Tuesday, September 11, 2018

MILF: BIAF Field Guard Base Command Battalion Holds Advocacy on BOL

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Sep 11): BIAF Field Guard Base Command Battalion Holds Advocacy on BOL

IN PHOTO- Engr. Muhajirin Ali of the MILF Peace Implementing Panel Secretariat discusses salient features of the Bangsamoro Organic Law during the advocacy on BOL in Gli-Gli, Pikit, North Cotabato

Pikit Cotabato – Close to 300 members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces, Head Quarters Brigade, Field Guard Base Command, National Guard Front, 2nd Battalion attended the peace advocacy on the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) held at Lebanon, Gli – Gli, this town on September 08, 2018.

Abdul Mutalib Silongan, the Unit’s battalion Commander in his message thanked his colleagues in attendance for their positive response.

“This advocacy is conducted to enhance our understanding of the BOL. This is a good opportunity for us to learn more about what we have attained in our struggle for self-determination as well as challenges ahead during the transition period, because our guest speaker who has been engaged in the GPH-MILF Peace Process since 2001 will explain to us this law,” he said.

Engineer Mohajirin Ali from the MILF Peace Implementing Panel secretariat explained the salient features of the BOL.

“Despite those sufferings and horrible experiences by our people under the Philippine Government, we have engaged in the negotiation because the late Ameer Salamat Hashim in his guidelines to MILF entitled Bangsamoro Mujaheed: His Objectives and Responsibilities, states among others that the most civilized method of resolving the Mindanao conflict is through negotiated political settlement,” Engr. Ali quoting the late amir.

On the issue of inclusivity, Ali emphasized that “BOL is inclusive because in the crafting of this law three members of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) came from MNLF wherein issues in the GRP – MNLF tripartite meetings were included in the crafting of this law”.

Pikit, one of the severely affected municipality in the conflict, eleven of its barangays namely Bagoinged, Balatican, S. Balong, S. Balongis, Batulawn, Buliok, Gokotan, Kabasalan, Lagunde, Macabual and Macasendeg are included in the areas to undergo plebiscite on January 21, 2019.

The result of the plebiscite will determine the areas of the future Bangsamoro.


MILF: North Cotabato Residents Register for Upcoming Plebiscite at Camp Rajahmuda

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Sep 12): North Cotabato Residents Register for Upcoming Plebiscite at Camp Rajahmuda

Camp Rajamuda, Pikit, North Cotabato ----- About a thousand residents from different barangays of municipalities of Carmen, Pikit and Aleosan, North Cotabato province took advantage of the Special Registration for MILF members and Bangsamoro set by COMELEC from September 11-13 and registered yesterday at the MILF Camp of Rajamuda.
Hundreds of residents have registered yesterday morning, the first day of registration, and many more are coming.

Senior citizens, pregnant women and persons with disability (PWD) were given a special lane to avoid inconvenience on their part.

The United Bangsamoro Justice Party (UBJP) of Maguindanao province assisted the registrants in filling out the registration form.

The Commission En Banc Memorandum issued on August 31, 2018 provided that the conduct of the three (3) – day special satellite registration in the Bangsamoro Core Territories has been approved and set on September 11-13, 2018.

Camp Rajahmuda is one of the MILF Camps where a special satellite voter registration is being held for the residents from the 39 villages who have not yet registered with the COMELEC.

Camp Darapanan, the Administrative and Military Headquarters of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is also one the venues for the special satellite registration that started yesterday.

One observer who witnessed the registration at Camp Darapanan informed Luwaran that Sammy Al Mansour, Chief of Staff of Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Forces (BIAF) have already registered yesterday assisted by a COMELEC official.

The 39 barangays in the municipalities in North Cotabato that voted yes for inclusion in the ARMM during the 2001 Plebisccte are included in the proposed territory of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), provided a majority vote of yes wins in their mother municipality/province during the January 21st Plebiscite.


MILF: ZC Moro Advocates Conduct Information- Drive on BOL

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Sep 12): ZC Moro Advocates Conduct Information- Drive on BOL

ZAMBOANGA CITY- Peace Advocates in this city in partnership with Moro Community held an Information Drive  in Barangay Tulungatung on September 10 for local residents to understand deeper the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) or R.A. No. 11054.
The objective of the activity is to provide right information and better understanding of BOL by local residents.

Organizers believed that everyone deserves to be informed and enlightened on what is BOL all about and may prompt them to be more supportive to Peace-Building if they know the importance of the law.

Bapah Morsalin Jorsalin, a Moro community leader from Barangay Cawit said in his welcome message that the Bangsamoro should always unite themselves in the pursuit of one common noble purpose.

Islamic orientation was delivered by Ustadz Ali Ayadi who quoted a verse from Noble Qur’an pertaining to unity in doing righteous acts and ostracizing any obnoxiousness that says:

“Help one another in acts of piety and righteousness. And do not assist each other in acts of sinfulness and transgressions. And fear Allah. And verily, Allah is severe in punishment (Al-Maaidah. Verse: 2).

Mr. Tirso S. Tahir, Officer from Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute (BLMI) delved on Bangsamoro form of government and socio-economic under the provision on Intergovernmental Relations where the Bangsamoro Communities outside the autonomous region are assured of economic assistance, development and protection by both National Government and Bangsamoro Government aside from what they enjoy from Local Government Units.

Another Resource Speaker, Ustadz Taha Daranda, a Moro Community Da’wah and CBCS member summed up the salient point provisions of BOL by underlining the benefits the Bangsamoro people, and other sectors can enjoy under the new Bangsamoro Region.

Mr. Zulfhikar Samsaraji from United Youth for Peace and Development (UNYPAD) discussed about the process of filing a petition with the COMELEC, and the conduct of plebiscite for the ratification of OLBARMM.

