Friday, October 12, 2018

Photo: Students’ rage

From ABS-CBN (Oct 12): Students’ rage

Students’ rage

Students from different universities, led by the youth group League of Filipino Students (LFS), join a protest march from UST to Mendiola on Friday. They slammed the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) claims in its ‘Red October' plot that students from big universities are being brainwashed and recruited by communist groups.

Philippine Air Force’s New C-130 SABIR Kit Includes an ELTA Radar

Posted to Update Philippines (Oct 11): Philippine Air Force’s New C-130 SABIR Kit Includes an ELTA Radar

The kit incorporates, among other systems, an electro-optical imager and a variant of ELTA Systems’ EL/M-2022 synthetic aperture radar.

Philippine Air Force’s New C-130 SABIR Kit Includes an ELTA Radar

The 300th Air Intelligence and Security Wing (AISW) of the Philippine Air Force has received an Airdyne Special Airborne Mission Installation and Response (SABIR) kit for use on board one of the service’s C-130 transport aircraft.
According to Jane’s, the SABER kit essentially transforms the C-130 into an ISR aircraft, which incorporates, among other systems, an electro-optical imager and a variant of ELTA Systems’ EL/M-2022 synthetic aperture radar.

The report adds that new capability has been funded by the US Southeast Asian Maritime Security Initiative (MSI), and is aimed at increasing the Philippine military’s “maritime domain awareness, airborne command-and-control, counter-terrorism, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief [HADR] capabilities.”

AFP’s war vs. Moro in Mindanao is not yet over—Suara Bangsamoro

From the often pro-Communist Party of the Philippines online publication the Davao Today (Oct 9): AFP’s war vs. Moro in Mindanao is not yet over—Suara Bangsamoro

A progressive Moro said, on Tuesday, that the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ war against Muslims in Mindanao is far from over, noting that there’s an increase of military deployments in Mindanao.

“The AFP’s war against the Moro people is not over, it is in fact intensifying with the deployment of 75 percent of the AFP forces in Mindanao,” Jerome Aba, speaking for Suara Bangsamoro said.

Aba was reacting to the statement of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Carlito G. Galvez, Jr. when he declared last October 6 that the armed conflict between the military and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) was finally over.

Galvez met MILF chairperson Al Hajj Murad Ebrahim when he visited the MILF’s Camp Darapan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

“Even though the MILF is transitioning towards closely working with the Duterte administration and his security forces, war against the Moro people is far from over as long the government’s counterinsurgency program and resource grab aggressively targets the Bangsamoro,” Aba said.

The Moro people are forced to defend themselves from military attacks in their communities, stand up against the military and their terror-tagging and land grabbing of Moro lands by the government and foreign corporations, said Aba.

“The Moro people are more inclined to reach out to revolutionary forces in Mindanao to continue their struggle in defense of their communities and their people and their right to self-determination and freedom,” he stressed.

Aba said President Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao gave “license” to the AFP to kill and arrest innocent civilians in Moro communities and cover their crimes by accusing the victims as members or sympathizers of Abu Sayyaf, Maute or other groups that pledged allegiance to ISIS.

“War against the Moro people will escalate as the government continue to aggressively implement economic programs at the expense of the people,” he said.

Resource-rich Moro areas are constantly being bombarded to flush out residents under the guise of flushing out terrorists, glossing over reports of innocent civilians killed, houses destroyed or homes looted, according to Aba.

The aerial bombardments conducted by the AFP have taken a toll on the Moro communities as evidenced in the case of a pregnant woman who died due to mortar shelling conducted by the AFP against the BIFF in Liguasan Marsh on June 2018.

Liguasan Marsh is a 288,000 hectare of marshland in Central Mindanao that is reported to have oil and natural gas deposits.

“Pursuit of terrorists has been a convenient excuse to hide AFP atrocities against the Moro people,” Aba said, adding that last month, seven Tausug youth-farmers harvesting their crops were killed by the AFP while in pursuit of ASG men in Patikul, Sulu.

