-making facility of the BIFF was also destroyed.

Sobejana and Dauz have urged the public to be on alert and vigilant at all times and to immediately report anything suspicious to the authorities.

Groundbreaking of 2 housing buildings for troops held in AFP HQ

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 25): Groundbreaking of 2 housing buildings for troops held in AFP HQ

Photo courtesy: AFP Public Affairs Office

Two five-storey multi-purpose buildings are being built to provide better quarters for enlisted personnel assigned at Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the multi-purpose buldings was held at the Peacekeeping Operations Center on Tuesday afternoon, according to a statement by AFP public affairs office chief, Col. Noel Detoyato.

Present during the ground-breaking ceremony was Department of Public Works and Highway (DPWH) Secretary Mark Villar who also acted as guest-of-honor and speaker. He was welcomed by AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr.

The project is under the agency's "Build, Build, Build" prgram and has a budget of PHP250 million.

“We would like to express our deepest appreciation to the DPWH, With this, the Armed Forces of the Philippines reaffirms our commitment to continue serving the nation and our people,” he added.

The project comprises of two symmetrical buildings, which will have 88 units each, and complete with a parking area at the ground floor. Each unit will have a floor area of 35 square meters.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Budget Management Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, National Economic Development Authority Director General Ernesto Pernia and Bases Conversion and Development Authority President Vivencio Dizon joined Villar and Galvez in signing the conceptual plan of the project.

“This is our way of thanking our soldiers for their sacrifices. And this will be a template for many more infrastructure projects to come. We will not stop until all our soldiers have comfortable and spacious living quarters,” the DPWH chief added.

DND welcomes MILF move to decommission fighters

From the Philippine News Agency (Jul 25): DND welcomes MILF move to decommission fighters

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana welcomed the announcement of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) stating that it is willing to disarm and decommission over 30,000 to 40,000 of its fighters once the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) is passed.

"(This announcement is) very much welcomed, If this happens peace will at last reign in the Muslim Mindanao area. The effect will be far reaching: the land and people will be more productive, investments will pour, infra development can proceed unimpeded," Lorenzana told reporters.

Having being born and raised in Mindanao, the DND chief said he is very happy with this development.

Also, Lorenzana said the DND, through the Armed Forces of the Philippines, is willing to intensify operations against lawless elements like the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters who have earlier announced their dislike for the BOL and plans to conduct attacks.

"We will also intensify our operations against them. We will get the help of the MILF and MNLF (Moro National Liberation Front) to eliminate these people," he added.

The House of Representatives ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the BOL Tuesday.

The measure seeks to create a new Bangsamoro political entity that would replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The bicameral panel approved the reconciled version of the BOL last July 18 after six days of marathon hearings. The bill provides for the 75-25 wealth-sharing term in favor of the Bangsamoro.

This increases the share of the Bangsamoro in government tax revenues by 5 percent compared with the current 70 percent being received by the ARMM from national internal revenue taxes, fees, and charges, as well as taxes imposed on natural resources.