During the closing program, Imam Akob Asta, a Moro community leader and consistent host of the activities is his barangay expressed his profound gratitude to those who supported the activity.

For his part, Bother Timhar, one the organizers also expressed his gratefulness to his fellow organizers, to Moro Community leaders headed by Imam Akob Asta, and his line agencies in West coast Barangays who hosted the activity, to resource persons, and to Mindanao Women Advocacy for Good Governance (MWAGG) Western Mindanao Coordinator Hadja Rashieyda Majid.


MILF: Editorial -- BOL’s supports snowballing!

Posted to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front Website (Sep 8): Editorial -- BOL’s supports snowballing!

The first to advance and express their unconditional support of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL) to the MILF, the main signatory of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), were the local executives of Lanao del Sur led by Vice Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Adiong, who also represented his mother-governor of the same province, on August 18. Accompanying him were virtually all the other local government executives including those from the municipalities.

The next to come forward were local executives of Tawi-Tawi led by Governor Rasidin Matba, but they have yet to meet leaders of the MILF led by Chair Al Haj Murad Ebrahim formally. But a source close to the governor disclosed that it is only a matter of time before such meeting takes place. ARMM Regional Governor Mujiv Hataman also reiterated his commitment to support the BOL.

In Maguindanao, where several dynastic clans hold powers interchangeably over the decades, the latest commitment of support for the BOL came from Governor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu during a huge forum held in Buluan, Maguindanao on September 4.

In his speech, he said: “Political leaders in the province, including me and members of the Mangudadatu clan support the efforts of the MILF and the government to solve the now 50-year Moro rebellion in Mindanao. We are for the BOL.”

Earlier, three leaders or groups in the same province told the MILF that they will go out for the ratification of the BOL namely Datu Antao Midtimbang, leader of the Midtimbang clan, who controls at least three municipalities in Maguindanao; several leaders of the seven municipalities in the same province which have no internal revenue allocations (IRA) due to legal infirmities in their creations by the Regional Legislative Assembly of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) categorically pledged to support the BOL; and Mayor Ibrahim Ibay of the Iranon municipalities told participants in a forum in his town on August 30 that they will go “101%” for the BOL during the plebiscite.

In whispers yet, other clans are reported to be just waiting for the precise moment to express their support. We don’t know of any group in the province who do not see the wisdom of supporting the BOL. Maguindanao was one of the hardest, if not worst, hit by the conflict since 1972. Everybody wants peace in the province.

From all indications, Maguindanao province will go all-out for the yes votes comes January 21 plebiscite. Maguindanao has the largest number of votes among the five provinces in the ARMM.

This early, there is a clear snowballing of support for the ratification of the BOL. It is not farfetched that the bandwagon effect will happen, because the issue of BOL is beyond politics. There are no candidates opposing each other. It is between common good versus selfish interests. The law is about peace, justice, and development. It is about addressing a historical injustices.

What remains to be seen is Sulu province. Former Governor Sakur Tan, who had some initial concerns about the BOL, is silent these days. Recently, he had a meeting with President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who “fathered” the BOL, but we are not privy to the result. We do not know whether BOL was part of their talking points. Chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim, accompanied by Chairman Mohagher Iqbal of the MILF peace implementing panel, met him in Makati City in July this year.


NDF/NPA-Central Negros: PNP Guihulngan’s falsehood continues

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Website (Sep 9): PNP Guihulngan’s falsehood continues  

Ka JB Regalado
Spokesperson, Leonardo Panaligan Command
New People’s Army, Central Negros Guerrilla

Press Release
September 8, 2018

The LPC-NPA has nothing to do with the killing of Jail Officer-2 Val Daniel Guzman Rivera, a personnel of Canlaon City BJMP, last September 7, 2018 past 11:00 in the morning at Brgy. McKinley, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.

The NPA has not received any complaints against JO2 Val Daniel Guzman Rivera from the people of Guihulngan City and Canlaon City.

Based on the investigation of the NPA, the reason for the shooting was drug related. This is far from Guihulngan PNP Chief P/Supt. Mario Baquiran’s claim.

The Guihulngan PNP continues to blame the NPA on these matters which goes to show their negligence, uselessness and washing of their dirty hands in relation to the numerous killings of innocent civilians in Guihulngan where the latest victim was Heide Malalay Flores of Brgy. Buenavista, Guihulngan City.

The NPA is sure that this will only add to the list of unsolved cases and extra-judicial killings that is piling up in Guihulgnan City and the whole country.

The LPC-NPA clarifies that the group calling themselves “Vigilante sa Guihulngan ug tibuok isla sa negros” (“Vigilante of Guihulngan and Negros Island”) is not a member of Leonardo Panaligan Command-New People’s Army, Central Negros Guerrilla Front.

In fact, the “Vigilante sa Guihulngan ug tibuok isla sa negros” is in connivance with the PNP and AFP in the series of killings in the said areas. They are the legitimate targets of the LPC-NPA in order to give justice to their victims.


NDF/Sison: Riposte to Duterte

Jose Maria Sison propaganda statement posted to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines Website (Sep 11): Riposte to Duterte

Prof. Jose Maria Sison
NDFP Chief Political Consultant
September 11, 2018

The broad united front promoted by the CPP against the Duterte tyranny is open to all patriotic forces. But as far as I know, there are yet no talks between the CPP and Trillanes group or the Liberal Party. Duterte is lying and bluffing by claiming that there are recorded conversations provided by a foreign government.
I know Duterte long enough as a congenital liar and an incorrigible political swindler. And I challenge him to present publicly what he claims as recorded conversations. The experts will easily expose the fakery if he dares to present anything. This could be something like his invented foreign bank accounts of Trillanes.
There has never been any discussion between me or the CPP with Trillanes or the Liberal Party about ousting Duterte from power. But it is no secret that the CPP wishes to promote a broad united front of patriotic forces and encourage the broad masses of the people in their millions to rise up and oust Duterte, as Marcos and Estrada were ousted in 1986 and 2001, respectively.

