Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Red-tagging now hits Aglipayan church, bishop in Mindanao

From the often pro-Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) online publication the Davao Today (Oct 2): Red-tagging now hits Aglipayan church, bishop in Mindanao

The Duterte administration’s malicious red-tagging is now targeting a ranking church official of the Iglesia Filipinia Independiente in Mindanao.

Bishop Antonio Ablon, a bishop of the Aglipayan Church, said the attacks against IFI are now more brazen after the Armed Forces of the Philippines disclosed to the public about the so-called “Red October,” an ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte being hatched alleged by the communists in the country.

Ablon deplored the series of markings painted on the cement fence in our of their churches in Zamboanga del Sur and similar markings along the highway in Barangay Lacupayan in Tigbao town, Tigabao and Kumalarang towns in Zambonga del Sur.


On September 28, the cement fence of IFI Tigbao Parish in Zamboanga del Sur located along the highway to Zamboanga City was vandalized with the words “IFI=NPA,” according to Rev. Felix Espra Jr.

Another markings were also spotted along the highway in Lacupayan, also in Tigbao town. Painted in blue color, the words “Bishop Ablon = NPA” and “IFI=NPA BAYAN” were found along the highway boundary of the municipalities of Tigabo and Kumalarang in Zamboanga del Sur.

Ablon said IFI formed and deployed a team to probe the alleged vandalism in Barangay Lacupayan, Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur. The probe team further discovered similar markings such as “IFI= NPA BAYAN,” “BAYAN-MUNA = NPA,” “NPA SALOT- IFI= NPA,” “IBAGSAK CPP NPA,” and “UCCP=NPA.”Other markings the IFI probe team found were “BM = NPA”, “BISHOP ABLON = NPA”, “LFS = NPA,” and “RMP=NPA.”

What can be gleaned from these vandals were sectoral organizations tagged by the military as front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Starting off with Bayan, referring to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, the umbrella organization of Left-wing organizations in the country; Bayan Muna, a Leftist political party; LFS or League of the Filipino Students which is the country’s largest Leftist student organization; RMP or the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, and UCCP or the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).


“It should be noted that on the other side of this highway, a makeshift is situated and sheltered a group of soldiers from the Army’s 53rd Infantry Battalion and 5Ist Infantry Battalion and CAFGU who were guarding a bridge under construction nearby,” Ablon said.

According to Ablon, the troop’s ground commander identified only as Sergeant Carpio told the IFI probe team that they saw the vandals in the morning of September 27, 2018 together with a Barangay Kagawad whose residence is situated nearby.

“He denied involvement but when asked what they can do, he said that he cannot and will not dare to erase it as it might be the doing of their higher ups he might end up suspected to be sympathizing the left (referring to the NPA’s),” he said.

Solidarity Mission

But Ablon linked this red-tagging incidence to the series of solidary mercy missions held from June 19 to 21, this year in a Lumad community in Barangay Saad, Dumingag in Zamboanga del Sur by Aglipayan dioceses of Pagadian, Oroquieta and Ozamiz, the UCCP North-West Mindanao Jurisdiction, the RMP, the Roman Catholic Church and other sectoral groups.

One of the goals of the mission was to investigate the alleged reports of aerial bombings occurred last May 29 to 30 that forced the Subanen (Lumad) community to abandon Barangay Saad in Dumingag town in Zamboanga del Sur amid reports of militarization, according to Abalon.

Apart from bombardments, Abalon said that Barangay Saad residents complained of harassments, branding the local residents to have close ties with New People’s Army, the CPP’s armed-wing.

“After the said Solidarity and Mercy Mission, the bishops of Ozamiz and Pagadian including the other clergy were visited by soldiers coming from the 53rdInfantry Battalion, and 10th Infantry Battalion,” he said.

Ablon added that residents of Barangay Saad were continuously harassed, intimidated and vilified to be members of the NPA.

“Even the Punong Barangay of Barangay Mansanas, Josefina, Zamboanga del Sur, Hon. Juanito Caramba who was with us during the Solidarity and Mercy Mission was also visited in his barangay and elements from 97th Infantry Battalion and 44th Infantry Battalion and 53rd Infantry Battalion take turns in encamping their barangay.”


Rhee M. Timbang, IFI’s Obispo Maximo, renounced the recent wave of attacks against Aglipayan bishop Antonio Ablon, which he said, came in the wake of the AFP’s threat to crackdown against the critics of the Duterte administration.