Last year , the government resorted to aerial bombardment of Marawi City in pursuit of the Maute group which left 1,000 killed, at least 37 mosques, 44 madrasah facilities, 22 schools destroyed, and at 3,000 cases of houses looted by the AFP, according to Maranaw leader Sultan Abdul Hamidullah Atar.

“There are 27,000 families still homeless and barred from returning to ‘ground zero’ because the government plans to construct a military camp and economic zone,” Aba said.

Apart from aerial bombardment, the crackdown against Moro human rights workers continuous as the vilification of AFP intensified as well.

Last month, Babu Meriam Uy Acob, a paralegal volunteer in Maguindanao was killed in Mamasapano. Worse, even a drug raid was used by the AFP as an excuse to massacre nine MILF members of the 105th base command of the Bangsamoro Islamic Armed Force (BIAF) in Matalam, North Cotabato on May this year. Vilification of Moro rights advocates will make them more vulnerable to violation of their rights, Aba said.

MILF political party to focus on plebiscite, stay out of May 2019 polls

From the Philippine Star (Oct 8): MILF political party to focus on plebiscite, stay out of May 2019 polls

The Bangsamoro Assembly of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front held in Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao on Sunday, July 29, 2018.
MAGUINDANAO, Philippines — The Moro Islamic Liberation Front will not be participating in the May 2019 elections, its chairman Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said over the weekend.
The MILF formed a political party in 2014 in anticipation of future elections in the proposed Bangsamoro region and registered it with the Commission on Elections in 2015. The 16th Congress, however, failed to pass the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

A new Bangsamoro Organic Law was enacted in July after President Rodrigo Duterte repeatedly reiterated support for the proposal.

"This is the start of the MILF’s evolution from an armed revolutionary group into a political organization that would continue struggling for peace and development in the homeland in another arena – governance and politics," the party's secretary-general said in 2014.

"The United Bangsamoro Justice Party will not participate in the May 2019 local elections," Murad told Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. and other senior military officials who visited the MILF's Camp Darapanan in Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao.

MILF to focus on plebiscite

Galvez was accompanied to Camp Darapanan by Brig. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana of the Army's 6th Infantry Division, Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega of the Western Mindanao Command and Chief Superintendent Graciano Mijares, director of the Police Regional Office-Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Murad said the main focus of the MILF for now is to campaign for the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law through the plebiscite on the proposed region on January 21, 2019.
"The UBJP will stand neutral during the May 2019 local elections," he said.

The Commission on Elections will hold the plebiscite in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao's five provinces and in parts of Lanao del Norte in Region 10 and in North Cotabato in Region 12.

"That is our main concern for now. We are initiating dialogues intended to enlighten people on the benefits of the BOL," Murad said.

The BOL is the enabling measure for the replacement of the ARMM with a Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, or BARMM. The transition government for the new region will be composed of MILF officials whom President Rodrigo Duterte will appoint.

Galvez. whil at Camp Darapanan, said he will help campaign for the BOL after he retires from the Philippine Army in December.

"After I hang up my uniform, I can freely campaign for a 'yes' vote for the BOL," he said.

Galvez first got involved in the peace process as chairman of the government's Coordinating Committee on the Cessation of Hostilities while still a colonel.

The committee, which has a counterpart in the MILF, enforces a 1997 bilateral ceasefire meant to prevent hostilities between state and rebel forces while efforts to put a negotiated closure to the Mindanao Moro issue are underway.

Galvez and MILF leaders were also instrumental in the amicable settlement of violent, decades-old clan wars in central Mindanao while he was commander of 6th ID.

Army pursues NPA rebels in Ifugao

From the Sun Star-Baguio (Oct 12): Army pursues NPA rebels in Ifugao

SOLDIERS are pursuing New People’s Army rebels who engaged members of the 54th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in a 15-minute gun battle in Barangay Binablyan, Tinoc-Ifugao.

Lieutenant Colonel Narciso Nabulnag Jr., 54th IB commanding officer, said the army responded to a report of the presence of the rebels in the area.

Ten members of the NPA Special Partisan Unit fired at the responding army personnel until they were able to escape on board a pickup truck.