The moment of ouster will occur when Duterte´s own military and police forces withdraw support from Duterte upon the sight and inspiration of the rising people in their millions throughput the archipelago. Duterte is now worried to death and so desperate as to imagine that he would be ousted this coming October.

But it might take a little more time to build up the broad united front and the mass movement and prepare the way for the key military and police officers to withdraw support from Duterte. At any rate, Duterte will be lucky if he survives 2018 and even luckier if he survives middle of 2019.

There are two currents against the political survival of Duterte aside from the determined effort of the people to oust him. These are his deteriorating physical and mental health manifested by his much darkened face and insane statements and his own abusive actions towards establishing a fascist dictatorship under the pretext of charter change to federalism. Such abusive actions (suppression of dissent and declaration of martial law nationwide) and can provoke the acceleration of efforts to oust Duterte.
Regarding Duterte´s slander that I am a terrorist, I must remind him that I have long been cleared of the charges of terrorism by the European Court of Justice since 2009. This is the court that has had jurisdiction over me.
It is Mr. Duterte who is the barefaced and shameless terrorist. He openly incites his police and military minions to abduct people without judicial warrant and frame them up as resisting arrest (nanlaban) and murder them in big number as in Oplans Tokhang and Kapayapaan. He also openly assures his criminal accomplices in authority of presidential protection and impunity and rewards them with cash payments per victim and promotions in rank.

State terrorism is being used by Duterte to intimidate the people and keep himself in power while he aggravates the basic socio-economic and political problems afflicting the people. As soon as Duterte is ousted from power, he will be subject to arrest for crimes against humanity and trial by the ICC. He will be lucky though if the disease blackening his face and manifesting the deterioration of his physical and mental health will save him from trial.


CPP/NPA-Quezon: Hinggil sa Fake List ng Target Parusahan ng NPA

NPA-Central Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Sep 9): Hinggil sa Fake List ng Target Parusahan ng NPA

CPP/NPA- Central Negros: Operasyong militar sa 15th IB gi-ambush sa MCC-NPA

NPA-Central Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Sep 9): Operasyong militar sa 15th IB gi-ambush sa MCC-NPA

CPP/NDF-Panay Region: Resist and Fight Duterte's Terror Schemes in Panay

NDF-Panay Region propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Sep 9): Resist and Fight Duterte's Terror Schemes in Panay

CPP/NDF-Panay Region: Pamatukan kag Pakigbatuan ang maga Iskema sand Terorismo ni Duterte sa Panay

NDF-Panay Region propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Sep 9): Pamatukan kag Pakigbatuan ang maga Iskema sand Terorismo ni Duterte sa Panay

CPP/NDF-NCMR: Heroics expected on the upcoming Duterte speech but nationwide martial law would never prosper

NDF-North Central Mindanao Region propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Sep 11): Heroics expected on the upcoming Duterte speech but nationwide martial law would never prosper

CPP/NPA-ST: AFP-PNP, utak ng bagong pambobomba sa Sultan Kudarat

NPA-Southern Tagalog propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Sep 11): AFP-PNP, utak ng bagong pambobomba sa Sultan Kudarat

CPP/NPA-Central Negros: Lakas ng Mamamayan sa Kinto Distrito, Katapangan ng Mag-asawang Garcia-Yulo

NPA-Central Negros propaganda statement posted to the Communist Party of the Philippines Website (Sep 12): Lakas ng Mamamayan sa Kinto Distrito, Katapangan ng Mag-asawang Garcia-Yulo

JB Regalado | NPA-Central Negros (Leonardo Panaligan Command)
September 12, 2018
Lubosang kinikilala ng LPC-NPA ang desaysibo at matapang na pagharap ni Magallon Vice Mayor Ella Garcia Yulo kasama ng kaniyang asawa na si Felix Mathias Yulo III sa otoridad, sa kasong isinampa sa kanila resulta ng maruming maniobra ni Magsie Peña kahapong araw September 11, 2018 sa Bacolod City Police Office.

Kapuri-puri ang hindi nila pagtakas sa kaso lamang mabulgar ang katotohanan sa likod ng maruming pamumulitika ni Peña sa Moises Padilla. Ang unang pagkonsidera ng kanilang seguridad isang tamang hakbang lamang upang mapreserba ang kanilang buhay habang nahaharap sila ng gawa-gawang kaso dahil ng paninikil ni Mayor Magsie Peña.

Ang pagsuko ng mag-asawang Garcia-Yulo sa otoridad ng NOCPPO lalo na ni Col. Rodulfo Castil at pagbigay ng lubos na tiwala sa mag-asawa kasama ng kanilang pamilya sa Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) nagpapakita rin ng “something fishy smell” sa pagitan ng BCPO at NOCPPO.

Unti-unting nagbubukas ng mga itinatagong talamak at sabwatan ni Castil at Peña laban sa mag-asawa at iba pang pulitiko na paninikil ng blokeng Montilla-Peña sa kinto distrito ng probinsiya.

Sa pamamagitan ng mag-asawang Garcia-Yulo mabulgar ang mga kasinungalingan ni Magsie Peña, mapairal ang katotohanan at mabigay ang karampatang hustisya sa lahat ng naging biktima ng mga kalakasan ni Peña.

Hinihiling ng LPC-NPA na magsilbi itong “eye-opener”, magbigay ng dagdag na katapangan sa mamamayan at maging daan sa prinsipyadong pagkakaisa kasama sa mga kalaban ni Peña sa pulitika.