“This incidence is highly alarming considering that these tagging and labelling do not only grossly malign and vilify the IFI and its ministry, they likewise irresponsibly place the life and security of Bp Antonio Ablon and other IFI bishops and clergy in danger,” he said.

Staying true to its roots in activism, the IFI has been consistent in calling out the government on several social and political issues that affect the marginalized Filipinos. The IFI, being one of the members of the National Council of the Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), was at the forefront in defending the rights of the Lumad in Mindanao including other sectoral issues on justice, and peace.

Timbang said red-tagging invites soldiers and paramilitary groups to harass those who are perceived to be enemies of the state.

“Red-tagging and labelling serve to harass, intimidate and threat persons who are considered as enemies of the state, but worst these serve as license for their liquidation or neutralization, to borrow military terms, as state security officers are given the open permission to shoot and kill those whom listed in their order of battle,” he said.

He added, “This is frightening because the red-tagging and labelling justify the killings since church people like Bp Antonio Ablon and many others in and outside the IFI are unjustly grouped and lumped up together as one and same with the NPA which the government through the AFP and PNP is waging war for almost a half century now!”

Enemy of the state

According to Timbang, the so-called red-tagging and labelling of the IFI started to become obvious during the time of President Gloria Arroyo when the AFP and PNP classified the IFI among many others as “enemy of the state.”

“The practice continued in President Noynoy Aquino’s time and obviously this malicious propaganda has been intensified in President Duterte’s regime. Today, several IFI clergy and lay from the north down to the south are harassed, intimidated and threaten; a number of them are being placed under military and police surveillance or tailed upon by unidentified armed persons,” he noted.


CPP taps students of 10 Manila universities for Red October plot – Galvez

From Rappler (Oct 2): CPP taps students of 10 Manila universities for Red October plot – Galvez
(UPDATED) Military chief General Carlito Galvez Jr, who does not identify the schools, says this is part of the communists' bid to form a 'broad coalition' to unseat President Rodrigo Duterte
PH MILITARY CHIEF. AFP chief General Carlito Galvez Jr at the Senate Finance Subcommittee hearing on the proposed 2019 budget of the Department of National Defense on October 2, 2018. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler
PH MILITARY CHIEF. AFP chief General Carlito Galvez Jr at the Senate Finance Subcommittee hearing on the proposed 2019 budget of the Department of National Defense on October 2, 2018. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

(UPDATED) – The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) has reportedly organized students in 10 universities in Manila for its alleged Red October ouster plot against President Rodrigo Duterte, military chief General Carlito Galvez Jr told senators on Tuesday, October 2.

Galvez gave the information as opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV quizzed him about the controversial plot during Senate deliberations on the proposed 2019 Department of National Defense Budget.

The Armed Forces chief said the ouster plot would be carried out by a "broad" coalition led by the CPP, supposedly this month.

"In fact, they have already organized [in] 10 of the universities in Manila," said Galvez, who did not identify the schools.

"Right now, they are making a lot of information drive wherein they will show to the old high school and even college students different approaches during the Marcos regime and equate that to the present administration," he added.

Galvez earlier said that communists had penetrated labor groups for mobilizations against Duterte.

"It is a very elaborate plan wherein they started the heightening of the agitation using the Fiirst Quarter Storm model," he said at the Senate hearing.

CPP anniversary 'goal'

Galvez also reiterated his previous statement that the supposed plot woud culminate in December, in time for the 50th anniversary of the CPP.

"The Red October plot, we started to ventilate on this considering that their plan really is to have a successive mass mobilization starting on September 21, then October, then November, until such time that they have their 50th anniversary this December," the AFP chief said.

The CPP will celebrate its 50th anniversary on December 26, 2018, with the goal of unseating Duterte. (READ: CPP 50th anniversary goal: ‘Overthrow Duterte regime')

Reporters tried to ask for an interview with Galvez after the hearing to clarify what he said in the hearing, but he declined.

Malacañang, meanwhile, brushed aside threats to Duterte, citing his continued popularity and the readiness of security forces to ward off such threats.

"We are firmly in control," Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a Palace news briefing on Tuesday, when asked about the Red October plot.