No casualties were reported on the side of the army while government troops are still confirming the identities of possible casualties on the side of the rebel group.

Recovered from the encounter site were two rifles consisting of a 30 caliber garand and carbine with nine cartridges, 30 caliber ball and a motorcycle allegedly used by the rebels in their operations in Ifugao and neighboring province.

'Red October' plot now dead, says Lorenzana

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 12): 'Red October' plot now dead, says Lorenzana

'RED OCTOBER' PLOT. National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana tells journalists in an ambush interview, during the "International Day for Disaster Reduction and ASEAN Day for Disaster Management Joint Celebration" at the Covered Court of Barangay Batasan Hills in Quezon City Friday (Oct. 12, 2018), that the 'Red October' plot is now 'dead'.(Photo courtesy of Office of Civil Defense-PAO)

"Red October", or the plot to oust the government, has fizzled out, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters Friday.

"Lusaw na (It has already been dissolved)," Lorenzana said when asked on whether "Red October", which is reportedly scheduled to start on Oct. 17, is still an ongoing threat.

He attributed the death of the ouster plot to the public airing by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of the destabilization movement.

The plot is to coincide with the international celebration of Marxism and the Indigenous Peoples' month, with participants allegedly coming from a grand coalition and a broad united front.

The defense chief added that the plotters have “scampered away” when the threat was made public.

"Eh nung ilabas ng AFP sila nagpulasan na, kaya hindi na matutuloy (When the report was made public, the plotters fled)," he added.

With the demise of the "Red October" threat, Lorenzana said what the public needs to prepare for is "White Christmas", as the Yuletide Season is fast approaching.

Gruesome 1977 Patikul massacre recalled

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 10): Gruesome 1977 Patikul massacre recalled

Oct. 10, 1977 was a day of infamy for the whole country. It was the day when Brig. Gen. Teodulfo Bautista, the soft-spoken commanding general of the 1st Infantry “Tabak” Division of the Philippine Army, and 34 of his men, were brutally massacred after they were lured into a “peace dialogue” by local Muslim rebel leader Usman Sali in Patikul, Sulu.

Only one soldier who played possum survived the massacre.

It has been 40 years ago, but this reporter can still vividly recall that day when the earthshaking news about the massacre reached Camp Aguinaldo, the headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in suburban Quezon City.

Defense reporters at that time, led by Joe Vera of the Manila Bulletin, Alex Alan of the now defunct Daily Express, Cecil Arillo of Times Journal, Bert de Guzman of Balita, Tony Seva of GMA Channel 7, Sel Baysa of Radyo ng Bayan (now Radyo Pilipinas), Jun Francisco of Channel reporter, Boy Aguinaldo, Channel 4 cameraman, and this writer, representing the Philippine News Agency (PNA), were shocked by the massacre that happened in broad daylight.

The AFP’s rank and file could not believe that 35 soldiers, including a general and four Army colonels, were massacred in the Patikul public market, just like that.

Martial law was still in effect then and defense reporters could not just write stories like that without clearance from the defense or military hierarchy.

But this time, military authorities allowed defense reporters to write the story of the massacre, giving us all the information the media needed.

Retired Brig. Gen. Arnulfo D. Bañez, then AFP deputy chief of staff for intelligence (J2) and deputy of the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP), now 94, could still remember the details of the gory massacre.

He said Gen. Romeo C. Espino, then AFP chief of staff, expressed shock upon receiving the news of the massacre.

Espino was in Davao City for a regular inspection of troops when the AFP chief was informed late in the afternoon of Oct. 10, 1977 about the massacre.

“Gen. Espino’s immediate reaction was to rush to Jolo, Sulu that very moment but Col. Tony Lukban, the pilot of the F-27 Fokker plane of the Philippine Air Force, told the general that the Jolo airport has no landing lights and suggested they fly early the following morning,” Banez said.

Piecing together the massacre, Bañez said Sali, the rebel leader of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) in Sulu, agreed to meet with Gen. Bautista originally at the headquarters of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, for a peace dialogue, together with 150 of Sali’s men.

But a last-minute decision was made by Sali and proposed to Gen. Bautista that they instead meet at the Patikul public market.