Sa kabilang banda, mahigpit din na kinokondenar ng NPA ang pagpapalaganap ni Peña sa bayan ng Isabela na may 7 ka Brgy. Kapitan na papatayin ng NPA. Ito’y walang katotohanan kundi intriga at paninira lamang ng blokeng Montilla-Peña para takutin ang nasabing mga Brgy Kapitan.

Plano ni Peña kasabwat ni Col. Rodulfo Castil ng NOCPPO at Col. Alberto Desoyo sa 303rd Bde PA na patayuan ng mga military detachments ang bayan ng Isabela sa pamamagitan ng hiling ng mga Brgy. Kapitan kasama ng mamamayan sa kabila ng mga pagdisgusto nito.

Layon ni Peña na imilitarisa ang nasabing bayan para bigyang palugit ang kaniyang mithiing maging Kongresista sa kinto distrito ng probinsya sa darating na taong 2019.

Pinapanawagan ng LPC-NPA sa lahat ng mamamayan sa kinto distrito na itayo at palakasin ang grupo kontra-pasismo at militarisasyon. Makibaka sa pagpapatupad ng tunay na reporma sa lupa at pambansang industrialisasyon.

Maki-isa sa mga rebolusyonaryong pwersa at CPP-NPA!
Labanan ang mga talamak at kalakasan ni Magsie Peña kasama nina Col. Alberto Desoyo ng 303rd Bde PA at Col. Rodulfo Castil ng NOCPPO.

Isulong ang demokratikong rebolusyong bayan at armadong pakikibaka hanggang sa tagumpay.


Duterte willing to send Filipino troops to Jordan to fight ISIS

From Update Philippines (Sep 8): Duterte willing to send Filipino troops to Jordan to fight ISIS

President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he is willing to send Filipino troops to Jordan to fight the Islamic State.

“And of course, I said, I’ll leave you my guarantee that we will be friends and we will nurse and nurture it fully so that someday my people can really say that you paved the way for the good relationship,” Duterte said in a speech before Jordanian business leaders.

“If there is anything that we can do, if you are short of your army, let me know… You need one battalion? Two, three, four, five? I’ll send them to you.”

Duterte said he is willing to send Filipino troops to help their Jordanian counterparts because he wants his government to be “in the right side of history” which he described as being “fair” and understanding the “problems of humanity.”

“You’ll realize that you need [us] as much as I need you in order to work this place called Earth, beautiful and working for all of us,” he said.

Jordan, which shares borders with Syria and Iraq, has been dealing with the threat posed by the Islamic State.

The Duterte administration itself had to deal with the Islamic State-inspired Maute group that laid siege to Marawi for five months last year.

At least 1,100 people, mostly terrorists, were killed in the 5-month siege that erupted in the city in May 2017 between state forces and the terrorist group.

The Maute gunmen were aiming to establish an ISIS stronghold in Mindanao, which would have served as the center of a caliphate. The government and security experts believe that the threat ISIS poses in the region remains, complicating efforts to bring Marawi City back to normal.


57K houses for police, soldiers unoccupied

From the Manila Times (Sep 10): 57K houses for police, soldiers unoccupied

Of the 60,000 housing units for members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) nationwide, 57,000 remain unoccupied, according to Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito.

Ejercito, chairman of the Senate Committee on Urban Planning, Housing and Resettlement, who visited on Friday the AFP and PNP housing units in Barangay Felisa, Bacolod City, said the National Housing Authority (NHA), in consonance with a joint resolution filed by him and Rep. Alfredo Benitez (3rd District, Negros Occidental) that was approved by President Rodrigo Duterte, was authorized to redistribute the housing units to willing takers, who are qualified beneficiaries.

Issuance of a joint resolution prompted informal settlers led by Kadamay (Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap)-Negros and its allied groups to storm the military and police housing site in Barangay Felisa, Bacolod City, to demand that the units be awarded to them.

But the NHA said 1,498 housing units have already been awarded to uniformed personnel.

Ejercito said Kadamay members can avail of the houses, as long as they can pay and they are qualified.

“I hope they understand that the collections will be used to build more housing units,” he added.

The senator pointed out that 1.2 million housing units are immediately needed.

It will go up to six million in 2022 if the housing backlog will not be addressed.

“What Kadamay did was not good. It does not help the situation,” Ejercito said, citing what the militant group also did in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and recently in Bacolod City.

Uniformed personnel are paying P200 to P400 a month for every housing unit and even the lowest salaried government workers are trying to save money for the housing units, the senator added.

He said the housing project is not free.

Lack of transportation, use of substandard materials and locations of housing projects, which are far from the city or town centers, are among the common complaints aired against the housing projects of past administrations, according to Ejercito.

But the new NHA leadership, he said, is undertaking housing reforms, based on recommendation of his committee, and that of Benitez, who heads the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, he said.

Ejercito added that the creation of a Housing Department, which is now being deliberated on by both Houses of Congress, will improve the quality of housing and increase the number of houses to be constructed.


Creation of PH homeland security department eyed as key vs terrorism

From Rappler (Sep 9): Creation of PH homeland security department eyed as key vs terrorism

The department is seen to consolidate security agencies like the Philippine National Police to focus on internal security
SECURITY CRISIS. A Philippine Marine walks past graffiti along a deserted street in conflict-hit Marawi City on July 22, 2017. File photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP
SECURITY CRISIS. A Philippine Marine walks past graffiti along a deserted street in conflict-hit Marawi City on July 22, 2017. File photo by Ted Aljibe/AFP

Government security experts are already studying the creation of a homeland security department to prevent and battle terrorism in the Philippines, said Philippine Public Safety College (PPSC) analyst Mark Pablo on Sunday, September 9.

"What we have right now in addressing violent extremism is an inter-agency approach which obviously has its flaws. Now, we hope that this will be corrected with the Department of Homeland Security," Pablo said, speaking to a room full of academics, security experts, civic group leaders, and military personnel.