During the budget hearing, Galvez also said that there was no coalition between the CPP and the opposition Liberal Party (LP) to oust Duterte – contrary to what the President himself had claimed. (READ: [OPINION] The hunt for 'Red October')


Fewer but deadlier conflicts in ARMM in 2017 – report

From Rappler (Oct 2): Fewer but deadlier conflicts in ARMM in 2017 – report
A dramatic rise in the use of improvised explosive devices and shift to group-related attacks from individual attacks defined ARMM conflicts last year, according to the Conflict Alert 2018 report
CRISIS IN MARAWI. In August 2017, a Marine Fire Support armored vehicle passes through the Mapandi district as it pulls out from the main battle area in Marawi City. File photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler
CRISIS IN MARAWI. In August 2017, a Marine Fire Support armored vehicle passes through the Mapandi district as it pulls out from the main battle area in Marawi City. File photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

The year 2017 saw an “unprecedented” rise in deaths due to conflict in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) despite a decline in the number of violent conflict incidents, according to a report launched on Tuesday, October 2.

These figures point to a higher “magnitude of conflict” – a single attack can now kill more people than before.

“You have more people dying from fewer incidents,” said Francisco Lara Jr, Senior Peace and Conflict Adviser in Asia for International Alert Philippines.

Lara was among those who presented the Conflict Alert 2018 report to media. International Alert Philippines has been keeping tabs on ARMM conflicts since 2011.

The group found that in 2017, 2,260 persons were killed in violent conflicts – 82% higher than the number in 2016 (1,241).

“The year 2017 stood out for the record number of conflict deaths and the highest year-on-year rate of increase in deaths since the Conflict Alert database was established,” reads the report.

The total number of fatalities in 2017 amounted to 36% of the total number of conflict fatalities recorded from 2011 to 2017.
This despite fewer violent conflicts in 2017 compared to 2016. The report tallied 4,138 violent conflicts in 2017, fewer than the 4,361 incidents in 2016.

Why deadlier conflicts in 2017? The report identified 3 important factors for the heightened conflict magnitude:
  • Increase in group attacks versus individual attacks
  • Surge in use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs)
  • Ability of armed groups to cluster in specific areas and quickly concentrate or disperse when necessary

The year 2017 saw the number of attacks perpetrated by groups rise dramatically, compared to the rise in number of attacks perpetrated by individuals.

“Group actors and attacks saw a 4-fold increase, in contrast to individual actors and attacks that increased only a 5th from the previous year,” reads the report.

The number of actors involved in group-initiated fatal conflict incidents shot up to 222,149 in 2017, from 46,058 in 2016 – a 382% increase.

Compare this to a mere 20% increase in the actors involved in individual-initiated conflict, from 1,657 in 2016 to 1,985 in 2017.

More and more, armed groups are using bombs to wreak maximum havoc in a single incident.

While the use of guns for ARMM conflicts declined by 3% in 2017, the use of IEDs rose by 45%. This pattern was still evident even when the Marawi siege was taken out of the picture, said the report.

Deadly incidents where guns were used numbered 614 in 2017, down from 634 in 2016. But deadly incidents caused by bombs numbered 29 in 2017, an increase from 20 the year before.

The heightened tendency to deploy bombs for attacks, instead of firearms greatly contributed to the number of deaths a single conflict incident could cause.

Thus, while there were fewer incidents, the use of IEDs “compensated” by taking more lives.

“It’s good that the number of incidents dropped but the use of IEDs increased so the IEDs made up for the lower number of incidents,” said Lara.

Maguindanao was the province that experienced the most number of conflict incidents in 2017, followed by Lanao del Sur, Basilan (including Isabela City), Sulu, then Tawi-Tawi.

But it was Lanao del Sur that suffered the most number of deaths due to conflict, followed by Maguindanao (including Cotabato City), Sulu, Basilan (including Isabela City), then Tawi-Tawi.

DWDD: HISTORICAL VISIT | NTF 87 Commander pays Courtesy Call to Russian Pacific Fleet Commander

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 1): HISTORICAL VISIT  |   NTF 87 Commander pays Courtesy Call to Russian Pacific Fleet Commander

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia (DWDD) – Naval Task Force 87 Commander Captain Florante Gagua paid a Courtesy Call to Russian Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Sergei Avakyants.

The event happened at around 1400H Russian time at the Russian Pacific Fleet Headquarters.

The Pacific Fleet’s headquarters is located in Vladivostok, with numerous facilities within the Peter the Great Gulf in Primorsky Krai, and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Vilyuchinsk in Avacha Bay on the Kamchatka Peninsula in Kamchatka Krai.

The fleet was established in 1731 as part of the Imperial Russian Navy, the fleet was known as the Okhotsk Military Flotilla (1731-1856) and Siberian Military Flotilla (1856-1918), formed to defend Russian interests in the Russian Far East region along the Pacific coast.