Bautista agreed without second thought of any security threat from Sali. It proved to be fatal.

Bañez said while Bautista and his group were on their way to Patikul, he saw Col. Pangilinan, the AFP adjutant general, his classmate who was conducting a seminar in Jolo.

Bautista told Pangilinan to join him in Patikul for a peace dialogue with MNLF commander Usman Sali.

Bautista, in fact, earlier asked then Lt. Gen. Fidel V. Ramos, chief of the Philippine Constabulary and concurrent AFP vice chief of staff that time, who was in Jolo, to join him.

Ramos, however, declined because he had a prior engagement in Zamboanga City.

Bañez said “when Bautista and his men arrived at the Patikul public market aboard two 6x6 trucks in the morning of Oct. 10, 1977, the place was empty.”

“Normally, being a public market, the place is always full of people but this time, not a shadow was seen,” he said. “But still Gen. Bautista did not suspect any bad omen was going to happen.”

“Gen. Bautista went there to have peace with the rebels, no more, no less,” he added. “However, it was weird that Usman Sali and his men did not show up.”

Bañez said after a while, three to four men suddenly showed up as Bautista and his troops sat down on a long table waiting for Sali.

“All of a sudden, a burst of automatic gunfire reverberated all over the area and Gen. Bautista and his officers and men were killed instantly like sitting ducks, unaware of what hit them,” Bañez said with tears in his eyes.

“It was a bloodbath. Worse, Sali and his men hacked the already dead soldiers, including Gen. Bautista. The hapless soldiers sustained hack wounds all over their bodies. It was brutality of the first degree,” he recalled.

Bautista’s son, Emmanuel Bautista, was a plebe at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) when the massacre happened.

The young Bautista rose to become AFP chief of staff later. He is now retired.

Sarangani rolls out expanded rebel reintegration program

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 12): Sarangani rolls out expanded rebel reintegration program

Returning New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Sarangani province can now receive additional benefits and support packages under the Enhanced Comprehensive Local Integration Program (E-CLIP).

Lizeth Lopez, E-CLIP provincial focal person, said Friday they have begun implementing the expanded reintegration program in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and Department of National Defense (DND).

Lopez said the program will mainly cover rebels from the province’s seven municipalities who surrendered this year.

Under the enhanced program, she said qualified rebel returnees will receive annual enrollment to the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. worth PHP2,400, a monthly conditional transitional grant of PHP5,000 for two years, and modified conditional cash transfer benefits of PHP1,400 a month.

She said one of their children will also be given a scholarship benefit of PHP10,000 annually for four years in any state college or university.

“They may also avail of housing benefits worth PHP450,000 for a 44-square meter house,” she said.

For rebels yielding firearms, Lopez said they could receive as much as PHP2 million in incentives, depending on the type of firearm.

She said the returnees will continue to receive the PHP65,000 immediate and livelihood assistance, as well as food assistance from the national and provincial governments.

The other assistance packages are enrollment into the Department of Education’s Alternative Learning System; skills training from the Technical Education Skills and Development Authority; legal assistance from the Public Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice; psychosocial intervention from the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Health; and livelihood projects from the Department of Agriculture.

From January to September, at least 36 former NPA rebels have already surrendered in parts of the province.

The provincial government is currently constructing a halfway house for former rebels in Alabel town through a PHP5 million grant from the DILG and PHP2 million from the DND.

Lopez said their partner-implementers for the E-CLIP are the Sarangani Police Provincial Office, Army’s 1002nd Brigade, and DILG-Sarangani.

Incoming chief vows to make Army 'agile force' vs. terrorism

From the Philippine News Agency (Oct 12): Incoming chief vows to make Army 'agile force' vs. terrorism

The incoming commanding general of the Philippine Army vowed to make the army as an "agile force" in the government's fight against terrorism and insurgency.

Maj. General Macairog Alberto on Friday also thanked President Rodrigo Duterte for the trust and confidence in him, and vowed to live up to the expectations of the President.

Alberto said his top priority is to strengthen the Army so that it can respond to current and future challenges.