Pablo was discussing the Philippine government's policy in battling terrorism at a workshop by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, which aimed to arrive at recommendations on countering violent extremism.

Violent extremism is defined by the United States Agency for International Development as "advocating, engaging in, preparing, or otherwise supporting ideologically motivated or justified violence to further social, economic, or political objectives." This also covers terrorism.

Why have a homeland security department? By a flawed inter-agency approach, Pablo was referring to how when a suspected terrorist attack occurs, actions would have to come from various agencies under different departments of the Philippine government.

"Now, we have interoperability [among agencies]. There is lack of mandate.... We do not have a particular department that would clearly address these kinds of threats," Pablo said.

Normally, the Philippine National Police (PNP) under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under the Department of National Defense (DND) would respond and coordinate when an attack occurs. (READ: The war in Marawi: 153 days and more)

Pablo said government security experts are proposing that one department be focused on both prevention and response to internal or "homeland" security threats.

This would be different from the DND, which is focused on protecting the country from outside threats. Recently, however, the DND noted a need to shift toward reinforcing internal security after the Marawi siege in 2017.

NEW DEPARTMENT. Mark Pablo (L) and Jennifer Santiago Oreta at the national workshop on violent extremism organized by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in the Philippines. Photo by Rambo Talabong/Rappler
What would it look like? Pablo said the proposed department would consolidate already existing agencies for a focused response against violent extremism and terrorism.

"We're just going to realign all existing agencies, offices, or bureaus that are concerned with addressing violent extremism and terrorism and then bring them all together under a single department that would have in its mandate counter-radicalization, theoreticalization, and counterterrorism," Pablo explained.

For the homeland security department to exist, a bill would need to be passed by Congress and signed by President Rodrigo Duterte into law. While the Duterte administration is prioritizing a campaign against terrorism through its security agencies, no bill creating a separate internal security department has been filed in Congress.

Here's an example: Jennifer Santiago Oreta, a security expert teaching at the Ateneo de Manila University, expressed support for the idea. She pointed out the case of the DILG, which handles both internal security and local governments.

"So within the DILG you have a usec (undersecretary) and asec (assistant secretary) that is focused on the local government, and then you have the usec and asec that [focus] on the interior. That is totally separated.... Well, of course, there is [a] connection, but in terms of operation, it's totally different," Oreta said.

Under the interior aspect of the DILG is the PNP, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, and the Bureau of Fire Protection, which are concerned with maintaining public order. They could be moved to the proposed homeland security department.


China Poised to Win Major Victory in Sea Dispute With Help of Philippine Resources Deal

From the Wall Street Journal (Sep 10): China Poised to Win Major Victory in Sea Dispute With Help of Philippine Resources Deal

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hainan, China, in April 2018.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, right, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Hainan, China, in April 2018. Photo: ace morandante/Philippines Presidential Photographers Division/EPA/Shutterstock

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is negotiating an agreement with China to share oil and natural-gas resources in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, a deal that would be a major policy victory for Beijing.

It would open the door for China to push for similar arrangements with other Southeast Asian nations that have challenged its expansive claims and potentially lock Western oil companies out of the resource-rich region.

Mr. Duterte’s opponents and legal experts say joint development—which Beijing has long advocated—legitimizes China’s assertion that it has historic rights over almost the entire South China Sea, undermining a 2016 international tribunal ruling that invalidated those claims. It would also fortify Beijing’s control over the strategic waters, where tensions between the U.S. and China have surged.

Beijing has blocked the Philippines from operating in an area of seabed known as Reed Bank, 85 nautical miles off the Philippine coast, using patrol vessels and threats of war. Manila is eager to tap those reserves to address a looming energy shortfall.

The 2016 ruling held that the Philippines has exclusive rights over Reed Bank but China has refused to comply with the decision. After a visit to Beijing in late August, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said both sides would “set aside the issue of our claims” in order to break the logjam.

Philippine officials said the two governments are working on a legal framework with an eye toward an expected visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping in November. China’s foreign ministry said in a faxed statement that the leaders of both sides “have reached an important consensus on properly handling the South China Sea issue, including commitment to pragmatic cooperation and joint development,” adding that such cooperation wouldn’t affect either side’s legal position on the dispute.

Arguments over the proposed pact capture the dilemma smaller countries in the region face as China asserts its military, diplomatic and economic clout, with U.S. policies falling short. Officials in Manila say they see few alternatives to working with China, even if that means entrenching Beijing’s influence.

“We just have to make a good situation out of a bad situation by dealing with China,” Philippine Defense Minister Delfin Lorenzana said in an interview in June. On the tribunal decision, he said: “Should we wave it in the face of Xi Jinping and say, ‘Follow this?’ There is a giant there that will not honor the ruling. What can you do?”

Chinese structures and buildings on the man-made Subi Reef at the Spratlys group of islands are seen from Thitu Island in the South China Sea. Photo: Bullit Marquez/Associated Press
Mr. Lorenzana said China had the power to punish the Philippines by restricting trade and tourism, sealing off fishing grounds used by Filipinos and harassing military resupply vessels. The Philippine military wasn’t equipped to deter Chinese encroachment, he said, adding: “Now it’s too late in the game. They’re already there.”

Under Mr. Xi’s leadership, China constructed fortified artificial islands close to the Philippines. This year, it deployed antiship cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles and jamming equipment on them.

At the same time, Beijing has offered billions of dollars in infrastructure investment to the Philippines, effectively muting one of the strongest voices against its assertive stance. Mr. Duterte has played down maritime disputes with the country, while pulling away from the U.S. and moving slowly on implementing a 2014 defense pact.