In the Soviet years, the fleet was also responsible for the Soviet Navy’s operations in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Red Banner Pacific Fleet was inherited by the Russian Federation as part of the Russian Navy and its current name was adopted.

AES / LMC / Photos by Ssg Sablon PAF


DWDD: HISTORICAL VISIT | PH Amb to Russia host dinner for NTF 87

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 1): HISTORICAL VISIT | PH Amb to Russia host dinner for NTF 87

LOTTE HOTEL, Vladivostok, Russia (DWDD) A Welcome Dinner was hosted by Philippine Ambassador to Russia Carlos D Sorreta for the visit officers, crew and civilians of Naval Task Force 87.

The event was held at the Lotte Hotel Vladivostok.

In a brief statement by Ambassador Sorreta, he said that for the longest time he never expected that this day will come where a Philippine Navy Ship will be visiting Russia.
“Nagpapasalamat ako dahil sa tinagal tagal ng panahon hindi ko aakalain na makakatuntong ang barko ng Pilipinas sa Russia.”.


AES / LMC / Photos by Ssg Sablon PAF


DWDD: AFP STATEMENT | BGen Edgard Arevalo on issue that AFP is coddling MGen Palparan, et al.

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 2): AFP STATEMENT  |  BGen Edgard Arevalo on issue that AFP is coddling MGen Palparan, et al.


 * The AFP shares the aggrieved parties’ call for justice. In deferring the transfer, the AFP is not protecting MGen Palparan et al. It merely submits to the judicial processes already in place and running.
* Specifically, the AFP desires to know which commitment order takes precedence and how the court will resolve the pending motion for continues detention this time to Camp Aguinaldo Detention Facility in the case of MGen Palparan. After which, the AFP shall comply forthwith with the order of the relevant court.
* Note that MGen Palparan et al. are facing two cases: one before Regional Trial Court Branch 15 of Judge Alexander Tamayo for Cadapan and Empeño case. The other case is with Regional Trial Court Branch 19 presided by Judge Francisco Felizmenio for Manalo Brothers case.
* In both cases, the courts ordered that the accused be committed to the Philippine Army Custodial Center (PACC) for custody.
* MGen Palparan et al. were convicted for the Cadapan and Empeño case where the court ordered that the former be confined at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP) in Muntinlupa.
* Meanwhile the Manalo case is pending and the accused’s continues commitment at the PACC stays by virtue of said Commitment Order.
* Due to his conviction in the Cadapan and Empeño case, lawyers for MGen Palparan et al. submitted a Motion for Reconsideration 18Sept. Counsels also filed on 24Sept an Urgent Motion to defer the implementation of the order to transfer of MGen Palparan—the resolution of which they are awaiting hence the continued detention at the PACC.
* The conviction and the new commitment order to NBP in the Cadapan and Empeño case now confuses with the hitherto existing commitment order to the PACC in the Manalo Brothers case.
*To resolve the conflicting commitment orders, the PACC on 24September filed a Manifestation with Motion praying for the court determination which commitment order prevails. Hearing was had 28 September.
* The AFP respects the law and pertinent judicial processes. It does not and will not frustrate any pursuit for justice.


DWDD: RECOGNIZED | 8 Jungle Fighter Officers promoted to next higher ranks

From DWDD AFP Civil Relations Service Radio Website (Oct 2): RECOGNIZED  |  8 Jungle Fighter Officers promoted to next higher ranks

CAMP MATEO CAPINPIN, Tanay, Rizal (DWDD) – Eight (8) Officers of the 2nd Infantry (Jungle Fighter” Division were promoted to the next higher ranks and three (3) Civilian employees were recognized during the traditional flag raising ceremony here at Camp Mateo Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal, today, October 1, 2018.

Major General Rhoderick M Parayno AFP, Commander, 2ID led the donning of ranks to the newly promoted officers and giving of certificates to the civilian employees.

Cpt Ruben S Ayroso of 59IB, Cpt Arthur H Allauigan of OG7, Cpt Esteban L Mangabat of OG3, Cpt Louie A Nicolas of SSBn, Cpt Elfie M Bendo of OG1, Cpt Jerome Noel P Ducusin of OG2, and Cpt Ariel C Rosuelo of OG8 were promoted to the rank of Major, while 1Lt Annie Louraine C Falcatan, OG1 now became Captain.

Furthermore, Ms Erlinda C Bares, Division Civilian Supervisor, Ms Gloria R Carag, Nursing Attendant I, and Ms Julita G Mejia, Midwife II were given Certificate of Recognition for their thirty (30) years of continuous satisfactory service in this Command.