He also wants to accelerate the growth of the Army, increase the funding for soldier and family programs, and improve healthcare for both its active members and veterans.

Alberto also said he wants to improve the ranks through leadership training, enhance the Army's logistics procurement and decision making processes, and continue to enhance its war-fighting capabilities.

"Yung iba naman is existing na kaya ituloy lang or enhance (Others are already in place so it only needs to be sustained and enhanced," he said.

Alberto bared that Brig. Gen. Erwin Bernard Neri is being eyed to replace him as the chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP).

Neri, who is currently assigned at the AFP general headquarters, is a member of Philippine Military Academy (PMA) class 1988. He was also the former commander of the Army's 1001st Infantry Brigade and commander of Task Force Davao.

Alberto will take over the post of Lt. General Rolando Bautista, who retires on October 15.

Alberto is a 1986 graduate of the Philippine Military Academy.

Don’t pay campaign fees to NPA, warns military

From the Gulf Today (Oct 12): Don’t pay campaign fees to NPA, warns military

A top military officer on Thursday warned candidates running in the May 2019 mid-term election against paying “campaign fees” to members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA), pointing out that was tantamount to helping them in their “terroristic activities” against the people.

Lieutenant General Danilo Pamonag, the chief of the military’s Southern Luzon Command, aired the warning as the Commission on Elections started accepting certificates of candidacy from those running for the 18,000 positions at stake in the polls.

“Payment of such fees will only allow the rebels to build war materiel that will be used for their terroristic activities against the people,” Pamonag said.

Besides, Pamonag warned: “Giving in and supporting terror organisations is punishable by law. A permit to campaign scheme is a form of extortion, which is illegal.”

The military has confirmed that the collection of the permit to campaign fee has been imposed by communist insurgents to allow candidates, especially those running for local positions to campaign in “rebel-held” areas.

Election observers agreed that support from the insurgents often meant a close victory or loss in a hotly-contested election like those running for mayor.

Such fee, the military said, also forms part of the alleged extortion scheme devised by the insurgents like demanding business establishments particularly mining and bus firms to pay “revolutionary taxes.”

The NPA is the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines that has been waging a Maoist-style insurgency against the government for close to 50 years, considered the longest in Asia and the Pacific.

On Thursday, the Commission on Elections (Comelec) opened its doors nationwide to accept the certificates of candidacy from candidates running for at least 18,000 positions on the national, regional, provincial and local levels from Oct.11 to 17.

At stake at the national level are 12 positions for senator and for the regional, provincial as well as city and municipal levels are candidates for congressmen, governors, mayors as well as members of town and city councils.

On the eve of the filing of the certificates, James Jimenez, the Comelec spokesman, appealed to the candidates not to turn the occasion into a “circus of the supporters.”

“We don’t want this event to be disorderly and chaotic. However, we cannot control what he aspirants and supporters will do outside our office,” Jimenez pointed out.

Eight Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute remnants surrender in Lanao

From the Zamboanga Today Online (Oct 12): Eight Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute remnants surrender in Lanao

At least eight Dawlah Islamiyah/Maute members and a suspected bomber affiliated with Islamic State (IS) surrendered in southern Mindanao, military officials said.
The milltants gave up to the troops of Joint Task Force Ranao in Pagayawan in Lanao del Sur province on Tuesday, October 09, 2018, Lt. Col. Gerry Besana, spokesperson for the Armed Forces' Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom), said in a statement.
The Maute remnants, according to Joint Task Force ZamPeLan commander Maj. Gen. Roseller Murillo, are dwindling with their organizational leadership and capabilities.

"We encourage others to follow suit and encourage them to submit themselves to the government forces," said Murillo.

According to Besana, another DI/Maute member voluntarily surrendered last Sunday, October 07, 2018, through the joint intelligence efforts made by 103rd Brigade and the intelligence units.

The surrenderer was
identified as Addul Mashounry Gamama a.k.a Wawi, a Dawlah Islamiyah-Maute group member.

He was turned over by Butig, Lanao del Sur Mayor Dimnatang Pansar at the Headquarters, 103rd Brigade in Kampo Ranao, Marawi City.