Lawmakers, officials and analysts in Manila said the Philippines can’t rely on Washington, its longtime military ally, when faced with Chinese pressure. They pointed to Washington’s refusal to clarify whether the countries’ Mutual Defense Treaty would apply to an attack on Philippine troops or vessels in the South China Sea.

A protester holds a flag during a rally in February 2018 at the Chinese consulate in Makati city to protest China's increased presence in the disputed Spratly islands in the South China Sea. Photo: Bullit Marquez/Associated Press

U.S. officials have expressed commitment to the alliance, but stopped short of specific guarantees. Mr. Lorenzana said the U.S.’s interest in the South China Sea appeared limited to maintaining freedom of navigation.

The Philippines is running out of time. A third of the electricity supply for its main island of Luzon comes from the Malampaya gas field, which will run out within a decade. Exploration would need to begin now, experts say.

For China, Mr. Duterte’s desire for closer economic ties presents a crucial deal-making window. Mr. Dutete must leave office in 2022 under term limits, and his successor may take a harder line.

Beijing has long recommended joint development. In 2011, a survey ship hired by Forum Energy PLC, a 70%-owned unit of Philippine company PXP Energy Corp., was chased out by Chinese marine-surveillance vessels.

PXP Energy, then called Philex Petroleum Corp., began negotiations with China National Offshore Oil Corp., but talks quickly broke down over a clause giving China the right to tax the venture, a person with knowledge of the matter said.

Western oil giants interested in Reed Bank ended discussions because of the dispute, a person involved said. Today, the risks for major international companies are higher.

The Sierra Madre ship of the Philippine Navy is anchored near Ayungin shoal in the Spratlys, in a photo from 2015. Photo: ritchie b. tongo / pool/European Pressphoto Agency

“How do you get into an area where there are built-up defense installations?” the person said. “China has positioned itself very strongly.”

The Duterte administration is navigating tricky legal and political terrain. Justice Antonio T. Carpio, a senior Supreme Court judge and advocate for a tough China policy, said that for a joint project to comply with the constitution, it would have to be subject to Philippine laws and taxes.

The solution, Mr. Carpio said, was a deal that offered China roughly half the gas or proceeds from the gas, but no sovereign rights. In practical terms, he said, the Philippines would contract a Chinese state-owned company and split the output or profit.

China would then be able to apply this template to “extract concessions” across the South China Sea and block out Western oil companies like Exxon Mobil , he said.

“China is using the nine-dash line to bully us into giving up half of our resources,” Mr. Carpio said. “They’ll get what they want.”

Kidnap-for-ransom group may be behind kidnapping in Semporna waters

From the New Straits Times (Sep 12): Kidnap-for-ransom group may be behind kidnapping in Semporna waters

Acting Sabah police commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah confirmed this, revealing the latest abduction incident involving skipper Samsul Saguni, 40 and his assistant Usman Yunus, 35, occured between 12am and 1am. Pic by NSTP/KHAIRULL AZRY BIDIN

KOTA KINABALU: A kidnap-for-ransom (KFR) group may be behind the kidnapping of the two Indonesian fishermen working on a local fishing vessel in Semporna waters in the small hours of the morning today.

Acting Sabah police commissioner Datuk Omar Mammah confirmed this, revealing the latest abduction incident involving skipper Samsul Saguni, 40 and his assistant Usman Yunus, 35, occured between 12am and 1am.

“We believed the kidnappers belong to a KFR group and we are looking into this, including whether the group is linked to the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

“The surroundings was dark when the kidnapping occurred but the two abductors were seen wearing face masks and clad in dark clothing.

“Both suspects were also believed to be armed with M16 firearms based on the description given by another fisherman, who was hiding at the time of incident,” he said, adding all Indonesian fishermen hold valid passports.

Omar was speaking to reporters when met at the State level Ma’al Hijrah celebration at Wisma Muis, here. Also present was Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal.

Omar noted there were four fishermen on board when the two kidnappers stormed their fishing boat, adding two of the fishermen managed to hide.

He also said no shooting took place and the kidnappers fled with their victims in a boat to an unknown location.

“We are not sure whether they are still in Sabah waters or otherwise but police have launched an operation to hunt down the kidnappers,” he said.

He noted Semporna was a curfew zone area but the fishing boat’s owner, a local operator, has applied for a permit to fish during curfew time.

Omar also said police would alert and update the Indonesian consulate and counterparts on the matter.

Meanwhile, Shafie stressed the state government would assist Indonesia and ensure action wast taken to strengthen the state security.

“The people’s lives have to be protected no matter who they are … They were abducted in our waters and therefore it’s our responsibility to assist our neighboring country.

“I will instruct for follow-up action. Although they are Indonesians, we will assist in strengthening patrol operations and information intelligence on their whereabouts so immediate action can be taken,” he said.

This is the first kidnapping incident in Sabah waters in almost two years. The last one on December 8, 2016 saw security forces gunning down three abductors and apprehending two after an exhange of fire at Semporna waters.

Soldiers ambushed in central Negros

From the Panay News (Sep 11): Soldiers ambushed in central Negros

The Mount Cansermon Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) said it successfully rendered “punitive actions” against one unit of the Philippine Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion in central Negros Island.

This led to the death of a soldier, NPA spokesman Ka Juan Malaya said. Four more soldiers were also injured, he added.

The encounter happened around 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 3 in Sitio Basakan, Barangay Panciao, Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, the NPA claimed.

According to Malaya, the ambush was NPA’s way to punish the Army for its “numerous human rights violations.”

These violations include displacement of peasants and farmers and illegal arrests, Malaya said.

Students and teachers of far-flung communities in Negros Island are also threatened by soldiers, with some tagged as rebels or rebel supporters, Malaya added.

He also stressed that they are “not afraid” of the additional Army units deployed in central Negros, adding that they will continue with their tactical offensives aimed at “protecting the masses.”


Vice mayor of Negros town, husband surrender to authorities

From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Sep 11): Vice mayor of Negros town, husband surrender to authorities

 Vice Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo (center). Photo from Police Regional Office-6

Vice Mayor Ella Celestina Garcia-Yulo of Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental and her husband have surrendered to the Western Visayas police, weeks after an arrest order against them for allegedly possessing explosives was released.

Photos from the Police Regional Office-6 (PRO-6) showed Yulo and husband Felix Mathias Segundo Feria Yulo III appearing before Regional Director Chief Supt. John Bulalacao on Tuesday noon.

According to the warrant of arrest from the Regional Trial Court Branch 63 of La Carlota City, the couple was charged with violation of R.A. 10591 or the Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunition.

In December 2017, police manning a checkpoint supposedly found two fragmentation grenades inside their car.

Information filed in court also showed that the Yulos had two unlicensed .45 caliber pistols and live ammunition with them. The court set the bail at P200,000 each.

Vice Mayor Yulo has been tagged as a supporter of the Communist Party of the Philippines’ armed wing, the New People’s Army, an accusation that the local exec’s camp has denied.  


Sellout! Sison calls Duterte traitor, stupid over PH-China oil exploration deal

From Politiko (Sep 11): Sellout! Sison calls Duterte traitor, stupid over PH-China oil exploration deal

Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison has assailed President Duterte for selling out the Philippines in exchange of loans from China.

“Traidor at estupido talaga si Duterte,” Sison tweeted, reacting to a Wall Street Journal news report titled “China Poised to Win Major Victory in Sea Dispute With Help of Philippine Resources Deal.”

“He is selling out the sovereign rights of the Filipino people over trillions of dollars worth of oil, gas and other natural resources in the West Philippine Sea in exchange for a few billion dollars worth of Chinese loans,” he said.

Sison said Duterte was “begging” for Chinese loans for infrastructure projects implemented and “overpriced by Chinese contractors.”

Traidor at estupido talaga si Duterte.Begging the Chinese loans for infrastructure projects implemented and overpriced by Chinese contractors.
Traidor at estupido talaga si Duterte. He is selling out the sovereign rights of the Filipino people over trillions of dollars worth of oil, gas and other natural resources in the West Philippine Sea in exchange for a few billion dollars worth of Chinese loans.

There is no split in Philippine military, says defense chief

From the Arab News (Sep 12): There is no split in Philippine military, says defense chief

Soldiers take part in a parade during the 79th anniversary celebration of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Quezon city, Metro Manila December 18, 2014.
  • Officers and men and women of the armed forces might differ in opinion, “but cannot expect them to make unusual activities over political issues
  • I command the troops to adhere to the rule of law and always obey the chain of command
Philippines Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana stressed on Monday that troops’ morale is high as he downplayed reports of military unrest due to the political situation in the country.

 This came as Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez reminded soldiers to obey only the chain of command and to stay out of politics.

 The statements were issued by the Philippines’ top security officials amid reports of destabilization against President Rodrigo Duterte after his controversial order revoking the amnesty of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, an ex-Navy officer-turned-lawmaker.

“That (split in the military organization) is just a rumor,” Lorenzana told reporters in a press briefing at Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. He said some groups were making up the story that there many disgruntled active military personnel, but he had not seen any indication.

 When asked about the soldiers’ morale, the defense chief replied: “Their salary was increased ... so they have high morale.”

However, Lorenzana also said there was indeed a destabilization plot from the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples’ Army which was hatched in 2016 and finalized in 2017. “They have a plot to oust Duterte ... now I don’t know if there are other groups that will connive with them,” he said.

 Lorenzana said Galvez’s warning to soldiers not to meddle in partisan politics was “just precautionary” in case someone tried to recruit them for the plan to oust Duterte.

 Galvez also belied claims by some quarters of divisiveness in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). “I assure our people that, as in many times in the past, the AFP will be one and undivided as an organization,” he said.

 He likewise warned anyone attempting to divide the military by sowing intrigues and discord: “You will not succeed.”

Nonetheless, Galvez reminded “every soldier, airman, sailor, and marine not to meddle or take part in partisan politics,” as he emphasized that their loyalty should be to the Constitution.

“I command the troops to adhere to the rule of law and always obey the chain of command. Violation of these instructions will be dealt with severely and personnel who get involved will be immediately relieved from their post and investigated,” he said.

“While I am aware that the troops have individual views on many issues, those merely hallmark an intelligent and mature organization like the AFP. But we always put the interest of the organization and the nation above our own.”

Further, he said that the AFP submits to the majesty of the Supreme Court (SC) and yields to its wisdom as it tackles the petition filed by Trillanes pertaining to Presidential Proclamation 572 (PP 572) that voided his amnesty.

“In deference to the SC that has taken cognizance of the case, we will not anymore comment on its merits as we hope other parties would follow suit,” said Galvez.

 Meanwhile, a retired army general said Trillanes’ claim of political persecution by the Duterte administration will not have a major impact on the AFP, which he said has grown into a professional organization.

 He pointed out that officers and men and women of the armed forces might differ in opinion, “but you cannot expect them to make unusual activities over political issues.
“So far, we don’t have any indication that our military will resort to any ‘unusual activity’,” said the former general, who asked not to be named. He pointed out that not even Trillanes’ classmates in the Philippine Military Academy had given him their support.

“That is because is (Trillanes) is being hounded by his past actions,” the source said, referring to the failed uprisings led by the mutineer-turned-politician against the previous administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“There was a split within their ranks, among the classmates of Trillanes,” the former general said, adding that money was one of the issues that caused the division within their group.