The military tagged Gamama as among those suspected terrorists in the foiled US Embassy bombing in Manila last November 28, 2016.

Those seven Maute surrenderors were identified as Mamao Alyodan, Oden Sangcopan, Salahudin Manan, Alexander Amerol, Nora Udasan, Allan Amerol, and Patak Sangcopan.
The militants also yielded three M1 Garand Rifle, one Carbine, four caliber 45, and one 9mm pistol. They were then brought to the Headquarters of 55IB in Madalum, Lanao del Sur.

"The surrender was successfully facilitated by the 55th Infantry Battalion in coordination with various stakeholders and as a result of the ongoing Community Support Program (CSP) in the Province of Lanao del Sur," said Besana.

Murillo, meanwhile, commended the troops and expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the stakeholders for their support in this recent accomplishments.

“Task Force Ranao now reaps the fruit of the ongoing Community Support Program in Lanao Del Sur,” Murillo said quoting Lt. Gen. Arnel Dela Vega, commander of the Western Mindanao Command, as saying in a statement.

“This success is a result of the combined efforts of the troops, the local government units and the populace in the joint battle against terrorism.”

It’s been more than a year since the Maute group laid siege to Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, where the war had been declared over after a 5-month fighting that saw the decimation of terrorists in the battlefield, the military admitted the government cannot rest on its laurels.

The military believes that possible remnants and supporters of the terrorist group and other local terrorist groups continuously recruiting for new members to launch a future attack similar to what happened to Marawi City last year.

The Marawi siege began on May 23, 2017 when IS-inspired local militants, the Mautes backed by Abu Sayyaf took over large parts of Marawi City. This prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare Martial Law in Mindanao.

The fighting between the government state forces and terrorists had left much of the city in ruins, killed over a thousand combatants and civilians, and displaced hundreds of thousands of residents.

The extended military rule continues to be in place across Mindanao giving the military a freer hand to stop and arrest suspects until the end of the 2018.

Naval Station Rio Hondo activated to protect Zamboanga

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 11): Naval Station Rio Hondo activated to protect Zamboanga

The Naval Forces Western Mindanao (NavForWem) has activated the Naval Station Rio Hondo in Zamboanga City on Tuesday as part of the ongoing capability upgrade and modernization of the Philippine Navy (PN).

Naval Station Rio Hondo was built to guard the city after the infamous Zamboanga City siege on Sept. 9, 2013.

(Photo courtesy of Naval Forces Western Mindanao/ Facebook)

The newly-activated Naval Station will be manned by various Fleet-Marine operating units such as Naval Special Operations Unit 1 (NAVSOU 1), Combat Service Support Brigade (CSSBde), Inshore Boat Battalion (IBBN), Naval Air Unit-Western Mindanao (NAU-WM) and elements from Marine Battalion Landing Team 1, Naval Task Force 61, and Naval Forces Western Mindanao Headquarters Support Group.

Gracing the activation ceremony were Rear Admiral Rommel Jude G. Ong, PN vice commander who represented Navy Chief Robert A Empedrad, as the honored guest and speaker, and Zamboanga City Mayor Maria Isabelle “Bong” Climaco-Salazar.

The event was also attended by Barangay Captain Jinnul A. Malik of Rio Hondo; officers and men of the NavForWem; and partner-stakeholders.

The project to activate the naval station was the result of the city’s efforts to maintain peace and security following the siege where hundreds of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebels came into the city and infiltrated several coastal villages in the attempt to hoist their flag in the city’s seat of government, the Zamboanga City Hall.

“This is our home and we have an obligation to ensure that never again will it succumb to those who are trying to assert the greed and malice in our place,” said Rear Adm. Rene V. Medina, NavForWem commander.

“Let this activation sow the seeds of peace and prosperity in our beloved city as it brings back the confidence of the people and ensuring that your Navy and AFP as a whole would always be in the forefront to warrant their safety and well-being,” Medina added.