“So they were jailed after the failed Oakwood mutiny. In the end they learned that there was money and Trillanes was the one who held on to it. However, he only supported the Navy elements among the Oakwood mutineers. Those from the Army service, they had to produce their food and supplies ... and they’re even his classmates.”

Abu Sayyaf terrorist killed in Sulu clash

From the Manila Times (Sep 12): Abu Sayyaf terrorist killed in Sulu clash

Government troops clashed with Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) terrorists killing one of them in Sulu, officials said on Tuesday.

The fighting broke out on Monday in the village of Bungkaong in Patikul town after soldiers encountered about 60 bandits under Abu Sayyaf commanders Almujer Yadah and Idang Susukan.

There was no report of military casualties, according to Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, a spokesman for the Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom).

He said members of the 21st Infantry Battalion (21st IB) were deployed to the hinterlands of the town after villagers reported that the terrorists were holding several hostages in the area.

“In the continuing conduct of military operations to rescue the remaining kidnap victims in Sulu, soldiers under the 21st Infantry Battalion led by Lt. Col. Pagala, encountered more or less 60 Abu Sayyaf Group members under Almujer Yadah and Idang Susukan in Barangay Bungkaong, Patikul, Sulu at 9 this morning [Tuesday]. Due to the superior firepower of the government forces, the bandits were forced to withdraw and escape,” Besana reported.

He said soldiers recovered the body of the slain bandit, including his M16 automatic rifle.

Lt. Gen. Arnel dela Vega, WestMinCom chief, praised the soldiers for their bravery and said the operations against the Abu Sayyaf would be relentless.

“This latest encounter only shows how persistent our forces are to track down the terrorist groups wherever they go to make sure that they are decimated and that remaining kidnap victims are also rescued.”

“We also have to give due recognition to the support of the local community in directing our troops to the terrorists’ location proving that they are already tired of the menace the terrorists bring to their locality,” he said.

The Abu Sayyaf is still holding about a dozen Filipino and foreign hostages.

Since January, dela Vega said, security forces have killed 32 militants in fighting in Sulu, one of five provinces under the Muslim autonomous region.

The Abu Sayyaf, whose leaders have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, is fighting for establishment of the caliphate in the troubled Mindanao region in southern Philippines.


Suspected Abu Sayyaf member killed in Basilan shootout

From GMA News (Sep 9): Suspected Abu Sayyaf member killed in Basilan shootout

A suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf group was killed in Basilan after he shot it out with arresting lawmen last Saturday night.

A report on GMA News' "Balitanghali" said Omaidie Salain was killed in a manhunt operation in Isabela City in Basilan when he resisted arrest.

Salain had been wanted for robbery with homicide, and was also included in the wanted list of the Zamboanga City Police Office for his supposed involvement in gun-for-hire activities.

The report said authorities claimed they recovered a hand gun, a magazine, bullets, and six sachets of suspected methamphetamine (shabu) at the scene of the shootout.


Civilians hailed for support as soldiers, rebels clash

From the Panay News (Sep 11): Civilians hailed for support as soldiers, rebels clash

NPA takes hostage and kills Cafgu member

Soldiers of the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion patrol Barangay Lampaya, Leon, Iloilo. The Army is gaining the trust and confidence of the community, says Colonel Benedict Arevalo of the 301st Infantry Brigade. IAN PAUL CORDERO/PN

ILOILO – The Philippine Army thanked civilians for alerting it about the rebels’ presence in the hinterland barangay of Agcarope, Janiuay town.

Government troops and rebels in Panay Island clashed anew on Sunday, their third encounter in four days. A Civilian Armed Forces Geographical Unit (Cafgu) Active Auxiliary member held hostage by the rebels died.

“We are gaining the trust and confidence of the community. We are thankful that they are cooperative,” said Colonel Benedict Arevalo of the 301st Infantry Brigade.

The slain Cafgu member was 41-year-old Virgilio Loraña of Barangay Monte-Magapa, Janiuay. He was stabbed and shot, said Major General Dinoh Dolina, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division.

The rebels belonged to the Baloy Platoon, Sangay Partido Pampropaganda, Central Front Committee, New People’s Army (NPA) Panay.

“We are extending our condolences to the family of Loraña. We have to give financial assistance to his family,” said Dolina.

Sunday’s 15-minute encounter happened after two separate clashes on Sept. 6 in Leon, Iloilo and Maayon, Capiz.

The Janiuay encounter was between the Philippine Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) and some 10 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

According to Arevalo, the firefight happened at around 3 p.m.

Government troops successfully repelled the rebels, he said, and recovered two M16 armalite rifles and one AK47 rifle.

“They retreated after sensing they were being overpowered,” said Arevalo.
Government troops may have wounded at least two rebels. Residents claimed seeing the rebels assisting wounded companions while they were retreating.

On Sept. 6, a 15-minute firefight erupted around 4:50 a.m. between 10 soldiers of the 61IB and about the same number of insurgents in Barangay Malublub, Leon.

“The enemies eventually retreated. We were on an offensive operation. There were no deaths or injuries on our side,” said Lieutenant Colonel Sisenando Magbalo of the 61IB.

The battalion received information that armed men of the NPA’s Southern Front Committee were in Barangay Malublub so it deployed soldiers there.

Some 11 hours after the Leon clash, soldiers of the 61IB exchanged fire with another band of rebels in barangays Bongbongan and Guinbi-alan, Maayon, Capiz.

There were no reported injuries or casualties on the government side.

Just this Aug. 24 troops of the Iloilo Police Provincial Office’s 1st Provincial Mobile Force Company were on patrol when some 20 rebels set off a command-detonated landmine and started firing at the policemen in Barangay Isian Victoria, Leon. Three policemen were injured.

It was believed to be a retaliatory attacked by the rebels after losing seven comrades to the police and military in Barangay Atabay, San Jose, Antique on Aug. 15.