Run for governor of Sulu, Tausug urge Nur’s son

From the Manila Standard (Oct 11): Run for governor of Sulu, Tausug urge Nur’s son

Thousands of Tausug tribesmen, led by former Mindanao State University chancellor Sammy Adju, are urging the son of Moro National Liberation Front chairman Nur Misuari to run for governor of Sulu and challenge incumbent Abdusakur Tan II in the May 2019 elections.

In a statement, Adju said political leaders of various political clans, religious and sectoral leaders in the Mindanao island-province started a signature campaign on Oct. 8 for a manifesto urging Hadji Uto Karim Misuari to run for governor.

“Hadji Uto Karim Misuari is a promising, young and dynamic leader with unquestionable track record for patriotism and undying love for Lupah Sug and the Bangsamoro people,” the manifesto states.

The younger Misuari has yet to respond to the Tausugs’ appeal, as the filing for certificates of candidacy for the midterm elections began Thursday.

Adju said that in what is generally perceived as a “desperate desire” by the people to elect local officials who can usher in an era of peace, progress and development for the people of Sulu, the manifesto “readily attracts, like a magical wand, the attention of the people” in the province

“They are now literally scrambling to sign the manifesto,” he added.
Genuine political and economic reforms within Sulu, Adju said, can only be achieved “if we succeed in installing into public office honest, God-fearing and competent local officials who can lead and unite our people to a common vision that will liberate them from patronage politics.”

Despite the earnest efforts of the national government to alleviate poverty and exterminate drugs, terrorism, kidnapping, extortion and corruption, the manifesto said Sulu remains one of the poorest provinces in the country, “with ordinary Tausugs suffering the brunt of grinding poverty, intractable armed conflict and a collective sense of insecurity.”

The manifesto stresses that President Rodrigo Roa Duterte “needs a dependable partner in Sulu who is truly committed to correct the historical injustice committed against the Bangsamoro people through a no-nonsense governance that will deliver ‘Tunay na Pagbabago’ [real change] among our people.”

It urges Karim Misuari “to take the lead in changing the course of history for Lupah Sug, by running as Governor of the Province of Sulu in the May 2019 election as the first and crucial step to institute and implement the much needed political, social and economic reforms for Lupah Sug.”

Military's intelligence chief is next army commander

From Rappler (Oct 11): Military's intelligence chief is next army commander

The current ISAFP chief who spent years fighting NPA rebels in the Davao region will soon take command of the Philippine Army

NEW ARMY CHIEF. Here is a photo of Major General Macairog Alberto (left) when he was given command of the AFP's intelligence unit. File photo from Philippine military

NEW ARMY CHIEF. Here is a photo of Major General Macairog Alberto (left) when he was given command of the AFP's intelligence unit. File photo from Philippine military

The chief of the miitary's intelligence unit will soon lead the Philippine Army.

Malacañang announced that Major General Macairog Alberto has been chosen by President Rodrigo Duterte to become the next commanding general of the Philippine Army.

Alberto's appointment paper was released to the Department of National Defense on Tuesday, October 11, according to the Office of the Executive Secretary.

He takes over the post of Lieutenant General Rolando Bautista who retires on October 15 and has been tapped by Duterte to be social welfare secretary.

Alberto is currently the chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP), a position he earned after serving as commander of the Philippine Army's 1001st Infantry Brigade based in Compostela Valley.

A bemedalled officer, Alberto had been at the helm to fight New People's Army rebels in the Davao region. Like many of Duterte's major appointees to key security positions, Alberto had once been commander of Task Force Davao.

Alberto is a 1986 graduate of the Philippine Military Academy.

Bautista will be turning over command of the army to Alberto in a ceremony on October 15 at Fort Bonifacio.

Aust training Philippines to defeat ISIS

From 9 News (Oct 12): Aust training Philippines to defeat ISIS

Australian special forces soldiers who fought in urban combat in Iraq are training Filipino soldiers to defeat local ISIS insurgents.

The lessons Australia learned fighting in Mosul, one of the most fierce urban battles in the Middle East, are now being applied in Marawi City.
Militants associated with ISIS took over Marawi from May to October in 2017.

"We learned a number of lessons on the integration of close air support and land forces within Mosul," Lieutenant-Colonel Judd Finger told reporters in Canberra on Friday.

"We're passing on some of those lessons to our Philippines partners."

Lieutenant-Colonel Finger said Australia is training the Philippines army, navy and air force in various urban fighting techniques, including how to use planes and helicopters in city-based battles.
"Close air support is an exceptionally complex tactical problem within the urban operations," Lieutenant-Colonel Finger said.

Reducing collateral damage - the death or injury of non-combatants - while trying to be accurate with weapons was a particular problem, he said.

Australia does not engage with ISIS or Abu Sayyaf militants directly in the Philippines, but is training local soldiers, sailors and pilots on how to deal with them.

Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, chief of joint operations for the Australian Defence Force, said it was important to stop ISIS, also known as Daesh, from gaining a foothold in Southeast Asia.

"Australia has worked with the government of the Philippines to strengthen its long term ability to combat terrorist threats, and to prevent the spread of Daesh in our region," he told reporters.

"Building the capacity of the armed forces of the Philippines is critical to ensuring Daesh and other violent extremist groups can not again seize and hold territory."

Lorenzana pushes for DND-PNP dialogue with schools on communist recruitment tag

From the Manila Bulletin (Oct 11): Lorenzana pushes for DND-PNP dialogue with schools on communist recruitment tag

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that the Department of National Defense will hold a dialogue with Metro Manila universities and schools that were included on the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)’s list of schools where the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) are allegedly recruiting students as part of the “Oust Duterte” plot.

In an interview, Lorenzana said his suggestion is for both the AFP and Philippine National Police (PNP) to hold a meeting with the heads of the universities so that they can understand why such a list was released in the first place.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco / MANILA BULLETIN)

“We will have a dialogue. My suggestion to the PNP is that it should be a joint AFP-PNP people that will dialogue with the heads of the universities so that they will understand why we are saying that. And of course, we will understand why they are saying or denying that they are not the recruitment grounds of the CPP-NPA,” Lorenzana said.

When asked if there are more schools to be included in the AFP list, Lorenzana said that will depend on the intelligence reports.

“We will see, we will see. We are still waiting for the intelligence reports to inform us who else (or) what (other) universities are recruitment grounds of the CPP-NPA,” he said.

Earlier, AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said that the military is reaching out to the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), and the administrators of some of the schools where the CPP-NPA is allegedly recruiting.

Arevalo made the statement even as he clarified that the list of Metro Manila schools that have been possibly used as venues for arousing, organizing, and mobilizing of students by the CPP-NPA, are still subject of continuing validation.

Arevalo also said that they wish to assuage the fear of the people about this recent development, stating the release of the list was not intended to brand those schools as communists.

“In doing this, the AFP wants to create awareness among our people especially parents who were complaining and asking for our help,” Arevalo said.

He explained that they have reports of concerned parents communicating to them their worries about the “brainwashing” activities that their children were subjected to like film showing; video teleconferencing with a terrorist leader like Jose Ma. Sison; and martial law reenactments during break time of high school students.

“As a good number of us in the AFP are parents ourselves, we join the multitude of parents wary of these creeping indoctrination of their children that tend to draw them into activism and radicalism,” Arevalo said.

“Beware of the wolves in sheep’s clothing. This we caution schools administration and parents about some members of the NPA infiltrating the schools,” he added.

The AFP said at least 18 schools in Metro Manila are allegedly recruiting students as part of their plan to overthrow President Duterte from power.

The universities are University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, UP Manila, Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) Sta. Mesa, Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU), Dela Salle University (DLSU), University of Santo Tomas (UST), Adamson University, Far Eastern University (FEU), University of the East (UE) Recto and Caloocan, Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC), Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (EARIST), San Beda University, Lyceum, University of Makati, Caloocan City College (University of Caloocan), University of Manila, and Philippine Normal University (PNU).

The AFP also claimed that there is currently an ongoing film showing about the dark years of martial law in classes to incite students to rebel against the government and incite the resurgence of the First Quarter Storm experience among students while projecting President Rodrigo Roa Duterte as the new “Marcos.